WHY WE WENT TO JAPAN
BECAUSE OF WW II
The following major events in the last days of WW II lead to decisions that required American Occupation Forces in Japan. Those forces included our fathers -- who were in the U.S. Army -- who of course eventually were permitted to have their families join them there.
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WW II began when Hitler invaded Poland
26 July 1945
Potsdam Declaration issued with an ultimatum demanding Japan surrender unconditionally or face destruction - Japan Premier Suzuke indicated his country would not.
6 Aug 1945
"Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima.
8 Aug 1945
Japanese Ambassador Sato ignores Russian warning - Russia declares war on Japan - attacks Japanese forces in China. My memory tells me that for years the Russians claimed the reason the Japanese surrendered was that Russia had entered the war with Japan for the first time.
9 August 1945
"Fat Man" dropped on Nagasaki.
10-13 August 1945
The Emperor and his council - during this period were finalizing the debate to continue with the war or surrender. Included within that council was General Hideki Tojo, supreme war lord of Japan, - the person who made the final decisions in 1941 to attack the U.S. (and others). The Emperor concluded late on the 12th that to continue would be suicide, and the time had come to bear the unbearable. Thus the Japanese signaled on the 13th for peace on the basis of the Potsdam Declaration.
14 Aug 1945
President Truman announced that Japan had surrendered
For the first time in history, the Emperor of Japan -- by use of a "tape" spoke directly to his subjects by announcing over the "radio" -- the same system used by "Tokyo Rose" (Iva Toguri) -- that Japan had accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. The comments included indications that the war was being lost and no longer could a favorable upturn be expected; that the enemy was now using a terrible weapon; and that to continue would result in the annihilation of the Nation. He concluded that it was time to pave the way for a grand peace for all generations to come.
15 Aug 1995
V-J Day was declared (V-E Day was 8 May 1945)
28 Aug 1945
American troops began a mass and unopposed landing of Japan, occupying all strategic centers. The first landing was at Atsugi Air Base - near Yokohama. Many of the forces landing were paratroopers from the air.
30 Aug 1945
General MacArthur landed in his C-54 aircraft called "Bataan".
2 Sep 1945
The Battleship Missouri (at that time flagship of the U.S. Pacific Fleet - Admiral Halsey's) was the site of the FORMAL surrender of Japan. She was anchored in Tokyo bay, and was flying the same flag that waved over the Capitol in Washington the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. The deck was crowded with Allied Officers and correspondents from many nations.
Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, wearing striped pants and top hat, came aboard the MISSOURI from a "gig" that flew the Stars and Stripes. He was accompanied by General Yoshijiro Umezu -- who represented the Japanese General Staff. They having been chosen by the Supreme War Council and the Emperor to sign the documents. With great dignity, Shigemitsu signed two copies of the surrender documents - one in Japanese and one in English. Umezu followed. Then Lt Gen Jonathan M Wainwright (commander at Corregidor), and Lt Gen Sir Arthur Percival - the loser in the Japanese take over of Singapore years earlier - both having been prisoners of war for years -- signed. Then Admiral Nimitz and other Allied delegates. Last to sign I believe was General MacArthur, who after signing gave the "pen" to Gen Percival.
General MacArthurs comments included: "We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues, involving divergent ideals and ideologies, have been determined on the battlefields of the world and hence are not for our discussion or debate. Nor is it for us here to meet, representing as we do a majority of the people of the earth, in a spirit of distrust, malice, or hatred. But committing all our peoples unreservedly to faithful compliance with the understandings they are here formally to assume. It is my earnest hope that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge, a world dedicated to the dignity of man. Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world, and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are now closed."
Some of the "surrender" terms were - "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" - which was General MacArthur.
12 Sept 1945
Japan, Russia and China continued "fighting" until they signed a separate "surrender" on this date in Singapore. This "surrender" permitted the British to occupy Hong Kong, and China to regain sovereignty over Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Formosa and Hainan.
American dependents began arriving in Japan to join their "sponsor", and the adventure began.