Previous
Next

“hardest working and perhaps the least appreciated”

August 14, 2009, 11:27 am

On this day in history, the Japanese government surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II. And while there’s much to be said about the event, ideally by someone who has something of interest to say (Silbey? Are you out there somewhere?), I found this snippet from the Times‘s coverage interesting:

The President’s final announcement was to decree holidays tomorrow and Thursday for all Federal workers, who, he said, were the “hardest working and perhaps the least appreciated” by the public of all who had helped to wage the war.

We’ve been involved in either one or two wars for what, six years now? And it’s hard to imagine President Obama singling out federal employees, other than those in the armed forces, for their efforts during this time of crisis. And yes, I know, WWII made very different demands on the country. But still, things have changed, right? Although, perhaps not in every way, as the Times article also goes out of its way to call the nation’s capital dull: “usually bored Washington”. Heh.

Oh, then there was this alarming passage, which also brought me up short:

If the note had not come today the President was ready though reluctant to give the order that would have spread throughout Japan the hideous death and destruction that are the toll of the atomic bomb.

What catches my eye there is the implied menace: that Truman stood ready to drop more atomic bombs on Japanese cities (I presume) had he not received the note of surrender on this day in 1945. Was the author just being dramatic? Was he serving as a propaganda arm of the U.S. government, laying the groundwork for years of Cold War bluster? Or was that generally understood as the situation at the time?

This entry was posted in tdih. Bookmark the permalink.