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Kantaro Suzuki

Kantaro Suzuki

Kantaro Suzuki was born in Japan on 24th December 1867. He joined the Japanese Navy and retired after 40 years of military service in 1927.

In 1929 he was appointed as Grand Chamberlain and member of the Privy Council. On February 1936 he was shot in the chest during an attempted military coup.

Suzuki retired from public life but in August 1944 he was recalled and appointed president of the Privy Council. The following year he accepted when Emperor Hirohito asked him to head the surrender government. On 14th August 1945 Suzuki announced the acceptance of the Allied terms. He then resigned and Naruhiko Higashikuni became the new prime minister.

Soon afterwards he escaped an assassination attempt by Japanese nationalists and was forced into hiding. Kantaro Suzuki died in 1948.


Suzuki, Kantaro

Kantaro Suzuki (käntärō´ sōōzōō´kē) , 1867�, Japanese admiral. He served briefly as prime minister from Apr., 1945, until Aug. 15, the day after the announcement of Japan's surrender in the last days of World War II. He favored the acceptance of unconditional surrender with the understanding that it did not alter the position of the emperor. Opposed by the military, which wished to negotiate a more favorable settlement, Suzuki called two imperial conferences at which Emperor Hirohito ordered his ministers to capitulate.

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The Story Behind the Mokusatsu Mistranslation:

In the last year of World War II, the Japanese government was using its diplomatic ties with Moscow to come to a negotiated termination of hostilities. During the same time, the Allied forces issued the Potsdam Declaration. The leaders of the Allied powers,

President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, the Prime Minister of England, Sir Winston Churchill, and the President of China, Chiang Kai-shek, got together on July 26, 1945, and issued a statement that demanded the surrender of the Japanese forces. The declaration was an ultimatum that stated clearly that if Japan did not surrender, it would have to face &ldquoprompt and utter destruction.&rdquo

The Japanese Army and war minister strongly opposed the declaration. The government and the military were not on the same page. But in an attempt to make things better, the foreign minister of Japan at that time, Tōgō Shigenori, gained the Cabinet&rsquos consensus and decided to share the terms of the declaration with the public. A censored version of the declaration was shared with the Japanese people.

On the day when the declaration was published in the newspapers, the prime minister of Japan, Suzuki Kantarō, addressed the public in a press conference and said the terms were similar to the earlier Allied proposals which were rejected by his government. He further stated,

&ldquo The government of Japan does not consider it having any crucial value. We simply mokusatsu suru . The only alternative for us is to be determined to continue our fight to the end.&rdquo

In Japanese, the word mokusatsu means &ldquoignore&rdquo or &ldquotreat with silent contempt&rdquo. To the Allied forces, it meant that Prime Minister Suzuki and his government had outright rejected the Potsdam Declaration. As a result, American President Harry S. Truman decided to carry out the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The mistranslation of Prime Minister Suzuki&rsquos words resulted in the death of more than 2 million people and the destruction of entire towns.


History [ edit ]

Suzuki began manufacturing motorcycles in 1952. The company's first models were motorized bicycles. During the 1950s, 1960s and the better part of the 1970s, the company manufactured motorcycles with two stroke engines only, the biggest two-stroke model being the water-cooled triple-cylinder Suzuki GT750.

Its progress over the years:

1909 – 1969 The foundation of the Suzuki was laid by Michio Suzuki in 1909 by establishing Suzuki Loom Works in Hamamatsu, Japan. In 1949 Suzuki got listed on the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya stock exchanges. In 1952 it entered the motor-vehicle industry by launching Power Free 36cc, 2-cycle motorized bicycle. In 1952 the company was renamed to Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. In 1955 it launched motorcycle and mini-vehicle debuts. In 1958 it adopted ‘S’ as its corporate emblem. In 1963 it established U.S. Suzuki Motor Corp. as its sales subsidiary in Los Angeles. In 1967 it launched K50 50cc, 2-cycle motorcycle debuts. In the same year it established Thai Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. to assemble in Thailand – its first motorcycle plant which was founded outside Japan. In 1968 it built its Iwata Plant for automobiles in Iwata, Japan and in 1969 it built Toyama Plant for motorcycles in Toyama, Japan.

