Chapter 49: World War II Ends—Atomic Age Begins
While attending the San Francisco Conference, I spoke on Wednesday night, May 9, 1945, at the auditorium in Native Sons’ Building, to an audience of listeners to The World Tomorrow.
What I said that night might be of some interest, in the light of subsequent events. I still have my notes on file. Here is a brief summary: “This San Francisco Conference is the greatest, most important conference of heads of nations held in world history. Here the top statesmen of the whole world are gathered. And why? To build a high tower—a super world organization—man’s nearest approach toward world government—an armed organization, with the power of armed force to guarantee world peace. But since world leaders do not know the way to peace, it cannot succeed.
“The war is over in Europe—or is it? We need to wake up and realize that right now is the most dangerous moment in United States national history, instead of assuming we now have peace!
“Men plan, here, to preserve the peace of the world. What most do not know is that the Germans have their plans for winning the battle of the peace. Yes, I said battle of the peace. That’s a kind of battle we Americans don’t know. We know only one kind of war. We have never lost a war—that is, a military war; but we have never won a conference, where leaders of other nations outfox us in the battle for the peace.
“We don’t understand German thoroughness. From the very start of World War ii, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii! Hitler has lost. This round of war, in Europe, is over. And the Nazis have now gone underground. In France and Norway they learned how effectively an organized underground can hamper occupation and control of a country. Paris was liberated by the French underground—and allied armies. Now a Nazi underground is methodically planned. They plan to come back and to win on the third try.
“The Bible foretells that third round—and it spells doom for us, as God’s punishment, because we, as a nation, have forsaken Him and His ways! The third round is termed, in prophecy, an invasion by ‘Babylon’—a resurrected Roman Empire—a European Union. I have been proclaiming that since 1927. For a while I thought Hitler might organize it—especially when he tied up with the Roman Mussolini. It wasn’t done in this second world war. It will be done and provoke the third!
“This Nazi underground will introduce a new kind of internal warfare and sabotage, to divide and conquer! It will stir race hatred, class prejudice, strife among ourselves, religious bigotry while professing to champion religious tolerance—especially toward the religion of the coming United States of Europe.
“Even at this conference, classes and races are demanding their ‘rights.’ This conference, and the United Nations Organization it is forming, must solve three problems to succeed. First, Big Three unity; second, the serious problem of what to do with Germany to prevent World War iii; and third, solve the world’s injustices against smaller nations, and the growth and tactics of Communism toward world domination. Can it succeed?
“These world leaders here in San Francisco are trying to build a high tower of world organization to produce and preserve peace. Can it succeed? Listen to God’s Word: ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it’ (Psalm 127:1). Again, Christ said (Matthew 15:13), ‘Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.’” (This first quoted before Bishop Hunt used it at the Pontifical High Mass.)
“The Lord God is not building this house. These men have not sought His guidance. Their deliberations were not opened by prayer, but by a moment of silence! The heavenly Father in heaven is not planting it. It shall, therefore, be rooted up!
“Once before, men started to build a high tower to reach to the heaven of world domination. And God Almighty intervened and broke up their building (Genesis 10:8-11; 11:1-9). In the end, God Almighty will have to intervene with force, to break up what will grow out of this effort of nations to assemble themselves together—without God!”
Today, Many Years Later
How prophetic those words were! They are proving true—because they were based on the prophecies of God! This United Nations organization started the idea—planted it in men’s minds—of uniting nations together. It paved the way for the prophesied resurrection of the Roman Empire—by a United States of Europe. Today there is talk of a South American “common market,” and even a Southeast Asian “common market.” Uniting nations together is in the air.
Before concluding events of the San Francisco Conference, one amusing little incident comes to mind. Mrs. Armstrong and I were having lunch one day in the Mark Hopkins Hotel. I noticed Walter Winchell, the New York newsman and broadcaster, rise from a table with two or three other men. At the hat rack, just inside the entrance of the dining room, I saw him pick up my hat and put it on. But it didn’t fit apparently, for he removed it, looked at it, then put it back and found his own.
Deep-sea Fishing—War’s End!
After the uno (as it was then called) conference at San Francisco, we returned to the office in Eugene, Oregon. But by August the need of another period of fasting and rejuvenation physically was again imperative. In August we went, once again, to the Oregon coast, for a two-week rest and opportunity to catch up on writing, while fasting in a cottage on the beach.
We started on Monday, August 6. Passing through Corvallis, seat of Oregon State College, we picked up a newspaper extra. It was filled with sensational news. The first atomic bomb had been dropped that day on Hiroshima, Japan!
The newspaper was literally filled with sensational news and facts about nuclear fission. It was the first news to be given to the public about the perfection of atomic energy.
We had entered A NEW AGE!—the atomic age!
We were somewhat filled with awe! We knew this heralded the speeding up of events to bring this world to its end—and usher in the better World Tomorrow!
On Thursday of that week, August 9, news came over radio of the wiping out of Japan’s second city, Nagasaki, by the second atom bomb. The crescendo of events was becoming terrific!
The following Tuesday, August 14, I took our two sons, Richard David and Garner Ted, then ages 16 and 15 (Dick was almost 17), deep-sea fishing for salmon off the coast of Depoe Bay. It was the first experience of the kind for all three of us. In fact it was my only such experience. Mrs. Armstrong, who has a tendency to become seasick easily, remained ashore at Depoe Bay.
