History

Canadian War Museum hosts virtual exhibit to mark Second World War Victory over Japan Day

Above image: Soldiers of the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers arrive in Hong Kong, 16 November 1941. George Metcalf Archival Collection Canadian War Museum 19920085-1104_53

To mark the Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day), the Canadian War Museum has launched an online exhibition exploring its legacy.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. While the 75th anniversary Victory Europe Day was marked on May 8, the war did not end until August 15, 1945, in Japan. However, due to timezones, the announcement was made on August 14 in Canada, the Americas, and Eastern Pacific Islands. 

“The Battle of Hong Kong was a particularly difficult loss, resulting in tremendous hardship for Canadians who became prisoners of war. The war also, however, led to a tragic miscarriage of justice for Japanese Canadians here at home,” said Caroline Dromaguet.

On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered to the allies, which in effect, ended the Second World War.

“Canada’s contributions to the war against Japan are often overshadowed by Canadian participation in the Allied campaigns against Germany and Italy,” says Caroline Dromaguet, acting director-general of the Canadian War Museum.

Canada at War Against Japan, 1941–1945, exhibits is one of several initiatives developed by the Canadian War Museum to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Canadian and British prisoners of war awaiting liberation by landing party from HMCS. Prince Robert. Photo: Jack Hawes / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-114811

The online exhibition will look at the war with Japan and its impact on Canadians, both overseas and on the home front.

Through 15 key images, six maps, informative text, and first-hand accounts, online visitors can learn about the Battle of Hong Kong, the harrowing experiences of Canadians in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, and their rescue at the end of the conflict. 

The exhibition also reflects on racism towards Japanese Canadians, resulting in their forced relocation and loss of homes, businesses, and property. It ends with a look at the legacy of the war against Japan in a dramatically changed post-war world.

The exhibition also explores the service of Chinese Canadians in Asia, and the campaigns in the Aleutian Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.

Disembarkation of Force C from HMCS Prince Robert. Photo: Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-114820

“The Battle of Hong Kong was a particularly difficult loss, resulting in tremendous hardship for Canadians who became prisoners of war. The war also, however, led to a tragic miscarriage of justice for Japanese Canadians here at home,” said Dromaguet.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. The work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

The exhibition is available here.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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