“Japan Surrenders!” | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans (2023)

Press Release

The National World War II Museum reminds Americans of the 65th anniversary of V-J Day and end of WWII

NEW ORLEANS (August 10, 2010) – On August 14, 1945 the world learned that Japan had surrendered, effectively ending World War II, a war that Americans thought would go on indefinitely. No newsflash in modern history has ever been greeted with such overwhelming celebration. The iconic images of happy throngs holding up the newspapers that would go into countless scrapbooks and frames, the impromptu parades, hands in the air forming a “V” for victory, and the iconic images from Times-Square – including one very famous kiss between a nurse and a sailor. The National World War II Museum in New Orleans plans to recreate some of those iconic moments on August 14, 2010 with a special V-J Day commemoration, V-J standing for Victory in Japan. Activities will consist of a commemoration ceremony, a rousing and patriotic performance by the Museum’s Victory Belles, an Andrew’s Sisters-style singing group, and a Times Square kissing contest where couples can recreate one of the most definitive images of VJ Day.
Those who can’t make it to New Orleans can visit the Museum’s can visit the Museum’s VJ Day gallery on Flickr.com to see other famous V-J Day photos. Facebook fans can also post their own pictures at www.facebook.com/wwiimuseum.
America had been determined to stay out of World War II until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 ignited the country with patriotism and the ideals that would characterize the war era. However, the road to victory was a long one and many Americans doubted the war would ever end. Spirits were buoyed by the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, now known as V-E Day for Victory in Europe. But as eyes shifted toward an attack on the Japanese mainland, the war seemed to be far from over. It was the deployment of a new and terrible weapon, the atomic bomb, which forced the Japanese into a surrender that they had vowed never to accept.
Harry Truman would go on to officially name September 2, 1945, V-J Day, the day the Japanese signed the official surrender aboard the USS Missouri. But August 14 would continue to be celebrated around the world as the day the news spread throughout the world that war had finally come to an end. The day is still commemorated in Japan, Korea, Australia and other nations to varying degrees but has faded for the most part from the American calendar.
"You would be hard pressed to find a person who lived through that time that doesn’t remember where they were," says The National World War II Museum President and CEO, Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller. "The celebration spread through towns and cities of all sizes. But it was also a bittersweet day, a reminder of the 418, 500 Americans who wouldn’t be coming home. The National World War II Museum is dedicated to sharing their stories so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn."
Though World War II was the most pivotal event of the 20th century, the memory of the valor and sacrifice of America’s Greatest Generation grows harder to summon as the men and women who fought its battles both around the globe and on the Home Front are passing away. Veterans are dying at the rate of 800 a day, and vanishing with them: the personal stories of epic battles and deeds of sacrifice and heroism that museums, historians and future generations must keep alive.
Recognizing the importance of saving these stories for posterity, The National World War II Museum is committed to preserving veterans’ histories. Museum historians have recorded more than 3,000 personal accounts from every branch of service and theater – including more than 1,000 video accounts recorded in high definition. These powerful interviews include men and women of all ethnic backgrounds, and even some who fought for the Axis. The collection began with the work of author, historian and Museum founder, Stephen E. Ambrose.
Such stories are an invaluable source for historians, researchers, filmmakers and future generations and they now serve as a cornerstone for current and future exhibitions. The Museum is currently in the midst of a $300 million expansion that will quadruple the size of the campus.
In November 2009, thousands attended the grand opening of three new venues. The Solomon Victory Theater features the exclusive presentation Beyond All Boundaries, a 4-D, immersive experience created by The Hettema Group with Tom Hanks as Executive Producer. The Stage Door Canteen is a lively entertainment venue recalling the days when a weary soldier could find food and fellowship at remarkable venues where A-list entertainers boosted morale. The American Sector – a Chef John Besh restaurant, draws delicious inspiration from the foods that characterized mid-century America and became staples of our modern cuisine.
Future expansion plans include the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion (Summer 2011), United States Freedom Pavilion: Land, Sea & Air (Spring 2012) and the Liberation Pavilion as well as a hotel and conference center.
The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.


