13 August 1945

13 August 1945

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13 August 1945



War in the Air

1,600 carrier aircraft raid the Tokyo area


The surrender documents are sent to General MacArthur

The Mongolian People's Republic declares war on Japan

Atomic Bomb Shows Why Socialism Is Necessary

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No.㺡, 13 August 1945, pp.ف&ق.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“The impact of the bomb was so terrific that practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death by the tremendous heat and pressure engendered by the blast.” This is the way one Tokyo broadcast described the havoc created by one atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by a Superfortress.

In a split second the Wellsian world became a reality. Years of research and the investment of billions of dollars, finally brought to one stage of development the harnessing of the atom and control of the enormous energy created by splitting it.

The most carefully guarded secret of the war was released when the announcement came over the wires that the one atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had destroyed the city for a radius of four and a tenth miles, with an explosive power equal to 20,000 tons of TNT.

The crew which flew the plane reported that they could feel the concussion miles away and that the light of the explosion was brighter than the sun. The whole city of over 300,000 people was covered by smoke to the height of 40,000 feet and for some time afterward reconnaissance planes were unable to survey the damage. But the Japanese authorities have already announced that almost everything was destroyed, that Hiroshima was practically wiped off the face of the earth.

There is no doubt that the war in the Far East will be shortened by the use of the atomic bomb. The Administration is already preparing another demand on the Japanese for unconditional surrender. In the event of refusal the plan is to destroy the whole nation, for that is what continued atomic bombing will mean.

We can now very plainly see the meaning of modern war. Revolutionary socialists have warned long ago, that the continuation of imperialist-capitalist society and its recurrent wars which harness science will produce weapons of destruction of incalculable proportions.

While the war of 1914󈝾 was the first in the era of world wars, the loss of life was great and the destruction enormous, it did not compare to the power of destruction in this war. The Second World War was organized along mechanized lines, employing tanks, airplanes, robot bombs, magnetic mines, and hundreds of other instruments of death and chaos.

The military casualties for the European war alone is estimated at 60,000,000 persons. The destruction of wealth and property runs into the hundreds of billions. And when the war ends in the Far East and the calculations of casualties and wealth destruction are made, it will stagger the imagination.

Toward the end of the European war new and deadlier instruments of warfare were developed. It is now acknowledged that the Germans were working on their own atomic bomb. Had they succeeded, the employmentof atomic bombing by both sides in the war would have devastated a good part of the world and its population.

Capitalist Barbarism

It is also clear that the description of the destruction power of the atomic bomb is no idle talk. Capitalist society is rushing headlong into a form of barbarism. So long as the mad struggle for profit in this private property economy exists, and it must exist as long as capitalism exists, war is forever the prospect of life. Chaos and destruction are forever the reward of the overwhelming majority of the peoples of all countries.

While all the capitalist nations are incapable and unwilling to produce in the interests of the common good of the people, while production is organized solely in the interests of profit, invention in the interests of society as a whole remains stagnant. Invention, which could lighten the lives of the people and produce enough to have plenty for all, is impossible in an economy where the main aim of those who own the industries, mines, transportation and utilities is production for profit.

Everyone agrees, however, that the power of destruction is only one of the uses to which the control of the atom can be put. Of far greater importance is that the harnessing of atomic energy can permit such a tremendous rise in the production of the necessities of life as to increase the standard of living of all the people in the world far easier than all the mechanical and technical advances that have been made by society up to now.

Future for All Possible

The story of how research was carried on in the production of the atomic bomb as a joint enterprise, a collective effort, is interesting and instructive. But the fact to be borne in mind is that all the time, money and human energy expended was for the purposes of destruction. It emphasized again that for the purposes of destruction capitalism will go to any length.

But it is just as obvious, that had all this time, energy and money been expanded in the same experiments for the purpose of harnessing power for peaceful purposes, for the purposes of improving the life of all humanity, the same progress could have been made.

We do not know all the possibilities inherent in the control of the atom. But all of science agrees that its possibilities are infinite and that we have just witnessed a revolution in science equivalent to previous revolutionary discoveries, which in turn revolutionize the whole of society.

The most important question is this: is it possible for capitalism, a society organized in the interests of profits for a handful of people who live off the exploitation of the overwhelming majority of the people of the world to use this discovery for constructive purposes in the interests of mankind? The answer is, of course, no.

