Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Endings...

(Source)
As I finish up Hornfischer's excellent book, The Fleet at Flood Tide, many emotions well up, amazement at the will of the American people in the fight against Imperial Japan, sadness that so many had to die, and, ultimately, sheer disbelief at the effort required to convince the militarists, especially in the Japanese Army, that the war was lost, that there was no point to continuing.

Of course, one automatically thinks of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and whether or not that should have happened. One thing I do know, in talking to World War II veterans back in the early 70s, they were, to a man, glad that President Truman gave the order. Many of those I spoke with, all guys I worked in a factory with, would not have been there had Truman not given that command. Many would have died in the last assault, the one planned for the Japanese Home Islands.

What I did not know, until reading this book, is that there was a third bomb being assembled on Tinian. That bomb was destined for Tokyo itself.

I have been driven through Tokyo, going from one airfield to another, and was impressed by the cleanliness, the orderliness of the city. Everything shipshape, so to speak, everything in its place. The sidewalks neat and obviously swept every day.

As the bus I was on motored past the Imperial Palace - which looked like a wooded oasis in that bustling city - somewhere within those walls, past the moats, and the pine trees, sat the Emperor Hirohito. This was in 1980, so he was still on the throne.

It was his word that commanded the militarists to quit, saying that Japan must "endure the unendurable and suffer what is unsufferable." Yet, the war would not really have been possible without his assent.

Maybe.

In my own view, the men who controlled Japan, the men who perpetrated the atrocities throughout China, and later all of Asia, held the real power. Though the shogunate had been overthrown in the Meiji Restoration, the Emperor's power was more symbolic than physical. Still and all, as I rode past the Imperial Palace, I wondered what thoughts occupied the man within.

Did he ever think of the war? What were his memories of those days, when his armies raped, murdered, and pillaged their way across Asia and the Pacific? I often wonder.

I hold no animus towards the Japanese people. I lived there for a time, I found them to be polite, courteous to a fault, but as a gaijin, a foreigner both culturally and racially, could I ever begin to understand them? Perhaps a little.

I knew people who fought the Japanese. They hated them at the time, though years had passed, they still remembered the war years. One veteran of Guadalcanal that I worked with didn't like them at all, but respected them, in a back handed sort of way -

"Tough little bastards."

Yes, they were.

Now they are our allies, faithful to the alliance I think.

As China looms as a potential adversary, I am very glad that the Japanese are on our side. Very glad indeed. But I understand why that makes the Chinese unhappy, they remember Nanjing.

As do I.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were brutal acts of war, but absolutely necessary. Casualties would have run into the millions had an invasion of the Home Islands been necessary, mostly Japanese but thousands of Americans would have died as well.

Japan drew the sword.

We made the final cut.
War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.  - William Tecumseh Sherman
True indeed.



80 comments:

  1. Those in charge of Japan during the last century perceived their interests to be threatened, resulting twice in surprise attacks, Port Arthur and Pearl Harbor. Winning the Russo-Japanese War but not gaining enough at the peace negotiation table led the Japanese to view the USA a threat to the Asian region. Hence, ultimately December 7, 1941. Now the South China Sea is an area of contention for China. With the US involved there it means Japan as an ally is involved. China remembers the Japanese invasion rather well..... (sigh)..... that's my two cents worth.

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    1. I work with a lot of Chinese, and if you get them to talking, they hate the Japanese almost as much as if they'd personally experienced the horrors of Nanjing.

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    2. Long memories in that part of the world.

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  2. I know just what this country accomplished during wars. In the last great (?) war, WWII, the people understood what was at stake. They had seen what had happened to Europe and Asia. Every family had skin in the game. Not the same today. Few people have direct contact with our men and women serving in our Armed Forces. I don't think most of the country have any idea what is at stake in all the many and different threats to our country and liberties. Too many generations have not felt the sting of battle, directly and indirectly. My point is I have severe doubts that today's Americans can not match the WWII era Americans. Their 'softness' will not allow them to give what it takes to win and easily take what it takes to lose not knowing what that truly means.

