Saturday, August 11, 1945

The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 11, 1945


Site Ed. Note: The front page and inside page report that the Allies, through a communication sent by Secretary of State James Byrnes, had agreed to accept Japan's surrender on the proposed terms of acceptance of the Potsdam ultimatum plus the Japanese counter-demand for retention of the Emperor, provided the Emperor would take orders from an Allied military commander, to be an American, and that the Japanese people would eventually determine their own government. The terms did not promise indefinite continuation of the throne, but left it to the Japanese people to determine—whether they wished to advance into the Twentieth Century or retain a silly, anachronistic, medieval, feudalistic pretension of earthly divinity, which no one save a naive schoolboy or girl under the mental age of 12 would dare believe lest they leave the room red-faced and properly labeled a dunce.

The American military commander, it said, had not been selected. A short piece reports Washington speculation to be that the command would go to either General MacArthur or General Marshall. The nod would be, not surprisingly, to General MacArthur. General Marshall would eventually be placed in charge of rebuilding Europe.

The Emperor, under the terms, would order the surrender of all Japanese military forces. At surrender, the Japanese Government would forthwith turn over all prisoners of war and civilian internees to safe havens as directed, and enable them quickly to be placed on Allied transports.

The Japanese, pursuant to the original ultimatum of July 26, would lose all possessions seized or occupied since the advent of World War I. Manchuria would be returned to China, Korea would become, in time, an independent state. French Indo-China would be returned to France. Malaya would go back to the British; the Dutch East Indies, to the British and Dutch.

Senator Tom Connally of Texas stated that he did not know how a sharply divided Congress on the issue of retention of Hirohito would receive that news.

The ball was now in the Japanese court. The communication of the terms would likely be made known to the Japanese, through Switzerland, by nightfall this date, and so it was doubtful that a reply would be received before Sunday night or Monday.

Fat Man was described by Brig. General Thomas Farrell, head of the atomic bomb project for the Pacific, as putting Little Boy in an obsolete class of bomb in just three days, between Monday and Thursday—or wasn't it really Sunday and Wednesday?

The General stated that Fat Man was bigger, more potent, and easier to produce.

Fat Man had wiped out 30 percent of Nagasaki when it exploded. Little Boy had reportedly wiped out 69 percent of Hiroshima, a larger city. So, we do not quite follow. But that's okay. We were not there. Perhaps, in those times, larger was smaller and smaller was larger.

In any event, at least thirteen Nagasaki factories were vaporized by the Big Bomb. The reconnaissance experts at the headquarters of General Carl Spaatz indicated that a smaller area of Nagasaki was destroyed than that of Hiroshima. A principal difference was the presence of a large crater in the wake of Fat Man whereas none had been found at Hiroshima. The Japanese had stated that both bombs were dropped by parachute but that Little Boy had exploded in the air above Hiroshima.

Major Thomas Ferebee of Mocksville, N.C., the bombardier on the Enola Gay, is quoted on the inside page as saying that he had been aware of his intended mission since the previous fall and that it was imperative that he not fail. "Right on the target, I let the atomic bomb go, and to say I was very relieved when it was gone is putting it mildly."

For those unfamiliar with Mocksville, incidentally, it was once the home of both Hinton Helper and the parents of Daniel Boone, and Daniel, himself, from the age of 16 to 25. The two homesteads were neighboring, though each family's residence there was some 80 years removed from one another.

Captain Kermit Beahan of Houston, the bombardier on Bockscar, stated that the trip had been pretty rough for foul weather, causing the crew to have to abandon the primary target, Kokura, and head for Nagasaki, which, itself, was shrouded in clouds. They managed to find a small aperture over the town enabling sighting of the target just in the last few seconds before he let the bomb go.

With Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet still positioned off the coast of Japan, Admiral Nimitz stated from his headquarters in Guam that he would await word from Washington before withdrawing ships and planes from action in the Pacific war. He indicated that the war would continue until he received orders to the contrary. He had issued orders to all commands to be vigilant of Japanese retaliatory actions even in the event of general surrender.

The Navy announced the loss in enemy action off Okinawa of the submarine Bonefish and the destroyer Callaghan, but gave no details.

In Manchuria, the two converging Russian columns from east and west were within 550 miles of one another. "An endless avalanche of combat material is streaming along the roads," according to a Russian correspondent writing from "Camel Heights", a captured Japanese barracks.

War Mobilizer John W. Snyder indicated that there would be a 1.2 billion dollar cut in spending on Navy construction with the war in the Pacific appearing about to end. Construction was halted on 95 ships, including one battleship, two carriers, and ten heavy cruisers. Laid off workers were urged immediately to register with the United States Employment Service.

Fordham University recorded three earthquakes, thought to be epicentered in Central America.

On another inside page, in a continued story from the second front page, which we have not, the OPA announced that meatless days lay ahead as the slaughter had stopped.

First, no more Germans; now, no more Japs.

Potatoes anyone?

The dog clinics would end in a week.

The Reds were not slackening up: the Textile Workers Union of America was aiming at the South for the post-war period. Just like a spider's web, they weave their little traps for you.

On the editorial page, "A Last Stand" comments on there being only seven states remaining with poll taxes, Tennessee, which had sought to outlaw the practice but had been found to have run afoul of the State Constitution in so doing, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi.

Georgia, under the leadership of Governor Ellis Arnall, had just voted to approve the new State Constitution, which the Legislature had put forward earlier with the poll tax eliminated.

The other states followed such complex procedures for amendment of their constitutions that it would be difficult to eliminate the poll tax. Referenda were required and only those who had paid the tax could vote in the special elections.

North Carolina had abandoned the practice in 1920 and Florida and Louisiana had followed during the Depression.

The U.S. House had approved three times the invalidation of the tax in Federal elections, but Senate filibusters had prevented the bills from becoming law.

As indicated, it would not finally be eliminated without Constitutional amendment, passed in 1962 and ratified in 1964.

"Years of Blood" observes that the peace finally might be hours or days away. With the news of the day, the realization had caused momentary forgetfulness of the lives already lost in the war, as people turned to the thought of the lives to be saved.

Already had been forgotten Vice Admiral Mitscher's warning of a few days earlier, that the Japanese warlords were prepared to fight for a hundred years if necessary, until America tired of warfare.

It was well to remember that it had been 35 years since Japan took Korea without a whimper from the West, nearly two decades since Hirohito had taken the throne, 14 years since the Japanese had first moved into Manchuria, eight years since the Sino-Japanese war had begun, 1,344 days since Pearl Harbor.

It recaps the events of the war since Pearl Harbor and the long and bloody struggle from being an ill-prepared nation for war, ill-equipped for the purpose, and the need therefore to devote industry entirely to the exigencies posed by the Axis, until the nation became the leading producer and the leader in the entire struggle, the sine qua non for victory of the Allies, not as much in the actual fighting in Europe as with Lend-Lease. But still, as far as the Western Campaign and the relief to the Eastern Front brought by the North African invasion in November, 1942, the invasion of Sicily in July, 1943, and the invasion of Italy that September, were concerned, clearly the United States was primarily the reason finally for victory and certainly shortening of the struggle. America could claim full credit, without question, for the victory in the Pacific, even if with substantial help from natives, Filipinos, islanders, the Australians, Indians, and British, and, at the end, the Russians in Manchuria aiding the long struggle by the Chinese who were hampered throughout the war by lack of supplies, not lack of fighting resolve, the vast distances for supply being problematic.

"In retrospect," it concludes, "the record doesn't unfold as it did while we were living it. Now it has telescoped toward the end, and '42 and '43 are not so long as we knew them to be. We will have to remember those years if we don't want to see these Jap militarists again."

"When Do We Eat?" comments on an article by new Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson in the August issue of American, in which he had laid forth the status of America's food supply. The bulk of it was staying in the country, only six or seven percent going abroad and about 17 percent to the military. On top of that, 32 percent more food was being produced than during the period 1935-39.

The answer to who was getting this food was simple: the average worker who had struggled during the hard economic years of the thirties to keep food on the table now had excess income from a lucrative war industry job to buy what was needed for the family and then some. Whereas 70 percent of the country had suffered in those lean years from an inadequate diet, it was no longer the case.