1970 – 1979 Between this time-period it launched various motorcycle and mini-vehicle debuts: Jimny 360cc, 2-cycle mini 4x4 vehicle (LJ series), Fronte 71 360cc, 2-cycle minivehicle debuts, Fronte Coupe 360cc, 2-cycle minivehicle and GT750 750cc, 2-cycle motorcycle debut, GT380 371cc, 2-cycle motorcycle debuts, GS motorcycle series (400cc, 500cc, 750cc, 4-cycle) debuts,

Fronte 7S 450cc, 2-cycle minicar debuts, Cervo 550cc, 2-cycle minivehicle debuts, Fronte 7S 550cc, 2-cycle minicar, Alto 550cc, 2-cycle minivehicle debuts, Fronte 550cc, 2 & 4-cycle minivehicle debuts, Motor chair MC10 module-type motorized wheelchair debuts.

Simultaneously it opened various offices: Osuka Plant, Kosai Plant, Toyokawa Plant, Suzuki Parts Mfg. Co., Ltd., Suzuki Canada Ltd. (sales subsidiary), P.T. Suzuki Indonesia Manufacturing,

1980 – 1989 Between this time-period it launched various motorcycle and mini-vehicle debuts: GSX motorcycle series (250cc, 400cc, 750cc, 4-cycle) debut, Gemma 50cc, 2-cycle scooter debuts, Jimny 4x4 minicar debuts, GSX 1100S Katana 1100cc, 4-cycle motorcycle debuts, Love 50cc, 2-cycle lightweight scooter debuts, GSX750S motorcycle debuts, Alto minivehicle debuts, LT125 125cc, 4-cycle all-terrain vehicle debuts, Ran 50cc, 2-cycle scooter debuts, Mighty Boy 550cc, 4-cycle mini commercial vehicle debuts, RG250Γ 250cc, 2-cycle sportbike debuts, DT60 60hp, 2-cycle, DT 75 75ph, 2-cycle and DT 85 85ph, 2-cycle oil-injection outboard motors debut, GSX-R 400cc, 4-cycle sportbike debuts, GSX-R750 750cc, 4-cycle motorcycle debuts, Escudo (Vitara/Sidekick) 1.6-litre, 4-cycle compact 4x4 vehicle debuts.

Simultaneously it opened various offices: Suzuki Australia Pty. Ltd. in Sydney, Australia, Suzuki ties-up with US automaker General Motors Corp. and Japanese automaker Isuzu Motors Ltd., Suzuki New Zealand Ltd., Suzuki of America Automotive Corp. in Brea, CA, USA, American Suzuki Motor Corp. in Brea, CA, USA.

1990 – 1999 Between this time-period it launched various motorcycle and mini-vehicle debuts: Cervo Mode 660cc, 4-cycle minivehicle debuts, compact 4x4 vehicle 5-door version debuts, New Every and new Carry minivehicles debut, Cappuccino mini two-seater convertible debuts, Jimny Sierra 1300 4x4 car debuts, Wagon R minivehicle debuts, Volty 250cc, 4-cycle motorcycle debuts, Wagon R Wide (Wagon R+) 1.0-litre passenger vehicle debuts, Escudo (Grand Vitara) compact 4x4 vehicle debuts, Jimny Wide compact 4x4 vehicle debuts, Skywave 250cc scooter debuts, Kei minivehicle debuts

Simultaneously it opened various offices: Miyakoda R&D Centre in Miyakoda, Japan, Delivery and Maintenance Centre in Sagara, Japan, Suzuki tied-up with Japanese automaker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

Its aggregate motorcycle production reaches 40 million units worldwide.

2000 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - Started production of Wagon R+ in collaboration with General Motors. - Started supplying a small car (the Chevrolet MW) to General Motors Corp. for Japanese domestic market on an OEM basis. - Launched Grand Escudo (Grand Vitara XL-7) 7-seater sport utility vehicle with a 2.7-litre V6 engine debuts - Its car-production at Kosai Plant reached 10 million units.

2001 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - Launched Aerio (Liana) passenger car debuts, Chevrolet Cruze passenger vehicle debuts, Aerio Sedan passenger vehicle debuts, MR Wagon minivehicle debuts - It tied-up with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. for motorcycles. - It established Suzuki Motor R&D Asia Co., Ltd. in Thailand. - The global sales of Jimny series reach 2 million units and Alto production reaches 4 million units.

