Maxine Clamage 

Letters to a Lost Soldier – Bombing Japan in July, 1945

Dear Daddy,

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(I originally wrote in July, 1945) I mailed a letter to President Truman asking him not to send you to fight in Japan.  I told him you were a Prisoner of War in Nazi Germany for six months and haven’t completed your two-year service in the U.S. Army.  I said you were nervous about fighting in an invasion of Japan. I hope it was OK that I mentioned you have a tic in one eye and nightmares disturb your sleep.



You told me when you returned home from fighting in Europe that we won the war over Hitler and we remain a free country.  You said it was my responsibility as a citizen of the United States to write to our elected officials.  I told President Truman that you were still suffering from having amoebic dysentery and frostbitten feet and you are 37 years old.  I learned earlier that he was a veteran of World War I and not allowed to fight in World War II because of his age.

President Truman did not answer my letter.  He is probably busy as Commander in Chief, planning to win the war with Japan.  I heard him on the radio and read in the newspaper that he wants unconditional surrender from Japan. The problem is that the Japanese people consider their Emperor Hirohito to be God and it would be humiliating for their Emperor and God to surrender.

Hirohito is arming twenty-eight million Japanese and training a civilian militia to fight to the death for him with machetes, bamboo sticks, bayonets, ancient rifles, mines, charges, Molotov cocktails and swords. These civilians are in addition to their armed forces that bombed and destroyed our ships at Pearl Harbor and continue to blow up more ships in the Pacific.

President Truman approved 600 B-29 bombers dropping 4,000 tons munitions over Japan. He wants to end the war before hundreds of thousands, if not millions of U.S. servicemen are killed invading Japan. He wants to avoid an invasion by firebombing military locations there.

The Japanese Navy arms their submarines with manned torpedoes. They are not afraid to die when they kill our people. Kamikaze pilots lead the way by dive bombing into our ships and dying as their planes and our ships explode.

 Japan plans to execute 400,000 Allied POW’s and civilian detainees if they are invaded.  President Truman wants victory over Japan soon and demands unconditional surrender.  He fears our country may lose hundreds of thousands if not millions of U.S. Servicemen and women if we invade Japan.  He has authorized funds for a super bomb to end the war as soon as possible.  I hope that happens before you are required to finish your military service in Japan.  You could die there. And for what?

Mimi and Bepa want to return to their home in Los Angeles, but have to wait until Japanese submarines are defeated in the Pacific. They need to stay here in Chicago while Mommy visits you in Miami next month when you go for rehabilitation and reassignment. They are also concerned about Aunt Miriam’s husband, who is being investigated for his avoidance of service during the war. The FBI thought he was working in a defense plant and he has to explain why he was driving a truck instead.

 I don’t want you to be killed if you have to go to Japan.  I am praying for a miracle to keep you safely at home in the USA.

President Truman is preparing to meet British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin in Potsdam to negotiate terms for dividing up Germany. They will talk about designating borders for many countries in Europe that were overrun by Germany. I hope they can agree to end having wars!

It is very sad for families when fathers have to go to war and then come home injured.  I am grateful you returned home alive, and I don’t want you to go away again. How can we convince our leaders to stop having wars so we can live in peace and enjoy life?

Love,

Maxine

 


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