A look at the last 11 days of World War II: Aug. 11, 1945

A look at the last 11 days of World War II: Aug. 11, 1945

Editor’s note: Part of a series detailing the information local newspaper readers received during the last 11 days of World War II about the events home and abroad during those pivotal days 75 years ago.

The War

Japan’s War Cabinet voted unanimously to sue for peace. However, the allies had demanded an unconditional surrender, and the Japanese document included a stipulation that Emperor Hirehito must continue as the country’s ruler. The issue was discussed among representatives of the U.S., Britain, China and Russia, with the latter two nations opposed to agreeing to any condition. A secret response was sent to the Japanese. For the first time in weeks, no bombers attacked cities on the Japanese mainland.

Meanwhile, a report came that 30% of Nagasaki was destroyed with the second atomic bomb earlier in the week. Its entire industrial area was reported leveled.

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Back home

Good economic news for civilians came when government officials predicted an end to gasoline rationing within a few weeks of Japan’s surrender. A hastily drawn conference discussed plans on when to release major industries which had been producing military munitions and similar products during the war.

With the encouraging war news came some tragic news for the family of Seaman William McEntyer of Claremont, a crewman on the submarine USS Snook, which was reported lost in April in the Luzon Strait in the South China Sea. The family received word from the Navy that declared him killed in action. A Chaffey High graduate, he served on the Snook for a year before it sank for a reason that was never determined.

A Navy flier died near Corona when his Corsair fighter plane struck a high-tension wire and crashed in Santa Ana Canyon. Ensign James Blossom, 23, of Sturgis, Michigan, had been on a routine flight from Los Alamitos Naval Air Station.

Ostran and Co. department store in Ontario in its advertisement in the Ontario Daily Report showed a little impatience about when the surrender was going to be official. The ad said: “Okey! We can wait for the official declaration of the Japanese surrender until the President is ready to announce it … but when it comes … WOW!”

Master Sgt. Donald C. Maher of Palm Springs is on his way home from Europe after serving with the 808th Tank Destroyer Battalion under Gen. George S. Patton. His battalion spent 225 days in combat in France, Austria and Germany.

The region prepares to break out when word arrives of V-J (Victory over Japan) Day. Once the official Japanese surrender is announced, it is going to be a dry celebration. All bars, taverns and liquor stores in Southern California will be closed.

“V-J Day should be a day of silent thanksgiving that providence has helped us overcome a most fanatical foe,” said William G. Bonelli of the state Board of Equalization.

When war’s end announcement is made, “kids get a free American flag,” advertised Warren R. Tate at his Opera Garage in Pomona.

Joe Blackstock writes on Inland Empire history. He can be contacted at joe.blackstock@gmail.com or Twitter @JoeBlackstock

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