Friday, April 18, 2014

August 14, 1945 Honolulu Hawaii,

Vimeo link.

How young!  Spontaneous Party and Parade in 1945. The Air Force person who sent this said a young woman discovered this film that her father made.

Wonderful color quality and excellent editing. It has a modern feel to it.

Please notice when Jimmy Durante sings "I'll be Seeing You" an officer takes a long pull from a bottle and makes his bare stomach wave visibly as if affected by the drink. That must have been a thing. I bet it was.

I don't know why I get verklempt but I do. Our country is the opposite of this now. I don't even want to type VJ day because now even that means the reverse. The description is touching, the comments are touching, the whole thing extraordinary. What a palate-cleanser.


Lem said...


bagoh20 said...

Can you even imagine how happy that day was to those people and those at home waiting for them?

Then the sadness that would sneak in when you remembered those you wished and always hoped would be there with you on this day, but for pure bad luck missed it and all that would come after.

Bittersweet, but I imagine the sweet mostly won this day.

ricpic said...

They were all happy, all excited, all tremendously relieved that the war was over and they weren't going to die....and yet no one rioted....isn't that amazing?

The Dude said...

My uncle was glad to be home, that's for sure. He used the money he won playing poker on board the ships that carried him from Tawara, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and I am sure, other battles, and when he got home he bought a brand new Cadillac. Paid for it with cash.

That man knew how to live.

edutcher said...

A lot of those guys had just gotten a pardon from the governor.

A lot of recently declassified material shows how bad the invasion of Japan was going to be; there was no choice but to drop the bomb.

In addition to the 6 Marine and 21 Army divisions in the Pacific, 42 more from the Army were on their with with a strategic reserve of 21 more in the States - which almost certainly would have been deployed.

5th and 9th Armies were going to mop up China, 10 Army was going to Korea, and 1st (and probably 7th, too) Army would join 6th and 8th in Japan. Only 5 US Armored divisions would stay in Europe.

Anybody who thinks we did wrong doesn't know what they're talking about.

deborah said...

Thanks, Chip. I sure was not expecting it to be in color. Amazing feeling of being there.

Ed, I recall my HS history teacher saying it was a choice between 100,000 military personnel or 100,000 Japanese. Am I remembering that correctly? Whatever he said, it was an equivalent amount.

edutcher said...

More than that.

The Army, going by MacArthur's record in New Guinea and the Philippines, forecast 400,000 casualties to take southern Kyushu and the Tokyo area (opening phases, keep in mind).

The Navy, going by Nimitz' and Howlin' Mad Smith's head-on tactics in the Central Pacific, said a million.

Both, knowing what the recently declassified data said, were probably low. (as an example, we're still using Purple Hearts made up for "Downfall")

A good many Japanese generals said the Japanese race would have ceased to exist.

(keep in mind, the plan was to go down the coast clear the cities and drive the survivors onto the mountains where they would starve (and/or freeze during the winter) or surrender, as MacArthur did in New Guinea; read what happened to the Japanese garrisons in bypassed strongholds like Rabaul; this was going to be total war)

TTBurnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TTBurnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

Great film, although I wonder if standing on the hood of a moving car is a good idea.

Even if its VJ day, and you're drunk.

rcocean said...

I guess that's one reason they were the bravest generation ever.

TTBurnett said...

One of my uncles was with one of those 42 Army divisions on their way to certain trouble if not death. He had done a brief stint in Italy since graduating from high school in '43, and it was off to Japan to teach Hirohito a lesson.

My father was in the Philippines, having been in command of a 5-inch/25 caliber flack gun on the USS New Mexico, part of "Bull" Halsey's fleet in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. My father remained aboard her for the invasion of Luzon. Here's what Wikipedia says: "She fired pre-landing bombardment on 6 January 1945, and that day took a kamikaze hit on her bridge which killed her commanding officer, Captain Robert Walton Fleming, British Lieutenant General Herbert Lumsden (Winston Churchill's personal military representative to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur), and 29 others of her crew, with 87 injured." My father was 40 feet away at a deck gun and escaped serious injury, but his hearing was permanently impaired in the blast.

My other uncle was in a military hospital near San Fernando, Calif., recovering from tuberculosis, the result of too many sessions at -40° F. in an unpressurized B-17 cockpit at 25,000 ft. Between missions, he found respite and bacilli in equal measure in the dank English countryside. Unlike half his fellow aviators, he managed to stay alive, thanks, in his case, to deadly disease.

Those were hard times and hard people, unimaginable to most of us today. They sure as hell deserved to whoop it up when the time came.

And, from their perspective, the atomic bomb that ended it all was an unalloyed good and deliverance. Given Japanese history and psychology, it was the perfect blow to finish the War quickly and thus save countless lives on both sides.

The atomic bombs also inoculated the world against their further use. The actual results of small and crude atomic weapons were so horrifying, that the ancient dream of a weapon so terrible it would eliminate war seems to have come true, at least as far as anything resembling strategic war between modern, industrialized countries.

It's not necessary, of course, to take account of miserable proxy wars in jungles and deserts that have not been subject to such a clarifying moment. We may be on the verge of another proxy war, this time on the Continent of Europe. But dangerous as this may seem in a year ending in '14, none seriously think it will be decided by anything more than nibbles, counterthrusts, and mangled bank accounts. And for this, the world should be grateful that neutons and heavy nuclei have replaced cordite in the imaginations of defense ministers and generals.

That they haven't among fanatics, unaccustomed to having anything to lose, is another tale, the telling of which, I'm afraid, has only lately begun.

TTBurnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TTBurnett said...

Standing drunk on the hood of a moving car was a fine idea and perfectly safe compared to having bits of General Lumsden's brains spattered on your uniform beneath an exploding kamikazi, surrounded by hot shell casings and burning gasoline.

bagoh20 said...

Excellent TT!

deborah said...

Thanks Ed and Tim.

Unknown said...

Excellent post, TT.

rcocean said...

I agree. Great comment TT. I saw a book yesterday titled "The Good war", and I thought really?

Most Vets I talked to, thought it was a dirty job that had to be done. They were glad they did it, but didn't want to go through it again.

Nuclear weapons, as TT states, have made sure we'll never have to go through another WWII.