Wednesday, August 29, 2007

American Civil War
During this war 600,000 soldiers were killed and 80,000 civilians were killed or died from starvation. This is more than all the other wars combined. This is part of the history beginning at the Turning Point.

Turning Point
The Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July, 1863, marked a definite turning point in the war. Both sides now had seasoned, equally valiant soldiers, and in Lee and Ulysses S. Grant each had a superior general. But the North, with its larger population and comparatively enormous industry, enjoyed a tremendous material advantage. Both sides also resorted to conscription, even though it met some resistance.

Under Stanton, successor to Simon Cameron, the overall administration of the Union army was more efficient. Problems of organization still remained, however, and Henry W. Halleck continued in the difficult role of military adviser, with the title of general in chief. The Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, organized in Dec., 1861, attempted to influence the actions as well as the appointment of Union generals (its efforts were particularly strong on behalf of Hooker). The chairman, Benjamin F. Wade, was frequently at odds with Lincoln, and the committee’s investigations and high-handed actions lowered morale among the Union forces.

Grant and Sherman
On the Georgia-Tennessee line in Sept., 1863, Bragg, having temporarily halted his retreat, severely jolted the Federals, who were saved from a complete rout by the magnificent stand of George H. Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga. Grant, newly appointed supreme commander in the West, hurried to the scene and, with William T. Sherman, Hooker, and Thomas's fearless troops, drove Bragg back to Georgia (Nov. 25). After Knoxville, occupied in September, withstood Longstreet's siege (Nov.–Dec.), all Tennessee, hotbed of Unionism, was now safely restored to the Union.

In Mar., 1864, Lincoln, for many years an admirer of Grant, made him commander in chief. Leaving the West in Sherman's capable hands, Grant came east, took personal charge of Meade's Army of the Potomac, and engaged Lee in the Wilderness campaign (May-June, 1864). Outnumbered but still spirited, the Army of Northern Virginia was slowly and painfully forced back toward Richmond, and in July the tenacious Grant began the long siege of Petersburg.

Although Jubal A. Early won at Monocacy (July 9), threatening the city of Washington, the Confederates were unable to repeat Jackson's successful diversion of 1862, and Philip H. Sheridan, victorious in the grand manner at Cedar Creek (Oct. 19), virtually ended Early's activities in the Shenandoah Valley. For his part, Sherman, opposed first by the wily Joe Johnston and then by John B. Hood, won the Atlanta campaign (May-Sept., 1864).

The Election of 1864
On the political front, a movement within the Republican party to shelve Lincoln had collapsed as the tide turned in the Union's favor. With Andrew Johnson
, Lincolm's own choice for Vice President over the incumbent Hannibal Hamlin, the President was renominated in June, 1864. The Democrats nominated McClellan, who still had a strong popular following, on an ambiguous peace platform (largely dictated by Clement L. Vallandigham, leader of the Copperheads), which the ex-general repudiated. Even so, Lincoln was easily reelected.

Lee's Surrender
After the fall of Atlanta, which had contributed to Lincoln's victory, Sherman's troops made their destructive march through Georgia. Hood had failed to draw Sherman back by invading Union-held Tennessee, and after the battle of Franklin (Nov. 30) Hood's army was almost completely annihilated by Thomas at Nashville (Dec. 15-16, 1864). Sherman presented Lincoln with the Christmas gift of Savannah, Ga., and then moved north through the Carolinas. Farragut's victory at Mobile Bay (Aug. 5, 1864) had effectively closed that port, and on Jan. 15, 1865, Wilmington, N.C., was also cut off.

After Sheridan's victory at Five Forks (Apr. 1), the Petersburg lines were breached and the Confederates evacuated Richmond (Apr. 3). With his retreat blocked by Sheridan, Lee, wisely giving up the futile contest, surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse (see under Appomattox) on Apr. 9, 1865. The surviving Confederate armies also yielded when they heard of Lee's capitulation, thus ending the conflict that resulted in over 600,000 casualties.

