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August 14th 1945 was the day it finally ended. Victory over Japan day. The war was expected to end after the dropping of 2 atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but no one was sure what the Japanese might do and few knew that there were no more bombs for the foreseeable future.

Although Canadian participation in the Pacific war did not really begin until December 7th, 1941, by 1945 the war really extended back to September 1939 to most Canadians. A large scale transfer of military personnel was under way with thousands of Canadian sailors, soldiers and airmen departing Europe and travelling across the Atlantic, across Canada and then being dispatched for new duties in the Pacific war. 

Service men and women celebrate in Ottawa

Crowds spill out on to the streets in Toronto

Many of the sailors in Halifax when the riot broke out after victory over Japan was announced, were on their way to fight Japan, so their joy was magnified not only by the final victory but also by the fact that they would not have to fight in the Pacific.

The long, costly and divisive, with conscription, conflict was over and it was time to get back to work and build a new peaceful world. The one last, final outburst of joy was a spectacular victory celebration and many of those who are still alive today can tell you exactly where they were on VJ day.

This day also marked the release of many prisoners of war who had been held by the Japanese for 3 1/2 years in inhumane conditions including many of the over 10,000 Canadians who had been captured in Hong Kong during the original Japanese attacks in 1941.



Truman Announces end of War
The End of the War

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