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Japanese-Americans return home to threats, World War II week by week

June 15, 1945 Telegram-Tribune front page headlined the capture of the former Nazi Foreign Minister who had signed the short lived non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.
June 15, 1945 Telegram-Tribune front page headlined the capture of the former Nazi Foreign Minister who had signed the short lived non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.

June 6, 1945

On Page 5 of the Telegram-Tribune, Peter Edson, a National Editorial Service columnist, outlined the struggle Americans of Japanese ancestry when they attempted to return to pre-war homes after being released from War Relocation Authority centers.

There were 70 incidents of threats or terrorism against the Japanese-Americans, 65 in California alone.

Nineteen cases involved shootings, mostly located in Merced, Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties. None of the shootings was fatal, but the threat was clear. There were also several cases of arson and one attempted dynamiting.

Few cases had been brought to trial, and none resulted in more than suspended sentences. The deputy director of the War Relocation Authority compared the violence to Nazi abuse of non-native Germans. He said that some of the incidents may not be considered terribly important but violence on minorities was how Hitler assumed power.

"Analysis of the motivation behind the 70 incidents reveals several curious factors. Only a few of the acts of terrorism have been committed by outright hoodlums, though such incidents have been perhaps the worst. In a majority of the cases there has been a motive of selfish economic gain, the perpetrators being other American citizens who have been profiting by war-time operation of land or property belonging to the Japanese-Americans while the owners were detained in War Relocation centers. As soon as the rightful owners return to reclaim and resume possession of their property or their jobs the trouble begins to brew."

Edson noted that families of servicemen did not harbor resentment against Japanese-Americans. He also noted the combat record of Japanese-American units had been excellent.

June 6, 1945

The first anniversary of the invasion at Normandy was noted quietly. French children paddled in the water beside the piers of the artificial harbor. A few hundred soldiers and sailors strolled on the beach, compared to the thousands streaming ashore under fire the year before.

Another story on the front page anticipated a larger future invasion for Japan.

The body of Adolf Hitler was identified with "fair certainty," according to a Russian military source in Berlin. The report was unofficial.

One word prompted Soviet negotiators to hold up a pact governing occupation forces in Germany. Russia feared its neutrality with Japan would be compromised. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Marshal Sir Bernard Mongomery said they had to return to their headquarters rather than attend a big banquet hosted by the Russians.

Marine Pfc. Louis S. Mello was home on furlough after serving in the Marshall Islands and Solomons. He had been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.

About $160,000 worth of war bond holders were entertained in San Luis Obispo at the Elmo theater by Ralph Edward's "Truth — or Consequences" show.

"If three glasses were on a shelf, two of them filled and the third one empty, what King would that remind you of?"

When the contestant was unable to answer Phillip the Third he was rapidly wrapped in a hula skirt and two curvaceous sieves and told to dance.

Ray Martines, 57, an employee at the Dan Sheehy ranch at Arroyo Grande for the past 17 years, was killed when the harness broke while operating a horse-drawn hay rake. He was thrown from equipment when the animals startled.

June 11, 1945

Gen. Douglas MacArthur led an invasion of Borneo by Australian soldiers. This would cut oil supplies to Japan.

San Luis Obispo sportsmen were urging the reopening of the Los Padres Forest. The understaffed Forest Service feared fire and had closed access as a war emergency. Deer hunters voiced support for a partial opening during a five-hour session between Forest Service officials and the Central Coast Counties Sportsmen's Council.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart adopted a resolution supporting the return of Japanese-Americans to their homes. The state convention had been held in San Luis Obispo.

Lt. Ralph Stolz of San Luis Obispo was reported killed in action piloting a B-17 Flying Fortress. He had been reported missing in action Nov. 30, 1944, flying a mission over Leipzig, Germany.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart dedicated a war memorial in City Park (Now Mitchell Park).

Gen. George Patton and Lt. Gen James Doolittle were honored with an ovation delivered by 105,000 people packing a stadium in Los Angeles. The generals were on leave.

June 15, 1945

One of the last major Nazi leaders was captured: Joachim von Ribbentrop. The foreign minister had signed the notorious nonaggression agreement between Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact lasted almost two years before Germany surprised the Russians with invasion. Joachim von Ribbentrop had been hiding under an assumed name. He would be the first Nazi to be hanged in October 1946 after being convicted of war crimes. Hermann Göring would likely have been first but took his own life via poison a few moments earlier.

The end was near for Japanese troops at Okinawa as mass suicides and murder were taking place. Hundreds of troops were killed by their commanders when they attempted to surrender to advancing Americans.

The U.S. Army planned a "Here's Your Infantry" event at the Cal Poly athletic field. Some 85 veterans were expected to re-enact battle scenarios and show exhibits of weapons.

The United Nations meeting in San Francisco expected to wrap up their meeting in a little over a week.

A massive air offensive was officially opened against Japan and planned to deliver 1.3 million tons of explosives over the next year.

"If Japan wants it, that is what she is going to get," Gen. H.H. Arnold said. "Right at this moment — 10 a.m. Japanese time — 529 B-29s are dropping 3,000 tons of bombs on Osaka."

The Big Three — Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman — were expected to conference near Berlin soon. Churchill was expected to bring Labor Leader Clement Attlee, a key part of the coalition government.

Pfc. Vern Thomas of San Simeon was reported killed in action on Okinawa. He was with the 6th Marine division and died May 20 in the battle for Naha. He had served on Guam as well and was a graduate of Coast Union High School.

Capt. Alfonso Seagraves died after bailing out of his twin-engine fighter plane over the Pacific off Oceano. He had been leading four planes in a gunnery flight.