Jubilation and devastation: 75 emotional photos from the end of World War II

Associated Press

The August 1945 surrender of the Japanese in World War II came days after the United States dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and brought six years of bloodshed to a close.

The conclusion of the war — formally announced on August 14, 70 years ago — sparked celebrations across the world, while nations, cities and families began dealing with the task of rebuilding in the war's wake. The surrender was made official weeks later at a ceremony on September 2, 1945.

Here's a look at the jubilation and devastation that accompanied Japan's surrender and the end of what remains the deadliest conflict in human history.

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Saint George, UT

On August 15, 1945 I am a 17 year old U.S. sailor just completing training as a Sonarman in San Diego. The War is over--no longer is there a need to detect foreign submarines. Today I am an 85 yr. old reflecting on the full life I have been privileged to live while millions of young men of my generation never lived to see V.J. day. What a cost to maintain the freedom and liberty we are so blessed to experience today!

DN Subscriber 2

@ Coyoteghost
Thank you for your service, which was just as important as all the others of "the Greatest Generation" who served. By sheer luck of the draw you escaped any emotional or physical scars, for which we are all grateful.

Huntsville, u

Thanks for your service Coyoteghost. Way too many of us don't realise that freedom is not free but comes with a price. It took people like you to secure that freedom for all of us.

May God bless you in your remaining days.

Merritt Island, Fl

My father enlisted around 20 December, 1941. He spent his years in the European theater until V.E. day and was then loaded onto a transport and on his way to the Asian theater of operations. Before arriving, V.J. day was declared and the transport turned around and headed to the States.
I sometimes wonder if I would be around today if the war continued for another month or two.


World War II has affected almost everyone throughout the world. We lost a brother in a submarine, we lost a brother who married outside of Utah and never returned, much to his family's intense sorrow; my father served in the Navy while my mother stayed home with her children without a husband, untold stress. One man's evil caused harm to millions and millions of people.

Beaverton, OR

My Mom is probably in one of those photos of Times Square as that's where she went when the end of the war was announced. And my Dad was on shore in Japan guarding some of the Japanese officers, while the treaty to end the war was signed on his ship, "The Mighty Mo." The jubilee of that day overshadowed the tragedy of so many lives lost.

BYU Track Star
Los Angeles, CA

I am so thankful "Operation Olympic" was never executed. How many Hundreds of thousands of US Servicemen would have been sacrificed in the Invasion of the Japanese home islands in October 1945? As I now understand Tokyo would have been the third city targeted for a atomic strike. How many Millions of US Baby boomers and Japanese children would not have never been born? I also understand the Japanese Imperial Navy was planning a massive Sea-plane via Submarine Bio-war strike in the San Diego and San Francisco Bay areas had the war not ended when it had. These Bio-weapons were field tested against the Chinese non-combatants. Folks, be thankful the war ended when it did.

Cedar Hills, UT

when America was great

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