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He believed the loss of American lives of the force having to invade Japan was just too great.


The battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa showed the American military and the politicians in Washington the extent the Japanese were willing to go. The Japanese considered surrender on the battlefield as completely unacceptable and all Japanese soldiers were drills regularly that death was preferable. In each of the two battles mentioned, American took a relatively small number of prisoners, very few soldiers actually surrendered.

Franklin Roosevelt died April 12, 1945 without ever informing Truman of the atomic bomb's existence.

The Battle of Okinawa started on April 1, 1945, while FDR was still alive and ended June 22, 1945, over two months after his death. At that point all that was left was the invasion of Japan. Even though America won both the battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, their loses were great. At Iwo Jima America lost 26,000 troops. At Okinawa over 50,000 troops were lost, the greatest number of any battle of WW2. American Generals and Admirals expected America to lose over 1 million troops in an invasion of the Japanese mainland. This was considered unacceptable.

Still, Truman struggled greatly with this decision. He and his general staff explored every alternative they could imagine and in the end they realized the dropping of the two bombs was the only reasonable solution.

American had actually planned to drop 12 such bombs on various cities, not just Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Kyoto, Nagiita and Tokyo were among the other targets. In truth, no one knew what would happen when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. They did not know how large the blast would be, how extensive the destruction would be and what the death toll would be. Even though the crew of the B-29 knew the nature of the bomb they were about to drop, something they learned just prior to take-off, they were stunned by what they saw. The crew of the B-29 Bockscar that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki had a similar reaction. Both crews fully reported what they had observed.

At that point Washington offered unconditional surrender to the Japanese or face more of the same. Japan agreed to surrender on August 14 1945.


It varied greatly according to where you lived.


I asked my father that very question and his response was his family did not notice much change at all. My grandfather was a well-educated man who worked in Boston. His job and the need for it was unaffected by the depression.

But mill workers around the country were affected as orders for things like automobiles, steel, aircraft, home appliances declined. And so there were many layoffs among such industries but few shut down entirely. That was the make-up of the entire northeast and mid-west.

But as soon as you entered the farmland of the plains, thing got desperate quickly. West of the Mississippi in those days there was very little manufacturing, farming was king. And the stock market crash in and of itself would not have effected the farmers had they not been stricken by a natural disaster.

For generations, farmers had planted and repeated one type of produce on their land. The soil became poor. Then a drought hit in 1930, followed by another in 1931 and 1932. Crops failed, land stood fallow, and the winds which blew across the plains picked up that poor soil and blew it into unimaginable dust storms. A few dust storms were so great their effect was felt in Boston and New York.

When the farmers could not pay the banks on the mortgages the banks held there came foreclosures. And when those same farmers could not afford to pay the debts they all owed to various merchants, they too began to fail.

These plains farmers moved to California on the promise that the central valley there could more than support all of them. But that just was not true. This caused a huge strain on California's resources.

All Americans were affected by the depression to one extent or another. But it depended greatly upon your source of income and to what degree that source itself was affected by the depression.


It was time.


Actually, the first labor unions were founded in the 1830s by women working the mills of Lowell MA and Manchester NH. They were not looking for better pay, they had not thought of that, but of better treatment. After several short strikes, they won.

The Civil War put all social and labor issue on hold for its duration plus a number of years afterwards, the reconstruction era. Starting in the 1870s and continuing into the 1920, industry in the U.S. expanded very rapidly. Naturally, so did the need for labor.

But labor unions arose out of an unlikely labor force. The first organized labor group were the farmers of the mid-west who formed The Grangers. Their prime purpose is what we call PACs today. They would decide as a group which politicians to vote for, those who best supported their interests. The Illinois Granger group successfully won a court case against the railroads who were fixing prices on the commodities the farmers were shipping.

In 1869 Uriah Stephens started a labor union known as the Knights of Labor. They recognized that the growing number of laborers in American mills, railroads, and other large operations needed a voice in what was happening to them. The Knights took the approach of voicing labor's concerns to all industry at once and try to come to a resolution. They were seldom successful though they gain a lot of headlines, mostly negative. The KoL did not have a good answer for strikebreakers (scabs), for the police, for the national guard, or for the private security firms.

Those private security firms were mostly a front for a bunch of thugs who would cause trouble among striking workers by inciting riots, the Haymarket Riot being one of the more infamous. The name most frequently behind those thugs, that also enjoyed much respect of the non-labor citizenry, were from the Pinkerton Agency. Pinkerton had gained the public's trust by reducing train robberies.

But the Knights were not willing to look at laborers individually by job title. Into that arena jumped both the Industrial Workers of the World and the American Federation of Labor. The difference between the two was the IWW took on anyone who would join their ranks while the AFL would only consider white men of skilled labor groups.

