Truman Warns Japan to Surrender

The above was filmed on June 7, 1945.  In July the Army Air Corps dropped sixteen million leaflets on Japanese cities warning the Japanese to evacuate their cities.  The leaflets varied, but the message in Japanese on the leaflets was substantially as follows: (more…)

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 29, 1945: 509th Composite Group Receives Attack Order

Nobody knows

Into the air the secret rose
Where they´re going, nobody knows
Tomorrow they´ll return again
But we´ll never know where they´ve been.
Don´t ask us about results or such
Unless you want to get in Dutch.
But take it from one who is sure of the score,
the 509th is winning the war.

When the other Groups are ready to go
We have a program of the whole damned show
And when Halsey´s 5th shells Nippon´s shore
Why, shucks, we hear about it the day before.
And MacArthur and Doolittle give out in advance
But with this new bunch we haven´t a chance
We should have been home a month or more
For the 509th is winning the war

Anonymous, doggerel made up by pilots of other air groups about the “hush-hush” 509th

Activated on December 17, 1944, the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Corps was commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets, at 29 already a seasoned air combat veteran in Europe. The flying units of the Group, in addition to support units, consisted of the 393rd Bombardment Squadron and the 320th Troop Carrier Squadron, 1767 personnel, 15 B-29 bombers and 5 C-54 transports.  The Group was based and trained at Wendover Air Force Base in Utah.

Training was conducted in intense secrecy with the officers and men advised that any breach of security would be punished with the utmost severity, which might well include the death penalty.  Curious officers and men of other units were warned away at gun point.

The unit re-deployed to Tinian on June 11, 1945.  The unit engaged in numerous practice bombing missions, including twelve over targets over the Home Islands, with special “pumpkin bombs” replicating the dimensions of the “Fat Man” atomic bomb. (more…)

Published in: on July 29, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 28, 1945: B-25 Bomber Crashes into Empire State Building

Aviation was only 42 years old in 1945 and flying a plane, especially in fog, was as much an art as a science.  This was demonstrated on Saturday, July 28, 1945 when a B-25 Mitchell bomber, Old John Feather Merchant, struck the north side of the Empire State Building between the 78th and 80th stories, striking the building where the National Catholic Welfare Council, the predecessor organization of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Flying to Newark Airport, the pilot, Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith, Jr., was advised of zero visibility conditions by the landing tower at La Guardia and advised to land which he declined to do.  A 1942 graduate of West Point, the 27 year old Smith was an experienced combat pilot with forty missions with the Eighth Air Force, and had earned a Distinguished Flying Cross with cluster.  It is theorized that Smith became confused and thought he was over New Jersey when he was actually over downtown New York at a hair-raising 500 feet.  He managed to avoid three skyscrapers before careering into the fourteen year old Empire State Building.

All three men on the bomber were killed instantly and eleven people in the building, with twenty-five wounded.  Twenty year old elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a 75 floor elevator plunge caused by the crash.  The resulting fire was put out in 45 minutes. (more…)

Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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North America: 240 Years in Four Minutes

 

Quite a bit of stability in the map of North America since the 19th century, a testament to how peaceful the area has been, other than internal strife in Mexico in the first third of the 20th century, and internal strife in Central America in the seventies and the eighties.

 

 

Published in: on July 27, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 26, 1945: Prompt and Utter Destruction

At the Potsdam Conference on July 26, 1945, the governments of the United States, Great Britain and China announced their terms of surrender for Japan.  The key points of the Declaration:

1.  Any occupation of Japan would be temporary until a democratic, peaceful, government was established and firmly in control, and the other goals of the occupation had been achieved.

2.  Japan, by trade, would have access to overseas raw materials and food.

3.  Japanese military forces would be disarmed and allowed to return to their homes.  Japan was to be deprived of any war making capability.

4.  Japan would consist of the Home Islands and such other minor islands as determined by the Allies.

5.  Stern justice would be meted out to Japanese war criminals.

6.  The Japanese were warned that the terms would not be deviated from and that failure of Japan to immediately surrender would result in prompt and immediate destruction.  Here is the text of the Declaration: (more…)

Published in: on July 26, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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On Vacation 2015

family-on-vacation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys1yJSy2Yg4

Something for the weekend:  Come Sail Away sung by the Chipmunks.  (I know, that was evil of me.)

