16 May 1945

16 May 1945


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16 May 1945

Pacific

Dutch troops land on Tarakan Island

War at Sea

German submarines U-278, U-294, U-295, U-363, U-427, U-481, U-668, U-716, U-991, U-997, U-1165 surrendered at Narvik

German submarine U-287 scuttled in the Altenbruch roads

German submarine U-776 surrendered at Portland



Today in World War II History—May 16, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—May 16, 1940: In Belgium, the Allies retreat behind the River Scheldt as the German 6 th Army breaks the Dyle Line.

France orders Frédéric Joliot-Curie’s atomic energy team at the Collége de France to evacuate: Hans von Halban flees to Britain with crucial research papers and the heavy water supply from Norway.

President Roosevelt asks Congress for $1.2 billion for the military and calls for 50,000 planes, a 280,000-man Army, and a Two-Ocean Navy Congress will appropriate $1.68 billion.

US Army Air Force study of damage to Nagoya, Japan done by aerial bombing on 14 and 17 May 1945 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—May 16, 1945: Last US B-29 Superfortress incendiary raid to Nagoya—in campaign, 12 out of 40 square miles have been burned and 4000 killed.

Off Malaya, British destroyers Saumarez, Venus, Verulam, Vigilant, and Virago sink Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro in the last classic destroyer action in history.


They appear to be DFS (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug) 230 Assault Gliders, with the wings removed. There is a great page here, with some photos, and a page for a kit form toy model here.

Here is one of the better photos:

According to the page I linked above:

The DFS 230 was a Luftwaffe assault glider, developed by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight). Hans Jacobs was the lead designer.

It was intended for paratrooper assault operations, carrying ten soldiers with equipment or a payload of about 1,200 kg. The usual tug was a JU-52 but photos exist showing tugs as varied as Ju-87 and Ju-88's.

DFS-230 gliders were used famously and successfully in the assaults at Eben-Emael and in the rescue at Gran Sasso of Benito Mussolini.


San Antonio Register (San Antonio, Tex.), Vol. 15, No. 16, Ed. 1 Friday, May 18, 1945

Weekly newspaper from San Antonio, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.

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eight pages : ill. page 20 x 15 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.

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Context

This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Texas Digital Newspaper Program and was provided by the UT San Antonio Libraries Special Collections to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 175 times. More information about this issue can be viewed below.

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.

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Check out our Resources for Educators Site! We've identified this newspaper as a primary source within our collections. Researchers, educators, and students may find this issue useful in their work.

Provided By

UT San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

UTSA Libraries Special Collections seeks to build, preserve and provide access to our distinctive research collections documenting the diverse histories and development of San Antonio and South Texas. Our collecting priorities include the history of women and gender in Texas, the history of Mexican Americans, activists/activism, the history of the African American and LGBTQ communities in our region, the Tex-Mex food industry, and urban planning.


NAHRENDORF (Near Hamburg, 1945)

A week after the discovery of the Belsen Concentration Camp, a rumour reached the British Army's 'Desert Rats' that the 18th SS Training Regiment of the Hitler Jugend Division, had shot their prisoners at the nearby village of Rather. The 'Rats' were engaged in a fierce battle with the SS defenders in the village of Nahrendorf. Slowly, and in groups, the SS began to surrender. As the noise of battle died away the villagers emerged from their cellars and found the bodies of 42 SS soldiers lying in a shallow grave. The bodies were then interned on a hilltop cemetery near the village. Each year, hundreds of SS veterans visit the cemetery to pay tribute to their fallen comrades whom, they say, were shot in cold blood on the orders of a ‘crazed blood-thirsty British NCO’. (Perpetrators are honoured, victims are forgotten)

The "London Cage", a MI19 prisoner of war facility in the UK during and immediately after the war, was subject to allegations of torture.

* The Dachau massacre: killing of German prisoners of war and surrendering SS soldiers at the Dachau concentration camp.
* In the Biscari massacre, which consist of two instances of mass murders, U.S. troops of the 45th Infantry Division killed roughly 75 prisoners of war, mostly Italian.
* Operation Teardrop: Eight of the surviving, captured crewmen from the sunk German submarine U-546 are tortured by US military personnel. Historian Philip K. Lundeberg has written that the beating and torture of U-546's survivors was a singular atrocity motivated by the interrogators' need to quickly get information on what the US believed were potential missile attacks on the continental US by German submarines.

Historian Peter Lieb has found that many US and Canadian units were ordered to not take prisoners during the D-Day landings in Normandy. If this view is correct it may explain the fate of 64 German prisoners (out of 130 captured) who did not make it to the POW collecting point on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

According to an article in Der Spiegel by Klaus Wiegrefe, many personal memoirs of Allied soldiers have been willfully ignored by historians until now because they were at odds with the "Greatest Generation" mythology surrounding WWII, but this has recently started to change with books such as "The Day of Battle" by Rick Atkinson where he describes Allied war crimes in Italy, and "D-Day: The Battle for Normandy," by Anthony Beevor. Beevor's latest work is currently discussed by scholars, and should some of them be proven right that means that Allied war crimes in Normandy were much more extensive "than was previously realized".

A survivor of the Dachau Massacre was Hans Linberger, who was one of the German soldiers that were forced out of the SS hospital and lined up against a wall to be shot. In the photograph below, which shows the scene of the shooting, the hospital building is on the right.


