Wednesday, September 20, 2017

SEPTEMBER 20 = Arthur Becomes Third POTUS in One Year



Our political system may seem VERY odd... especially this
year with all off the unprecedented things going on with Donald Trump as President of the United States (POTUS). That statement
is intended neither as a criticism nor an endorsement of Mr. Trump.  But it has been an odd year. Well things were even stranger back in 1881. Because it was on this date, September 20, 1881 that Chester Alan Arthur (above)
a man who was hardly well known was inaugurated as POTUS. And he was the THIRD man to hold the office in that year.

Hayes to Garfield

The year 1881 began with Rutherford B. Hayes finishing his term.  Hayes had been elected under some very shady circumstances; it had come down to a tie back on election night in 1876 and several states were in dispute. Eventually the election was awarded to Hayes, who was thereafter called Rutherfraud B. Hayes in many quarters by bitter Democrats who felt that the election had been stolen from them.  Be that as it may, in an election that pitted the Ohio Republican James A. Garfield, a former Union General against another former Union general, Winfield Scott Hancock, Garfield managed to squeeze by
Hancock by a mere 10,000 votes out of the nine million cast. Garfield had chosen as his running mate one Chester Alan Arthur a man who had held the lucrative and politically powerful post of Collector of the Port of New York. Mr. Arthur had been known as a man who did thee bidding of the political bosses.  Thus he was a man with a checkered reputation to say the least.

And Then Garfield's Gone...

   Nevertheless, he was sworn in along with James Garfield on March 4, 1881 as President and Vice President respectively.  Garfield began his administration intending to deal with Civil Service reform, and tariff reform, among other thiings.  Charles J. Guiteau, who considered himself an important part of  the victory was in fact nothing of the sort. He had written a speech supporting Garfield for president, and got it printed by the Republican National Committee but could find no important platform from which to deliver it. And when he did find a chance to deliver it, he couldn't finish it because he was so nervous. But
still Guiteau thought that he deserved some important position as a result of his "part" in Garfield's victory. In fact, he felt that he should be made the U.S. Consul in Paris.  Never mind that he spoke nary a word of French, nor any other  language than English. Garfield like any POTUS had tons of mediocre men wanting federal appointments and he met with Guiteau.  But seeing Guiteau as just another office seeker (which he was), he turned him down. Guiteau was furious and mentally unbalanced. So he got a gun and on July 2, shot President Garfield at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. (above). Guiteau tried to leave the station, but was apprehended a few minutes later.

Garfield Dies Slowly, and Then It's Arthur

   Garfield's death proved to  be a slow and painful one. This was mainly doctors did not  know how to treat the  wound. One bullet grazed his
arm, but the  other hit him in the back, shattering a rib and was lodged in his abdomen. He was taken first to the White House, but later was taken to Franklyn Cottage on the Atlantic coast to get him
away from the heat of Washington. It was hoped that the sea-side air would help his condition.  But the doctors just didn't know how to get at the bullet. And the wound was slowly becoming more infected and poisoning the President's blood. Although he seemed to rally a couple of times over the more than two and a half months of his confinement to a hospital bed, he never left that bed. And he died on today's date in 1881. Thus Arthur became the third president to take office in 1881. At the start of his administration, Arthur had a tough time with his past as a favor distributing party hack from the New York Republican machine.  But he actually wound up doing a good job in civil service reform. He sponsored and enforced the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. Guiteau was found guilty of  Garfield's murder and was executed on June 3, 1882.

Actually, this came forty years after a previous year of three Presidents.  In 1841, Martin Van Buren's term came to an end in March, and he was succeeded by William Henry Harrison. President Harrison
developed pneumonia, and died after a mere month in office (the shortest presidential term in history), and his Vice President, John Tyler became the third POTUS in that year.



Sources:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/chester-arthur-becomes-third-president-to-serve-in-one-year

"Presidential Campaigns" by Paul F. Boller Jr., Oxford University Press, New York, 1984.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutherford_B._Hayes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_A._Garfield

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_A._Arthur

Thursday, July 27, 2017

JULY 27 = Korean War Armistice is Signed



The Korean War came to a complete if inconclu-sive end on today's date, July 27 in 1953. The preamble to the treaty itself (the signing is pictured  above) makes that clear enough for all to see:

"The undersigned, the (all the belligerent states), in the interest of stopping the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides, and with the objective of establishing an armistice which will insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved, do individually, collectively, and mutually agree to accept and to be bound and governed by the conditions and terms of armistice set forth in the following articles and paragraphs..."

