Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day)

American servicemen and women in Paris celebrate V-J Day, August 15, 1945

American servicemen and women in Paris celebrate V-J Day, August 15, 1945

Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) commemorates the announcement of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. Coming 3 months after Victory in Europe Day, V-J Day signaled the effective conclusion of the war in the Pacific and of World War II overall. It is typically observed on August 15, though the United States considers September 2 to be its official V-J Day.

Surrender Announcements 

Despite Japan’s defeat seeming imminent during the summer of 1945, it wasn’t until after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August—at nearly the same time that the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and attacked Manchuria—that Japan finally agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 10. 

The American public first heard word of the surrender from a Tokyo radio report on August 14, 1945. Then, that evening, U.S. president Harry Truman made the official announcement about Japan’s capitulation. British prime minister Clement Atlee made his own announcement at midnight. Emperor Hirohito also addressed the people of Japan in a radio broadcast.

Celebrations

Crowds took to the streets across Allied nations to celebrate the end of World War II, including in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia (where the day was called Victory in the Pacific Day), New Zealand, Canada, and China. 

A two-day holiday for August 15 and 16 was declared in many locations. Spontaneous celebrations on the 14th and 15th often gave way to more formal, pre-planned events on the 16th. In contrast to the celebratory crowds elsewhere, destructive riots broke out in San Francisco, California, and in Sudbury, Ontario.

Later Events & Observances 

The formal surrender documents were signed on September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Although the war was over, it was still some months before the Allies had accepted the surrender of all the widespread Japanese garrisons.

V-J Day observances became less popular in later decades, due in part to controversy over the use of atomic bombs. The day is sometimes also referred to as Victory Day or the End of the War in the Pacfic.

Learn more about Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day)

