V-J Day takes place on 14th August every year – or does it? It depends on who you talk to, because there seems to be a degree of confusion as to whether V-J Day takes place on the 14th, the 15th, or even as late as 2nd September.
V-J Day is the day that celebrates the conclusion of World War II, and the reason for the confusion over the exact date is partly down to the president of the United States at the time, Harry S Truman. 14th August is the day on which Japan surrendered, the 15th is the day when the surrender was announced to the world, and 2nd September is the day when the ceremony and the formal signing of the surrender took place.
The Japanese government cabled its surrender to the United States government on 14th August 1945, and this is the date that tends to be most commonly observed today; however, the news of the Japanese surrender was not announced to the wider world until the day after. It was this announcement that sparked off a spontaneous series of celebrations over the end of World War II all around the globe.
The formal surrender ceremony took place on 2nd September aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, and President Truman declared that V-J Day would be marked on this date. No matter when the actual date was, the important thing was that World War II had finally come to an end.