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August 25-26, 1945 – Shortwave Reports to Mutual – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
August 25-26, 1945 – Stalling the initial arrival of U.S. forces on Japanese soil, owing to Typhoon-like winds creating difficult air and sea conditions, Allied forces were gathering in place off the coast, waiting for a break in the weather before coming ashore.
News reports were confined to interviewing returning P.O.W.’s from China, including members of Jimmy Doolittle’s bomber crew who initially raided Tokyo in 1942 but were later captured by Japanese troops stationed in Manchuria. Other news reports talked about what the Allies might expect when first they first landed and what shape would this occupation force take with reference to the civilian population. Following the collapse of the ruling government and the wholesale destruction of most major cities, virtually the entire Japanese populace was starving. The air raids on Japan’s urban centers left millions displaced and food shortages, created by bad harvests and the demands of the war, worsened when the seizure of foodstuffs from Korea, Taiwan, and China ceased. Repatriation of Japanese living in other parts of Asia and hundreds of thousands of demobilized prisoners of war only aggravated the hunger problem in postwar Japan as these people put more strain on already scarce resources.
It would be a daunting task and it was going to take a substantial Allied presence to prevent the entire country from slipping into chaos.
But as a few of these reports suggest, there was an air of revenge and retribution on the parts of some of the Allies. The initial phase of the Occupation focused on punishing Japan for having made war on the Allies and undertaking a thoroughgoing reformation of postwar Japanese society to ensure that Japan would never again be a threat to world peace.
All would remain to be seen over the coming days. But without boots actually on the ground, it was hard to determine just what was going to happen. The only thing certain was the waiting. Here are those reports as transmitted via Shortwave to Mutual in New York.
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