Now, the prospects for beef were excellent, as the military had cut back orders from 60 percent to 30 percent for the top-grade beef. Chicken would be less plentiful, as the black market was presently getting a large portion of it. Eggs were still a luxury. Pork and lard would likely not recover from controlled prices which had undermined production until sometime in 1946.

Sugar had to be kept to a single spoonful because the Cuban crop was short and the Philippines could not recover its production capacity for a couple of more years.

Butter was going to the Allies and whole milk was being turned into powdered and condensed milk rather than butter.

Notwithstanding the limitations on diet, calories could be had to 3,200 per day when only 3,000 were required by active men and boys. It counsels that, if variety was a must, boiling calories could be accomplished, starting with parsley.

Sage, Rosemary, then Thyme, were probably next, in order.

A little oil and vinegar and mayo on the side, mahi-mahi, and there you are, a Hero sandwich.

"Boiling" could be "holding", but it's about the same.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record has Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico inquiring of Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut why he thought strikes and lock-outs were inescapable. Senator McMahon responded that a certain type of strike and lock-out was inescapable because a free society could not expect Utopia.

Senator Hatch rejoindered that the rule of law was expected to be followed nevertheless, to which Senator McMahon stated that the bill which Senator Hatch had authored had not sought justice. The Senator suggested that high levels of production had to be maintained which meant low costs for the manufacturer. Full employment at decent wages would obviate the need for many of the strikes in the country.

Drew Pearson discusses the development of the atomic bomb and that FDR was the preeminent force behind it. When he had determined in 1942 to put two billion dollars into the Manhattan Project and commit a half million workers to it, it was a major drain on the budget and manpower for the war and so had to bear fruit or be labeled a terrific waste when finally it would come to light of day.

"Had the project failed, Roosevelt would have been the goat." The plants in Tennessee and Washington State would have been scoffed at as his greatest white elephants. It could have cost the Democrats power for a decade.

One of those in power who had pushed FDR the hardest to commit to this project might have been President at this juncture had the Southern Democrats not insisted the previous summer on a change of the second spot on the ticket, that is Henry Wallace. He understood atomic theory and had spurred General Marshall and the war agency heads to quicker action on its development.

Mr. Pearson notes that Mr. Wallace's experimentation in a new type of corn had enabled production of 400 million more bushels for the coming year to feed hungry populations.

Mr. Wallace was secretly also working on a new specie of mushroom, but that was OSS.

Perhaps, concludes Mr. Pearson, the "starry-eyed dreamers", of whom, in the opinions of conservatives, Mr. Wallace was primus inter pares, and the "crack-pot professors" whom FDR had brought to Washington, had produced a good show after all.

He next explains that President Truman's office in the Federal Building in Kansas City, which he had utilized throughout his ten-year Senate career, had no air conditioning and could not be afforded one. But at least now it had a telephone for the first time. Previously, the President as Senator had been too frugal to have one installed.

Next, he reports of the Congressional frustration with the Army and Navy in not cutting back on personnel adequately since the end of the European war, and instead insisting on keeping soldiers and sailors employed in busy work. Both branches had plans only for a ten percent reduction during the ensuing year, only 1.3 million of the 8.3 million men in uniform on V-E Day, while continuing to draft at the rate of 100,000 per month, meaning a net reduction of only 100,000 men within the coming year. That was so even though such a large army could not be transported across the Pacific, even though the atomic bomb had been dropped, even though Russia was now invading Manchuria, and the Pacific war appeared grinding to an abrupt end.

Even some Democrats were privately admitting that perhaps Governor Thomas Dewey's campaign charge that the Army was keeping men in uniform to avoid high post-war unemployment had some merit.

Finally, he tells of a secret commitment made by FDR at Yalta which had now leaked, that America would maintain a half million men in Germany for four to five years. That explained in part the Army's reluctance to cut back in personnel. The Selective Service Act would expire on May 15, 1946. The war powers act, allowing the President broad executive power to use necessary means to fight the war, including the coordination of production and implementation of price and wage controls at home, would expire six months after hostilities ceased. So, without new Congressional approval, such a longstanding army in Germany would not be legal.