The long war was over, but for the victors the peace was marred by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the greatest figure of the war. The ex-Confederate states, after enduring the unsuccessful attempts of Reconstruction to impose a new society on the South, were readmitted to the Union, which had been saved and in which slavery was now abolished. The Civil War brought death to more Americans than did any other war, including World War II. Photographs by Mathew B. Brady and others reveal some of the horror behind the statistics. The war cost untold billions and nourished rather than canceled hatreds and intolerance, which persisted for decades. It established many of the patterns, especially a strong central government, that are now taken for granted in American national life. Virtually every battlefield, with its graves, is either a national or a state park. Monuments commemorating Civil War figures and events are conspicuous in almost all sizable Northern towns and are even more numerous in the upper South.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The History of Labor Day
Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means?

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mitchell Paige, USMC
Mitchell Paige (August 31, 1918 – November 15, 2003) was a recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II. He received this most prestigious military honor awarded by the United States of America for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands on October 26, 1942, where, after all of the other Marines in his platoon were killed or wounded, he operated four machine guns, singlehandedly stopping an entire Japanese regiment.

Mitchell was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. His parents were Serb immigrants who arrived in the USA from the Military Frontier, their last name being Pejić. His mother kept him and his brother in touch with their roots, reminding them of the Battle of Kosovo, but also told them to be proud Americans.

In the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, on October 26, 1942, while a platoon sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, he held his line against advancing Japanese forces even after all of his comrades had been killed or wounded. After reinforcements arrived, Paige led a counterattack against the Japanese, which successfully repelled the enemy forces and held the American line. While on Guadalcanal he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the field on 19 December 1942. General Alexander Vandegrift presented Paige with the Medal of Honor in a special ceremony in Balcombe, Australia, on May 21, 1943 for his actions. Paige later served in the Korean War, retiring from active duty in 1959 .

Among his numerous military decorations were: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Good Conduct Medal, the China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, the American Campaign Medal, the Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon, and the United Nations Service Medal. Paige retired with the rank of Colonel.

Paige wrote a book about his experiences titled "A Marine Named Mitch".

In his later years, he served to ferret out imposters wearing or selling the Medal of Honor.

On 15 November 2003, Colonel Paige died of congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, California on at the age of 85. He was the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient of the Guadalcanal campaign. He was buried with full military honors at the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.

Non-military awards and recognitions
Paige was awarded the Eagle Scout award by the Boy Scouts of America on March 24, 2003; which he had earned in his last year in high school, but had never been presented because he had left home to join the Marine Corps. He is one of only six known Eagle Scouts who also received the Medal of Honor. The others are Aquilla J. Dyess (USMC), Robert Edward Femoyer (U.S. Army Air Corps), Eugene B. Fluckey (USN), Leo K. Thorsness (USN) and Jay Zeamer, Jr. (USAAF). Paige is also a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

He served as the model for a G.I. Joe doll — the Marine Corps figure in a series honoring Medal of Honor recipients from each branch of the U.S. military.
On May 2, 2006, the Board of Education of Desert Sands Unified School District in a unanimous decision decided to honor Col. Paige, when naming its newest school. Col. Mitchell Paige Middle School opened the Fall of 2006 in La Quinta, California.

Medal of Honor citation
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to



for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area on October 26, 1942. When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, Platoon Sergeant Paige, commanding a machine-gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he manned his gun, and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire against the advancing hordes until reinforcements finally arrived. Then, forming a new line, he dauntlessly and aggressively led a bayonet charge, driving the enemy back and preventing a break through in our lines. His great personal valor and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Andrew Jackson aka Old Hickory
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). He was also military governor of Florida (1821), commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815), a founder of the modern Democratic Party, and the eponym of the era of Jacksonian democracy. He was a polarizing figure who dominated American politics in the 1820s and 1830s. Nicknamed "Old Hickory" because he was renowned for his toughness, Jackson was the first President primarily associated with the frontier (although born in South Carolina, he based his career in Tennessee).

Early life and career
Andrew Jackson was born to Presbyterian Scots-Irish immigrants Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson in Lancaster County, South Carolina, on March 15, 1767. He was the youngest of three brothers and was born just weeks after his father's death. Both North Carolina and South Carolina have claimed Jackson as a "native son," because the community straddled the state line, and there was conflicting lore in the neighborhood about his exact birth site. Jackson himself always stated definitively he was born in a cabin just inside South Carolina. Having received a sporadic education, Jackson, at age thirteen and during the American Revolutionary War, joined a local regiment as a courier

Andrew and his brother Robert Jackson were taken as prisoners, and they nearly starved to death. When Andrew refused to clean the boots of a British officer, the irate redcoat slashed at him, giving him scars on his left hand and head, as well as an intense hatred for the British. Both boys contracted smallpox while imprisoned, and Robert died days after his mother secured their release. Jackson's entire immediate family died from war-time related hardships that Jackson blamed upon the British and left him orphaned by age 15. Jackson was the last U.S. President to have been a veteran of the American Revolution, and the only President to have been a prisoner of war.

