Welcome to edition 32 of Community
This weekend, on Saturday 15th August, we commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, which concluded World War 2 after almost 6 years of brutal conflict.
The war started in September 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. Monumental episodes included the Blitzkrieg of European cities, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, El-Alamein, the Battle for Stalingrad, D-Day, and the subsequent Allied invasion of Germany.
The war in Europe ended with the Nazi surrender in May 1945. But the war wasn’t over. Tens of thousands of Allied Forces, from a diverse range of countries, were still engaged in bitter fighting in the Pacific theatre.
The war in the Pacific had started with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which brought the United States into the war. As the Japanese invaded surrounding territories, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, many British and Commonwealth civilians and armed forces were taken prisoner. The Japanese were brutal captors and prisoners endured forced labour, torture, and starvation.
The war continued to rage with Imperial Japanese forces refusing to surrender, defending captured territory to the last man, and launching suicidal Kamikaze planes at Allied ships.
Rather than pursue what would have been a long war of attrition with very high casualties, the Allies decided to use a devastating new weapon to end the conflict. Plans were made to target 4 cities in Japan with atomic bombs.
They were exploded above Hiroshima [6 August] and Nagasaki [9 August], obliterating the cities with ongoing consequences for civilians for many years to come. Imperial Japan surrendered to the Allies on 15 August 1945.
So, this Saturday, we’ll rightly pause to reflect on the lives of those who were involved in the conflict in the Pacific theatre.
We fully appreciate and are grateful for the dedication and sacrifice of those who defended our freedoms and we also remember the suffering of everyone affected by war.