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    1. I'm still up in the air on whether today's generation can "cut it." The media wants us to think that most American kids don't have what it takes. I'm not sold on that, Mr. Wang, Ms. Petty, and Mr. Duque showed real courage, laying down their lives to protect their classmates. Unarmed mind you. The media only wants to show us Hogg and others of his ilk. The kids who are enlisting, attending the Academies and entering ROTC programs across the country are seldom mentioned.

      The media turned the American people against a righteous cause in Vietnam by lying to us. There's no other way to look at it. The media don't care about us, then and now. We need to stop listening to those lying bastards.

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    2. Good points Sarge, agree with you.

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    3. Americans have this thing about rising to the occasion. We've seen it again and again, and history has recorded it. It's much like the self-assured victory of Clinton over Trump (a mere pretender to the throne). America rises and speaks sometimes. And it does more than that. Our would-be enemies need to take note.

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    4. The only thing I worry about is how often we've had to get our teeth kicked in before rising (fully) to the occasion. One time or another, it might be a one-punch knockout blow.

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    5. We need to stay out in front in the future. But we tend to be complacent without an immediate threat.

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  3. Three points to remember about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan--

    1) WWII was over.
    2) We won.
    3) Nukes have not been fired in anger since.

    Often left out of the story as well is that General LeMay was well on his way to burning the entire country to the ground. On the night of March 9th, 1945, 17 square miles of Tokyo was turned to ash. In his book 'Winged Victory'. Geoffery Perret recounts how the fire bombing was halted later that month for six weeks because the Twentieth Air Force had run out of incendiary bombs. They had to wait for the Navy to re-stock the bomb dumps.

    Even at this point, the allied casualty projections for an invasion of Japan (operation Downfall) were staggering.

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    1. There were three massive hits that, in total, and in succession, finally made Emperor Hirohito make the last call.

      The US Navy Blockade - We had sealed off the islands via a naval blockade the likes the world has never ever seen. Complete unrestricted submarine warfare, to the point some captains were entering harbors and wrecking havoc directly. Oil, food, critical supplies were cut off. We were slowly strangling Japan to death. (This is covered in Tom Kratman's Carerra series, book 3, "The Lotus Eaters". (Which is a sci-fi series which takes place on, well, Earth II and the author uses Earth I history rewritten to Earth II to make a point as to how the author thinks things ought to go here on Earth I, if you read between the lines, or can pick up even semi-subtle hints.) If we had kept it up, just by itself, the death toll from famine would have been, well Stalin would have lost for greatest dead by starvation.

      The AAF fire and carpet bombing - Anyone who has read anything about the air campaign General Lemay waged is totally agast at ground accounts of what happened. Firetrucks sucked up into firestorms. People cooked from blocks away just from the heat. Whole cities wiped off the face of the earth in 24 hours of hell that made the 3 days of Dresden look like a camp-fire in comparison. And once the major cities were wiped out, the smaller towns, the shrines, the villages were next, and then the forests and fields. Given time, Lemay could have left most of the habitable sections of Japan lifeless, moon-like.

      Already severely stressed under the blockade and the firebombings, we hit them with the atomic bombs. Pushing the will of many people over the edge. Finally breaking the spirit of an unbreakable people, for the most part. Only then did Emperor Hirohito do something no Japanese emperor had done in forever, speak openly to the people. We here in the USA used to have a lot of negative feelings for the emperor, but the strength of his, spirit to stand against Tradition (think Jewish Tradition, and multiply by 10) and against most of his own government, must have been truly great to finally get on the radio and address his people and call the war off.

      Thank God he did. After the war, the Army and Navy reviewed the hidden preparations for the invasion and were floored by the level of defenses and preparation by the people for the invasion. Even the horrible casualty projections estimated during WWII for Operation Downfall were eventually considered to be short by a factor of at least 5. We would not have 'won' until basically every resisting Japanese was dead, which at that time would have meant the end of the Japanese people completely, only possibly leaving a small leavening of those who were unable to get killed. And the death of the American spirit would have been almost as bad. 5-10 years of heavy pacification work, of the nature of 'the only good jap is a dead jap,' would have killed our nation just as much as it would have killed Japan.