Already, the government in Washington, which is a capitalist government, makes ready to turn over this revolutionary development to private business, those vultures who gorge themselves on profit in war, as in peace, whose main occupation is to exploit workers for their own class benefit.

Socialism Necessary

The scientists who directed the experiments are commonly known as capitalist-minded servants of the big corporations. In past years they have been associated with the big monopolistic corporations, all of them giving testimony in their behalf. Science, which can be of such benefit to society, is, under capitalism, the servant of the financial and industrial bandits who rule society.

Right now, the rulers of society speak of the atomic bomb in terms of controlling it so that they might control the world. The real sham of their arguments is that they point to the possibility that it may be used by “a Hitler” or “a Germany,” both destroyed and defeated in the war, at some future time. As a matter of fact, what they are trying to say, what they are actually saying, is that “we,” the capitalist rulers, must control the atomic bomb not for the purpose of improving society and the life of all the people but to dominate the world, control its riches, in their own private class interests.

The most important thing about this revolutionary discovery is that it cannot and must not be controlled by private capitalism. Society is doomed to destruction if this happens. Only a socialist society, a society without classes, without war, without competition, without unemployment, and poverty can properly utilize the harnessing of the energy power of the atom.

A class society which lives by exploitation can only subordinate such discoveries to the interest of private profit. Yet the atomic bomb invention, and the progress made in atomic researchdemand that it shall be used for constructive purposes.

Let the people ponder this fact. Let them understand that when the press and the radio orators talk about the destruction of the world, they are not joking at all. The destruction of the world is a grim reality unless the social order of capitalism is abolished and replaced by socialism, the society of all the people.

(Next week we will carry detailed stories on the development of atomic research and its social implications.)

Bennington, VT – August 13, 1945

On August 13, 1945, a Taylorcraft private plane carrying two people crashed shortly after takeoff at Bennington Airport, killing both. Those aboard were identified as Grace Elizabeth Everett, 23, also known as “Betty Grace”, and U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Robert Lancaster, 23.

Both victims were experienced pilots. Miss Everett had served as a W.A.S.P. pilot during WWII, and Lt. Lancaster as a B-17 bomber pilot. Lancaster had been shot down during one of his missions and spent time in a German POW camp, and had only recently been repatriated to the U.S.

It was not clear which of the two was flying the aircraft as the plane had two seats side by side and could be controlled from either side.

Lt. Lancaster is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 10, Site 10663 EH

Miss Everett is buried in Parklawn Cemetery in Bennington.

(Tarrytown, NY) The Daily News, “Two Killed In Plane Crash”, August 14, 1945

Bygone Bennington on WBTN-AM 1370, “August 13, 1945, A Plane Crashes At Bennington Airport, Number 91” (No date given) https://sites.google.com/site/bygonebennington/

(Troy NY) The Times Record, “Airplane Tragedy Probe Continues At Bennington” August 14, 1945.

(Troy NY) The Times Record, “Rites Conducted For Plane Crash Victim”, August 17, 1945

(Cambridge NY) Washington County Post, “Two Killed In Airport Crash”, August 16, 1945

Pocasset, MA – August 13, 1945

On August 13, 1945, Ensign William Orlando Young, Jr., (22), was piloting an SBW-4E Helldiver, (Bu. No. 60153), on a night training flight over Cape Cod. This training was preparatory to his assignment to the navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Midway.

During the flight, weather conditions had deteriorated and the cloud ceiling had dropped, and it was later speculated by navy investigators that this played a role in the accident.

When overdue for his return to base, he was reported missing, and a search utilizing aircraft from Otis and Quonset Point, R.I. began. His body and his wrecked plane were found the following day in Pocasset, Mass.

Ensign Young’s body was brought to Quonset Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, before being sent to Gathersburg, Maryland for burial. He was survived by his wife Hazel.

U. S. Navy accident report dated August 13, 1945

Falmouth Enterprise, “Pilot From Otis Killed In Crash” August 17, 1945

The Other Reason? Get the Soviet Union’s Attention

Despite the arguments of Stimson and others, historians have long debated whether the United States was justified in using the atomic bomb in Japan at all—let alone twice. Various military and civilian officials have said publicly that the bombings weren’t a military necessity. Japanese leaders knew they were beaten even before Hiroshima, as Secretary of State James F. Byrnes argued on August 29, 1945, and had reached out to the Soviets to see if they would mediate in possible peace negotiations. Even the famously hawkish General Curtis LeMay told the press in September 1945 that “the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”

Statements like these have led historians such as Gar Alperovitz, author of The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, to suggest that the bomb’s true purpose was to get the upper hand with the Soviet Union. According to this line of thinking, the United States deployed the plutonium bomb on Nagasaki to make clear the strength of its nuclear arsenal, ensuring the nation’s supremacy in the global power hierarchy.

