“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 — a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.”
– Gen. Douglas MacArthur, aboard the USS Missouri at the conclusion to the signing of the Instrument of Surrender, September 2nd, 1945
Several years ago, we had the great pleasure of visiting the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. Part of our trip involved seeing the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as a trek through the Iowa-class battleship, USS Missouri, which is fittingly moored aft of the Arizona. I remember pausing when we came to the end of the guided walk through, and looking, quite fondly, at the spot on the deck where delegates of the Imperial Japanese Empire formally signed the instrument of surrender in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd, 1945, thus formally ending hostilities in the Pacific Theatre of Operations.
Therefore, it is, with great pleasure that Waltersons’ will soon be re-releasing a 1:700 scale replica of the USS Missouri in its WWII-era configuration, reworked and remastered to conform with their all-new warships lineup.
The ceremony aboard the deck of the Missouri lasted 23 minutes and was broadcast throughout the world. The instrument was first signed by the Japanese foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu “By Command and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government” (9:04 am). General Yoshijirō Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, then signed the document “By Command and on behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters” (9:06 am).
At 9:08 a.m., U.S. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, accepted the surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers and signed in his capacity as Supreme Commander.
After MacArthur’s signature as Supreme Commander, the following representatives signed the instrument of surrender on behalf of each of the Allied Powers:
- Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz for the United States (9:12 a.m.)
- General Hsu Yung-chang for Republic of China (9:13 a.m.)
- Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser for the United Kingdom (9:14 a.m.)
- Lieutenant General Kuzma Derevyanko for the Soviet Union (9:16 a.m.)
- General Sir Thomas Blamey for Australia (9:17 a.m.)
- Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave for Canada (9:18 a.m.)
- Général de Corps d’Armée Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque for France (9:20 a.m.)
- Lieutenant Admiral C. E. L. Helfrich for the Netherlands (9:21 a.m.)
- Air Vice-Marshal Leonard M. Isitt for New Zealand (9:22 a.m.)
On September 6, Colonel Bernard Theilen took the document and an imperial rescript to Washington, D.C., and presented them to President Harry S. Truman in a formal White House ceremony the following day. The documents were then exhibited at the National Archives.
Look for the USS Missouri (FOV861003A) to weigh anchor some time in May.