Several days after the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan, Secretary of State James Byrnes drafted the following letter to a Swiss diplomat serving as an intermediary in negotiations with the Japanese. At issue in the terms dictating the end of the war was the Japanese emperor's status and authority, which the Japanese had expended many months -- and many lives -- trying to preserve.
August 11, 1945
I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your note of August 10, and in reply to inform you that the President of the United States has directed me to send to you for transmission by your Government to the Japanese Government the following message on behalf of the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China:
"With regard to the Japanese Government's message accepting the terms of the Potsdam proclamation but containing the statement, 'with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a sovereign ruler,' our position is as follows:
"From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms."
Letter from James Byrnes to Max Grasali, charge d'affaires ad interim of Switzerland. August 11, 1945. Source: Truman Library.
The Battle of the Bulge was the biggest and bloodiest single battle American soldiers ever fought.
A minute-by-minute account, on both sides of the Pacific, leading up to the surprise attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor.
General Douglas MacArthur led American troops in World Wars I and II before being fired by President Harry Truman during the Korean War.
From the Revolutionary War to Operation Desert Storm - newly discovered letters read by celebrity actors tell of courage, longing, and sacrifice.
American comandante William Morgan went to Cuba to help Fidel Castro return the country to a democracy. Instead, four years later, he was executed.
A look at five real-life "Rosies," the reality of working in defense plants during World War II and then having to give up those jobs for returning GIs.
Winner, 2010 Peabody Award --- The 1968 My Lai massacre, its subsequent cover-up, and the soldiers who broke ranks to bring the atrocity to light.
A nation comes of age.