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December 1945 – Report from Don Bell, Mutual correspondent in Tokyo – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Once the War was declared over on both fronts, the painful process of rebuilding would take place. But as much as history has recorded the grand, sweeping efforts of changing political landscapes, as well as the rebuilding of shattered infrastructure, the small stories, the individual efforts, the human aspects and fallout from the war would take a distant backseat, passing into the fog of recollection over time.
The end of World War 2 brought about de-colonization throughout the world, with uprisings and independence movements taking shape weeks after wartime hostilities ended; warring ideologies and settling of old scores. There was the issue of massive displacement – demobilized armies returning home to shortages and ruins – of wastelands where thriving communities once stood. Refugees, former Prisoners of War, former concentration camp victims, all returning to shattered homes, or promises of new ones in some distant region in another part of the world.
This report, given by Mutual Broadcasting correspondent Don Bell from Tokyo, talks about the adjustments, the widespread confusion and despair throughout the Japanese mainland brought on by lack of food and lack of shelter. The disillusionment of those returning home from POW camps or those who chose to re-locate to Japan from being held in one of the Japanese relocation camps in the U.S. during the war.
It’s an interesting glimpse into the human aspect of war – the toll it takes on people on the simple day-to-day – the adjustments to life, not as it was before the war, but to the new world whatever it was going to be during this time of uncertainty.
It’s the first of several reports coming at the end of 1945, four months after the war in the Pacific was over and seven months after the War in Europe ended.
It’s those stories of life after war ends that become the ones of endurance and redemption that are potentially most interesting.
Have a listen.