September 3rd, 2015

Remembering Japan’s surrender to Allied forces — Class Activity


Seventy years ago, Japan formally surrendered World War II aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan. The signing of the surrender agreement came 18 days after Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced the nation’s acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration via nationally broadcast radio address and less than a month after the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Original newsreel footage from the Sept. 2, 1945 signing ceremony shows Japan’s leaders signing the document along with representatives from the Allied forces. Show your class the video of the ceremony, hand out this History Channel article for more detail, then have them answer the following questions.

How many countries signed the surrender agreement with Japan?

Why did Japan’s formal surrender signify the end of World War II?

Why do you think the Allies chose to hold the ceremony aboard a U.S. battleship, rather than on land?

Do you think Japan could have continued fighting? Why or why not?

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