Thursday, September 2, 2010

65 years ago today and how it affected US history

Sixty-five years ago today, two events shaped world events for decades to come. The first is the signing of the peace treaty that officially ended World War II in the Pacific. All photos are from Wikipedia Commons or the Naval Historical Center, unless noted. All photos have been linked, so you should click on them to see the entire photo and caption. If pictures don't have a caption, I have added the information below the photo.

Japanese representatives board the USS Missouri in preparation of the Surrender Ceremonies.

Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government.

Terms of the surrender included disarming the Japanese military, relinquishing Korea and Taiwan, and limiting Japanese sovereignty to the four main islands and a few small islands.

Terms further included revival of democracy, and stipulated "Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established."

These photos show the conclusion of the ceremony.

Carrier planes fly in formation over the U.S. and British fleets in Tokyo Bay during the Surrender Ceremonies. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives. Representatives from Australia, Canada, and Africa also attended the ceremony.

During World War II, Vietnam was a French colony under Japanese occupation. On the same day of the Surrender Ceremonies in Tokyo Bay, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was established in Hanoi where Ho Chi Minh became the official head of the DRV and ruled the northern half of the country until 1976.

It's amazing how two disparate acts in different areas of Asia shaped and influenced American lives and have throughout my lifetime. From the rise of Japanese engineering, design, team concepts, and quality control, I have always been partial to Japanese products over those made in America. I often joked I would buy American (vehicles) when the quality equaled that of the Japanese. From cheap and tacky pre-WWII tourist souvenirs, to some of the finest automobiles on the road, factories with happy workers, and reliable electronics, the Japanese have shown what can be done when they don't have to worry about sustaining a military force. I'm sure I feel much different about Japan and the Japanese than people from my Grandparents' era.

On the flip side, I was deeply affected by Vietnam and the conflict I grew up watching unfold on TV. I was in high school when the "war" ended. Some of my friends had older brothers who didn't return from Vietnam, and those who did, came back emotionally and physically broken, or did not receive the welcome and jubilance given returning WWII veterans. I'm sure I feel much different about Vietnam than those young people going off to college this year.

I don't often express my private opinions on this blog, keeping it for art, instead. Even though most of us were not born yet, let us remember how much our lives were influenced, and our world perceptions shaped, by this day 65 years ago.

To lighten the day, change the subject of the post completely, and bring a bit of fun into this post, my blog pick today is Cross My Hooks, a blog written by Moe, a college student who lives in Virginia (US). Although her primary posts involve her love of crocheting and ceramics, she also features other blogs that interest her. That's how I became acquainted with her blog. She sent me a comment letting me know she featured one of my tutorials on her blog. I thought that turnabout was only fair play. Moe scours the internet for interesting links to projects she is interested in or working on. I hope you'll stop by and see some of her projects today.

12 thoughtful remarks:

Karen said...

A very interesting post my lovely. Although I wasn't so affected by WW2, I was affected by the Vietnam War. Not directly as I am in the UK but it was discussed in school (I would have been your highschool age) and of course the images on the TV. It has always saddened me that, in general,the veterans didn't get the acknowledgement that they should have. They really went to Hell & back. HUGS XXX

Halle said...

I'm glad you did this post. Those color photos are amazing.

Jingle said...

This is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this!

Terri Kahrs said...

Fascinating post today, Elizabeth. Hugs, Terri xoxo

fairyrocks said...

Thank You for this reminder of how a few people in power making bad decisions affects so many. My Uncle was in the war. He was deeply altered. When I read through this I keep thinking of all the innocent wives and children who, given a choice would never have participated in the war. (in our country as well as theirs) My daughter went to Japan on a student exchange. she adored the people who hosted her, and we adored the daughter they sent into our care. 'We' as 'one world' have come a long way.
The freedom of speech religion and democracy is key to our western way of life.
Thank You

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Great history lesson Elizabeth, the pictures are super too!
Happy Thursday!

Lynn said...

I would like to send a link to your post today to my uncle who served in the South Pacific during WWII. My husbands father was a military man then and for twenty years more...Korea...too. He landed in Normandy,France on D_Day; and he help liberate concentration camps at that wars end.
I was born six months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor Dec 1941. War is hell.

Jan LaFollette said...

I so enjoy your blog! I am a collage "dabbler" who has learned so much from you and your recommended blogger artists.

I appreciated your blog today but just wanted to add another, sometimes overlooked, result of the surrender of Japan. That was the division of Korea, giving then Communist Russia the northern half of the country which resulted, in 1950, the invasion of South Korea by the North. Often referred to as the "Forgotten War", nearly 38,ooo American soldiers lost their lives in Korea. Almost half of them died in the winter of 1950 at a place called the Chosin Resevoir. My husband is a survivor of the Chosin. When those men returned from war, which it was never offically called, there were no ticker tape parades. They got off the ship, went home and went to work or school. Let's not forget, the Korean people lost millions, estimates are two million civilians plus military. American Marines brought out about 100,000 North Koreans who were attempting to flea the Communist regime.
And, yes, because of the sacrafices of those American men contries like Japan and South Korea have been able to thrive....unlike North Korea.
War is hell and Freedom is not FREE!

Dianne said...

a thoughtful and informative post. I have not seen these photos before, and they are certainly historic. I wish we (our country/leaders) were better at learning from the past... thanks for this reminder. sure seems like it's more newsworthy than who got evicted from the "Big Brother House" or whatever silly reality show is most popular right now...

Doone said...

"Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established."

WHEN???? such fine words - but it's just not happened - AnyWHere

every one deserves
the right to a life, love, home and CONNECTION to our fellow wo(MAN) and our shared world

it's what the whole world needs - Not politically roused fears that drives us all to bear arms in defense of violent ideology or desire for land or goods

Amnesty International For EVA



Lori Saul said...

Amazing photos- how do you get them to show up so enlarged in blogger? A fascinating look back in time and at history Elizabeth- you are quite a teacher!

Stephanie Mealor Corder said...

Thanks so much for posting this Elizabeth- I thoroughly enjoyed it! And you made it so much more real for me than listening to NPR's brief recap while covering the peace talks. Maybe *you* should be a news writer and reporter- isn't that just what you always wanted to do?