Item #007898 An original Second World War Official U.S. Navy photograph of the moments just before the formal signing of the Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay just after 9:00 AM on 2 September 1945
An original Second World War Official U.S. Navy photograph of the moments just before the formal signing of the Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay just after 9:00 AM on 2 September 1945

An original Second World War Official U.S. Navy photograph of the moments just before the formal signing of the Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay just after 9:00 AM on 2 September 1945

Tokyo Bay, Japan: United States Navy, 1945. Photograph. This original Second World War Official U. S. Navy photograph captures the moments just before the formal signing of the Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay just after 9:00 AM on 2 September 1945. Visible in the upper center of the image are the two Japanese representatives who signed – Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu, with their retinue in two rows behind them. In the image center, the four men standing or moving on the other side of the table where the document awaits signature are, left to right: Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey (walking with both of his arms in front of him), one of only four officers to attain the rank of five-star fleet admiral of the U.S. Navy. The Missouri was the flagship of Halsey’s Third Fleet. Standing before the table, facing the Japanese, with his back to the camera, is U.S. Army General George C. Kenney, commander of Allied Air Forces in the South West Pacific Area. Facing and walking toward Halsey, with notes in his hand, is General Douglas MacArthur who, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, would preside over the demilitarization and democratization of occupied Japan. To the right of MacArthur, standing beside the microphone from which MacArthur addresses the assembly, is Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, as well as all Allied ground and air forces based in the region. Like Halsey, Nimitz was one of only four officers to attain the rank of five-star fleet admiral of the U.S. Navy.

The gelatin silver print measures 10 x 8.125 inches (25.4 x 20.6 cm). Condition is very good plus, the paper complete and the image clean, with only light wear confined to the white border. The verso features a four-line ink stamp at the lower left reading “OFFICIAL U.S. NAVY PHOTOS | ANTHONY F. WIN | 2439 NORTH FRANCISCO AVE | CHICAGO 47, ILLINOIS”. At the lower right, written in black in three lines is “9/2/47 | Jap Surrender aboard | USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay”. Obviously the “47” in the date is erroneous. Written in pencil at the lower center of the verso is “MacArthur, Halsey, Nimitz”. In blue ink in the white lower margin of the image, below each of the subject men, is written “Halsey Kenny MacArthur Nimitz”. The image is protected within a clear, archival sleeve.

MacArthur had addressed the assembly thus:

“We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues involving divergent ideals and ideologies have been determined on the battlefields of the world and, hence, are not for our discussion or debate. The terms and conditions upon which surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces is here to be given and accepted are contained in the instrument of surrender now before you… I now invite the representatives of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters to sign the instrument of surrender at the places indicated.”

Prepared by the War Department and approved by President Truman, the Instrument of Surrender set out in eight short paragraphs the complete capitulation of Japan. The opening words, “We acting by command of and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese Government, and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept…” signified the importance attached to the Emperor’s role and the necessity of acceptance by both civil and military authority. The second short paragraph made the unequivocal nature of the capitulation clear: “We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”

On 6 September, the surrender document and a second imperial rescript were presented to President Truman in Washington, D.C. The documents were exhibited at the National Archives before being formally received into the National Archives holdings. Item #007898

Price: $300.00

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