September 2nd in History

Japan surrenders

September 2 is the 245th day of the year (246th in leap years). There are 120 days remaining until the end of the year. (Photograph: Douglas MacArthur signs the Instrument of Surrender of Japan aboard USS Missouri, September 2, 1945.)

Today in History

  • In the Battle of Actium, Octavian defeats Cleopatra and Mark Antony in the culmination of the final war of the Roman Republic (31 BCE)
  • The Great Fire of London breaks out. Over the next three days it destroys 10,000 buildings, including St. Paul’s Cathedral (1666 CE)
  • Great Britain adopts the Gregorian calendar, nearly 200 years after it was adopted by most of western Europe (1752 CE)
  • The Carrington Event, a massive geomagnetic solar storm, brings down telegraph systems throughout Europe and North America and causes aurorae so bright they could be seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii (1859 CE)
  • The Boy Scouts of America award the first Eagle Scout rank (1912 CE)
  • World War II: The Instrument of Surrender of Japan is signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, ending the conflict in the Pacific (1945 CE)
  • NASA cancels the proposed Apollo missions 15 and 19; the mission name Apollo 15 is reassigned (1970 CE)


  • Lili’uokalani, last Hawaiian monarch (1838)
  • Albert Spalding, sporting goods manufacturer (1850)
  • Cleveland Amory, critic (1917)
  • Allen Drury, author (1918)
  • Marge Champion, dancer (1919)
  • Daniel arap Moi, Kenyan president (1924)
  • Hugo Montenegro, composer (1925)
  • Andrew Grove, Intel executive (1936)
  • Billy Preston, singer-songwriter (1946)
  • Walt Simonson, comic book artist (1946)
  • Terry Bradshaw, football player (1948)
  • Christa McAuliffe, schoolteacher and astronaut (1948)
  • Jim DeMint, politician (1951)
  • Mark Harmon, actor (1951)
  • Jimmy Connors, tennis player (1952)
  • Keanu Reeves, actor (1964)
  • Salma Hayek, actress (1966)


  • Henri Rousseau, painter (1910)
  • Austin Dobson, poet (1921)
  • Pierre de Coubertin, founded the International Olympic Committee (1937)
  • Jonathan Wainwright, US general and Medal of Honor recipient (1953)
  • Alvin C. York, Medal of Honor recipient (1964)
  • Hồ Chí Min, North Vietnamese leader (1969)
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, philologist and fantasy author (1973)
  • Curt Siodmak, science fiction writer (2000)
  • Christiaan Barnard, performed the first successful human-to-human heart transplant (2001)
  • Troy Donahue, actor (2001)
  • Bob Denver, actor (2005)
  • Bill Melendez, animator, director of the Peanuts specials (008)
  • Frederik Pohl, science fiction writer and editor (2013)

Holidays and Celebrations

  • Democracy Day (Tibet)
  • Independence Day (Transnistria)
  • Independence Day (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic)
  • National Day (Vietnam)
  • Sedantag (German Empire)
  • V-J (Victory over Japan) Day (United States, one of several dates celebrated)

Informal and made-up holidays include National Beheading Day and National Blueberry Popsicle Day.

(*O.S., or Old Style, when used, refers to the fact that Russia did not convert from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar until 1918.)