Blog Archives

Truman Diary – July 1945

 

Churchill – Truman – Stalin

From: The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

Entry:

25 Jul 1945

We met at 11 A.M. today. [That is Stalin, Churchill and the U.S. President.  Clement Attlee was also there.] But I had a most important session with Lord Mountbatten & General Marshall before that. We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world.  It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.

Anyway we think we have found the way to cause a disintegration of the atom.  An experiment in the New Mexican desert was startling – to put it mildly. Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower 60 feet high, created a crater 6 feet deep and 1200 feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower 1/2 mile away and knocked men down 10,000 yards away. The explosion was visible for more than 200 miles and audible for 40 miles and more.

This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old Capitol or the new.

He & I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I’m sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler’s crowd or Stalin’s did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

At 10:15 I had Gen. Marshall come in and discuss with me the tactical and political situation. He is a level headed man – so is Mountbatten.

Gen. George Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff and Gen. Henry ‘Hap’ Arnold, Commanding General US Army Air Corps (NARA pic)

At the conference Poland and the Bolsheviki land grant came up. Russia liked herself to a slice of Poland and gave Poland a nice slice of Germany taking also a good slice of East Prussia for herself. Poland has moved in up to the Oder and the west Niesse, taking Stettin and Silesia as a fact accomplished. My position is that according to commitments made at Yalta by my predecessor Germany was to be divided into four occupation zones, one each for Britain, Russia and France and the U.S. If Russia chooses to allow Poland to occupy a part of her zone I am agreeable but title to territory cannot and will not be settled here. For the fourth time I’ve stated my position and explained that territorial sessions had to be made by treaty and ratified by the Senate.

We discussed reparations and movement of populations from East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy and elsewhere. Churchill said Maisky had so defined war booty as to include the Russi German fleet and Merchant Marine. It was a bomb shell and sort of paralyzed the Ruskies, but it has a lot of merit.

Click on images to enlarge.

##############################################################################################

Potsdam Political Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

##############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

William Brownsey – TX; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Roger Cannon Jr. – UT; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea

Code talkers’ Monument

Edward Dietsch – Towson, MD; US Army, WWII, ETO, 12th Armored Division, Medic

James Hampton – Springfield, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Fraser (DD-607)

Ronnie Knopp – WY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter

Conway Lewis – Memphis, TN; USMC, WWII, Purple Heart / US Army, Korea, OCS Interpreter

John Montgomery – Franklin, KY; US Army, WWII

Leonard Nace – Quakerstown, PA; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class

Harry Preston = Kitchener, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII, Galt Highland Light Infantry

Gary White – Miami, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 2 Bronze Stars

############################################################################################

Advertisements

Truman and the Pacific War

Potsdam Conference w/ Churchill, Truman & Stalin

Harry S. Truman did not have the outstanding record that most people look for in a president. He had poor eyesight and was unable to complete a 4-year college. Later, he failed as the owner/operator of a small mining and oil business, as a farmer and then as a haberdasher. (In my opinion, that only left politics as an option.)

HST was elected to the Senate with the assistance of the corrupt Thomas J. Pendergast and proved to be an unimportant legislator. His only military achievement was in successfully tightening up the discipline of the rag-tag outfit he was given. He was chosen as the Vice-Presidential candidate because southern democrats liked him and FDR needed those votes. (I’m afraid these facts were located during research, they are not my own thoughts – unless specified.)

This was the man sent to Germany, sailing on the “Augusta” with Secretary of State, James Byrnes and Admiral Leahy to attend the Potsdam Conference to begin on 17 July 1945. The primary agenda for the massive meeting dealt with the revision of the German-Soviet-Polish borders and the expulsion of several million Germans from the disputed territories. The code name for this conference was “Terminal,” with Stalin, Churchill and Truman representing the three major powers.

16 July was significant in that the Atomic bomb was successfully tested, exploding the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT and a blast point of 750 degrees F. Oppenheimer would then prepare the test results for his report to Henry Stimson in Potsdam. Truman confided the news to Churchill and the two rulers instantly decided that at least two bombs would be dropped on Japan.

This decision was made despite the arguments of Adm. Leahy, General “Hap” Arnold and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower who strongly spoke against it’s use, calling it completely unnecessary. Many of the scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project felt that such a dramatic scientific discovery should not be used. The petition, “…the liberated forces of nature for the purpose of destruction … open the door to an era of devastation …,” was signed by 57 scientists. They had the foresight to visualize the nuclear problems that we face today, but their qualms went unheeded.

The Potsdam Proclamation demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan, but did not make mention of two clearly important issues – (1) that the atomic bomb was is existence and (2) whether or not the Emperor would retain his seat in the palace. Both of these provisions would have clarified the true situation for the Japanese Army. Many, on-site at Potsdam, believe that the Japanese were purposely and maliciously misguided.

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.

MGeneral Makato Onodera, in Norway, 1942

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.

Allen Dulles, OSS

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Political Sarcasm – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Otis ‘Pete’ Clemons – Oceola City, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Robert Dugan Sr. – Yonkers, NY; US Navy, WWII, USS Amsterdam

David Giammattalo – Toronto, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII

Edward Herod – East Chicago, IN; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

James I. Jubb – Eastport, MD; US Army, Korea, Cpl., KIA

Cletis L. Leatherman – Sparks, NV; US Army Air Corps, Japan Occupation, 11th Airborne Div.

Raye Montaque – Little Rock, AR; US Navy, Engineer, Program Manager of Ships

Lester Schner – Jericho, NY; US Army

Merle (Stiles) Shelton – Bakersfield, CA; Civilian, Manhattan Project (Berkeley)

Jerry Wilde – Boca Raton, FL; US Army, Korea

#############################################################################################

%d bloggers like this: