Combat ended in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War on September 2, 1945. Following the dropping of two atomic bombs, the Instrument of Surrender by Japan was signed by Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo.
After the Japanese agreed to surrender, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of the Royal Navy, the Commander of the British Pacific Fleet, boarded the Missouri on August 16 and conferred the honor of Knight of the British Empire upon Admiral Halsey. Missouri transferred a landing party of 200 officers and men to the battle ship Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo on August 21. Missouri herself entered Tokyo Bay on the 29th to prepare for the signing by Japan of the official instrument of surrender.
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz boarded shortly after 8:00 am, and General of the Army Douglass MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allies, came on board at 8:43. The Japanese representatives, headed by Shigemitsu, arrived at 8:56. At 9:02, General MacArthur stepped before a battery of microphones and opened the 23-minute surrender ceremony to the waiting world by stating, “It is my earnest hope – indeed the hope of all mankind – that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.”
Man is still seeking freedom. Thank God for men like Douglass MacArthur – for reminding us of the things that matter most in this life – freedom, tolerance, and justice.