2002 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - Launched Alto Lapin minivehicle debuts, Skywave 650 (Burgman) large scooter debuts - Suzuki develops the first direct-injection turbo engine for minivehicles. - Developed Kosai Plant No. 1 for assembly. - Establishes Suzuki Motor R&D China Co., Ltd. in Beijing, China. - Its global sales of cars reached 30 million units.

2003 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - Launched two-seater minivehicle debuts, Choinori low-cost scooter debuts, New Wagon R minivehicle debuts

2004 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - Launched Alto minivehicle debuts, Swift compact car debuts - Its total sales of minivehicles in Japan reached 15 million units

2005 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - Launched V125 scooter debuts, Escudo (Grand Vitara) compact 4x4 vehicle debuts - Its production of new engine for cars began at China. - The total motorcycle production in Indonesia reached 5 million units. - Swift won “Most Fun” Japan Car of the Year 2005–2006 award.

2006 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - Launched MR Wagon minivehicle debuts, Address V50 and Address V50G 50cc-scooters debut, SX4 crossover sport utility vehicle debuts in Europe, GSR400 sportbike debuts, SX4 crossover sport utility vehicle debuts, New Cervo minivehicle debuts - Its total car production reached 2 million units in Canada - Its total motorcycle production at Thai Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. reached 5 million units. - The total sales of minivehicle Wagon R in Japan reached 2.5 million units

2007 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - It launched SX4 Sedan compact car debuts - Its total car production at the Iwata Plant reaches 10 million units.

2008 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - It launched Palette mini wagon debuts, Splash 1.0, 1.2 and 1.3-litre passenger vehicle debuts in Europe, Alto compact car debuts for overseas market, Alto Lapin mini-vehicle debuts - Its total car production at Kosai Plant reached 15 million units. - Its total global sales of Swift reached 1 million units. - Wagon R and Wagon R Stingray had won 2009 RJC Car of the Year award

2009 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - It launched Skywave 400 Type S ABS, 400cc scooter debuts, Ritz compact car, Sedan Kizashi debut, Gladius 400 ABS sportbike debut, Alto minivehicle debut - Its total global sales of Suzuki cars reached 40 million units - Alto celebrated its 30th anniversary and 10 million units of aggregate worldwide sales

2010 Suzuki progressed in this year with the following developments: - It launched Bandit 1250F ABS, 1250cc motorcycle debut, Swift compact car debuts in Japan - Its total sales of cars in Japan reached 20 million units - Its annual production exceeded 1 million units


Suzuki Kantaro (1867-1948)

Suzuki was the last prime minister of Japan prior to her surrender in August 1945. A retired admiral, he was a hero of the Battle of Tsushima and was "one of the few men in government without personal enemies" (Craig 1967). Nevertheless, he had survived an assassination attempt by junior Army officers during the attempted coup of 26 February 1936 and still carried a bullet in his back. He was selected over the Army's candidate, Hata Shunroku, marking a decisive decline in the Army's control of the government. It was also tacitly understood that he was to try to find a way to end the war, although continued Army resistance prevented this from taking place until Japan faced utter disaster.

Suzuki's position was a dangerous one. His son understood that radical young Army officers might make another assassination attempt on Suzuki, and the son volunteered to leave his job with the Agricultural Ministry to be Suzuki's personal secretary (and unofficial bodyguard.) Suzuki replied "Don't accompany me to death. I have come a long way but you still have far to go" (Toland 1970). Publicly he dissembled, taking the position that he would continue fighting the war to its finish. However, he was forced to tell Togo Shigenori privately that he was seeking an end to the war in order to persuade Togo to join his cabinet as Foreign Minister.

The subject of peace was finally broached on 12 May 1945, by Yonai, whose suggestion that terms be sought through the Russians was supported by Suzuki. However, the Russians were unresponsive, and the terms being sought would almost certainly have been unacceptable to the Allies. The Army rejected any attempt to end the war on 8 June 1945, leading Hirohito's chief advisor, Marquis Kido, to conclude that they could no longer count on Suzuki to work for peace. However, in a speech to the Diet on 13 June, Suzuki subtly hinted that the nation should seek peace and was jeered off the podium.

