With his army surrounded, his men weak and exhausted, Robert E. Lee realized there was little choice but to consider the surrender of his Army to General Grant. After a series of notes between the two leaders, they agreed to meet on April 9, 1865, at the house of Wilmer McLean in the village of Appomattox Courthouse. The meeting lasted approximately two and one-half hours and at its conclusion the bloodliest conflict in the nation's history neared its end.
On April 11, 1777 Dr. William Shippen Jr., of Philadelphia was chosen Director General of all the military hospitals for the army.... The wage scale was as follows: Director General's pay $6.00 a day and 9 rations; District Deputy Director $5.00 a day and 6 rations; Senior Surgeon $4.00 a day and 6 rations; Junior Surgeon $2.00 and 4 rations; Surgeon mate $1.00 and 2 rations....
Eleanor Roosevelt: "Our race and our religion should not place any special handicaps upon us. That is the concept on which these United States came into being, and the sooner we bring it to fulfillment, the sooner will the dreams of many of our people come true..."
News for this day in 1945 had much to do with preparations for the official surrender of Japan and the Allied occupation, getting ready to take place within days. Because of a threatened Typhoon expected to hit Tokyo bay, the 3rd Fleet assembled just outside Sagami Bay, some 30 miles from Tokyo. As a fleet of Japanese minesweepers combed the waters of the bay, the fleet were poised to enter at the all-clear. Two emissaries from the Japanese Navy arrived at 3rd Fleet headquarters to receive their instructions for the fleet arrival in the Bay, sometime later on in the day or the following morning.
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, to convey to His Majesty the deep sorrow with which this House has learned of the death of the President of the United States of America, and to pray His Majesty that, in communicating his own sentiments of grief to the United States Government, he will also be graciously pleased to express on the part of this House their sense of the loss which the British Commonwealth and Empire and the cause of the Allied Nations have sustained, and their profound sympathy with Mrs. Roosevelt and the late President's family, and with the Government and people of the United States of America.
Yesterday we were on the road all day. The country-side was clothed in a filmy haze which softened the bright sun-light. This part of Germany looks like a fairy-land. Little farms, with the apple and pear blossoms framing the red-tiled roofs, set in neat patterns over the gently-rolling green hills, broken here and there by a grove of delicate birch trees, or green pine. What a setting for the tide of human misery which thronged the road-side!
Liberated workers and freed prisoners of war, mostly men, but also many women streamed past us as we rode, like a movie reel. Russians, Poles, Italians, French, Dutch, and Belgians, dressed in scraps of uniforms, patched work-clothes, rags and tatters; carrying little or big bundles, or pushing little wheel-carts; tired and hungry; apathetic, sprawled out under the tress in little groups; trying to get back and away from the front.
For the last time our deadly enemies the Jewish Bolsheviks have launched their massive forces to the attack. Their aim is to reduce Germany to ruins and to exterminate our people. Many of you soldiers in the East already know the fate which threatens, above all, German women, girls, and children. While the old men and children will be murdered, the women and girls will be reduced to barrack-room whores. The remainder will be marched off to Siberia.
I could feel a chill in my heart, a sense that this was something different from another complaint about his sinus acting up or his tummy being out of whack. I decided to go at once to the President's cottage. By the time I reached the house, both Bruenn and Fox [two physicians] were with the President in his bedroom. Miss Suckley [the President’s cousin] was in the living room, Miss Delano [another cousin] entered from the bedroom as I walked in. There were sounds of tortured breathing from the bedroom and low voices of the two men attending him. Miss Delano and Miss Suckley looked shocked and frightened; the former told me the President had finished some work with Mr. Hassett [an assistant to the president] and was sitting for Madame Shoumatoff [the artist]. At 1:00 o'clock the President remarked to the artist, 'We have only fifteen minutes.' At 1:15 he put his hand to his head and slumped backward in a coma. Prettyman and a Filipino house boy had carried him from his chair to his bedroom.
