Photo: Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the surrender documents on behalf of his government, as Allied military officers and other officials look on. The formal capituation ceremonies took place aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, south of Japan’s capital on September 1, 1945.
Moment in Time — On this day in 1945, Japan formally surrenders.
The first man to sign the surrender document limped towards the table leaning heavily on a cane. He wore a top hat and white gloves, his strained presence a symbol of the nation he represented. Foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu had long opposed the war. Aboard the USS Missouri on that September day, he appeared frail and relieved to end the final front of the Second World War. Next came General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. Oozing bravado, he signed with six pens that included a red one that belonged to his wife, before stepping in front of a microphone cluster. “Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always,” he announced to a group that included short-lived military allies representing China and the Soviet Union. “These proceedings are closed.” — Patrick White