Earlier this year, we commemorated VE Day – the day in May 1945 that fighting in Europe in the Second World War came to an end. It was not, however, the end of all hostilities as fighting continued with many Armed Forced personnel continuing to put their lives at risk. Fighting in Japan would finally come to an end on 15th August 1945. This year, on that same date, we will commemorate VJ Day and the end of the Second World War, remembering all those who fought and those who lost their lives.
As with VE Day, events had been planned to commemorate VJ Day, although many of these are no longer going ahead. Commemorations instead will take place online to mark the 75th anniversary and there are lots of resources to explore to discover more about the history of the end of the Second World War. We’ve highlighted some websites below and you can also find books in our BorrowBox and library collections to help you find out more.
With your Warwickshire Libraries library card, you can access a large online reference library to help you explore the history of VJ Day. You’ll find links to all the resources here and each will help you find out more about the events of summer 1945.
You can search for VJ Day and other topics related to it and view articles at one of three levels – Junior, Student or Adult. You’ll also find pictures and videos as well as links to other articles that might be of interest. You’ll need to log in by typing WARKS before your library card number (no spaces).
You’ll find dictionaries and history books, including the ‘Very Short Introduction: World War II’ book and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The Times Archive
Find out how the events were reported at the time.
Books in our collections
You will find titles about VJ Day and the events that led up to it in both our BorrowBox and physical collections. Here are a few suggestions:
This book follows the stories of those who fought in the Pacific throughout the Second World War. It describes the true stories of four U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy carrier pilot fighting in the Pacific region.
The Summer of ’45 by Kevin Telfer (physical copy)
An oral and social history charting the end of the Second World War, and the slow ‘outbreak of peace’ between 8th May and 2nd September 1945.
Nemesis by Max Hastings (physical copy)
A narrative history of the climactic battles of the Second World War
Hiroshima Nagasaki by Paul Ham (physical copy)
In this book, Paul Ham examines the nuclear bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their aftermath during the summer of 1945.
You’ll find lots of local history information and stories on the ‘Our Warwickshire’ website including the VJ Day memories of Doris Pails who lived in Coventry in 1945. As well as memories about the Coventry Blitz, Doris remembers picnics and bonfires to mark the end of the Second World War.
This website covers both VE and VJ Day and includes stories told by veterans of the Second World War and a toolkit with ideas for your commemorations. You’ll find colouring sheets and recipes along with archive photographs from 1945.
For more photographs and information about the events that took place during the summer of 1945, why not explore the Imperial War Museum’s collections online?
The web pages of the Royal British Legion remind us that fighting continued in the Asia-Pacific after VE Day and many personnel continued to be stationed overseas. Soldiers from countries throughout the Commonwealth fought and it was only with the surrender of Japan in August 1945 that the Second World War finally came to an end.
The National Archives website has a number of resources full of information about the Second World War, how people lived during the war years and about the battles people fought and died in. For activities specifically about VJ Day, click here.
The Burma Star Association exists to support men and women who served in HM and Allied Forces or the Nursing Services in the Burma Campaign of the 1939-45 war or are otherwise entitled to be holders of the Burma Star or Pacific Star with Burma Clasp and for their widows, widowers or dependants. You’ll find a selection of firsthand narratives here.
Although a project highlighting the experience of US soldiers, the videos available in the ‘Experiencing War’ collection from the Library of Congress provide a look into a wide range of experiences members of the US Armed Forces faced.
Also American, and based in New Orleans, the National WW2 Museum, has a digital archive that covers VJ Day. You can listen to those who fought in the Pacific and hear how they found out about the end of the war and what life was like for them during the summer of 1945.
Some of the titles mentioned above you’ll find on BorrowBox, while for others, you may be able to order them via our ‘Click & Collect’ service. Find out about ‘Click & Collect’ here and if you’re new to BorrowBox, have a read of our previous blog to find out how to get the most out of our collection.