Fold3 HQ

August 15, 1945: V-J Day and the End of WWII

The morning of August 15, 1945, dawned with the realization that after a long war resulting in some 60 million deaths worldwide, WWII was finally over and Victory in Japan (V-J Day) had arrived. Hours earlier, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s unconditional surrender, bringing WWII hostilities around the world to an end. President Harry S. Truman declared a two-day holiday and the war-weary world breathed a collective sigh of relief.

It had been three months since Allies celebrated a victory in Europe (V-E Day), on May 8, 1945. That celebration, however, was tempered by the fact that war was still raging in the Pacific. With all attention being turned to Japan, Allied troops continued their assault in the Pacific. On June 21st, the US completed the capture of Okinawa providing a base for troops to launch a final assault on Japan.

In July, leaders from the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States met at the Potsdam Conference where they agreed to insist upon an unconditional Japanese surrender. They warned that without a surrender, Japan would face “prompt and utter destruction.” During the conference, President Truman hinted at the possibility of a weapon that may change the tides of war. Components for that weapon, were in fact, already en route to the Pacific aboard the USS Indianapolis. After delivering atomic bomb components to Tinian, Japanese torpedoes sunk the Indianapolis on July 30th.  Ironically, it wasn’t until V-J Day that word of the Indianapolis sinking reached the public, and on August 15th, the front page of many papers reported on both the Japanese surrender and the Indianapolis tragedy.

Joseph Stalin, Harry S. Truman, and Winston Churchill at the Potsdam Conference

Meanwhile, aviators were rehearsing the atomic bombing mission, making practice flights in preparation. The Potsdam Conference wrapped up on August 2nd.  Within one week, two nuclear weapons would be dropped on Japan resulting in the deaths of some 200,000 people, many of them civilians.

On August 6th, a B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. A second B-29 bomber, Bockscar, dropped another atomic bomb, “Fat Man”, on Nagasaki three days later. The weapons delivered a devastating blow to Japan.

In the early morning hours of August 14th, the Federal Communications Commission was monitoring a Tokyo radio broadcast when they heard that an announcement accepting the terms of the Potsdam Conference was forthcoming. US Navy Admiral William Halsey, Jr., sent word to aircrews that were minutes away from their targets. “Cease firing, but if you see any enemy planes in the air, shoot them down in a friendly fashion,” he said. That evening, August 14, 1945, the news became official when President Truman announced the suspension of hostilities and the unconditional surrender of Japan at 7:00 p.m. Allies announced the surrender in their capitals at the same hour. As the news spread, throngs of people took to the streets, horns blasted, and bells tolled in celebration. An unofficial V-J Day celebration began spontaneously. The United States would officially celebrate V-J Day when the official Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

To learn more about the final months of WWII and V-J Day, search Fold3 today!

72 Comments

  1. It should be noted that because of time differences, It was still Aug 14, 1945 when the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands were notified.

  2. I wish you had said more about the unbelievable ordeal the courageous men on the U.S.S. Indianapolis suffered. They brought the parts of the bomb to Tinian that helped end the horrific war in the Pacific, and on their way back, after being torpedoed by a Japanese sub, spent several days in shark-infested waters. I can’t remember exactly how many of them died and how many of them made it back alive, but I do remember it was a terrible percentage. And it was a nightmarish experience even for those who made it back alive. Many of them recounted remembering the rest of their lives how as they formed a circle in those waters how all of a sudden the man next to them would suddenly disappear under the water, which would then turn red from a shark ripping apart their fellow sailors piece by piece.

    Also, you could have mentioned how the Captain of the Indianapolis was court-martialed for “not taking proper evasive tactics” in waters known to be haunted by Japanese subs, but who—after fighting the court-martial for years—finally cleared his name and got the results of the court-martial rescinded.

