V-J Day

 

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur issued General Order 1 on 2 September as the directive under which Japanese forces throughout the Far East would surrender after the Japanese signed the Instrument of Surrender that day at Tokyo Bay in obedience to the Imperial Rescript by Emperor Hirohito.

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The Navy's wartime progress in race relations was the product of several forces. At first Negroes were restricted to service as messmen, but political pressure forced the Navy to open general service billets to them. In this the influence of the civil rights spokesmen was paramount. They and their allies in Congress and the national political parties led President Roosevelt to demand an end to exclusion and the Navy to accept Negroes for segregated general service. The presence of large numbers of black inductees and the limited number of assignments for them in segregated units prevented the Bureau of Naval Personnel from providing even a semblance of separate but equal conditions. Deteriorating black morale and the specter of racial disturbance drove the bureau to experiment with all-black crews, but the experiment led nowhere. The Navy could never operate a separate but equal fleet. Finally in 1944 Forrestal began to experiment with integration in seagoing assignments.

The influence of the civil rights forces can be overstated. Their attention tended to focus on the Army, especially in the later years of the war; their attacks on the Navy were mostly sporadic and uncoordinated and easily deflected by naval spokesmen. Equally important to race reform was the fact that the Navy was developing its own group of civil rights advocates during the war, influential men in key positions who had been dissatisfied with the prewar status of the Negro and who pressed for racial change in the name of military efficiency. Under (p. 098) the leadership of a sympathetic secretary, himself aided and abetted by Stevenson and other advisers in his office and in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the Navy was laying plans for a racially integrated general service when Japan capitulated.

To achieve equality of treatment and opportunity, however, takes more than the development of an integration policy. For one thing, the liberalization of policy and practices affected only a relatively small percentage of the Negroes in the Navy. On V-J day [8/15/45 or 9/2/45?] the Navy could count 164,942 enlisted Negroes, 5.37 percent of its total enlisted strength.[3-138]

More than double the prewar percentage, this figure was still less than half the national ratio of blacks to whites. In August 1945 the Navy had 60 black officers, 6 of whom were women (4 nurses and 2 WAVES), and 68 enlisted WAVES who were not segregated. The integration of the Navy officer corps, the WAVES, and the nurses had an immediate effect on only 128 people. Figures for black enlisted men show that they were employed in some sixty-seven ratings by the end of the war, but steward and steward's mate ratings accounted for some 68,000 men, about 40 percent of the total black enlistment. Approximately 59,000 others were ordinary seamen, some were recruits in training or specialists striking for ratings, but most were assigned to the large segregated labor units and base companies.[3-139]

Here again integrated service affected only a small portion of the Navy's black recruits during World War II.

Furthermore, a real chance existed that even this limited progress might prove to be temporary. On V-J day the Regular Navy had 7,066 Negroes, just 2.14 percent of its total.[3-140]

Many of these men could be expected to stay in the postwar Navy, but the overwhelming majority of them were in the separate Steward's Branch and would remain there after the war. Black reservists in the wartime general service would have to compete with white regulars and reservists for the severely reduced number of postwar billets and commissions in a Navy in which almost all members would have to be regulars. Although Lester Granger had stressed this point in conversations with James Forrestal, neither the secretary nor the Bureau of Naval Personnel took the matter up before the end of the war. In short, after setting in motion a number of far-reaching reforms during the war, the Navy seemed in some danger of settling back into its old prewar pattern.

Still, the fact that reforms had been attempted in a service that had so recently excluded Negroes was evidence of progress. Secretary Forrestal was convinced that the Navy's hierarchy had swung behind the principle of equal treatment and opportunity, but the real test was yet to come. Hope for a permanent change in the Navy's racial practices lay in convincing its tradition-minded officers that an integrated general service with a representative share of black officers and men was a matter of military efficiency.

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The nation's military leaders and the leaders of the civil rights movement were in rare accord at the end of World War II. They agreed that despite considerable wartime improvement the racial policies of the services had proved inadequate for the development of the full military potential of the country's largest minority as well as the efficient operation and management of the nation's armed forces. Dissatisfaction with the current policy of the armed forces was a spear-point of the increasingly militant and powerful civil rights movement, and this dissatisfaction was echoed to a great extent by the services themselves. Intimate association with minority problems had convinced the Army's Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies and the Navy's Special Programs Unit that new policies had to be devised and new directions sought. Confronted with the incessant demands of the civil rights advocates and presented by their own staffs with evidence of trouble, civilian leaders of the services agreed to review the status of the Negro. As the postwar era opened, both the Army and the Navy were beginning the interminable investigations that augured a change in policy.

Unfortunately, the services and the civil rights leaders had somewhat different ends in mind. Concerned chiefly with military efficiency but also accustomed to racial segregation or exclusion, most military leaders insisted on a rigid appraisal of the performance of segregated units in the war and ignored the effects of segregation on that performance. Civil rights advocates, on the other hand, seeing an opportunity to use the military as a vehicle for the extension of social justice, stressed the baneful effects of segregation on the black serviceman's morale. They were inclined to ignore the performance of the large segregated units and took issue with the premise that desegregation of the armed forces in advance of the rest of American society would threaten the efficient execution of the services' military mission. Neither group seemed able to appreciate the other's real concerns, and their contradictory conclusions promised a renewal of the discord in their wartime relationship.

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The Regular Navy included 7,066 enlisted Negroes on V-J day, 2.1 percent of the total enlisted strength. This figure nearly tripled in the next year to 20,610, although the percentage of Negroes only doubled.[9-14]

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The Coronet plan was still in its early stages when President Truman announced that Japan had accepted allied surrender terms after atomic bombs destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Representatives of the Japanese government signed the formal surrender on board the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. World War II was finally over.

The 5th Marines did not, however, participate in the long awaited victory parade through Tokyo. Instead, the 5th Marines, much like the 5th Regiment after World War I, remained in the field to occupy former enemy territory and to ensure final peace negotiations went smoothly. Accordingly, V AC was immediately sent to Japan and III AC was ordered to occupy northern China. Long serving veterans had earned enough rotation points to return home, so every unit in the Pacific, including the 5th Marines, underwent a great deal of personnel turbulence. Soon, all of the Guadalcanal and New Britain veterans were gone, although many mid-war replacements who had served at Peleliu and Okinawa still remained in the ranks at the end of September 1945.

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Korean_War

 

Korean_War

 

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2 September 1945 Less than a month later, [after the atomic bombing] the war in the Pacific came to and end when Japan surrendered aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo bay.

Korean_War

Korean_War

 

 

Korean_War

 With the singing World War II ended as well, and the cold war began.

There was some concern that the Russians were actually south of the parallel, but when Lt. Gen. John R. Hodge and the United States got to Korea, landing at Inch'ŏn with the XXIV Corps of the U.S. 10th Army on 9 September 1945, the Russians were well north of the dividing line.  The Japanese that  remained in the south were repatriated by the United States.  The Koreans, both north and south now found themselves in apparent command of their own destinies for the first time in over two and one half centuries. 

 

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The sudden end of the war in the Pacific found the United States unprepared, its attentions focused on the projected invasion of the Japanese homeland.  Hasty efforts in Washington to cope with the issues of Japan's surrender resulted in a directive which provided, with Soviet concurrence, that Japanese forces in Korea north of the 38th parallel would surrender to the Russians, and those south of that line to the United States.  In time, of course, this decision on the mechanics of surrender was to divide Korea in rigid and illogical fashion, but it also saved the southern half of the country from Communist control.

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