Francis Pike

The forgotten end of the second world war

Soviet troops in Manchuria, August 1945 (Photo: Getty)

Two weeks ago, VJ day (Victory over Japan day) celebrated the end of the Pacific War. On 15 August 1945 Emperor Hirohito, with his high-pitched voice and arcane royal language, which was heard by his people for the first time, announced Japan’s surrender. Huddled around their radios the Japanese heard Hirohito say:

‘We have ordered our government to communicate to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration [The Potsdam Declaration 26 July 1945, signed by President Truman, Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai Shek, ordered Japan’s...

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Written by
Francis Pike
Francis Pike is a historian and author of Hirohito’s War, The Pacific War 1941-1945 and Empires at War: A Short History of Modern Asia Since World War II.

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