    In any mention of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the terrible ordeal those brave seamen went through always deserves at least an honorable mention,

    • We completely agree! We dedicated our blog last month to the Indianapolis tragedy. Here is a link: https://blog.fold3.com/the-75th-anniversary-of-the-sinking-of-the-uss-indianapolis/

    • Roughly 385 men remained out of 800 in the water. The ships contingency consisted of approx.1126 men…Capt.Mc Vey committed suicide from the the cost of losing his ship and men, but also from hate mail that poor man received from relatives of the men lost. Myself being a Navy Vietnam veteran, I have nothing but the deepest respect for the men and Capt. MC Vey..May they all RIP eternally..

    • The USS Indianapolis story is another story that fold 3 has already told in these pages. Perhaps a link to that tragic story would be helpful.
      Although my Dad was never overseas, with a college degree, he was an aviation navigation instructor. There were things he never told us, like – Why was he temporarily at White Sands, New Mexico in 1945? Following the war he taught school in Needles and Essex, California, where Santa Fe Railroad construction and maintenance crews were mainly Navaho Indians, and I remember hushed talk and head nodding about “code talkers” long before that information became declassified. One of the most interesting advanced math classes I had in junior high school, about 1960, was taught by Mr. Arnoldus who was a bomber navigator during WWII. The math involved was very mentally stimulating: vectors, air speed, wind speed, wind direction- all done using a slide rule. Today all those numbers are entered into a computer.

    • Jenny, Thank you for the prompt response!

    • Thank you for this information

    • I totally agree.

  3. Last year my Aunt, one of my Dad’s sisters sent a box of letters that my Dad had sent to her during WWII. It also included a copy of the Saipan military newspaper celebrating the end of the war. My Dad was stationed at Kobler Naval Air Station on Saipan in 1945 and part of 1946 as a fireman on a crash crew.

  4. Interesting reading about the events leading up to the atomic bombings, Countdown 1945, by Chris Wallace.

  5. During the War, my dad served on a destroyer, the USS WALKE, in the Pacific Theater from 1943 to 1946. The ship was hit by several torpedoes, and lost many men during those attacks. My dad thankfully returned home to southwestern Nebraska on February 14, 1946. He spoke about Guam, Okinawa, and Japan, among other places, and was truly saddened by the tragedy of the USS INDIANAPOLIS. As I grew up, I learned so much about WWII, and today am very humbled by the sacrifices made by so many. It truly was the GREATEST GENERATION.

    • During the last several years, I have had the honor of interviewing and filming the stories of many WWII veterans, many of which have now sadly passed away. I learned so much from them and will always honor them deeply. They changed the world and changed my personal life journey forever! I couldn’t agree more! Thank you dear veterans for securing our freedom!

      Regards,
      Lynn Cooper
      Colorado Eighth Air Force Historical Society

  6. Thank you for all of the information on WW2 ,I was ten on VJ Day,living in Burbank,Ca. I remember all the cars and trucks honking as they drove past,the next month we moved back to Dallas,where I was born and grew up.Some things you never forget about war,December 7,1941,October 9,1944,my dad and I was working in the yard,we heard an airplane sputtering,as we looked up we witnessed a B29 falling from the sky,all on board were killed,and the SS Indianapolis,are still in my mind. I had many relatives in the war,all returned home safely.My dad missed the war as he served three and half years In the horse drawn Artillery.The month I joined the U.S Army for three years,served 29 months in Germany,with the Ninth INF,Division,60th FA Battalion.GOD BLESS THE USA AND ITS MILITARY. I was born 8-26-1935 in Dallas,Texas.

    • Thank you Mr. Tyler for your service in the Army. My dad also served in the US Army, stationed in Badkannstatt, Germany from 1958-61. I never met any of my dad’s Army buddies. He was in the Army Corps of Engineers. He was also named Lynn Cooper. Thank you Sir! – Lynn Cooper, Jr.

