Missing Link: A war ended 75 years ago


On August 15, 1945, the radio address of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito was broadcast, in which he ordered his government to recognize the Potsdam Declaration and to sign the unconditional surrender. The Second World War ended with the “Imperial Decree to End the Greater East Asian War”. The address called Gyokuon-hōsō (transmission of the imperial voice) or “Jewel Case Broadcast” was given in classical Japanese, which only a few Japanese could understand. Therefore, immediately after the imperial speech, a radio announcer had to explain that Japan is capitulating. It was the first time that the Japanese could hear their tennō.



What is missing: In the fast-paced world of technology, there is often the time to rearrange the many news and backgrounds. At the weekend we want to take it, follow the side paths away from the current, try different perspectives and make nuances audible.

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The Gyokuon-hōsō ended the Second World War, but peace did not advance them. Hirohito mentioned the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in of his speech, but withheld from his compatriots that the previously neutral Soviet Union had declared war on Japan, had invaded Manchuria, which was occupied by Japan, and was hurrying in Korea to the 38th parallel at which Korea was to be divided. Again Kyūjō incident showed that parts of the military wanted to continue fighting. And the Japanese government had previously responded to that Potsdam Declaration with a Mokusatsu reacts, a kind of declaration that one ignores the Potsdam declaration.

That was no longer possible after the emperor’s speech. On September 2, 1945, Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the document of surrender on board the battleship USS Missouri and recognized the Potsdam Declaration: Japan was reduced to its four large and a few smaller islands, the colony of Korea a free republic under the joint administration of the Soviet Union and the UNITED STATES.

The Potsdam Declaration was signed on July 26, 1945 by US President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Potsdam Conference. Chiang Kai-shek signed by telex as President of the Chinese National Government. The conference of Potsdam itself began on July 17, 1945 and ended on August 2 at 0:30 with the signing of the “Minutes of the Negotiations of the Berlin Conference” by Truman, Stalin and the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, who has now been elected to the government. It had been planned under the code name “Terminal” since January and should after the Yalta Conference achieve nothing less than reorganizing the world.

While the division of Germany into zones of occupation and the establishment of the United Nations were decided in Yalta, the focus in Potsdam was on the Westward displacement of Poland, which had already been planned in Yalta, the treatment of Austria and Iran, and the question of a “Jewish Commonwealth” in Palestine. In addition, the peace treaties with countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia had to be signed and an agreement for the expulsion of Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary had to be formulated.

With the garrison town of Potsdam and the Cecilienhof Palace, a place was chosen that symbolized the Prussian militarism that had been defeated. In addition, Potsdam was relatively undamaged and was under Soviet control, as Stalin demanded. He arrived late with the tsar’s parlor train and a protection force of 17,000 men. The three victorious powers of the world war held a total of 13 meetings according to a strict schedule: the foreign ministers and their advisors met in the morning, and the heads of state met at 5 p.m. They weren’t particularly optimistic because there were a lot of differences.

The essayist Bernard A. DeVoto wrote in his 1944 column “The easy Chair” in the run-up to Potsdam at the end of 1944: “While the war brought us hope or at least courage [zum Widerstand], the coming peace can bring us despair. “He was concerned about the restructuring of the US war economy, but above all about the integration of returning black US soldiers in a racist America that had to accept 8 million returnees. Shortly before the conference Franklin Roosevelt had also died and Harry Truman, who was inexperienced in foreign policy, attended the conference as US President. Truman toured the shattered Berlin and was shocked by the extent of the destruction. The former farmer noted the question of how all the people are fed can be.

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