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WORLD WAR II // 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

From newspapers of Aug. 31, 1945: American prisoners being freed from camps in Japan say they were treated savagely by the Japanese. Stories of torture, beatings, starvation and lack of medical treatment are emerging. "I've heard their screams," says 25-year-old Harry McGrath, describing the torture of fellow prisoners. "I've seen them go out of their heads." The Japanese "have been barbarous," Commodore Joel Boone says. "We can't understand why we should call them human beings." Spencer Davis of the Associated Press reports from Tokyo he has been told by a Japanese reporter that 300,000 to 500,000 people were killed or injured by American firebombing raids on the Japanese capital. President Truman says the American public must share responsibility for what happened at Pearl Harbor in 1941. "The country was not ready for preparedness," Truman tells reporters one day after the release of the findings of the Pearl Harbor inquiry. "Whenever (President Roosevelt) made a statement about the necessity of preparedness, he was vilified for doing it. I think the country is as much to blame as any individual in this final situation that developed at Pearl Harbor."

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