The following article about Hans Linberger was written by T. Pauli for Berkenkruis in October 1988.


Berkenkruis is the magazine of the veterans of the Flemish SS volunteers in World War II T. Pauli was the chairman of the group in 1988 when this article was published. Pauli quoted from the testimony given to the German Red Cross by Hans Linberger.


Begin quote from article in Berkenkruis, October 1988, by T. Pauli:


Hans LINBERGER was wounded east of Kiev when an AT-gun blew away his left arm and covered his body with shrapnel. It was his fourth wound. After a long stay in the hospital he was posted to the Reserve-Kompanie at Dachau, on the 9th of March 1945.


On the 9th of April, 1945, the heavily wounded laid down their weapons they were no longer suited to be put into action. They reported themselves to the head of the hospital, Dr. SCHRÖDER, who sent them to the barracks. Evacuated women and children were present in barrack right next to it. Preparations to be evacuated were made, doctors, staff and caretaking personnel all wore white coats and the German Red Cross-armband.


Occasional battle noise was heard from SCHLEISSHEIM that day (April 29, 1945), but around 4:30 PM things got quiet again. When suddenly single gunshots were to be heard, LINBERGER went, holding a small Red Cross-flag, to the entrance (of the hospital). (This occurred around noon.) As could be seen from his empty left sleeve, he was badly injured. To the Americans, who were pushing forward in battle-like style, he declared that this was an unarmed hospital.


One Ami (sic) placed his MP against his chest and hit him in the face. Another one said "You fight Ruski, you no good". The Ami (sic) who placed the MP (Machine Pistol) against his chest went into the hospital and immediately shot a wounded man, who fell down to the ground motionless. When SCHRÖDER wanted to surrender, he was beaten so hard that he received a skull fracture. (Ami was German slang for an American.)
The Americans drove everyone out to the main place and sorted out anyone who looked like SS. All of the SS men were then taken to the back of the central heating building and placed against the wall. A MG (Machine gun) was posted and war correspondents came to film and photograph the lined up men.
Here begins SS-Oberscharführer Hans Linberger's testimony, under oath to the DRK (German Red Cross), about the following events:


The comrade who was standing right beside me fell on top of me with a last cry - "Aww, the pigs are shooting at my stomach" - as I let myself fall immediately. To me it didn't matter if they would hit me standing or lying down. As such I only got the blood of the dead one, who was bleeding badly from the stomach, across my head and face, so I looked badly wounded. During the pause in the shooting, which can only be explained by the arrival of drunken KZ-prisoners, who, armed with spades, came looking for a man named WEISS. Several of them (the wounded soldiers) crawled forward to the Americans and tried to tell them that they were foreigners, others tried to say that they never had anything to do with the camps. Yet this man WEISS said: "Stay calm, we die for Germany". Oscha. (Oberscharführer) JÄGER asked me, while lying down, if I had been hit, which I had to deny. He was shot through the lower right arm. I quickly gave him a piece of chocolate, as we were awaiting a shot in the neck. A man wearing a Red Cross armband came to us, threw us some razor blades and said "There, finish it yourself". JÄGER cut the wrist of his shot arm, I cut the left one, and when he wanted to use the blade on me, an American officer arrived with Dr. SCHRÖDER, who could barely keep himself standing, and the shooting was stopped. This allowed us to drag away the wounded. I remember a comrade with a shot in the stomach, who came to us at Dachau, in a room of café Hörhammer, where all possible troops were mixed together. On the road, we were spit upon and cursed at by looters from the troop barracks who wished we would all be hung. During this action (sic) 12 dead were left nameless. As I later found out, documents and name tags had been removed on American orders, and a commando (work party) of German soldiers were supposed to have buried these dead in an unknown location. During the shooting, the wife of a Dr. MÜLLER, with whom I had been in correspondencer years before, had poisoned herself and her two children. I was able to find the grave of these persons. In this grave supposedly are buried 8 more SS-members, including an Oscha. MAIER. MAIER had an amputated leg and was shot in another area of the hospital terrain adjacent to the hospital wall. He lay there with a shot in his stomach and asked Miss STEINMANN to kill him, since he could not bear the pain any longer. His dying relieved Miss STEINMANN from completing the last wish of this comrade. In the proximity of the hospital/mortuary were probably other comrades executed at the walls, as I later found traces of gunfire there.


Later, as a prisoner of war, I was pointed to a grave in the same hospital terrain, by the wife of a former KZ-prisoner, who on All Saints Day in 1946 (November 1st) came near the fence and, while crying, remembered some children buried in the grave. The children must have died after the collapse (Zusammenbruch) when the Americans took over the camp. Further, comrades from the Waffen-SS are buried in the same grave, as could be concluded from a message of the Suchdienst (the German MIA tracing service).

AMERICAN BRUTALITY IN THE PACIFIC

American soldiers in the Pacific often deliberately killed Japanese soldiers who had surrendered. According to Richard Aldrich, who has published a study of the diaries kept by United States and Australian soldiers, they sometimes massacred prisoners of war. Dower states that in "many instances . Japanese who did become prisoners were killed on the spot or en route to prison compounds." According to Aldrich it was common practice for U.S. troops not to take prisoners. This analysis is supported by British historian Niall Ferguson, who also says that, in 1943, "a secret [U. S.] intelligence report noted that only the promise of ice cream and three days leave would . induce American troops not to kill surrendering Japanese."

