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Eyewitness account to V-J day

As we mark the 75th anniversary of V-J day–the day Japan formally surrendered to end World War Two, the voluminous diaries of Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King provide an interesting narrative of the events as they unfolded. The first diary entry from August 6 1945 when he first learned of the dropping of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The entry suggests that King had foreknowledge that the bomb was going to be deployed .

Aug 6 1945

Later in the same day’s entry King reflected that the end of the war was imminent. Something that seems obvious today, but at the time there was great concern about Japan fighting a war of attrition.

The next day King is now getting reports of the extent of the destruction caused by the Atomic bomb

August 11, surrender has been offered by Japan, whose only condition appeared to be that Emperor Hirohito, who was deemed by the Japanese to be a God, be allowed to continue in that role. A bit of humor as Russia who only entered the war the day the bomb was dropped, proposed that it be allowed to receive the Japanese surrender.

Bit of sarcasm “26 hours of fighting was not quite equal to that of 2 or 3 years…”

The spiritualist side of King is seen as the Japanese agreement to surrender is finally confirmed

Jubilation in the streets of Toronto as the war is finally over

Surrender takes place in Tokyo Bay. King listening on radio. As a spiritualist King was always obsessed with the position of the hands of the clock on momentous occasions.

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