Others have argued that both attacks were simply an experiment, to see how well the two types of atomic weapons developed by the Manhattan Project worked. Admiral William 𠇋ull” Halsey, commander of the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet, claimed in 1946 that the first atomic bomb was 𠇊n unnecessary experiment…[the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it.”

Was a second nuclear attack necessary to force Japan’s surrender? The world may never know. For his part, Truman doesn’t seem to have wavered in his conviction that the attacks were justified—though he ruled out future bomb attacks without his express order the day after Nagasaki. "It was a terrible decision. But I made it,” the 33rd president later wrote to his sister, Mary. “I made it to save 250,000 boys from the United States, and I&aposd make it again under similar circumstances.” 

“Celebration of V-J Day, 08/14/1945”

At 7 pm on August 14, 1945, President Harry Truman stood before reporters gathered at the White House and announced the unconditional surrender of Japan. The Pacific War was over.

Although the formal signing of the terms of surrender ending World War II would not occur until September 2 nd , the announcement of Victory Over Japan Day, or V-J Day, sent millions of Americans— citizens and members of the armed forces, out into the streets of cities and towns across the country and around the world .

In Washington, DC, people had gathered in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, to wait and listen for Truman’s announcement. Later, people jammed the streets of downtown Washington, DC. An article in the September 7, 1945 issue of Yank Magazine described the scenes of joy, as well as sorrow, many felt that day of that day:

“This capital city…relaxed its worn nerves and celebrated the winning of the war with a screaming, drinking, paper-tearing, free-kissing demonstration which combined all the features of New Years and Mardi Gras..Not everyone on the streets was demonstrative either…a middle-aged white-haired man with a Scottist burr remarked sadly, ‘You know soldier, it’s a nice celebration, but I lost two sons—two sons. It might be a joke to some, but.’ And the middle-aged man shook his head and walked slowly away.”

You can see some of these scenes in the film preserved and made accessible by the National Archives, titled “Celebration of V-J Day, 08/14/1945.”

The majority of scenes in this silent film are ones of celebration—at first subdued, as people sit and mill around Lafayette Park waiting for Truman’s announcement. A bit later, the scene turns more raucous as the Navy camera crew moves downtown, with more of the type of activity Sgt. McGurn recounts in his Yank Magazine article.

The film is part of a series from Record Group 428 NPC, Department of the Navy, Naval Photographic Center. Over 15,000 entries from this series are listed in our online public access catalog, OPA, with over 1,500 films available for viewing online.

The catalog description for “Celebration of V-J Day” contains, like many films in the series, fairly detailed shot lists. Shot lists usually list and describe the visuals seen in a film. The majority of shot lists we have in OPA originated from the descriptions in the Naval Photographic Center’s original card catalog.

The shot list for “Celebration of V-J Day” has a good summary about the types of shots in the film, but not a lot of detailed information such the names of people or specific filming locations.

The film provides us with some visual clues–for example, shots of the Capitol Theater tell us some scenes were filmed near the corner of 13th and F Streets, NW in downtown Washington. The Capitol’s movie marquee tells us one of the movies playing at the theater was “Murder He Says ,” but what about some of the other locations or people we see in the film? See someone or someplace you recognize? Help us identify them through NARA’s Citizen Archivist initiative.

“Celebration of V-J Day” is one of the many special media records-film, audio recordings and still images which document the events of that day.

An item from the WTOP Radio Broadcast Collection is one example. WTOP, a Washington radio station, was at the time owned by the CBS network. The audio clips below are from an item in the WTOP Collection (Local ID 200-WTOP-835), and include “on the spot” coverage of V-J Day activities in Washington. Their mobile transmitting unit can be seen in some of the shots in “Celebration of V-J Day.”

Sub-Saharan Africa 1945: End of World War II

The surrender of Germany and Japan in May and August 1945 brought an end to World War II. Africa ended the war almost exactly as it started it, under the colonial rule of the European powers. However, the full restoration of Ethiopian independence (in late 1944) was a sign of changing international attitudes and colonialism's days would prove to be numbered.

