In 1943, US Marines and Navy begin pushing back against the Japanese invasions throughout the Pacific with more weapons, troops and determination.
On January 31, 1944, US Marines land on Marshal Islands and begin efforts to drive off the Japanese occupation.
On February 18, 1944, US Navy launches massive air raid on the Japanese at Truk Island.
On February 19, 1944, US Marines land on Eniwetok Island to fight the Japanese.
On June 15, 1944, US B-29 bombers flying out of China bomb Japan.
On June 19, 1944, the Japanese carrier fleet is defeated in the Philippine Sea.
On August 22, 1944, Japan pulls back from India.
On October 20, 1944, US forces land at Leyte Philippines.
On October 23-26, 1944, Japan suffers another fleet loss when their battle fleet is destroyed at Leyte Gulf, Philippines.
On December 15, 1944, US forces land at Mindoro, Philippines.
On January 9, 1945, US forces land at Luzon, Philippines.
From February19 to March 16, 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima, ending with the US conquering the island.
On March 3, 1945, Allied forces take Manilla, Philippines from the Japanese.
On March 10, 1945, US drop firebombs on Tokyo, Japan.
On March 21, 1945, Mandalay, Burma is liberated from Japanese occupation.
From April 1 to June 21, 1945, fierce battle at Okinawa.
On April 7, 1945, US sinks infamous Japanese battleship Yamato.
On April 12, 1945, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies from a massive cerebral hemorrhage while sitting for an artist painting his portrait. Vice President Harry S. Truman is sworn in as the 33rd President of the United States.
On June 30, 1945, Luzon, Philippines declared secure, however, small fighting continues with remnant Japanese troops.
On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb nicknamed ‘Little Boy’ was loaded onto a B-29 bomber named the Enola Gay after the pilot’s mother. At 2:45am, Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets takes off from Tinian Island, in the Marianas and heads for Japan. At 8:16 am, Tibbet is over Hiroshima, Japan when the atomic bomb is dropped and explodes 1,900 feet above the city. The initial blast kills 80,000 Japanese and destroys a large portion of the city. At least 30,000 others were injured at the time of the blast and by the end of 1945, at least 60,000 more Japanese died as a result of the radiation and fallout. The estimated power of the Little Boy atomic bomb was the equivalent to 12,500 TONS of TNT.
On, August 9, 1945, at 11:02am, the Fat Man atomic bomb exploded 1,650 feet above the city of Nagasaki. The reason for the elevated explosion was to maximize the devastative force of the atomic explosion. It was estimated that around 70,000 people were killed with the Nagasaki bomb.
On August 10, 1945, Japan sends a message that they are ready to discuss terms of surrender.
On August 15, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito, announced over public radio that he had agreed to an unconditional surrender. A number of Japan’s military and political leadership were not ready to surrender and Hirohito’s decision did not set well them. Not only did his announcement of surrender end the war, but it dashed the plans of many Japanese leaders to rule most of eastern Asia including China, Korea and the Philippines. They desperately wanted to expand the Japanese Empire beyond their island nation and the surrender ended all of those hopes and plans.
On this day, September 2, 1945, the USS Missouri Battleship, along with an escort of destroyers were in Tokyo Bay. Representatives from Australia, China, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Canada, France, Netherlands and New Zealand were on board the Missouri when the official delegation from Japan was transferred onto the Missouri.
A table was set on the deck and the official ceremony took place with delegates from all of the represented nations signed the Instrument of Surrender as seen below. This was the official end of World War II.
Most film crews took black and white movies of the signing, however, one US Naval officer, Commander George F. Kosco took color film of the event but kept it. After his death in 1985, his son, Colonel William Kosco, US Army Retired, began to get the film restored and in 1992 it was sent to the Naval Historical Center. You can view the only known publicly available color film of the Japanese signing the Instrument of Surrender below.
Sources for the above includes: Today, August 6, 1945: Atomic Bomb Destroys Hiroshima [VIDEO]; Today, August 9, 1945: Atomic Bomb Destroys Nagasaki [VIDEO]; Today, August 10, 1945: Japan Agrees to Unconditional Surrender; September 2, 1945: When Japan Surrendered; Japan Surrenders; Japan’s Surrender; Why is Japan’s WW2 Surrender Still a Sensitive Subject?; Japan Surrenders; Why Did Japan Surrender?