Ferguson states such practices played a role in the ratio of Japanese prisoners to dead being 1:100 in late 1944. That same year, efforts were taken by Allied high commanders to suppress "take no prisoners" attitudes, among their own personnel (as these were affecting intelligence gathering) and to encourage Japanese soldiers to surrender. Ferguson adds that measures by Allied commanders to improve the ratio of Japanese prisoners to Japanese dead, resulted in it reaching 1:7, by mid-1945. Nevertheless, taking no prisoners was still standard practice among U. S. troops at the Battle of Okinawa, in April–June 1945.

Ulrich Straus, a U.S. Japanologist, suggests that frontline troops intensely hated Japanese military personnel and were "not easily persuaded" to take or protect prisoners, as they believed that Allied personnel who surrendered, got "no mercy" from the Japanese. Allied soldiers believed that Japanese soldiers were inclined to feign surrender, in order to make surprise attacks. Therefore, according to Straus, "[s]enior officers opposed the taking of prisoners[,] on the grounds that it needlessly exposed American troops to risks. " When prisoners nevertheless were taken at Gualdacanal, interrogator Army Captain Burden noted that many times these were shot during transport because "it was too much bother to take him in".

Ferguson suggests that "it was not only the fear of disciplinary action or of dishonor that deterred German and Japanese soldiers from surrendering. More important for most soldiers was the perception that prisoners would be killed by the enemy anyway, and so one might as well fight on."


16 May 1945 - History

This test was intended to prove the radical new implosion weapon design that had been developed at Los Alamos during the previous year. This design, embodied in the test device called Gadget, involved a new technology that could not be adequately evaluated without a full scale test. The gun-type uranium bomb, in contrast, was certain to be effective and did not merit testing. In addition, since no nuclear explosion had ever occurred on Earth, it seemed advisible that at least one should be set off with careful monitoring to test whether all of the theoretical predictions held.

The origin of the name Trinity for this event is uncertain. It is commonly thought that Robert Oppenheimer provided the name, which would seem logical, but even this is not definitely known. A leading theory is that Oppenhimer did select it, and that he did so with reference to the divine Hindu trinity of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Oppenheimer had an avid interest in Sanskrit literature (which he had taught himself to read), and following the Trinity test is reported to have recited the passage from the Bhagavad-Gita that opens this page.

Before Trinity: The 100 Ton Test

To help in preparing the instrumentation for the Trinity shot the "100 Ton Test" was fired on 7 May 1945. This test detonated 108 tons of TNT stacked on a wooden platform 800 yards from Trinity ground zero. The pile of high explosive was threaded with tubes containing 1000 curies of reactor fission products. This is the largest instrumented explosion conducted up to this date. The test allowed the calibration of instruments to measure the blast wave, and gave some indication of how fission products might be distributed by the explosion.

This image was provided by Peter Kuran, director of Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie (available on video in our History Section)

The Gadget

The Gadget components arrive at the test site. Assembly of the test device begins at the McDonald Ranch farmhouse at Alamogordo at 1300 hours.

Sgt. Herbert Lehr delivering the plutonium core (or more probably half of it) for the Gadget in its shock-mounted carrying case to the assembly room in the McDonald Ranch farmhouse.

Robert Bacher drives the assembled core to Zero, where final assembly of the Gadget was conducted in a canvas tent at the basis of the tower.

Silhouetted against the canvas, we see the plutonium core being inserted into the explosive shell of the Gadget.

Later that same day, the assembled Gadget (without detonators) was hoisted to the top of the 100 foot test tower.

On the night of July 15th, the detonators were installed in the Gadget, and assembly was completed. Dr. Norris Bradbury, supervising the assembly process noted in his log book: "Look for rabbit's feet and four leaf clovers. Should we have the chaplain down here"?

The partially assembled Gadget atop the test tower. Visible in this picture is Norris Bradbury, who later became the director of Los Alamos for several decades upon Oppenheimer's departure.
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Partially assembled Gadget.
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The fully assembled Gadget.
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The Trinity Test

July 16 1945, 5:29:45 A.M. (Mountain War Time)
Trinity Site Zero, Alamogordo Test Range,
Jornada del Muerto desert.

Trinity at 6, 16 and 18 milliseconds.
Photos by Berlyn Brixner, LANL.
Click on images above for larger views.

More views

"In that brief instant in the remote New Mexico desert the tremendous effort of the brains and brawn of all these people came suddenly and startlingly to the fullest fruition. Dr. Oppenheimer, on whom has rested a very heavy burden, grew tenser as the last seconds ticked off. He scarcely breathed. He held on to a post to steady himself. For the last few seconds, he stared directly ahead and then when the announcer shouted "Now!" and there came a tremendous burst of light followed shortly thereafter by the deep growling roar of the explosion, his face relaxed into an expression of tremendous relief. Several of the observers standing back of the shelter to warch the lighing effects were knocked flat by the blast.

. All seemed to feel that they had been present at the birth of a new age -- The Age of Atomic Energy -- and felt their profound responsibility to help in guiding into the right channels the tremendous forces which had been unlocked for the first time in history."

