18 August. Subhas Chandra Bose, leader of the Indian National Army, dies in a Taiwanese plane crash en route from Malaya to the Japanese home islands. The news staggers the Malayan Indian community from which he has just departed. Wreaths quickly adorn the INA war memorial in Singapore whose foundation stone Bose had laid only weeks earlier. One of the first actions of the British on their return to Singapore is, on 6 September, to demolish the memorial.
20 August. Representatives from the military and the newly formed civilian ‘Japanese Association’ select a site for an internment camp where Japanese civilians in Syonan can await repatriation. Japanese propaganda papers announce publically that Japan has surrendered, printing the imperial rescript on surrender in its entirety. Similar internment camps were constructed throughout Asia.
30 August. Two days after an advance party of U.S. Army airborne forces secures Atsugi aerodrome near Tokyo, General MacArthur arrives by plane. Meanwhile U.S. marines come ashore in Tokyo Bay in full combat gear and clearly prepared for Japanese treachery. The next day MacArthur assumes command of the Japanese government in Tokyo. This is the first time in its history that Japan is occupied by a foreign power.
25 August. Mountbatten’s chief of staff, General ‘Boy’ Browning, advises his commander to urgently renegotiate the troop integration issue with Aung San and other PBF commanders. Few soldiers of the Patriotic Burmese Forces are currently being selected for the Burmese Army, most being discharged. SACSEA in Kandy is alarmed that PBF/resistance troops might go underground as many soldiers have not surrendered their weapons.
2 September. In parallel with Ho Chi Minh’s independence declaration in Hanoi, a massive demonstration is staged in Saigon. Local reconciliation is hard ly promoted when ICP and Vanguard Youth leaders exclude Trotskyists and the Hoa Hao Buddhist group from any lead role in the event. The vast demonstration (as many as one million people, it is later claimed) is mostly peaceful but, after shots are fired at the crowd, some violence breaks out against French residents and those perceived to be their associates and collaborators. A French version of events reaches Rangoon, souring British attitudes towards the Viet Minh in advance of Gracey’s departure for Saigon.
7 September. Following a two-day conference at SEAC headquarters, the future shape of the Burma Army is reached. Participants include Mountbatten, Aung San, PBF commanders, high-ranking British military officers, returning Governor Dorman-Smith, civil representatives of the AFPFL, and colonial officials. The Kandy Agreement determines that 5,200 troops and 200 officers of the PBF will be accepted as the core of the regular Burma Army, which will be gradually transformed into a professional, Burmese army. The British also give official ‘war credit’ to Burmese resistance fighters.
19 August. A Japanese delegation arrives in Manila for a meeting with General Douglas MacArthur and U.S. officials to finalize surrender details. While travelling to and from the airport, the Japanese have to be protected from angry Filipinos threatening to attack them. At the same time, the Philippine Army begins demobilizing. Its units are no longer needed to invade Japan.
27 August. Concerned about the power vacuum and growing disorder across Southeast Asia, Lord Mountbatten first protests against the restrictions imposed on SEAC by General Order No. 1 then evades them. He instructs Field Marshal Terauchi to send a delegation to Rangoon, where a preliminary surrender agreement is signed. Next day, Mountbatten names General Douglas Gracey as commander of the Allied forces (including French troops) to be despatched to Saigon.