9 August 1945. Aiming to convince the Japanese leadership that the bombing of Hiroshima was not a once-only event, the Americans drop a second atomic bomb on a Japanese city. With poor visibility preventing the bombing of Kokura, the mission is diverted to Nagasaki where at least 20,000 people (and maybe triple that number) are killed that day.
9 August 1945. The double shock of the Soviet invasion and bombing of Nagasaki causes Prime Minister Suzuki Kantarō and some ministers to urge an immediate end to the war; others remain steadfast. At this stage none will openly suggest accepting the unconditional surrender demanded by the Allies. As meetings continue into the night, the Emperor is asked to decide on surrender or continued resistance. Reluctantly, he chooses surrender.
9 August 1945. A seven-man group tries to seize power in Phnom Penh. Its members are young nationalists with Japanese links but no clear guidance from anywhere. By next day, the coup has failed without any bloodshed and its participants are soon arrested (and released shortly afterwards). Although probably not the instigator, the nationalist, pro-Japanese foreign minister, Son Ngoc Thanh, emerges as a beneficiary, his power enhanced. Probably at about this time, King Sihanouk turns against him.
9 August 1945. As rumours mount of a Japanese surrender, Sukarno, Mohammad Hatta and Dr Radjiman Wediodiningrat fly to Saigon and on to Dalat in the Vietnamese highlands. Here, Field Marshal Terauchi Hisaichi, commander of Japanese forces in Southeast Asia, personally assures them that independence will be granted on 24 August. Sukarno is appointed chairman of the PPKI, whose first meeting is planned for the 18th.
9 August 1945. One minute after midnight, about 1.5 million Soviet troops launch operation August Storm, a giant pincer attack from Mongolia and eastern Siberia on Japan’s badly under-strength Kwantung Army, which is in the middle of a redeployment. The western prong includes Mongolian units even though the Mongolian People’s Republic has not declared war. Its attack out of the Gobi desert into Inner Mongolia and across the supposedly impassable Khingan range into central Manchuria is completely unexpected.