On August 14, 1945, Emperor Hirohito of Japan made the decision to surrender unconditionally to the Allies. The formal Japanese surrender to the United States would take place on September 2, 1945.

Here are some little-known facts about the surrender of Imperial Japan that you may not know about.

1) Japan Surrendered Because It Feared the US Might Not Invade

The strategy of Japan to obtain honorable surrender terms was to cause an inordinate amount of casualties to the Americans in an invasion the Japanese thought was imminent.

The Japanese wanted Hirohito to remain on his throne and Japan not be occupied or disarmed. They also believed that they enjoyed good enough relations with the Soviets that Stalin might act as the intermediary and negotiate with President Truman and the Allies.

After the second atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki, the Imperial Staff surmised that the Americans couldn’t possibly have more than 10 atomic bombs. They believed that they could survive that many without unconditionally surrendering thus forcing the Americans to still invade.

Ultimately the emperor decided against that and directed his cabinet to accept the unconditional surrender demands of the Allies. He made the surrender announcement to the Japanese People on the next day, August 15.

2) The Japanese Did Not Always Obey the Emperor Without Question

Hiroshima bombing
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima. (Wikimedia Commons)

Rather than salute and follow the orders of Emperor Hirohito without question, the Army staff tried to stage a coup. Young Army staff officers met in a bunker on August 11. There, they plotted to overthrow the government and continue the fight if the emperor surrendered.

On the night of August 14, they stormed the imperial palace. They desperately tried to find the recording of Hirohito announcing the surrender, but they couldn’t. The coup dissolved by the next morning with the arrest or suicide of the plotters.