KEENE, N.H., Tuesday—Yesterday I went to the Cosmopolitan Club in New York to meet with a distinguished group of women who had been invited by the foreign division of the International Board of the YWCA to hear General Carlos P. Romulo, Resident Commissioner of the Philippines. He is just back from Manila, and at the same time is just reunited with his family after a three-year separation.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of Polish engineer Gwidon Damazyn, an inmate since March 1941, a secret short-wave transmitter and small generator were built and hidden in the prisoners' movie room. On April 8 at noon, Damazyn and Russian prisoner Konstantin Ivanovich Leonov sent the Morse code message prepared by leaders of the prisoners' underground resistance (supposedly Walter Bartel and Harry Kuhn):
To the Allies. To the army of General Patton. This is the Buchenwald concentration camp. SOS. We request help. They want to evacuate us. The SS wants to destroy us.
The text was repeated several times in English, German, and Russian. Damazyn sent the English and German transmissions, while Leonov sent the Russian version. Three minutes after the last transmission sent by Damazyn, the headquarters of the US Third Army responded:
KZ Bu. Hold out. Rushing to your aid. Staff of Third Army
According to Teofil Witek, a fellow Polish prisoner who witnessed the transmissions, Damazyn fainted after receiving the message. After this news had been received, Communist inmates stormed the watchtowers and killed the remaining guards, using arms they had been collecting since 1942 (one machine gun and 91 rifles). A detachment of troops of the US 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, from the 6th Armored Division, part of the US Third Army, and under the command of Captain Frederic Keffer, arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 at 3:15 P.M., (now the permanent time of the clock at the entrance gate). The soldiers were given a hero's welcome, with the emaciated survivors finding the strength to toss some liberators into the air in celebration.
Relieved from the necessity of guarding cities and particular points, important but not vital to our defense, with an army free to move from point to point and strike in detail the detachments and garrisons of the enemy, operating on the interior of our own country, where supplies are more accessible, and where the foe will be far removed from his own base and cut off from all succor in case of reverse, nothing is now needed to render our triumph certain but the exhibition of our own unquenchable resolve.
Let us but will it, and we are free; and who, in the light of the past, dare doubt your purpose in the future?
About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream.
As you seem so inquisitive about Politicks, I will indulge you so far (indulge, I say, observe that Word indulge! I suppose you will say it ought to have been oblige) as to send you a little more News from abroad. As foreign Affairs are now become more interesting to Us than ever, I dare say your political Curiosity has extended itself e'er this all over Europe.
The thinly-held Confederate lines at Petersburg had been stretched to the breaking point by earlier Union movements that extended those lines beyond the ability of the Confederates to man them adequately and by desertions and casualties from recent battles. As the much larger Union forces, which significantly outnumbered the Confederates, assaulted the lines, desperate Confederate defenders held off the Union breakthrough long enough for Confederate government officials and most of the remaining Confederate army, including local defense forces, and some Confederate Navy personnel, to flee Petersburg and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia during the night of April 2–3. Confederate corps commander Lieutenant General A.P. Hill was killed during the fighting. Union soldiers occupied Richmond and Petersburg on April 3, 1865 but most of the Union Army pursued the Army of Northern Virginia until they surrounded and forced Robert E. Lee to surrender that army on April 9, 1865 after the Battle of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
he newly invented airplane entered World War I as an observer of enemy activity (see The Beginning of Air Warfare, 1914). The importance of the information gathered by this new technological innovation was made evident to all the belligerents in the opening days of the conflict. The equal importance of preventing the enemy from accomplishing this mission was also apparent.
The French were the first to develop an effective solution. On April 1, 1915 French pilot Roland Garros took to the air in an airplane armed with a machine gun that fired through its propeller. This feat was accomplished by protecting the lower section of the propeller blades with steel armor plates that deflected any bullets that might strike the spinning blades. It was a crude solution but it worked, on his first flight Garros downed a German observation plane. Within two weeks Garros added four more planes to his list of kills. Garros became a national hero and his total of five enemy kills became the benchmark for an air 'Ace.'
The winter of 1864-65 was ending, but to the soldiers in the trenches dug into the tortured landscape around Petersburg, Virginia, the onset of spring in the devastated region simply promised a wet, muddy agony brought on by the heavy rainfall of the season....
Ulysses S. Grant... decided to open his spring offensive — which would become known as the Appomattox campaign — with a thrust at Lee's vulnerable right flank in an effort to pierce the rail line and force the Southern general to evacuate Petersburg. Desiring to move swiftly, Grant ordered elements of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan's cavalry division... to lead the advance... strike out for Dinwiddie Court House, a small hamlet that lay beyond the right of the Confederate line and that would serve as a launching point for further assaults.... Lee divined Grant's intentions, and to protect his right he ordered... 19,000 soldiers to... Five Forks, a few miles north of Dinwiddie Court House....
Western Front: Flanders: Intelligence officers of XV Corps, French Tenth Army, learn from PoWs that extensive German preparations near Zillebeke east of Ypres to employ ‘asphyxiating gases’ (ie chlorine cylinders). Champagne: Reims Cathedral under bombardment. Vosges: German counter-attack in Fecht valley reaches Herrenberg.
Southern Fronts: Serbia: Austrian river steamer Belgrad tries to break Allied Danube blockade (night 30/31), hits Russian mine and is sunk by Serb 75mm field guns.
Eastern Front: Austrian GHQ morale 'below zero. The Chief (Conrad) never stops grumbling'.
African Fronts: Southwest Africa: McKenzie’s South African Central Force (11,000 men) occupies Aus 80 miles inland from Lüderitz.
Home Fronts: Britain: King offers total alcohol abstinence in Royal Household for duration of war.
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I saw a bluebird and a robin yesterday! It is not as warm here and spring is not as far along as in Washington. Still, the feel of it is in the air, and there is a fresh, green look about the shoots that are poking their heads above ground which makes you want to settle down in the country and have nothing whatsoever to do with bricks and mortar for a long while. But bricks and mortar exist and engagements go on, and people concentrate in big cities, so here I am in New York, where at 1 o'clock I go to the Cosmopolitan Club to speak at one of their membership lunches.
At 18:00 on 16 March (25 days after the landings), the 5th Marine Division still faced Kuribayashi's stronghold in a gorge 640 m (700 yd) long at the northwestern end of the island. On 21 March, the Marines destroyed the command post in the gorge with four tons of explosives and on 24 March, Marines sealed the remaining caves at the northern tip of the island.
The consciousness of my duty and my work does not allow me to leave headquarters at the moment when, for the twenty-fifth time, that date is being commemorated on which the fundamental program of our movement was proclaimed and approved in Munich.
The evening of the twenty-fourth of February was, under the auspices of prudence, a development the significance of which probably only today becomes clear to us in its terrible meaning. An irreconcilable enemy was already at that time united in a common struggle against the German people, in the same manner as it is today. The unnatural alliance between exploiting capitalism and destructive bolshevism that threatens to strangle the entire world today has been the enemy to which we threw down the gauntlet on Feb. 24, 1920, in order to safeguard the existence of our nation. The same as in these years, the apparently contradictory factor in the cooperation of such extreme forces was only the expression of a unique desire of a common instigator and profiteer. International Jewry has long used both forms for the annihilation of the liberty and social welfare of nations.
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a United States Navy corpsman raising a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.
The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.
Three Marines depicted in the photograph, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, and Michael Strank, were killed in action over the next few days. The three surviving flag-raisers were Marines Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and sailor John Bradley. The latter three became celebrities after their identifications in the photograph. The image was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the Marine Corps War Memorial which was dedicated in 1954 to all Marines who died for their country past and present, and is located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C. The original mold is located on the Marine Military Academy grounds, a private college preparatory academy located in Harlingen, Texas.