And that was it.  No formal surrender as the Germans had done at Reims in 1945, and no grand ceremony of complete surrender as the Japanese had delivered on the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo harbor, also in 1945. It was for the "... stopping the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides...." and that was it. The two sides has spent over three years beating each others brains out, and they both had had enough.

The Korean War and It's Course

The Korean War had begun on June 25, 1950 when the Army of Communist North Korea suddenly and without provocation invaded the territory of Non-Communist South Korea in great numbers. This was a complete surprise to the western powers which supported a fee and independent government on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula.  Soon it became clear that the South Korean Army would not be capable of defending their territory without assistance from it's western allies. In his thoughts about whether or not to intervene, U.S. President Harry Truman thought back the policy of appeasement which had ultimately lead to World War II: "If this was allowed to go unchallenged, it would mean a third world war, just as smaller incidents had brought on the second world war.” After debating the matter, the United Nations Security Council, June 27, 1950, published Resolution 83 which recommended member state military assistance to the Republic of Korea. This lead to armed forces from well over a dozen United Nations member states other than the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK)  into combat operations against the communist forces which were supported militarily by the U.S.S.R.

The Fighting goes Up and Down Korea Until a Stalemate is Reached

The North Koreans smashed a path all the way to a small parcel of land known as the Pusan Perimeter. There the U.S./R.O.K. hung on by their fingernails until September 1950, when a surprise landing by the U.S. Marines under the command of General Douglas MacArthur far in the 
rear of the North Korean lines broke the back of their offensive and forced them to withdraw deep into their won territory, all the way to the Chinese boarder.Then the Chinese attacked with over 30 Divisions in November and December of 1951, thus forcing the U.N. (United Nations) forces back to nearly the 39 parallel wherein the war began in the first place, Eventually Truman fired MacArthur on April 11, 1951, for insubordination over the war's direction. The fighting and bloodshed went on until Dwyght Eisenhower took over as President. 

Ike Goes to Korea, Changes Course...Slightly

All throughout the 1952 Presidential Campaign General Eisenhower (below) had pledged that if elected he would go to Korea to see the 
stalemate for himself. Thus when he became President in January of 1953 and saw that stalemate in person, he decided a new approach was needed.  He began allowing Nationalist 
Chinese forces from Taiwan to launch harassing air raids for their territory. He began leaning on the South Koreans to scale back on some of their demands.  And most importantly he began to publically hint that he might use the American nuclear advantage to break the stalemate in Korea. Whether or not Ike's hint that he might nuke the north were serious (that would likely set off World War III) the new approach helped. By July 1954 the two sides had hammered out their differences and had an ARMISTICE treaty ready to go.  And this was signed by the belligerents at the village of Panmunjom.

ARMISTICE NOT a Peace Treaty

This is why I made such a point referring the end of the Korean War as being complete, but inconclusive. The combat has long since stopped, and we can all be thankful for that. But and "Armistice" refers just to a cessation of hostilities, not a formal state of peace brought about by thee surrender of one side to the other..  And an armistice is all we have with North Korea.  And whatever one can say about communism -vs- capitalism, one has only to look at the bright vibrant economy
of the South Korea -vs- the misery, slavery, and "let's threaten the world with nukes" attitude of the "Dear Leader" in charge of North Korea, to have a clear answer about whether thee Korean War was worth he trouble.










Seoul, South Korea
                                                                                                                Pyongyang, North Korea





Sources =

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/armistice-ends-the-korean-war

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Armistice_Agreement

https://web.archive.org/web/20140305164517/http://news.findlaw.com/cnn/docs/korea/kwarmagr072753.html

"Truman" by David Mc Cullough, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992.

http://historysstory.blogspot.com/2013/06/june-25-korean-war-begins.html













Sunday, July 16, 2017

JULY 16 = The Atom Bomb is First Tested



On today's date, July 16 in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the first atom bomb is success- fully tested in Alamo- gordo, New Mexico. This was the end result of  the Manhattan Project,  which was the code name that was given to the efforts of the United States government to produce an Atom Bomb. Pictured above is a photo of the explosion.

