World War II
V-J Day, Part 1 - Longing for Peace

V-J Day, Part 1 - Longing for Peace
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.35

     challenging words:    bushido, death-grip, predicted-perhaps, kamikaze, bloodshed, astronomical, moonscape, devastation, momentous, invasion, disgrace, bunker, top-secret, zealous, suicide, cruelty
     content words:    V-J Day, World War II, Admiral Karl Doenitz, Third Reich, V-E Day, President Harry Truman, Manhattan Project, On August, President Truman, Emperor Hirohito

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V-J Day, Part 1 - Longing for Peace
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Ask any American who was born before 1935 where they were on August 14, 1945. Chances are, they can tell you not only where they were, but recall what they did, what they said, and even the clothes they wore. That day was imprinted on the memories of Americans because it was a day they had been awaiting for three and a half anxious years. The day came to be known as V-J Day. It was the day the Japanese agreed to surrender to Allied forces. It was the end of World War II.
2     Three months earlier, the world had watched with weary relief as Germany surrendered. It was a messy affair. Allied soldiers pushing through Germany were discovering camps where Jews had been starved and slaughtered. The world was stunned at the horrors revealed. Russian and American troops had broken through exhausted German defenses. They entered Berlin, a city ravaged by Allied bombing. German citizens huddled in cellars and bomb shelters, starving and hopeless.
3     On April 30, 1945, Allied shells could be heard outside the Nazi command bunker. Inside, Hitler and his new bride bid their staff goodbye and committed suicide. A week later, the interim government, led by Admiral Karl Doenitz, signed papers of surrender. The war in Europe was over. People of France and Britain were especially joyful, having suffered much at the hands of the Nazis. The fall of the dreaded Third Reich was a momentous event worldwide. May 8 was designated V-E Day for victory in Europe.
4     Americans celebrated with the rest of the world. But the joyous moment was tinged with a longing for a real peace. Everyone was painfully aware that the German defeat didn't mean the end of the war. The Axis fought on in the form of the zealous Japanese military. Though defeated in terms of numbers and materials, Japanese soldiers hung on grimly. Japanese military ethics stated: "I will never suffer the disgrace of being taken alive...I will offer up the courage of my soul..." Bushido soldiers and kamikaze pilots sacrificed themselves, causing as much damage as possible in the process.

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