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Truman, Harry S.
Mimeographed Press Release May 8, 1945, Announcing Victory in Europe

Folio, two pages, formerly folded, accompanied by a typed letter signed, on White House stationery from Matthew J. Connelly, Truman’s Secretary, to a Mr. Philip G. Straus, of Baltimore, apologizing for not being able to enclose a signed copy for Mr. Straus, due to “these extraordinarily busy days when the pressure upon his time is so great, with original mailing envelope.

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A copy of the press release distributed to the press and four radio networks the morning Truman announced Germany’s unconditional surrender to the Allied forces. The release has a strongly worded caution at the top that the contents were to be held in confidence until the delivery of the address had begun.

      The preface to the radio speech reads with the no-nonsense directness and pragmatism that typified Truman’s sober , Midwestern style both in prose and politics:

      “This is a solemn but a glorious hour, General Eisenhower informs that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

       In his speech, Truman, designated Sunday, the thirteenth of May, as a day of national prayer, but stressed that “We can repay the debt which we owe to our God, to our dead and to our children only by work – by ceaseless devotion to the responsibilities which lie ahead of us. If I could give you a single watchword for the coming months, that word is – work, work, work … I call upon every American to stick to his post until the last battle is won. Until that day, let no man abandon his post or slacken his efforts.”

      The last battle yet to be fought was of course with Japan. In the official proclamation, Truman declared: “Much remains to be done. The victory won in the West must now be won in the East. The whole world must be cleansed of the evil from which half the world has been freed.” Far stronger were his terms in the preface: The east is still in bondage to the treacherous tyranny of the Japanese. When the last Japanese division has surrendered unconditionally, then only will our fighting job be done.”