The Japanese surrender on board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945

Description
Early Sunday morning on September 2, 1945, aboard the new 45,000-ton battleship U.S.S. Missouri and before representatives of nine Allied nations, the Japanese signed their surrender. At the ceremonies, General MacArthur stated that the Japanese and their conquerors did not meet "in a spirit of mistrust, malice or hatred but rather, it is for us, both victors and vanquished, to rise to that higher dignity which alone benefits the sacred purposes we are about to serve."
Despite these words, none of the Japanese delegates were saluted by any of the high-ranking officers. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz later revealed that U.S. planes had been ready with bombs to halt any last-minute treacherous act on the part of the Japanese. Seeing a deckful of high Allied officers on the U.S.S. Missouri might have presented a tempting target for a final suicide attack.
In this image, Mydans captured Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signing the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters. Watching from across the table are Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland and Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Representatives of the Allied Powers stand behind General MacArthur.
When asked how he attained such a good shooting position at the surrender, Mydans answered that "being in combat, knowing the generals, covering the war over a long time helped a lot." The first outfit to head out of Okinawa was the 11th Airborne, commanded by Gen. Joe Swing. Since Mydans had been alongside Swing during some of the fighting, he was lucky enough to be chosen by the general to get on that first plane.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Photograph
Date made
1945
photographer
Mydans, Carl
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 20 in x 27 5/16 in; 50.8 cm x 69.4436 cm
place made
Nihon: Kanto, Tokyo Bay
ID Number
2005.0228.086
accession number
2005.0228
catalog number
2005.0228.086
subject
Photography
Carl Mydans
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
depicted
Mydans, Carl. Carl Mydans, Photojournalist

Visitor Comments

1/30/2014 12:46:31 AM
Jeff Clouse
This moment is represented across the America: With this photo in Washington, DC, the Missouri itself at its final mooring place in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the original commemorative medallion imbedded in the deck where the surrender signing took place is located in the Missouri state capitol in Jefferson City.
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