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WORLD WAR II // 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

From newspapers of Sept. 2, 1945: Japan formally surrenders in a 20-minute ceremony aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, wearing a top hat, striped trousers and morning clothes, signs the surrender for Japan. Gen. Douglas MacArthur _ flanked by Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, the American commander who surrendered at Corregidor, and Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Percival, the British commander who surrendered at Singapore _ signs on behalf of the Allied powers. "It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past," MacArthur says. All through the dramatic 20 minutes only those aboard the Missouri know of what is transpiring: The battleship has no broadcast facilities. But recordings are rushed to a nearby communications base and the words of surrender are then flashed around the world. In a radio broadcast, President Truman says: "The evil done by the Japanese warlords can never be repaired or forgotten. But their power to destroy and kill has been taken from them. . . . It is our responsibility _ ours, the living _ to see to it that this victory shall be a monument worthy of the dead who died to win it."

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