In mid-1945 the United States Navy in the Pacific war was reeling from perhaps its bloodiest combat ever and was taking its heaviest casualties and ship losses in World War II at the hands of the Japanese forces - Pearl Harbor notwithstanding. And it was a long-held article of faith that, absent the emperor's order to stand down, those same forces would resist our inevitable invasion of their home islands with an even greater fury. In 1945 I was one of many newly commissioned ensigns with orders to serve
on attack transports (APAs), where we would be landing-boat officers in the scheduled invasion. When we heard that the first bomb had been dropped - and finally understood its significance - we cheered ourselves hoarse, for we all knew that those landings would never have to be made. H. Fletcher Knight Jr., Yarmouth, Maine Visiting Professor of Military History, Air War College
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