On Display: The Japanese Instrument of Surrender

Today’s post comes from Darlene McClurkin, from the National Archives Exhibits staff.

Signing the Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945. (National Archives Identifier 23658002)

Signing the Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945. (National Archives Identifier 23658002)

On September 2, 1945, in a formal ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan, representatives of the Japanese government signed this Instrument of Surrender, officially ending World War II.

The terms called for “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.” However it also preserved the Japanese Imperial House.

Signing for Japan was Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.

General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific, signed for the United States and accepted the surrender in his capacity as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz also signed for the United States.

Then representatives from eight other Allied nations signed, including the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. The ceremony took less than 30 minutes.

General Wainwright unveils exhibit of surrender document, September 12, 1945. (National Archives Identifier 4477174)

General Wainwright unveils exhibit of surrender document, September 12, 1945. (64-NA-421; National Archives Identifier 4477174)

After the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was presented to President Harry S. Truman at the White House on September 7, 1945, it was put on exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and it was later formally accessioned into its holdings.

Both pages of the original Japanese surrender documents will be on display in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. from August 27 through September 3

From September 4 through October 28, the original first page will be on display with a facsimile version of the signature page.

Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945, page 1. (Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Archives)

Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945, page 1. (Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Archives Identifier 1752336)

Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945, signature page. (Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Archives)

Instrument of Surrender, September 2, 1945, signature page. (Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Archives Identifier 1752336)

 

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