Jackson went to Tennessee in 1787. Though he could barely read law, he found he knew enough to become a young lawyer on the frontier. Since he was not from a distinguished family, he had to make his career by his own merits; and soon he began to prosper in the rough-and-tumble world of frontier law. Most of the actions grew out of disputed land-claims, or from assaults and battery. He was elected as Tennessee's first Congressman, upon its statehood in the late 1790s, and quickly became a U.S. Senator in 1797 but resigned within a year. In 1798, he was appointed judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Military career
War of 1812
Jackson became a colonel in the Tennessee militia, which he had led since the beginning of his military career in 1801. During the War of 1812, in 1813, Northern Creek Band chieftain Peter McQueen killed 400 men, women, and children in what became known as the Fort Mims Massacre (in what is now Alabama). Jackson commanded in the campaign against the Northern Creek Indians of Alabama and Georgia, also known as the "Red Sticks." Creek leaders such as William Weatherford (Red Eagle), Peter McQueen, and Menawa, who had been allies of the British during the War of 1812, violently clashed with other chiefs of the Creek Nation over white encroachment on Creek lands and the "civilizing" programs administered by U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins.

In the Creek War, a theatre of the War of 1812, Jackson defeated the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Jackson was aided by members of the Southern Creek Indian Band, who had requested Jackson's aid in putting down the "rebellious" Red Sticks, and some Cherokee Indians, who also sided with the Americans. 800 Northern Creek Band "Red Sticks" Indians were massacred. Jackson spared Weatherford's life from any acts of vengeance. Sam Houston and David Crockett, later to become famous themselves in Texas, served under Jackson at this time. Following the victory, Jackson imposed the Treaty of Fort Jackson upon both his Northern Creek enemy and Southern Creek allies, wresting 20 million acres (81,000 km?) from all Creeks for white settlement.

Jackson's service in the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom was conspicuous for its bravery and success. He was a strict officer, but was popular with his troops. It was said he was "tough as old hickory" wood on the battlefield, which gave him his nickname. The war, and particularly his command at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, made his national reputation. He advanced in rank to Major General. In the battle, Jackson's 4,000 militiamen and 16 heavy cannons behind barricades of cotton bales opposed 10,000 British regulars marching across an open field, led by General Edward Pakenham. The battle was a total American victory. The British had over 2,000 casualties to Jackson's 13 killed and 58 wounded or missing.

First Seminole War
Jackson served in the military again during the First Seminole War when he was ordered by President James Monroe in December 1817 to lead a campaign in Georgia against the Seminole and Creek Indians. Jackson was also charged with preventing Spanish Florida from becoming a refuge for runaway slaves. Critics later alleged that Jackson exceeded orders in his Florida actions. His directions were to "terminate the conflict."Jackson believed the best way to do this would be to seize Florida. Before going, Jackson wrote to Monroe, "Let it be signified to me through any channel... that the possession of the Floridas would be desirable to the United States, and in sixty days it will be accomplished." Monroe gave Jackson orders that were purposely ambiguous, sufficient for international denials.

Jackson's Tennessee volunteers were attacked by Seminoles, but this left their villages vulnerable, and Jackson burned them and their crops. He found letters that indicated that the Spanish and British were secretly assisting the Indians. Jackson believed that the United States would not be secure as long as Spain and Great Britain encouraged American Indians to fight and argued that his actions were undertaken in self-defense. Jackson captured Pensacola, Florida with little more than some warning shots and deposed the Spanish governor. He tried, and then captured and executed two British subjects, Robert Ambrister and Alexander Arbuthnot who had been supplying and advising the Indians. Jackson's action also struck fear into the Seminole tribes as word of his ruthlessness in battle spread.

