20 Aug 1945
  • While at sea, Captain Harry Heneberger came aboard USS Nicholas as Commander Destroyer Squadron 21 after having taken command of the squadron at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii a month earlier. ww2dbase [Nicholas | DS]
  • Soviet forces declared the cities of Mukden (Liaoning Province), Changchun (Jilin Province), and Qiqihar (Nenjiang Province) in northeastern China secure. ww2dbase [Manchurian Strategic Offensive | CPC]
  • He Yingqin arrived in Zhijiang, Hunan Province, China and met with China Expeditionary Army representative Takeo Imai to negotiate surrender terms. ww2dbase [He Yingqin | Zhijiang, Hunan | CPC]
  • The final naval engagement of WW2 took place along the Chinese coast between Wenzhou and Shanghai between a Japanese-manned junk equipped with a howitzer and two smaller Sino-American junks each equipped with a bazooka (five rounds each) and various small arms. The Allies were of the US Navy Sino-American Special Technical Cooperative Organization (SACO) organization. The Japanese junk surrendered after 44 of its 83-men crew were killed; 35 were wounded. 4 Chinese were killed on the Allied side; 4 Chinese and 1 American were wounded. This was also the last US Navy engagement in a vessel powered by sail. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • General Yasuji Okamura ordered all units under his command to cooperate with Chinese Nationalists and to oppose any anti-Nationalist and anti-Japanese actions that might be taken by the Chinese Communists. ww2dbase [Yasuji Okamura | CPC]
Dutch East Indies
  • The leadersihp of the newly created Republic of Indonesia decided to form the Badan Keamanan Rakjat, or the People's Security Organization, which was to become its army. ww2dbase [CPC]
French Indochina
  • Emperor Bao Dai of Vietnam sent messages to Allied leaders, urging them to recall the returning French colonial administration. In the message to Charles de Gaulle, he noted "You would understand better if you could see what is happening here, if you could feel this desire for independence which is in everyone's heart.... Even if you come to re-establish a French administration here, it will no longer be obeyed; each village will be a nest of resistance, each former collaborator an enemy, and your officials and colonists will themselves ask to leave this atmosphere which they will be unable to breathe." ww2dbase [Bao Dai | CPC]
  • In Thai Nguyen, Tonkin, French Indochina, communist leader Vo Nguyen Giap disrupted a previously peaceful Vietnamese-Japanese transfer of power negotiation by ordering his Viet Minh troops to fire on the Japanese personnel. The Japanese fell back into the building and became besieged. Meanwhile, to the south in Hanoi, the Viet Minh began to consolidate its recently gained power over Hanoi by massacring Dai Viet supporters and broadcasting pro-communist/anti-French propaganda. ww2dbase [Thai Nguyen, Tonkin | CPC]
  • Chinese occupation troops began moving into Tonkin, French Indochina. They met some resistance from Viet Minh personnel in the upper Red River region. ww2dbase [Tonkin | CPC]
  • Laotian nationalist groups Lao Issara and Lao-pen-Lao took control of Savannakhet and Thakhek ahead of the incoming Chinese occupation forces and French colonial administrators. ww2dbase [Laos | CPC]
Hong Kong
  • Continuing the retaliation of an attack on Japanese troops on the previous day, Lieutenant Chozaburo Matsumoto ordered the execution of So Po Wa and Leung Tung Cheong at Mui Wo, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. The execution was carried out by Sergeant Major Hiroshi Uchida. ww2dbase [Lantau | CPC]
Japan Pacific Ocean
  • I-401 received orders to report in with her current location. Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, commanding officer of 6th Fleet who was aboard the submarine, did not respond. ww2dbase [Tatsunosuke Ariizumi | I-401 | CPC]
Philippines Russia
  • Joseph Stalin signed the final GKO order (No. 9887) making Lavrentiy Beria the head of State Committees No. 1 (atomic research), No. 2 (jet engine research), and No. 3 (radio location equipment development); he no longer held direct authority over counterintelligence. ww2dbase [Lavrentiy Beria | CPC]
  • Pavel Meshik was named the deputy head of the Soviet 1st Main Directorate for the construction of atomic weapons. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • The Singapore-based Japanese newspaper Syonan Shimbun announced the surrender and reproduced the transcript of the Imperial Rescript. ww2dbase [Singapore | CPC]
  • Subhash Chandra Bose was cremated in the main crematorium of Taihoku (now Taipei), Taiwan. ww2dbase [Subhash Chandra Bose | Taihoku | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Percy Hobart's British 79th (Experimental) Armoured Division Royal Engineers was disbanded. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin announced to the Parliament that the treatment of Thailand would depend on Thailand's willingness to cooperate with Allied authorities and its willingness to rebuild the entire region's economy. ww2dbase [Ernest Bevin | London, England | CPC]
United States Photo(s) dated 20 Aug 1945
Members of the Australian Mission Group at the Japanese surrender talks, Japan, 20 Aug 1945; left to right: Cdre John Collins, Lt Gen Frank Berryman, Capt Roy Dowling, Air Cdre Raymond BrownellSoviet troops flying the red flag atop the train station at Harbin, Songjiang, China, circa 20 Aug 1945, photo 1 of 2Soviet troops flying the red flag atop the train station at Harbin, Songjiang, China, circa 20 Aug 1945, photo 2 of 2Two Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’ bombers that brought the Japanese surrender delegation to Ie Jima on 19 Aug 1945. The planes remained at Ie Jima as the delegation went on to Manila in a US transport (20 Aug 1945 photo).
See all photos dated 20 Aug 1945

20 Aug 1945 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937

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