Brigadier General Thomas F. Farrell, describing his impressions at S-10,000 a bunker 10,000 yards south of Trinity
quoted in The Day the Sun Rose Twice by Ferenc M. Szasz, pg. 88.

Below is the aftermath of the detonation, about 24 hours later. A dark area of fused soil (trinitite) radiates from ground zero. In the lower right portion of the picture, the crater from the 100 Ton Test is visible.


1945: Youth in ruins

After the surrender in May 1945, Germans wanted to start a new life – to clear away the rubble and forget 12 years of National Socialism. But just months earlier, 17-year-olds were being sent to fight as "a last resort."

In the first months of 1945, Allied troops were moving in on the Nazis from two fronts and advancing steadily into Germany. Adolf Hitler saw that the outcome was inevitable, and on April 30 he committed suicide. But German troops would only surrender once the Red Army invaded Berlin. On May 8, World War II came to an end in Europe.

Germany was left in ruins, with around 7 million Germans had lost their lives, more than half of them civilians. But it wasn't just Germany: the UK suffered a loss of about 430,000, while in the Soviet Union more than 20 million soldiers and civilians were killed. And more than 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust, the largest genocide of all time.

After the German surrender came what's known here as "Stunde Null," or "zero hour." For many young people in Germany, it was the start of a whole new era. They had grown up under Nazi rule, were shaped by Hitler's dehumanizing ideology from childhood onward and in the last weeks and months of the war were spurred one final time to fight for their country. And then, all of a sudden, there was peace - an all but unknown way of life.

'Youth leads youth'

In 1938, Hitler Youth set off for Nuremberg in anticipation of seeing Der Führer at one of the Nazi rallies

In 1933, after Hitler's rise to power, the Hitler Youth became the only permitted youth organization. By the start of the war in 1939, membership was compulsory. Almost every young German - excluding Jews, Sinti or Roma - was made a member of the organization.

The Hitler Youth was separated by age and sex. Between the ages of 10-14, boys and girls were either part of the "Jungmädelbund" ("Young Girl's League") or the "Jungvolk" ("German Youth"). Between 14 and 18, the boys moved up to Hitler Youth proper, and the girls joined the "Bund Deutscher Mädel" ("League of German Girls").

The offer was attractive: hiking, singing, and gymnastics with their peers - far from the strict rules imposed on them at home by their parents. "Youth leading youth," that's how it worked - and that's how young leaders were drawn in and molded from an early age.

Girls were prepared for their future role as mothers, and the future soldiers were taught to stand at attention and obey. With scouting games and military sports, they were trained to invade foreign countries. In school, students were not taught to be independent thinkers. Instead, they were told to surrender to Der Führer and practice blind obedience.

Rules and regulations

Jewish students had been facing hostility from teachers and classmates ever since Hitler's rise to power. Starting in 1938, they were completely restricted to Jewish schools. Jewish organizations, such as Youth Aliyah and Hakhshara, attempted to help young people prepare for emigration to Palestine, but only a few managed to escape before the systematic deportation of the Jewish population to ghettos, concentration and death camps - in the autumn of 1941.

A free and unrestricted life was impossible for youth under the strictly controlled guidelines set out by the Nazis. Starting in 1940, boys and girls under the age of 18 were forced to respect a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

There was also a dress code: Boys were required to wear their hair short and dress in a Hitler Youth uniform, while girls wore the traditional German braid - and no makeup. To ensure that everyone complied with the regulations, some 50,000 Hitler Youth patrolled the streets across the country, cutting long hair short and spitting in any girl's face who dared to wear even a touch of lipstick.

And yet there were those who opposed the Hitler Youth. In Hamburg, it was the swing crowd, who met for dances and coiffed their hair with pomade. A risky rebellion. In the autumn of 1940, 64 young swing fans were arrested. Those over 18 were sent directly to the front.

Not everyone followed the rules - Edelweiss Pirates around 1940

In the Rhineland, some young rebels wore edelweiss flowers on their lapels - and quickly became known as Edelweiss Pirates. They went on bike trips, played guitar and satirized well-known Hitler Youth songs with new lyrics. They were risking torture by the Gestapo and even deportation to concentration camps.

There were also those exceptional people, like Hans and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose resistance group, who stood up against the inhumane regime they were living under. They attempted to spread their understanding of the regime with leaflets at the University of Munich. On February 22, 1943, after being caught, they were executed.

Child soldiers

The vast majority of German teenagers, however, fell to Nazi indoctrination methods. And as the war dragged on, they were forced deeper and deeper into the conflict. In 1943, Hitler Youth leader Artur Axmann declared the deployment of Germany's youth, sending students from the age of 17 to the front. Most served as anti-aircraft auxiliaries in the air defense units. By 1945, there were around 200,000 young air force and naval auxiliaries. The average age of all enlisted men in May 1944 was 16 years and seven months.

Young girls were also required to perform military service, for the most part on the home front. They collected old clothes, knitted sweaters and socks for the soldiers, plowed fields and helped with the harvest. In 1945, there were around 500,000 women in service between the ages of 16 and 26. Two-thirds were volunteers.