At this point, as well as at Newport and other points, deep-sea fishing boats make regular excursion trips, lasting perhaps a couple of hours, taking a number of paying passengers on each trip. Proper equipment for salmon fishing is provided, with attendants to instruct and help the passenger “fishermen.”
As we reached a good distance from land, lines were thrown out, and several if not all passengers began to bring in salmon, caught on the hook. These small fishing boats rock and roll (but not like Elvis Presley) considerably. Soon both Dick and Ted were feeding the fishes instead of pulling them in. I never told them, but I almost did as well. I did feel a little woozy, but managed by strenuous mental concentration to avoid contributing to the food supply of the hungry fishes.
In spite of their seasickness, the boys each got a nice large salmon, as did I—I believe one was the limit for each passenger. In any event, the fish were easily worth the small fare for the trip.
As we drew close to land, the boats sailing under a bridge on the Coast Highway into a lagoon harbor, we saw Mrs. Armstrong standing on the bridge, waving her arms vigorously and trying to shout something to us. We could not hear until we approached closer to the bridge, but we knew well what she was trying to say—word had just been flashed over radio of Japan’s surrender—the end of World War ii!
I had received the news of the start of the war—that is, of United States participation—on December 7, 1941, while up in the air on my first airplane flight. And now that war was finally ended while I was on my first sailing on an ocean—the war in the Pacific sector ending while I was on the Pacific!
We took our fine fresh salmon to our cabin at Yakone beach. Mrs. Armstrong canned two of them, and one of them provided meals for us and guests. Mrs. Armstrong’s girlhood high school chum and family were visiting us. Mrs. Armstrong served us baked fresh salmon in hot poured butter. It was delicious!
A New Age Dawns!
Returning refreshed, with recharged energy, to the office in Eugene, I issued a special Bulletin for our co-workers. It summarized the momentous stage of history through which we were passing. It gave something of the “feel” of world events as they appeared at that time.
I think it will be interesting, and pertinent, to quote here a few excerpts from that Bulletin: “Since I last wrote you, May 28, from San Francisco we have lived through the most momentous events of world history. At that time, we had entered the period which has been the most vital pivot in American and world history. President Roosevelt had died. The military war had ended in Europe. Mussolini had been ignominiously put to death and buried. …
“But even greater news has followed. World War ii has come to its final end, and as I write, General MacArthur is preparing to go into and occupy Japan at the head of the most impressive display of military might ever beheld by mortal man—on land, on the sea, in the air. This is planned in order to convince dramatically the Japanese they have been completely whipped.
“But the most important news of all is the announcement, with the actual horrifying demonstration, of the atomic bomb and the age of atomic power. This, say scientists, will at once completely revolutionize both peacetime life and warfare upon Earth.
“Within the past 400 years the world has passed through the age of exploration, and then the machine age. Now we suddenly find ourselves plunged headlong, without warning, into a new, totally unexplored age of atomic power. Adjectives have been exhausted in an attempt to describe the staggering magnitude of this thing. It’s a new age—but one destined to be of extremely short duration. It’s an age fraught with horrifying, imagination-defying possibilities. Yet it’s an age which at once opens to us marvelous new opportunities—and a most stunning challenge and responsibility in the Work of Almighty God!
“Thousands of years ago men started the terrible scourge of war with elementary weapons—knives, swords, slingshots, bows and arrows. As a prominent military analyst expressed it, the most effective military weapons are those which can be used to strike at the enemy in the quickest time, at the longest distance, and with the most destructive power.
“And now, as World War ii came to an end, the weapons of the future put in an appearance—jet propulsion and rocket weapons, carrying missiles still faster and farther.
“And then, the tremendous climax! The best-kept secret of the war—the atomic bomb, suddenly perfected, and just two of these indescribable weapons of destruction and death dropped upon Japan, bringing the war to a sudden end!”
Also it was announced, in this Bulletin of August 27, 1945, that, beginning October 1, the World Tomorrow program was to be broadcast six nights a week, at the prime listening time of 8 p.m., at 800 on the radio dial, over the superpower 100,000‑watt station xelo, Juarez, Mexico.
That station, then having an exclusive channel over the North American continent, could then be heard in virtually every state.
This was by far the biggest leap ahead of God’s Work, so far!
After this tremendous impact of nightly broadcasting got under way, the number of listeners of God’s truth increased faster than ever.
Then, on the heels of this, God opened another still bigger door! Station xeg, with 150,000 watts, making it the most powerful voice reaching over the United States, opened its mighty doors—and at the prime listening time of 8 p.m., Central Standard Time, and also six nights a week! I do not, at the moment, seem to find records in the old files showing the exact date, but I believe we started on this station on October 1, 1945.
Apparently the additional expense of this tremendously powerful broadcasting, suddenly multiplying broadcasting effectiveness many times over, had prevented the publishing of an edition of the Plain Truth for three or four months. I do not find a copy in the files until March-April 1946, after starting this powerful program. And that issue is Volume 11, Number 1—the first issue printed that year.
But circulation of the Plain Truth had taken a big flight upward. It is printed on the front cover, “Circulation, 75,000 this issue.”