The executions combined with Jackson's attack and seizure over a country they were not at war with created an international incident, and many in the Monroe administration called for Jackson to be censured. However, Jackson's actions were defended by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, an early believer in the Manifest Destiny. When the Spanish minister demanded a "suitable punishment" for Jackson, Adams wrote back "Spain must immediately [decide] either to place a force in Florida adequate at once to the protection of her territory, ... or cede to the United States a province, of which she retains nothing but the nominal possession, but which is, in fact, ... a post of annoyance to them." Adams used Jackson's conquest, and Spain's own weaknesses, to convince the Spanish (in the Adams-On?s Treaty) to cede Florida to the United States. Jackson was subsequently named its territorial governor.

Election of 1824
The Tennessee legislature nominated Jackson for president in 1822. It also made him a Senator again in the United States Senate. In 1824, most of the Democratic-Republican Party in Congress had boycotted the nominating caucus; those that adhered to it backed William H. Crawford for president and Albert Gallatin for vice president. A convention in Pennsylvania nominated Jackson for president almost a month later, on March 4. Gallatin critiqued Jackson as "an honest man and the idol of the worshippers of military glory, but from incapacity, military habits, and habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions, altogether unfit for the office." Thomas Jefferson, who would later write to William Crawford in dismay at the outcome of the election, wrote to Jackson in December of 1823:

"I recall with pleasure the remembrance of our joint labors while in the Senate together in times of great trial and of hard battling, battles indeed of words, not of blood, as those you have since fought so much for your own glory & that of your country; with the assurance that my attamts continue undiminished, accept that of my great respect & consideration."

Biographer Robert V. Remini said that Jefferson "had no great love for Jackson." Daniel Webster wrote that Jefferson told him in December of 1824 that Jackson was a dangerous man unfit for the presidency. Historian Sean Wilentz described Webster's account of the meeting as "not wholly reliable."

During his first run for the presidency in 1824, Jackson received a plurality of both the popular and electoral votes. Since no candidate received a majority, the election decision was given to the House of Representatives, which chose John Quincy Adams as president in 1825. Jackson denounced it as a "corrupt bargain" because House Speaker Henry Clay gave his votes to Adams, who then appointed Clay Secretary of State. Jackson later called for the abolition of the Electoral College. Jackson's defeat burnished his political credentials, however, since many voters believed the "man of the people" had been robbed by the "corrupt aristocrats of the East."

Election of 1828
The Tennessee legislature again nominated Jackson for the presidency. He resigned from United States Senate in 1825. Jackson allied himself with Vice President John C. Calhoun, Martin Van Buren, and former supporters of William H. Crawford; together they built a coalition that handily defeated the reelection of John Quincy Adams in 1828. His supporters called themselves "Jackson Men," or Jacksonians.

Presidency 1829-1837
The Federal Debt
During Jackson's term, the United States' federal government managed to repay the totality of the federal debt for the first and only time in the country's history.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Japanese Surrender
September 2, 1945
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander, reads his speech opening the surrender ceremony, the representatives of all the Allied nations standing behind him.

From left to right;General Hsu Yung-Chang (China)Admiral Sir Bruce A. Fraser RN Lt. General Kuzma Derevyanko (USSR), General Sir Thomas Blamey (Australia)Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave (Canada)General Jacques LeClerc (France)Vice Admiral Conrad E. L. Helfrich (The Netherlands)

Air Vice Marshall Leonard M. Isitt (New Zealand)"We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues, involving divergent ideals and ideologies, have been determined on the battlefields of the world and hence are not for our discussion or debate. Nor is it for us here to meet, representing as we do a majority of the people of the earth, in a spirit of distrust, malice or hatred. But rather it is for us, both victors and vanquished, to rise to that higher dignity which alone befits the sacred purposes we are about to serve, committing all our people unreservedly to faithful compliance with the understanding they are here formally to assume. It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past -- a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice. Following the signing of the documents MacArthur continued, this time transmitting to the world.

"Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won.... As I look back upon the long, tortuous trail from those grim days of Bataan and Corregidor, when an entire world lived in fear, when democracy was on the defensive everywhere, when modern civilization trembled in the balance, I thank a merciful God that he has given us the faith, the courage and the power from which to mold victory. We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned there can be no turning back. We must go forward to preserve in peace what we won in war. A new era is upon us. Even the lesson of victory itself brings with it profound concern, both for our future security and the survival of civilization. The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery, has in fact now reached a point which revises the traditional concepts of war. Men since the beginning of time have sought peace.... Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. We have had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all material and cultural development of the past two thousand years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh."

