Russia Attacks Japanese Manchuria. August 1945

Russia Attacks Japanese Manchuria. August 1945

Japanese soldiers surrender to the Russians in 1945

Lesser known about WW2 is that the Russians too attacked the Japanese. On August 9, 1945.  Two days after the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It was called Operation "August Storm".
Soviet soldiers raise flag over Harbin railway station in northern China which was wrested from the Japanese
The Soviet invasion of Manchuria began on 8 August 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet states of Manchukuo and neighbouring Mengjiang; the greater offensive would eventually include northern Korea, southern Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands. It marked the initial and only military action of the Soviet Union against the Empire of Japan; at the Yalta Conference, it had agreed to Allied pleas to terminate the neutrality pact with Japan and enter the Second World War's Pacific theatre within three months after the end of the war in Europe.

The Soviet Union had earlier in 1939 defeated the Japanese Army decisively at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol under the command of Zhukov. That was the reason that Japan did not attack Russia in 1941 and instead moved south into Asia. Otherwise Russia would have been squeezed between the Nazi Germans from the west and Japanese Army from the east. But that is another story.....

Note handed to Naotake Sato, Japanese Ambassador to the USSR, by Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov in Moscow, on August 8, 1945:
After the defeat and capitulation of Hitlerite Germany, Japan remained the only great power which still stands for the continuation of the war.

The demand of the three powers , the United States, Great Britain and China, of July 26 for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces was rejected by Japan. Thus the proposal made by the Japanese Government to the Soviet Union for mediation in the Far East has lost all foundation.

Taking into account the refusal of Japan to capitulate, the Allies approached the Soviet Government with a proposal to join the war against Japanese aggression and thus shorten the duration of the war, reduce the number of casualties and contribute toward the most speedy restoration of peace.

True to its obligation as an Ally, the Soviet Government has accepted the proposal of the Allies, and has joined in the declaration of the Allied powers of July 26.

The Soviet Government considers that this policy is the only means able to bring peace nearer, to free the people from further sacrifice and suffering and to give the Japanese people the opportunity of avoiding the danger of destruction suffered by Germany after her refusal to accept unconditional surrender.

In view of the above, the Soviet Government declares that from tomorrow, that is from August 9, the Soviet Union will consider herself in a state of war against Japan.

A Japanese soldier surrenders to the Russians in 1945

The Americans had feared that there would be a bloodbath if it sent its troops to invade the Japanese mainland; so they tried to convince Stalin that Russia too should attack Japan. At the Potsdam Conference he readily agreed. Stalin had ambitions in the Far east too. He agreed to do so three months after Germany was defeated. For Russia it was a sweet victory after the Red Army rolled into Manchuria, Port Arthur and Sakhalin Islands in 1945. It had lost Port Arthur after a humiliating defeat at the hands of Japan in 1904-5
Japanese soldiers surrender to the Red Army in Manchuria

Many Japanese had moved to Manchuria in early 1945 to avoid the advancing Allied troops. They believed Manchuria would be safer than mainland Japan. How wrong they were!
A Russian soldier stands guard over Japanese POWs

The Japanese army though about a million strong in Manchuria consisted of newly drafted soldiers; the elite were sent to defend the mainland. It was also short of arms and warplanes. In contrast the Russians threw in their best soldiers battle-hardened in the war against Germany. The Soviet war machine was slick and efficient sharpened in the Ostfront.

Soviet officers interrogate Japanese generals

When the Soviet Army attacked Manchuria, a disgusted Japanese officer remarked, "It's like burglars entering an empty house."
Russian soldiers meet American soldiers in Seoul in 1945

The Red Army men true to their tradition raped even in Manchuria. Especially men from Rokossovsky's Army. A Chinese man said disgustedly, "We thought the Russians were our allies and friends."

Many Japanese women in Manchuria were raped during and after World War II. Japanese women in Manchuria found life difficult after Soviet troops entered Manchuria near the end of the war. Many of those women were used as "dolls" -- sexual objects. There are many accounts of several Japanese women who were raped or almost raped. In one account, a young girl threw herself out a three-story window to avoid being raped by Soviet troops. Another account demonstrated how not only Soviet troops but also Chinese civilians tried to rape Japanese women. A Chinese man came to a woman's house and asked her to give him her two daughters because his daughters were raped by Japanese soldiers. The woman offered herself instead, but the man changed his mind. Japanese men offered some Japanese women as female Kamikaze troops to Soviet troops to protect their community and other Japanese women and children. Once women were raped, they were no longer part of their community and were often rejected by their husbands.
Red Army soldiers watch a Japanese lighthouse which they burnt at Cape Kokutan, Shumshu Islands, in Kuril Islands

The last battle of WW2 was fought at Hutou, where the Japanese soldiers in their concrete bunkers fought on unaware that their country had surrendered. Hutou was subdued by the Red Army only on August 26, 1945
Russian sailors with captured Japanese flags
The Japanese Kwantung Army surrenders to the Russians. 1945. Changchun.

Red Army soldiers patrol a street in a Chinese town

Soviet soldiers sit on the throne of the Last Chinese Emperor, Puyi. September 1945
The Russians send the puppet Chinese emperor Puyi to the USSR. 
At the end of World War II, Puyi was captured by the Soviet Red Army on 16 August 1945 while he was in an airplane fleeing to Japan. The Soviets took him to the Siberian town of Chita. He lived in a sanatorium, but was later taken to Khabarovsk near the Chinese border.

Russian soldiers pose against a destroyed Japanese tank on Shumshu Islands (in the Kuril Islands)