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    2 September 1945, Tokyo Bay, the Japanese formally surrender, ending WW2. Nearly 300 US and Allied ships fill Tokyo Bay — a powerful demonstration of Allied might. The surrender ceremony takes place onboard the US Battleship USS Missouri. President Truman addressed the American people listening to the surrender ceremony on the radio:
    “My fellow Americans, and the Supreme Allied Commander, General MacArthur, in Tokyo Bay:
    The thoughts and hopes of all America–indeed of all the civilized world–are centered tonight on the battleship Missouri. There on that small piece of American soil anchored in Tokyo Harbor the Japanese have just officially laid down their arms. They have signed terms of unconditional surrender.
    Four years ago, the thoughts and fears of the whole civilized world were centered on another piece of American soil–Pearl Harbor. The mighty threat to civilization which began there is now laid at rest. It was a long road to Tokyo–and a bloody one.
    We shall not forget Pearl Harbor.
    The Japanese militarists will not forget the U.S.S. Missouri.”

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    December 17, 1939: Germany’s Admiral Graf Spee is scuttled by her crew outside Montevideo harbor. This famous German commerce raider had been so succesful in the preceding months that the British and the French sent more than 20 ships to track her down. That culminated in the Battle of the River Plate, in which Admiral Graf Spee sustained critical damage. They found refuge in neutral but Allied-friendly Uruguay, but with no hope of getting the ship repaired and the prospect of the crew being interned, Captain Hans Langsdorff made the decision to scuttle her.

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  • Moderator 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    @kaleu thanks . Is One of those stories many of us learned as a child.

  • @kaleu The Admiral Graf Spee was such a great looking ship.

    In theory fast enough to dodge battleships and powerful enough to out range cruisers.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    January 2, 1942: 33 members of the Duquesne spy ring are convicted to prison terms in New York.

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    The Wikipedia lemma on Duquesne is worth having a look at. That man truly led a life of high adventure.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    January 12, 1945, saw the beginning of the Soviet Vistula-Oder offensive, led by the celebrated marshals Zhukov and Konev. The operation had been prepared for many months during which the Soviet amassed a force of such magnitude that Hitler refused to believe the incoming reports.

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    World War 2 was pretty much hopeless for the Germans at this time, but decisions made on either side would have a lasting impact on post-war Europe. Hitler had mostly lost his sense of reality and failed to order the trapped German forces in the Courland pocket home, where they could have helped defending; he even sent troops out to Hungary. Zhukov on the other hand, stopped the offensive at the Oder, just a bit over 40 miles from Berlin – but the Soviet front line had become dangerously extended, and he considered pushing on too dangerous.

    They each had their detractors: Guderian fell out with Hitler about the failing defense and Chuikov with Zhukov about the stalled offensive. Plenty of room for alternative history writing: would the Soviets have been stopped before they reached the Oder if Guderian’s advice had been followed? Would they have taken Berlin if Chuikov had had his way?
    The offensive was halted on February 2. Two days later, the Yalta conference started and all the decisions that would draw the map for decades to come were made.

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