Just before the end, adolescents were pulled into the war

A new life, in ruins

And then came May 8, 1945, the offcial date of the German capitulation. Peace at last? Most people were traumatized. Either from first-hand experience, or because they were alone, living frightened in an air raid shelter during the bombing of German cities, often without their parents and searching for family amongst the ruins. Or because they were the victims of sexual assault immediately after the war. An estimated 2 million German women - in addition to several million other women across Europe during the war - suffered this fate.

Nevertheless, zero hour meant a new beginning, symbolized by the Trümmerfrauen, the women who cleared away the rubble left after the war. But psychological studies today show that war-time experiences are not so easily forgotten. The children who came of age during World War II were deeply traumatized, and they often passed their trauma on to their own children.

When we were 17: Youth at the crossroads


How Humanity's First Nuclear Explosion Changed Earth's History

At ground zero of the first atomic bomb explosion on July 16, 1915, Trinitite, the green, glassy . [+] substance found in the area, is still radioactive and must not be picked up.

On July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m. the first atomic bomb exploded at the Trinity test site in the desert of New Mexico after secretly developing the technology through the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. The explosion resulted in an unprecedented release of energy: the equivalent of some 20,000 tons of TNT. Even though the bomb was detonated from the top of a hundred- foot steel tower, the blast created a crater between 5-8 feet (1.6-2.4 meters) deep and 130 feet (40 meters) wide. And all around the crater the ground was covered with a material as never seen before.

Clarence S. Ross of the USGS writes in a contemporary report, "The glass, in general, formed a layer 1 to 2 centimeters thick, with the upper surface marked by a very thin sprinkling of dust which fell upon it while it was still molten. At the bottom is a thicker film of partly fused material, which grades into the soil from which it was derived. The color of the glass is a pale bottle green, and the material is extremely vesicular, with the size of the bubbles ranging to nearly the full thickness of the specimen."

A typical piece of Trinitite.

Shaddack / Wikimedia Commons

Because it was a fission bomb filled with plutonium and uranium, a variety of different radioactive isotopes and elements were released by the detonation. Desert sand contains mostly grains of quartz, feldspar, with small crystals of calcite, hornblende, and augite mixed in. The initial burst of intense radiation, reaching temperatures of estimated 8,400°K (14,600°F), vaporized much of the superficial layers of the desert, mixing the elements from the vaporized minerals with the elements produced by the nuclear reactions, and forming a new and unique chemical mix. Raining down in liquid form and quickly cooling a glassy layer extending to a radius of 980 feet (300 meters) all around the explosion site formed, and a new mineral was born. The radioactive mineral was named Trinitite, after the site of its discovery.

White Sands, New Mexico. Aerial view of the aftermath of the Trinity test, 28 hours after the . [+] explosion. The smaller crater to the southeast is from the earlier detonation of 100 tons of TNT on May 7, 1945. The dark area covered by trinitite from the nuclear detonation is approximately a quarter-mile in diameter.

Federal government of the United States

Mars, Venus And A ‘Super Solstice Strawberry Moon’ Sparkle In Twilight: What You Can See In The Night Sky This Week

Is This The End For The Hubble Space Telescope? Its Computer Has A Memory Problem, Says NASA

Super Solstice Strawberry Moon: See And Stream Summer’s Biggest, Brightest And Best Moonrise This Week

The successful test not only ushered the world into the atomic age, but led to a quick end of the war in the Pacific, after two atom bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On August 6, 1945, at 8:15:44 a.m. "Little Boy," the first nuclear-fission bomb used in human warfare, exploded about 1,900 feet over Hiroshima, a city of about 350,000 people situated on a coastal plain in the Chugoku region of western Honshu, Japan. The enormous blast instantly destroyed most of the city and claimed some 70,000 lives.

Post-war model of "Little Boy," the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. . [+] The bomb was 29 inches in diameter, 126 inches long and weighed 9,700 pounds with a yield equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT explosive.

Sgt. Robert Caron, crewman of the B-29 Superfortress who dropped the bomb, describes the moments after the explosion: "The mushroom [cloud] itself was a spectacular sight, a bubbling mass of purple-gray smoke and you could see it had a red core in it and everything was burning inside, … As we got farther away, we could see the base of the mushroom and below we could see what looked like a few-hundred-foot layer of debris and smoke."

“Man unleashed the atom to destroy man, and another chapter in human history opened," wrote the New York Times the next day. The Hiroshima bombing not only changed human history, but like the Trinity test created a new kind of minerals that may even enter the geological record.

In 2015, geologist Mario Wannier visited the shores near Hiroshima to collect some sand samples. Searching for microfossils, he discovered small particles of melted metal, glass beads and fragments of a rubber-like substance in the samples collected on Miyajima Island and Motoujina Peninsula, located south of the hypocenter of the atomic explosion. Together with researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Wannier studied the mineralogical composition of the particles, discovering that they likely formed when the atomic blast vaporized parts of Hiroshima.

Optical microscopy image with a collection of metallic spherules and cemented fragments fused . [+] together by the blast of the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.

A chemical analysis shows an unusual composition of the particles, mostly composed of aluminum, silica, iron and calcium. Crystallographic analysis, used to identify the crystalline structure of an unknown substance, shows similarities to minerals with a high-temperature origin (over 1,800°C). The researchers argue that the minerals formed by condensation from the mushroom cloud after the nuclear blast, explaining the high-temperature origin and mixed chemical composition, as the cloud contained a mix of elements from vaporized human-made materials like steel, concrete and rubber. The researchers propose to name them "Hiroshimaites" after the site of origin and discovery.

