Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman's Radio Address to the American People After the Signing
of the Terms of Unconditional Surrender by Japan
September 1, 1945
[Broadcast from the White House at 10 p. m.]
Listen to the Address | Read transcript

Signing of the surrender document1. What happened aboard the battleship Missouri?

2. How many years did it take for the U. S. to defeat the Empire of Japan?

3. What comfort did President Truman offer to the families who lost loved ones during the

4. Truman is considered to be a President who could relate to, and represent the common man.
What evidence can be found in this speech to support this idea?

5. Why was it fitting for the President to mention Franklin Roosevelt in this speech?

6. In his address President Truman proclaimed America to be "the strongest nation on earth."
Can we still make this claim today? Support your answer with specific examples.

7. The President talks of certain "principles" Americans believed in that kept our nation strong
during the war. List three.

8. President Truman reminded Americans that along with "rejoicing" the victory, the nation
faced "difficulties." In your opinion, what were the problems Truman was referring to?

9. In his speech President Truman proclaimed September 2, 1945 to be V-J Day, a day "of
retribution." What do you think he meant?

10.What did you learn about President Truman by listening to or reading this speech?
What did this speech tell you about American society during this era?

Discussion Questions:
1. When Truman spoke of the "burdens and responsibilities" of the United States as a victorious
nation, what did he mean? How did we treat the people of Japan after their surrender? What
is our relationship with Japan today?

2. The United States demanded that the Empire of Japan sign "terms of unconditional surrender."
What does unconditional surrender mean?
Was the United States justified in making this demand?