"Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain death—the seas bear only commerce—men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world lies quietly at peace. And in reporting this to you, the people, I speak for the thousands of silent lips, forever stilled among the jungles and the beaches and in the deep waters of the Pacific which marked the way. … A new era is upon us. Even the lesson of victory itself brings with it profound concern, both for our future security and survival of civilization. The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advance in scientific discovery, has in fact now reached a point which revises the traditional concept of war. …
"We have had our last chance. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. … We stand in Tokyo today reminiscent of our countryman Commodore Perry ninety two years ago. His purpose was to bring to Japan an era of enlightenment and progress by lifting the veil of isolation to the friendship, trade, and commerce of the world. But, alas, the knowledge thereby gained of Western science was forged into an instrument of oppression and human enslavement. … We are committed by the Potsdam Declaration of principles to see that the Japanese people are liberated from this condition of slavery."
MacArthur concludes with a tribute to the American forces that must have been meant to appeal as well to American voters: "And so, my fellow countrymen, today I report to you that your sons and daughters have served you well and faithfully with the calm, deliberate, determined fighting spirit of the American soldier, and sailor, based upon a position of historical truth, as against the fanaticism of an enemy supported only by mythological fiction. Their spiritual strength and power has brought us through to victory. They are homeward bound—take care of them."
Transcripts of MacArthur's speech are much less common in the market than are copies of Eisenhower's taciturn statement. The present copy is one of just two that can be linked to the spot of the Japanese surrender. The 'U.S.S. Skagit', on which J. H. Brooks served, was a Tolland-class attack cargo ship. She was commissioned on 2 May 1945, and sailed first to Marseille. She left France at the end of June, bound for Manila with cargo and passengers. Arriving in Manila in mid August, the 'Skagit' resupplied and sailed for Japan; she was present for the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. Another copy of the speech preserved by Brooks was sold at Sotheby's, 18 June 2004, lot 411.
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