What is VJ Day 75?

Commemorating 75 years since the end of the Second World War in its entirety with SSAFA, the UK’s oldest national tri-service charity.

What is VJ Day 75?

Commemorating 75 years since the end of the Second World War in its entirety with SSAFA, the UK’s oldest national tri-service charity.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of VJ Day - Victory over Japan Day - the moment that the Japanese surrendered and the Second World War finally ended. Tens of thousands of Armed Forces personnel from across the British Empire fought and died in the war against Japan, whilst thousands more suffered inhumane treatment as prisoners of war, including more than 12,000 Allied POWs who lost their lives building the infamous Burma 'Death Railway'; a 400km railway from Thailand to Myanmar (then Burma).

The war with Japan had began in December 1941, two years after the war against Hitler and the Nazis regime had been declared. The Japanese attack on the American naval base of Pearl Harbour, on the 7 December, drew the United States fully into the Second World War, whilst Japan’s attack on British territories in Hong Kong, Malaya (now Malaysia), Singapore and Burma in the following days drew British and Commonwealth troops into a jungle war they were ill prepared for.

After almost four years of fighting in the Far East, which brought devastating losses through both combat and disease, the war came to an end with Emperor Hirohito announcing Japan’s surrender on 14 August 1945. The surrender followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski, the first and only time in the history of warfare such a destructive weapon has been used. The bomb that landed on Hiroshima flattened everything within a mile of the centre of its blast, immediately killing over 70,000 people with tens of thousands more dying of radiation exposure in the months that followed.

Japan’s surrender and the announcement of world peace, was welcomed joyfully but also soberly in the wake of the unprecedented atomic bombings and the uncertainty over the fate many of the British and Allied forces still in the Far East.

In the UK the 15 August, the day Allied forces accepted the Japanese surrender, is officially known as VJ Day - Victory over Japan Day.

In 2020, to honour the sacrifices and to celebrate peace, on Saturday 15 August 2020 we ask the nation to join us in remembering those who fought in the Far East and helped bring about the end of the Second World War.