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Archive for August 15th, 2008

A really brief Lesson for today.  On August 15, 1945, Japan accepted unconditional surrender as demanded by the Allies at the Potsdam conference.  World War II, having started almost exactly 7 years before, was finally over.  The will of the Japanese government had finally been broken by the twin atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  But the days leading up to the public proclamation had been full of suspense and intrigue.

Just hours after the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9th, the Japanese cabinet met and, yet again, split on whether to surrender.  Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki then took the issue to Emperor Hirohito and asked him to, once and for all, break the deadlock.  Hirohito said he couldn’t stand to see his people suffer any further, and ordered the surrender.  His voice, usually never heard by the people of Japan, was recorded as he read the declaration.

And then those against the surrender tried to overthrow the government and steal the recordings so they couldn’t be broadcast.  But very quickly, the coup attempt fell apart and, at noon on the 15th, the Emperor’s voice was heard over the airwaves, and the War was over.

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