Following the Potsdam Declaration, Suzuki declared that his government would "kill with silence" (mokusatsu) the Declaration. This was a compromise with Army leaders who wanted a blunt rejection. He later told his son that this was meant to be equivalent to a Western "no comment" but there was no Japanese phrase carrying that precise meaning. On the other hand, Suzuki reportedly told a senior Cabinet official that "for the enemy to say something like that means circumstances have arisen that force them also to end the war. That is why they are talking about unconditional surrender. Precisely at a time like this, if we hold firm, then they will yield before we do" (Miscamble 2011). The nuclear attacks and the Russian declaration of war finally allowed Suzuki to openly call for the Cabinet to end the war, though it took the Emperor's intervention to break the deadlock which followed.

Suzuki retired shortly after the surrender was announced, clearing the way for Prince Higashikuni to become Prime Minister. It was believed that a Prime Minister from the Imperial Household would be better able to enforce the Emperor's decision to surrender on the Army.

Suzuki was held in affection by the Emperor, who called him oyaji ("old man").

Service record

1867-12-24
born
1887-7-25 Midshipman
Graduates from the first class of the Naval Academy, standing 13 out of 45. Assigned to corvette Tsukuba
1888-8-1 Corvette Tenryu
1889-5-15 CA Takachiho
1889-6-25 Ensign PG Amagi
1889-9-30 CL Takao
1890-12-15 Corvette Jingei
1891-7-23 Ironclad Kongo
1891-8-6 PG Chokai
1892-12-21
Lieutenant
1893-11-8 Commander, Attack Unit, Yokosuka Torpedo Group
1894-7-21 Commander, Attack Unit, Tsushima Torpedo Group
1894-10-2 Commander, Torpedo Division 3
1895-3-23 Corvette Kaimon
1896-4-6 Ironclad Hiei
1896-12-11 Ironclad Kongo
1897-3-30 Naval College Gunnery Course
1898-4-29 Naval College A-Course
1898-6-28 Lieutenant Commander
1898-12-19
Staff, Bureau of Naval Affairs, Navy Ministry
1899-2-1 Instructor, Military Academy
1900-3-5 Instructor, Naval Academy
1901-7-29 Attaché, Germany
1903-9-26 Commander
1904-2-16 Executive officer, CL Kasuga
1904-9-11 Commander, Destroyers, 2 Fleet
1905-1-14 Commander, Destroyer Division 4
1905-11-21 Instructor, Naval Academy
1907-9-28 Captain
1908-9-1 Commander, CL Akashi
1909-10-1 Commander, CL Soya
1910-7-25 Commandant, Torpedo School
1911-12-1 Commander, BB Shikishima
1912-9-12 Commander, BC Tsukuba
1913-5-24 Rear admiral
Commander, Maizuru Torpedo Group
1913-8-10 Commander, 2 Fleet
1913-11-15 Commander, Maizuru Torpedo Group
1913-12-1 Director, Personnel Bureau, Navy Ministry
1914-4-17 Navy Vice-Minister
1917-6-1 Vice admiral
1917-9-1 Commander, Training Fleet
1918-10-18 Admirals' Committee
1918-12-1 Commandant, Naval Academy
1920-12-1 Commander, 2 Fleet
1921-12-1
Commander, 3 Fleet
1922-7-27
Commander, 2 Naval District
1923-8-3 Admiral
1924-1-27 Commander, Combined Fleet
1924-12-1 Naval Councilor
1925-4-15 Chief, Navy General Staff
1929-1-22 Reserves Grand Chamberlain
1936-11-20 Councilor of Court
1937-12-24 Retires
1940-6-24 Vice chairman of Councilors of Court
1944-8-10 Chairman of Councilors of Court
1945-4-7 Prime Minister
1945-8-17 resigned
1945-12-15 Chairman of Councilors of Court
1946-6-13 Retires
1948-4-17 Dies

The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2010-2012, 2014 by Kent G. Budge. Index


Today's History Lesson

A really brief Lesson for today. On August 15, 1945, Japan accepted unconditional surrender as demanded by the Allies at the Potsdam conference. World War II, having started almost exactly 7 years before, was finally over. The will of the Japanese government had finally been broken by the twin atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the days leading up to the public proclamation had been full of suspense and intrigue.