  7. This morning I have read the accounts of what is remembered about those who served bravely for the freedom we should hold dearly.My Dad at seventeen left high school and joined the Navy.He recounted his sadness ,while going to school in Mt.Vernon New York ,of his friends remains coming home and to join himself and continue the fight.
    He served on the USS Pennsylvania after Pearl Harbor and was stationed in the Pacific on an island.His diary and photos were found in a suitcase he had left home with going to basic training.I found photos from basic training and aboard ship.On a little piece of paper he had written Remember Pearl Harbor! We need to remember their history,share it with family and friends.

  8. My father was a torpedo man on the USD Sturgeon in ww2 they sank a japanise troop
    ship during the battle of Okinawa, It had 5000 troops on it enroute to Okinawa.
    The ships name was Toyama Maru which made a big difference for the battle.

  9. We went to the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio Sunday, and there was Bockscar, the B-29 that dropped the A-bomb on Nagasaki, 75 years ago on that very day, August 9th! Everyone should go see it and the marvelous Museum..

  10. My dad was stationed in Germany in 1945 on VJ Day. He did not get home until the fall of 1946. He came on one of those troop carriers that you see pictures online.

  11. I was reading Thomas W. Taylor’s post, same memories I was 8. The article. On 8 -15-1945 was terrific, enjoyed ..

  12. The actual base or runways were on Ie Shima as they were still fighting when 3 Platoons arrived to start building the base. My father was in the 1902 Platoon. It was used before the war was over.

  13. In Aug 45’ my dad was on Guam with 3rd Marine Div preparing for Operation Olympic— the invasion of Japan. His unit was slated for first wave on beaches at Kagoshima. He was an NCO in a line rifle company.To his dying day he was thankful for atomic bomb decision and subsequent surrender.

  14. My dad was station in New Gunie, he never talked about what he went through. He always said he was sent home because of dinge fever, marlia and jungle root on his feet. He told about the boa swallowing a pig, eating ants, killing the trups mascot that was a goat fixing it for a meal.
    I was wanting more information on his service in WWII. He passes away in 2000 keeping it to himselve whst had happeded.

    • My dad was in Borneo. He was a cook on one of the ships. Contacted maleria
      and had recurrent bouts of it over the years. Like yours, he never talked about
      those years. Died of cancer at 56, so as an adult, was never able to ask more
      questions. But I have two letters–one from released American from a prison camp
      in the Phillipines and one , an Aussie soldier that was one his ship for a time. Both
      wrote letters to my mother attesting to how kind my dad was to them.

    • My dad also served in New Guinea. Also got malaria which plagued him for years. He spoke of chickens eating bodies that washed ashore, and never ate chicken. I have an album including many pix of men in New Guinea. Wish I could find these people and share the photos. By googling I found one guy and his family was happy to have the pix of him.

    • See my email [email protected]

      My dad also served in New Guinea. Also got malaria which plagued him for years. He spoke of chickens eating bodies that washed ashore, and never ate chicken. I have an album including many pix of men in New Guinea. Wish I could find these people and share the photos. By googling I found one guy and his family was happy to have the pix of him.

    • I enlisted in 1944 and still on basic training on 8/15. Spent year in Amy of occupation sailing with 7000 on 12/31/45 aboard Gen George Washington. Big beer party on 8/15/45. Most of barracks from Texas so our empty bottles spelled Texas in squad area. Those who went ahead of me were great. Melvin Maltz

  15. Very interesting to hear of American action in WW2, I believe my birth father was in 70th Tank on Utah Beach but don’t know where he went after. He never knew me.

  16. I wouldn’t be here today if the atomic bombs had not been dropped. My father was a Japanese POW, and shortly before the bombs were dropped the emperor of Japan had issued the order that all POWs were to be executed. Thanks to the bombs and subsequent Japanese surrender the order was never carried out.

  17. My father was in the South Pacific and never said a word about what happened or what he witnessed. He was 17 when he joined the Navy. One time my sister found his Navy uniform. She put it on. She was about 14 and it fit her. My dad was so upset he took it out and burned it. I don’t know why. Whatever he saw must have been too much for him. I grew up in a disfunctional home. I now look back and think he had undiagnosed PTSD. How could he not? just finished the book Unbroken.

