This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
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April 29 is the 119th day of the year (120th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 246 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1946, Hideki Tojo, wartime premier of Japan, is indicted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East of war crimes. In September 1945, he tried to commit suicide by shooting himself but was saved by an American physician who gave him a transfusion of American blood. He was eventually hanged by the Americans in 1948 after having been found guilty of war crimes.
Capture, trial, and execution
After Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur issued orders for the arrest of the first forty alleged war criminals, including Tojo. Soon, Tojo’s home in Setagaya was besieged with newsmen and photographers. Inside, a doctor named Suzuki had marked Tojo’s chest with charcoal to indicate the location of his heart. When American military police surrounded the house on 8 September 1945, they heard a muffled shot from inside. Major Paul Kraus and a group of military police burst in, followed by George Jones, a reporter for The New York Times. Tojo had shot himself in the chest with a pistol, but despite shooting directly through the mark, the bullets missed his heart and penetrated his stomach. At 4:29, now disarmed and with blood gushing out of his chest, Tojo began to talk, and two Japanese reporters recorded his words. “I am very sorry it is taking me so long to die,” he murmured. “The Greater East Asia War was justified and righteous. I am very sorry for the nation and all the races of the Greater Asiatic powers. I wait for the righteous judgment of history. I wished to commit suicide but sometimes that fails.”
He was arrested and underwent emergency surgery in a U.S. Army hospital, where he was cared for postoperatively by Captain Roland Ladenson. After recovering from his injuries, Tojo was moved to the Sugamo Prison. While there he received a new set of dentures made by an American dentist. Secretly the phrase Remember Pearl Harbor had been drilled into the teeth in Morse Code.
He was tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for war crimes and found guilty of the following crimes:
count 1 (waging wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law)
count 27 (waging unprovoked war against the Republic of China)
count 29 (waging aggressive war against the United States of America)
count 31 (waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth of Nations)
count 32 (waging aggressive war against the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
count 33 (waging aggressive war against the French Republic)
count 54 (ordering, authorizing, and permitting inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others)
Hideki Tojo accepted full responsibility in the end for his actions during the war. Here is a passage from his statement, which he made during his war crimes trial:
It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured. Therefore, with respect to my trial, it is my intention to speak frankly, according to my recollection, even though when the vanquished stands before the victor, who has over him the power of life and death, he may be apt to toady and flatter. I mean to pay considerable attention to this in my actions, and say to the end that what is true is true and what is false is false. To shade one’s words in flattery to the point of untruthfulness would falsify the trial and do incalculable harm to the nation, and great care must be taken to avoid this.
He was sentenced to death on 12 November 1948 and executed by hanging on 23 December 1948. In his final statements, he apologized for the atrocities committed by the Japanese military and urged the American military to show compassion toward the Japanese people, who had suffered devastating air attacks and the two atomic bombings.
711 – Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad land at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).
1429 – Joan of Arc arrives to relieve the Siege of Orleans.
1483 – Gran Canaria, the main of the Canary Islands is conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, very important step in the expansion of Spain.
1587 – Francis Drake leads a raid in the Bay of Cadiz, sinking at least 23 ships of the Spanish fleet.
1672 – Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands.
1770 – James Cook arrives at and names Botany Bay, Australia.
1781 – American Revolutionary War: British and French ships clash in the Battle of Fort Royal off the coast of Martinique.
1832 – Evariste Galois released from prison.
1861 – American Civil War: Maryland’s House of Delegates votes not to secede from the Union.
1862 – American Civil War: New Orleans, Louisiana falls to Union forces under Admiral David Farragut.
1882 – The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – is tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.
1909 – The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the People’s Budget, the first budget in British history with the expressed intent of redistributing wealth among the British public.
1916 – World War I: The British 6th Indian Division surrenders to Ottoman Forces at the Siege of Kut in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.
1916 – Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland is lifted and the rebellion is officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.
1945 – World War II: The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrenders to the Allies.
1945 – World War II: Start of Operation Manna.
1945 – World War II – Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler marries his long-time partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designates Admiral Karl Donitz as his successor. Both Hitler and Braun will commit suicide the next day.
1945 – The Dachau concentration camp is liberated by United States troops.
1945 – The Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro is liberated from German forces by Brazilian forces.
1946 – The International Military Tribunal for the Far East convenes and indicts former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and 28 former Japanese leaders for war crimes.
1951 – Tibetan delegates to the Central People’s Government arrive in Beijing and draft a Seventeen Point Agreement for Chinese sovereignty and Tibetan autonomy.
1953 – The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.
1965 – Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) successfully launches its seventh rocket in its Rehber series.
1967 – After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing religious reasons), Muhammad Ali is stripped of his boxing title.
1968 – The controversial musical Hair opens on Broadway.
1970 – Vietnam War: United States and South Vietnamese forces invade Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.
1974 – Watergate Scandal: President Richard Nixon announces the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings related to the scandal.
1975 – Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. begins to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war comes to an end.
1986 – A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library damages or destroys 400,000 books and other items.
1991 – A cyclone strikes the Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.
1992 – 1992 Los Angeles riots: Riots in Los Angeles, California, following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 53 people are killed and hundreds of buildings are destroyed.
1997 – The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories.
1999 – The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade is destroyed in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
2004 – Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testify before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.
2004 – Oldsmobile builds its final car ending 107 years of production.
2005 – Syria completes withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.
* Christian Feast Day:
Catherine of Siena
Endelienta (Roman Catholic and Anglican Church)
Hugh of Cluny
Robert of Molesme
Torpes of Pisa
April 29 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* International Dance Day (International)
* Queen’s Night (the Netherlands)
* Showa Day, traditionally the start of the Golden Week holiday period. (Japan)
* The beginning of Arita Ceramic Fair (Arita, Saga, Japan)