 

I am on vacation beginning today with my family until August 2.  My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent.  I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example:  Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or Obama reveals that Area 51 does contain aliens and Joe Biden has accidentally started an intergalactic war with them, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.

We will begin up in Kenosha, Wisconsin with a visit to my bride’s mother.  We have been doing this since the birth of the twins and it has always been a fun family gathering.  Our new dog will be meeting her new cat so that will probably liven up the proceedings.

 

My bride, I and our 23 year old and 20 year old “kids” will be taking off for the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds.  If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled.  If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are.  Last year’s attendance was in excess of 56,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events.

(more…)

Published in: on July 25, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Action of July 24, 1945

One of the last naval actions in the Pacific War, the Action of July 24, 1945 was a Japanese victory.  Among the suicide weapons implemented by the Japanese at the end of the War were kaitens, manned torpedoes.  The I-53 was manned with kaitens, and launched six of them on an attack on an American troop convoyed escorted by Destroyer Escort USS Underhill, six sub chasers and a patrol boat.  The Underhill took out two of the kaitens before being sunk by the explosion of the second kaiten, as it was rammed by the Underhill.  The Underhill suffered casualties of 112 killed and 122 wounded.

Published in: on July 24, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Top Movie Battle Speeches

An interesting list hampered by a narrator who obviously had no depth of knowledge of the films.  (The 54th “Army” instead of the 54th Massachusetts.)

 

Here are some other picks:

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9fa3HFR02E (more…)

Published in: on July 23, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Abraham Lincoln’s Will

300px-JudgeDDavis

 

He didn’t have one, which is curious considering that Lincoln had been an attorney for almost a quarter of a century prior to being elected President.  Mary Lincoln called upon his friend Supreme Court Justice David Davis to act as administrator of the Estate, which he did, charging no fee and asking for no reimbursement for his expenses.

Congress donated the sum of $25,000.00 a years salary, to Lincoln’s family.  The Estate was closed in November 1867 showing a balance of $110,296.80, in today’s cash that would be : $1,750,742.86.  Lincoln’s estate was equally divided between Mary and her two sons.  Mary could have asked for a widow’s cash allowance, but she waived it.

Although Davis agreed to serve as administrator of the Estate he had no high opinion of Mary Lincoln.  In 1873, according to a diary entry of Senator Orville Browning (R. Il.): (more…)

Published in: on July 22, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Of Mockingbirds and Consciences

 

They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

(I originally posted this on The American Catholic, and I thought the Literary Mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)

 

As I slave away in the law mines, I take my flashes of amusement where I can find them.  One thing that has often amused me is the bizarre names that people these days often curse their children with.  I often find when questioning the mother that the name was from some television show, film, video or song, often with a spelling variant to ensure that the child will be a special little snowflake and have his or her name misspelled for the remainder of the time God allots the child in this Vale of Tears.

Naming kids after a fictional character has always struck me as bizarre:  real people always being so much more interesting than two-dimensional fictional puppets.

An example of the drawbacks of naming a child after a fictional character has been illustrated this week by an interesting little literary-morality tempest being played out this week.  Harper Lee, a one book wonder, To Kill a Mockingbird, has released another book, Go Set a Watchman.  The story behind this book is perhaps more interesting than the tome itself.  Ms. Lee, 89 years old, lives in an assisted living facility, and is perhaps in her dotage.  Go Set a Watchman was written in 1957, the year of my birth, before To Kill a Mockingbird.  It was rejected by a publisher at the time as showing promise but not ready for publication, an accurate assessment I think.  That the book is now being published 58 years later might cause some to suspect the motivations of those now in control of Ms. Lee’s affairs, since for more than a half century she made no effort to have this early work published.  No doubt a book about the behind the scenes machinations that led to the publication of Go Set a Watchman will be forthcoming eventually, doubtless not written by Ms. Lee, alas.  More on this below the fold, with spoilers in regard to Go Set a Watchman. (more…)

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