The Japanese delegation aboard the USS Missouri BB-63.Front row; Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (top hat)General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.Second row; Major General Yatsuji NagaiKatsuo Okazaki (Foreign Ministry)Rear Admiral Tadatoshi Tomioka Toshikazu Kase (Foreign Ministry)Lt. General Suichi MiyakaziThird row;Rear Admiral Ichiro YokoyamaSaburo Ota (Foreign Ministry)Captain Katsuo Shiba (Navy)Colonel Kaziyi Sugita

Saturday, August 4, 2007

V-J Day
End of World War II
Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) is the celebration of the Surrender of Japan, which was initially announced on August 15, 1945 (August 14 U.S. date), ending combat in the Second World War. In Japan, the day is known as Shusen-kinenbi, which literally means the "Memorial day for the end of the war". This is commemorated as Liberation Day in Korea and some other nations.

On this day 62 years ago while I was a member of the First Marine Division, history was made near us. We had just won the battle of Okinawa when the news reached us by radio that Japan had surrendered. We celebrated by firing our weapons into the air. We had been inland hopping fighting the Japs in the Pacific war zone for years and our next invasion would have been mainland Japan.

My age was 17 when I first engaged in battle with the Japanese and I celebrated my 20th birthday on Aug. 11, 1945. It was not really a celebration because beer had not been available for us as long as World War II was ongoing. We thought we would be coming home, but that was not the case.

We were sent to North China to accept the surrender of the Japanese who had occupied that country for years. It was April 1946 before I arrived in San Diego, California. After getting a haircut and a clean uniform, I went to the big city of San Diego for a night on the town. That quickly became a downer when I was not allowed to buy a beer because I was not yet 21. In those days, we had to be 21 or older to vote.

Upon arriving by Greyhound bus near the log house in the hills of Tennessee where my mother and sister lived, it became another downer. The nearest place the bus could let me off to my home place was four miles away. Here I am wearing my dress-blue beautiful Marine Corps uniform with combat ribbons on my chest and carrying my sea bag on my back while the traffic went by me and would not stop to give me a lift. I walked all the way and was glad to be home again.

At noon Japan standard time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito's announcement of Japan's acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that "acceptance of the Potsdam Proclaimation [would be] coming soon," then advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S. Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.

Since Japan was the last Axis Power to surrender and V-J Day followed V-E Day by three months, V-J Day marked the end of World War II.

The formal Japanese signing of the surrender terms took place on board the battleship USS Missouri Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, and at that time Truman actually declared September 2 to be VJ-Day.

V-J Day is sometimes referred to as V-P Day (Victory in the Pacific Day) to bring it in line with V-E Day where the major enemy power, Germany, was not singled out in the way V-J Day did to Japan. However, since no other power was an Axis belligerent in the Pacific War, such alteration of nomenclature seems unnecessary to many.

In the United States, V-J Day is commemorated on August 14 since the news of the surrender broke on that date in U.S. time zones.

V-J Day is still a state holiday in Rhode Island. The holiday's official name is "Victory Day," and it is observed on the second Monday of August.

In Australia, the name V-P Day was used from the outset. The Canberra Times of August 14, 1945, refers to VP Day celebrations, and a public holiday for VP Day was gazetted by the government in that year according to the Australian War Memorial.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Guadalcanal World War II
The first major offensive launched by the Allies against Japan in World War II took place on Guadalcanal from August 7, 1942, to February 9, 1943. Since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese had advanced toward the South Pacific, threatening the Allies' South Pacific ferry route connecting Australia and the United States. In May and June, 1942, the U.S. Navy made headway against the Japanese advance in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. These successes led the U.S. military to pursue a two-pronged assault in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea.

Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, invaded by the Japanese in July, 1942, was one of the most important Japanese strongholds due to its proximity to Australia. The Japanese built an airfield at Lunga Point and artillery positions in the hills nearby and had about 8,400 men on the island by August.

On August 7, 1942, U.S. Marines landed on the northern beaches of Guadalcanal after Navy ships fired onto the island ahead of them. Over the next three months, the Marines secured the airfield and a 6 mile wide section of the beach.

On October 13, an Army unit arrived to reinforce the Marines. The Marines and Army soldiers repelled a Japanese attack on the 23rd, inflicting heavy losses on the Japanese and pushing the Japanese out further during the rest of the month.

