Wednesday, September 2, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1701


Tokyo, Japan (JFK+50) On this day sixty years ago, September 2, 1945, representatives of the Empire of Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri docked in Tokyo Bay ending World War II.

There is some confusion on the date of the celebration of the Japanese surrender.  The reason is most likely due to the fact there was the day President Harry S Truman announced that Japan had accepted the terms of the Potsdam agreement, August 14, 1945 in the USA, and the day Japanese representatives signed the formal surrender documents, September 2, 1945 here in Tokyo.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that in Great Britain, August 15th is the date V-J Day is celebrated while it is September 2nd in the United States.  President Truman himself declared the latter date the official "Victory over Japan Day" in the U.S.

The most famous photograph associated with V-J Day celebrations in the United States, however, came in New York City on August 14, 1945.  That is the day the iconic black and white photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square was made.

According to Associated Press, US Navy radioman, Stephen Dennis, was responsible for assisting the press in getting the word out of what took place at the formal surrender ceremonies on September 2, 1945.

Dennis was trained as a radio operator at the PT boat base at Tulagi in the South Pacific.  JFK, of course, was in command of PT109 during the war.

Dennis was assigned to the USS Ancon, a communications command ship, anchored alongside the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.  


"VJ Day At A Glance," The National World War II Museum, New Orleans Louisiana,

"WW II vet transmitted news of Japanese surrender 70 years ago," Associated Press, September 2, 2015,

VJ Celebration at Oak Ridge
September 2, 1945
Photo by Ed Westcott
American Museum of Science & Energy
Oak Ridge, Tennessee