 Leó Szilárd and Albert Einstein Warn FDR

The effort had been going on for some years, ever since a letter written by the famed physicist Albert Einstein, and conceived by Einstein and the Hungarian physicist Leó Szilárd In 1939 was sent to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Einstein (below) and Szilárd came to the conclusion that the neutron-driven fission of heavy atoms could possibly utilized to create a nuclear chain reaction which could yield vast amounts of energy for electric power generation or... atomic bombs. In the letter, written on August 2, 1939, just one month minus a day that Hitlers' armies invaded Poland and began World War II. And the letter didn't hesitate to point fingers:

"I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium 
from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated."

General Groves Assembles the Team

This led FDR to the conclusion that a committee of scientists needed to be formed in order to counter the Nazi threat.  Initially the amount of $6,000.00 was granted toward this project, but with onset of war with Germany in December of 1941 this cap was removed. Brigadier
General Leslie Groves (left) who had himself spent his army career as an engineer, was put in charge of organizing the whole project, which included assembling the finest scientific minds in the United States, and bringing them into his program. Groves was introduced to Robert Oppenheimer.  Oppenheimer had like Einstein and others had made known his concerns about the Germans coming up with an atomic weapon, and this brought him to Groves attention. Groves had been favorably impressed with clarity of Oppenheimer's vision as well as his determination to get the bomb before the Germans could.  These were two very different types of men; Groves determined and quite boorish, and Oppenheimer cerebral and intellectual. But they both managed to work together at the secret facility that was put together by Groves at Los Alamos, New Mexico. In true U.S. Governmental fashion, the Manhattan Project grew to the employment of over 130,000 people and cost close to US $2 billion (roughly $27 billion in 2016 dollars).

The Bomb is Assembled and Tested

Neither Groves nor Oppenheimer were pleasant taskmasters for the men working under them. Maj. General Kenneth Nichols called Groves "...the biggest sonovabitch I ever met in my life. I hated his guts and 
so did everybody else." But with the men working at Los Alamos and elsewhere in the country he and Oppenheimer produced results - the bomb which was tested on this date.  The first detonation of a nuclear weapon was given the Code Name "Trinity"
by the ever mercurial Oppenheimer (right) who had been so inspired by the poetry of John Donne a  poet of Elizabethan England.  After an earlier delay Groves resumed the countdown. At the sixty second point, the scientists smeared suntan lotion on their faces, slipped on welding goggles, and huddled behind their sandbag shelters.  And at 5:29 a.m. the detonation unleashed the explosive energy of about 22 kilotons of TNT (92 TJ). There was only one possible target left, as Germany was out of the war, and that was Japan. It was so used on Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945), after which Japan finally surrendered. By March 1946, when Oppenheimer met President Harry Truman, he had long since decided that the use of the Atom bomb had been terribly wrong. "Mr. President, I have blood on my hands," To which Truman sternly replied "It'll all come out in the wash." After Oppenheimer had departed, Truman said to an aide: "Don't you bring that fellow around here again." Such are the vagaries at the intersection of politics and science.....


SOURCES =



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein%E2%80%93Szil%C3%A1rd_letter

 http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0028869/bio

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_(nuclear_test)

"Past Imperfect - History According to the Movies" Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1995.
























Wednesday, June 7, 2017

JUNE 7 = Earthquake Wrecks Pirate Haven at Port Royal



Port Royal, a natural harbor on the island of Jamaica was a veritable den of pirate iniquity by 1692. It had been called "richest and wickedest city in the world" by some.  But on today's date, June 7 in 1692 the city was virtually swallowed up by an earthquake and tsunami which left it an uninhabitable mess, but which gave rise to one of the finest cities of the Caribbean.

Port Royal Grows Into a Pirate Haven

  Established by the Spanish in 1518, by the 17'th Century it had become a center of commerce and shipping in the Caribbean. It also became a home for privateers (which were essentially free-lance pirates operating with the tacit but never open blessing of one European power or another) for nations - mainly the English and the Dutch which wanted to raid Spanish shipping without going to war with the Spanish
empire. It was during the war with Spain with the English between 1655 and 1680 that Port Royal became a haven and a hideout for pirates of every sort. As said above it was a natural harbor and thus an excellent buccaneer hiding place, and launch site for their raids.  Of course along with this came all of the brothels and hundreds of taverns that went along with the pirate life. And along with this came the legal trade of slaves and sugar, and all manner off plunder that made Port Royal such a key piece of the not so legal mercantile picture in the Caribbean.

