You know it’s a bad century when people start enumerating world wars. World War II was certainly the worst man made disaster to befall the human race. Some 60 million people perished in six years of fighting. The war ended I Europe on May 8th and 9th, 1945 when Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied armies of the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.
But the war was still raging in Asia against Japan. The day Germany surrendered the US was still grinding out a bloody battle on Okinawa, in which the US military lost over 60,000, and the Japanese army lost 100,000 men. The prospects looked grim for an Allied invasion of Japan. Most analysts guessed it would take another two years to conquer Japan…with a million Allied casualties and untold millions of Japanese deaths.
President Truman ordered the dropping of two atomic bombs, instantly killing 100,000 Japanese. The Japanese gave up this month, August 15, 1945.
Shortly thereafter General McArthur landed on an airfield outside of Tokyo to organize the surrender. The US Navy sailed into Tokyo Bay, and on September 1st, with the deck of the USS Missouri filled with Allied admirals and generals, the Japanese government signed the surrender documents. World War II was over. Peace had come to the world.
For a day.