Where are the Japanese surrender documents kept? ›

The documents were then exhibited at the National Archives after a dignified ceremony led by Gen. Jonathan Wainwright. Finally, on October 1, 1945, they were formally received (accessioned) into the holdings of the National Archives.

How did WWII museum end up in New Orleans? ›

Why is the Museum located in New Orleans? New Orleans is home to the LCVP, or Higgins boat, the landing craft that brought US soldiers to shore in every major amphibious assault of World War II.

Why was the USS Missouri chosen for the Japanese surrender? ›

Formal Surrender

The Formal Japanese Surrender took place onboard USS Missouri (BB-63), which was chosen for being named for the President's home state and utilized as Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey's flagship for the last weeks of the war.

Who was present on the USS Missouri when Japan surrendered? ›

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.

Did the U.S. know Japan wanted to surrender? ›

The US was aware of these efforts by the Japanese, because it had cracked the Japanese diplomatic codes (the MAGIC intercepts), but it was never a formal “offer” for them to accept or reject.

What happened to Japanese soldiers after surrender? ›

In most instances the troops who surrendered were not taken into captivity, and were repatriated to the Japanese home islands after giving up their weapons. Japanese prisoners released from Soviet captivity in Siberia prepare to disembark from a ship docked at Maizuru, Japan, January 1946.

Is it safe to walk to WWII Museum from French Quarter? ›

Yes, it is safe. You will be walking through the warehouse district that has many great Art Galleries. Yes, it is safe during the day and there is a lot to see on your stroll. However, convenience type stores are not plentiful on that route so you may want to take a bottle of water with you.

Is the ww2 museum worth visiting? ›

The National WWII Museum is the top-rated tourist destination in New Orleans and #2 in the U.S., and an unforgettable way to experience World War II—from industrial efforts on the home front to the combat experience of the American servicemember abroad.

What is the largest US battleship ever built? ›

USS Missouri (BB-63)
United States
LocationPearl Harbor, Hawaii
Coordinates21°21′44″N 157°57′12″W
43 more rows

Why are battleships no longer used? ›

Battleships, with their massive size and slow speed, became seen as increasingly outdated in this new era of naval warfare. The rise of air power was another factor that contributed to the decline of battleships. In the early days of naval aviation, aircraft became limited in their range and payload capacity.

Can the USS Missouri be reactivated? ›

Sure, but it would take about 1,500 men, a boatload of fresh fuel, and a pretty serious restocking of ammo. Well, that or a tugboat. The USS Missouri was finally retired in 1992 and turned from a warship into a museum—just like the one in the movie.

Was USS Missouri hit by kamikaze? ›

On the afternoon of April 11, 1945, with tensions at their highest in the Pacific theatre of World War II, a kamikaze pilot crashed a Japanese Zero fighter plane into the starboard side of the USS Missouri during the Battle of Okinawa.

How many planes flew over the USS Missouri when Japan surrendered? ›

Moments after the ceremony on the Missouri concluded, 349 carrier airplanes (though some sources say it was 450) flew overhead in a massed formation. They were followed by 462 B-29 Superfortresses, the only other aircraft that had been able to bomb targets in the Japanese home islands on a regular basis during the war.

What was the sinking of the USS Missouri? ›

The USS Missouri grounding occurred 17 January 1950 when the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) ran aground while sailing out of Chesapeake Bay. No one was injured, but the battleship remained stuck for over two weeks before being freed from the sand.

Who took the photos of the Japanese surrender? ›

On September 2, 1945, Commander George F. Kosco borrowed a camera from Chief Petty Officer (and Hollywood actor) Leif Erickson. Then, he took a perch on the Navigation Deck of the USS Missouri and shot the only color footage of the ceremonial surrender on deck.

Who signed the surrender documents from Japan? ›

That morning, on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese envoys Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu signed their names on the Instrument of Surrender. The time was recorded as 4 minutes past 9 o'clock.

Where was the document signed to finalize ww2? ›

The unconditional surrender of the German Third Reich was signed in the early morning hours of Monday, May 7, 1945, at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) at Reims in northeastern France.

How long does it take for Japan to surrender? ›

The surrender of the Empire of Japan in World War II was announced by Emperor Hirohito on 15 August and formally signed on 2 September 1945, bringing the war's hostilities to a close.

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