Let us all remember those who served in the conflicts both before and after VE Day, says Sixth Former Alex, and for the soldiers who had to endure years of fighting for their countries.
Many celebrated VE Day as the end of the Second World War. However, for millions conflicts still raged on in the East. Although British troops no longer had to withstand the brutality of war, many Commonwealth regiments including Gurkha, Australian and Indian were still fighting.
After Germany’s defeat in 1945, the Axis was not completely defeated as Japan were still fighting on in the Pacific theatre against US, Chinese and Commonwealth forces. VE Day enabled more resources to be poured into the Pacific war effort and allowed Russia to re-direct forces to attack Japanese occupied areas with the Chinese. The Japanese were vastly outmatched in the later stages of the war but even in dire situations, they fought hard in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa resulting in a heavy loss of life for both sides. The Allied success combined with the devastating effect of the two atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, led to the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan which was declared on August 15th 1945, now known as VJ Day. The Japanese emperor Hirohito said “Should we continue to fight it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation but also the extinction of human civilisation”. The conflict in the Pacific Theatre was brutal, with horrendous treatment of civilians.
Even after the end of the Second World War. conflict still raged on in China as. Prior to the Japanese invasion in 1937, China had a civil war raging from 1927 between the KMT who had support from the USA and the Communist party who had support from the Soviet Union. Conflict re-ignited once the Japanese were no longer a threat which saw the civil war continue until 1949.
Meanwhile in Europe, friendly relations between the Allied powers quickly gave rise to tension. After 1945 the United States of America and the Soviet Union emerged as the world’s two superpowers, and the rivalry between these politically opposed nations saw the origins of the Cold War. This conflict would have long lasting effects on the world right up until the early 1990s.
Let us all remember those who served in the conflicts both before and after VE day and for the soldiers who had to endure years of fighting for their countries.