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Speaking from the White House on the evening of 14th August, and after days of rumour and speculation, US President Harry S Truman announced to the world that the Japanese Government had agreed to comply in full with the Potsdam declaration which demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan. World War II was finally over.

At the same time, midnight in the UK, the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee confirmed the news in a broadcast saying, “The last of our enemies is laid low.”

He expressed gratitude to Britain’s allies, in the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand, India, Burma, all countries occupied by Japan and to the USSR. But special thanks went to the United States “without whose prodigious efforts the war in the East would still have many years to run”.

In his first ever radio broadcast announcing the news, Emperor Hirohito blamed the use of “a new and most cruel bomb” used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for Japan’s surrender.

“Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation but would lead also to the total extinction of human civilisation.”

The Allies had delivered an ultimatum demanding unconditional surrender on 28 July 1945. When this was ignored, the US dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima on 6 August and Nagasaki on 9 August.

Category: Historic Events

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