Unlike naturally occurring tektites, glass fragments formed by a meteorite impact, or obsidian, a type of volcanic glass, the nuclear blast created minerals show a unique chemical composition.

As such minerals are closely associated with human technology, display unique properties not found in naturally occurring crystals, and likely are stable enough to survive million of years, some researchers suggest to use their appearance in the geological record to mark the beginning of the Anthropocene.

Even if "fortunately" the deploy of nuclear devices in wartime is limited to Japan, Hiroshimaites and minerals generated by the blast of an atomic device may be found in former test sites of nuclear powers across the planet, like the desert of the United States, in Siberia, the mountains of North Korea, India, Pakistan, the desert of Australia and atolls of the Pacific. The detonation of a nuclear device and mining of uranium and other fissionable materials release large quantities of radioactive dust into Earth's atmosphere. As this dust settles on the ground, it leaves behind a radioactive signature in the rocks that can be detected by geologists all over Earth.


This Day In History: General George S Patton Dies (1945)

On this day, in 1945 one of the greatest American generals of WWII dies. General George S. Patton, the famous war-time leader, died not from wounds in battle but rather from a car accident. He died at the age of 60 and he died in a freak accident after the war had been won. Patton came form a long line of soldiers. He had attended West Point and had graduated in 1909 near the top of his class. Patton was a talented sportsman and represented the US in the pentathlon in the 1912 Olympiad. He went on to serve on the western front. Patton served in a tank unit and from then on he was convinced that the tank was the key to the future of warfare. He believed that the tank with its mobility and fire-power would decide the next great war.

Patton was given a command of an American Army in the wake of a defeat in Tunisia in 1942. He quickly re-organized the Americans units and turned them into a formidable fighting force and helped to drive the Germans and Italians from North Africa. Later Patton and his army played a pivotal role in the capture of Palermo, Sicily. Patton was a controversial figure and he was relieved of duties after striking a shell-shocked soldier. He was later recalled by General Marshall and was given command of an army in France. Patton led a dash across France and helped to drive the Germans out of that country. He played a prominent role in the Battle of the Bulge and he broke the German siege of Bastogne. Patton developed a brilliant strategy that allowed the Allies to cross the Rhine and he and his army were then able to sweep across Southern Germany and into Austria. Old &lsquoBlood and Guts&rsquo as his men called him was advancing into Czechoslovakia when he was ordered to stop. Patton resented this, especially as it was done to please the communists.

A stamp commemorating General George S Patton

Patton was a daring soldier but he was not a diplomat. He was frequently in trouble because of his big mouth. In the immediate aftermath of the war, he criticized the American policy of denazification and the arrest and detention of Nazis. He wanted them to play a part in resisting Soviet influence in Germany. This got him into trouble with Eisenhower who transferred Patton as punishment. Old Blood and Guts was also anxious to be given command of an army in the Pacific. He wanted to play a role in the anticipated invasion of Japan. However, the dropping of the A-bomb ended Patton&rsquos hopes. Patton was given command of the 15 th Army Group and in December 1945 he was involved in a car accident. The staff care he was traveling in-skidded off the road and Patton&rsquos neck was broken and he was to die two weeks later in an army hospital.


V-E Day and V-J Day: The End of World War II in Toronto, 1945

V-E Day celebrations, Bay Street
May 7, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96241

They danced, kissed strangers, waved flags and threw streamers. They crowded outside newspaper offices to hear the latest news, flocked to City Hall, and formed jubilant parades on Bay and Yonge streets. They all celebrated, in their own way, the end of the war.

V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, the end of the conflict with Hitler’s Germany, came first. Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, and in Toronto and all cities in Allied countries, people streamed out of workplaces and schools to start the party. May 8, 1945 was declared the official day of celebration, with the City of Toronto organizing concerts, parades, religious services, and fireworks in the parks.

Three months later came V-J (Victory in Japan) Day, the end of the Pacific conflict with Japan. The news came in the evening of August 14, 1945. Across the city, but particularly in Chinatown, the revelry began again—this time celebrating the final end of six long years of war.

Years later, we remember the war and commemorate its end with this exhibit, featuring images and other materials from the City of Toronto Archives.

V-E Day celebrations
May 8, 1945
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1257, Series 1056, Item 195

V-E Day celebrations, King and Bay streets
May 8, 1945
Photographer: E.R. White
City of Toronto Archives
Series 377, Item (negative) 4636

V-E Day celebrations, Yonge Street north of Queen Street
May 7 or 8, 1945
City of Toronto Archives
Series 340, Subseries 8, File 50

V-E Day celebrations, looking east on King Street from Bay Street
May 8, 1945
Photographer: E.R. White
City of Toronto Archives
Series 377, Item (negative) 4641

P.C. Harry Carroll at V-E Day celebrations, looking north on Bay Street towards Queen Street
May 8, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96213

Children celebrating V-E Day
May 8, 1945
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1257, Series 1056, Item 214

V-E Day celebration bonfire, Clinton Street
May 7, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96253

V-E Day celebrations, Bay Street
May 7, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96214

