Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rewriting History

As the media moves on from the 70th anniversary of the ending of the war against the Imperial Japanese forces in the Pacific I am somewhat comforted by the fact that the next orgy is five years away.

There will still be an annual picnic when once again the ignorant will attempt to decry how US President Truman took the awful decision to vaporise two Japanese mainland cities that were chosen by the weather gods in truth as much as any other criteria,  as an alleged unnecessary act to be portrayed as  a  "War Crime" because Japan was about to surrender.
That suggestion is refuted in a seriously historical way by the later revelation that a military coup intended to prevent the Emperor's decision to end the war did not gain acceptance.

There is always far too  little discussion on the more than a decade of butchery and slaughter often at the whim of a fanatical soldier and/ or those in command leaving a trail of atrocities that led to the dropping of the two nuclear weapons three days apart to bring the whole ghastly war to a very quick conclusion.

Having begun their expansionist military moves centuries earlier with the annexation of Korea, in 1931 the Imperial Japanese Army without any authorisation from the civilian government or the Emperor embarked on an invasion of Manchuria. Initially there was some angst at this but as the very successful conquest became obvious, all political opposition in Japan evaporated.

Then in 1937 the IJA invaded central China and captured the then Capital, Nanking, now Nanjing, on the Yangtze River inland from Shanghai. In a notably brutal killing spree that has earned its very special place in History as the Nanking Massacre or alternatively The Rape Of Nanking with a death toll of over 300 000 Chinese dead, many of them non-combatants.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbour without a Declaration of War, the now rampant IJA with the full support of the IJN proceeded to redraw the political map of what they euphemistically called The Japanese Economic Sphere,  by expanding their military conquests to include Burma,  Malaya,  The Philippines,  Indonesia then eastwards to include the Pacific islands until they were stopped by the Battle Of The Coral Sea in May 1942.

After another three years of often brutal and deadly island hopping, The Pacific allied forces secured Okinawa in June 1945 leaving only Mainland Japan to be subdued.

Some if not many will be saying here he goes again, well this repudiation of any trace of sympathy I might hold for the estimated 150 000 dead from the only two  deployments ever of nuclear weapons  in the history of war,  is still seen by me as a very justifiable use of available weaponry.
Does any sane person think for a single moment that the leaders of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan would have held back had they managed to create the Nuclear option earlier.

As to what triggered this repeat of my total belief that Truman was correct to deploy Fat Man and Little Boy, hell those two only managed to kill half the number slaughtered in the "Rape of Nanking".
And a similar number who died in the invasion and conquest of Okinawa.

This post came after an item on the box last night recalling where HM The Queen Mother was rudely verbally assaulted when  unveiling the Memorial statue to Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris, by a bunch of ignorant luvvies some fifty years after the end of WW2.
The protest ostensibly justified, from Harris being the one accused of "The Destruction Of Dresden", a city in Saxony that many wanted to believe was of no 'strategic value', late in the European War
Tell that to the survivors of  Warsaw  whose city was levelled to murder every last Jew who might have remained alive there. Much of that Polish City was untouched when Poland fell much faster than thought possible when the Polish government found themselves fighting on two fronts resulting from the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact that secretly had the eastern 2/3 of the betrayed nation awarded to the USSR.
The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everybody else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put that rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now, they are going to reap the whirlwind.[1]
That was from a speech Harris delivered towards the end of the "Battle of Britain" and gives context to his belief that no German City should be spared  as every German, serving and civilian had at the very minimum been an "enabler" of the stream of atrocities delivered by the Nazis over the term of The Third Reich that ran for a decade, some nine hundred and ninety years short of its promoters dream.

I consider that most of those who died in the two cities attacked with atom bombs died real quick, OK some lingered regrettably but not enduring the prolonged torture, untreated illness, starvation,  suffering and entertainment that was extracted from the hundreds of thousands who were captured by the Japanese forces, put to work as slaves and if not required, slaughtered often as entertainment for the captors. Tales remain of two such over zealous junior officers who had a wager as to which of them could behead one hundred victims first with their Samurai sword.
Some captured were forced to build the Burma Railway,  march from the fall of  Manila to Camp O'Donnell  90 Kms away with no food  or water and many other travesties wrought on those unlucky enough to be captured alive.
Depredations that resulted in thousands of prisoners who were consigned to die from dysentery, dehydration, or were bayonetted or beheaded arbitrarily due in the main because they had surrendered therefore  had no right to live.
That briefly backgrounds some of the compelling case for dropping the bombs in August 1945 and I apologise to those who are feeling as if they did not need reminding. There are far too many that do, and that includes the demented few who were so rude and ungracious to her now late  Majesty who served her people so magnificently throughout the war when she and her King declined to seek refuge in Canada. The Queen on having Buckingham Palace bombed said she felt so much closer to her people who had had their houses damaged or more often totally obliterated.

I have no idea how many captured and civilian souls died at the hands of the IJA but it is certain they were so many times greater than those who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Avoidable for Harry S Truman, no way,  just one more courageous act by a person in charge knowing that he would carry the awesome responsibility for his decision to his grave.
Well done that man.


The Veteran said...

GD ... sage post. I have previously blogged my opinion that I consider HST to be the greatest US President since WW2.

West Bank Dave said...

Good post.

I too was startled to hear/see the re-writing of history on the box the other day. But then I remembered that one can't ever trust anything that the MSM have to say these days.

You mention the "Japanese Economic Sphere" - I think it was the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere." An interesting read:'War Without Mercy. Race and Power in the Pacific War' by John Dower.

As an aside - a Fijian soldier walking down the Strand in 1944. A Londoner, on seeing the 'FIJI' shoulder flash asked, "I say old boy, what does F I J I denote?"

"First Imperial Japanese Infantry." said the straight-faced Fijian.

gravedodger said...

Interesting bit of trivia emerged during the research, Harry Truman had no second Christian name, the 'S' was a nod to his two Grandads, paternal one with the second Christian name of Shipp and his maternal Grandad Solomon Young.
His 's' had no associated period and he sometimes wrote it as HarrySTruman.
On ascending to the presidency a literary pedant pointed out how omitting the period was a bad example to youth and the period entered the game.

I concur with your assessment Vet he was so very badly prepared for the awesome task that was dumped on him, he was never briefed on the Los Alamos project and was very much excluded from all strategic discussion and decision making right up until FDR died.
I love the anecdote when he offered his condolences to Eleanor, asking if there was anything he could do to help to be answered "it is you who will need all the help Mr Truman".

LOL WB Dave. Thanks for the correction I really just guessed at the name, there was so very little "Co" involved when the ugly bastards assumed control of their conquests eh.