On November 4th, the U.S. Infantry fought 1,500 Japanese troops that landed on the beach at Koli Point. They killed half the Japanese force. The rest escaped into the jungle.

In mid-November, the U.S. Navy fought the Japanese at the Battle of Guadalcanal, when the Japanese attempted a major reinforcement of troops via the "Tokyo Express" run of supply-laden destroyers. In this four-day battle, the U.S. Navy foiled the reinforcement effort, and only 4,000 of 10,000 Japanese troops reached land.

After this battle, the American troops pushed on in an effort to take Mount Austen. Thrashing through the jungle, they faced heavy fire from Japanese troops. Finally, during the first two days of 1943, in a two-pronged attack on the Mount Austen stronghold at Gifu, American troops succeeded in securing most of the Gifu area and the west slopes of the mountain.

Overall, between 400 and 500 Japanese troops died, and over 100 American troops died in the effort to take Mount Austen. During January, 1943, the American troops battled Japanese strongholds on Mount Austen to take areas known as Galloping Horse and Sea Horse and secure the Gifu area. In the third week of January, the American troops took the Japanese headquarters at Kokumbona.

American troops mounted attacks by land and sea to annihilate the Japanese, but in the end, about 13,000 Japanese troops escaped. Nevertheless, by February 9, 1943, the U.S. troops took control of the island, helping to turn back the Japanese drive toward Australia and secure a base from which to launch attacks at the Japanese in the South Pacific.

All told, 1,592 American troops were killed in action and 4,183 were wounded. Thousands more were disabled by tropical diseases like malaria. The Japanese lost 14,800 in battle and 9,000 from disease. About 1,000 Japanese men were taken prisoner.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Toguri d’Aquino aka “Tokyo Rose”
Following the Japanese surrender in September 1945, American troops began searching for Japanese military leaders and others who may have committed war crimes. The press—sometimes following, sometimes beating the military to the scene—did the same.

Two of these reporters, Henry Brundidge and Clark Lee, sought “Tokyo Rose,” the notorious siren who tried to demoralize American soldiers and sailors during the war by highlighting their hardships and sacrifices.

Through their legwork and contacts, the two reporters quickly identified one young American woman, Iva Ikuko Toguri d’Aquino, who had made such broadcasts. Brundidge and Lee offered her a significant sum, which they later reneged on paying, for exclusive rights to interview her. Aquino agreed, signing a contract that identified her as “Tokyo Rose.”

The problem for Aquino, though, was that “Tokyo Rose” was not an actual person, but the fabricated name given by soldiers to a series of American-speaking women who made propaganda broadcasts under different aliases. As a result of her interview with the two reporters, Aquino came to be seen by the public—though not by Army and FBI investigators—as the mythical protagonist "Tokyo Rose." This popular image defined her in the public mind of the post-war period and continues to color debate about her role in World War II today.

Early Life
Aquino was born Ikuko Toguri in Los Angeles on July 4, 1916. Her father, Jun Toguri, had come to the U.S. from Japan in 1899. Her mother followed in 1913, and the family eventually settled in Los Angeles. During her school years, Ikuko Toguri used the first name of Iva. She attended grammar schools in Calexico and San Diego before returning with her family to Los Angeles where she finished grammar school and went on to high school and junior college.

Iva Toguri enrolled in the University of California at Los Angeles and graduated in January 1940 with a degree in zoology. She did graduate work there until June of that year. During her school years, Toguri was a popular student and was considered a loyal American. Her favorite pastimes included sports, hiking, and swing music. From June 1940 until July 1941, Toguri assisted her father in his mercantile shop.

To Japan
On July 5, 1941, Toguri sailed for Japan from San Pedro, California, without a U.S. passport. In subsequent years, she gave two reasons for her trip: to visit a sick aunt and to study medicine. In September of that year, Toguri appeared before the U.S. Vice Consul in Japan to obtain a passport, stating she wished to return to the U.S. for permanent residence. Because she left the U.S. without a passport, her application was forwarded to the Department of State for consideration. Before arrangements were completed for issuing a passport, Japan attacked America, and war was declared.

Iva later withdrew the application, saying she would voluntarily remain in Japan for the duration of the war. She enrolled in a Japanese language and culture school to improve her language skills. From mid-1942 until late 1943, Toguri worked as a typist for the Domei News Agency; in August 1943, she obtained a second job as a typist for Radio Tokyo.