Main Events

19 Dec 1944 1944 Anglo–Ethiopian Agreement▲

After negotiations beginning in 25 May 1944, the Ethiopian government, supported by the United States, pressured Britain into signing a new Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement to supersede the one signed in 1942. By the renegotiated terms, the British agreed to remove their garrison from Ethiopia, open Ethiopia’s airfields to non-British traffic, end their control of Ethiopian section of the Addis Ababa–Djibouti railroad, and recognize Ethiopia as an independent member of the Allies. However Britain retained its hold on the Ogaden and Haud. in wikipedia

28 Feb 1945 Saudi Arabia enters World War II▲

Throughout World War II, the Saudi Arabian petroleum industry expanded rapidly, largely due to Allied investment and in order to supply the Allies with oil. After meetings with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in mid-February 1945, Saudi King Ibn Saud declared war on Germany and Japan, entering World War II on the side of the Allies. in wikipedia

7 May 1945 German Instrument of Surrender▲

Representatives of the German armed forces signed the Instrument of Surrender in Berlin, along with representatives of the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom (on behalf of the Western Allies, who had also overseen a surrender ceremony in Reims earlier that day). This act brought an end to World War II in Europe. in wikipedia

15 Aug 1945 Jewel Voice Broadcast▲

Japanese Emperor Hirohito read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War in a radio broadcast, announcing to the people of Japan that their government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration and agreed to unconditional surrender. The speech was the first time the Emperor had spoken to the common people. in wikipedia

Today in World War II History—Aug. 13, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—Aug. 13, 1940: “Adlertag” (Day of the Eagle): In the Battle of Britain, Luftwaffe flies 1485 sorties to Britain, destroying 47 RAF aircraft on the ground and 13 fighters in combat, but loses 47 aircraft.

75 Years Ago—Aug. 13, 1945: Lt. Oscar Perdomo of US 507 th Fighter Group becomes the last ace of the war when he shoots down 5 Japanese fighters over Kyushu.

A US OA-10A aircraft rescues a downed air crew from inner Tokyo Bay, the first time a US plane has accomplished a rescue in those waters.

Movie premiere of musical Ziegfeld Follies, starring Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, and an all-star cast.

The Age of Catastrophe : A History of the West, 1914-1945

Characterized by global war, political revolution and national crises, the period between 1914 and 1945 was one of the most horrifying eras in the history of the West. A noted scholar of modern German history, Heinrich August Winkler examines how and why Germany so radically broke with the normative project of the West and unleashed devastation across the world.

In this total history of the thirty years between the start of World War One and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Winkler blends historical narrative with political analysis and encompasses military strategy, national identity, class conflict, economic development and cultural change. The book includes astutely observed chapters on the United States, Japan, Russia, Britain, and the other European powers, and Winkler's distinctly European perspective offers insights beyond the accounts written by his British and American counterparts. As Germany takes its place at the helm of a unified Europe, Winkler's fascinating account will be widely read and debated for years to come.

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LibraryThing Review

5324. The Age of Catastrophe A History of the West, 1914-1945, by Heinrich August Winkler Translated by Stewart Spencer (read 20 Nov 2015) This book by a prolific German historian who was born in 1938 . Читать весь отзыв

THE AGE OF CATASTROPHE: A History of the West 1914-1945

An appropriately vast history of the years between World War I and World War II, after which the "bipolar world" of today came into being. German historian Winkler (Germany: The Long Road West: Volume . Читать весь отзыв

Today in World War II History—Aug. 13, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—Aug. 13, 1940: “Adlertag” (Day of the Eagle): In the Battle of Britain, Luftwaffe flies 1485 sorties to Britain, destroying 47 RAF aircraft on the ground and 13 fighters in combat, but loses 47 aircraft.

75 Years Ago—Aug. 13, 1945: Lt. Oscar Perdomo of US 507 th Fighter Group becomes the last ace of the war when he shoots down 5 Japanese fighters over Kyushu.

A US OA-10A aircraft rescues a downed air crew from inner Tokyo Bay, the first time a US plane has accomplished a rescue in those waters.

Movie premiere of musical Ziegfeld Follies, starring Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, and an all-star cast.

Watch the video: The Day Japan Surrendered, Ending WWII. NBC News


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