Victory in the Pacific Day

The 73rd Anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day (VP Day) will be commemorated on Wednesday 15 August 2018.  Also referred to as VJ Day (Victory over Japan), VP Day commemorates the unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces on 14 August 1945.

The following day, 15 August 1945, Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced the end of the war.

“Fellow citizens, the war is over… Let us remember those whose lives were given that we may enjoy this glorious moment and may look forward to a peace which they have won for us.”

The announcement of Japan’s surrender triggered celebrations in the streets and in homes across Australia.

On May 7 1945, a week after the death of Adolf Hitler, the Germans surrendered to Allied forces.  Prisoners of war were being liberated and Australian sailors and aircrew began their long journey home.

Despite the end of the war in Europe, the fighting in the Pacific continued.

On 6 August 1945, an offensive by United States B-29 bombers began, dropping two atomic bombs on Japanese cities, the first on Hiroshima and the second three days later on Nagasaki.  The offensive destroyed both cities with more than 200,000 people killed.

Devastated by allied bombings, and with the looming threat of invasion, the Japanese Government accepted an unconditional surrender with a formal surrender signed aboard the deck of the USS Missouri on 2 September 1945, in Tokyo Bay.

Australians had been at war for over 5 years, and the Victory in the Pacific marked the end of Australia’s involvement.  Almost one million Australians served in World War II, with approximately 40,000 lives lost. With the war over, hundreds and thousands of service men and women now returned home, faced with a new challenge; adjusting to a post war life as a civilian.  Men and women who had played such a vital role in wartime, now returned home to be mothers and daughters, fathers and sons.