The Zero Hour
In November 1943, Toguri was asked to become a broadcaster for Radio Tokyo on the Zero Hour program. The program was part of a Japanese psychological warfare campaign designed to lower the morale of U.S. Armed Forces. The Zero Hour was broadcast every day except Sunday, from 6 p.m. until 7:15 p.m., Tokyo time. Toguri participated in most weekday broadcasts, but other women handled weekend duties.
Toguri was introduced on the program as "Orphan Ann," "Orphan Annie." Toguri's average time on each program was about 20 minutes, during which she made propaganda statements and introduced popular records of the day, such as "Speak to Me of Love," "In a Little Gypsy Tea Room," and "Love's Old Sweet Song." The remainder of the program was devoted chiefly to news items from America and general news commentaries by other members of the broadcasting staff.

By late 1944, Toguri was writing her own material for the program. Her salary at Radio Tokyo reportedly amounted to some 150 yen per month—about $7 in U.S. currency. Toguri was not a professional radio personality, but many of those who later recalled hearing her enjoyed the program, especially the music.

As far as its propaganda value, Army analysis suggested that the program had no negative effect on troop morale and that it might even have raised it a bit. The Army’s sole concern about the broadcasts was that “Annie” appeared to have good intelligence on U.S. ship and troop movements.

On April 19, 1945, Iva Toguri married Felipe Aquino, a Portuguese citizen of Japanese-Portuguese ancestry. The marriage was registered with the Portuguese Consulate in Tokyo; however, Aquino did not renounce her U.S. citizenship. She continued her Zero Hour broadcast until the war was over.

After The War
In September 1945, after the press had reported that Aquino was “Tokyo Rose,” U.S. Army authorities arrested her. The FBI and the Army’s Counterintelligence Corps conducted an extensive investigation to determine whether Aquino had committed crimes against the U.S. By the following October, authorities decided that the evidence then known did not merit prosecution, and she was released.

Before the year was out, Aquino again requested a U.S. passport. American veterans groups and noted broadcaster Walter Winchell learned of this and became outraged that the woman they thought of as “Tokyo Rose” wanted to return to this country. They demanded that the woman they considered a traitor be arrested and tried, not welcomed back.

The public furor convinced the Justice Department that the matter should be re-examined, and the FBI was asked to turn over its investigative records on the matter. The FBI's investigation of Aquino's activities had covered a period of some five years. During the course of that investigation, the FBI had interviewed hundreds of former members of the U.S. Armed Forces who had served in the South Pacific during World War II, unearthed forgotten Japanese documents, and turned up recordings of Aquino's broadcasts. Many of these recordings, though, were destroyed following the initial decision not to prosecute Aquino in 1946.

The Department of Justice initiated further efforts to acquire additional evidence that might be sufficient to convict Aquino. It issued a press release asking all U.S. soldiers and sailors who had heard the Radio Tokyo propaganda broadcasts and who could identify the voice of the broadcaster to contact the FBI. Justice also sent one of its attorneys and reporter Harry Brundidge to Japan to search for other witnesses. Problematically, Brundidge enticed a former contact of his to perjure himself in the matter.

With new witnesses and evidence, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco convened a grand jury, and Aquino was indicted on a number of counts in September 1948. She was detained in Japan and brought under military escort to the U.S., arriving in San Francisco on September 25, 1948. There, she was immediately arrested by FBI agents, who had a warrant charging her with the crime of treason for adhering to, and giving aid and comfort to, the Imperial Government of Japan during World War II.

The Trial
Aquino's trial began on July 5, 1949, one day after her 33rd birthday. On September 29, 1949, the jury found her guilty on one count in the indictment. The jury ruled that:

“...on a day during October, 1944, the exact date being to the Grand Jurors unknown, said defendant, at Tokyo, Japan, in a broadcasting studio of the Broadcasting Corporation of Japan, did speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships.”

This made Aquino, who had gained notoriety as “Tokyo Rose,” the seventh person to be convicted of treason in the history of this country. On October 6, 1949, Aquino was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and fined $10,000 for the crime of treason.

On January 28, 1956, she was released from the Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia, where she had served six years and two months of her sentence. She successfully fought government efforts to deport her and returned to Chicago, where she worked in her father’s shop until his death. President Gerald Ford pardoned her on January 19, 1977.