President Truman had arranged at Potsdam for the withdrawal of most American Army troops in Italy. Furthermore, the American occupation zone in Germany was small enough that 100,000 men could perform the necessary duties.

Most observers who knew the President believed he would be in favor of cutbacks in personnel and a National Guard-ROTC program rather than peacetime conscription.

Marquis Childs addresses the continuing issue of whether the Senate would vote for itself a pay raise and a pension plan. The Senate, long considered a rich man's club, was no longer that. One unnamed Senator was quoted as saying that Social Security was provided for everyone except Congressmen.

An advantage to the system would be that it could afford inducement to retirement at age 65 or 70, as under the Constitution, there could be no mandatory retirement age for members of Congress.

Senator Hiram Johnson who had died Monday, would have been 79 in a few weeks and had been so ill of late that he had only attended sessions occasionally. Since he had been in public service for 30 years in Congress, financially, he could not afford to retire.

Senator Carter Glass of Virginia had been absent from the Senate floor, except on occasional votes, for the previous two years.

When President Truman had been running for Vice-President the previous summer and fall, it had been brought out that Bess Truman was on the Government payroll as his secretary. He had responded that she was a good secretary and that her salary was necessary to make ends meet in expensive Washington.

Members of Congress received $10,000 annually.

The only way at the time for a member to obtain a small pension was to retire from Congress and then take a civil service position, in which case the member's time in Congress was computed for purposes of Government employment time.

Dorothy Thompson, in a piece titled "The Atomic Bomb Tomorrow", begins by quoting Winston Churchill's thanks that British and American science had outpaced German efforts to obtain the secret of cracking the atom and harnessing its massive energy product as a weapon.

She corrects the former Prime Minister, however, in his assertion of American and British cooperation, stating that the effort had been among international scientists. She cites Dr. Lise Meitner who had been forced from Germany by Hitler's anti-Semitic policies. Dr. Meitner had been an associate of Professor Otto Hahn, and had, from reading a German report in a scientific journal, provided a key to understanding the mechanism by which atomic energy could be released.

Professor Niels Bohr was from Denmark. Enrico Fermi was from Italy.

All of these scientists had come from Europe to escape the Fascist tide.

She does not mention Edward Teller, lesser known at the time, who had come from Hungary in 1926, or Leo Szilard, also from Hungary, who, along with Professor Fermi, had drafted the original letter, still unknown to the public, of August 2, 1939, submitted by Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt urging creation of what became the Manhattan Project to compete with German efforts in the field of producing a uranium-based bomb. Both were Jewish emigrants from their Fascist-oppressed homeland, and, in the case of Szilard, from Germany, where he had gone to begin his work in physics.

Ms. Thompson finds it ironic that Hitler's oppressive policies had led to this array of international scientists coming ultimately to America to perform the work to build the world's first atomic bomb.

"But whether God's mercy will be associated with its invention, the future will have to record. It is difficult to justify in the name of God the first use to which it was put. The atomic bomb gave us such power that we might have been able to refrain from its use."

She posits that Japanese Premier Suzuki and the Swedish and Swiss ambassadors to Tokyo could have been invited to witness the demonstration which had taken place in New Mexico July 16, and the Americans then seen to it that their report reached the Japanese people.

"That would have started the bomb on the right career—as a liberator, not destroyer of humanity. If the Japanese surrender now, they would have surrendered from the demonstration in the desert and peace would have started by an act of peace and the salvation of thousands of children's lives."

She suggests that the bomb was the first invention developed specifically for war and not peaceful appliance. She wonders whether it would continue as the instrument of destruction or serve as the liberator from the causes of war. Nature, she continues, is a neutral force, with no apparent particular preference for man or even for planet Earth.

The discovery of the energy source responsible for the sun's perpetual heat had overshadowed the entire war, she posits. The story of Prometheus came to her mind, stealing fire from Heaven, punished by Zeus by perpetually being chained to a rock and having daily his liver eaten by eagles. The Tower of Babel also came to her. It had begun as a bridge to the heavens and God, but fell out of confusion of various tongues. Both myths were of divine punishment for man's overzealous attempts to harness Nature's power and become one with the gods.