The "Ungodly and Debauched People" Are Hit By an Earthquake

Well in this corner of the Caribbean, on the morning of today's date at about 11:40 pm the Rev Emmanuel Heath, wrote that he had concluded prayers – “to keep up some show of religion among a most ungodly, debauched people” – and was patronizing a local tavern. Then he felt the floor started to sway beneath him. Plates, wine and chandeliers all came crashing to the floor.  The Reverend rushed outside just in time to see “the earth open and swallow up a multitude of people, and the sea mounting in upon us”. As Port Royal grew many of the buildings had been built on land that had simply been thrown in to fill up water. Thus, when the quake came it had only to sweep this fake land away. The tremor, the soil liquefaction and the huge tsunami that followed wiped the pirate den away with ease.

               Above  is a picture of the wreck of Port Royal, circa 1692.

The Frigate "Swan's" Journey and Mr. Galdy

The the frigate H.M.S. "Swan" had been in a slipway on the east end of the Port having the barnacles scraped away from her keel.  Suddenly she was thrust upward by monstrous seismic wave and was sent on a bizarre ride through the town skimming over the parts that had already been flooded, "sailing" over the tops of buildings at vast speeds.  But because she had so many ropes hanging from her sides that large numbers of would-be victims were able to grab onto her as "Swan" barreled trough the town and were miraculously saved. The "Swan" finally came to rest when she was beached on top of a building which had been partly sunken. A very strange experience happened to
one Thomas Galdy.  He was walking along when the second tremor opened a huge fissure in the ground before him into which he was swallowed up.  A moment later came the third tremor - a seismic sea wave that forced Galdy up from his spot like a cork and onto level ground again.

The Totals of Port Royal's 1692 Quake.

  There were a total of  three separate tremors on that hellish morning. They lasted it total less than two minutes.  But because of the landfill on which most of the houses had been built, almost the entire town was tossed about, and then flooded under some 43 feet of water by the resulting Tsunami. I have found sources on-line and in print calculating the number of dead as anywhere between 1,600 and 3,000. But the town had been totally obliterated.  The subsequent aftershocks kept a lid on any hopes of rebuilding the old pirate's den. But in time a
new city rose up nearby: the city of Kingston, Jamaica - one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of the Caribbean.


Sources =

"Darkest Hours - the Great Book of Worldwide Disasters - From Ancient times to the Present"
by Jay Robert Nash, Wallaby Books, New York, 1976

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/earthquake-destroys-jamaican-pirate-haven

https://www.eqc.govt.nz/news/on-this-day-1692-jamaica-earthquake

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/mar/24/story-cities-9-kingston-jamaica-richest-wickedest-city-world

 http://www.thewayofthepirates.com/regions-and-places/port-royal/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1692_Jamaica_earthquake




































Saturday, May 20, 2017

MAY 20 = Strauss & Davis Acquire Patent for Blue Jeans



On today's date, May 20 in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss, and a Nevada tailor Jacob Davis were granted a patent on a special kind of work pants.  Made from a tough cloth called "Denim", these pants were  reinforced with metal rivets. This was the birth of  the most famous and often worn garments in the
world: blue jeans.

Levi Strauss Started Out As An Immigrant

Born in Buttenheim, Bavaria, in 1829, Loeb Strauss immigrated to New York  in 1847 with his family after his father died. He was working at in his family dry goods store  J. Strauss Brother & Co.by 1850 and changed his from Loeb to Levi.  But these were exciting times in America with gold having been discovered in California so young Levi decided to head west and seek his fortune with the rest of the
 gold-hungry diggers.  He set up shop in San Francisco putting together a wholesale dry goods business bearing his own name. But he worked as a representative of the family firm. In this company he fed the need for everything having to do with gold mining: shovels, pick-axes and all manner of dry goods. He also imported fabric and clothing all of which he distributed to the hundreds of small stores in the quickly proliferating communities of settlers and gold miners.