On 21 February, Saratoga was detached with an escort of three destroyers [USS McGowan (DD-678), USS McNair (DD-679) and USS Melvin (DD-680)] to join the amphibious forces and carry out night patrols over Iwo Jima and night heckler missions over nearby Chi-chi Jima. However, as she approached her operating area at 1700 on the 21st, an air attack developed, and taking advantage of low cloud cover and Saratoga's insufficient escort, six Japanese planes scored five hits on the carrier in three minutes.
Saratoga's flight deck forward was wrecked, her starboard side was holed twice and large fires were started in her hangar deck, while she lost 123 of her crew dead or missing. Another attack at 1900 scored an additional bomb hit. By 2015, the fires were under control and the carrier was able to recover aircraft, but she was ordered to Eniwetok and then to the west coast for repairs, and arrived at Bremerton on 16 March.
Breslau, the beleaguered German city in the east, now declared by Hitler to be Festung Breslau, Fortress Breslau, was completely surrounded by Soviet troops, some only two miles from the city centre. Nazi propaganda would make much of a Hitler Youth Battle Group counter-attack carried out the city’s southern park, in which 120 boys beat back the Red Army and supposedly left 170 Soviet soldiers dead. The most severe penalties were being imposed on any comments that might be interpreted as defeatism or subversion, so there was no mercy for any act of desertion:
These death sentences should serve as a warning to every soldier and at the same time give decent soldiers — and the entire fortress as well — the satisfaction that cowardly traitors face a merciless, shameful end. The summary execution of cowards and shirkers not only eradicates them, it also brings down shame upon their families by wiping out their honour and condemns them to poverty, depriving them of all beneﬁts.
After the heavy losses incurred in the battle, the strategic value of the island became controversial. It was useless to the U.S. Army as a staging base and useless to the U.S. Navy as a fleet base. However, Navy Seabees rebuilt the landing strips, which were used as emergency landing strips for USAAF B-29s.
The Imperial Japanese Army positions on the island were heavily fortified, with a dense network of bunkers, hidden artillery positions, and 18 km (11 mi) of underground tunnels. The Americans on the ground were supported by extensive naval artillery and complete air supremacy over Iwo Jima from the beginning of the battle by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators. Iwo Jima was... the only battle by the U.S. Marine Corps in which the American casualties exceeded the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths numbered three times as many American deaths. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled. The majority of the remainder were killed in action, although it has been estimated that as many as 3,000 continued to resist within the various cave systems for many days afterwards....
German Admiralty: Declaration: "German Admiralty Declaration
All the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland, including the whole of the English Channel, are hereby declared to be a war zone. From February 18 onwards every enemy merchant vessel found within this war zone will be destroyed without it always being possible to avoid danger to the crews and passengers.
Neutral ships will also be exposed to danger in the war zone, as, in view of the misuse of neutral flags ordered on January 31 by the British Government, and owing to unforeseen incidents to which naval warfare is liable, it is impossible to avoid attacks being made on neutral ships in mistake for those of the enemy.
Navigation to the north of the Shetlands, in the eastern parts of the North Sea and through a zone at least thirty nautical miles wide along the Dutch coast is not exposed to danger.
As a night carrier, Enterprise's primary role during the daylight hours was to provide Combat Air Patrol for the Task Force. Night Air Group 90, however, was then at the cutting edge of electronic warfare, and launched several secret missions, as well as dusk and night strikes.
At 0400 February 16, two hours before the other carriers launched their first strikes, Enterprise launched an 'RCM' mission. RCM stood for Radar Counter-Measure, and the single, specially-modified TBM Avenger's mission was to confuse Japanese radar installations, disrupting the enemy's ability to intercept the morning strikes and guess TF 58's intentions.
