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Monday, August 06, 2018
This Day in History: Truman Announces Hiroshima Bombing
By Selected News Articles @ 12:01 AM :: 37705 Views :: Hawaii History, Military

August 6 and 9 have been made into International Days of Anti-American historical revisionism.  So here is a look at reality as seen from first-hand sources instead of whining activists:

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President Truman’s radio announcement of the bombing of Hiroshima:

Announcer: Good evening from the White House in Washington. Ladies and gentlemen the President of the United States.

Harry S. Truman: My fellow Americans, the British, Chinese and United States governments have given the Japanese people adequate warning of what is in store for them. The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base*. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and unfortunately thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately and save themselves.

*Hiroshima was the base of the Second General HQ of the Imperial Japanese Army  About 15% of the city’s population consisted of military personnel. >>> LINK

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Emperor Hirohito announces surrender August 15, 1945 >>> LINK

The Japanese laid down their arms on August 15, 1945, nine days after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and six days after one was dropped on Nagasaki. At noon on August 15, 1945, in the his first ever public speech, Emperor Hirohito formally announced his country surrender with typical Japanese indirectness during a live radio broadcast from Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan hall. In the speech said that:

"the war situation had developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of world have all turned against her interests. Moreover, the enemy had begun to deploy a new and cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives."

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White House Press Release Announcing the Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945
THE WHITE HOUSE
Washington, D.C.

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British "Grand Slam" which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.

The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production and even more powerful forms are in development.

It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.

Before 1939, it was the accepted belief of scientists that it was theoretically possible to release atomic energy. But no one knew any practical method of doing it. By 1942, however, we knew that the Germans were working feverishly to find a way to add atomic energy to the other engines of war with which they hoped to enslave the world. But they failed. We may be grateful to Providence that the Germans got the V-1's and V-2's late and in limited quantities and even more grateful that they did not get the atomic bomb at all.

The battle of the laboratories held fateful risks for us as well as the battles of the air, land, and sea, and we have now won the battle of the laboratories as we have won the other battles.

Beginning in 1940, before Pearl Harbor, scientific knowledge useful in was pooled between the United States and Great Britain, and many priceless helps to our victories have come from that arrangement. Under that general policy the research on the atomic bomb was begun. With American and British scientists working together we entered the race of discovery against the Germans.

The United States had available the large number of scientists of distinction in the many needed areas of knowledge. It had the tremendous industrial and financial resources necessary for the project and they could be devoted to it without undue impairment of other vital war work. In the United States the laboratory work and the production plants, on which a substantial start had already been made, would be out of reach of enemy bombing, while at that time Britain was exposed to constant air attack and was still threatened with the possibility of invasion. For these reasons Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt agreed that it was wise to carry on the project here. We now have two great plants and many lesser works devoted to the production of atomic power. Employment during peak construction numbered 125,000 and over 65,000 individuals are even now engaged in operating the plants. Many have worked there for two and a half years. Few know what they have been producing. They see great quantities of material going in and they see nothing coming out of these plants, for the physical size of the explosive charge is exceedingly small. We have spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history -- and won.

But the greatest marvel is not the size of the enterprise, its secrecy, nor its cost, but the achievement of scientific brains in putting together infinitely complex pieces of knowledge held by many men in different fields of science into a workable plan. And hardly less marvelous has been the capacity of industry to design and of labor to operate, the machines and methods to do things never done before so that the brainchild of many minds came forth in physical shape and performed as it was supposed to do. Both science and industry worked under the direction of the United States Army, which achieved a unique success in managing so diverse a problem in the advancement of knowledge in an amazingly short time. It is doubtful if such another combination could be got together in the world. What has been done is the greatest achievement of organized science in history. It was done under pressure and without failure.

We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war.

It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such number that and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.

The Secretary of War, who has kept in personal touch with all phases of the project, will immediately make public a statement giving further details.

His statement will give facts concerning the sites at Oak Ridge near Knoxville, Tennessee, and at Richland, near Pasco, Washington, and an installation near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although the workers at the sites have been making materials to be used producing the greatest destructive force in history they have not themselves been in danger beyond that of many other occupations, for the utmost care has been taken of their safety.

