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August 15, 1945
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


Japan: At 1:00am the "Kyūjō Incident" (Tokyo Imperial Palace Incident) began with an attempted coup d'état by members of the Staff Office of the Ministry of War of Japan and many members of the Imperial Guard attempted to stop the Emperor from surrendering and place him under house arrest but failed to convince the high command of the Imperial Japanese Army to move forward and the members of the coup committed ritual suicide.

At noon, a radio broadcast plays the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo followed by the playback of the record of Emperor Hirohito reading the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the Greater East Asia War. This recording was dubbed the "Jewel Voice Broadcast" (Gyokuon-hōsō) announcing to the people of Japan that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japan. Due to the poor quality of the broadcast and formality of the language most Japanese did not understand his words or the meaning. His remarks did not include the word "surrender" stating only that Japan would “accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.” (Potsdam Declaration). Afterwards, a NHK radio announcer clarified the Emperor's message meant Japan was surrendering.

CENTRAL PACIFIC [US Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF)]: Ends all offensive action against Japan.

CHINA THEATER (AAF, China Theater): Ends all offensive action against Japan.

Fourteenth Air Force: HQ 81st Fighter Group and 91st Fighter Squadron move from Fungwansham to Huhsien, China with P-47s.

WESTERN PACIFIC [Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: All offensive action against Japan ends. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is notified that he is Supreme Commander for Allied powers and initiates communication with Tokyo using the War Department signal facilities, but when he receives no reply. Next, he used the Army Airways Communications System (AACS) Manila station call sign WXXU, to transmit his instructions using a frequency over which AACS had been broadcasting uncoded weather information. The first message to Japan read:

"From Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers To The Japanese Emperor, the Japanese Imperial Government, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters Message Number Z-500 I have been designated as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (the United States, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and empowered to arrange directly with the Japanese authorities for the cessation of hostilities at the earliest practicable date. It is desired that a radio station in the Tokyo area be officially designated for continuous use in handling radio communications between this headquarters and your headquarters. Your reply to this message should give the call signs, frequencies and station designation. It is desired that the radio communication with my headquarters in Manila be handled in English text. Pending designation by you of a station in the Tokyo area for use as above indicated, station JUM on frequency 13705 kilocycles will be used for this purpose and Manila will reply on 15965 kilocycles. Upon receipt of this message, acknowledge. Signed MacArthur."

In less than two hours, a reply from Tokyo was received, the first direct communication between the Allies and Japan.

Unit moves: HQ 22d Bombardment Group and 33d Bombardment Squadron from Clark Field to Okinawa with B-24s; 66th Troop Carrier Squadron, 403d Troop Carrier Group, from Morotai to Dulag with C-46s; 160th Liaison Squadron, 3d Air Commando Group [attached to 5th Air Liaison Group (Provisional)], from Mabalacat to Ie Shima with UC-64s and L-5s; 321st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 90th Bombardment Group (Heavy), from San Jose to Ie Shima with B-24s; 531st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) from San Jose to Okinawa with B-24s; and 674th Bombardment Squadron, 417th Bombardment Group from San Jose to Okinawa with A-20s.

(USN) At 0635, Admiral Halsey sent a message to his forces announcing the end of hostilities and ordering the cessation of offensive air operations, the first carrier strike of the day had already hit Tokyo and the second was approaching the coastline as it was recalled.

IJN: After the Emperor made the radio announcement that Japan would surrender, a final kamikaze attack by ten aircraft was planned against U. S. Navy warships off Okinawa. After take off, three aborted due to engine problems. All seven attacking aircraft were shot down. Lost was D4Y Judy commanded by Vice-Admiral Matome Ugaki (KIA).

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