  18. 75yrs ago this week my uncle walked out past the one lone guard at the gate of Fukuoka camp #17 in Japan. He made his way to the village and got on a train to the coast. He had been a POW for nearly the entire US involvement of the war having been captured in the fall of Manila, Jan 22,1942. He lived to be 88yrs old. RIP Uncle Bill

    Don

    • If you don’t mind my asking what branch of service did your uncle serve in before he was captured? I’ve been researching Merchant Marines who were killed in WW2 and many of them were on ships that were torpedoed and the survivors were taken to both German and Japanese POW camps. This is the project I work with.
      Stories Behind Stars project (see http://www.storiesbehindthestars.org).
      This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories? Related to this, there will be a smart phone app that will allow people to visit any war memorial or cemetery, scan the fallen’s name and read his/her story.

  19. Former-Cpl. Carl R. Withey . . . Excellent article on the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the critical role the ship and crew played to end WWII. How courageous these men were including the Captain. I suppose by now all those brave heroes have passed . . . may they all rest in peace!

  20. Chwalebne że USA wzięły udział w wojnie 1939-1945 pokłosie tej wojny to podzielona Korea i podzielona Europa .Ojciec mój uzyskał obywatelstwo USA w 1944 r. , o czym dowiedziałem dopiero w 2019 r., w wyniku tego podzielania w 1945 r. nie mogłem z Mamą wyjechać do USA. Mimo poszukiwań przez Międzynarodowy Czerwony Krzyż , jak również Amerykański i Polski nie udało się mnie nawiązać kontaktu z Ojcem. Instytucje te nie mogły odszukać mojego Ojca na terenie USA. Brał udział w Spisie Powszechnym USA w 1940 r. , wstąpił do USA Army , pływał na statkach USA w czasie wojny.Mam pecha
    nawet teraz nie mogę odszukać daty śmierci mojego Ojca i miejsca jego pochówku. Mam 83 lata i co raz
    bardziej utwierdzam się w przekonaniu że nie dowiem się tego.

    • translate: Search Results
      Translation Result
      Polish – detected
      English

      Glorious that the USA took part in the 1939-1945 war, the aftermath of this war is a divided Korea and a divided Europe. My father obtained US citizenship in 1944, which I found out only in 2019, as a result of this sharing in 1945 I was unable to I’m going to go to the USA. Despite searches by the International Red Cross, as well as the American and Polish, I was unable to establish contact with my father. These institutions could not find my Father in the USA. He participated in the 1940 US Census, joined the US Army, and sailed on US ships during the war.
      even now I cannot find the date of my Father’s death and the place of his burial. I am 83 years old and every time
      I am more convinced that I will not find out.

    • Hello Lech,
      Maybe we can help. My wife speaks and writes Polish. We have done research for US WWII veterans, so if you want to write to me, maybe we can assist you with your search for your father. All our best in your search.

      Regards,
      Lynn & Bozena
      [email protected]

  21. My Uncle was in the Army in Europe when the war there ended. He was told his unit would be sailing through the Suez Canal on the way to the invasion of Okinawa. He was told just before they were gearing up to leave that the atomic bombs had been dropped and the war in Japan was over. He would always shed a tear when he told the story because he knew he wouldn’t die in the war and could finally come home after 3 years in the war.

  22. The men and women who served in any capacity during WW2 were truly part of the greatest generation. We should all be thankful for what they did for us and stop trying to divide this great nation over our petty differences. Respect the flag and our country every day of your life.

    • Well said, Scott!!! If that generation had acted the way our society is acting now, we would not be Americans today.