Just hours after the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9th, the Japanese cabinet met and, yet again, split on whether to surrender. Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki then took the issue to Emperor Hirohito and asked him to, once and for all, break the deadlock. Hirohito said he couldn’t stand to see his people suffer any further, and ordered the surrender. His voice, usually never heard by the people of Japan, was recorded as he read the declaration.

And then those against the surrender tried to overthrow the government and steal the recordings so they couldn’t be broadcast. But very quickly, the coup attempt fell apart and, at noon on the 15th, the Emperor’s voice was heard over the airwaves, and the War was over.


By May 1945, he recognized Japan was running out of resources. When Germany surrendered, Japan became further isolated, yet he did not call for immediate negotiations. He probably could not do so, since the Army especially, and other hard-liners, still could block Cabinet action. The military generally felt that accepting the Potsdam Declaration would not assure continuation of the Throne, the essence of kokutai, the national polity. [1]

He did not immediately respond to the Declaration, although subordinate officials mentioned that the government was treating it with mokusatsu. This unfortunately ambiguous Japanese word can variously mean "ignore"(literally "kill with silence"), or "study carefully". [2]

Several hard-line members of the government demanded he actually respond, and it was reported that he told a pres conference that it was a "rehash of the Cairo Declaration. The government does not think it has serious value. We can only ignore it. We whall do our utmost to see the war through to the bitter end." [3]


World War II Database


ww2dbase Kantaro Suzuki was born in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, and grew up in the city of Noda, Chiba Prefecture. He entered the Naval College in 1884 and joined the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1888. He was immediately shipped off to serve in the First Sino-Japanese War as a torpedo boat captain. During the Russo-Japanese War, he was the commander of the 4th Destroyer Division and participated in the Battle of Tsushima. During WW1, he was the Vice Minister of the Navy. He achieved the rank of full admiral in 1923, and later in the 1920s became the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet. On 26 Feb 1936, he narrowly escaped assassination the bullet that intended to kill him remained in his body for the remainder of his life. He retired from the navy in 1937 and was an important advisor to the Japanese government.

ww2dbase In 1944, Suzuki became the chairman of the Imperial Advisory Council. Strongly opposed to continuing the Pacific War, he urged his colleagues to negotiations with the Americans as soon as possible. In Apr 1945, Suzuki was named the 42nd Prime Minister of Japan at the age of 77. As Prime Minister, he continued to lobby for negotiations, making him an unpopular person amongst militarists, and several more assassination attempts would follow. After Emperor Showa's radio address that announced the intention of surrender, he resigned his post, but continued to be a close advisor to Emperor Showa. On 15 Aug 1945, newspaper Mainichi Shimbun published a story written by Suzuki on the Japanese surrender. In the article he wrote that it was his conviction to "trust the enemy commander." "The 'Bushido' is not a Japanese monopoly", he said. "It is an universal code." He believed that Allied commander Douglas MacArthur was a warrior who abided by the rules of Bushido, therefore he would "protect [his] adversary who has surrendered as one enlisted on [his] side". Shigeru Yoshida, Japan's 45th Prime Minister (1946-1947) noted Suzuki's article not only expressed his personal views, but also that of Emperor Showa. Suzuki's sincere cooperation with the occupation forces helped ease the transition significantly.

ww2dbase Suzuki died of natural causes in 1948.

ww2dbase Sources: Reminiscences, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2006

Kantaro Suzuki Timeline

24 Dec 1867 Kantaro Suzuki was born in Kuze, Izumi Prefecture, Japan.
7 Apr 1945 Kantaro Suzuki was named the 42nd Prime Minister of Japan.
3 May 1945 Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki maintained "faith in certain victory" in a public statement despite Germany defeat.
9 Jun 1945 Japanese Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki announced publicly that Japan would fight on rather than accept unconditional surrender.
17 Apr 1948 Kantaro Suzuki passed away.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Martin Page says:
25 May 2016 02:16:08 AM

The New York Times 16th April 1945.

