Downed pilot George Bush is rescued by the Navy submarine, USS Finback. 9/2/44.
George Bush flew a TBM Avenger for the United States Navy during World War II.
He joined the Navy on June 12, 1942 when he turned 18. One of his most memorable missions was when George and his crew of two other men were flying over one of the Japanese islands and their plane was badly damaged.
He had to bail out into enemy waters where he was luckily saved by one of the United States’ fast submarines; the USS Finback. He stayed on the sub for a month before returning back to friendly territory.
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
Hiroshima in Ruins
On August 6, 1945 the Enola Gay released the atomic bomb “Little Boy” over Hiroshima, Japan. The bomb leveled the city and left between 70,000 to 100,000 dead. A second bomb, “Fat Man,” was dropped three days later on the city of Nagasaki, killing another 50,000 to 70,000 people. On August 14, the Japanese surrendered, ending World War II.
On August 15, 1945, President Truman requested that the United States Strategic Bombing Survey conduct a study of the effects of the atomic bombs against Japan. The Survey examined confiscated records of the Japanese government and interrogated numerous Government officials and private citizens throughout Japan. The Survey concluded “..that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”
Some historians have used these findings to argue against the decision to use the bombs against Japan. Others point out that the Survey had access to information unavailable before the war’s conclusion and that those conducting the survey purposefully downplayed the importance of the atomic bombs in securing Japan’s surrender. The debate continues today, confirming President Truman’s decision over 60 years ago as one of the most controversial decisions of the 20th century.
Ike Signs a “Short Snorter”
Sargent Griffith Harris of Cos Cob, Connecticut, holds his helmet while General Dwight D. Eisenhower signs his short-snorter. The General was on a flying trip to France. July 26, 1944.
During World War II, flight crews would sign a paper money bill together for good luck in the skies.
-from the Eisenhower Library
In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act, the original Executive Order 9066 as well as the 1988 law are on display for a limited time in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
“Here we admit a wrong. Here we affirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.” —President Ronald Reagan, remarks on signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988
On February 19, 1942, ten weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which permitted military commanders to “prescribe military areas … from which any or all persons may be excluded.” While the order did not mention any group by name, it profoundly affected the lives of Japanese Americans.
In March and April, Gen. John L. DeWitt issued a series of “Exclusion Orders” directed at “all persons of Japanese ancestry” in the Western Defense Command.
These orders led to the forced evacuation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese American permanent residents and Japanese American citizens at 10 major camps and dozens of smaller sites. Held behind barbed wire and watched by armed guards, many Japanese Americans lost their homes and possessions. Congress passed laws enforcing the order with almost no debate, and the Supreme Court affirmed these actions.
Forty-six years later, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The law, which was preceded by a detailed historical study by a congressional commission, judged the incarceration “a grave injustice” that was “motivated largely by racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” It offered an apology and $20,000 in restitution to each survivor.
Image: Persons of Japanese ancestry arrive at the Santa Anita Assembly Center from San Pedro. Evacuees lived at this center at the former Santa Anita race track before being moved inland to relocation centers. Clem Albers, Arcadia, CA, April 5, 1942. (Photo No. 210-G-3B-414)
Truman, Stalin, and Churchill during the Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was the last major meeting of the leaders of the three main Allied powers and the first of the conferences in which President Truman took part.
The President met both Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill for the first time at Potsdam. The three leaders and their advisors settled many issues, including the establishment of a Council of Foreign Ministers to further work on the peace treaties, the governing of Germany during occupation by the Allies, German reparations, the methods for handling war criminals, and the admission of the defeated countries to the United Nations.
In addition, Truman, along with Prime Minister Churchill and Generalisimo Chiang-Kai-shek, jointly issued the famous “Potsdam Proclamation” on July 26, which promised “prompt and utter destruction” to Japan if it did not surrender.
Photo: President Harry S. Truman with Soviet Prime Minister Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Cecilienhof Palace during the Potsdam Conference. 7/17/45.
-from the Truman Library
General Eisenhower and President Truman en route to the Potsdam Conference
Photo: General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower (foreground, left) chats with President Harry S. Truman (foreground, second from right) and Secretary of State James F. Byrnes (right) at an airfield in Brussels, Belgium en route to Potsdam, Germany for the Potsdam conference. United States Ambassador to Belgium Charles Sawyer is in the background on the left. 7/15/1945.
-from the Truman Library
Some DYK on JFK’s Birthday—
During World War II, John F. Kennedy joined the Navy. He was made Lieutenant (Lt.) and assigned to the South Pacific as commander of a patrol torpedo boat, the PT-109.
On the night of August 2, 1943, Lt. Kennedy’s crew patrolled the waters looking for enemy ships to sink. A Japanese destroyer suddenly became visible. But it was traveling at full speed and headed straight at them.
Lt. Kennedy was slammed hard against the cockpit, injuring his back. Patrick McMahon, one of his crew members, had horrible burns on his face and hands and was ready to give up. In the darkness,
At sunrise, Lt. Kennedy led his men toward a small island several miles away. Despite his own injuries, Lt. Kennedy was able to tow Patrick McMahon ashore, a strap from McMahon’s life jacket clenched between his teeth.
Six days later two native islanders found them and went for help, delivering a message Jack had carved into a piece of coconut shell.
Photo: Lieutenant John F. Kennedy in the South Pacific, circa 1943
More about JFK in World War II - From the JFK Library
The American Red Cross was founded on this day — May 21, 1881.
On the founding anniversary of the American Red Cross, here’s Kathleen Kennedy in her A.R.C. uniform from World War II. The photo was taken in London, circa 1943.
Kathleen was the second daughter and fourth child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy.
While in college, Kathleen Kennedy began volunteering for the Red Cross in New York in the summer of 1940. After working for the Times-Herald newspaper, she rejoined the war effort by volunteering again for the Red Cross, this time in London. Read More
-From the JFK Library
Our gratitude goes out to all the volunteers and relief workers of the Red Cross in Oklahoma today, and across the world everyday.