    • Mój wujek Adam (siostrzeniec,mojego dziadka) zginął w wyniku ostrzału artylerii na 2 miesiące przed końcem wojny .Był żołnierzem amerykańskiej armii.Urodził się w Chicago.Żołnierze ,którzy zginęli na terenie Niemiec mają pomnik pamięci w Czechach.Ciało sprowadzono do USA w 1948 roku.Mój dziadek (brat matki Adama)był w K L Stutthof a drugi brat w KL Dachau.Wujek Adam miał 6 sióstr i 3 braci wszyscy urodzili się w USA w Chicago.Ich wnuki już nie interesują się historią rodziny.Szkoda bo historia jest bogata.Ja mieszkam w Polsce.Serdecznie pozdrawiam.

    • EDWARD’S Translation: Accessibility Links
      Polish – detected
      English

      My uncle Adam (my grandfather’s nephew) was killed by artillery 2 months before the end of the war. He was a soldier in the US Army. He was born in Chicago. Soldiers who died in Germany have a memorial in the Czech Republic. The body was brought to the USA in 1948 My grandfather (Adam’s mother’s brother) was in KL Stutthof and the other brother in KL Dachau. Uncle Adam had 6 sisters and 3 brothers, they were all born in the USA in Chicago. Their grandchildren are not interested in family history anymore. It’s a pity because history is rich I live in Poland. Best regards.

  23. My dad was in the Air Force and loaded bombs. He told about the planes making practice runs before the drop of the atomic bombs. The practice bombs were painted orange with a small charge in them. The orange was to be able to see and track them before they exploded. The Japanese dropped leaflets sarcastically thanking them for the scrap metal since they exploded before hitting the ground and did no damage. Like many in high security areas his and many families would go for months not knowing where he was.

  24. My dad was a submariner and had left Pearl Harbor shortly before it was bombed. He was on Coreigador when MacArthur left for Australia and helped burn American currency in the caves there. Was listed as MIA which he never talked about, but eventually was found serving on a different submarine.

  25. My father served in WWII. He was drafted in 1944, 1 month before I was born. He could have chosen to not accept the draft because of this as well as he was the oldest son on a farm, but chose to serve his country so that his brothers hopefully did not have too. He got a three day pass to come home to see me soon after my birth. He received heavy artillery training as well as operating track vehicles. He shipped out when I was 6 mos. old. He did a lot of repair on equipment in the field as well as driving ammunition track trucks or tanks in the Pacific in the mountains. One story he told was that when driving a loaded ammunition trucks in the mountains that he would ride the running board with his foot on the gas pedal so that if he heard something go off that he could jump before his truck was hit. He came home to us in late Feb. 1946 because of Dad being sick. My father died March 2011 just short of his 93rd birthday. I have pictures of him in Okinawa. He didn’t talk much about service time as it brought back to many memories.

  26. I am very thankful for my grand aunt (WAC) and uncles who served in WWII coming here from Germany in 1920. I wish I knew what they did but their records can not be found as St Louis said they were destroyed in a fire. I am very proud of my German family.

  27. While the world’s leaders squandered the peace, We must remember the the people who sacrificed a good part of their lives (even if not the lives themselves) during the war.

    My father and his unit was by this time on the way to the Philippines to stage for the invasion of Japan. They ended up in the occupation of Japan, landing in Japan on November 5th, 1945. I think his overall impression was on of sadness over what he saw. He had been slightly wounded in while in the ETO.

  28. My late father and father-in-law both served in the Pacific Theatre in WW-II. They both survived while many fine men and women did not. May they Rest In Peace!

  29. There are tens of thousands of American troops who didn’t die in Japan and returned home to live long and productive lives, thanks to the use of the atomic bombs. To all who did die in the war effort, and to those who fought and lived, and those who supported them, a grateful nation salutes you and thanks you. You are collectively, for sure, our greatest generation.

  30. My dad served in the Pacific Theatre in WW11. Rarely spoke of any of it but my brother remembers him saying how they would use their machetes to spear sharks in the tidepools because they were so hungry for meat. My brother has a Japanese rifle with a chrysathemum on it; my dad got it when he traded a Philipinne Scout for bag of salt in exchange for the rifle.

