Published September 1, 1995

1. As things turned out, it took a personal intervention by the Imperial family to see the surrender through. William Manchester describes the bizarre goings-on that were the unseen back-drop to the surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945:



. . . Kamikaze bombers were taxiing into position at the Atsugi airfield, their cockpits occupied by airmen who had sworn upon the honor of their ancestors that they would dive-bomb the Missouri and sink her. As she went down, fighter pilots, who were also warming up, were to strafe the bay until all on the Missouri, including Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur, were dead. . . . In the last frantic hours before the surrender, Hirohito was sending members of his family to every stronghold demanding assurances that the imperial promise [to surrender] would be kept. His younger brother, Prince Takamatsu, reached the Atsugi strip just in time to coax the fire-eaters into grounding their planes. It was touch and go right up to the end.


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