The signed surrender photograph shows Admiral Nimitz signing the Japanese copy of the Instrument of Surrender document. Nimitz was the Official Representative of the United States. At this precise moment the hostilities of World War II were over for the United States.
Nimitz was born in Fredericksburg, Texas on February 24, 1885. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1905.
During World War I, he served as Chief of Staff to the Commander of the Submarine Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet. His early submarine service had an important influence on the Allied application of the submarine against the Japanese in the Pacific War.
Nimitz also established one of the first Naval Reserve Officer Training programs at a university. From 1939 to 1941, he served as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. This Department deals with the job placement of the manpower available to the Navy, which during his tenure was expanding rapidly.
On December 31, 1941, he was appointed Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet. The American Fleet had been devastated by the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The task of holding back the offensive actions of the Japanese was accomplished at the Battle of the Coral Sea and at the Battle of Midway, which many historians feel was the turning point of the Pacific War.
Throughout the war Nimitz remained in command of the vast majority of the naval forces engaged in the Pacific. His primary command area was the Central Pacific, however, his forces also assisted the Southwest Commander, Douglas MacArthur. In many ways, his naval career was a prelude for what became the largest naval command in the history of the world.
Nimitz's ability to select the best the Navy had to offer for the key command positions in the Pacific, his own tactical ability, and the talent of extracting the best out of the officers and men who served under his command, played an important part in producing the ultimate victory over Japan.
After the surrender ceremony was over, Nimitz released the following statement for broadcast to the Pacific area and the United States:
"On board all naval vessels at sea and in port, and at our many island bases in the Pacific, there is rejoicing and thanksgiving. The long and bitter struggle is at an end.
Today all freedom-loving peoples of the world rejoice in the victory and feel pride in the accomplishments of our combined forces. We also pay tribute to those who defended our freedom at the cost of their lives.
On Guam is a military cemetery in a green valley not far from my headquarters. The ordered rows of white crosses stand as reminders of the heavy cost we have paid for victory. On these crosses are the names of American soldiers, sailors and marines -- Culpepper, Tomaino, Sweeney, Bromberg, Depew, Melloy, Ponziani -- names that are a cross-section of democracy. They fought together a brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation -- the obligation to insure that their sacrifice will help to make this a better and safer world in which to live.
Now we turn to the great tasks of reconstruction and restoration. I am confident that we will be able to apply the same skill, resourcefulness and keen thinking to these problems as were applied to the problems of winning the victory."
The following is quoted from the Navy Office of Information:
"On October 5, 1945, which had been officially designated as "Nimitz Day" in Washington, D. C., Admiral Nimitz was personally presented a Gold Star in lieu of the third Distinguished Service Medal by the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. For exceptional meritorious service as Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, from June 1944 to August 1945..." The citation further states:
"Initiating the final phase in the battle for victory in the Pacific, (he) attacked the Marianas, invading Saipan, inflicting a decisive defeat in the Japanese Fleet in the First Battle of the Philippines and capturing Guam and Tinian. In vital continuing operations, his Fleet Forces isolated the enemy-held bastions of the Central and Eastern Carolines and secured in quick succession Peleliu, Angaur and Ulithi. With reconnaissance of the main beaches on Leyte effected, approach channels cleared and opposition neutralized in joint operations to reoccupy the Philippines, the challenge by powerful task forces of the Japanese Fleet resulted in a historic victory in the three-phased Battle for Leyte Gulf, October 24 to 26, 1944....Fleet Admiral Nimitz culminated long-range strategy by successful amphibious assault on Iwo Jima and Okinawa....finally placed representative forces of the United States Navy in the harbor of Tokyo for the formal capitulation of the Japanese Empire....He demonstrated the highest qualities of a naval officer and rendered services of the greatest distinction to his country."