Anniversary of the Potsdam Declaration

Today is the anniversary of the Potsdam Declaration.
 
I highly recommend “Japan’s Decision to Surrender” by Robert Butow. He explores contemporaneous testimony on Japan’s leadership in those final days of WWII. Japan’s leadership, both civilian and military, wanted to keep their emperor; this conflicted directly with the demand for unconditional surrender and the elimination of all authority. Japan’s civilian leadership believed that this was possible if they surrendered to the UK (who had royalty) and the USA, but if they surrendered to the Soviet Union, that was it for the emperor.
 
While it my be true that continued bombardment of Japan with nuclear and conventional bombs would probably had eventually made it impossible for the country to continue to wage war, the two nuclear strikes did not do that, and the USA did not have additional nuclear bombs ready. Dropping conventional bombs also effectively destroyed military targets and started firestorms that caused massive infrastructure damage. Conventional strikes put more military personnel and resources at risk, but compared to a land assault, it may have been a less costly path. We’ll never know because the Soviets invaded Manchuria.
 
After reading Butow’s book, I think that the Soviet’s invasion of Manchuria was the breaking point. Not only did Japan lose a much needed resource that was feeding everyone in Japan, but it put the Soviet Union in close proximity. A land assault at this point would not have been just the western allies who were fighting in the Pacific; it would have included the Soviets who had just violated their non-aggression pact with Japan. So not only did the Soviets not keep their word with Japan, but the Soviets would most likely not allow Japan to keep their emperor.
 
And so, Japan chose to surrender to the UK and USA.
 
I don’t know how broadly distributed this interpretation was in the 1950s. However, I do know that the focus on nuclear weapons has been the dominant thread in more current interpretations. When I was a child, I learned the story as “We dropped one nuke; they didn’t surrender, so we dropped the second; they surrendered” which is chronologically true, but I think inaccurate.
 
As an adult, I’ve also heard the story that American casualties were expected to exceed 6 million for a land assault, which would have included my father and my husband’s father, but that begs the question of why not use conventional bombs to flatten Japan. Again, I think the nuclear weapon debate has taken this over: we had to use the nukes to avoid the massive casualties of a land assault. And, of course, both of these story lines are all about the USA and our choices, not about Japan and their choices at the end of WWII.
 

Ease-in to Motherhood

Monserratt, over at mexicanpink, are launching a motherhood sewing blog event called

Ease-in to Motherhood

Junior Prom
It’s been a while since I eased into motherhood.  My eldest is 17, and my youngest is 14, and that’s it, only 2. Isabel is on the right in the image to the right.  That’s from her junior prom, and no, I did not make that dress. Tony is below.  He’s about 6 feet 3 inches tall (190 cm) … at 14.  He broke his humorous a couple of months ago, and the surgeon told us that his growth plates were still open.  He’s still growing! 
My cute kid.
There are two reasons that I started sewing clothing.  I had been making quilts, and I liked doing that, but I’m a bit of an exhibitionist.  I love being the center of attention.  I love showing off my work, whether it is sewing, art work, gardening, or my professional work in engineering.  I want people to see what I do.  I decided the best way to show off my quilts to those around me was to wear them.  I started making quilty clothing and art-to-wear.

205

Then I had Isabel.  I wear size XXL, 1X, or 2X.  Do you think I could find nursing tops in my size? Well, I could find one or two.  They were in polyester or nylon; I prefer natural fibers.  I was into attachment parenting. The book by William Sears recommended the Nursing Mothers Sewing List, so I signed up.  The e-mail list introduced me to Elizabeth Lee Designs, which is no longer a business, but she produced patterns for nursing tops.  With the support of the mailing list members, I was off and running … I mean, sewing. I don’t have a lot of pix.  Year 2000 was before digital cameras were common, and it was a lot harder to get digital images.  The image to the right is me nursing my daughter in one of Elisabeth Lee’s designs.  I was still in my art-to-wear phase.  🙂

I made a lot of nursing tops. I made us matching tops (below).  I look at those tops below and think, “Both Isabel and I loved those tops. Why isn’t purple panné still in fashion?” It’s a lovely color.  It’s nicely fuzzy.  It’s warm and comfy.  Ah, well.

pannetopredshoes 

My favorite nursing top that I made was a jacket.  It also was an Elizabeth Lee design, and I put the nursing slots in it, but I never nursed either kid while wearing it.  It is pictured below.
jacket3ajacket4a

That jacket was really warm.  The center front panels were doubled, and there was a layer underneath.  It had great pockets, too.

The design had a double layer front panel that zipped in to allow for a baby in a front carrier.  I carried Isabel or Tony in a sling.  We went out in weather in the 20s F (subzero C), and Isabel or Tony and I stayed very comfortable.

In the 14 years since Tony was born, my sewing skills have improved a lot.  I make a lot of my clothing today.  I have joined a lot of sewing communities on line.  You might know me as Neefer.  I’m not as active in those on-line communities as I was 5 or so years ago, but as a result of those communities, I met some local sewing folks with whom I am now very close.

Today is a cross-quarter day?

It’s so confusing!

I thought that November 1 was the cross-quarter day.

A cross-quarter day is midway between a solstice and an equinox, but I never bothered to check to see if November 1 was exactly half way between. If you get out your calendar and count off the days, you will find that, indeed, today is the autumnal cross-quarter day. 🙂

However, if you are Catholic or Scottish (or both I suppose), you might consider Martinmas, November 11, to be the cross-quarter day. Wanna know why it’s important to Scots? You gotta wait until the 11th.

Plate Tectonics

I’ve always liked geology. I think if I were to go back and do college over again, I would choose geology instead of engineering. I seriously considered switching when I was in graduate school, but then I decided that I needed to get out of Champaign. Anyway, this showed up in APOD today, so I thought I would share it with you-all and maybe with my kids (if I remember and have time).

I think it’s cool stuff.