Saturday, May 15, 2010

Letter 225- August 9, 1945

Thursday, August 9, 1945
(Derdingen, Germany)

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Three nights ago I walked downstairs, dropped a letter to you in the mailbox, walked back to my squad room. Then I thought I was dreaming. The boys were standing about the room with mouths agape and issuing forth from the radio were the excited statements of an A.F.N. announcer. It sounded like the contents of an ordinary science-fiction magazine. “ATOMIC BOMB DESTROYS JAP CITY” . I don’t believe any of us believed it at first but as news flashes continued to pour in we became wild with excitement. It was really something. While we were still so enthused over our wonderful and terrible new weapon last night another excited announcer broke into a program to tell us the Russians had entered the war.

In 3 days, even less, the complexion of the war has gone from a hard fight ahead to the possible collapse of Japan in days.

During the years when Japan was committing such atrocities I often wondered when she would “pay the piper”. For her 2500 years of treachery she is paying a terrible price; Extinction.

The Seventh Army today suppressed the 100th Div. newspaper, “The Century Sentinel”. It was silly because everyone in the Div. knew what the contents were; our sailing date—between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1—Oct. 6 is the consensus of opinion.

Boy! Even as I read over the paragraph above the news came pouring in. At 11:00 some bigger news is supposed to come in.

I’m getting mail okay now, but you must be having a tough time of it. That little Combat Badge should be home by now.

I sure hope they don’t decide to send us to the Pacific via Siberia. I think some awfully morbid stuff, don’t I?

That’s all for now.

Best Love,


  1. Very interesting letter, Greg.

  2. Yes, an interesting letter. I'm struck by Bill's description of "our wonderful and terrible new weapon." It seems to me to be a prophetic statement. Wonderful in that it ended the war and that, in a way, it has prevented a World War III for 65 years. Terrible in that it has been a cloud over the world that threatens the very existence of the human race.

  3. Last two postings were very interesting. Can you imagine living that part of history? I can only imagine the emotions. My husband's uncle died at Iwo Jima. No one in the family had ever seen his grave which was at the national cemetary in Hawaii. We were able to visit it 25 years ago on a trip to Hawaii. I remember how emotional Rick's mom was at the pictures we took of the grave site. Wow...50,000 casualties of US soldiers. Hard to imagine.

  4. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for your touching post. Raw statistics like 6,821 American deaths at Iwo Jima do not tell the story nearly as well as the story of your husband's uncle who died there. I would like to dedicate this post to your relataive who died at Iwo Jima and all the veterans of the Pacific theatre. Could you give us his name?


  5. Elizabeth's family member who died at Iwo Jima was Joseph Reise. His body is buried at the National Cemetery in Hawaii.


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