The 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Paris
This medal of the Ordre de la Libération was presented to Dwight D. Eisenhower by General Charles de Gaulle on May 28, 1945. The order was created by de Gaulle as a medal of extraordinary service on behalf of the French Resistance.
On this day in 1944, French and American forces swept into Paris greeted by cheering crowds. Take look at photos and video from the day at Today’s Document.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Truman Announces the Surrender of Japan
Today in history, August 14, 1945, President Truman announced the surrender of Japan, ending World War II.
The photos here show reporters running through the White House after hearing the President’s announcement.
Reporters running through the White House upon hearing the news; Reporters grabbing White House press releases about the surrender. 8/14/45.
-from the Truman Library
Churchill, Truman, and Stalin at Potsdam - Today in 1945.
Photo: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (left), President Harry S. Truman (center), and Soviet leader Josef Stalin (right) at Cecilienhof Palace during the Potsdam Conference in Germany. Mr. Churchill has just given a dinner for Mr. Truman and Mr. Stalin. July 23, 1945.
Post WWII Negotiations — The Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was a meeting of the victorious leaders of the Allies in Europe. It was held in an unbombed suburb of Berlin from July 17 - August 2, 1945.
Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and President Truman began the conference for their respective countries. On the agenda was the partitioning of the postwar world and resolving the problems of the war in the Far East. This included:
- The division of Germany.
- The movement of populations from Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Italy.
- Issuing a proclamation demanding unconditional surrender from the Japanese government.
Day 47 - Yalta Conference
“I didn’t say the result was good. I said it was the best I could do.”
-Franklin Roosevelt to diplomat Adolf Berle, Jr.
In the winter of 1945, Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin for the last time. The setting was the Ukrainian town of Yalta.
The Big Three gathered to chart a course for final victory in World War II. But during the Yalta Conference, they also struggled to create the basis for post-war cooperation.
FDR received Stalin’s firm commitment to enter the increasingly bloody war against Japan three months after Germany’s defeat. With American casualties rising in the Pacific war— and the atomic bomb yet untested— this was a significant achievement for the President. The Big Three also formally agreed to another of FDR’s priorities—the establishment of the United Nations organization. But there were serious disagreements about the future of Germany and the fate of areas occupied by Soviet armies, especially Poland.
While at the Yalta Conference, Joseph Stalin presented President Roosevelt with this set of bear fur gloves and Dukat papirosa (unfiltered) cigarettes. Inside the box are 13 unused cigarettes.
As a memento of the trip, this short snorter was created using a one chervonitz Soviet bill. A short snorter was a bill, typically from the destination country, signed by fellow travelers of a transoceanic flight. While Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and Steve Early’s names are handwritten on the edges of the bill, they did not sign the bill. The bill was signed by Edwin M. Watson (just days before he died), Ross T. McIntire, Edward Flynn, Harry L. Hopkins, James F. Byrnes, William Leahy, an unidentifiable signature, and Anna Roosevelt Boettiger.
Day 46: FDR at Malta
On February 2, 1945, FDR arrived in Malta aboard the USS Quincy for a preliminary conference with Prime Minister Winston Churchill before the meeting in Yalta of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.
On this day, June 25, 1945, the United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco. Here, Secretary of State Edward Stettinius signs the charter while President Harry S. Truman (second from left) looks on. The United States delegation is gathered around.
It’s the 90th Birthday of George Bush!
George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts.
On his 18th birthday, Bush graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts with World War II raging on two fronts. That same day, although he had been accepted at Yale University, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a seaman second class. He received his wings on June 9, 1943, becoming the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy at the time.
During World War II, Bush flew torpedo bombers, completing 58 missions. On a run over Chichi Jima in 1944, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Bush bailed out and was rescued by a Navy submarine.
For his service during WWII, Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.
Watch this space for more on the life of George Bush throughout today.
Happy Birthday President Bush!
George Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine, circa 1925; At age 12; At Phillips Academy, Andover, MA. circa 1940; U.S. Navy Portrait (1942-1945); U.S. Navy Pilot George Bush in the cockpit of an Avenger, (1942-45).