      And, now, we know if the surrender did not happen, that we would have been fighting Japan and the Soviets (directly, indirectly, it would have been fighting the Soviets one way or another.)

      A lot of people knock President Truman. But, in the end, he has been the only person to order nukes to be used in war. How that must have tortured his soul, being the man he was.

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    2. The bomb convinced Hirohito that there was no hope at all. Some of the Army wanted to keep going, their goal was victory or every single Japanese citizen dead, either in combat or by suicide. It came close to that on Saipan.

      Harry made the right call, the only call.

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  4. Second guessing and talk of it being "unnecessary" started as soon as the war finished. From December 1946:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1946/12/if-the-atomic-bomb-had-not-been-used/376238/

    And as written in the monograph posted at this link:
    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/319754.php

    many of the apologists have forgotten that "In life, experience is the great teacher" when they speak without having either lived through those times, or appreciated what those who did have said about it.


    "Progress" has taken too many people beyond any connection with the actual conditions of life and human interaction, from harvesting animals for sustenance and shelter to the innate brutalities humans are willing to casually inflict on each other. Yet, as we've seen in domestic crises and with our military over the past decades, Americans continue to rise to the occasion.

    "I'm not a coward,
    I've just never been tested
    I'd like to think that if I was,
    I would pass
    Look at the tested and think there but for the grace go I
    Might be a coward,
    I'm afraid of what I might find out"
    Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get

    /
    L.J.



    /
    L.J.

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  5. A few of those I served with were there at the end and my uncle was at Okinawa.
    Most only talked about the relief that it ended without another invasion.
    What little time I spent in Japan gave me respect for the people as a whole.
    It helped that my folks and grandparents showed no bitterness during my early years.

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    1. Relief describes it well.

      Those who went through Guam, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa had zero desire to have to do it again. Saipan gave us a hint as to the way Japanese civilians would have reacted to an invasion. Okinawa was a foretaste of what we could expect militarily. I've seen estimates of the Japanese having 10,000 combat aircraft available, at least half of which they intended to use as kamikaze.

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    2. Over 5,000 powered boats that were just basically floating bombs. Human guided torpedoes. Land and sea mines by the bazillion (and due to lack of metal, most were wooden or clay, really not great for detecting except by a rather final way.) Artillery pieces dug into caves. Tanks. Armored Cars. Actual cars, bicycles and push-carts turned into contact explosive weapons.

      It would have been like Stalingrad, except on all the islands.

      As I've said before, I lived on an island taken from the Japanese. Kwajalein, where they lined up basically on both sides of the island with naval ships and fired as point blank as they could, and basically stripping a very lush island into a grainy mulch pile. That, mixed with Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Tarawa (Bloody Tarawa) is what we would have faced.

      Think the ravages of the VC at their worst in Viet Nam. Multiply by a thousand.

      I am so glad that we didn't pour our country into that hell hole. It would have had casualty rates not seen since the worse of WWI. Yet there are still lots of people that think as soon as we invaded, they would have given up. Hahahhahahahaha, no.

      Thank God for the bomb. It literally saved the world. Saved us from dying on that island. Saved Japan from disappearing. Saved the rest of the world because we were able to do the Marshall Plan, and we were able to fight the rise of communism and socialism. You could even put a good case forward that us bombing Japan with the A-bomb allowed Israel to come into existence.

      Casualty rates? I've heard numbers as high as 1 in 10 dead, 3 in 10 critical/permanently injured, 4 in 10 recoverable/returnable to combat. Only 6 in 10 survive with all their pieces parts? Numbers derived after the '46 and '47 surveys were completed. That is on our side. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Men, Doctors, Nurses, anyone over there. Literally the stuff of nightmares.

