15 August. Just four hours after Emperor Hirohito’s broadcast ending the war, Japanese Ambassador Yamamoto Kuma’ichi explains and reassures Thai Prime Minister Khuang Aphaiwong about the surrender. He also raises no objections to news that Thailand’s Regent is planning to renounce the Thai–Japanese alliance.
16 August. Upon hearing of the Japanese surrender, forced labourers in North Borneo begin slowly working their way back home to Java. Elsewhere across the vast extent of Japanese-occupied Asia, tens of thousands of people drafted into supporting Japan’s war effort take their futures into their own hands and slip away from their masters. Many more must await repatriation after Allied troops arrive; they are stranded too far away from home. The fate of the many ‘comfort women’ forced into military brothels is also uncertain.
17 August. Chen Kungpo, who had taken over as president of the Reorganized National Government of China in Nanjing after the death of Wang Ching-wei, flees to Japan, thus ending the Japanese puppet government in China. However, Japanese troops continue to maintain order in the city. Over time, officials serving the wartime puppet administration will be arrested and charged for collaboration or treason. Chen himself will be repatriated to China on October 3 and later sentenced to death.
17 August. General Order No. 1, prescribing when, where and to whom Japanese forces may surrender, is approved by President Truman after having been hastily negotiated between the Allies. The formal surrender of Japan to the Americans takes priority, even though elsewhere this will leave a power vacuum until local surrenders can be accepted.
17 August. In a disturbing reminder of events leading up to the mass famine earlier in the year, flood waters breach dikes on the Red River upstream from Hanoi. Within days, 150 breaches are reported around the delta, about one third of Tonkin’s summer rice crop being inundated as a result. Its inability to deal with the situation dispels any remaining credibility that the royal government may have had. The floods also inhibit vehicle movement by both Japanese and Chinese troops, offering a temporary benefit to local insurgents.
18 August. Despite being frustrated in his efforts to recover Hong Kong, Chiang Kai-shek enjoys a victory in his campaign for the return of all lost Chinese territory when French and Chinese representatives in Chungking sign a retrocession agreement for the nearby port of Kouang-Tchéou-Wan.
19 August. Following a Soviet–MPR attack on Kalgan the previous day, the Inner Mongolian independence leader Prince Demchugdongrob and his followers flee the city for Peiping. This signifies the end of his ‘Mongolian Autonomous State’.
16 August. Although the Kwantung Army commander-in-chief orders them to lay down their arms, several Japanese divisions to continue to fight due to poor communications or outright defiance. Next day, Stalin orders his commander to continue the advance despite Japanese requests to organize a surrender. Several pockets of resistance are bypassed as the Soviets race to seize as much territory as possible before a ceasefire. Many Japanese civilians trying to retreat to the south also die, often by suicide (or killed by their parents) to avoid capture by Red Army troops.
18 August. U.S. President Harry S. Truman states that, as the British forces in Hong Kong could help Chinese and American forces to use the port to reoccupy northern China, he supports the British return. This does not halt Nationalist Chinese ambitions to recover the crown colony. Aiming to pre-empt such a move, Chinese Communist guerrillas attack the Japanese garrison in Hong Kong but are repulsed. Meanwhile, the British fleet heading for Hong Kong reaches the Philippines.