V-J DAY | AUGUST 14, 1945
“I HAVE RECEIVED THIS AFTERNOON A MESSAGE FROM THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT…”
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14, 1945, President Truman announced to reporters gathered in the Oval Office that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II.
Seated next to the President during the historic news conference were (left to right) Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff; Secretary of State James F. Byrnes; and Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under President Roosevelt.
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Reporters sprinted through the White House in a race to break the news, pausing only to grab a copy of the official release. Mildred Wilson, secretary to Charles Ross, White House Press Secretary, presumably hopped onto the table to avoid the stampede.
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When they learned that Japan had surrendered unconditionally, war-weary Americans, and citizens around the world, erupted in celebration. By war’s end, more than 400,000 Americans – and an estimated 65 million people worldwide – had died in the conflict.
President Truman walked along the inside perimeter of the White House fence shaking hands with thousands of happy Americans. He then called Eleanor Roosevelt to tell her, “I wished it had been President Roosevelt, and not I, who had given the message to our people.”
“THIS DAY IS A NEW BEGINNING IN THE HISTORY OF FREEDOM ON THIS EARTH. OUR GLOBAL VICTORY HAS COME FROM THE COURAGE AND STAMINA AND SPIRIT OF FREE MEN AND WOMEN UNITED IN DETERMINATION TO FIGHT.”
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