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    3. Forgot to mention a book---'Islands of the Damned' by R. V. Burgin. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Burgin at his table at a gun show in the Will Rogers Center in Fort Worth. Yeah, I got an autographed copy.

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    4. I took a peek at that over at Amazon. I might need to get a copy of that!

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  6. "I lived there for a time".
    While technically true, the Okinawans did not consider themselves to be Japanese. I had an extended conversation with our Okinawan Crew Bus Driver one day. He had lived through the War and vigorously (well vigorously for an Okinawan, calmly for a juvat) protested when I referred to him as Japanese.
    We gave the island back to Japan in 72 in exchange for their support in Linebacker 2. As the bus driver explained, the night that took effect, the driving laws changed so they would drive on the left side. A minor thing, except for the spike in accidents. However, at the same time, they passed a law requiring the Okinawans pay past taxes dating back to '45.
    It was an interesting conversation.

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    1. Well, I did spend time on Honshu as well. But yeah, the Okinawans are different from the Japanese.

      They were no happy being given back to Japan. Not happy at all.

      Actually the Okinawans continued to drive on the right side of the road until July of 1978. I was there, went through all the briefings, drove on the left once, down to one of the Marine Corps facilities south of Kadena.

      The Bluebird never left the barracks parking lot again. (Good thing I PCSed in August!)

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    2. Did not know about Honshu. Sorry.

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    3. I should have mentioned how Okinawan does not equal Japanese in cultural terms. I'm glad you pointed that out.

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  7. Years ago in Washington State, I saw a Mitsubishi Passenger van sporting a Pearl Harbor Survivor license plate. Wish I could have talked with the driver. Many WWII veterans, including my father and uncles, wouldn't own a Japanese vehicle. How that driver reconciled his thoughts and experiences would be interesting. Alas, missed opportunity.

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  8. WSF/


    In the movie SLC Punk (Salt Lake City) in which the punk rocker finally decides to give up the drugs and street life and go ac to Harvard Law. His recently divorced Father picks him up from his crash house in his new BMW sports car. "But Dad, we're Jewish!" "I know Son, but they make such damned good cars." LOL!

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    1. I've owned German cars, American cars, Korean cars, and Japanese cars. Reliability is spelled "Honda" or "Toyota" or... take your pick. VW used to make awesome, simple to maintain vehicles. Note that I said "used to."

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    2. My brain exploded trying to interpret "ac to Harvard."

      Glad you clarified that Virgil. :)

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    3. Virgil, the first time I went ashore in Haifa, I was amazed at the number of Mercedes-Benzes. I had known American Jews who wouldn't touch a German car. The Israelis are more practical: I was told just about the same thing you quote from the movie.
      First time I ever rode in an M-B it was an Israeli taxi.
      OldAFSarge, excellent post!
      --Tennessee Budd

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  9. This is what I get for being late to the ball; others ( especially Andrew ) made the point I was going to make before I read the comments. It was about there not having been a Japanese people left if the U.S. ( and allies ) had had to invade the home islands. Anyone able to walk would have been given a sharp stick and pointed at the invaders. The Japanese should forever be grateful ( yes, I know what the Japanese word for gratitude means ) that those bombs were used.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. The sharp sticks were already produced and stockpiled. I kid you not.

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    2. One of my best friends (David, aka: Taka, RIP) took a naginata class from a little 4'nothing Japanese grandma, who, at the age of 10, was taught to stand behind a corner, naginata blade down and forward, and wait for Joe to come around it. Step forward, sweep up, cut Joe from crotch to neck. She was in charge of a bunch of kids younger than her who would either use sharpened bamboo poles or grenades.

      It literally was to the point that if one could walk or lift an arm, one was expected and prepared to fight. From the 3 year olds on up to the crippled pensioners (those that were still alive, a lot either suicide or were left to die due to the lack of food and medical supplies.)

      My dad was in Japan in the mid '50's and he said he never saw a people so happy to be defeated. It was like they experienced this mass preparation for death, held their breath for a few years, and then slowly exhaled and saw they were suddenly alive.

