04 August, 2012

04 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
4 August, 1945      1000

Dearest darling Wilma –

Gosh I feel as if I’ve just been talking with you. I’ve re-read a letter I received yesterday post-marked 27 July and that’s not bad! First of all I was glad to read that you were getting some of my mail. It seems quite obvious that V-mail is way ahead of Airmail now – in your direction – and that’s why I used it a bit more this past month. It apparently still takes between 2-3 wks for airmail to reach you, but if you don’t mind, of course I don’t. I’ll still sneak in a V-mail every now and then – because I insist on keeping my love for you up to date, sweetheart, and six or seven days old love must have a bit more warmth to it than 3 week old love – or shall I be perfectly frank, dear, and admit that there’s no substitute for the real thing?

Anyway – it was swell hearing from you – just as it always is. The subject of marriage, darling, is pleasant for me, too. You’re correct in saying there’s no point in discussing or rather in planning anything along that line until I actually am home. You just can’t plan when you don’t know when or how long. And if you want to wear white, dear, that’s O.K. with me. I’ll marry you if you’re wearing a bathing suit; all I want to do is marry you. I guess I won’t have much choice in what I wear; a uniform is a uniform no matter how you look at it.

Yes, dear, I find and have always found the discussion by young married couples of the personal, intimate affair – out in the open – somewhat revolting. I ran across a great deal of that when I was in the States – in the Army Corps when the officers’ wives lived just outside Camp. Nothing was sacred and everyone knew what went on – from night to night. I never liked it and I don’t think that once I’m married my ideas on that subject will change. Marriage – and some of the things if connotes – is a very intimate thing; no more intimate and personal relationship between two people is possible. And if it is so – why on earth degrade it by making it a subject of public conversation? I think it shows poor taste, poor judgment, poor upbringing and an imposition upon the listener. I hope my attitude – our attitude on that subject – does not change.

Gee – I’ve had no word at all from Law – and I was glad to read he had reached Hawaii safely. I hate to think of him going on, farther – but I know it’s inevitable. If he only doesn’t hook up with the Infantry! It looks as if he’s to see another side of the world.

Guess that’s all for now, sweetheart. Oh last nite I went to dinner at the home of a perfectly charming French family – by far the most intelligent group I’ve run into in France. I had a lovely evening – talking, discussing literature and history. Unfortunately they’re leaving Nancy to go to the country. They’ve asked me to visit them. I might be able to get down for a day sometime – but I’ll have to ask the Colonel. It’s about 40 miles from here – in the Vosges Mountains and should be a pretty spot.

And now, darling, so long for a while; hope to hear from you again today. I love to get your letters, dear – because I love you deeply and the letters are from you.

Love to the folks, regards to Mary – and

All my deepest and everlasting love

P.S. The word is “enema” - and yes – it isn’t nice.


about The Countdown to Hiroshima
X Minus 2 Days

On the web site of The Nation, Greg Mitchell wrote "Countdown to Hiroshima" in 2011. Here is his article for 4 August 1945.
— On Tinian, Little Boy is ready to go, awaiting word on weather, with General LeMay to make the call. With the weather clearing near Hiroshima, still the primary target, taking off the night of August 5 appears the most likely scenario. Secretary of War Stimson writes of a “troubled” day due to the uncertain weather, adding: “The S-1 operation was postponed from Friday night [August 3] until Saturday night and then again Saturday night until Sunday.”

Little Boy

— Hiroshima remains the primary target, with Kokura #2 and Nagasaki third.

— Paul Tibbets, pilot of the lead plane, the Enola Gay, finally briefs others in the 509th Composite Group  who will take part in the mission at 3pm. Military police seal the building. Tibbets reveals that they will drop immensely powerful bombs, but the nature of the weapons are not revealed, only that it is “something new in the history of warfare.” When weaponeer Deke Parsons says, “We think it will knock out almost everything within a three-mile radius,” the audience gasps. Then he tries to show a film clip of the recent Trinity test — but the projector starts shredding the film.

Paul Tibbets and Enola Gay

Parsons adds, “No one knows exactly what will happen when the bomb is dropped from the air,” and he distributes welder’s glasses for the men to wear. But he does not relate any warnings about radioactivity or order them not to fly through the mushroom cloud.

William "Deke" Parsons

— On board the ship Augusta steaming home for the USA after the Potsdam meeting, President Truman relaxes and plays poker with one of the bomb drop’s biggest boosters, Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes. Truman’s order to use the bomb had simply stated that it could be used any time after August 3, so he had nothing to do but watch and wait. The order included the directive to use a second bomb, as well, without a built-in pause to gauge the results of the first bomb or the Japanese response.

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