V-E Day celebrations, looking north on Bay Street to Queen Street
May 8, 1945
Photographer: E.R. White
City of Toronto Archives
Series 377, Item (negative) 4639

Paper debris from V-E Day celebrations, looking north on Bay Street to Queen Street
May 7, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96215

Corporal E.B. Jamieson and Private Allan R. Brown bury Hitler in effigy on a front lawn on Gwynne Avenue
May 7, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 96257

In Postelberge (today Postoloprty) for five days - from 3 to 7 June 1945 - Czechs tortured and killed 760 Germans aged 15 to 60 years, one-fifth of the German population of the city

Nobody could really say why the five boys had joined the fatigue party of men on that fateful summer's day in 1945. Some thought they were hungry, others that they were trying to flee the wrath of the Czechoslovakian army.

Hundreds of Germans had been herded together on the parade ground in the Czech town of Postoloprty (known in German as Postelberg) on June 6, 1945, just a month after the end of World War II in Europe. They could clearly see the fatigue party heading off. The five boys who had hidden among the men were discovered and led back.

"Mr Marek wanted the boys to be flogged," recalls 81-year-old Peter Klepsch, an eye-witness. "But Captain Cerny, the commander of the Czech troops, said the boys should be shot."

The boys' names were Horst, Eduard, Hans, Walter, and Heinz. The oldest was 15, the youngest 12. They were flogged and then shot dead -- in full view of the others, who were held back at gunpoint. The Czechs didn't use machine guns, but their rifles, so it took a long time to kill all five. "One of the boys who hadn't been mortally wounded by the gunfire ran up to the marksmen begging to be allowed to go to his mother," recalls 80-year-old Heinrich Giebitz. "They just carried on shooting."

It all began in the weeks and months after the end of the war. It was the time of the so-called "wild expulsions," when ethnic Germans were being hunted down in various parts of Czechoslovakia. The fascists had been beaten. Now the Czechs wanted to rid themselves of their despised countrymen as quickly as possible. Though most of the Nazi perpetrators had long-since fled, the rage and the lust for revenge knew no bounds.

Ethnic Germans had lived on the Czech side of the border for centuries, so when Hitler annexed the area in 1938, they had lined the streets to cheer the soldiers. The rest of Bohemia and Moravia was soon a brutal Nazi protectorate, and in the years that followed more than 300,000 Czechs died at the hands of their German overlords. Theresienstadt concentration camp and the village of Lidice, which was burnt down by the SS, will forever serve as symbols of Nazi barbarism.

At the Potsdam conference in August 1945, the Allies authorized the expulsion of more than 3 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia, albeit on the proviso that "any transfers that take place should be effected in an orderly and humane manner." But by that time people had already taken matters into their own hands in many areas.
--------------------------
One of the most heinous crimes occurred on the night of 18th to June 19th at Prerau (today Přerov). Czech soldiers returning from Prague after the celebrations at the end of the war, met with a train carrying German civilians, which at the end of the war were to be evacuated to Bohemia and were now being deported to the Soviet occupation zone. The Germans were ordered off the train and made to dig a mass grave. The grave was ready by midnight. After that Czech soldiers under the command of an officer called Karol Pazura shot 265 Germans, which included 120 women and 74 children. The oldest of those killed were civilians 80 years old, and the youngest - eight months. When the shooting ended, the Czechs looted the belongings of the refugees.
http://carpathiangerman.com/benesch.htm
http://expelledgermans.org/sudetengermans.htm
---------------------------

As early as October 1943, Edvard Benes, who would become the president of Czechoslovakia after the war, had threatened from exile in London that "what the Germans have done in our lands since 1938 will be revenged on them multifold and mercilessly." And speaking during a radio broadcast in November 1944, Sergej Ingr, the commander-in-chief of Czech forces in England, issued his fellow countrymen with the following order: "Beat them, kill them, let nobody survive."

Demands such as these were eagerly received in places like Postoloprty and Zatec. When the Soviet army pulled out of the newly-liberated area, soldiers of the 1st Czechoslovakian Corps moved in and immediately set about "concentrating" the region's ethnic German population.

Germans killed in Prague. May 1945
On Sunday June 3, 1945 the army ordered some 5,000 ethnic German men in Zatec to assemble on the market square, from where they were marched the 15 kilometers to Postoloprty to a hail of threats, beatings, and gunfire.

"On Monday evening we were all forced to run around the square and sing Nazi songs or whatever passed as such," Peter Klepsch recalls. "All those who didn't run or sing right were flogged."

The next night he saw a group of men being led off for execution. It wasn't to be the last. He also repeatedly heard volleys of gunfire during the day.

Klepsch, who had opposed the Nazis and finished the war in prison for trying to help three Frenchman flee, was eventually permitted to leave the scene of the atrocity on the fifth day. An unknown number of men remained behind. Most were methodically and systematically shot dead, many near the barracks, others by the local school.

The largest mass grave, containing almost 500 bodies, was later discovered in the Pheasant Garden, a former pheasant farm out of town.

"Two hundred and fifty men were taken one day, another 250 the next, and a layer of earth was thrown in between," a policeman told a parliamentary inquiry in 1947. "They weren't all executed in a single night, but rather in stages." Often enough the condemned men were given a pick and shovel, and made to dig their own graves.