      The sheer stupidly friendly Americans helped a lot in fixing the national mindset. I don't think any other nation would go through such a horrible war and then, moments after achieving victory, not lord it over the losers. Stupid dumb Americans just wandering around and sharing their food and meds with those nasty 'slant eyes.' (Same with Germany, overall our people were like, "Hey, the war is over, let's be friends" whereas the French, Soviets and even a lot of British had the "We won, stupid Kraut" attitude. A good childhood friend of mine's mother remembers loving to see US convoys go through her town, because they always stopped and handed out food and CHOCOLATE! French, and sometimes British columns would go through and toss rocks, if anything.) We as a nation have always been Horrible in War, Great in Friendship.

      And, Paul, many of the survivors of WWII were grateful, in all three of the Axis powers. Especially in Japan, still.

      I think Germany would still be if they had never unified, but that country went off rails when the 'Greens' and 'Reds' from ex-East Germany took over.

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    3. Andrew:

      "Paul, many of the survivors of WWII were grateful, in all three of the Axis powers. Especially in Japan, still."

      I didn't mean to imply that they were not grateful, just that sometimes lately they seem to forget. Of course, that may be just the generations born after the war. Which is basically what you wrote.

      Paul

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    4. Andrew - we really were the good guys. I like to think we still are.

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    5. Paul - I got what you meant, later generations didn't suffer, they just don't get it. Same in our own country. Sad to say.

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    6. Paul, I understood what you were saying. I agree with what you said, and what you followed up with.

      From the modern Japanese I have met, at the local university, they still get it, somewhat grudginly. They chafe over the restrictions put in place after the war, but they were proud of their 'self-defense force.' The problem is that the war was so horrible that the war generation basically wanted to forget all about it, so during the '60s and '70s real info to the upcoming generation was somewhat to greatly restricted. Thanks to better availability of information, especially the internet, starting around the early '80s (not the internet, better info sources) the message is out there and the more modern generations have gotten more educated about what happened.

      Italy is a combination of this and just utter hatred of the USA, usually found in the Red Brigades and other leftists.

      Germany? I have no idea what went wrong there. Again, some are grateful for our post-war treatment. But the more 'Green' and 'Red' they are, the more they hate us. Especially Reagan. Weird place. Maybe having most of your smart people killed off twice really does affect the national mindset. Or most of your smart people marry Ami servicemen and come back to the States. Dunno.

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    7. Andrew - the Germans I served with were mostly ignorant of the period from 1933 to 1945. It's a period of time that their elders would rather forget. If you forget the lessons of the past, you might repeat them.

      You want Merkel? That's how you get Merkel.

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    8. Oh, I thought purposely voting for a known communist apparatik was how you got Merkel. And thanks, forgot the Germans decided to disappear a decade. "These are not the bomb craters you are looking for, move it along."

      The Germans I was used to dealing with were all Marshall Plan and Berlin Airlift survivors. Something about seeing a big silver aircraft full of food for you and yours tends to greatly change the attitude towards the positive, at least amongst some people.

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    9. Well, that too.

      The ones who remembered the chaos at the end of the war, the slow return to normal, the smiling American G.I.s yeah, they understood.

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  10. On VJ Day my Father, recently returned from combat in the ETO w. the 42nd Rainbow Div., was sitting in a mile-long troop train w. the HQ elements o an entire Army (ALL 3 Corps Hq +=27 Div HQ) at Union Station, St. Louis on the way to the West Coast to ship out for combat in China. (Japan had 1/2 of its Army in China) The first thing he heard was cheering from inside the station, then loudspeakers announcing wars end and for all troops to disembark and stand-y for transport to nearby Ft Leonard Wood. Probably saved Dads life..

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    1. Sorry, simple math : 3 Corps=9 Div, 27 Regiments

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    2. Probably saved your Dad's life, his and a lot of others Virgil. American AND Japanese.

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    3. It's only in modern times where each division has three headquarters. Well, there's enough staff to fill that many.

