August 21, 2011

End of WWII, Again

The surrender of Japan in the late summer of 1945 remains one of the more argued-over events in history, even though it happened in the absolute full glare of world attention and it made complete sense. It's worth going over the various causes once again, in part because it shows how hard it is to figure out why anybody does anything, even something as sensible as not getting atom bombed, invaded, and divided up with the Soviets.

Gareth Cook writes in the Boston Globe in "Why Did the Japanese Surrender?"
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara - has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan’s surrender. 

I've always assumed it was all three that finally broke the will of the Japanese leadership. They had a truly bad week (Hiroshima August 6, Soviet invasion of Manchuria early August 9, Nagasaki midday August 9). And it still took them several more days, plus a giant American conventional bombing raid a few days after Nagasaki, to come to a consensus. And then there was a failed military coup that seized the Imperial Palace for a night. The surrender wasn't announced until August 15 in Japan (although that was August 14 in Times Square).

The Japanese were nuts in WWII. The rulers had largely risen up through a system in which the non-nuts were assassinated, so their grip on reality was shaky. Their strategic planning boiled down to asserting that the bravery of Japanese soldiers would make Japan win in the end.
The Japanese could still inflict heavy casualties on any invader, and they hoped to convince the Soviet Union, still neutral in the Asian theater, to mediate a settlement with the Americans. Stalin, they calculated, might negotiate more favorable terms in exchange for territory in Asia. It was a long shot, but it made strategic sense. 

As opposed to Stalin just taking Japanese-held territory in northeast Asia with the world's strongest army? The Japanese had been beaten bad up in the Manchuria-Mongolia-Russia border region by Gen. Zhukov way back in August 1939, and six years later, there was no evidence that a second Soviet-Japanese war would be less of a drubbing. So, what was in it for Stalin to step in on the side of Japan?

The Japanese high command was living in cloud-cuckoo land. And why, exactly, would you want to get Stalin involved in a war you are losing? In contrast, during the last weeks of the war in Europe, everybody in Germany with half-a-brain (e.g., Werner von Braun) had been climbing in their Mercedes and driving west as fast as they could to surrender to Americans or Brits rather than to the Soviets.
On Aug. 6, the American bomber Enola Gay dropped its payload on Hiroshima, leaving the signature mushroom cloud and devastation on the ground, including something on the order of 100,000 killed. (The figures remain disputed, and depend on how the fatalities are counted.) 
As Hasegawa writes in his book “Racing the Enemy,” the Japanese leadership reacted with concern, but not panic. On Aug. 7, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo sent an urgent coded telegram to his ambassador in Moscow, asking him to press for a response to the Japanese request for mediation, which the Soviets had yet to provide. The bombing added a “sense of urgency,” Hasegawa says, but the plan remained the same. 
Very late the next night, however, something happened that did change the plan. The Soviet Union declared war and launched a broad surprise attack on Japanese forces in Manchuria. In that instant, Japan’s strategy was ruined. Stalin would not be extracting concessions from the Americans. And the approaching Red Army brought new concerns: The military position was more dire, and it was hard to imagine occupying communists allowing Japan’s traditional imperial system to continue. Better to surrender to Washington than to Moscow. 
By the morning of Aug. 9, the Japanese Supreme War Council was meeting to discuss the terms of surrender. (During the meeting, the second atomic bomb killed tens of thousands at Nagasaki.) On Aug. 15, the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. ...

"Meeting to discuss the terms of surrender" is misleading. The Japanese had long been willing to discuss "surrender" on highly favorable terms. They didn't get serious about surrendering until after the Nagasaki bombing.
How is it possible that the Japanese leadership did not react more strongly to many tens of thousands of its citizens being obliterated? 
One answer is that the Japanese leaders were not greatly troubled by civilian causalities. As the Allies loomed, the Japanese people were instructed to sharpen bamboo sticks and prepare to meet the Marines at the beach. 
Yet it was more than callousness. The bomb - horrific as it was - was not as special as Americans have always imagined. In early March, several hundred B-29 Super Fortress bombers dropped incendiary bombs on downtown Tokyo. Some argue that more died in the resulting firestorm than at Hiroshima. People were boiled in the canals. The photos of charred Tokyo and charred Hiroshima are indistinguishable. 
In fact, more than 60 of Japan’s cities had been substantially destroyed by the time of the Hiroshima attack, according to a 2007 International Security article by Wilson, who is a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In the three weeks before Hiroshima, Wilson writes, 25 cities were heavily bombed. 
To us, then, Hiroshima was unique, and the move to atomic weaponry was a great leap, military and moral. But Hasegawa argues the change was incremental. “Once we had accepted strategic bombing as an acceptable weapon of war, the atomic bomb was a very small step,” he says. To Japan’s leaders, Hiroshima was yet another population center leveled, albeit in a novel way. If they didn’t surrender after Tokyo, they weren’t going to after Hiroshima.

Cook is missing the point that it was not the Hiroshima bomb but the Nagasaki bomb that demonstrated that the U.S. could now vaporize cities at will. This isn't a post-hoc rationalization. The American strategists had assumed that the Japanese militarists would reassure themselves that, well, sure, the Americans had one atomic bomb, but who can afford more than one? Indeed, a Japanese official made just that argument the day after Hiroshima. Thus, the U.S. planned to use two in one week to get the message across that the U.S. could afford as many as it felt like.

I don't think the story of P-51 pilot and POW Lt. Marcus McDilda is essential to understanding the Japanese surrender, but it is interesting and I hadn't heard it before:

From "War in the Pacific" by Marine Brig. Gen. Jerome Hagen:
On the evening of August 8, 1945, in Osaka, Japan, several kempei tai (Japanese secret police) were questioning an American flyer who had been shot down earlier in the day. ... The questioning intensified as did the beatings. What did he know of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima two days earlier? Absolutely nothing, McDilda responded. 
Believing that they were on to something, the kempei tai brought in a general officer just before midnight to break McDilda. The general demanded that McDilda tell him about the atomic bomb. When McDilda said nothing, the general drew his sword and held it before McDilda's face. Then he jabbed forward, cutting through McDilda's lip. Blood streamed down the pilot's chin and flight suit. The general screamed, "If you don't tell me about the bomb, I'll personally cut off your head." ...  According to author William Craig, McDilda embarked upon a lie worthy of the best storyteller: 
"As you know ..., when atoms are split, there are a lot of pluses and minuses released. Well, we've taken these and put them in a huge container and separated them from each other with a lead shield. When the box is dropped out of a plane, we melt the lead shield and the pluses and minuses come together. When that happens, it causes a tremendous bolt of lightning and all the atmosphere over a city is pushed back! Then when the atmosphere rolls back, it brings about a tremendous thunderclap, which knocks down everything beneath it." 
When pushed to further describe the bomb, McDilda added that it was about 36 feet long and 24 feet wide. The interrogators were delighted but needed to know one thing more. Where was the next target for the new weapon? McDilda chose the two Japanese cities he could think of and responded, "Kyoto and Tokyo. Tokyo is supposed to be bombed in the next few days." [In fact, the third atomic bomb was scheduled for August 19, and, yes, Tokyo may well have been the target.] ... One of the interrogators left the room and put through a call to the headquarters of the secret police in Tokyo. 
The next morning, McDilda was flown from Osaka to Tokyo where he became a "very important person" to the Japanese secret police. McDilda's questioner in Tokyo was a civilian who wore a pinstripe suit. "I am a graduate of CCNY College," he told McDilda, "and most interested in your story about the atomic bomb." McDilda repeated his story again. After several minutes, the official knew that McDilda was a fake who knew nothing about nuclear fission. When asked why he was telling such a lie, McDilda responded that he had tried, without success, to tell his interrogators that he knew nothing about the bomb but had to invent the lie to stay alive. The Japanese official laughed. McDilda was taken to a cell, given some food, and waited for the unknown. 
McDilda, at the time, had no idea that his lie had saved his life. Shortly after the emperor had broadcast the news of defeat, more than 50 American prisoners at the Osaka secret police headquarters were beheaded by vengeful Japanese soldiers.

The other point that I hadn't realized until now was that the Soviet agreement to fight the Japanese after defeating the Germans -- first made in 1943 and reiterated at Yalta in early 1945, with a specific timeframe of three months after German surrender, which Stalin kept to to the day -- was kept secret. The Soviet declaration of war came as a huge surprise to the Japanese regime. 

In the summer of 1945, the Red Army was the reigning world heavyweight champion of armies. But nobody told the Japanese that they were in the Soviet crosshairs. It would seem like the logic of Hasegawa's argument would be that the big missed opportunity to save lives in 1945 would have been to demoralize the Japanese by publishing the Yalta agreement on Soviet entry into the war against Japan in, say, May 1945. But, that hasn't been a topic of much discussion, as far as I can tell.

Why keep it secret?

I don't know. I can make a few guesses, but I'm just guessing.

In fact, the Soviets had signed a five year non-aggression pact with the Japanese in 1941. In early 1945, they had given the official one year notice that it would not be renewed in 1946. Molotov had reassured the Japanese envoy that the nonaggression pact would be in effect until April 1946. 

Presumably, the Soviets kept the Yalta agreement a secret because they wanted to preserve their freedom to maneuver. (The Soviet attack about 36 hours after Hiroshima wasn't an opportunist post-Hiroshima improvisation. They'd been moving supplies and men for months.)

Also, the Soviets wanted to stage a sneak attack. Indeed, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria might be the all time most effective sneak attack. (Here's the War Nerd's appraisal of the terrific performance by the Red Army.) The Soviets violated their treaty with Japan, but nobody cares. The Japanese were losers.

What was America's incentive to keep the Soviet promise a secret, besides the Soviets wanted it that way? I don't know. Perhaps the idea was to end the war with the A-bombs before the Soviets got in on the action?

Finally, Truman had apparently amended FDR's demand of "unconditional surrender" by Japan at the Potsdam Conference on July 26, 1945 to "unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces," which left the door open to the Emperor staying on as a figurehead. But, it's not clear that anybody in power in Japan other than a few diplomats picked up on this hint.

In summary, I suspect the atom bombs came as kind of a fortuitous surprise to the Japanese. Honor demanded that they fight the Americans on the beaches and on the landing grounds, but now the Americans had a new superweapon, so it wasn't as shameful to surrender.

Plus, they got to surrender intact as a country to the U.S. rather than wait and get divided up between the U.S. and the Soviets like Korea and Germany. Considering how close the division of Korea, a minor player relative to Japan, came to causing WWIII in 1951 and how the division of Germany was the cause of the scariest standoff in world history, well, we should all be happy the end came soon.

194 comments:

Anonymous said...

The media is playing this up to give more credit to the communists for "winning" WW2 (a pyrrhic victory if there ever was one). The Europeans have already rewritten history to make the USSR responsible for beating Germany. Of course the USSR would not have survived without Lend Lease and the Western Front, and was the worst of all the parties involved in the war in terms of total body count, and in "victory" imposed a communist regime over Eastern Europe.

But still Euros will tell you "oh we need to give more props to the Soviets". Yet another manifestation of our induced collective historical amnesia over communism.

Now steps this Japanese useful idiot unto the breach to argue that the Soviet sneak attack on Japan was anything more than the straw that broke the camel's back. What will not be mentioned of course is how fortunate Japan was that only the Kuriles were occupied, rather than the North half of the island, in which case we would have had Communist North Japan vs. Capitalist South Japan.

dearieme said...

Sometimes we don't know our own motives for our own actions, so trying to work out the motives of someone else - and especially groups of bonkers someone elses - is an inexact science. Still, hats off to Hasegawa for marshalling his evidence.

foreign expert said...

I think you're right. After 3 million had died the Emperor couldn't surrender simply because they were in a hopeless situation. That wouldn't be Japanese.
The Emperor surrendered for the benefit of mankind. The bombs gave him a "higher" reason to surrender

Peter A said...

Contrary to the ignorant screed the first poster left, Hasegawa's thesis is hardly leftist. It actually demolishes some cherished liberal ideas about American "evil". If you accept Hasegawa's story, the atomic bomb was not a singularly evil act perpetrated by cowardly Americans unwilling to risk their own soldiers (the preferred Japanese and American liberal narrative). No, Hasegawa is pointing out, correctly I think, that in the context of the war in 1945 the atomic bomb was not seen as morally worse than all the other weapons the US had at its disposal. And by using it, the US actually did the Japanese a huge favor, since it accelerated a surrender before the USSR could take Hokkaido and probably Northern Honshu as well. Hasegawa's version of history is not one peace activists are likely to embrace.

bbartlog said...

@Anonymous #1: you seem really confused in trying to put forth reasons why the USSR doesn't deserve credit for beating Germany. The victory is pyrrhic, so what. They couldn't have done it without our help, OK - and we couldn't have done it without theirs, so what's your point? That they lost more men than anyone else seems like it should count rather in their favor, if we measure in terms of sacrifice; and they also killed more German soldiers than anyone else, if we want to use that (more important, I guess) metric. That they were communists, and fucked over hundreds of millions during and after the war, is irrelevant to the historical question of how much credit they deserve for defeating Nazi Germany.

Anonymous said...

"Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay [chief of staff of the strategic air forces in the Pacific]. He said, "You got another one of those damn things?" I said, "Yessir." He said, "Where is it?" I said, "Over in Utah." He said, "Get it out here. You and your crew are going to fly it." I said, "Yessir." I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an airplane and we headed back to bring it right on out to Trinian and when they got it to California debarkation point, the war was over."

From a Paul Tibbets Interview back in 2007, it was high noon for Japan, the third one was on it's way.

Jody said...

if we measure in terms of sacrifice; and they also killed more German soldiers than anyone else, if we want to use that (more important, I guess) metric.

No guessing about it. In the immortal words of George C. Scott playing Patton:
I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.

Ed said...

Great piece.

"To us, then, Hiroshima was unique, and the move to atomic weaponry was a great leap, military and moral. But Hasegawa argues the change was incremental. “Once we had accepted strategic bombing as an acceptable weapon of war, the atomic bomb was a very small step,” he says. To Japan’s leaders, Hiroshima was yet another population center leveled, albeit in a novel way. If they didn’t surrender after Tokyo, they weren’t going to after Hiroshima."

This is the type of reasoning that persuaded me that Truman was at least not wrong to drop the bombs. The big ethical leap was bombing to destroy cities and kill tons of people. Once both sides started doing that, it got to the point where using the atomic bomb was just a change in the means. And even then, the early uses of strategic bombing were not like the later ones, they were much less effective and therefore much horrific. Churchill started the British strategic bombing program -at the time there was not much else the British could do to damage the Germans- but later came to have doubts.

In fact, its probably a good thing that nuclear weapons were used when they were, when they were fairly small, then much later when they were more powerful and there were more of them.

World War II in the Pacific has been cited, at least until Serbia folded to the US, as the one war actually won by strategic bombing.

Anonymous said...

Peter A: However Hasegawa intended it, it's only getting play in the US with an anti-American spin: "see, the US didn't even win the Pacific Theater".

bbart: Few things.

First, the fact that the Communists raped their way across Eastern Europe/Germany (two million rapes, Google it), the fact that they imposed totalitarian regimes afterwards, and the tiny fact that they *started* the war allied with Germany (Invasion of Poland ring a bell?) should indeed take a ton of "credit" away from them.

The only good thing the Nazis did was kill millions of Communists.

As for the supposition that the US could not have won without the USSR...not at all obvious. The USSR was more than 80X less efficient than the USA (25 million dead vs. 300k dead) due in large part to the inefficiency of the Communist system, and that was with all the technology/materiel help in the world.

Anonymous said...

Of course the USSR would not have survived without Lend Lease and the Western Front,

A lot of Americans believe that the Soviets relied on American equipment to fight, and without such equipment, they would have never been able to field an army. The truth is the Soviets were able to produce an incredible amount of war material given the Germans overran their western factories. The Soviets had to relocate much of their factories east of the Urals to continue producing. Look at the production figures for tanks, self propelled guns and artillery from WW2. They actually produced more of these items than the USA. The USA produced a boatload of trucks, which the Soviets found useful. But our tanks were both inferior in number and quality to thiers.

The USA really cranked out a lot of planes. But so did the Soviets especially if you focus on fighters and attack planes. They managed to produce half as many planes as the Americans which still surpassed everyone else.

As for the Western Front, I guess you could count the bombing campaign on Germany as a second front. However, the Soviets won their major battles at Stalingrad, Kursk, etc. well before the Allies landed in Europe to create a second front. In fact the Soviets thought we were too soft and afraid of the Germans and waited too long to establish this front. Plus the scale of battle on the Western Front was significantly smaller than those in the East.

A further embarrasment to Americans is this recent historical view that the Soviets caused Japan to surrender. I have no doubt that the USA did the heavy lifting in defeating Japan. However, it is disheartening to see the figures for Operation August Storm. They basically took out a million Japanese soldiers from the war, killed, captured and cutoff, in a little over a week. Contrast that number to the number of Japanese we took out in our famous battles. At Iwo Jima, we took out 20K Japanese, Tarawa we took out 5K, Okinawa 100K and the Philippines 300K.

Anonymous said...

bbart: In addition, the much deeper question is really about alternative history.

With Roosevelt as President, we baited Japan into war and allied with the monstrous USSR against the monstrous Nazis. The post war was an interpolation between extreme left and moderate left that ultimately culminated in where we are today, with violentflashmobs.com, Chief Diversity Officers, and an confused/impoverished West swamped by aliens.

Had Roosevelt not been President, perhaps instead the USA would have allied with the monstrous Nazis against the monstrous USSR. Then the post war would have been an interpolation between extreme right and moderate right.

Who knows what that world would look like. It would have more dead of some nationalities and less of others. It would probably also be considerably more materially prosperous: right wing regimes the world over, from Pinochet to South Korea to the Shah have done far better at enriching their people than the closest leftist comparables (Castro, North Korea, Mossadegh).

One thing is for sure, though: it would be far more racist and far less communist than the present day. Depending on how much weight you assign to various priors, that could be an acceptable tradeoff.

National Review Calling said...

"The Japanese were nuts in WWII. The rulers had largely risen up through a system in which the non-nuts were assassinated, so their grip on reality was shaky."

It is fine WWII analysis like this that proves Sailer really is at the forefront of American conservatism.

SF said...

Good writeup. I doubt that the Soviets had the air and naval power to mount an amphibious invasion of Japan, although they definitely kicked ass on the Asian continent. Their occupation of the Kuriles took place after the surrender.

Georgia Resident said...

Say what you will about the Soviets, but they did make Russia a much more formidable power than it has ever been in at any other time in history. In a relatively short period of time they won victories over two powers (Germany and Japan) that had bested Russia under the czars.

read it said...

"The Japanese were nuts in WWII. The rulers had largely risen up through a system in which the non-nuts were assassinated"


How many times have we seen this played out in history?


Wouldn't you just love to give the MMPI to every high ranking politician and see where they come out on the psychoticism scale?

Anonymous said...

The war started out broadly as the Soviets, UK and US against Germany and gradually became the US vs. Soviets as nominal allies gobbling up land vacated by the crumbling German and Japanese empires. The frontiers created became the hotpoints of the cold war (Korea, Berlin, China).

The old saw 'if it wasn't for us you (Europeans) would be speaking Germany is wrong. In fact they'd be "speaking Russian."' (by the way, the US conquest of the Pacific was arguably more decisive and politically significant than its conquest of western Europe. It was the Red Army that broke the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad, Kursk and in Operation Bagration.)

The Red Army didn't have the amphibious capability the US had so an invasion of Japan was unlikely. However the greater concern was the Red Army swallowing up land in mainland East Asia like Korea and Manchuria. The bomb gave the US the means to effectuate a surrender quickly and painlessly and also bring Stalin's streamroller to a halt.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe the rah-rah chauvinists who run down the Red Army's accomplishment in the war. It took a Stalin to beat Hitler. The US Army would have mutinied before making a Stalingrad-like stand anywhere in Europe (which in terms of what it accomplished was equivalent to our Midway).

Anonymous said...

I'd hardly call the Eastern Front a Pyrrhic victory, when losing would have resulted in the mass murder and enslavement of the vast majority of Eastern Europeans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost

rob said...

In summary: Nonwhite makes self-serving arguments to make his brand of nonwhites look better. Also, to make whites seem worse.

Glad I could clear that up.

Harmonious Jones said...

Multiculturalism among historians means downplaying the achievements of the West -- this seems like yet another case of it.

FredR said...

My impression is that Hasegawa isn't that trustworthy a historian: http://www.bu.edu/historic/hs/kort.html

Everything you say sounds about right to me. With the atomic bomb, the Japanese could use the excuse that they didn't lose from lack of fighting spirit/will, but because the Americans brought in this technological deus ex machina.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

I didn't know about the slaughter -literally - of the 50 American POWs. What happened to the perpetrators?

Anonymous said...

I denounce Hirohito for renouncing his divinity

gwern said...

> The Japanese could still inflict heavy casualties on any invader, and they hoped to convince the Soviet Union, still neutral in the Asian theater, to mediate a settlement with the Americans. Stalin, they calculated, might negotiate more favorable terms in exchange for territory in Asia. It was a long shot, but it made strategic sense.

Yes, it did make sense. The US was demanding an unconditional surrender - any longshot for better terms made more sense than that.

(I just finished reading Luttwak's book on Byzantine strategy; a core premise was, always leave the enemy an escape. The Pacific War kind of demonstrates the wisdom of this.)

But this is a curious topic, with facts scarce on the ground. When I was reading on the topic, I was surprised to learn that the atomic bomb was not even mentioned in the surrender deliberations.

As well, Japan had apparently already made back-door overtures about a surrender with the condition that the monarchy be preserved and the Emperor not touched.

The US refused ('unconditional', remember) and after the war they prosecuted the Emperor inasmuch as he was a war criminal trained with the Navy and intimately involved in all the planning and the ascent to power of the imperialist war faction... wait, no, that was an alternate universe. What actually happened was the Emperor was left completely untouched. As per the original proposal.

Like the American Revolution, the topic is as much ideology as facts these days, it seems.

Anonymous said...

What also musn't be forgotten is that the Soviet leadership still had strong memories of the defeat in 1905 in the Russo-Japanese war.It also musn't be forgotten how much Soviet strategy owed to old-time Russian imperialism, despite communist claims that they were above that sort of thing.
The end-game for Jpan in 1945 gave the Soviets a delicious opportunity not only to get their belated revenge on Japan, but also to seize Sakhalin and the Kurile islands, destroy Japanese influence forever in NE Asia and to see their humiliator well and truly humiliated and occupied and bossed about by white aliens.
The base and the revenge must never be underestimated when studying history.

josh said...

I thought we just wanted the Soviets to enter so we could fuck Chiang Kai-shek.

Anonymous said...

My father was the luckiest person to ever live. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1944 and was training to be a tail gunner on a B-29. I was digging through a box of stuff I got from my brother about 4 years ago. Inside were all his military patches and letters to home. One of the documents that was in there was the order making him active duty. It was dated August 15, 1945.


Prof. Woland

Anonymous said...

I don't know how accurate this info is, but I've read that the Japanese had promised the Germans that they would invade the Russian Far East if the Germans were able to cross the Volga. The Germans came very close to crossing the Volga at Stalingrad. They literally got to the river bank, but no crossing was ever made. And so the second, Far Eastern front, was never opened.

The Japanese did send an expeditionary force to the Russian Far East during the 1918-1920 Russian Civil War.

Anonymous said...

The bombing of cities (almost entirely by the Allies) was a war crime, and one with zero military value. It's unlikely if all the bombing of cities in Germany and Japan, with millions dead in consequence, shortened the war by as much as a day.

neil craig said...

That the US publicly at least gave the impressionn they were demanding unconditional surrender and only after they had dropped the bomb told the Japanese that they could keep their emperor suggests an alternative.

Truman actively did not want the Japanese to surrender until he had dropped the Bopmb on them. By doing so he proved to the Russians that he had it (Truman didn't know that they already knew) and equally importantly that they would use it. It was a warning to the Russians that they could be next.

Also for internal political consumption it told the American people 2 things - (1) that the bilions, a large sum then, spent on the Manhatten Project hadn't been wasted, since otherwise some Congresscriters would undoubtedly have said that and (2) telling the American people YHEY would be willing to use it again against the Russians. Dropping the Bomb has caused disquiet, at its gentlest ever since but is it likely that dropping it could have become the mainstay of US policy, with public approval, without them having already dropped it once? There is a great moral difference between not using the Bomb ever and not using it again.

As you will see I think the cold war was unnecessary - that the USSR, devastated in what was indeed a phyrric victory, never had any slightest wish to go adventuring but equally found itself forced to do absolutely anything to be able to deter such weapons. Without the particular use Truman made of it that would not have been the case.

Anonymous said...

Hasegawa is pointing out, correctly I think, that in the context of the war in 1945 the atomic bomb was not seen as morally worse than all the other weapons the US had at its disposal.

That's true.

And by using it, the US actually did the Japanese a huge favor, since it accelerated a surrender before the USSR could take Hokkaido and probably Northern Honshu as well.

That's false. There's no evidence that the atom bomb shortened the war. And Hasegawa argues that it was the Soviet Union entering the war and not the bomb which prompted the Japanese surrender.

R/A said...

The media is playing this up to give more credit to the communists for "winning" WW2 (a pyrrhic victory if there ever was one).

Yes, everything is a conspiracy. The media loves communism.

Of course the USSR would not have survived without Lend Lease and the Western Front, and was the worst of all the parties involved in the war in terms of total body count, and in "victory" imposed a communist regime over Eastern Europe.

Nonsense, most Americans don't know that the Soviet Union did most of the fighting and dying in that war.

The reasons that the Soviets get a pass even though they had the highest body count isn't because of a pro-Communist bias. It's because of another bias that the flag waivers don't like to mention.

Thripshaw said...

Respected Georgetown historian (and Bill Clinton's mentor) Carroll Quigley wrote in his mammoth Tragedy and Hope that the Japanese were on the brink of surrender even without the A-bombs because the incredibly effective naval blockade had brought the country to its knees. MacArthur advised Truman that the bomb wasn't necessary.

Still, it is hard to figure out why anybody does anything. So who knows?

airtommy said...

How about America closes its Pacific military bases in 1940 and lets Japan dominate Asia as America was then dominating Latin America? That would have saved even more American lives.

Glaivester said...

That the USSR deserves credit for beating Germany never bothered me as a patriotic American. Indeed, to me it shows that we should be kinder to Lindbergh and the "America First" crowd for keeping us out of the war long enough for the two bad guys to get mired in war with each other, so that we managed to allow millions of soldiers from both our enemies killed before we took any side.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that racism was one major reason why the A-bomb was dropped on Japan, that it would've impossible for the bomb to have been dropped on a white country like Germany, had Germany been in Japan's position.

This explanation seems fairly plausible. Having read the book War Without Mercy by John Dower, I'm convinced that during the mid 1940s, the vast majority of whites were racists who considered the Japanese to be inferior and less than human.

kurt9 said...

A lot of the reason why we used the atom bombs on Japan was to force them into an early surrender in order to prevent the partitioning of Japan into South Japan and North Japan. The geo-politics of containing Soviet communism was already on Truman's mind prior to the end of WWII.

Do remember that Truman, as VP under FDR, purged the Democratic party of communists that had gotten in there during FDR's first term. FDR's first VP, Henry Wallace, was a true communist.

Anonymous said...

No mention of the criminal act of dropping atomic bombs on live civilians in civil cities then? 100,000 lives vaporized instantly.

Instantly.

Truman has blood on his hands. All we get in school is triumphalist apologist history. Americans are apparently always right and always good.

elvisd said...

If you like your history to be metaphysically clean, it's best to stick to the kind of narrative they use to to accompany statues and commemorative stamps.

Anonymous said...

Here's a good interview of a Japanese WW2 commando who continued fighting WW2 in the jungles of the Philipines for 30 years after the war until 1974. He thought the war was still going on:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070116jk.html

Jack Aubrey said...

"The media is playing this up to give more credit to the communists for "winning" WW2"

In fairness, it seems credit to the Soviets was delayed until well after the expiration of the Communist threat. Today by giving partial credit to the "Soviet Union," we are in fact giving credit to the men and women of the consituent nations who fought, suffered and died, not the ideology they were oppressed by. Pre-1991 one heard little of the Soviet role in the war. A movie like "Enemy At The Gates" was only possible after 1991, and even that movie does a superb job separating the soldier from the regime.

RS said...

> Of course the USSR would not have survived without Lend Lease and the Western Front,

It seems to me that's debated.

> and was the worst of all the parties involved in the war in terms of total body count,

That's how they did it ; that's what they're good at. Grim sacrifice is a strength of Russians. If they could have done it with 1/4 the casualties, they would have. In the event they accepted ugly casualty ratios and scorched the earth to get rid of German divisions.

> and in "victory" imposed a communist regime over Eastern Europe.

Irrelevant to whether they 'won'. Not to mention that American hegemony has greatly endangered the future existence of the East German people, which USSR didn't. Fertility has also been falling across E. Europe in the last 20 years, placing it in some danger of having a Germany-like immigration policy in the future, though I certainly hope not.

Whiskey said...

Japan had beaten Russia like a drum in 1905, and that memory was still strong. So, yes even though the Japanese had a defeat in 1939 against Zhukov, they tended to ignore it against the memory of a massive, massive victory.

It was probably all three (Soviet Invasion, the bombs, firebombing raids) that led to surrender. After all, the guys running Japan figured they were toast if they surrendered, and their whole strategy was to bleed America dry so that the US would let Japan keep some if not most of its conquests. This basic strategy has been used successfully by the North Koreans, North Vietnamese, Iran, Pakistan (in Afghanistan), and in Iraq.

The US is a democracy. Voters don't like sons and husbands and brothers dying. The voters like quick victories best, with few casualties. This is the one big weakness of democracies, and why totalitarian systems often resort to attrition warfare -- because it mostly works.

Whiskey said...

The Russians lost more men than anyone else because Stalin was stupid. For ten days he panicked and gave no orders other than to stand and fight. Later, he ordered the same stand and fight tactics which led to 1 million men or more being surrounded and annihilated. It was only when in final desperation in late 1941, and again in late 1942 during the late Summer and Early Autumn offensives by the Nazis that he allowed fighting retreats that exposed shaky German supply lines. Which was Napoleon's weakness also. Had Stalin fought that way from the beginning, the Russians would have lost easily about 5-7 million fewer men. As it was, the German offensives and counter-offensives ended up bleeding Russia dry, and leaving what amounted to a spent force after 1945, with demographic implosion.

Anonymous said...

As the moral, political, and spiritual heir to the USSR, of course, the EU claims EUrope was liberated by the USSR. This is preparatory to claiming publicly the predecessor to the EU defeated Nazism, and admitting the the EU is the USSR reborn.

Wes said...

This also highlights another issue: How much more cruel and inhumane the Japanese were to American soldiers than the Germans were. It was the Japanese that Americans truly hated, not Germans. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and then carried out endless forms of torture and barbarism against US soldiers during the conflict.

But of course, over the last few decades, Hollywood has made it seem that the average American was really mad about the Germans, not the Japanese. Now, gosh, I wonder why they would push such an inaccurate view of events. I'm just dumbfounded.

beowulf said...

"The Europeans have already rewritten history to make the USSR responsible for beating Germany."
That happens to be true.

The most interesting point is that the A-bombs were a simply a more efficient way of the mass killing we were already doing with B-29 incendiary raids. If you haven't seen the Robert McNamara documentary, Fog of War, you've left yourself down (he's talking about LeMay at the beginning of this clip).
http://youtu.be/2Pg4EtrC9wk

Greg said...

How is it possible that the Japanese leadership did not react more strongly to many tens of thousands of its citizens being obliterated?

One answer is that the Japanese leaders were not greatly troubled by civilian causalities


And clearly American leaders were even less troubled by civilian casualties.

Anonymous said...

They couldn't have done it without our help, OK - and we couldn't have done it without theirs, so what's your point?

Right-wingers need to start talking and writing like right-wingers. I recommend that nobody phrase the statement "Your point is irrelevant / weak / unclear" into the faux-question "What's your point?" The latter is unclear, and adolescent in tone.

First anonymous is simply pointing out that the (communist-laden) history departments of the former West feel the need to bend every historical ambiguity until it favors the left.

That they were communists, and fucked over hundreds of millions during and after the war, is irrelevant to the historical question of how much credit they deserve for defeating Nazi Germany.

My guess is that first anonymous is using "credit" in its most positive sense, not simply in a cause-and-effect sense. The Soviets switched sides and hardly ever get excoriated for it, even by right-wingers. Note that when France and Italy "switched sides", that was accompanied by a regime change.
Daladier/Reynaud -> Petain. Pro-Allied -> passive German puppet. Shame.
Mussolini -> Badoglio. Pro-German -> occupied/neutral. Shame.
Stalin -> Stalin. Actively pro-German -> "savior of the Allies". Lacuna.

We're still living in a giant Mission to Moscow. What really scares me is that the Russian (and Mexican) experience suggests that after a country has had its leftist paroxysm for a few decades, it becomes a mafiacracy.

Nanonymous said...

Atomic bombs were totally not necessary for a win. They were necessary 1) to ward off decisive Soviet participation in the victory over Japan (and thus, potentially, its partitioning) and 2) as a warning to Stalin, to show Uncle Joe who is the boss around the world now. At a time, nobody in the USA believed that USSR would be able to acquire A-bomb in less than four years, effectively nullifying American global advantage. August 7th, 1945 should be considered an official date of the start of the Cold War.

re: The role of lend-lease. Of course its role was very significant but it wasn't decisive. Without the lend-lease, the war on the Eastern front would have certainly lasted couple years longer and cost many more millions of dead Russians. But the eventual outcome of the war was pretty much determined at Stalingrad - by which time lend-lease supplies were only a small fraction of the eventual total. In fact, the broad consensus among historians is that Germany's only chance against USSR was success of Blitzkrieg. Once Germans got bogged down in the Battle of Moscow, the German defeat was only a matter of time. (Assuming, naturally, no Japanese attacks against USSR in that alternative history).

Anonymous said...

The simple reason for this is that the left is still in love with the mass-murdering Soviet Union, and they hate America.

So, you know, all THIS.

Anonymous said...

"And clearly American leaders were even less troubled by civilian casualties."

How many American civilians were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, again?

HueyC said...

Steve writes: The Japanese had long been willing to discuss "surrender" on highly favorable terms.

Oh come on, Steve. The Japanese terms were perfectly reasonable and would have neutralized enough of a threat to the United States (assuming there really was much of one). Extracting even more favorable terms from the Japanese did not justify killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians with nuclear bombs.

And Americans dare to whine about 9/11 after the mass murder they committed in Japan. Unbelievable.

Greg said...

"And clearly American leaders were even less troubled by civilian casualties."

To which, 'Anonymous' asks: "How many American civilians were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, again?


There were hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many if not most of them were murdered by American nuclear bombs.

Anonymous said...

"The Japanese high command was living in cloud-cuckoo land. And why, exactly, would you want to get Stalin involved in a war you are losing?"

The high command wasn't as cuckoo as Sailer thinks. In a way, what it was trying to do made perfect sense. Japan understood that US and USSR were uneasy allies. Japan was hoping to play on USSR's fears that if Japan lost to US, US would gain a crucial military foothold in Asia AGAINST the Soviet Union in the post-WWII world. The high command knew it had no chance of turning USSR against the US, but it hoped that USSR could be persuaded to pressure US to go easier on Japan and broker a cease-fire. That way, US would have been kept out of the Asian sphere. And if Stalin had taken up such a deal, it might have been better for the USSR. There would have been no massive US military presence in Japan and South Korea after WWII.

US tried to much the same during the Vietnam War. Unable to win, NIxon and Kissinger pulled China to its side. Nixon/Kissinger also pleaded with Mao and Zhou to persuade North Vietnam to stop the fighting, and indeed Mao did tell North Vietnamese that maybe the fighting should stop, which angered the North Vietnamese and made them feel betrayed. It also planted the seeds for China-Vietnam enmity in the yrs to come.

Of course, Japan's idea was a longshot, but it was better than nothing. And Stalin might have played along except for the fact that US and UK didn't stab him in the back in Europe. US and UK could have brokered a separate peace with Germany, but they didn't and stuck to the plan forged with the USSR. Had a separate bargain with Japan.

Anonymous said...

"As opposed to Stalin just taking Japanese-held territory in northeast Asia with the world's strongest army? The Japanese had been beaten bad up in the Manchuria-Mongolia-Russia border region by Gen. Zhukov way back in August 1939, and six years later, there was no evidence that a second Soviet-Japanese war would be less of a drubbing. So, what was in it for Stalin to step in on the side of Japan?"

It's true that the Soviets won a decisive victory against Japan, and Soviets knew it could win again. However, it's wrong to assume that Soviets though it would be easy. After all, the 39 clash was a border conflict. In 45, the invasion of North Asia would have been more daunting, especially since there were over 1 million Japanese troops in China. After having lost tremendous numbers of men in the European war, Stalin wasn't too crazy about losing millions more. He knew he could defeat the Japanese, but he didn't know what the toll would be. But after the bombing of Hiroshima, he knew it was only a matter of time, and the USSR pushed into Asia. And even the Russians were surprised how demoralized and weake the Japanese had become.

Anonymous said...

"(The Soviet attack about 36 hours after Hiroshima wasn't an opportunist post-Hiroshima improvisation. They'd been moving supplies and men for months.)"

But getting ready for a conflict is not the same thing as engaging in conflict. During the 1960s, Soviets moved massive military forces along the Chinese-Soviet border. But it didn't necessarily mean Soviets would attack, and indeed both sides avoided a major war.
So, Soviets got ready in 45 for a possible attack and then waited for the right moment or signal. Hiroshima was it. Soviets readied themselves for an opportunistic move--and we can't blame them. Diplomacy and war are essentially preparation for the opportunism when the timing is right.

airtommy said...

the vast majority of whites were racists who considered the Japanese to be inferior and less than human.

Doubtful. Those people were a minority. The majority of Americans were racists who simply considered Japanese to be different than us. In other words, the majority of Americans were smart.

dearieme said...

"The war started out broadly as the Soviets, UK and US against Germany." Is this a competition to see how many errors can be packed into a short sentence?

Anonymous said...

"What was America's incentive to keep the Soviet promise a secret, besides the Soviets wanted it that way? I don't know. Perhaps the idea was to end the war with the A-bombs before the Soviets got in on the action?"

There might have been two main reasons.

1. Chinese factor. America's ally Chiang Kai-Shek might not have been too happy about American plans to bring the USSR into China, thereby giving a huge boost to Chinese communists... which is indeed what happened. I'm not sure if Chiang knew about what Roosevelt and Stalin had planned at Yalta.

2. America's anti-communist crowd would have been outraged by the notion of handing China over to Russians if USSR were to enter the war in Asia. Also, American public had come to believe that since Japan attacked US, US would have the full satisfaction of defeating the 'Japs'.

Another reason may have been Stalin asked the Americans to keep mum because if he were to fight Japan, he wanted the element of surprise on his side. US might have deferred to Stalin's wishes.
Also, after a devastating war with Germany, maybe Stalin didn't wanna tell his people, "we're gonna fight another one against Japan."

Nanonymous said...

@Jody ignorantly quoting Patton:
I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.

FYI: 70% of German losses were on Eastern front.

Anonymous said...

"Plus, they got to surrender intact as a country to the U.S. rather than wait and get divided up between the U.S. and the Soviets like Korea and Germany. Considering how close the division of Korea, a minor player relative to Japan, came to causing WWIII in 1951 and how the division of Germany was the cause of the scariest standoff in world history, well, we should all be happy the end came soon."

I'm not sure this makes sense. If US had told Russians NOT to enter the Asian war, and if US had taken more time--working especially with China(than with Russia)to defeat Japan--, there might have been no communization of China and Northern half of Korea. Thus, Asia would have been spared of Cold War tensions. Also, with a non-communist China, I don't see how North Vietnamese--mainly supplied by Red China--could have carried on the Vietnam War. It was precisely because US was so eager to end the war with Japan quickly that it brought USSR into the Asian war, setting off Chinese civil war, Korean war, and then Vietnam War. Chinese communist victory was also a huge inspiration for Kim's invasion of South Korea, Castro's war in Cuba, and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
US thought it would reduce casualties by ending the war quickly with Soviet help. Instead, US unwittingly aided communist takeover of China which led to deaths of maybe 40-60 million Chinese and a couple of wars where Americans lost close to 100,000 lives(in Korea and Vietnam).

As for Europe, Americans and Brits should have done more and faster.
Why? In Asia, US had one enemy--Japan. So, US could take its time to defeat Japan. There was no RACE to defeat Japan. If Roosevelt had insisted to Stalin not to intervene in Asia, Stalin would have complied.
In Europe, however, US had two enemies--Germany and USSR. Germany was the enemy in WWII and USSR was, at best, a temporary ally but natural enemy of the democratic/capitalist West. So, in a way, though US and USSR were nominal allies, they were competing with another for the supremacy over Europe following Germany's defeat. It's like the famous battle scene in Kurosawa's RAN where the armies of two older brothers cooperate to attack the Third Castle. Though ostensibly working together, the two sides are actually vying for supremacy over the other. US/UK had a real competitor in Europe in the form of USSR. Once the German momentum was reversed, US and UK should have done more to ensure a non-communist Europe.

But, Normandy had to wait until 1944. If taking Germany would have been difficult and required Russian cooperation, at the very least US and UK could have done more to liberate other Central European nations so that they would not fall under communism. But none of that was done, and so USSR swallowed up all of Central/Eastern Europe.

One question lingers. Suppose Japan had surrendered before Germany, and suppose bombs were available to drop on Germans. Would Truman have done it? Should he have done it?

Anonymous said...

Japanese may be crazy, but the last I checked, Japan is still owned, ruled, and run by Japan.
Now, look at the media, financial, academic, and political institutions of the US. And look where the West's demographics are headed. So, who are more cuckoo? Japanese or white gentile Americans?

It seems like the Jewish Genius that invented the bomb didn't just beat the Japanese but the wasps as well.

Anonymous said...

How fatalistic were the Japanese? If they were willing to die to the last man with the emperor in Japanese Gotterdammerung, what difference would it have made whether the invaders/conquerors were Americans or Russians?

Now, suppose there were no nukes, and Russians entered Northeast Asia. Would Japan have surrendered out of fear of Soviets?

Anonymous said...

iSteve readers clearly represent an educated and thinking bunch: the percent of posters who understand that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed primarily as part of global geopolitical fight with Soviets is very significantly higher than that in any of the Internet discussions I've seen before. And I've been part to a lot of these discussions over the past twenty years or so...

To put it in a more conventional Internet way: only complete morons buy into the official propaganda that atomic bombs were used first and foremost to save American lives in the war against Japan.

Anonymous said...

"I think you're right. After 3 million had died the Emperor couldn't surrender simply because they were in a hopeless situation. That wouldn't be Japanese."

It's true that the nobility of the doomed hero has long been a staple of Japanese culture, but it's also there in the story of the 300 Spartans and the Alamo. And in space alien invasion movies, even when all seems lost, we root for humans who keep on fighting. And though white people saw Indians as 'red savages', they still admired the warrior Indians who fought to the last than uncle tom Indians who sucked up to the white man.
And sometimes, the 'hopeless' side wins. The world was stunned when North Vietnam won the war. Algerians lost a million lives but they overthrew the French.

Figgy said...

I always figured 2 atom bombs and an implacable invasion fleet off your coast was enough. Little did I know...

Wes said...

By the way, is a there some reason why the Japanese themselves can't answer these questions? Doesn't their own leadership have a clue what their decision-making process was?

Anonymous said...

Why was it so difficult for Japan to let go and surrender?

1. Gambler's mentality. Why don't some gamblers cut their losses and just walk away with what they have? Because gambling pulls them into a kind of hypnotic mindset where it's win-all or lose-all. Japan went for big stakes--control of the Pacific sphere--and, they well understood it was win or lose, with nothing in between.
Same goes for the stock market. Why did so Americans wait and wait and do nothing while their portfolios were sinking when the dot.com bubble burst?
Maybe, this mentality becomes more dangerous if the early results exceed all expectations. With rise of internet stocks, so many Americans were giddy with joy and convinced that they were all gonna be millionaires. This became such a mantra and point of esteem/pride that they had a hard time waking up to reality when the bubble burst. Similarly, Japan's early successes in WWII were nothing less than stunning. They took SE Asia, Philippines, and struck a hard blow against Americans. And it seemed as though Germans would knock out Russia anytime soon. Hooked onto that high, it might have been more difficult to wake up and face reality.
Similarly, after MISSION ACCOMPLISHED was proudly declared by Bush and Cheney in Iraq, the US administration and neocons had a very time accepting that the real war in Iraq had only just begun.

2. Sacred factor. Japanese were proud of their nation's record of never having been conquered by a foreign power, a record that stood for over a 1000 yrs. It was simply too traumatic for Japanese to conceive of them being ruled by gaijin. Americans similarly had a difficult time putting an end to the Vietnam War because it would end America's record as the nation that never lost a war.
There was literally a spiritual factor to Japan and its emperor. Nature worshipers, Japanese saw their nation as holy and inhabited by gods. Even secular Japanese who didn't literally believe that stuff accepted it poetically.

Anonymous said...

When we look at the Fukushima disaster and Japan's handling of the recession since 1990s, Japanese have yet to face reality.

But, otoh, we have a nation where people wet their pants over a fraud like Obama, where Wall Street banksters carry out the biggest heist in world history but none goes to jail(but actually gives orders to peole in government), where borders are completely broken and invasion of illegals continue unabated, where we use 'youths' to describe a certain problem-prone population, where 'gay marriage' is the biggest civil rights issue of the day, where our foreign policy is controleld by AIPAC and J-street, etc.
I don't know who are more crazy. We should all commit harakiri and let apes/zombies rule the world.

Anonymous said...

I do believe there was a racial aspect to the massive bombing of Japan. In a way, the war between US and Japan was more a 'race war' than a 'good war'. It was like cowboys and Indians. 'Savage yellow bastards' attacked us, and so we had to kick their ass completely. This isn't to say that white Americans felt genocidal toward Japanese, but as long as the war was raging, there was a racial element to this conflict. As Buchanan said, when Pearl Harbor happened, many white Americans were not thinking in terms of "let's fight for democracy" but "let's kill them yellow scum". And it is for this reason that the Asian part of WWII has been more troubling to American liberals. They would like to remember it as a war of GOOD over EVIL. Though one could make a good case of Japanese militarists being EVIL, the fact is American passions about the was had more to with racial vengeance than universal justice or human rights. Though Americans made a big deal about Japan's atrocities in Asia after Pearl Harbor, the fact is most Americans didn't care a hoot about 'chinks' in Manchuria or 'goods' in SE Asian being oppressed by Japanese.

Yet, there is another side of WWII, which makes the GOOD WAR kinda schizo. Against Japan, it was indeed a a RACE WAR, more or less, between yellow empire and white republic.
But in Europe, it was an anti-race war, with Anglo-Americans and Anglo-Brits siding with Russian 'Asiatic-Mongoloid' horde against the racial Aryan cousins the Germans. Anglo-Brits didn't partner with their Teutonic racial brothers to rule the world. And Anglo-Americans--at least liberals who ruled government but also plenty of moderate conservatives--also loathed the radical racism of Nazi Germans. So, Anglos chose to side with Russian communists against German Nazis though Germans were racially and culturally closer to Anglos. Some say this was because Churchill and Roosevelt were beholden to Jewish interests, but I think that is a wild exaggeration when we're talking of the 30s and 40s. Jews back then simply didn't have the kind of power and clout they have today.

Of course, today, the ONLY nation that US and UK would consider dropping nukes on is an evil white nation, which goes to show how times have changed. The entire white world turned its back on white-ruled South Africa--and dont' care a hoot about all the rapes/murdered suffered by whites there today. White-on-white 'racism' is what motivates the West today. Western white man suffers a kind of political and racial multiple sclerosis; he is now programmed to attack its own nerve system. Or maybe it's more AIDS. Whites attack their own immune system. Just look at all those white idiots in UK calling Stakey a 'stupid stupidhead' for speaking the truth.

Dutch Boy said...

If the Japanese leadership was crazy, they had plenty of company. The US fought a war, ostensibly against totalitarianism, in alliance with the world's principal totalitarian power which subsequently became its most formidable enemy. The war was fought with the usual liberal pietities invoked while the military used the most ruthless methods of attack against civilian targets (carpet bombiong and atomic attacks). While denouncing the fanaticism of its enemies, the US fanatically insisted on unconditional surrender by Germany and Japan, much to the benefit of the USSR.

Anonymous said...

I'd hardly call the Eastern Front a Pyrrhic victory, when losing would have resulted in the mass murder and enslavement of the vast majority of Eastern Europeans.

The vast majority of Eastern Europeans were murdered and enslaved anyway - by the Soviets.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that racism was one major reason why the A-bomb was dropped on Japan, that it would've impossible for the bomb to have been dropped on a white country like Germany, had Germany been in Japan's position.

Because the Allies were just so squeamish about killing German civilians? This theory is insane, The bomb was not dropped o German because the war in Europe was over before the bomb was ready.

Steiner said...

"The Japanese were nuts in WWII."

We must admit the essential truth of Steve's assertion. The Japanese were totally outclassed in weapons technology, esp. military aeronautics, which turned out to be the way a Pacific naval campaign was won and lost. They were so helpless that, to take just one example, they had no fighter plane in their inventory that could even reach interception altitude when the first B-29s showed up over the home islands.

Yet they thought they could beat America with pure elan, or like Steve said "Their strategic planning boiled down to asserting that the bravery of Japanese soldiers would make Japan win in the end".

You see this craziness on the strategic side also. Suppose they had caught the American carriers at Pearl, then taken Midway a few months later. Then what? San Diego? Did they think the U.S.A. would simply stop building the dozens of big carriers and battleships that had been laid down earlier that year, and sue for peace? What was the big picture for Japan, to invade and occupy Mexico, then try and take the lower 48 through the desert? Or were they going to go the Aleutians/Alaska/Western Canada route? Either way, rotsa ruck, see how many of your young men make it home to breed another generation after those campaigns.

Anonymous said...

So, Anglos chose to side with Russian communists against German Nazis though Germans were racially and culturally closer to Anglos. Some say this was because Churchill and Roosevelt were beholden to Jewish interests, but I think that is a wild exaggeration when we're talking of the 30s and 40s. Jews back then simply didn't have the kind of power and clout they have today.

If you believe that Jews didn't exert influence on U.S. policy in the 1930s and 1940s, then some of the facts in this short chapter on Jewish Zionist lobbying and the State Department in the 1897-1945 period may come as a shock.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/fallenpillars.htm

From the book, "Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy towards Israel and Palestine since 1945", by Donald Neff.

As for Great Britain, do a little research on who the players were in the British media.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting point is that the A-bombs were a simply a more efficient way of the mass killing we were already doing with B-29 incendiary raids.

I think that the most interesting point is that the mass killing of civilians, besides being unethical and a war crime, was remarkably ineffective. Arguably the Allied war effort would have proceed more quickly if they had diverted all the energy and material they expended on bombing cites into more conventional military operations against the other sides armed forces.

Anonymous said...

"What was America's incentive to keep the Soviet promise a secret, besides the Soviets wanted it that way? I don't know. Perhaps the idea was to end the war with the A-bombs before the Soviets got in on the action?"

This theory seems to be quite popular in some quarters, but it ignores the fact that the US was pleading with the USSR to enter the war against Japan.

Arguably the Russians would have been better off in the long run if, instead of pressuring the Allies to invade Europe, they'd said "Take your time, there's no rush".

And the Americans would have been better off not inviting the Russkies to jump into the war in the East.

Hindsight, 20/20.

Anonymous said...

"If the Japanese leadership was crazy, they had plenty of company. The US fought a war, ostensibly against totalitarianism, in alliance with the world's principal totalitarian power which subsequently became its most formidable enemy."

I disagree. The world is what it is--screwed up--, and Americans made do with what was on hand to come out on top. Japan, otoh, gambled everything--even facing total defeat and invasion--to dominate the Pacific and lost. Roosevelt messed up royally by bringing in USSR into Asia, but US did emerge from WWII as a superduper power,and so it was a great victory for America.

Japan, otoh, lost everything.
Even so, Americans, though brutal in war, were generous in peace, and Japan was allowed to rebuild itself and become the #2 economy in the world, though at the cost of being a political geisha to America. If a cease-fire had been effected, Japan would have remained politically independent, but it might today be poor, isolated, and ruled by military thugs. Win some, lose some, I guess.

Anyway, Japanese must have gotten some satisfaction in seeing the once mighty Anglo-Americans now reduced to sucking up to Jews and blacks. In some ways, white Americans are poised to be much bigger losers than the Japanese in the NWO of open borders, affirmative action, interracism, and financial capitalism.

Anonymous said...

the vast majority of whites were racists who considered the Japanese to be inferior and less than human.

And this differed from the way the Japanese looked at non-Japanese, how? Did your book tell you that?

Anonymous said...

If a boxer is hit hard three times in a flurry and goes down, which blow did the trick? Hard to say. It was the combination.

Anonymous said...

The bombing of cities (almost entirely by the Allies) was a war crime, and one with zero military value.

Good to know the hysterical pro-Germans still have computers.

"Almost entirely by the Allies"....

You make me want to vomit.

Anonymous said...

"Arguably the Russians would have been better off in the long run if, instead of pressuring the Allies to invade Europe, they'd said "Take your time, there's no rush"."

Arguably, but if Western Allies hadn't absorbed 20% of Wehrmacht on the Western front, Soviets might have lost 5 million more lives, and... just possibly, Germans might have been able to fight to a stalemate.

I wonder... what if Japan had violated its agreement with Soviet Union and attacked USSR around the fall of 1941 instead of planning an attack on Pearl Harbor?
Japan might have lost several battles, but Soviets would have diverted many of its men and resources to the Eastern Front, thereby making Soviet Union proper more vulnerable to invasion from the West. Even if Japan couldn't defeat USSR in the East, it could have kept one of USSR's feet mired in the East. USSR would have been caught in a two-front war, like a bear surrounded by wolves. Though a single wolf would be mauled by a bear, a pack of them can bring a bear down.

Under such scenario, Germans might have defeated USSR in the West, in which case all of USSR would have fallen since the center of Soviet Power was in Moscow.

So, if Japan had held down one of Russia's legs while Germany pounded away at Russia's head, Germany and Japan might have won--and US would have no reason to enter the war.

Anonymous said...

Big Boy and Fat Boy destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but da boyz did quite a number on Haiti and Detroit, with no sign of recovery ever.

Svigor said...

People here are talking about the Soviets taking Hokkaido and northern Honshu like it was a done deal. I'd at least like to see that work on paper first.

Did the Soviets even have a navy to speak of at the time? In the far east? Enough of a navy to mount a land invasion of Japan?

Did lend-lease really include the materiel for all that?

Anonymous said...

If you think Jewish Zionists didn't have influence on U.S. policy in the 1930s and 1940s, you really need to read the following chapter from Donald Neff's "Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy towards Israel and Palestine since 1945":

Titled "Zionism: Jewish Americans and the State Department, 1897-1945," you can find it here for free on the Washington Post's website.

Anonymous said...

"This explanation seems fairly plausible. Having read the book War Without Mercy by John Dower, I'm convinced that during the mid 1940s, the vast majority of whites were racists who considered the Japanese to be inferior and less than human."

John Dower's books are good on details, but he is one self-loathing white man. He hates his own kind more than whites hated 'Japs' during WWII.

Also, there are gradations of racial hostility, so the term 'racist' has to be used carefully. Most Americans didn't want a war with Japan and were outraged when US was attacked. Of course, it made it worse that a non-white race attacked America, but that was a natural reaction.

And wartime brings out the 'worst' as well as the 'best' in us. War aint pretty.

Svigor said...

From a Paul Tibbets Interview back in 2007, it was high noon for Japan, the third one was on it's way.

I was just about to ask that, how many eggs we had left in reserve after the first two. And how many more we could have built in short order.

Svigor said...

Hindsight being 20/20, we should have told Stalin to bring the Huns back over the Russian border or Moscow would get the third egg.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the regular commentators from Free Republic took time off today to come over here.

Anonymous said...

"As the moral, political, and spiritual heir to the USSR, of course, the EU claims EUrope was liberated by the USSR."

Given where EU is headed, I wish all of Europe had been 'liberated' by the Soviets. I highly doubt Soviets would have allowed massive influx of Africans and Muslims into Europe. I doubt if communism would have feminized Western European men. And living under Soviet tyranny, Europeans would have been less anti-American.

Svigor said...

(I just finished reading Luttwak's book on Byzantine strategy; a core premise was, always leave the enemy an escape. The Pacific War kind of demonstrates the wisdom of this.)

Common sense suggests this, and everyday experience confirms it. I was just telling the same thing to a friend the other day, that you always have to leave the other guy an out or you're simply escalating the situation.

Anonymous said...

"The Japanese were nuts in WWII. The rulers had largely risen up through a system in which the non-nuts were assassinated, so their grip on reality was shaky."

"It is fine WWII analysis like this that proves Sailer really is at the forefront of American conservatism."

Hehe, but it's part of the conventional narrative about Japan. And partly true. The Japanese elites created a monster they could not control. They'd instilled ultra-nationalism and cult-of-sacrificial-death-for-purity in the hearts of simple-minded junior officers(some of them from peasant background). Junior officers, especially of non-samurai background, were eager to prove that they were 'more samurai than samurai', just like Jewish conversos during the Inquisition were eager to show they were more Christian than Christian--and just as white liberals today try to prove they are more pro-black than blacks themselves.

The Japanese elites had stirred up nationalism and sacrifice to control the people, but some people took it too literally and began to kill elites who 'betrayed' the purity of Japan, Emperor, and all that. Oddly enough, LAST SAMURAI reiterated some of these sentiments!!

Today, what's going on in the US is comparable. Though people are not getting assassinated, careers do get destroyed by fanatics who scream 'racist', 'sexist', 'xenophobe', and 'homophobe'. And so, even within the GOP, we have scaredy cats who are tongue-tied and spineless to do or say anything that might stir up the ire of angry blacks, radical Jews, bitch feminists, and brash homos.

And not much different in UK. The recent riot was caused by excessive immigration of wrong kind of people, but one cannot say this because his career will essentially be 'assassinated' by the PC radicals that be.
So, people in power are afraid to say anything that is 'rabid', 'virulent', 'venomous', 'odious', 'divisive', or 'stupid stupidheadish', especially about them 'youths'.


And GOP lives with the faer that if they oppose open borders, the rising mexican american voting bloc will never forgive them. And though most Jews are anti-conservative, conservatives are soooooo deathly afraid of being called a 'nazi' or 'antisemite' that they stand up 29 times in Congress to Netanhayu's speech.

Anonymous said...

The real point was that war between Japan and America could have easily been avoided, had America simply had a different foreign policy. It had no true quarrel with Japan.

Anonymous said...

"the vast majority of whites were racists who considered the Japanese to be inferior and less than human."

"And this differed from the way the Japanese looked at non-Japanese, how? Did your book tell you that?"

I think he means two wongs don't make a white.

Anonymous said...

In the end... all we can say is 'better you than me'.

Anonymous said...

I think we should be careful not to see the past with today's eyes. Our losses of 4000 in Iraq is seen as a tragedy. Would any American accept losses of 400,000 men today? We bombed and killed a lot of people in the Middle East, but most people today would say indiscriminate carpet bombing is criminal.
Things were different in WWII. Korean War also saw massive bombing of civilian areas by US forces. It was really with Vietnam War that the world and America began to really confront the issue of war crimes--even among the 'good guys'.

So yes, WWII was pretty horrible, and all sides did horrible things, but values, ideas, and assumptions then were different, and it's too easy to judge people with our assumptions today, especially with the benefit of hindsight.

Anonymous said...

Gadfly in big doo doo

Anonymous said...

The important thing to remember, about all the numbers, about all the bombings, about the soviet pillaging,raping and murdering, and about the nukes themselves, is that after all of that, the civilians killed by the allies amounted to just 4% of all war dead.

Still, perhaps it would have been best for us to just sit back, ignore what was happening in China, and sell the Japanese the oil.

Svigor said...

What also musn't be forgotten is that the Soviet leadership still had strong memories of the defeat in 1905 in the Russo-Japanese war.

How much overlap was there between the leadership of Russia in 1905 and the Soviet leadership during WWII? Zero or so? National memory, sure. The leadership? I'll need to see the paperwork on that one, too.

It also planted the seeds for China-Vietnam enmity in the yrs to come.

Yeah, cuz Chinese-Vietnamese relations were hearts and flowers for eons prior.

Glaivester said...

I've heard that racism was one major reason why the A-bomb was dropped on Japan, that it would've impossible for the bomb to have been dropped on a white country like Germany, had Germany been in Japan's position.

But hadn't we already firebombed German cities like Dresden? If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, from a practical standpoint, no different from our conventional bombings of Japanese cities, were they any different from what we did in Dresden?

I don't see any reason to assume that we would not have used the A-bombs in Germany, had the opportunity presented itself.

One answer is that the Japanese leaders were not greatly troubled by civilian causalities

And clearly American leaders were even less troubled by civilian casualties.


I think the point is that the Japanese leaders were not terribly troubled about casualties amongst their own civilian casualties. Given the times, and that we were at war, I don't think it was expected that either side would particularly care about casualties amongst enemy civilians.

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that during the mid 1940s, the vast majority of whites were racists who considered the Japanese to be inferior and less than human.

Hmm, what could have made those white folks think like that I wonder?

My grandfather was a British infantryman in the Far East. He wasnt a big fan of the Japanese after the war. Earlier in the war, he had fought againt the Italians and Germans but I never heard him say anything negative about those nationalities.

Anonymous said...

I thought there were only the two A-bombs ready for use, didnt know there was even a 3rd. I suspect there were no more ready after that.

Lend-lease - the US supplied some aircraft plus jeeps and trucks, so many trucks I believe that the USSR didnt have to worry too much about building their own. As for tanks, the US tanks were certainly inferior to the Soviets own.

The British began supplying equipment to the USSR after the German attack. Again, it was probably things like trucks which were most useful. They also got Hurricane fighters, about three thousand. I note wikipedia says the Russian pilots werent big fans. Yet RAF pilots had managed OK with them.

beowulf said...

"I think that the most interesting point is that the mass killing of civilians, besides being unethical and a war crime, was remarkably ineffective."

Agreed, that was the conclusion of US Strategic Bombing Survey (though Ken Galbraith had to push the rest of the group to accept that).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing_survey

Navy blockade (by submarine and later aerial mining) cutting off Japan's oil supplies probably played a bigger role.

Anonymous said...

Which is going to end up as having been the more negative, destructive state, the USSR or the US?

The USSR was closed off before Cultural Marxism could take root, while the US has been imbued with it for decades and imposes and spreads it throughout the West and the rest of the world.

David Davenport said...

To put it in a more conventional Internet way: only complete morons buy into the official propaganda that atomic bombs were used first and foremost to save American lives in the war against Japan.

No, you are the moron. Without the atomic bombs, the US Army and Marines would have invaded Japan.

While denouncing the fanaticism of its enemies, the US fanatically insisted on unconditional surrender by Germany and Japan, much to the benefit of the USSR.

Dutch Boy, on what what conditions do you suggest the USA should have let Germany surrender?

I've heard that racism was one major reason why the A-bomb was dropped on Japan, that it would've impossible for the bomb to have been dropped on a white country like Germany, had Germany been in Japan's position.

Britain and the USA killed plenty of Germans with non-nuclear bombs. You don't appreciate the attitude of men such as the late Curtis Lemay, which is that atomic bombs weren't all that different from the non-nuclear treatment given to Dresden or Tokyo.

Here's a Curtis Lemay quote:" That was the era (pre-1948] when we might have destroyed Russia completely and not even skinned our elbows doing it."


I think that the most interesting point is that the mass killing of civilians, besides being unethical and a war crime, was remarkably ineffective.

Please produce some evidence that mass killing of German civilians was ineffective. Perhaps I should ask, how do you define "effective" in this context?

Sir Arthur Harris: "If you can't kill a German worker at his factory, you can kill him at home in his bed."

Arguably the Russians would have been better off in the long run if, instead of pressuring the Allies to invade Europe, they'd said "Take your time, there's no rush".

Without the USA in that war, the USSR would have lost. Stalin knew that.

Did the Soviets even have a navy to speak of at the time? In the far east? Enough of a navy to mount a land invasion of Japan?

That's a good point. The Soviets did not have a strong navy at that time.

Auntie Analogue said...

Japan's leaders indoctrinated Japanese with racist propaganda against whites, but also at all non-Japanese Asians. Japan encouraged its soldiers to rape, loot, & pillage wherever they went, murdered or starved millions of Chinese; & Hirohito himself gave the go-ahead to the IJA's bio warfare experimental unit in China to perform germ experiments on thousands of Chinese.

The A-bomb drops were necessary & those who recommended & ordered their use must be judged not in today's terms but in terms of the time those people made their decisions in. The A-bombs spared a million Allied but also millions of Japanese casualties that would have been suffered had the Allies had to invade Japan proper.

Another reason Truman decided to use the bombs: in the vast areas it still held in August 1945 Japan held several score millions of peoples under its boot. These conquered peoples, the vast majority non-white, were starving, suffering diseases & lack of medical care, suffering from Japan's force-labor levies; so Truman had their well-being to consider as well as that of Allied forces. No comment has yet mentioned that in the WWII USA there was a large, powerful China lobby (which was paternalistic but definitely not racist) which constantly besieged Congress & FDR for more military & humanitarian aid to Chiang Kai Shek. So you who accuse WWII America of "racism" are way off base.

Every Axis-conquered people liberated by the US was treated with historically unprecedented humanitarian US aid. On the other hand the USSR slammed the millions it liberated into repression & persecution no less grim & pitiless than they'd endured under the Nazis (even North Koreans under USSR-backed Kim Il Sung).

Bear in mind that Truman was reading Magic/Purple intercepts of highest level Japanese military & diplomatic message traffic, & it was chiefly on the basis of the insane Japanese obduracy in those communications that Truman decided correctly to drop the A-bombs. (Now try to imagine how long Truman can have remained unimpeached if the US public found out, following a 1-million Allied casualty invasion of Japan's home islands in 1946, that Truman had refused to drop those bombs & had instead ordered US troops to invade Japan.)

Strategic bombing's usefulness: The April 1942 Doolittle Raid alone forced Japan to withold troops, aviation units, & naval forces from its far flung defensive perimeter, to keep them in Japan for home defense, thus easing the burden on USMC & Army troops in the Aleutians, & in the Central & Southwest Pacific Theaters, & borne by Allied forces in the CBI Theater. The US-British bombing of Germany forced the Nazis to divert to home AA defense tens of thousands of hi-velocity 105mm & 88mm guns & millions of tons of ammo (both were lethal against every Allied - including every Soviet - tank), thus sparing Allied ground forces from having to assault a Nazi-held Europe bristling with no less than 250% more AT guns than the Wehrmacht actually fielded against Allied ground forces. Allied strategic bombing also destroyed and dislocated much Nazi industry & choked the Nazi rail net, contributing massively to the Allied ground & total war effort.

Finally, the Red Army bore most of the burden against the Nazis. Also, Stalin's demands for Lend-Lease supplies were necessary until early 1943, after which Soviet production increased to furnish the Red Army with ample materiel. Stalin knew his pressure for more US-British aid put Churchill & FDR on the hot seat with UK/US voters, so Stalin connived to weaken the Western democracies by ceaslessly goading for more supplies & opening the Second Front. Stalin also demanded ever-increasing Lend-Lease aid because Western Allied technology allowed Soviet industry to reverse-engineer advanced Western technology, gratis, into Soviet-produced materiel for the Red Army.

Anonymous said...

8/21/11 6:01 AM Anon...

The high output of Soviet arms was ENTIRELY due to America.

We provided tungsten carbide tool bits which increased the output of their mills and lathes 7x.

We provided 100% of their radio tubes. (!) Their sole factory was west of Moscow and was destroyed in late 1941. ( Kept state secret forever )

We provided 99.5% of their steam locomotives. Their factory was in Leningrad. They had only the one.

We provided Hughes Tool Company oil drilling bits. These punched holes 28x faster than Russian designs. ( They were still using Drake tech. )

We provided 99% of their trucks. ( Studebakers )

We upgraded their oil refineries with catalysts -- so much so that the same 'train' doubled in output.

The Hughes bits doubled Soviet crude and tapped eastern fields that Hitler never knew of.

We provided 60% of their copper wire. We provided 100% of their field telephones. We provided 100% of their tank radios -- via their tubes and designs.

We provided their famous 'great coat' which permitted Russians to sleep through the harsh winter without even a tent. Yeah, they came from West Virginia.

The Anglo Americans caused Italy to drop out of the war in 1943. They did so with no notice to their German allies. The Soviet army romped straight through a massive 80 mile breach in their lines -- all the way to Kiev. THAT'S what destroyed the Germans in the Summer of 43 -- NOT KURSK. Entire divisions were enveloped on both wings. We also triggered the almost permanent removal of 1SS and 2SS Panzers to the West. When they reached Italy they had to entirely rebuild. Their tanks had been left in Russia for the 3SS so it could rebuild.

The Anglo-Allies entirely sucked away the Luftwaffe, without which the Heer could do little.

----

Lost in all of the writing: Korea was Japan's food basket. (!) They were already starving. Stalin was taking away their fall harvest! Japan would be zombied.

-----

The West sucked off all of the ultra heavy tanks -- designed to fight the Soviets: JagPanther, JagTiger... and most of the Tiger IIs.

America massively upgraded the Soviet rail net -- with locos and rails. Entire lines were built with LendLease rails.

ALL of the astounding Soviet production numbers exist SOLEY because of America. We also shipped half, the better half, of all their machine tool production.

The displacement of their factories to the East is a propaganda myth. While they were removed -- they were NEVER rebuilt. The motors and such were just tossed into the snow east of the Urals. ( Eyewitness testimony -- there were no warehouses to protect the flood of material. Come the spring everything was ruined. Instead, American equipment was used.