    After much research, I learned my dad was part of Construction Unit 211 (Coast Guard) which was responsible for building Loran Stations (navigational towers) throughout the Pacific. He was a motor machinist on a LCM. Did most of his later movements on the Menkar. He was headed to Japan as well, fortunately arriving after the bombing. My Uncle was shot while in the Philippines, I think on Mindano. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

    The more research I have done, the more amazed and humbled I am at this Greatest Generation. Self sacrificing, humble, and honorable, they sacrificed so very much for all we enjoy. Nothing less than honor and respect for them, the flag and our great country.

    • I would love to find out more about my dad durning the war. I know my dad Leslie H. Briggs was in company B, 3053rd engineers. He received a Purple Heart for injuries in Paestum Italy 1943. He never talked much about the war. He said he was in seven major battles. Where do I look for more information?? Battles in order?

    • My dad was POW in Singapore and Burma Railway
      He rarely spoke about it but he said a few little bits
      All the men somebodies child, husband,dad uncle, brother were the heroes,actually digging their own graves,to satisfy these barbaric whatevers,I can not say Humans,or People,
      One thing they did not take away from thousands was their spirits,they never gave up and lived to tell the tale,or should I say a little part of the tale, the bravest forgotten Army,
      No celebrations up and down the Country like we had foe V E day,no bunting available,no balloons ,no extra day off work,nothing,
      To all people out there who had a loved one all I can say is continue to be very proud.
      In memory of all but for my dad Henry Allan Norman,our little hero,Northumberland Fusilier

  31. My uncle was one of the men who refitted the Enola Gay to hold the bomb. He kept a picture of him sticking his head out the window in his living room. He died in 2016 at age 96 with a clear sharp mind. He was proud of his service.

  32. My Father was a B-17 (Family Jewels) pilot during WW-II. I remember some of stories he told to me as I was growing up. He passed away in 1966. I wish he had stayed with us longer to share more of his life during WW-II. I Joined the USAF and flew O-2 (Huff & Puff) as FAC in Vietnam. Several times while in the Air I would think of my dad and the stories he told of the Lady in the sky the B-17 Flying Fortress. What it must have looked like to see hundreds of B-17’s gracefully crossing the sky. He talked of the damage she could take and the damage she did take and still managed to bring her crews back home safe. There is not, nor will there ever be, another bird like her. Thanks to the families of every person, and the people that fought for our freedom In each war each and every one are hero’s in my book.

  33. The stories of WWII are all the horrors of war and the men who served managed to live fairly normal lives but scarred. I am grateful my children did not have to serve in a war because of the horrors of the Atomic bomb and the many thousands sacrificed to feed that machine.
    My father started talking about his service when he was in his 70s. He served on the the USS Enterprise as a radioman and a secret operation most did not know about. He trained in Texas to become a radio jammer and flew with the bombers on board the Enterprise at night. He was almost killed when a Kamikazi nearly destroyed the ship. He spent VJ Day in Norfolk with the ship in dry dock.
    He then served in the Korean War on an LST and was on one of the last transporters saving some “poor frozen marines” from Chosin Ridge. We sat and read the letters he sent to my mother from that war and pieced together what happened at that harbor that day. He was called back to serve in Korea because he needed money to support his family and had signed up for the reserves thinking WWII was the war to end all wars. War is hell is the only description he has of his service but proud he helped keep America safe.
    Wars bring out the worst in humanity and the soldiers who serve are the fodder.

