Euphoria like I will never know

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Wizard

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Wizard
And these fellas, wow ........ cloud fricken 9 .... and compared to treatment at other Japanese POW camps, these fellas look pretty healthy

On August 29, 1945, photographer John Swope, aboard a U.S. Navy landing craft, snapped a photo of men in a Japanese prison camp the Navy had come to liberate. The POWs told him that the constant humiliation and fear of physical abuse was more oppressive than the punishment itself. After describing the brutality of some guards, prisoners made a point of introducing Swope to the guards who were kind to them. (National Archives)


TVWBB Olympian
I am sure it was a happy time. One of my 2 uncles who was on an LST was going to be assigned to the invasion had it happened. Oddly though he always said he felt we should not have dropped the bombs. He felt they were ready to give up anyway and did not want to risk invasion. I never wanted to argue the point with him. He was there and had WAY more on the line than many.

Brad Olson

TVWBB Gold Member
I'd love to know the technical details of those photos. From what I could quickly find it appears John Swope used a Leica for at least some of his work.
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TVWBB Olympian
I still remember celebrating both VJ day and VE day as a kid. In Chicago they would ring the air raid sirens in commemoration, flags were flown and the times were acknowledged. Now when I speak to younger people they look at me like I have 2 heads. They just don't get what the Greatest Generation did for us
VJ Day, 1945 ............ I can't imagine this kind of happiness. The soldiers and airmen went from fearing death constantly to sheer joy and relief.

My mother and father both served in the armed forces during that time.

Dad was in the Pacific Theater of Operations in country on Guadalcanal. He was a man of few words. I remember one time asking him when I was young if he ever killed someone. His response (while never actually answering the question) was, words to the effect: "it was either me or them." I knew what that meant. It was one of the few times I saw him well up. I never raised questions of his time in the war ever again. I knew from the way that he lived his life that he made his peace with his God.

The soldiers and Marines in the Pacific knew what was inevitable. Dad would relate that he was grateful for Truman's decision. Had an invasion of Japan taken place, he felt he would not have survived. Some folks say it was a wrong decision, but my father believed that it brought a swift end to the conflict and is why he was able to return home.

Dad did not smoke nor drink when I knew him growing up, but he would pour one and have a cigar on out back porch in New Jersey every Memorial Day in remembrance of his comrades who did not come back.

I am so proud of both my parents who served. They were children of the Depression that fought when they were called upon and came home to raise a family and live the American Dream.

I do not know if Dad experienced happiness on VJ day, but I am certain it was relief with a certain amount of joy.

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Wizard
My Dad was complicated.

He talked about the war, but did not boast nor brag or find glory in what he did. He would talk about the experience. And going from a depression era farm , 8 miles north of Seminole, Oklahoma to Picadilly Circus, to Stalag 17 near Krems, Austria ............ that's a long trip.

He would flat out reject being called a hero. Said he did what millions of others did, no more, no less. And I think that's a point that got lost on those of us who did not live in that era ............ everybody served. It was the exception to not serve.

Dad was drafted. And I found a long letter my Grandad wrote to the local draft board trying to get Dad a deferment because he was needed on the farm. Its not like they were filled with patriotic fervor on the farm. Two of Dad's older brothers had already gotten deferments and another brother was serving.

And Dad could've gotten through the war without getting shot at, he was sent to mechanic school and became a certified B-25 mechanic. But he volunteered for aerial gunnery school and ended up as a Ball Turret Gunner on a B-17. He never told me that. I've found that in his records and momentos.

He was not anti-war. But he was not pro-war either. He saw war as something that had to be done. Initially, he supported the Vietnam War, but became opposed to it as it dragged on. He said either commit the full power of our military to winning the war and getting it over with ..... or get out.

About mid 70's, I was home for the weekend. Dad always stayed up for the 10 oclock ( CDT ) news. Saturday night after the sports, the late movie came on and it was ' Slaughterhouse 5 " , movie made from Kurt Vonnegut's book that the anti-war crowd of the 1960's fawned over. It's largely about the bombing of Dresden. I expected Dad to become disgusted and get up to go to bed, but he and I stayed up to watch the entire movie together. And that pretty much summed up Dad, his view on war was complicated.