      /snark

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    4. Circling back, Sarge, An Army consists of 3 Corps, and each Corps consists of 3 Div; each Div consisted of 3 regiments (then). That's a total of 27 regimental, HQ, 9 Div HQ and 3 Corps HQ plus the numbered Army HQ.

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    5. I knew that Virgil. The old triangular division.

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  11. I dislike "Dugout Doug" MacArthur quite a bit, but even I must concede his wisdom in letting Hirohito remain, and remain unhumiliated (as much as is possible to a Japanese who has conceded defeat).
    Mr. Quandt, I will confess my ignorance as to what the Japanese word for "gratitude" means; I was an East Coast sailor, and know very little of Japan, its people, or its language. Will you, or some other knowledgeable reader, please enlighten me? My thanks in advance.
    --Tennessee Budd

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    1. Tennessee Budd:

      I have read ( albeit many years ago ) that the Japanese word/s for gratitude translates to various states of anger/dislike. If anyone is more knowledgeable than I in this regard, please step in and correct me if I am in error. This has always made sense to me because in an honor society such as Japan's, being under obligation to another ( other than [ possibly ] one's family ) is unwelcome.

      PLQ

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    2. Tennessee - I too dislike MacArthur for various reasons.

      But what he did with Hirohito, brilliant. Credit where credit is due.

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    3. Paul - Japanese, like Korean, doesn't really translate word for word to English. There are concepts in English which are quite foreign to a Japanese person. The converse is also true. In Japan everyone is under obligation to someone, being without obligation is, in a very real sense, dishonorable and something to be avoided. Are you familiar with the term ronin? (Ronin - 浪人 - a drifter or wanderer). Japan is a very ordered society, everyone has a place.

      As for the Japanese word for "gratitude" actually meaning something like "anger/dislike"? Gratitude in Japanese is "“感謝", this link talks more about that word, but it's got nothing to do with anger or dislike.

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    4. Maybe MacArthur learned to be just and civil after the way he treated the Bonus Marchers and how that turned out.

      The Bonus March. Something to be remembered for those who think our political masters won't try to use the military against us. One of the more shameful moments of US military history. Posse Comitatus, my ass.

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    5. And, as to MacArthur in Japan, I think the Japanese needed a strong, dictatorial figure, an American Shogun so to speak, in order to allow themselves to say, "See, we chose to surrender to strength." Would not have happened if a State Department flunky had taken over as 'Governor' like some in FDR's and Truman's administration wanted. Thank God for that. What a frikkin nightmare having some Foggy Bottom Flunky in charge.

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    6. The Bonus March, yeah, Dugout Doug covered himself in something there, but it wasn't glory. One thing about "using the military against us," our political "masters" might find themselves on the wrong end of the bayonet. The modern military is much better trained and much better informed then our predecessors were.

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    7. Wasn't there a book about MacArthur called "American Shogun"? Yes, yes there was.

      Something I read today, MacArthur turned a blind eye to the brothels in the Tokyo area, which were doing a booming business, as it was well-controlled and the Japanese felt it would lessen venereal disease and crime, particularly rape. Some clergyman wrote his congress-critter in protest and the brothels were shut down. VD and crime increased. Nice move, dumbass.

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    8. Thanks for setting me straight, OAFS.

      Paul L. Quandt

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    9. Languages are a hobby of mine. Just in case you hadn't noticed. 😉

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    10. I knew I had heard it before, and since it fit, with all the whole 'cult of personality' thingy that went with it, it was the appropriate phrase. Not a great theater commander, but great in his role in Japan.

      I also read somewhere that Truman, during the Korean War, commissioned a reconnaissance group, secretly behind MacArthur's back, to go into China and western USSR, and the survivors brought back credible reports that both China(communist) and the USSR were quite willing to go full bore into WWIII if we got too frisky with nukes or crossing into China(communist) like Doug wanted, which, of course, contributed to Doug's tantrums that got him yanked from Korea and into retirement.

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    11. I did not know about that reconnaissance thing, now that would be a heck of a story!