The fact that we can release atomic energy ushers in a new era in man's understanding of nature's forces. Atomic energy may in the future supplement the power that now comes from coal, oil, and falling water, but at present it cannot be produced on a bases to compete with them commercially. Before that comes there must be a long period of intensive research. It has never been the habit of the scientists of this country or the policy of this government to withhold from the world scientific knowledge. Normally, therefore, everything about the work with atomic energy would be made public.

But under the present circumstances it is not intended to divulge the technical processes of production or all the military applications. Pending further examination of possible methods of protecting us and the rest of the world from the danger of sudden destruction.

I shall recommend that the Congress of the United States consider promptly the establishment of an appropriate commission to control the production and use of atomic power within the United States. I shall give further consideration and make further recommendations to the Congress as to how atomic power can become a powerful and forceful influence towards the maintenance of world peace.

Source: Harry S. Truman Library, "Army press notes," box 4, Papers of Eben A. Ayers. LINK >>> SOURCE

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The Information War in the Pacific, 1945

Paths to Peace

Excerpted from article by Josette H. Williams  LINK >>> TO ORIGINAL

Advertising the Destruction of Hiroshima

At 2:45 a.m. on 6 August, the Allies’ B-29 “Enola Gay” left the island of Tinian near Saipan. Its primary target was Hiroshima, where the 2nd Japanese Army stood poised to defend against an expected Allied invasion of their homeland. At 8:15 a.m., the “Enola Gay” destroyed Hiroshima with a single atomic bomb.

Back on Saipan, the OWI presses were turning out leaflets that revealed the special nature of Hiroshima’s destruction and predicted similar fates for more Japanese cities in the absence of immediate acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam agreement. By 9 August, more than 5 million leaflets about the atom bomb had been released over major Japanese cities. The OWI radio station beamed a similar message to Japan every 15 minutes.

Graphic4frontt.jpg
Front side of OWI notice #2106, dubbed the “LeMay bombing leaflet,” which was delivered to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and 33 other Japanese cities on 1 August 1945.

The Japanese text on the reverse side of the leaflet carried the following warning: “Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.” (See Richard S. R. Hubert, “The OWI Saipan Operation,” Official Report to US Information Service, Washington, DC 1946.)

Indecision in Tokyo

Japanese officials dispatched scientists and military personnel to Hiroshima to assess damages from the atomic bomb, but they remained paralyzed by disagreement over whether to surrender. The Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, composed of four military and two civilian members, was deadlocked, unable to present the Cabinet and the Emperor with its customary unanimous decision. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Umezo Yoshijir, Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Toyoda Soemu, and War Minister Gen. Anami Korechika maintained that any surrender agreement had to guarantee the Emperor’s continued power as sovereign ruler, prevent occupation of major cities such as Tokyo, and place responsibility for disarmament and dealing with war criminals in Japan’s own hands. The trio opposing them (Premier Suzuki Kantar, Foreign Minister Tg Shigenori, and Navy Minister Adm. Yonai Mitsumasa) viewed the Potsdam agreement as an ultimatum. In their view, the only negotiable ambiguity was the official position of the Emperor—the Potsdam agreement had applied the term “unconditional surrender” exclusively to the enemy’s armed forces.

The Supreme War Direction Council met from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on 9 August. The Japanese Cabinet—which included four members of the Supreme Council—was convened from 2:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. that night. Neither meeting proved decisive. The heated argumentation throughout these meetings must surely have reflected the grim realities around them. Not only Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but all of Japan’s major cities had been destroyed, with the exception of the historic temple area of Kyoto. Japan’s Air Defense General Headquarters reported that out of 206 cities, 44 had been almost completely wiped out, while 37 others, including Tokyo, had lost over 30 percent of their built-up areas.12 Almost 2 million military personnel and civilians had been killed. Another 8 million were wounded or homeless. The destruction was so complete, historian Edwin Reischauer reminds us, that Japan, experiencing total military and industrial defeat for the first time in its history, took over 10 years to regain its pre-war productive capacity.13

The spreading awareness of the destructive power released at Hiroshima and Nagasaki increased the urgent atmosphere at these meetings in Tokyo. Nonetheless, it took an unprecedented action by the Emperor, and the extraordinary effort of OWI to publicize his action, to break the Japanese military-civilian deadlock.

