The Day World War II Ended

Sep 11, 2015 By Anita R
Anita R's picture

Location: USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay

Date: September 2, 1945

Scene: Japan formally surrenders to the Allies marking an end to World War II

World War II lasted 6 years to the date from when it started in 1939. It was the bloodiest war the world had ever seen and involved virtually every country of the world. An estimated 50 to 70 million people (nearly 3% of the world population then) were killed and several hundred million injured all over the world.

How The World Aligned

World War II was a battle between the Axis Powers consisting mainly of Germany, Italy, and Japan and the Allies that included the U.S, Britain, France, Soviet Union, and China, and other nations.

The war had begun because of an unprovoked attack on Poland by Germany on Sep 1, 1939. Germany had lost a lot of its land and had been banned from having armed forces after its loss in World War I. There was discontent in the country and one man took advantage of the situation to become its leader - Adolf Hitler. In response to the attack on Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. 

In the early years of the conflict, the Axis powers successfully advanced throughout Europe. However, the tide began turning for the Allies after the British forces halted Germany's advance through Western Europe in late 1940. The US was reluctantly drawn into the war after an attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

By 1942 though, the Axis countries were unable to fight on multiple fronts and began to lose their momentum. The Battle of Stalingrad and the D-Day attacks by the Allies on the beaches of Normandy brought significant victories for the Allies in 1944.

On April 27, 1945, Mussolini -- the Italian dictator, was caught and killed while attempting to flee. Three days later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, while hiding in a bunker after the bloody battle of Berlin. With the death of the two most powerful leaders, the Axis forces in Europe quickly began to surrender and by early May Germany agreed to a ceasefire. 

The Atomic Option

However, the war was not over yet. Japan - the last holdout of the Axis powers, had not yet surrendered. When Japan had got involved in the war, they had been winning most of their battles. 

The 1940's also saw the dawn of the nuclear arms race. Several nations had been working to create the bomb. America was the first to do so in July 1945 in the deserts of New Mexico. In an effort to end the war, America decided to drop two bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (on Aug 6th) and Nagasaki (on Aug 9th). The devastating events were too much for Japan and the country finally surrendered on Aug 15, 1945. 

The surrender documents were officially signed by Japan on Sep 2, 1945. It brought to end a six-year war that had caused death and destruction around the world.

Critical Thinking: Certainly World War II was a tragedy for the world. But certainly, it spawned innovation and research in many areas - more so than at any other times in history. What do you think the world would be like today if World War II had not happened?


Jessica's picture
Jessica February 13, 2017 - 9:43am

this war was tertible

kelseym's picture
kelseym October 16, 2015 - 5:01pm
I'm happy that stuff ended. isn't it sad that that exact same thing is happening on the other side of the earth?
maryw2's picture
maryw2 September 24, 2015 - 1:03pm
I kind of think that is cool.
Tryn28's picture
Tryn28 September 18, 2015 - 2:16pm

it was such a catastrophic event. however, the usa was in the depression, and the world war ended it because of all the new jobs

evenstar13's picture
evenstar13 September 17, 2015 - 5:40pm

im so glad ww2 ended... but that is so sad that they had to end a war with a bomb that devastated the country. poor japanese! think of all the innocent people who were simply brought up to think the Allies were the bad guys. doesn't that give them a reason to hate us more?

Aditya08's picture
Aditya08 September 16, 2015 - 5:17pm

My grandpa was born on the day WWW II started. Also they said WWW I was the war to end all wars.

ciaobella's picture
ciaobella September 12, 2015 - 12:21pm

There might of actually been a war going on now, if World War 2 hadn't happened. The world may have actually started a World War now if not before! In some ways, war can be a learning thing.

Flash's picture
Flash September 12, 2015 - 9:56am


Ali952's picture
Ali952 September 12, 2015 - 8:37am

it wasnt every country

dannym2's picture
dannym2 September 25, 2015 - 2:14pm
Some countries though