8 August 1945. Ending months of Japanese attempts to save the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact and have the Soviets broker a peace deal with the Allies, Soviet foreign minister Molotov informs Japanese ambassador Satō Naotake that the Soviet Union will be at war with Japan from 9 August. It is early evening in Moscow when Satō is told but just before midnight on the border with Manchuria.
were surely sufficient to lead Japan to surrender, were they necessary? The Soviet Union rolled across Manchuria in a matter of days, plundering much of Japan’s armament-producing infrastructure along the way. Here we see Soviet soldiers at the railway station in Harbin, China Stanislav Zharkov collection