Soviet Attack on Japan

The Great Patriotic War: Germany at Bay

Russia 1945.0815

Soviet Attack on Japan

World War II: The Eastern Front from Stalingrad to the fall of Berlin (15 August 1945)

Historical Map of Russia & the former Soviet Union

Stalin had promised the Allies that he would attack Japan three months after Germany had been defeated. On August 9, he declared war as agreed, invading Manchuria, northern Korea, southern Sakhalin, and the Kurile Islands. In the same week, the Americans dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Faced with certain destruction, the Japanese surrendered on August 15.

Main Events

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.

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.

Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance

In response to the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, Nationalist China agreed to recognize the independence of Mongolia, which had been supported by the Soviet Union since the Revolutionary era. China agreed to independence on the condition that the Soviets cease assistance to the Chinese Communist Party, but continued to respect Mongolian independence when this was not followed.

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.

About this map