Friday, August 14, 2015
70th Anniversary of VJ-Day
Today is the seventieth anniversary of Victory in Japan Day (VJ Day), which marked the Allied Powers’ victory over the Empire of Japan, the last of the Axis Powers, and the end of major combat in the Second World War, which began in 1939.
The Japanese Empire’s announcement on August 14, 1945 (the date in the Western Hemisphere at the time) of its acceptance of the Allies’ terms of nearly unconditional surrender sparked the greatest global celebration in human history, which was befitting the end of the world’s bloodiest war. The Japanese Empire signed the formal surrender on September 2 and the peace treaty in 1951, although it still has not signed one with Russia, the successor to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. A few Japanese soldiers continued to hold out until 1974, with some engaging in combat in the Philippines as late as 1972. Although it is appropriate to commemorate the Japanese surrender on September 2, it is nevertheless appropriate to celebrate August 14 as the day victory was achieved and relative global peace began to be enjoyed for a time.
The millions of allied soldiers and civilian government employees who served in any capacity, especially those who sacrificed their lives, or who were wounded or captured, or who endured various privations, as well as the resistors and countless civilians who also endured suffering in support of the war effort in innumerable ways from the home front, won one of the greatest victories for liberty ever by defeating national socialism to preventing the fascists from taking over the world and imposing the most brutal totalitarianism.
It is right to express our gratitude to all of them for the freedom that we continue to enjoy, which they secured, and to renew our commitment to defend liberty against any form of tyranny.