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    12. I seem to remember reading it in an "American Heritage" magazine, or some other 'serious' magazine a long while ago. Heck of a story, read like a first hand account of the Bataan Death March. Like 30 went in, 3 came out type stuff. Months of hell, being chased by everyone. Death everywhere.

      Of course the truth only came out in, I think, around 1975, so all those people who think Truman was 'timid and weak' now are finally seen as ill-informed. Once again, good men kept their mouths shut like they were supposed to do so the 'man on the street' did not have all the info necessary. Again, like with the bombs, I would not have wanted to be in Truman's shoes and making the decisions he did. Makes the royal snubbing by Eisenhower all the more worse in perspective. Truman was truly given a raw deal by 'current historians.'

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    13. Truman got us through some tough times. Not bad for a Missouri National Guard captain in the artillery.

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  12. It's worth noting and probably has been mentioned before, but many of the Purple Hearts awarded to wounded soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were older than they were--manufactured in 1945 in anticipation of the invasion of Japan. The planners of Operation Downfall very clearly understood the cost it would have involved and tried as much as possible to be ready for it. I can only imagine what stevedores and warehouse workers would have thought about stockpiling equipment, ammo, and coffins for that invasion....

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    1. BTW, not sure about the rules on replying to old posts (I came here from AoSHQ accidentally--long story) but WTR U-Boats Werner Baumbach's Iron Coffins is a book worth reading....

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    2. AARRRRGGH!!! WRT, not WTR! This needs an editing function....

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    3. Yup, the military were prepared for massive casualties.

      Baumbach's book is excellent (you can comment on any post, any post older than 7 days the comment goes into moderation, I check those every day).

      Yes, Blogger desperately needs an edit function for the comments!

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    4. And the number of Purple Hearts left is still huge. I tell people that and they look at me like I'm from the left armpit of Mars or something. At the same time they tell me the bomb was evil. Sometimes I just want to hit people.

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    5. Ah yes, the 'ol 2X4. AKA 'the board of education'. Can you hear me now?

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  13. I'm afraid that the Sherman quote left a bit of a bad taste - but your point is a good one. If Lincoln (or Sherman) had had a nuke, they would have used it on us. It's no wonder that we used them on Japan.

    It would be surprising how many people "know" that we were wrong for dropping the bombs but actually know nothing about the situation.

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    1. It sometimes amazes me how many people "know" but in reality are clueless.

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  14. Just finished reading J.H.'s Tin Can Sailor book again. Still gives me chills thinking about Cmdr. Ernest Evans charging at the IJN fleet in the USS Johnston single-handedly chasing shell splashes. They did their duty to the fullest extent. A few years ago, I went to Maine to visit friends and do the tourist thing. Wound up at the Iron Works in Bath to spend the whole day there. Great maritime museum area that left me awestruck. We went down to the docks to check out the old launching ways and historical displays. Looking up river, there sat the USS Zumwalt (DDG1000) in all its glory. We just stood there with our jaws hanging. The USS Michael Mansoor(DDG1001) was in the beginning stages of construction, surrounded by the big blue cranes. I was reminded of J.P. Jones saying something about having a fast ship and going in harm's way. Now, I found out that #3 in the "Z" series is being named after LBJ. This poorly chosen title for a ship of action and service gives me a big case of lower tract distress. LBJ was a blowhard pol who wrote up his own commendations and awards. This travesty is an insult to all who served honorably and really did go in harm's way. Who are the morons on some non-descript naval board that thought this was a good idea ? LBJ was a second rate arm twister that should have been left in the dustbin of history. If the Navy had any sense of honor, they should rename DDG1002 after Ernest E. Evans, a true hero and a real man. Damn straight !

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    1. The name of the third Zumwalt still pisses me off. I blame "Rainbow" Ray Mabus.

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  15. SARGE/

    Upthread you mention American Shogun, but for my money American Caesar by William Manchester is teH definitive work. Pistols at sunrise! :)

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    1. Yes, I've read Manchester's book a few times. My old paperback is rather dog-eared, a good book.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)