The 1912 Textile Strike of Lawrence Massachusetts brought both parties into the forefront each of which contributed to a successful end to the longest and largest strike this country had ever or has ever known within the bounds of a single city. They had a plan to run successful strikes for higher wages and better working conditions. They also found a way to make mill owners accountable, something that had previously been lacking.

What was a liberty bond?

8.087671232876712 years ago


It was a way to support the war effort during WWI in the US,


Basically you would buy bonds to give money to be invested to support the war effort (to raise funds, for example, to make weapons, to build ships or airplanes, to buy food for the troops, etc.) and after you could get back your money with an interest (a kind of loan the person could give to the government).

The selling of bonds was supported by one of the first "marketing" campaigns of all time. Famous people, such as, actors, heroes and, in general, well known public authorities were used to publicize the selling of bonds.

Also, the patriotic drive was used to convince the public to buy bonds to, kind of, "fight at home" and so helping the soldier at the front.


It did not have one in general but did towards the Soviet version and another towards the Chinese version.


Even though communism had existed from the beginning of the 20th Century, America had never been forced to deal with it head on. World War 2 changed all that.

The British and French, our long time and natural allies, had significant investments in China and Asia in general. When Mao Tse Dung took control of China in 1949 there was a general destabilization in the Far East. That continued in 1950 when North Korea attacked the south. In response to it America built up its military presence in Taiwan, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. America considered it a British/French problem and that we should stand back unless called upon by our allies.

But Europe was entirely different. The Soviet Union never pulled its troops out of the countries where it defeated the German army. In fact, they increased their presence and pressed their will upon those countries.

In 1948 the Russians closed the road which connected West Germany with Berlin. Berlin sat in the middle of the Soviet controlled East Germany and the Soviets wanted us out. To counter this President Truman generated the Berlin Air Lift which brought all sorts of supplies to West Berlin. It was a stare down the U.S. won. The U.S. still felt it held the upper hand in world politics.

But the on August 29, 1949 the Soviet Union set off its first atomic bomb. The Soviet Union was inserting itself as a Communist world power. This scared the hell out of many Americans. It started the "Cold War" where the U.S. and the Soviet Union vied for the position of top dog.

The "Red Scare" in America was palpable by 1954 when Sen. McCarthy started his committee on un-American Activities in which he black listed, deposed and ruined the live of many Americans out of his own hysteria that communist Russia was infiltrating us with the idea of taking us over from the inside out.

Each country built up its nuclear arms to a degree that became referred to as "mutually assured destruction." That meant that if either side attacked the other, both would ultimately be destroyed.


A very significant one indeed; for the College determined who became the next President.


For one of the few times in U.S. history, the president who won (George W. Bush) did not receive the most votes.

This is due to the structuring of the Electoral College system in America. I won't go into detail, but basically each state has a certain number of votes called electoral votes. The number of these votes is determined by the population of the state (that is, the more people, the more votes). The purpose of these votes is in choosing the next president; a candidate needs at least 270 votes to win. In the extremely, extremely rare case of a tie, Congress decides on the next president.

For example, in my home state of Connecticut, we have 7 electoral votes. The candidate who receives the most votes in my state gets those seven votes, so he or she only needs 263 more to win. Unfortunately, because we have so few votes, most candidates don't really care about our state ;(. However, this changes when it comes to a big state like California or Texas, where losing could cost you the whole election. In 2000, Democratic candidate Al Gore won more votes than Bush, but Bush won the important states with a lot of electoral votes. As a result, he won the election despite having less votes from the actual American people.

As an interesting side note, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the 2000 election. Some people claim that Bush used his influence in Florida (his brother was the governor) to rig the election. Had Gore won Florida instead of Bush, Gore would have become the president. There were recounts, and petitions, and a whole lot of speculation, but in the end Bush won by about 500 votes. Pretty darn close.


That depends upon which era you are talking about.


The earliest labor unions go back to the 1830s when "mechanics" banded and the women of New Hampshire and Massachusetts sporadically banded together. They plight was usually over working conditions and seldom about pay.

Early post civil war farmers of the plains banded into the Grangers, more a brotherhood than a union, but still worked in common cause, keeping the plains open, not barbed wired.

In the early 1870s the Knights of Labor was founded to provide skilled laborers with a platform to address grievances against particular mills. This too was general over working condition but wages did occasionally enter in.

In the 1880s and 1890s the United Mine Workers, an independent union. always struck over working conditions in the mines, too many explosions, cave-ins and other hazards. They almost always lost by-the-way.

In the early 20th century the focus turned to number of hours worked and wages, almost as a single issue. This was handled by the recently formed American Federal of Labor, AFL, but only for skilled laborers. The Industrial Workers of the World, I.W.W., a socialist group, took on the plight on unskilled laborers but took on skilled laborers as well. At that time mill operatives were expected to work upwards of 60 hours a week at 7 cents an hour and had no expectation of job security. Also, and depending upon the state, children as young as 8 were employed in mills and required to do dangerous jobs.