  34. My Dad joined the USMC in March, 1945 two weeks after his 17th birthday. He did not arrive in theater until after VJ Day. He spent 2 years finding and disposing of equipment because it was more expensive to send it back to the US. He was shot at plenty of times by Japanese who refused to acknowledge the surrender. He too was called back into service in Korea. He was at the battle of Chosin reservoir. He was assigned to drive a tank, something he had never done before. He had a bullet enter his helmet, bounce around, remove a mole and leave. He pulled rifles out of the frozen arms of Chinese soldiers who could not release their weapons. During one of his tours in Vietnam his convoy was attacked and he was hit in the back by mortar fire. His fellow Marines thought he was dead, however, a medic collecting dog tags realized he was alive. He was unconscious for 3 days. He retired in 1973. He is 92.

  35. It was August 15 in Japan, NOT in the United States. It was actually August 14 in the United States. I know this because I was born on August 14, 1945 and my middle name, initials only, is VJ. I really wish people would learn how time works and stop saying VJ Day is August 15. Pretty sure the Japanese don’t celebrate VJ Day. But then again, neither does the United States.

  36. In August 1945, my Dad was on a ship that was sailing from England to the Pacific for the coming invasion of Japan. Fortunately the atomic bombing of Japan thwarted that invasion and saved countless lives of both Allied troops and Japanese as well.

  37. My dad was a POW of the Japanese for 42 months along with many other Americans, British and Australians. Can you imagine the abuse ? Thank heaven the bomb was dropped . None of those prisoner’s would be alive nor any of their families today. They were called The Lost Battalion of WW 11

    • He was fortunate that he was not in a POW camp positioned next to attractive targets as the Japanese sometimes did. The US protested that practice. The US inadvertently torpedoed what turned out to be a POW ship. We tried to ensure there were no POW camps at Hiroshima and Nagasaki but I read that some Australian POWs were killed at one of the cities. I am the son of a WWII submariner in the Pacific.

  38. My father was a division artillery liaison officer, (a Major),at the time of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He had already been informed that he would be given command of a Field Artillery Battalion for the coming invasion of Japan, and did not believe that he would survive it. He was greatly relieved by the news of the bombing.

    While my father was a life-long Republican, he always had a soft spot in his heart for Harry Truman.

    I am saddened to read of revisionist historians who complain that Truman had a choice as to the use of fission weapons in Japan. If the Allied invasion had taken place, many hundreds of thousands of American, British, and AnZac soldiers would have been killed, along with millions of Japanese soldiers and civilians. I’m not saying that one life should have precedence over another, but the outcome of the War in the Pacific would have been far costlier in terms of human life than it was.

    • Hindsight is 20-20, but conventional saturation bombing of Japan had largely destroyed Japan’s military capability by July 1945. Hundreds of B-29s were dropping thousands of tons of bombs on every conceivable infrastructure and military target. The use of the atomic weapons might’ve been avoided if an earlier understanding had been reached about preserving their Emperor’s throne after the Potsdam Conference’s “unconditional surrender or utter destruction” declaration.

    • Hi James, your comment attracted one reply, from Lloyd J……so I thought I’d add another, as he sounds like one of those all too common these days, Liberal Elites/Arm Chair historians who have probably never experienced anything/war in real life a lot of them. My father was RN during WW2 serving on LST303 which was involved in the Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Normandy Landings, he thankfully survived, but like all his generation who were involved/survived, didn’t talk about it much after. I completely agree with what you’ve said in your comment, dropping the atomic bombs ended the war practically immediately after the bombs were dropped. It saved the lives of many allied service personnel had they’d had to invade Japan/Islands etc irrespective of the destruction already inflicted by carpet bombing, similar to some German cities by the USAF/RAF. I was on a ship involved in the Falklands War 1982 in San Carlos being attacked/bombed, so I only experienced a few months of what our fathers experienced over years in WW2…….and was glad I was there….for the same reasons, protecting the Sovereignty of the Islanders, self determination etc against aggression. You mentioned revisionists…..I call them something else !!!

  39. The “code talker’s” weren’t all Navajo, there were 31 Native American Nations involved. My son tried to tell his history teacher this and the teacher gave him a C. I think the teacher needs to go back to school. The Choctaw Indians were the headlines in WWI.

