The Surrender Ceremony

On the teak decks of USS Missouri, WWII finally came to an end on 2 September 1945. The Surrender Ceremony, which formally brought an end to the bloodiest conflict in human history, lasted a mere 23 minutes. It began at 0902 with a brief opening speech by General Douglas MacArthur. In his speech, the General called for justice, tolerance, and rebuilding. After MacArthur’s speech, Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, representing the Emperor of Japan, signed the Instrument of Surrender. He was followed by the Chief of the Army General Staff, General Yoshijirō Umezu, who signed for the Japanese Army. After this, General MacArthur signed the Instrument of Surrender as the Supreme Allied Commander with 6 pens. Of these pens, he gave two to former POWs Lt. General Jonathan Wainwright and Lt. General Arthur E. Percival. Following MacArthur, other allied representatives followed in this order:

  1. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz signed for the United States
  2. General Xu Yongchang for the Republic of China
  3. Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser for the United Kingdom
  4. Lt. General Kuzma Derevyanko for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
  5. General Sir Thomas A. Blamey for the Commonwealth of Australia
  6. Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave for the Dominion of Canada
  7. General Philippe Le Clerc for the Provisional Government of the French Republic
  8. Lt. Admiral Conrad E. L. Helfrich for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  9. Air Vice Marshal Leonard M. Isitt for the Dominion of New Zealand

After the signing concluded, General MacArthur made a few concluding remarks and closed the proceedings. At 0923 on 2 September 1945, the war was officially over.

National Archives Footage of the Surrender