National Geographic : 1966 Jan
In a historic meeting, Allied leaders at Potsdam, Germany, draft an ultima tum to Japan in July, 1945, and debate postwar problems. President Truman sits at upper right, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at lower center. Marshal Josef Stalin (leaning back) wanted to "act in concert about the surren der of Japan," although Russia had not yet declared war on the Asian nation. Act of surrender: Aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Gen. Douglas MacArthur receives the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945. Maj. Gen. Yohijiro Umezo signs for Japan. In a line beside Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (left) stand senior military and naval officers of the Allied powers. "My choice of the Missouri was an obvious one," Truman recalls. "She was one of the newest and most powerful battleships in our fleet; she had been named after my own state; my daughter Margaret had christened her...." UNITED STATESNAVY (BELOW) AND UNITED STATES ARMY Western Europe's economy above prewar levels and diminish the strength of its Com munist parties. In his Inaugural Address, on January 20, 1949, President Truman proposed that the United States extend its aid to the "more than half the people of the world ... living in con ditions approaching misery." He listed a num ber of ways to help them, including the now renowned "Point Four" of his address: to pro vide them with technical assistance and in vestment capital so that they could expand their economies. Out of his proposal came the Point Four program, which grew in time into the Nation's multibillion-dollar outlays for foreign aid. To Truman, elimination of poverty seemed one of the most promising as well as humane ways to check the growth of Communism. Direct military moves by the Communists also had to be met. As the Western powers laid plans for self-government in West Ger many, the Soviet Union imposed a blockade of Berlin in June, 1948.* Truman countered with his famous airlift (following pages) and a new military grand alliance for the protec tion of Western nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, established in 1949. Russia Balks at Inspection Plan A new and more dangerous threat from the Soviet Union appeared in the atomic realm. Since 1946 Truman had been recommending to the United Nations the adoption of a thor oughgoing system of international supervision of atomic energy, including on-the-spot in spection. The United States offered to place its stockpile of atomic bombs under interna tional control when the system was put into effect. The Soviet Union steadfastly blocked the American proposals. Then, in the fall of 1949, President Truman announced: "We have evidence that within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the U.S.S.R." *The GEOGRAPHIC published "Airlift to Berlin" in its May, 1949, issue.