A New Kind of Workpants Were Needed

A man who frequently used bolts of cloth made from denim, was at Latvian Jewish immigrant, one Jacob Davis. This fabric had it's origins in cities of France. "Gênes" was the french word for Genoa, which may account or the origin for "jeans" in Nimes they attempted to produce a product like the jeans but wound up with a similar twill product which was called "denim" from it's origins in "de Nimes" ("from Nimes").
Well it seems that Mr. Davis (left) had a customer who was forever buying cloth to reinforce torn pants. Davis had come up with the idea of using copper rivets to reinforce the points of greatest strain -- pocket corners as well as the base of the cotton fly. Davis lacked the necessary funds to afford the cost of a government patent for such an idea. So in 1872, Davis wrote to Strauss, telling  him of the idea of copper rivets and asked his financial backing for his rivet reinforced denim work pants. Levi Strauss liked the idea so on today's date in 1873 they were granted U.S. Patent # 131,121 for the "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings"

Of Course There are Always Conflicting Reports...

One paragraph in a Wikipedia source states:

 "Popular legend incorrectly states that it was imported from Nimes, France. A popular myth is that Strauss initially sold brown canvas pants to miners, later dyed them blue, turned to using denim, and only after Davis wrote to him, added rivets.Initially, Strauss' jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by factory workers, miners, farmers, and cattlemen throughout the North American West."
That last sentence has it right, though.  Strauss' jeans became a huge selling favorite among workers of all types throughout the United States. The original name for the jeans: “XX”– was changed to 501 by 1890 and it had become a huge seller. They were the 1920's
best selling work pants in the United States. And eventually it caught on with young people all over the world. So jeans have become an industry and style unto themselves Quite a growth story, isn't it?









Sources =

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_Strauss_%26_Co.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeans

http://thejeansblog.com/denim-brand-history/the-history-of-levis-jeans/

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/bluejeans.htm

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/levi-strauss-and-jacob-davis-receive-patent-for-blue-jeans


Monday, May 15, 2017

MAY 15 = The Women's Army Corps is Established



"Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over."

- From the physical training manual published by the War Department in July 1943, entitled "You Must Be Fit" which was intended to bring the women recruits to top physical condition.  On today's date, May 15 in 1942, a bill establishing a women’s corps as a part of the U.S. Army became law, creating the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) and granting women official military status. It is difficult to imagine the men who supported this measure could have had any idea of today's military with women in every facet of duty, including combat roles.  But that's what they were going for: right there in black and white.

The Legislation for the WAACs

Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts (below), one of the first women ever elected to congress, introduced this legislation which would make it possible for women to serve in non-combat positions in the army. Rogers had been active in volunteer work for the Red Cross and had served in overseas military hospitals. As a member of congress from 1925 onward she was appointed to the Committee on
Veterans Affairs. Rep. Rogers  introduced the legislation in May of 1941, but was held up for months until the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 put the matter on a faster track... still it wasn't until today's date in 1942 that it finally passed, although a section backing the enlistment of 150,000 volunteers was at first limited by executive order to 25,000. At first the benefits that went to men were greater than women, but by July 1942 a bill dropped the word "Auxiliary" from the name making them WACs and they were granted full Army benefits in keeping with the men.

"My best soldiers...."

The work that the WACs were assigned covered a great many different sorts of occupations.  Air Traffic Control, Radio Operations, Electrician work on down to basic Office Clerking jobs and occasional mechanic's work were all areas that women covered.  But the Army always made it clear that these jobs would free men up for combat work, in order to soothe public sensitivities about having women in the military. The
work they did must have been done well as Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur referred to the WACs as "my best soldiers" adding that they were better disciplined, complained less, and in general worked harder than the men. All told once they were allowed to serve in greater numbers, the (Above: WAC Signal Corps Operators)150,000 who did serve freed up the equivalent of 7 full divisions of men for combat. No less an authority than Gen. Dwight Eisenhower said: "their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable" 

The WACs Give Way to the Modern Military

As a separate branch of the military the WAC was in 1978 disbanded, and all of the women's units were integrated with their male counterparts.  WACs then were moved into whatever Military Specialty they had been working in before.  And ever since that time, women have worked with men in the same units.  This has included work in or nearby combat areas. In 1994 Les Aspin directed that "substantial risk of capture" could no longer used as grounds for keeping women out of some military units. So there you have it! That basic purpose stated so boldly way back in the original WAC manual : "Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over." has been more than fulfilled.




