Southern Asia 1945: Japanese Surrender in South-East Asia
On 15 August 1945, Japan agreed to unconditional surrender, bringing an end to World War II. However, it would take several more months for the Allies to accept the surrender of all the 4 million Japanese troops abroad, with the first British forces returning to Singapore in early September. In the meantime, Vietnam and Indonesia declared independence.
British Protectorates in the Persian Gulf
The British Residency of the Persian Gulf maintained British India's influence in a number of Gulf states from the 19th Century until 1947. These states were nominally independent - and shown as such in most atlases from the period - but all signed treaties guaranteeing British control over their foreign affairs.
The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman was the only one of these states with significant international relations, having obtained trade agreements with the US and France before it signed its treaty with Britain. Maps of the time often show Trucial Oman and even Qatar as regions of Oman.
Trucial Oman was the region to the west of Oman which collectively signed treaties with Britain. The sheikhdoms of this region were often called the Trucial States, and later became the United Arab Emirates. However at this time they had little unity, with no regional council until 1952.
The British Indian Empire, also known as the British Raj, was comprised of a complex of presidencies, provinces, protectorates, and agencies. Only the top level subdivisions are shown here.
The area under direct British rule was known as British India and made up of presidencies and provinces - a presidency simply being the name for an older province.
Outside British India, but often included within the sphere of the presidencies/provinces, were the hundreds of protectorates or 'princely states'. These were indirectly ruled states, the largest being Hyderabad, Kashmir, and Mysore. The others were either collected into agencies - which might in turn contain other smaller agencies - or fell under the sway of the provinces.
6 Aug 1945 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.
15 Aug 1945 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.
16 Aug 1945 Revocation of Thai war declaration▲
Pridi Phanomyong, Thai regent, declares Thailand’s 1942 declaration of war under Prime Minister Philbun unconstitutional, nominally ending Thailand’s involvement in World War II. The United States immediately accepts the Thai declaration, but the British - who land in Thailand in early September to accept the surrender of the 113,000 Japanese troops still in the country - insist on a separate peace treaty (signed January 1946). Over the following years, Thailand returns the British and French territories it annexed during the war.
17 Aug 1945 Indonesian Independence▲
Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta read the newly-drafted Proclamation of Indonesian Independence at 10am, 17 August, at the house of Japanese Rear-Admiral Tadashi Maeda in Djakarta. The declaration marked the start of the Indonesian National Revolution against the Netherlands. The following day Sukarno was appointed president, and Hatta vice-president, of the new Republic of Indonesia.
19-30 Aug 1945 August Revolution▲
Following the announcement of the Japanese surrender in World War II, the League for the Independence of Vietnam (Viet Minh) launched a revolution against the return of French colonial rule to Vietnam, taking control in Hanoi. Over the following weeks, the Viet Minh seized power across Vietnam, bringing an end to the Empire of Vietnam. On 30 August the Viet Minh proclaimed the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under President Ho Chi Minh.
4-12 Sep 1945 Operation Tiderace▲
In Operation Tiderace, British seaborne liberation forces led by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, arrive in Japanese-occupied Singapore on 4 September 1945 without encountering any opposition. The Japanese commander, General Itagaki, meets the Allies aboard the HMS Sussex in Keppel Harbour and agrees to surrender his forces - some 77,000 Japanese troops plus another 26,000 in Malaya. The formal surrender takes place in Singapore City Hall on 12 September.
12-13 Sep 1945 Operation Masterdom▲
On 12 September 1945, British and French troops land in Saigon, Japanese-occupied French Indochina, with their commander Major-General Douglas Gracey arriving the following day. On French request, Gracey’s headquarters instruct him to exercise control only in limited areas to receive the Japanese surrender and exercise temporary command of both British and French troops.