September 2, 2010 is the 65th anniversary of the formal surrender of the Japanese to the Allied powers aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially ending WWII, the deadliest war in history. WWII killed between 62 and 78 million people, including 40-52 million civilians, and lasted exactly 6 years and 1 day. The surrender ceremony aboard the Missouri took only 23 minutes.
It was only after a second, devastating atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki did Japanese Emperor Hirohito reluctantly agree to an unconditional surrender. Prior to that, the Japanese government and military were prepared to sacrifice every man, woman and child in fighting the inevitable Allied invasion. An invasion of the Japanese home islands would have been the greatest bloodbath in the history of Mankind.
At one point it was believed that Nashville would be the ship to host the surrender ceremony and as such, she was cleaned and scrubbed bow to stern and painted a powdery blue. But General MacArthur wound up using the Missouri and Nashville sat in Subic Bay, Philippines standing out like a red-headed stepchild among all the camouflaged ships. While the ceremonies were taking place the USS Nashville was preparing to get underway the next day to Okinawa to head yet another task force that would take her to Shanghai. Nashville would lead Task Force 73 to be the first American ships to anchor in the Yangtze since the war started.
Nashville would go on to ‘liberate’ Shanghai, take control of Japanese naval vessels there, make multiple trips to transport troops home and even rescue a floundering troopship, the St. Mary’s, outside the Golden Gate Bridge before eventually making her final journey to be mothballed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Below is the text of the surrender document signed by Japan.
We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept the provisions in the declaration issued by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and subsequently to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which four powers are hereafter referred to as the Allied Powers.
We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese Armed Forces and all Armed Forces under Japanese control wherever situated.
We hereby command all Japanese forces wherever situated and the Japanese people to cease hostilities forthwith, to preserve and save from damage all ships, aircraft, and military and civil property, and to comply with all requirements which may be imposed by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by agencies of the Japanese Government at his direction.
We hereby command the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters to issue at once orders to the commanders of all Japanese forces and all forces under Japanese control wherever situated to surrender unconditionally themselves and all forces under their control.
We hereby command all civil, military, and naval officials to obey and enforce all proclamations, orders, and directives deemed by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to be proper to effectuate this surrender and issued by him or under his authority; and we direct all such officials to remain at their posts and to continue to perform their non-combatant duties unless specifically relieved by him or under his authority.
We hereby undertake for the Emperor, the Japanese Government, and their successors to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration in good faith, and to issue whatever orders and take whatever action may be required by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by any other designated representative of the Allied Powers for the purpose of giving effect to that declaration.
We hereby command the Japanese Imperial Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters at once to liberate all Allied Prisoners of War and civilian internees now under Japanese control and to provide for their protection, care, maintenance, and immediate transportation to places as directed.
The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the State shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender.
Signed at TOKYO BAY, JAPAN at 09.04 on the SECOND day of SEPTEMBER, 1945