April 11, 1945 US Forces Liberate Buchenwald

Concentration Camp survivors
These are slave laborers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Jena; many had died from malnutrition when U.S. troops of the 80th Division entered the camp." Pvt. H. Miller, Germany, April 16, 1945
As American troops neared Buchenwald the Germans began to try to evacuate parts of the camp. On the morning of April 11th the prisoners stormed the watchtowers and seized control of the camp. In the afternoon soldiers from the US 6th Armored Division arrived at the camp where they found 21,000. While the large death camps in Poland had already been liberated by the Soviets, it was the American troops arrival with the media that suddenly brought home the true dimensions of the holocaust to the American people.


The second atomic bomb and the threats of more bombs convinced the Japanese Emperor that there was no choice but to surrender. He ordered the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War to accept the terms laid out in Potsdam. The Emperor then gave a radio address to the Japanese people that Japan was going to surrender on August 15th. The only condition that the Japanese demanded was that the honor of the Emperor be maintained.

On August 28th Allied troops started to occupy Japan. On September 2nd a surrender ceremony was held on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor.