The Case of the Treasonous Dolls

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The facts of the case are odd.

Five letters were written in early 1942 and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at a Buenos Aires, Argentina, address.

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In early 1942, five letters were written and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Even more strangely, all of them bounced “Return to Sender”—and the “senders” on the return address (women in Oregon, Ohio, Colorado, and Washington state) knew nothing about the letters and had not sent them.

The FBI learned about all this when wartime censors intercepted one letter postmarked in Portland, Oregon, puzzled over its strange contents, and referred it to cryptographers at the FBI Laboratory. These experts concluded that the three “Old English dolls” left at “a wonderful doll hospital” for repairs might well mean three warships being repaired at a west coast naval shipyard; that “fish nets” meant submarine nets; and that “balloons” referred to defense installations.

One of the letters, supposedly sent by a Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio, did indicate her home address – 1808 E High Street – but had been postmarked in New York, a place she had never been. The letter, primarily discussing dolls, contained references to a “Mr. Shaw, who had been ill but would be back to work soon.” The letter corresponded to information that the destroyer USS Shaw, which had been damaged in the Pearl Harbor attack, completed repairs on the West Coast and was soon to rejoin the Pacific Fleet.

Another letter, given to the FBI in August of that year and said to have been written by a woman in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was postmarked from Oakland, California. That letter, written in February, made reference to seven small dolls which the writer stated would be altered to look as though they were “seven real Chinese dolls”, designed to mimic a family of parents, grandparents and three children. The FBI determined that the letter was written shortly after a convoy of ships had arrived at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. The letter contained certain details about the ships, that if made public, would have been detrimental to the war effort.

 

The FBI immediately opened an investigation.

It was May 20, 1942, when a woman in Seattle turned over the crucial second letter. It said, “The wife of an important business associate gave her an old German bisque Doll dressed in a Hulu Grass skirt…I broke this awful doll…I walked all over Seattle to get someone to repair it….”

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In short order, the FBI turned up the other letters. It determined that all five were using “doll code” to describe vital information about U.S. naval matters. All had forged signatures that had been made from authentic original signatures. All had typing characteristics that showed they were typed by the same person on different typewriters. How to put these clues together?

It was the woman in Colorado who provided the big break. She, like the other purported letter senders, was a doll collector, and she believed that a Madison Avenue doll shop owner, Mrs. Velvalee Dickinson, was responsible. She said Ms. Dickinson was angry with her because she’d been late paying for some dolls she’d ordered. That name was a match: the other women were also her customers.

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Who was Velvalee Malvena Dickinson? Basically, a mystery. She was born in California and lived there until she moved with her husband to New York City in 1937. She opened a doll shop on Madison Avenue that same year, catering to wealthy doll collectors and hobbyists, but she struggled to keep it afloat. It also turned out that she had a long and close association with the Japanese diplomatic mission in the U.S.—and she had $13,000 in her safe deposit box traceable to Japanese sources.

Following her guilty plea on July 28, 1944, Ms. Dickinson detailed how she’d gathered intelligence at U.S. shipyards and how she’d used the code provided by Japanese Naval Attaché Ichiro Yokoyama to craft the letters. What we’ll never know is why the letters had been, thankfully, incorrectly addressed.

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FBI Laboratory examination of all five letters confirmed that the signatures on the letters were not genuine, but were forgeries which the experts decided were prepared from original signatures in the possession of the forger. The examination also showed that the typewriter used in the preparation of the letters was different in each case, but that the typing characteristics indicated that the letters were prepared by the same person.

The conclusion reached by the FBI cryptographers was that an open code was used in the letters, which attempted to convey information on the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly the ships of the U.S. Navy, their location, condition, and repair, with special emphasis on the damage of such vessels at Pearl Harbo

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On February 11, 1944, Velvalee Malvena Dickinson was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for violation of the censorship statutes, conviction of which could result in a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

She pleaded not guilty and was held in lieu of $25,000 bail. A continuing investigation by the FBI resulted in a second indictment on May 5, this time on charges of violating espionage statutes, the Trading with the Enemy Act, tradingwithenemy00natirichand the censorship statutes, conviction of which carried the death penalty. She pleaded not guilty and was released on the same bail.On July 28, 1944, a plea bargain was made between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Dickinson in which the espionage and Trade Act indictments were dismissed and she pleaded guilty to the censorship violation and agreed to furnish information in her possession concerning Japanese intelligence activities.

After pleading guilty, she admitted that she had typed the five forged letters addressed to Argentina, using correspondence with her customers to forge their signatures.

She claimed the information compiled in her letters was from asking innocent and unsuspecting citizens in Seattle and San Francisco near the location of the Navy yards there, as well as some details from personal observation. She stated that the letters transmitted information about ships damaged at Pearl Harbor and that the names of the dolls corresponded to a list that explained the type of ships involved. She furthermore stated that the code to be used in the letters, instructions for use of the code, and $25,000 in $100 bills had been passed to her husband by Yokoyama around November 26, 1941, in her doll store at 718 Madison Avenue for the purpose of supplying information to the Japanese. She repeated her claims that the money had been hidden in her husband’s bed until his death.

However, an investigation by the FBI refuted those claims, disclosing that while Dickinson had been a friend of Yokoyama, her husband had never met him. It was also learned that a physical examination done on him at the time indicated that his mental faculties were impaired at the time of the supposed payment. Both a nurse and a maid employed by the Dickinsons at the time emphatically stated that no money had ever been concealed there.

Velvalee Dickinson appeared in court for sentencing on August 14, 1944. Upon sentencing, the court commented:

It is hard to believe that some people do not realize that our country is engaged in a life and death struggle. Any help given to the enemy means the death of American boys who are fighting for our national security. You, as a natural-born citizen, having a University education, and selling out to the Japanese, were certainly engaged in espionage. I think that you have been given every consideration by the Government. The indictment to which you have pleaded guilty is a serious matter. It borders close to treason. I, therefore, sentence you to the maximum penalty provided by the law, which is ten years and $10,000 fine.

Still maintaining her innocence and claiming that her ,at that stage deceased. husband had been the Japanese spy, Dickinson was imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution for Women (now the Alderson Federal Prison Camp) in Alderson, West Virginia. She was released with conditions on April 23, 1951.

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USS Panay incident-Act of war before the war.

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A bright Sunday in December Japanese planes blazed out of the sky to strafe and bomb an American warship while it lay at anchor.

You’d be forgiven to think this was the Pearl Harbor attack, but you’d be wrong.

The sinking of the USS Panay is pretty much forgotten now. But it was one of the biggest news stories of 1937.

 

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In the 1930s, the United States had something that would be unthinkable today — a treaty with China allowing American gunboats to travel deep up the Yangtze River. It was a major trade route for U.S. commerce in China, and it was notorious for pirate attacks.

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The crews of these ships were small.  Panay for example carried four officers and forty-nine enlisted men, along with a Chinese crew of porters.  The vessel only drew about five feet of water, and resembled more of a Mississippi riverboat than a destroyer.  Yet it had a definite role to play, one summed up on a bronze plaque located in the wardroom: “Mission: For the protection of American life and property in the Yangtze River Valley and its tributaries, and the furtherance of American goodwill in China.”

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By 1937, the Yangtze faced a much bigger threat than pirates: The Japanese army had launched an invasion of China, and by December, the Japanese were fighting for the city of Nanking. The fight became known as the Rape of Nanking.

The USS Panay, with 55 men aboard, was sent to rescue any Americans left, including embassy staff and journalists — most notably War correspondent Norman Alley a newsreel photographer who recorded what was to come.

 

The Panay, with its civilians aboard, escorted the oil tankers 20 miles upstream to wait out the Battle for Nanking. They anchored in the middle of the river and waited. Then, on Dec. 12, a quiet Sunday afternoon, Japanese planes appeared suddenly and bombed the American vessel.

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After the Panay was sunk, the Japanese fighters machine-gunned lifeboats and survivors huddling on the shore of the Yangtze. Two U.S. sailors and a civilian passenger were killed and 11 personnel seriously wounded, setting off a major crisis in U.S.-Japanese relations.

Although the Panay‘s position had been reported to the Japanese as required, the neutral vessel was clearly marked, and the day was sunny and clear, the Japanese maintained that the attack was unintentional, and they agreed to pay $2 million in reparations. Two neutral British vessels were also attacked by the Japanese in the final days of the battle for Nanking.

 

The aftermath of the Panay sinking was a nervous time for the American ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew.

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Grew, whose experience in the foreign service spanned over 30 years, “remembered the Maine,” the US Navy ship that blew up in Havana Harbor in 1898. The sinking of Maine had propelled the US into the Spanish–American War, and Grew hoped the sinking of Panay would not be a similar catalyst for the severance of diplomatic ties and war with Japan.

The Japanese government took full responsibility for sinking Panay but continued to maintain that the attack had been unintentional. Chief of Staff of Japanese naval forces in northern China, Vice Admiral Rokuzo Sugiyama, was assigned to make an apology.

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The formal apology reached Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve.

Although Japanese officials maintained that their pilots never saw any American flags on Panay, a US Navy court of inquiry determined that several US flags were clearly visible on the vessel during the attacks.At the meeting held at the American embassy in Tokyo on 23 December, Japanese officials maintained that one navy airplane had attacked a boat by machine gun for a short period of time and that Japanese army motor boats or launches attack the Chinese steamers escaping upstream on the opposite bank. However, the Japanese navy insisted that the attack had been unintentional. The Japanese government paid an indemnity of $2,214,007.36 to the US on 22 April 1938, officially settling the Panay incident.

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The Pearl Harbor prelude

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What many people forget to realize is that the Pearl Harbor attack did not just happen. The logistics of it alone would have taken months of preparation.

The attack may have been sold to the Japanese population as an honorable event, but there was nothing honorable about it, there cannot be honor with deception.

On the other hand the US Government were naive to believe the Japanese, They knew Japan was going to attack but yet they kept negotiating for peace.

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What really grabbed American attention in the Pacific was the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which pitted the Japanese against Nationalist China.After July of 1941, when Japan occupied all of French Indochina, the United States placed tighter restrictions on Japanese trade, starting what has been described as “financial warfare against Japan.”

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Though it hit Japanese troops hard, it didn’t cease the nation’s push forward. In fact, it only angered the nation further and, on November 5th, 1941, the plan for attack on Pearl Harbor was approved.

At the same time, his government made a last effort to arrive at a diplomatic solution of their differences with the United States. Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura presented two proposals to the American government.Kichisaburo_Nomura_2

Two proposals presented on November 6th and November 20th agreed to a withdrawal of Japanese troops from southern Indochina if the United States discontinued backing Nationalist China. The second proposal also added the stipulation of ceasing Southeast Asian military deployments and providing Japan with oil.

The United States was about to make a counteroffer to this plan, which included a monthly supply of fuel for civilian use. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received a leak of Japan’s war plan and news that Japanese troopships were on their way to Indochina. He then decided that the Japanese were not being sincere in their negotiations and instructed Secretary Hull to drop the counter proposal.

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With a counteroffer on the table, the United States shifted gears when dispatches were intercepted and deciphered indicating that Japan was sending more troops to Indochina, meaning any deal made would be futile. In response, six days after the second proposal the US responded with the Hull Note, which essentially demanded a Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and China.

To the Japanese, the Hull Note served as an ultimatum, their only course of action being a full-on war with a nation they saw as the aggressor.

Also on 26 November 1941 – Chūichi Nagumo’s aircraft carrier strike force headed for Pearl Harbor with the understanding that should “negotiations with the United States reach a successful conclusion, the task force will immediately put about and return to the homeland.

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However they had already set everything in motion to attack the US even before they had received the Hull note, regardless what was in the note the attack could not be reversed at this stage. War was always on their mind.

Japan saw the United States’ continued support of China as an act of aggression in itself, leading to the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Banzai-Suicides for the Emperor

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How do you fight an enemy that is not afraid to kill themselves?19026-004-8C3631D6

In the air they had the Kamikaze pilots on the ground they had troops carrying out Banzai charges, how can you fight an enemy that has absolutely no regard for life? Not even their own lives.

How do you fight an army that sees their leader as some kind of divine entity?

One of the great injustices post WWII was that Emperor Hirohito was not tried for his involvement in World War II, even if it had been for the death of his own soldiers who killed themselves in his ‘honour’

He died on January 7 1989 at the age of 88 after having lived a life of luxury, when thousands of young men died for him or in his name.

 

 

“Whenever we cornered the enemy and there was no way out, we faced the dreaded banzai attack.” An anonymous US Marine who was on Saipan.”

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Banzai Charge was a suicidal last-ditch attack that was mounted by Japanese infantry during WWII. Banzai Charge was actually not the real name of the attack, but rather a name given by Allied forces because during the charge, Japanese forces yelled “Tenno Heika Banzai!” (long live the emperor, ten thousand ages!).

During the war period, the Japanese militarist government began disseminating propaganda that romanticized suicide attack, using one of the virtues of Bushido as the basis for the campaign. The Japanese government presented war as purifying, with death defined as a duty.

By the end of 1944, the government announced the last protocol, unofficially named ichioku gyokusai (一億玉砕, literally “100 million shattered jewels”), implying the will of sacrificing the entire Japanese population of 100 million, if necessary, for the purpose of resisting opposition forces.

During the U.S. raid on Makin Island, on August 17, 1942, the U.S. Marine Raiders attacking the island initially spotted and then killed Japanese machine gunners. The Japanese defenders then launched a banzai charge with rifles and swords but were stopped by American firepower. The pattern was repeated in additional attacks, but with similar results.

During the Battle of Guadalcanal, on August 21, 1942, Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki JapaneseColIchikiled 800 soldiers to launch a direct attack against the American line guarding Henderson Field in the Battle of the Tenaru.

 

After small-scale combat engagement in the jungle, Ichiki’s army launched its banzai charge on the enemy; however, with an organized American defense line already in place, most of the Japanese soldiers were killed and Ichiki subsequently committed suicide.

The largest banzai charge of the war took place in the Battle of Saipan in 1944 where, at the cost of almost 4,300 dead Japanese soldiers, it almost destroyed the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th U.S. Infantry, who lost almost 650 men

Banzai charges were always of dubious effectiveness. In the early stages of the Pacific War, a sudden banzai charge might overwhelm small groups of enemy soldiers unprepared for such an attack. However near the end of the war, a banzai charge inflicted little damage while its participants suffered horrendous losses if launched against an organized defense with strong firepower, such as automatic weapons, machine guns and semi-automatic rifles.

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At best they were conducted by groups of the last surviving soldiers when the main battle was already lost, as a last resort or as an alternative to surrender. At worst they threw away valuable resources in men and arms in suicidal attacks, which only hastened defeat.

Some Japanese commanders, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, recognized the futility and waste of such attacks and expressly forbade their men from carrying them out.

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Indeed, the Americans were surprised that the Japanese did not employ banzai charges at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The greatest effect of the Banzai charge was not casualties, but the decrease in morale in most allied troops.

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Many soldiers feared “the dreaded banzai attack” and this itself sometimes affected performance in the field. Japanese soldiers however did sometimes surrender, but rarely in large numbers. They were also trained to commit suicide if the attack did not breach enemy lines and this included using grenades to kill oneself and any allied soldiers who were not careful. The weapons used by Japanese soldiers during an attack varied from machine guns, rifles, bayonets, swords, spears, knives, grenades, etc.

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Hisao Tani-Japanese War Criminal

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Tani was born 22 December 1882 in Okayama Prefecture. He graduated from the 15th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1903 and from the 24th class of the Army War College, where he became an instructor in 1924. The College used his texts on strategy and tactics as required readings.

He saw service during the Russo-Japanese War and during the First World War, as official observer for the Japanese government in Great Britain.

From 1935 to 1937, Tani was commanding officer of the 6th Division (Imperial Japanese Army), which was assigned to the China Expeditionary Army in December 1937 under the overall command of General Matsui Iwane. The 6th Division fought in North China during the Peiking – Hankow Railway Operation. Shipped south with the Japanese 10th Army, it took part in the end of the Battle of Shanghai, and the Battle of Nanking.

His troops took Nanking on 13 December 1937. The Chinese army had evacuated the city just before it was taken. The ensuing occupation was therefore that of a defenceless city. The Japanese troops nevertheless carried out unspeakable atrocities: massacre, rape, pillaging and destruction were routinely committed.

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During a six to seven week period, more than 100’000 civilians were killed and thousands of women raped. Against this backdrop, Matsui marched triumphantly into Nanking on 17 December 1937 and remained there for several days.

He then served as Commander in Chief of the Central Defence Army before retiring. For the Second World War, he was recalled from retirement to the command of the IJA 59th Army and Chugoku Army District.

After the end of War, Tani was extradited to the Chinese government to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal.

After the end of World War II, the Chinese government demanded that Tani be extradited to China to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Tani denied all charges, blaming Korean soldiers for the massacre.

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Hundreds of survivors as well as several foreigners who witnessed the atrocity from Nanking Safety Zone, including Miner Searle Bates from the University of Nanking, testified against Hani. He was found guilty of instigating, inspiring and encouraging the men under his command to stage general massacres of prisoners of war and non-combatants and to perpetrate such crimes as rape, plunder and wanton destruction of property, during the Battle of Shanghai, the Battle of Nanking and early in its occupation, the Rape of Nanking, and he was consequently executed on 26 April 1947.

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The McCollum Memo-Provoking Japan into war.

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On October 7, 1940, Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum of the Office of Naval

Arthur_H._McCollum_Portrait Intelligence submitted a memo to Navy Captains Walter Anderson and Dudley Knox (whose endorsement is included in the following scans). Captains Anderson and Knox were two of President Roosevelt’s most trusted military advisors.

McCollum wrote that it would be in the interest of the U.S. to go to war with Japan before Japan could provide support to Germany and Italy in their war against England, and before Germany and Italy could take action against the U.S. on behalf of Japan.

However, McCollum realized that it would be politically impractical for Roosevelt to declare war: “It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify their attitude.”

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The McCollum memo contained an eight-part plan to counter rising Japanese power over East Asia:

A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore
B. Make an arrangement with the Netherlands for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies
C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek
D. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore
E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient
F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific[,] in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands
G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil
H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire

The memo was read and appended by Captain Knox, who, despite being seemingly reluctant to “precipitate anything in the Orient”, ultimately concurs. Specifically, he wrote (Page 6):

It is unquestionably to our interest that Britain be not licked – just now she has a stalemate and probably can’t do better. We ought to make certain that she at least gets a stalemate. For this she will probably need from us substantial further destroyers and air-reinforcements to England. We should not precipitate anything in the Orient that would hamper our ability to do this – so long as probability continues. If England remains stable, Japan will be cautious in the Orient. Hence our assistance to England in the Atlantic is also protection to her and us in the Orient. However, I concur in your courses of action. We must be ready on both sides and probably strong enough to care for both.

There is no evidence that Roosevelt ever read or even saw the memo although there are many conspiracy theories about it.

Exactly 14 months later Japan did attack Pearl Harbor which eventually dragged the US into WWII.

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Japanese Instrument of Surrender-the end of WWII

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On September 2, 1945, representatives from the Japanese government and Allied forces assembled aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay to sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, which effectively ended World War II.

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The document was prepared by the U.S. War Department and approved by President Harry S. Truman. Eight short paragraphs formalized the “unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.” The Japanese signatories of the surrender were Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, and acting as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces General Douglas MacArthur accepted their surrender.

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The formal ceremony was witnessed by delegates from the other Allied nations, including China, the United Kingdom, the USSR, France, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

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The surrender came after almost two years of continuous defeats for the Imperial Japanese Army, compounded by the devastating atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945. Word of the Japanese surrender became public on August 14, when President Truman addressed the nation, and August 15 was marked by victory celebrations across the world.

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On September 7, the Japanese Surrender Instruments were presented to President Truman in Washington, DC, and in less than a week later, they were put on public display in the Rotunda of the National Archives, where the the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights reside today.

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Below are some further impressions of that day

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Japan Surrenders

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The Jewel Voice Broadcast  was the radio broadcast in which Japanese Emperor Hirohito  read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War (, announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II. This speech was broadcast at noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945, after the Battle of Okinawa, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.

The speech was probably the first time that an Emperor of Japan had spoken (albeit via a phonograph record) to the common people. It was delivered in the formal, Classical Japanese that few ordinary people could easily understand. It made no direct reference to a surrender of Japan, instead stating that the government had been instructed to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration fully. This created confusion in the minds of many listeners who were not sure whether Japan had surrendered. The poor audio quality of the radio broadcast, as well as the formal courtly language in which the speech was composed, worsened the confusion. A digitally remastered version of the broadcast was released on 30 June 2015.

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The speech was not broadcast directly, but was replayed from a phonograph recording made in the Tokyo Imperial Palace on either August 13 or 14, 1945. Many elements of the Imperial Japanese Army were extremely opposed to the idea that Hirohito was going to end the war, as they believed that this was dishonourable.

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TO OUR GOOD AND LOYAL SUBJECTS:

After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our government to communicate to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.[6]

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which lies close to our heart.

Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone – the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of our servants of the state, and the devoted service of our one hundred million people – the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire towards the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day.

The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood, are the objects of our profound solicitude.

The hardships and sufferings to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable.

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Having been able to safeguard and maintain the Kokutai, We are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention and strife which may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishability of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibility, and of the long road before it.

Unite your total strength, to be devoted to construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution – so that you may enhance the innate glory of the imperial state and keep pace with the progress of the world.

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Dozens of F4U Corsair and F6F Hellcat fighter planes fly in formation over the USS Missouri, while the surrender ceremonies to end World War II take place aboard the U.S. Navy battleship, on September 2, 1945.

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A flag as an apology

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The text of this ‘good luck flag’, which belonged to the Japanese General Shunkichi Ikeda, reads: ’A tiger walks 1,000 miles, but always returns again’. A group of Japanese women from his place of birth embroidered this thousand-stitch saying, meant to bring him luck and prosperity.

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Whenever the General went into battle with his troops from the Japanese Imperial Army, the flag went with him. In early 1945, General Ikeda was stationed in Sorong, a town in New Guinea in the Dutch East Indies.

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His men were attacked by the Allies. Two wounded American pilots were taken prisoner. They were beheaded two days later. Who committed this gruesome act? General Ikeda was ultimately responsible but after the war when he was interrogated in 1946, he could not remember anything about the incident.

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He realized what a hopeless position he was in and gave this flag to his interrogator A. Leijten as a gift. Little is known about what happened to General Ikeda after that; he died in 1948.

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Life Jacket of a different kind- The story of a Dutch Nagasaki survivor.

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A flash and a deafening rumble. On 9 August 1945, the American Air Force exploded an atomic bomb 500 metres above Nagasaki. The Japanese city was wiped away, 39,000 people died and approximately 65,000 were wounded.

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Three days earlier, the Americans had also dropped an A-bomb on Hiroshima, but Japan still refused to surrender.

A Dutch prisoner of war, J. van Houten, who had been deployed to work in a shipyard near Nagasaki owned by Mitsubishi, fled with his fellow prisoners to the hills surrounding the burning city. There was no time to grab anything. Van Houten was not wearing a shirt and it got very cold that evening. To his surprise, out of the blue, he heard a young Japanese soldier ask ‘Tsumetai ka?’, which means more or less: ‘Are you cold?’ When he responded yes, the soldier gave him this raincoat.

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After a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945 and the Second World War came to an end.