Australia newspaper waits for news of V-J Day on August 14, 1945Australia newspaper waits for news of V-J Day on August 14, 1945 Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – Page 1 · The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) · Newspapers.comUnited Kingdom newspaper reports on August 14 that Japan has not yet replied to the Allies' termsUnited Kingdom newspaper reports on August 14 that Japan has not yet replied to the Allies' terms Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comPhoto of airmen of the RAAF in Borneo celebrating Photo of airmen of the RAAF in Borneo celebrating "the first news of Japan's peace overtures" Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – Page 1 · The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) · Newspapers.comUtah newspaper August 14 front page with headline Utah newspaper August 14 front page with headline "Tokyo Radio Says: Japan Surrenders!" Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – 1 · The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) · Newspapers.comPicture of people in New York gathered at Times Square to celebrate Tokyo radio report of surrenderPicture of people in New York gathered at Times Square to celebrate Tokyo radio report of surrender Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – 1 · Spokane Chronicle (Spokane, Washington) · Newspapers.comImage of crowd gathered at the White House to wait for announcement of Japan's surrenderImage of crowd gathered at the White House to wait for announcement of Japan's surrender Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – 1 · Rapid City Journal (Rapid City, South Dakota) · Newspapers.comPresident Harry Truman announces Japan has accepted the surrender terms of the Potsdam DeclarationPresident Harry Truman announces Japan has accepted the surrender terms of the Potsdam Declaration Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – Page 1 · The Daily Notes (Canonsburg, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPhoto of President Harry Truman announcing the Japanese surrender at end of World War IIPhoto of President Harry Truman announcing the Japanese surrender at end of World War II Thu, Aug 16, 1945 – 1 · Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) · Newspapers.comCalgary, Canada, August 14 front page with V-J Day headline: Calgary, Canada, August 14 front page with V-J Day headline: "Japanese Surrender on Allies' Terms" Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – 1 · Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.comCalifornia newspaper August 14 front page with headline California newspaper August 14 front page with headline "Japan Quits" Tue, Aug 14, 1945 – 1 · The Whittier News (Whittier, California) · Newspapers.comDue to time difference, Australia newspaper on August 15 reports Due to time difference, Australia newspaper on August 15 reports "Japanese Reply Still Awaited" Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – Page 1 · The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) · Newspapers.comManchester, England, newspaper August 15 V-J Day headline: Manchester, England, newspaper August 15 V-J Day headline: "World Peace at Last: Japan Surrenders" Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comFlorida newspaper August 15 front page with V-J Day headline Florida newspaper August 15 front page with V-J Day headline "Peace! Second World War Ends" Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – Page 1 · The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida) · Newspapers.comTennessee August 15 front page with headline Tennessee August 15 front page with headline "Japan Surrenders to End History's Bloodiest War" Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 1 · The Bristol Herald Courier (Bristol, Tennessee) · Newspapers.comPennsylvania August 15 front page with headline Pennsylvania August 15 front page with headline "War Ends; Japanese Accept Terms of Surrender" Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 1 · The Daily News (Lebanon, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comVancouver, Canada, newspaper August 15 (V-J Day) front page with images of Allied leadersVancouver, Canada, newspaper August 15 (V-J Day) front page with images of Allied leaders Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 1 · The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.comOhio newspaper August 15 front page with V-J Day photosOhio newspaper August 15 front page with V-J Day photos Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 1 · Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) · Newspapers.comPresident Harry Truman declares August 15-16 as V-J Day holidaysPresident Harry Truman declares August 15-16 as V-J Day holidays Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 344 · Daily News (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comHawaii newspaper reporter gives first-hand account of V-J Day celebrations in HonoluluHawaii newspaper reporter gives first-hand account of V-J Day celebrations in Honolulu Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 1 · The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaii) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article with account of V-J Day celebrations in IndianaNewspaper article with account of V-J Day celebrations in Indiana Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 1 · The Tipton Daily Tribune (Tipton, Indiana) · Newspapers.comNewspaper photo and article with account of V-J Day celebrations in Phoenix, ArizonaNewspaper photo and article with account of V-J Day celebrations in Phoenix, Arizona Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – Page 1 · Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) · Newspapers.comPhoto shows residents of Edmonton, Canada, celebrating V-J Day newsPhoto shows residents of Edmonton, Canada, celebrating V-J Day news Wed, Aug 15, 1945 – 1 · Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.comSydney, Australia, newspaper August 16 front page with V-J Day headline Sydney, Australia, newspaper August 16 front page with V-J Day headline "Japan Capitulates" Thu, Aug 16, 1945 – Page 1 · The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article with account of V-J Day celebrations in London, EnglandNewspaper article with account of V-J Day celebrations in London, England Thu, Aug 16, 1945 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article gives description of V-J Day celebrations in Manchester, EnglandNewspaper article gives description of V-J Day celebrations in Manchester, England Thu, Aug 16, 1945 – 3 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comPhotos of V-J celebrations and observances in Victoria, CanadaPhotos of V-J celebrations and observances in Victoria, Canada Thu, Aug 16, 1945 – 1 · The Victoria Daily Times (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.comNewspaper account of V-J Day celebrations in Sydney, AustraliaNewspaper account of V-J Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia Fri, Aug 17, 1945 – Page 1 · The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) · Newspapers.comPhoto of crowds gathered in Melbourne, Australia, to celebrate news of V-J DayPhoto of crowds gathered in Melbourne, Australia, to celebrate news of V-J Day Fri, Aug 17, 1945 – Page 1 · The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) · Newspapers.com1965 article: 1965 article: "People of Japan Remember Surrender of 20 Years Ago" Mon, Aug 16, 1965 – Page 15 · Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona) · Newspapers.comPhotographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, who captured famous kiss on V-J Day, passes away in 1995Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, who captured famous kiss on V-J Day, passes away in 1995 Fri, Aug 25, 1995 – 10 · North County Times (Oceanside, California) · Newspapers.com1997 article: 1997 article: "Japan marks WW2 surrender; Japanese remember end of war with remorse and patriotism" Sat, Aug 16, 1997 – 5 · The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana) · Newspapers.comArticle about Rhode Island as last state observing V-J Day & perception of discrimination of nameArticle about Rhode Island as last state observing V-J Day & perception of discrimination of name Mon, Aug 14, 2006 – 9 · Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) · Newspapers.com
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