Half an hour after the 9 August Cabinet meeting ended, Premier Suzuki Kantaro and Foreign Minister Tg Shigenori called members of the Cabinet and the Supreme Council, and Baron Kiichiro Hiranuma, President of Japan’s Privy Council, into an Imperial Conference. For several hours in a hot, airless bomb shelter, the Emperor listened to the opposing arguments. His political role usually consisted of passively endorsing Cabinet decisions. But at 2:00 a.m. on the morning of 10 August, in a deeply moving speech, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito called upon the power of his moral and spiritual leadership and directed that Japan should accept the terms of the Potsdam agreement.

There are indications that the Emperor had long wished for an end to the war for practical and emotional reasons. Ascending to the throne in 1926 at the age of 25, Hirohito was an intelligent man, a distinguished marine biologist, and a rather quiet, shy individual. He remained in Tokyo throughout the war, witnessing personally the destruction that he knew to be indicative of what was happening to the rest of his country. According to various historians, he found the arguments of the militarists to be self-seeking and born of false pride.14 No doubt pressure from the civilian members of his Cabinet and other government officials strengthened his resolve to end the devastation.

So it was that on 10 August, at 3:00 a.m., the Cabinet and the Supreme Council complied and voted in reluctant unanimity to accept the Potsdam offer, but with the stipulation that the Emperor remain the sovereign ruler of the country. By 7:00 a.m., the Foreign Minister had dispatched an announcement of the decision to the United States and China through Japan's Minister Shunichi Kase in Switzerland, and to Great Britain and the USSR through Minister Suemasa Okamoto in Sweden. Japanese officials tensely awaited the Allies’ response.

Turmoil in Washington

Washington hotly debated Japan’s request for modification of the Potsdam accord. Historian Robert Butow details the opposing arguments: one side was convinced that acceding to Japan’s proviso would inspire prolonged fighting; the other side held that assuring the Emperor’s continued status as head of state would strengthen post-war reformation.15

In the end, Secretary of State Byrnes prevailed and prepared the Allied nations’ reply, stipulating that the Emperor could remain as a sovereign ruler, but that “from the moment of surrender, the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers.” With the concurrence of the United Kingdom, China, Australia and, ultimately, the USSR, the reply was forwarded to Japan through Switzerland.16

Getting the Word Out

OWI now played its most dramatic role.

Technically, Japan had not yet surrendered. The war was not yet over. President Truman had ordered the continuation of Allied bombing runs over Japanese military installations. The people of Japan knew nothing of their government’s plan to surrender. Radio Tokyo still exhorted all Japanese to prepare defenses against an enemy invasion.

In a race to save the lives of soldiers still fighting, the Allies’ acceptance of Japan’s modification of the Potsdam surrender terms was radioed to OWI in Honolulu and Saipan at the same time that it was forwarded to Switzerland. The US War Department sent an urgent dispatch ordering OWI to inform the Japanese people directly, by leaflet and radio, that their government had offered to surrender and that the Allies had accepted the offer. The order, which originated from the White House, threw OWI personnel into high gear. The text for the message was prepared in Washington and dictated by telephone to Honolulu, where it was transcribed, translated into Japanese, lettered, and transmitted to Saipan by “radiophoto” within two hours.

Photo5.jpg
Japanese prisoners helped turn out leaflets and newspapers on OWI's presses on Saipan.

The 17 members of the OWI staff on Saipan were challenged to a previously unmatched degree. By mid-night on 11 August, less than 48 hours after Japan’s message was received in Washington, three-quarters of a million leaflets giving notification of the surrender offer had been printed on OWI’s three Webendorfer highspeed presses running continually. By the next afternoon, production of OWI leaflet #2117 totaled well over 5 million copies.

