Potsdam Conference conclusion

Potsdam Conference, July-August 1945. President Harry S. Truman introducing his driver, Private First Class Warren E. Baker to Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, both from the same home town. President Truman had been inspecting the 3Rd Armored Division near Frankfurt, Germany. Photographed by CPhoM William Belknap Jr., released July 26, 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph,

26 July, the same day that Clement Attlee defeated Winston Churchill in the election for Prime Minister, the Potsdam Declaration was sent to the enemy. The exact wording of this document made it unthinkable for Japan to accept. Once again, the lack of understanding for a foreign culture would hinder the road to peace.

Keep in mind, while still at sea on the ‘Augusta,’ Byrnes had received a message from Sweden stating that Japanese Major Gen. Makoto Onodera, having authorization from the Emperor, wished to enter into peace negotiations. The only stipulation being that the Emperor remain in power.

By this time, Prince Konoye had spent two years laboring to uncover a route to peace. The prince had had the correct procedure all along, but mistakenly had chosen the Soviet Union as the go-between. Stalin had his own agenda in mind for the Japanese and their territories and therefore he deceitfully strung the envoys along with various delaying tactics. OSS Allen Dulles, who assisted in negotiations when Italy fell, was working on the same premise in Switzerland.

Nevertheless, as spring turned to summer, militarists in Japan continued to plan for Operation Decision (Ketsu-Go) and ignored their government’s attempts for peace. Disregarding Japan’s concern for their Emperor, the Potsdam Declaration was considered by Premier Suzuki and the military to be a re-hashing of the Cairo Declaration which deemed it to be marked as “mokusatsu” (‘ignore entirely’ or ‘regard as unworthy of notice’)

In regards to the A-bomb, Secretary of War, Stimson and his assistant, John McCloy, told Truman, “We should all have our heads examined if we don’t try to find a political solution.” Truman laughed.

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So many maneuvers, conversations and secrets go on behind the main headlines, but here is one story I hope you take the time to click and read. This obituary was in “The Week” news-magazine and I could not resist including it here. Could any of us do this job today?

Bomb babysitter

Resources: U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian; “The Week” magazine; “The Last Great Victory” by Stanley Weintraub; University of Virginia, Miller Center.

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Note of interest – 17 July 1945, kamikaze units were no longer voluntary.

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United States Air Force celebrates 75 years !!!  18 September 1947

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Military Humor (actually political, haha) – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Geraldine (Ingold) Able – Mogadore, OH; Civilian, WWII, Akron Tire life belts

Duane E. Acker – Rittman, OH; US Army, 3rd Armored/11th Airborne Division

Code Talker’s monument

Robert P. Bixby (101) – Apache Junction, AZ; US Army, WWII

Ben Carpenter – Waco, NC; US Navy, WWII

James B. Gallinatti – Lakewood, WA; US Army, Lt., 11th Airborne Division

David E. Grange Jr. – Lake Ronkonkoma, NY; US Army Air Corps; WWII, ETO, 517/82nd A/B Div. / Korea, US Army, 2nd Lt. 187th RCT / Vietnam, 506th Infantry Reg & 101st A/B Division, Lt. General (Ret. 41 Years)

Fred Hedges – Atlanta, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 20th Armored Division

Eli Johnson – Jetts Creek, KY; USMC, WWII

Paul J. Manning – Rochester, VT; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

George Nashen (100) – brn: Kishinev, ROM; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, Sgt.

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 19, 2022, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 113 Comments.

  1. I am caught up now, GP. A good afternoon of reading!

    Much does go on behind the scenes. Many things go into the “we’ll never know for sure” category. Thanks for posting Hornig’s obituary. Here is he Wikipedia article I found on him.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Hornig

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the reminder on this, GP! Bomb or not to bomb, seems to be the question again. ;-/ I hope you enjoy your weekend, and you will have a great new week! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maneuvers, conversations and secrets behind the scene- so true.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi G
    Interesting here – esp the kamikazes not being voluntary

    And this opening part stood out
    “lack of understanding for a foreign culture would hinder the road to peace”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ik denk dat nu ook nog het gebrek aan begrip voor een” vreemde cultuur” de weg naar vrede kan belemmeren

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There is a myth that the Japanese “mokusatsu” has conflicting translations, and that the US translator chose the wrong one. That is, as Mr. Gusuda (“Lucky Come Hawaii”) would say, “borosheetu.” Both the US and Japanese linguists came up with the same translation, i.e., “ignore.” The full story, including the exact context in which mokusatsu was used, is found here:

    Click to access esnbu.21.1.6.pdf

    Also, the Allied ultimatum in July of 1945 promised “prompt and utter destruction” if the ultimatum was not accepted. But no. The atomic bombs didn’t fall “promptly.” If Japan’s intent was merely silence, they had nine days in which to break their “silence.” They could have sent word via any of several open diplomatic channels that the ultimatum was still under favorable consideration. The military government did nothing; the translation was accurate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for contributing here. Looking back with 2022 eyes, many things could have been different, but remember it was 1945 and the military government ruled the country just as the Nazis did in Germany.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That cartoon is meaningful today as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Let’s see. Babysit a bomb, or advise Lyndon Johnson — which would be more anxiety-producing? Today, the choice would be easy, but before the detonation, no one knew what that ‘can of worms’ would involve.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this further enlightenment, GP

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I didn’t know that the Japanese were trying to negotiate a peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Peggy and I have been near the site of the first atomic bomb explosion several times, G. And we always stop to remember and think about the consequences. The first time I was there was when I was riding my bike around North America. Shortly afterwards you come to the locations where Smokey the Bear was rescued and Billy the Kid fought in the Lincoln County Wars. Right after that your come to Roswell of UFO fame. It’s an interesting area. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It was a time of amazing ingenuity. Thanks for this post, GP. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Everyone seems to have an agenda that will benefit them when they are talking plans of cooperation with another country or maybe with another individual. Hornig had to have a sense of adventure to have taken an unknown job.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Just once, I would have liked to have gotten a job offer from someone where they wouldn’t tell me what the job actually is. I think that would be a very interesting scenario to see played out. That’s just wild.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I suspect that the Japanese hardliners wuld have scuppered any peace initiative.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It seems we backed ourselves into a corner with the declarations from Casablanca, Cairo and Potsdam Conferences and maybe anti-Emperor and anti-Japanese popular sentiment stirred up during the war. Taken literally, “unconditional surrender” made using A-bombs or invading the home islands virtually inevitable.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I did try to read the newspaper clipping but on my computer it just came out as tiny, in a format which didn’t allow the option of enlarging it.

    One sticking point about peace with Japan, was, supposedly, the British, Australians and New Zealanders who wanted him put on trial as a war criminal. The problem was the enormous number of POWs who were murdered in the camps or starved to death by the Japanese armed forces between 1942-1945. I am no expert on the Far East though, and I do not know if this really was the case although the argument itself, for me, might well be a valid one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For the horrific treatment of POWs and any disgraceful act by the troops, they should have been calling for Tojo’s head. Him and his cohorts ruled the country and controlled the citizens.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Go. Many of my Families were Prisoners of war. Most suffered brutal deaths. We will never forget the carnage of human life. So much human suffering between Brothers and Sisters on Earth 🌐 When will men learn? Today War goes on. Man’s ego shines as he believes his coffers will be lined in gold and power! Little does he comprehend his body will rot in a void 🕳️ like his mates. No one gets out of life ” alive.” GP, we salute you for gathering together concurrently past suffering or War. One day a fool will blow the earth up. Tears 😭

        Like

  18. An excellent story about Donald Horning. Choosing Stalin as a go between to peace was a definate mistake. You gotta wonder where were all the Japanese experts were when the Potsdam Declairation was being drawn up.Seems letting the Emperior stay in place wouldn’t be a big thing. Thats what was done ain the end anyway. Great report, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I could not read the page, as the print was too small when I clicked on the image.
    I have often wondered whether or not the A-bombs were dropped because they had them and wanted to use them, or if a peaceful solution could have been found. After a lifetime of reading about the war and the Japanese, and listening to the stories of family members and friends who were prisoners of the Japanese military, I conclude that they would have fought an invasion or occupation, whatever the diplomatic outcome. So the bombs were necessary, in my personal opinion.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. That “lack of understanding for a foreign culture would hinder the road to peace” never seems to change, does it. Didn’t know there was a code talker monument. Well deserved.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Politicians always seem to think they know what’s best (or they try to bluff us into believing they do).
      Ah, yes, I have to agree – we can never stop honoring the code talkers.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Never knew this: Keep in mind, while still at sea on the ‘Augusta,’ Byrnes had received a message from Sweden stating that Japanese Major Gen. Makoto Onodera, having authorization from the Emperor, wished to enter into peace negotiations. The only stipulation being that the Emperor remain in power. This could have been a game changer. Thanks to MacArthur for recognizing that keeping the Emperor was so very important to the Japanese.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Akron Tire life belts? That “babysitting job” and his reaction!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Perhaps they should have had their collective heads examined.

    Spending the night in the tower with that bomb must have been an odd assignment.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Thanks for sharing. Imagine sitting with that “unit” through a lightening storm! …There are so many “histories” of how the war came to a close, this certainly clarifies a lot regarding Potsdam. The most frequent solution in our history books was the atom bomb, which did play a role, though once the Russians entered the war in the east the solution the Japanese wanted was to surrender to the US.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. In diplomacy and other matters, mindful wording really does matter.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. I read the Donald Hornig obituary with interest.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Thank you, Nelsapy.

    Like

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