On return from supporting the Lingayen Bay landings on Luzon, Philippines, and operations in the South China Sea, Enterprise and the other units of Task Force 38 entered Ulithi Atoll on January 25-26, 1945. All hands were ready to let off steam, following several months of operations in support of MacArthur's liberation of the Philippines. While the fleet replenished and underwent repair, men were given leave for a few hours at a time. For enlisted men, much of this time was spent on Mog Mog, drinking beer, swimming and idling on the beach - an uncommon luxury in a war often fought on beaches.
Mog Mog, however, generally didn't make a favorable impression on its visitors. Though it was 'a great change in routine' (Arnold Olson), John MacGlashing, in his history of Enterprise's Night Air Group 90, notes 'During the beach parties on Ulithi the enlisted personnel voted unanimously that the trip to the beach was not worth the limit of three (3) beers.' E. Rex Mitchell was underwhelmed as well: 'The beer was only cool the day I went ashore but I drank my ration of three bottles, up from the previous two olive drab cans.' (The Big E and Me)
10:20am: The USS Murphy stood in from the south. The USS Murphy had been sent to Jidda, Saudi Arabia a port on the Red Sea, to provide transportation for Saudi Arabian King Ibn Saud to Great Bitter Lake for his forthcoming conference with FDR. USS Quincy, Egypt
10:30am: Mrs. John Boettiger left the ship to spend the day in Cairo, Egypt. USS Quincy, Egypt
Billy [Pilgram] thought hard about the effect the quartet had had on him, and then found an association with an experience he had had long ago. He did not travel in time to the experience. He remembered it shimmeringly—as follows:
He was down in the meat locker on the night that Dresden was destroyed. There were sounds like giant footsteps above. Those were sticks of high-explosive bombs. The giants walked and walked. The meat locker was a very safe shelter. All that happened down there was an occasional shower of calcimine. The Americans and four of their guards and a few dressed carcasses were down there, and nobody else. The rest of the guards had, before the raid began, gone to the comforts of their own homes in Dresden. They were all being killed with their families.
Shown during Animo Night 2005, this video is about the February 12, 1945 massacre (of Br Egbert Xavier FSC and 15 other Christian Brothers; members of the Carlos, Cojuangco, Aquino, Uychuico and Vazquez Prada families; and employees of De La Salle College) at the Chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament. A band of Japanese soldiers massacred the 16 Brothers and the several families who had taken refuge with them in the College Chapel.
The 'I'll Be Seeing You' soundtrack (by Vera Lynn) on this clip was for editing and timing guide purposes only. DLSU alumna Cooky Chua sang the piece during the actual performance (November 18, 2005) with Mel Villena on the saxophone.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston S. Churchill, and Iosif V. Stalin: Joint Statement:
We have considered and determined the military plans of the three Allied powers for the final defeat of the common enemy. The military staffs of the three Allied Nations have met in daily meetings throughout the Conference. These meetings have been most satisfactory from every point of view and have resulted in closer coordination of the military effort of the three Allies than ever before. The fullest information has been interchanged. The timing, scope, and coordination of new and even more powerful blows to be launched by our armies and air forces into the heart of Germany from the East, West, North, and South have been fully agreed and planned in detail.
The reaction of my men is simply this: they begin to check and recheck their arms and equipment. Scanning their faces, I find them calm and unruffled, scarcely changed except for a look of anticipation The captured guerrilla has been killed.
Sunset is near. Without conscious will or interest, I find scenes of the distant past flashing through my mind like so many lantern slides. ‘Still attached to worldly desires,’ I scold myself, but the more I try to shake off these memories, the more they crowd in on me, memories of childhood, of my mother, of my wife ‘What is this,’ I say to myself. ‘I am a living, breathing man, who should be directing his thoughts towards a clear view of present realities.’
Morristown, to Brigadier General James Clinton, 1777 February 9. 2p.
Head Qrs. Morristown Feby 9th: 1777.
General Schuyler having requested me in the most pressing manner, to send him a General Officer to assist in the command of in the Northern department, you will, as soon as possible, after the receipt of this, repair to Albany and take his commands. As the situation of our Affairs in that Quarter, may demand your immediate aid, I should hope you will not delay going a moment longer than you can help. General Mc.Dougal will take the direction of matters in the Highlands when you are gone.
