I . . . have concluded that continuing the war can only mean destruction for the nation.
-- Japanese emperor Hirohito, August 9, 1945
On the morning of January 20, 1945, Franklin Roosevelt fitted his wasted legs into his heavy steel braces for the first time in four months. He was wheeled to the south portico of the White House, rose laboriously from his chair with the help of his son James, and gripped a lectern to deliver his fourth inaugural address, the briefest in American history, just 573 words. "We have learned that we must live as men and not as ostriches," he said. "We can gain no lasting peace if we approach it with suspicion and mistrust -- or with fear." The perfunctory ceremony was over in minutes. As the president withdrew, observers murmured about his pallor and gauntness. He had lost almost twenty-five pounds since the preceding summer. James told him frankly that he looked like hell. When the presidential party went back inside the White House, FDR sat his son down to talk about his will and about the funeral instructions he had deposited in the White House safe. He did not disclose that ten months earlier the cardiologist Howard G. Bruernn had diagnosed him with hypertension, hypertensive heart disease, and failure of the left ventricular chamber. In plain language, Bruenn described the president's health as "God-awful." But as he had done for years with his paralysis, Roosevelt did his best willfully to ignore his cardiovascular illness. Though Bruernn prevailed upon him to cut his working day back to just a few hours, the president concealed the severity of his condition from others, asked no questions of his physician, and tried to carry on in public as if nothing in his life had changed.1____________________