The Axis powers’ ultimate defeat became obvious after the Allies’ sustained offensive. Italy and Germany already surrendered in October 1943 and 8 May 1945 respectively, marking the end of the World War II warfare in Europe. Furthermore, China’s counterattack on Japan was gaining momentum. From May to July 1945, the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) recovered the cities of Nanning (南寧), Liuzhou (柳州), Guilin (桂林), and eventually reclaimed Guangxi Province (廣西). The next step was to march on Guangzhou (廣州). That year, the United States also detonated two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. On 9 August, the Soviet force entered Northeast China and broke down the 700,000-strong garrison of the Japanese Kwantung Army. By then, it was clear that Japan’s defeat was imminent.
On 15 August 1945 noon, the “Hirohito surrender broadcast” by the Japanese Emperor Hirohito aired nationally, announcing that Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration issued by the United States, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union and surrendered unconditionally. China won the anti-Japanese war and World War II ended. At 10am on 2 September, Japanese representatives sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender abroad the battleship USS Missouri BB-63 in Tokyo Bay. At 9am on 9 September in Nanjing (南京), the Nationalist government held a ceremony for Japan’s surrender in the China War Zone. Soon, the Nationalist government recovered Taiwan (Formosa, 台灣) and Penghu (the Pescadores, 澎湖) while Hong Kong returned to the British rule.
In the later stages of the Pacific War, Japan’s eventual loss became inevitable. Left: the US B-29 Superfortress air bombing Osaka, Japan. Right: American forces capturing the Japanese island Iwo Jima.
Between March and June 1945, Japan launched the Battle of West Henan-North Hubei (豫西鄂北會戰) and the Battle of West Hunan (湘西會戰). Although the battles gave Japan control over Laohekou Airport (老河口機場), it came at a great cost. Meanwhile, Japan was routed in the Zhijiang (芷江) Campaign in Hunan Province (湖南). Left: wrecks of Japanese planes shot down in the Battle of West Hunan. Right: the NRA defending Zhijiang.
In April 1945, the NRA launched a counterattack in Guangxi. Nanning and Liuzhou were recovered on 27 May and 29 June respectively. Left: the NRA on patrol in the reclaimed Nanning in mid-June 1945. Right: Chinese and American soldiers raising national flags in the recovered Liuzhou in early August 1945.
On 27 July 1945, the NRA restored control over Guilin, Guangxi. The two photos above were taken in Guilin in August 1945. Left: the NRA passing the destructed head office of the Bank of Kwang-Si (Guangxi) in the newly recovered Guilin. Right: the NRA entering the ruins of downtown Guilin.
Left: On 6 August 1945, the United States detonating an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Right: the bombed-out Hiroshima. On 9 August, the United States dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The bombings catalysed Japan’s surrender.
The Soviet forces entered Northeast China three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 9 August 1945. The Japanese Kwantung Army was routed in the face of the strong Soviet forces. The photo shows the Soviet infantry and tanks firing at the Japanese.
Left: On 15 August 1945, Emperor Hirohito announcing Japan’s unconditional surrender nationally through a broadcast. Right: Japanese civilians listening to the broadcast on their knees.
Left: Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) announcing Japan’s surrender in a national address on 15 August 1945. Right: Chinese people in the temporary capital of Chongqing (重慶) celebrating on the streets upon hearing of Japan’s surrender. Allied troops joined the celebration parade in their cars.
On 2 September 1945, a signing ceremony was held on the battleship USS Missouri BB-63 in Tokyo Bay where Japan signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. Left: Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Shigemitsu Mamoru (holding a cane), signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. Right: General Xu Yongchang (徐永昌), representing China, signed the instrument and accepted Japan’s surrender.
At 9am on 9 September 1945, a ceremony for Japan’s surrender in the China War Zone was held at the general headquarters of the Army of the Republic of China. Okamura Yasuji, the Commander-in-Chief of the China Expeditionary Army, signed the document. Kobayashi Asasaburo (right), the Chief-of-Staff of the China Expeditionary Army, handed the document on behalf of Okamura to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Republic of China He Yingqin (left). Japan’s surrender marked the end of World War II. China achieved victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.
Source of most photos used in this feature piece: Fotoe and misc. photo sources.