WWII Memoirs – 1945 – Nagasaki – The Final Blow

Even though the bombing of Hiroshima was a big event, nationally and internationally, when the shock and the excitement passed we were still at war. And so the destruction continued. Plans for the invasion of the mainland were still being considered. Planes were sill flying missions over Japan.

Our squadron was active too. A passage in my diary dated August 7, 1945 reads,”Have been asked to locate specific films from previous missions, which I assume contain likely future targets. I guess Nagasaki is next.” And so it was. Two days later an atomic bomb was detonated over that city.

Thank goodness, a period of inaction and waiting followed.

After the second city was destroyed, we wondered why the Japanese didn’t give up. How many cities were they willing to sacrifice? Of course we didn’t know that those were the only two atomic bombs available to the U.S. forces at that at that time. And we also didn’t know that up in Tokyo a struggle was taking place within the palace grounds, in which a group of die-hard officers of the Japanese army were trying to prevent the broadcasting of a message
that the Emperor had recorded to his people.

The message told them that Japan was surrendering unconditionally.

Six long days passed and finally the people loyal to the Emperor prevailed, and the message of surrender was broadcast. The date was August 15, 1945. The official surrender documents were not signed until September 2, on the Battleship “Missouri” in Tokyo Bay, but that was a formality.

 
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When the Armed Forces Radio announcement of Japan's surrender hit the Island, people ran out of their tents shouting...