‘Japanese Premier Voices ‘Sympathy’.

“ I must admit that Roosevelt’s leadership has been very effective, and has been responsible for the American’s advantageous position today. For that reason I can easily understand the great loss his passing means to the American people, and my profound sympathy goes to them ”.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


The Original GS550

The original Suzuki GS550 was in production for two years, 1977 and 1978. These early model GS motorcycles were classic examples of the standard, or "naked"-style motorcycle that came to be referred to as the Universal Japanese Motorcycle. Those first GS550 models were powered by a 549 cc, air-cooled, in-line four cylinder engine and a six-speed transmission. The GS550 generated a reported 49 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and had a top speed of 111 mph. With a wet weight of 431 lbs., the Suzuki GS550 got between 42 and 45 mpg and had a suggested retail price of $1,745.


Japan surrenders, bringing an end to WWII

Aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan formally surrenders to the Allies, bringing an end to World War II.

By the summer of 1945, the defeat of Japan was a foregone conclusion. The Japanese navy and air force were destroyed. The Allied naval blockade of Japan and intensive bombing of Japanese cities had left the country and its economy devastated. At the end of June, the Americans captured Okinawa, a Japanese island from which the Allies could launch an invasion of the main Japanese home islands. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was put in charge of the invasion, which was code-named “Operation Olympic” and set for November 1945.

The invasion of Japan promised to be the bloodiest seaborne attack of all time, conceivably 10 times as costly as the Normandy invasion in terms of Allied casualties. On July 16, a new option became available when the United States secretly detonated the world’s first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. Ten days later, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration, demanding the “unconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces.” Failure to comply would mean “the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitable the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.” On July 28, Japanese Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki responded by telling the press that his government was “paying no attention” to the Allied ultimatum. U.S. President Harry S. Truman ordered the devastation to proceed, and on August 6, the U.S. B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing an estimated 80,000 people and fatally wounding thousands more.

After the Hiroshima attack, a faction of Japan’s supreme war council favored acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, but the majority resisted unconditional surrender. On August 8, Japan’s desperate situation took another turn for the worse when the USSR declared war against Japan. The next day, Soviet forces attacked in Manchuria, rapidly overwhelming Japanese positions there, and a second U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese coastal city of Nagasaki.

Just before midnight on August 9, Japanese Emperor Hirohito convened the supreme war council. After a long, emotional debate, he backed a proposal by Prime Minister Suzuki in which Japan would accept the Potsdam Declaration “with the understanding that said Declaration does not compromise any demand that prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as the sovereign ruler.” The council obeyed Hirohito’s acceptance of peace, and on August 10 the message was relayed to the United States.

Early on August 12, the United States answered that “the authority of the emperor and the Japanese government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers.” After two days of debate about what this statement implied, Emperor Hirohito brushed the nuances in the text aside and declared that peace was preferable to destruction. He ordered the Japanese government to prepare a text accepting surrender.

In the early hours of August 15, a military coup was attempted by a faction led by Major Kenji Hatanaka. The rebels seized control of the imperial palace and burned Prime Minister Suzuki’s residence, but shortly after dawn the coup was crushed. At noon that day, Emperor Hirohito went on national radio for the first time to announce the Japanese surrender. In his unfamiliar court language, he told his subjects, “we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable.” The United States immediately accepted Japan’s surrender.

President Truman appointed MacArthur to head the Allied occupation of Japan as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. For the site of Japan’s formal surrender, Truman chose the USS Missouri, a battleship that had seen considerable action in the Pacific and was named after Truman’s native state. MacArthur, instructed to preside over the surrender, held off the ceremony until September 2 in order to allow time for representatives of all the major Allied powers to arrive.

On Sunday, September 2, more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay. The flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China fluttered above the deck of the Missouri. Just after 9 a.m. Tokyo time, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government. General Yoshijiro Umezu then signed for the Japanese armed forces, and his aides wept as he made his signature.

Supreme Commander MacArthur next signed, declaring, “It is my earnest hope and 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.” Nine more signatures were made, by the United States, China, Britain, the USSR, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand, respectively. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz signed for the United States. As the 20-minute ceremony ended, the sun burst through low-hanging clouds. The most devastating war in human history was over.

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