75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War

On 15 August, Australia will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, when Victory in the Pacific was declared.

9 July 2020

About a dozen servicemen and several civilian women all crowded onto a car, smiling and celebrating Victory in the Pacific Day in Martin Place, Sydney on 15 August 1945.

Service men join crowds celebrating VP Day in Martin Place, Sydney, 15 August 1945. (SLV AN012982)

All Australians will be encouraged to remember the service of the more than one million men and women who served during the Second World War, abroad and at home. They fought in campaigns against Germany and Italy, in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, as well as against Japan in south-east Asia and the Pacific.

As a nation we will stand together to remember the sacrifice of the some 39,000 men and women who died protecting our country during the War in all theatres and campaigns.

The Australian mainland came under direct attack for the first time with hundreds killed — in air raids on Darwin, Broome and across Northern Australia; midget submarine attacks on Sydney Harbour and the sinking, without warning, of the hospital ship Centaur off Brisbane on 14 May 1943, with the loss of 260 lives. The fear of an all-out attack on Australia by Japanese forces was very real and the challenges great. Australia mobilised as a nation to counter the threat in our own backyard, and almost 8,000 Australians lost their lives in the Papua and New Guinea campaigns, right on our doorstep.

Australian women played an extraordinary role during the Second World War, from nurses going overseas with the Australian Imperial Force in 1940, to those who worked in industry and agriculture on the home front.

On 15 August 2020, we mark 75 years since the Second World War was officially declared over by then Prime Minister Ben Chifley, with Japan accepting the Allied Nations’ terms of surrender.

On what we now know as Victory in the Pacific Day, or VP Day, we remember and commemorate our efforts in the Pacific including in Papua New Guinea, Malaya, Bougainville and New Britain.

This will be a very important commemoration as Australia pauses and recognises an extraordinary generation of Australians who defended Australia during the Second World War. Marking this significant date, DVA has commissioned a special radio series 75 days, 75 stories sharing one story a day from a veteran, widow or someone on the home front in the days leading up to 15 August. Episodes have been made available to Australian radio networks but the episodes can also be accessed on the DVA website.