Guards welcomed the guests arriving at Livadia Palace on February 4, 2005, as they had done sixty years earlier. Aside from the guard of honor, and the return to Livadia of some of the soldiers and waitresses who had provided security and service sixty years earlier, there was little resemblance to February 1945. The organizers of this Yalta conference—a symposium entitled “Yalta 1945-2005: From the Bipolar World to the Geopolitics of the Future”—anxiously awaited but never received greetings from President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine, to which Yalta and the Crimea now belong, or from President Vladimir Putin of Russia, the legal successor to the Soviet Union. Nor were there greetings from the leaders of Britain or the United States. Each had his own reasons to overlook the anniversary of the conference that helped shape the modern world.... The historical and political consequences of its decisions continue to haunt the world’s political elites. In October 2004 opposition parties in the German parliament raised questions about the continuing militarization of Kaliningrad Oblast, the part of the former East Prussia around Königsberg allocated to Russia by the Big Three in February 1945... suggested the creation of a Lithuanian-Polish-Russian region of cross-border cooperation to be called “Prussia.” The Russian government was appalled.... In Japan there has always been a national consensus favoring the return of territories lost to Russia after the Second World War.... In the spring of 2005 the Japanese parliament adopted a resolution increasing the number of islands that it wanted back.... In early 2005 Russia’s neighbors to the west, the Balts and Poles, attacked the Russian government for its failure to apologize for Stalin’s occupation of Eastern Europe. The attacks came in response to Russia’s decision to invite world leaders to Moscow to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany....
The new Soviet documents reveal the mind-set of the Soviet leaders at the time of the Yalta Conference. If Stalin and his strategists did not entirely abandon their plans for world revolution, they significantly postponed them and were interested in peaceful relations with the West for at least twenty years. That would give them enough time to recover from the devastation of the world war and prepare for the next stage in the conflict between communism and capitalism, which they considered ineluctable. For the time being they were prepared to sacrifice the communist movements in Western Europe and wanted a quid pro quo from the West that would ensure their domination of Eastern Europe....
Of all the writers who have been to Yalta, Anton Chekhov has given us the most evocative description of the view from the grounds of Oreanda, the tsar’s manor next to Livadia. “Yalta was hardly visible through the morning mist; white clouds stood motionless on the mountain-tops,” he wrote in one of his best-known stories, “The Lady with the Dog”:
The leaves did not stir on the trees, grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now, and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection.”
This “unceasing progress towards perfection” was something the Western delegates to the Yalta Conference might have hoped to be participating in during those chilly days of February 1945. “The Americans pitch their song on a higher note,” wrote Lord Moran in his diary on February 11:
They are leaving Yalta with a sense of achievement, they feel they are on top of the world and that while other conferences had been concerned with proposals of policy, Yalta has been the scene of important decisions that must influence the future of the world.
“We really believed in our hearts that this was the dawn of the new day we had all been praying for and talking about for so many years,” Hopkins told his biographer, Robert E. Sherwood, after the war. “We were absolutely certain that we had won the first great victory of the peace—and, by ‘we,’ I mean all of us, the whole civilized human race.” Lord Moran recorded in his diary that Hopkins, “lying on his sick-bed, is firmly convinced that a new Utopia has dawned. He says the Russians have shown that they will listen to reason, and the President is certain that he ‘can live at peace with them.’”
The Yalta Conference took place in a Russian resort town in the Crimea from February 4–11, 1945, during World War Two. At Yalta, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin made important decisions regarding the future progress of the war and the postwar world.
The Allied leaders came to Yalta knowing that an Allied victory in Europe was practically inevitable but less convinced that the Pacific war was nearing an end. Recognizing that a victory over Japan might require a protracted fight, the United States and Great Britain saw a major strategic advantage to Soviet participation in the Pacific theater.