75 years ago today, WWII ends after 50 million deaths

Today marks the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the United States, effectively ending the Second World War.

Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs Japanese Instrument of Surrender, a document signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan.
(Pool Photo via AP, File)

Known as V-Day, short for ‘Victory over Japan Day’, September 2 is remembered as the day of surrender in the United States, but understandably other nations view it as August 15, the day Japan’s Emperor Hirohito publicly announced to its surrender to its people  via radio.

The reason for the differing dates is that while the day of surrender is acknowledged by some, the United States recognises September 2, 1945 because it’s the day Japan formally signed its surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Japanese prisoners of war are lined up in a prisoner of war stockade on Guam, in the Marianas Islands. (Pool Photo via AP, File)

Following the signing, Japan was required to end all military actions and release all prisoners of war. It also led to a seven-year occupation by the US which ended when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect in April 1952, allowing the Asian nation to return to the international community.

Japan’s surrender in August came days after the US dropped two atomic bombs, one which devastated Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and another which hit Nagasaki on August 9.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in Chief of the Pacific Fleet and Pacific ocean areas, sat at the table aboard the Battleship Missouri as he signed the World War II surrender of the Japanese. Standing behind him are (left to right), Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Adm. William F. Halsey Jr., and Rear Adm. Forrest Sherman. (AP Photo, File)

World War II was fought between the Axis nations – Germany, Italy and Japan , and the Allies – France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and China.

The war, which lasted from 1939 to 1945, had between 40 and 50 million deaths, making it the world’s largest war and the bloodiest.