End of World War II

World War II in the Arctic

the Arctic 1945.0815

End of World War II

Arctic disputes, Winter War, Weather War, World War II, Cold War, Climate Change (15 August 1945)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

Despite Germany's surrender, Japan still fought on, finally being brought to terms in August when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union invaded Manchuria, Karafuto, and the Kuril Islands. The Second World War was finally at an end.

Main Events

V.E. Day

Following the German signing of the Act of Surrender on 7 May in Reims, France, and 8 May in Berlin, Germany, a public holiday - Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day - was celebrated in Allied countries to mark the Allies' formal acceptance of Germany's surrender and the end of World War II in Europe.

Allied occupation of Norway

British forces, starting with the 1st Airborne Division in Operation Doomsday and followed by Force 134, maintained order in Norway until the full restoration of the Norwegian government and its armed forces.

Allied division of Germany

The victorious Allied powers of France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States divided defeated Germany into four occupation zones, with Poland taking control of territory east of the Oder River that it would later annex. The Allies also divided Berlin into four sectors of occupation. US forces remained in the Soviet zone of Germany until early July, when they withdrew westward.

United Nations Charter

The United Nations Charter was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, by fifty of the original fifty-one founding members (Poland, the only founding member not present, would sign the charter two months later). The treaty entered into force on 24 October 1945, after being ratified by the five permanent members of the security council - China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States - and a majority of the other signatories.

Atomic bombing of Hiroshima

After being briefed in Operations Order No. 35 - the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan - the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay, piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets, departed from the US-occupied island of Tinian at 02:45 on 6 August 1945. Having reached Hiroshima, they released the Little Boy atomic bomb at 08:15 from a height of 9,400 m, making it to 18.5 km away before they felt the shock waves of the blast. The explosion and resultant firestorm killed some 70,000-80,000 people in the city, with another 70,000 injured and more later dying from the after-effects.

Soviet invasion of Manchuria

In the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, over 1.5 million Soviet troops invaded the Japanese puppet states of Manchukuo and Mengjiang on three fronts from positions in the Soviet Far East and the Mongolian People's Republic. The scale, speed, and directions of the attack caught the 700 thousand strong Japanese Kwantung Army by surprise, with the Soviet pincers, supported by airborne units, penetrating deep into Manchuria. Despite this, Japanese resistance continued until 20 August - five days after Emperor Hirohito's surrender broadcast - by which time the Soviets had reached the key cities of Mukden, Changchun, and Qiqihar.

Invasion of South Sakhalin

On 11 August 1945, the Soviet 16th Army advanced from northern Sakhalin into the Japanese Prefecture of Karafuto in the southern half of the island, but was held back for four days by the Karafuto Fortress line. From 16 August, the Soviets began landing along the coast, seizing the ports of Toro (Shakhtyorsk), Esutoru (Uglegorsk), and Maoka (Kholmsk). A final Soviet landing at the capital of Otomari (Korsakov) on 25 August forced the main Japanese garrison to surrender, bringing an end to resistance.

Jewel Voice Broadcast

Japanese Emperor Hirohito read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War in a radio broadcast, announcing to the people of Japan that their government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration and agreed to unconditional surrender. The speech was the first time the Emperor had spoken to the common people.

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