Sources =

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Nourse_Rogers

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/legislation-creating-the-womens-army-corps-becomes-law

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Army_Corps

http://www.thehistoryreader.com/modern-history/may-15-1942-formation-womens-auxiliary-army-corps/

















Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MAY 3 = Tokyo War Crimes Trial Begins



On today's date, May 3 in 1946 in Tokyo, the Interna- tional Military Tribunals for the Far East began hearing the cases against 28 Japanese military and government officials who had been of committing or ordering war crimes and crimes against against both military and civilian personnel during World War Two.

These Trials Differed from Nuremberg,

The way in which these trials were conducted was different from those which were being held in Nuremberg, Germany against the Nazi war criminals in 1946. At the Nuremberg proceedings there were four countries running the trial, with chief prosecutors from the four main powers, the United States, Britain, France, and the U.S.S.R. .  In these Tokyo Trials there was only one chief prosecutor - Joseph B. Keenan an American, in fact the former U.S. Attorney General. But Australian William Flood Webb was the presiding judge. And other Allied nations on the prosecution team included China, the Philippines, New Zealand, the Netherlands, France, Canada, and India.

But the Rouge's Gallery of Criminals Was Almost the Same

  At the Nuremberg Trials William Shirer remarked how the men who had once wielded such enormous power, "they no longer resembled the arrogant leaders of old. They seemed to be a drab assortment of mediocrities." Well the Japanese war criminals certainly had been
lowered by several pegs by the time they entered the courtroom of  the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo. According to Arnold C. Brackman, a U.P. correspondent who covered the trial:

"Former Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoke entered the dock at 
a painfully slow gait, his face pallid, his cheeks sunken.  Ex- Premier 
Kiichiro Kiranuma's equine face looked longer and more melancholy than ever.  Admiral Osami Nagano, another aged militarist, wore his naval dress blues stripped of all emblems and badges.  The figure 
most familiar to both Japanese and everyone in the courtroom, Hideki Tojo (right), strode in wearing a dapper khaki bush jacket.  Tojo appeared bemused and dispirited, but looked remarkably healthy for a man who had shot himself inn a failed suicide attempt just months before.... General Suzuki maintained his scowl.Thought by many to be the number one power broker in Tokyo, he was accustomed to arriving at Ichigaya in circumstances very different from those of the trial."

Shorn of all of their military regalia, and their titles of state, Joseph Keenan left them no quarter: "war and treaty-breakers should be stripped of the glamour of national heroes and exposed as what they really are --- plain, ordinary murderers."

The Trial and the Evidence

The trial, which lasted from today's date in 1946 until November, 1948 included official state documents, depositions and affidavits from over 700 people as well as harrowing eyewitness testimony from more than 400 victims. According to Brackman, the defendants showed varying degrees of interest. While hearing the charges against them read: "All of the defendants, including those who were fluent in English, listened to the Japanese translation over their headphones. Hideki 
Tojo sat with his hands behind his back; (Shigenori) Tōgō, and Shigemitsu, the two foreign ministers stared blankly ahead...."
Throughout the trial, the defendants displayed various degrees of odd and nervous behavior. While evidence of mass atrocities were read "Shigemitsu leaned forward and cupped his head in his hands. Toshio Shiratori's long face grew longer; he often bit his lip.  Admiral Shimada, who sat behind Okinori Kaya frequently leaned over the dock and ran his fingers nervously along the back of Kaya's seat.... Hideki Tojo continued his habit of taking copious notes and occasionally picking his nose; one suspected after watching him for months, that the note taking was a theatrical device designed to impress the silent gallery while keeping himself occupied."

The Verdict on the Main Defendants

But the evidence of guilt was overwhelming. The six main defendants were sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace. These included General Kenji Doihara, chief of the intelligence services, General Seishirō Itagaki, war minister, Kōki Hirota, prime minister (later foreign minister), Lieutenant General Akira Mutō, chief of staff, and General Heitarō Kimura, commander, Burma Area Army.  And most important of all General Hideki Tōjō, who as Army leader, and later as Prime Minister became the very face of Japanese military and political aggression ascended to the gallows along with the others at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro on December 23, 1948. In addition to the central Tokyo trial, various tribunals sitting outside Japan judged some 5,000 Japanese guilty of war crimes, of whom more than 900 were executed.



Sources =

"The Other Nuremburg - the Untold Story of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials" by Arnold C, Brackman,
William Morrow & Company, Inc., New York, 1987.

 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/japanese-war-crimes-trial-begins

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/tokyo/tokyolinks.html