The 40 hour work week is the result of labor strikes in the 1910s, as were the child labor laws. Children under 14 not allowed to work.

Most of the early 1920s forward and to the 1970s strikes were over wages and benefits.


The rise of Communism gave him his power but in the end, his vitriol was his ruin.


As soon as World War 2 ended, the Soviet Union took possession of all territory it held at the end of the war. This meant every country on Russia's border became a satellite country for Moscow.

Then in 1949 the communist party in China came into power with the overthrow of the democratic government. This was the beginning of what was called "the red scare."

Also, Russia entered into the "arms race" which was the building of nuclear weapons. The US was shocked when Russia set off its first hydrogen bomb. From there Russia built bigger and bigger nuclear bombs.

During those years there was the a general knowledge that some Americans joined the communist party. McCarthy took that to mean they were in favor of overthrowing the government, that they were getting orders from Moscow to engage in subversive activities.

McCarthy assembled a "Committee on un-American Activities" which investigated anyone with known communist leanings and anyone they thought had such leanings.

McCarthy played upon the fears of the American public. He increased his power by using fear against the public at large. To defend anyone who stood accused was to be a sympathizer yourself and put your own freedom in jeopardy.

The end came when McCarthy charged that the army was soft on communism. The army sent a lawyer to the hearings, a soft-spoken man named Joseph N. Welch. He challenged McCarthy by saying, "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” It was then McCarthy’s turn to be stunned into silence, as Welch asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

Welch's challenge spelled the end of McCarthy. His committee was disbanded and McCarthy lost his re-election in 1956.


At first with support but they gradually turned against the war.


When combat troops were first sent to Vietnam there was almost 100% support in Congress and conscription was unnecessary. However what was assumed would be a short war dragged on even with over 500,00 US soldiers committed and a huge military budget being spent.

The draft was introduced and opposition to the war grew There were a number of key events which had a major impact on American public opinion, two of which were the Tet Offensive and My Lai.

In 1968 the Vietcong launched a massive offensive during the Chinese New Year, bringing the war into the cities of the South. The American public , who were being told they were winning the war, now saw the Vietcong inside the US embassy in Saigon. They also witnessed the brutal fighting in Hue where much of the old city was destroyed. Scenes such as a South Vietnamese police chief summarily executing a Vietcong suspect by shooting him through the head shocked the American public. Tet had a massive psychological impact on the American public through TV images.

In My Lai in March 1968 American troops slaughtered 400-500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians. Only one American soldier was injured. he shot himself deliberately in the foot so as to get out of the killings. My Lai would probably never have emerged unless a photographer Ron Haeberle had his own camera and took photos.

Such events deeply divided America. When soldiers went on trial for My Lai it was the US Government and indeed US society which was on trial. Only one man Lt William Calley was convicted, serving 3 days before being put in to house arrest Events such as the shooting of students at Kent State University demonstrating against the war, by the National Guard heightened such divisions.

Finally the massive media coverage of the war with the US population having access to television had an impact which was unique; in that ever since there has been far greater censorship by politicians so as to prevent public opinion being aware of what war is really like. It has taken decades for the USA to recover from the scars of Vietnam.


The USA Was involved directly and indirectly in an umber of ways.


Even as early as late 1940's, the CIA were active in South East Asia, including Vietnam.

American foreign policy at the time had two main objectives. Firstly in the context of the Cold War, the Americans sought to prevent the spread of communism. During this period China becoming communist and the Soviets acquiring nuclear weapons added to the prevailing fear and tension. The Domino Theory which argued that if one country fell to communism then neighbouring countries would too like a row of dominoes collapsing was part of this fear and shaped US strategy in South East Asia.

Secondly the Americans saw themselves as anti-colonial, given their own experiences and the significant changes in the world after 1945. (An example was their bitter opposition to Suez in 1956). When the French were defeated in 1954 and Vietnam divided, the Americans supported the South, as they supported South Korea.

The failure of the South to hold elections and the deteriorating situation led to ever increasing US involvement, initially military advisors, then ground troops. In 1963 the President in the South, Diem was assassinated and replaced by the military.

However this failed to bring success against the communists. In 1964 President Johnson used the pretext of an attack on an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin to increase American involvement. In effect it gave him carte blanche to escalate the war. There was a huge military commitment with large scale bombing of the north.

Initially the American public supported the war, however as time passed and there was no sign of victory attitudes changed. The Tet Offensive in 1968 created the impression that the USA was losing and massacres such as My Lai hardened American opinion against the war.

When Nixon became President in 68 he was committed to a US withdrawal although privately he and foreign policy advisor Kissinger believed a military victory still possible. ( They extended the war into Cambodia in 1970 with catastrophic consequences). Nixon's policy of Vietnamization would allow for anAmerican withdrawal whilst at the same time leaving the South strong enough to resist the Vietcong and NVA.

A peace agreement was signed in Paris and the Americans withdrew in 1973. Two years later the South fell to the communists