This day in history, August 30, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur arrived in Japan to oversee Japan’s formal surrender ceremony and to organize Japan’s postwar government, marking the end of World War II.
On August 30, 1945, MacArthur landed at Atsugi Airport in Japan and proceeded to drive himself to Yokohama. On his route, tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers lined the roads, their bayonets fixed on him. One last act of defiance-but all for nothing. MacArthur would be the man who would reform Japanese society, putting it on the path to economic success.
On September 2, 1945, the signing of the formal agreement of the Japanese surrender took place.
When World War II broke out, MacArthur was called back to active service-as commanding general of the U.S. Army in the Far East.
MacArthur was convinced that he could defeat Japan if it invaded the Philippines but the United States suffered horrific defeats at Bataan and Corregidor. By the time U.S. forces were compelled to surrender, he had already shipped out, on orders from President Roosevelt. As he was leaving he uttered his famous line, “I shall return.”
Refusing to admit defeat, MacArthur took supreme command in the Southwest Pacific, capturing New Guinea from the Japanese with an innovative “leap frog” strategy. MacArthur then returned to the Philippines in October 1944.
With the U.S. Navy’s help, he was able to defeat the Japanese resistance on these islands and on March 3, 1945, MacArthur handed control of the Philippine capital back to its president.