The BOSTON at the End of WW II

Let's back up just a bit, to properly set the stage...

The Potsdam Conference

Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 7, 1945 (VE, or Victory in Europe Day). A conference of Allied leaders was called in Potsdam. After meeting for sixteen days, Truman, Churchill and Stalin announced the results of the conference: Germany would be disarmed and demilitarized, and Japan was called upon to surrender.

Tokyo rejected the Potsdam Declaration. U.S. planes dropped leaflets over Hiroshima on August 4 that contained the warning, "Your city will be obliterated unless your Government surrenders." The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6. Three days later, August 9, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The next day Japan contacted Washington to surrender.

The Japanese Surrender

News of Japan's surrender was received on the morning of August 10, 1945. This set off impromptu celebrations throughout the Allied countries. However, the news was premature. Final confirmation of the Japanese acceptance did not come until 0500 the next morning, August 11. Then began an extremely tense period. It wasn't until shortly after midnight on August 13th that it was learned that President Truman had dispatched a reply to Tokyo that would permit the Emperor Hirohito to remain, under certain conditions. Shortly after 0700 on August 15 the U.S. forces were ordered to cease offensive action. (We have a copy of that teletype message in the USS BOSTON collection.)

U.S. Ships Enter Tokyo Bay

The entry of the U.S. Navy into Tokyo Bay is a popular and lively topic of discussion among WW II Navy vets. If we listen to all the sea stories, every ship was "first into Tokyo Bay." This is somewhat of a physical impossibility.

Units of the U.S. 3rd Fleet (including the USS BOSTON CA69) and British Pacific Fleet actually entered Sagami Wan on August 27, 1945, west of Miura Hanto. Tokyo Bay is northeast of Miura Hanto. To a Sailor unfamiliar with the area, entering Sagami Wan could be easily mistaken for entering Tokyo Bay. Combine this with the passage of fifty five years and you have the opportunity for some distortion of fact.

The first Allied ships entered Tokyo Bay proper on August 28, 1945. The documented order of entry, with actual time of anchoring, is chronicled on:

It should not escape notice that the VERY FIRST Allied ship to enter Tokyo Bay following the surrender was the USS REVENGE AM110, a U.S. Navy minesweeper.

The first U.S. ship to drop anchor in Tokyo Bay that day (offshore of the Imperial Japanese Naval Base at Yokosuka) was USS SOUTHERLAND DD743, a destroyer. (Following WW II the SOUTHERLAND was designated a target ship, to be expended at an unspecified date. She was sunk in the fall of 1998. The first ship to anchor the American flag in Tokyo Bay at the end of World War II, she was the last to lower her ensign, the last of the ships that entered Tokyo Bay on August 28 to serve her country.)

Where Was The BOSTON?

The Peace Treaty between the Allies and Japan was signed on the main deck of the USS MISSOURI BB63 on September 2, 1945. Although the Navy Historical Center says that the USS BOSTON was present in Tokyo Bay for the signing, there is clear evidence that this was not the case.

The official War Diary of USS BOSTON CA69 for September 2 shows her at Berth #7 in Sagami Wan. The next day's entry shows her departing Berth #7 Sagami Wan and moving to Berth #C-73 in Tokyo Bay, anchoring at 1200 hours on September 3, 1945. The (illegal) diaries of individual BOSTON crew members (that are in the BOSTON memorabilia collection) also corroborate this.

Return to FAQ page.