  40. I am awed by all the stories on this blog! Although I have no direct family that participated overseas during WWII, I am eternally thankful to all who served our nation during those years. I recently transcribed an old address book of my mother/aunt, who raised me from age three. It was found 2 months ago. She (my aunt) and her husband (my uncle) worked for the US Government near Washington DC in the late 1930’s. There are several names that are obviously military connections. I was a late baby of her deceased sister so I have no first hand knowledge of that war (b.1958), but I was raised with enough understanding of the horrors and sacrifices of the times. My grandfather Harnsberger did fight in WWI, and returned. Several of our 3rd and 4th generation Harnsbergers fought during the American Revolution and several other wars on our home land. God Bless the men and women who have protected our country over the centuries.

  41. Thank you , thank you, thank you to the entire UNITED STATES MILITARY of WWII and the supporting men, women workers who went to work in the factories and ship yards around this country to keep our fighting forces supplied with what they needed to fight our enemies during that war. An entire generation of Heroes with the unity, grit and determination to keep our land and Freedom itself alive and well. As a Vietnam Era Veteran I salute the entire WWII generation of Americans for believing in our way of life. May those who have departed this world already continue to RIP and May GOD continue to bless those who may still be among us. If you know one of them please honor them with a heart felt appreciation. To the families of those who gone from us I salute you also and offer a heart felt thank you for their service and sacrifices. May GOD continue to bless the USA!

  42. My Dad was in the Royal Marines and he also fought in the Pacific. He was in Lord Mountbatten’s personal bodyguard when he took the signing of the surrender of the Japanese in Singapore. We have a very treasured photo of him during this occasion.

  43. There are several books about the USS Indianapolis and all are available on Amazon. They start with the actual sinking and ordeal of the survivors to the clearing of the Captain’s name b y a Boy Scout.

  44. My dad was scheduled to be sent to Japan and on my mom’s birthday (8/15) found out he would be going to Germany instead.
    His brother was a civilian in the Navy and his group invented the atomic bomb but had to keep quiet about it so Manhattan Project would get the credit.
    Of my mom’s brothers, one was a communications sergeant at Battle of the Bulge, one served under Gen. Patton, and one was a medic who was part of D-Day. Fortunately all three came back alive.

  45. Thank you for reminding us of that great day when Japan surrendered. No one knows how many lives were spared when this happened. Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan, was scheduled for Nov 1,, 1945. Japan planned to mobilize every man, woman and child, some armed with sharpened sticks, to defend the homeland.
    I’ve called 6 of my WW II friends today to remind them of that day 75 years ago and to thank them for being members of The Greatest Generation.

  46. FYI, the last survivor of the USS Indianapolis just died in January 2020. I live close to Indianapolis, so through the years the local news stations have always reported about that vessel.

  47. My Dad retired from Air Force . He was a Pearl Harbor survivor and also served in Korea. He never spoke of the horrors of Pearl Harbor until after I was grown and very few facts then. At his funeral, our son spoke and it was only then I learned so much as he had shared some things with our son. We visited Pearl Harbor 4 years ago and to this day, will never forget the feelings I had while standing on the Arizona. The WWII heroes were truly the Greatest Generation. Thankful for all of our veterans .

  48. As village historian ( Wappingers Falls, New York ), I have a brief biography of one of our favorite
    natives, ” Jimmy Ciafello “. He was stationed out in the desert during this war and was not allowed
    mail either to or from. Turns out, he worked on the Manhattan Project in a very special and important
    way. His family never found out much of his army history until long after his return home. I received
    this information when I asked his niece for some information on him.

    Jimmy was almost everyone’s favorite barber in the village and he lived until approximately 93.
    He lived on West Street off of West Main Street. There is a special named plate on the corner of this
    street in is honor. Jimmy walked to Mass at St. Mary’s Church until his death. He never missed Mass.
    God Bless you Jimmy ! He was one of the many heroes we were blessed to have supporting the war effort from Wappingers Falls New York.