She further postulates that all methods of warfare had overnight become passe, that this weapon plus jet propulsion rendered obsolete all former thinking about warfare, that no state, however aggressive it might be, would attack one in possession of an atomic bomb.

Man could not go to war against the Sun.

"The concept of dividing the world into two or three great power spheres, each with strategical thises and thats, is childish. The concept of Balance of Power becomes a fairy-tale."

Switzerland, she concludes, if it had an atomic bomb, would suddenly be more powerful than the Soviet Union without it.

While prescient through most of this editorial, Ms. Thompson's thinking on the demonstration, before which, presumably, the editors had inserted the sub-heading "Dorothy Dreams", was not well conceived. For, this bomb depended for its delivery device on a single B-29 and a small complement of B-29's in support. It was known that the Japanese had held back much of its force of death-determined kamikaze pilots for the last defense of the homeland.

Had it become known that this new weapon could be used—and its effects on the desert landscape of New Mexico hardly showed how it would devastate human beings and a populated area and so might well have been ignored as much as the ultimatum of July 26 was ignored by the Japanese leadership—there would have been in place obviously much tighter Japanese scrutiny of the skies. As it was, the flight of Monday was thought to be little more than another small bombing mission or reconnaissance mission. So no effort was made to stop it.

Of course, one could counter the argument that the mission could have been compromised with the fact that the second mission was not intercepted. Nevertheless, the risk was simply thought to be too great, the psychological impact of surprise, together with the Russian invasion of Manchuria, too enormous at one fell swoop, to risk by forewarning, either weakening or causing the failure entirely of the effort.

Moreover, as a means of warning to the world itself not to undertake ever again such a vast war as had Germany and Japan, it was necessary to do more than a demonstration in the New Mexico desert. Inevitably, otherwise, itchy fingers of some other nation might have subsequently decided that it was worth trying out on someone, perhaps on the United States.

As sad as the realization is, it was simply a paradox which the Japanese brought fully and completely upon themselves by placing their human trust, to enable convenient suspension of their individual consciences, in an Emperor and his Empress.

Nazi Germany, of course, was precisely the same, only with far less time to indoctrinate the people than had the feudal culture which dominated pre-war Japan for centuries. Both societies, however, were culminations, with modern weaponry infused to the deadly mix, of ancient myths believed by an ignorant peasantry, who, when shown that Heaven might be theirs for the price of killing those who they were brainwashed to believe were their economic oppressors, all to blind them to the reality in front of their faces and serve as projection devices for their collective frustrations, such that they would be afraid to look beyond the ends of their noses, acted in accordance with their Pavlovian-induced motivations, however contrary to ordinary human affect for fellow human beings that was.

That the mirror can be turned to a degree on the Allies as being subject to the same complex says nothing but that all involved in the war were human beings. But the singular question which separates the twain is thus blinked: who started the war?

One would have to be as dumb as an ox not to understand that basic concept. But some are nevertheless that dumb, and so we take the time to try to improve upon the eternally stupid among us.

A letter writer, S. A. Reed of Southern Pines, who seems familiar enough with readers to expect them to remember his daughter, Audrey, though, candidly, we know not the name, comes rapidly to the defense of his best-loved philosopher and economist, Henry George, who he finds in the Charlotte Observer to have been labeled as a British Socialist in the context of an editorial titled "The Labor Victory Paradox", about which he and Audrey had shared a common laugh.

Mr. George, he explains, was no Socialist and was born in Philadelphia, spent most of his life as a newspaperman in California and had authored numerous books, among them A Perplexed Philosopher, Progress and Poverty, and The Science of Political Economy. He had run for mayor of New York around the turn of the century and was founder of the single-tax movement which had gained favor in Australia and New Zealand.

Mr. Reed suggests that David Lloyd-George had come to power in England only after reading Progress and Poverty, which had profoundly influenced his political and economic philosophy. He "'saw the cat'".

Tom Johnson, while on a train from Sandusky to Cleveland, had picked up a paperback of Social Problems by Mr. George, "which the news butcher had dropped in the seat" as he departed, and from it took a notion to become Mayor of Cleveland, spending the rest of his life fighting for social and civic reform.

Mr. George, he further states, had blown Malthusian theory higher than Hiroshima.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.