Unconditional Surrender of Japan

Japanese Surrender 14 August 1945

truman-churchill-stalin-potsdamWinston Churchill, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference the month before the Japanese surrender.

According to Sir Martin Gilbert in his epic Churchill biography here’s how the final days played out.

“On August 8, two days after Hiroshima, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and Soviet troops, already massed on the Manchurian frontier, drove southward in a series of fierce and bloody battles. On August 9 a second atom bomb was dropped, this time on Nagasaki. Two Japanese cities had been all but obliterated. ‘It may well be that events will bring the Japanese War to an early close,’ Churchill wrote to Attlee on August 10. ‘Indeed I hope this may be so, for it means an immense lightening of the load we expected to carry.’ That day, Radio Tokyo broadcast an appeal to the Allies to accept the Japanese surrender. ‘We have as yet nothing more than the Tokyo broadcast,’ Attlee wrote to Churchill later that day, ‘but are seeking confirmation. I will let you know as soon as I have news.’ The probability was, Attlee believed, that Japan would formally surrender ‘in the next 48 hours’, and he went on: ‘I feel that the probability of the surrender of our last enemy is so great that I must, at once, offer to you, our leader from the darkest hours through so many anxious days, my congratulations on this crowning result of your work.’ On August 14 the Japanese Government accepted the Allied terms. The Second World War was over.”
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The Maiden Speech

February 18, 1901. House of Commons

After his Oldham victory, Churchill went on an extended lecture tour in Britain, the United States and Canada. He returned on February 10 exhausted, but with the knowledge that he had acquired, through his lecture fees and royalties from his books, nearly £10,000.

Churchill’s maiden speech was made on February 18th immediately after an inflammatory speech by David Lloyd George. “He had a moderately phrased amendment on the Order paper,” Churchill wrote in My Early Life, “but whether he would move it was not certain.” As Lloyd George continued, Churchill related that “a sense of alarm and even despair crept across me. Then Mr. Thomas Gibson-Bowles whispered to me, ‘You might say instead of making his violent speech without moving his moderate amendment, he had better have moved his moderate amendment without making his violent speech.’ Manna in the wilderness was not more welcome. It fell only just in time. “(My Early Life, 364).

In the course of the speech Churchill said. “If I were a Boer. I hope I should be fighting in the field. ” Joseph Chamberlain muttered back, “That’s the way to throw away seats.” The speech was successful; immediately afterwards he met Lloyd George for the first time.

—Sir Robert Rhodes James

Churchill Centre Note: Churchill in his autobiography was too modest. He demonstrated at least twice in this Maiden Speech in response to interruptions—one to his mention of the controversial Sir Alfred Milner, once in regard to Irish nationalism—that he was fast on his feet and able to respond with humor and clear knowledge of the issues.

Vanity Fair Cartoon

I understood that the hon. Member to whose speech the House has just listened, had intended to move an Amendment to the Address. The text of the Amendment, which had appeared in the papers, was singularly mild and moderate in tone; but mild and moderate as it was, neither the hon. Member nor his political friends had cared to expose it to criticism or to challenge a division upon it, and, indeed, when we compare the moderation of the Amendment with the very bitter speech which the hon. Member has just delivered, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the moderation of the Amendment was the moderation of the hon. Member’s political friends and leaders, and that the bitterness of his speech is all his own.

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Winston Churchill Quotes


It is arguable whether the human race have been gainers by the march of science beyond the steam engine. Electricity opens a field of infinite conveniences to ever greater numbers, but they may well have to pay dearly for them. But anyhow in my thought I stop short of the internal combustion engine which has made the world so much smaller. Still more must we fear the consequences of entrusting to a human race so little different from their predecessors of the so-called barbarous ages such awful agencies as the atomic bomb. Give me the horse.

Scientific Progress
~ Winston Churchill, 10 July 1951, Royal College of Physicians, London


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