The perpetrators didn't have many scruples. After all, they were sure they had high-level military backing. Jan Cupka, the head of the defense intelligence service, remembers General Spaniel, the commander of the 1st Czechoslovakian Division, recommending they "clean" the region of its ethnic Germans. "The general told us, 'The fewer of them that remain, the fewer enemies we'll have.'"

The camera follows dozens of German soldiers and civilians – men, women and children – wearing white armbands being herded along a road on the outskirts of Prague by armed Czech militias. The scene changes and we see a line of German men standing on the edge of a ditch. Then someone off screen begins shooting them at random, one after another. Then, another part of the footage shows a military truck running over the bodies, some of which are presumably still alive.

The director of the documentary, David Vondráček, says this unique footage is evidence of the violent post-war days when Czechs, frustrated by six years of Nazi occupation, often took out their anger on anyone they could lay their hands on.

“Around 40 Germans were picked up, regardless of their individual guilt, from the residential areas of Prague – Bubeneč, Ořechovka, and others, and were interned in a cinema at Bořislavka. Prague’s cinemas were converted into internment camps for Germans whose houses and apartments were meanwhile being pillaged. Then they were taken out of the cinema and killed by Czech ‘revolutionary guards’, with participation by some Soviet soldiers.”

The footage was shot by an amateur film maker on May 9, the day the Soviet troops finally reached Prague. His family later kept the film scroll hidden for more than 50 years, as the authorities did not look favourably on anyone possessing evidence of such atrocities.

Other parts of the documentary ‘Killings Czech style’ focus on the murder of more than 1,000 Germans near the north Bohemian town of Žatec in June 1945, which the director says was the biggest post-war mass murder in Europe until the massacre of Srebrenica in 1995.
http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/documentary-to-show-post-war-mass-murder-of-german-civilians-in-prague

A concentration camp inmate tells of the terrorism engaged in by the victorious Allies. (From Die Vertreibung Sudetenlands 1945/46, Bad Nauheim, 1967, p. 299.) Josef Eckert was one of those men whom the National Socialists had thrown into concentration camp Dachau and for whom liberation came on May 8, 1945. He came from Brüx, and after being released from the concentration camp he hurried home to his native city, which he had not seen for many years. Later he wrote one of his fellow-sufferers from Dachau:

"The Czechs came to our city as avengers driven by hatred. First all German signs had to be taken down. Then we had to turn in all bicycles, motorcycles, radio sets, typewriters and telephones, and harsh penalties were in store for anyone who did not obey this order. Then the Czechs proceeded to plunder our houses. They went systematically from house to house, from home to home and stole furniture and linen, clothing and jewelry, in a word, anything they liked. But the plundering was not the end of it. There were also murders. On one of these horrible days they arrested comrade Willi Seifert, from Bandau. He was accused of having hidden a roll of telephone wire. At the Czech command post in the inn 'Gebirgshöhe' they stood him up against a wall and murdered him from behind."
http://www.gnosticliberationfront.com/sudeten_german_inferno_the_hushe.htm


"On May 13, 1945 the Czech reign of terror began in Iglau. About 1,200 Germans committed suicide the following night. By Christmas there were some 2,000 dead. On May 24 and 25 partisans drove the German population out of their homes within twenty minutes and locked them into the camps Helenental and Altenburg. These camps were officially known as concentration camps. Both camps held about 6,700 people. There was not enough water, neither for drinking nor for other purposes. There were no toilet or washing facilities. For the first days there was also no food, and later only a thin watery soup and 3 1/2 ounces of bread daily. After the first eight days children were given a cup of milk. Each day several elderly people and children died. On June 8 the inmates of Helenental were robbed of even their last possessions, and the next day they were marched more than 20 miles via Teltsch to Stangern. On this death march the people were constantly urged to greater speed with whippings. 350 people lost their lives to exhaustion and hunger on this trek."

Franz Kaupil continues: "In Stangern 3,500 people were crammed into a camp with an intended capacity of 250. Most of them had to camp outdoors, despite the rain. The next day, families - men, women and children - were quartered separately. The food was unfit for human consumption. In the course of a shooting in the women's camp four women were killed, among them Frau Friedl and Frau Kerpes, and one woman was badly injured. Corporal punishment was the order of the day for men and women alike. There was even a separate cell for beatings.

"The camp administration rented the inmates out to the Czech farmers as workers."

Franz Kaupil recalls further that on June 10, 1945 16 inmates from Iglau were taken from their cells and shot in the Ranzenwald forest. "Among them was the old town priest Honsik, the gentlemen Howorka, Augustin, Biskons, Brunner, Laschka, Martel, Kästler, and others whom I did not know. As late as May 1945, Krautschneider, Kaliwoda, Müller and Ruffa were shot in the court hall without any trial at all. One Hoffmann was beaten to death. Rychetzky was the warder whom everyone feared most. Factory owner Krebs was scalped. Building contractor Lang died of the effects of horrible maltreatment. 70-year-old Colonel Zobel hung himself in the cell.

THE HOLOCAUST OF PRAGUE
Excerpt from the book _Zwiespalt der Gemüter_ by Alexander Hoyer:


Watch the video: 2nd May 1945: The Battle of Berlin ends with the German surrender to the USSR