August 16th, 1945 (THURSDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: An "iron curtain" has come down across Europe, according to Winston Churchill. Now leader of the opposition, he told the House of Commons today of his fears that "tragedy on a prodigious scale is imposing itself behind the iron curtain which at present divides Europe in twain."
He was referring especially to the expulsion of millions of Germans from territory allotted to Poland in the west to compensate for that taken by Russia in the east. Many are unaccounted for. "Where have they gone? What is their fate?"
Going on to speak of what was happening in the newly communist-dominated countries, he said: "A family might be gathered round the fireside and enjoying the fruits of their toil when suddenly there is a knock at the door and heavily-armed policemen appear.
"It may be that a father or a son or a friend sitting in the cottage is called out and taken away into the dark and no one knows what is his fate. All they know is that they had better not inquire ...
"President Roosevelt laid down the Four Freedoms, and these are extant in the Atlantic Charter. Freedom from fear, but this has been interpreted as if it were only freedom from fear of invasion by a foreign country. That is the least of the fears of the common man. His patriotism arms him to withstand invasion. That is not the fear of the ordinary families in Europe tonight. Their fear is of the policeman knocking at the door."
U.S.S.R.: Pacific Fleet ship loss - HS "GOK-2" - mined at Rasin port (Korea) (Sergey Anisimov)(69)
Moscow: Poland and the USSR sign a treaty which fixes the new Russo-Polish frontier.
MANCHURIA: Soviet forces free Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, USA, from a POW camp. Wainwright had been captured on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay on 6 May 1942 and spent the next three and a half years as a POW in Luzon, Formosa, and Manchuria. The years of captivity took its toll on the general. The man who had been nicknamed "Skinny" was now emaciated, his hair had turned white, and his skin was cracked and fragile. He was also depressed, believing he would be blamed for the loss of the Philippines to the Japanese. When Wainwright arrived in Yokohama, Japan, to attend the formal surrender ceremony, General of the Army MacArthur, his former commander, was stunned at his appearance-literally unable to eat and sleep for a day. Wainwright was given a hero's welcome upon returning to the U.S.
Mukden: A six-man team from the American Office of Strategic
Services parachutes into the Mukden PoW camp. The Japanese commandant had not
heard of the surrender so had not implemented the long-standing instructions to
Japanese camp commandants to dispose of all PoWs prior to surrendering their
JAPAN:The Japanese Cabinet under PM Suzuki resigned after the Emperor's radio broadcast yesterday. They resign because they were unable to make a decision without consulting the Emperor. They also realize their job is done and a new cabinet will assist their country in making the transition to peace. In their last final act the open up military warehouses of food and other supplies for the civilian population.
Prince Higashikuni, with Prince Konoye as advisor, is appointed as Prime Minister and asked to form a new cabinet.
PACIFIC OCEAN: While 100 miles (161 km) east of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, the US destroyer USS Healy (DD-672) establishes sonar contact with an underwater object and carriers out a depth charge attack.
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: In the Aleutians, US aircraft are ordered not to approach closer than 50 miles (80.5 km) near Japanese or Soviet-held territory.
U.S.A.: Minesweeper USS Waxwing commissioned.
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