OWI did not have to work alone in this important effort. Saipan’s naval base designated two 15-member Navy crews to pack the leaflets into bomb casings for delivery. All bombing of Japan ceased while the Air Force loaded the leaflets onto the B-29s of its 73rd Wing. Even Japanese prisoners of war on Saipan volunteered. Realizing that the Japanese military regime was on a suicidal course, some prisoners helped run the presses for the leaflets in order to give accurate information to the Japanese people. Eventually, they even offered to write copy, under OWI supervision, for Allied newsprint distributions to Japan.

Photo6t.jpg
Loading OWI leaflets for transport to the US air field on Saipan, 1945.

On 12 August, aircraft runs departed Saipan at 1:30, 4:30, 7:30 and 11:30 p.m., delivering to the people of Japan the news of their government’s surrender offer. The 4” x 5” leaflets rained down by the millions, telling the Japanese people:

These American planes are not dropping bombs on you today. American planes are dropping these leaflets instead because the Japanese Government has offered to surrender, and every Japanese has a right to know the terms of that offer and the reply made to it by the United States Government on behalf of itself, the British, the Chinese, and the Russians. Your government now has a chance to end the war immediately. You will see how the war can be ended by reading the two following official statements.

Two paragraphs then gave the Japanese surrender offer verbatim and the Byrnes response indicating the Allies’ willingness to accept that offer. OWI repeated the same message continuously over station KSAI.

The significance of this information barrage cannot be overstated. For the first time the Japanese people became aware that their government was trying to surrender. And it was the first that Japanese officials knew of the Allies’ acceptance of their surrender offer, because the OWI notification preceded, by about 72 hours, the receipt of the official diplomatic reply sent through Switzerland.

The Emperor’s Next Steps

Copies of the leaflet that fell on the palace grounds were immediately taken to the Emperor by Marquis Kichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. The Emperor realized that Japanese civilians now knew of the surrender attempt and, more significantly, so did ordinary Japanese soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

Fearing a military coup to ensure continuation of the war, the Emperor decided to take additional action to bring the conflict to an end. On 13 August, when the Cabinet was called into immediate session, members Anami Korechika, Umezo Yoshijir, and Toyoda Soemu unexpectedly dissented anew, saying that an item in the original Potsdam proposal stipulating that postwar Japan would ultimately be governed by the will of the people was against Japanese tradition and therefore compliance was impossible. This reversal precipitated another Imperial Conference at which the Emperor stopped all argument by forcefully declaring that Japan would accept the Potsdam conditions as modified in the 11 August message from US Secretary of State Byrnes on behalf of the Allied nations.

In an action without precedent, the Emperor decided to issue an Imperial Rescript announcing the capitulation, to be delivered both to the Allies through diplomatic channels and to his subjects in his own voice via radio broadcast. The enormity of this decision must be understood in context: the Emperor was considered a deity—no one was allowed to look upon him from above, few citizens had seen him at all, and the Japanese people had never before heard his voice. Hirohito well understood the powerful effect his broadcast would have.

On 14 August, the Emperor made two recordings of the Rescript for broadcast the next day. Aware that such a powerful communication would doom efforts to continue the war, the military sent soldiers from a Tokyo garrison to attack the Imperial Palace at night, imprison the Emperor, and seize the recordings. They failed to turn up the recordings, however, which had been secured at the radio station. Later that night, War Minister Anami Korechika, having failed to promote his views and control his soldiers, committed suicide, the first of many such actions in the days that followed.

The Surrender Announcement

At noon on 15 August, a stunned population listened to Emperor Hirohito’s high, shaking, unfamiliar voice announcing the final surrender of the Japanese nation.

The world was jubilant. In New York, Times Square erupted in a sea of celebrating humanity. In Naples, a USO Andrews Sisters show was completely disrupted as the war-weary soldiers, about to embark from Europe for the Pacific, heard the announcement and realized that their trip would be cancelled. In a prison camp near Tokyo, an American, expecting yet another beating, was handed a paper cup of sake wine and his smiling captor informed him that the war was over.

On Saipan, OWI staff members had little time to savor the moment. They were already hard at work producing leaflets of instruction for the surrendering Japanese on the homeland islands and subsequently in Manchuria, China, New Guinea, and the Philippines.

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