Stalin had an entire Corps of NKVD troops solely tasked with removing American aid markers from Lend Lease aid.

His single most elite Tank Corps was composed solely of Diesel Sherman tanks - - per their custom request. It was his deep strike force -- the one that took Ploeski -- and whose wartime photos became suppressed after the war.

German propaganda constantly showed Shermans at the tip of the spear -- on the Eastern Front.

Anonymous said...

Nanonymous said...

Entirely counterfactual...

By the time of Stalingrad LendLease was already decisive. We were building an entire railroad at breakneck speed up out of Iran to reach the city. This was happening even as the battle raged.

BTW, the Germans were doing the same thing. Right through the Winter they were building a military railroad South towards the city.

They were almost ready to put it into use when the Soviets counter attacked with Uranus.

We FLEW radio tubes in so that for the first time in a year Soviet tanks would have radios. Until then -- T34s HAD NO RADIOS. From this point onward, ALL Russian tanks had first world radio technology.

The impact was huge.

By Stalingrad we'd shipped over enough military telephones to solve their communications gap. This stopped the Germans from listening in -- and was decisive during Uranus.

We gave the Soviets the keys to victory: mobility, surprise, and .50 Cal machine guns to shoot penal battalion troops in the back as they suicided themselves against German positions.

About 1943 said...

I remember singing, "Whistle while you work, Hitler is a jerk, Mussolini is a meanie, but the Japs are worst," on the sidewalks of Brooklyn around 1943.

SF said...

"the vast majority of whites were racists who considered the Japanese to be inferior and less than human."

My uncle killed a few Japanese on Mt. Suribachi, and was wounded pretty badly himself, but he always said the Japanese were just scared young men like himself with families at home.

Anonymous said...

"And clearly American leaders were even less troubled by civilian casualties."

I happened to be watching a documentary on the dropping of the nukes on japan today and they said the 2nd one was off target and missed the residential area it was meant to hit and hit an industrial area. Our officials were upset about that. They still killed many thousands, but still wanted to kill more civilians.

NLF said...

"I think that the most interesting point is that the mass killing of civilians, besides being unethical and a war crime, was remarkably ineffective."

Maybe. But Germans and Japanese, who'd been bombed and beaten all to hell, accepted the Allies as rightful victors. They knew who was boss. They felt the POWER raining down from the skies. They knew they were beaten and accepted and collaborated with the conquerors.
In Iraq, US went for surgical bombing and attacked the headquarters of Hussein and his cronies. Most Iraqis were not touched by bombs. So, most Iraqis didn't taste the hellishness of war, and so when Americans entered Baghdad, many Iraqis still had the fighting spirt to take on the occupiers.
If America hadn't bombed Japan as a whole but only targeted the headquarters of the leaders, it's possible that many Japanese still would have much fight left in them and wouldn't have accepted Americans as rightful winners. (Also, if you attack the leadership or the regime, who is there to declare surrender?). Indeed, before the massive US bombings, most Japanese were very supportive of Japan's war efforts. It was only when the war came home and Japanese felt it with full force that most Japanese lost all taste for war. And so they accepted Americans as rightful victors. So, in that sense, the massive bombings, though horrific, were effective.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the political mentality that took over Japanese military/government was akin to what happened in the French Revolution. The revolutionary leaders had stoked the fire of rebellion to overthrow the old order, but it soon turned into radicalist factional wars over which side was 'more pure' and 'more committed', and so the revolutionaries--for all their conceit of rationalism--began to kill one another and start wars all over and etc.

In a way, Japanese elite's compromise with the West in the 19th century was far more drastic and humiliating than anything in the 20th century prior to WWII, but then the elites had been fully in control, and its ranks were all samurai. There was some resistanace from conservative samurai, but they were limited in number, and the masses were mostly docile.
But as 20th century progressed, nationalism became far more widespread, radicalized, popularized, and militarized. Also, if Japan saw itself as a weak power in relation to western nations in the 19th century, the Japanese mentality changed with new events. After defeating Russia and taking chunks of Asia, Japanese began to see themselves as the equal of Western nations. So, Japanese pride became more fervent, confident, and aggressive.

And if Russians had long wanted to get even with Japanese over the defeat in 1905, Japan had long wanted to get even with the West for the humiliations in the 19th century where Japan was forced open at gunpoint. Modernization was good for Japan, but many Japanese still saw it as foreign bullying. I wonder how Chinese see the West in the 21st century.

FredR said...

"I remember singing, "Whistle while you work, Hitler is a jerk, Mussolini is a meanie, but the Japs are worst," on the sidewalks of Brooklyn around 1943."

That's funny, because 60 years later, on the sidewalks of Manhattan, I was singing "whistle while you work, Hitler is a jerk, Mussolini bit his weenie now it doesn't work."

Greg said...

Aunti Analogue wrote: "The A-bombs spared a million Allied but also millions of Japanese casualties that would have been suffered had the Allies had to invade Japan proper."

Even if we were to accept your speculation about people spared, the undeniable flaw in your premise is that the Allies of necessity had to invade Japan. The invasion of Japan was not "necessary." Therefore, the nuking of Japan was not "necessary" to save lives. The United States chose to slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in order to pursue its political interests.

Greg said...

David Davenport wrote: "No, you are the moron. Without the atomic bombs, the US Army and Marines would have invaded Japan."

Not true. If they invaded Japan, it would have been by choice, by human free will, not some inevitable natural occurrence. They could have chosen not to invade and spared millions of lives.

Anonymous said...

The real point was that war between Japan and America could have easily been avoided, had America simply had a different foreign policy. It had no true quarrel with Japan.

So true. The United States brought that war on itself. Even after Pearl Harbor, it could have negotiated a peaceful settlement. Bunch of jackasses.

Greg said...

I think the point is that the Japanese leaders were not terribly troubled about casualties amongst their own civilian casualties. Given the times, and that we were at war, I don't think it was expected that either side would particularly care about casualties amongst enemy civilians.

Having deliberately slaughtered millions of innocent Japanese civilians, I don't think Americans are in any position to claim the moral high ground based on some notion that it was the Japanese who really didn't care about the civilians the Americans chose to kill.

Anonymous said...

Germans and Japanese, who'd been bombed and beaten all to hell, accepted the Allies as rightful victors


I don't know what that's supposed to mean. I imagine that very few Germans or Japanese looked on the Allies as "rightful victors".

In Iraq, US went for surgical bombing and attacked the headquarters of Hussein and his cronies. Most Iraqis were not touched by bombs.

For one thing, we explicitly said that we were at were with Saddam Hussein and his regime and not the Iraq people.

Secondly, the mass murder of enemy civilians is no longer considered to be an acceptable wartime practice. We claimed after WWII that only the bad guys engaged in such barbaric behavior.


before the massive US bombings, most Japanese were very supportive of Japan's war efforts. It was only when the war came home and Japanese felt it with full force that most Japanese lost all taste for war.

Do you have a shred of evidence that the Japanese "lost all taste" for the war? Or lost whatever taste they had to begin with?


And so they accepted Americans as rightful victors.

I don't know what this "rightful victor" stuff is supposed to mean.

The idea of bombing enemy cities and killing their civilians - so-called "strategic bombing - was that it would break the will of the enemy people. It did not do so. It did not do so in Germany, obviously, where they continued to fight until overrun. And it's impact on the Japanese decision to surrender was minimal at best.

It's not hard to see why. Killing a mans wife and children makes him more eager to fight, not less. Killing enemy civilians had essentially zero impact on the course of the war. That's why people don't do it anymore, not because of a sudden attack of ethics.

If the Allies had never bombed German and Japanese cities WWII would not have have lasted a day longer. It may very well have ended sooner.

Anonymous said...

The US-British bombing of Germany forced the Nazis to divert to home AA defense tens of thousands of hi-velocity 105mm & 88mm guns & millions of tons of ammo (both were lethal against every Allied - including every Soviet - tank), thus sparing Allied ground forces from having to assault a Nazi-held Europe bristling with no less than 250% more AT guns than the Wehrmacht actually fielded against Allied ground forces.

That's a crock. The German heavy AA batteries were not suitable for anti-tank work.

Allied strategic bombing also destroyed and dislocated much Nazi industry & choked the Nazi rail net, contributing massively to the Allied ground & total war effort.


No, it did not. It had essentially zero impact on German military production. The biggest year by far for production of tanks, SP guns, fighters, etc in Germany was 1944. This continued for the first few months of 1945 until Germany began to be overrun.

As for the rail lines, the attacks on those were tactical bombing, not strategic: carried out by fighter-bombers, not B-17's,

Gc said...

Blaah, Lend and Lease;) It was, of course, the Finns who taught Russian to fight in the Winter War:) If we hadn`t fought them hard they wouldn`t ever knew how weak their tactics were and the Nazis would have conquered Moscow in 1941. When the snow came Hitler said at that time that the war is already lost and he can`t even stand to see snow anymore.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer should blog about this, but the ugly racism and bigotry directed against the Chinese and the Japanese during the early to mid 1940s was truly appalling. Imagine the entire United States of America being one giant Stormfront.

Anonymous said...

If Soviet leadership was angry with Japan, it wasn't so much for the defeat in 1905 but for the much more recent Japanese occupation of the Russian Far East (1918-22).

By the way, don't believe everything you heard about WWII as it concerns Russia. Much of what you think is true is actually Cold War propaganda. For example, the incidence of the rapes of German women by Russian soldiers was exaggerated by orders of magnitude.

Anonymous said...

Lend Lease was important but it did not arrive until late in 1941 right when Hitler’s bid to win was beginning to wan. When the Nazi’s resumed the offence in 1942 they only had the resources to do it on one front instead of three fronts as in the year before. By the end of 1942 the Soviet’s were able to take the strategic offence. Lend Lease’s biggest benefit to the Soviet Union was food and uniforms. Not only did it feed and clothe the Red Army but it freed up millions of young men to fight who no longer had to farm.

Nanonymous said...

We provided 99.5% of their steam locomotives.

Typical propaganda lie. This refers to the wartime production only. Pretending that Russia did not have >10X more locomotives than it received during all of the war years is really dishonest. Truth:

1. The number is 95%, not 99.5% (92 steam locomotives were produced by USSR during 1942-1945).
2. ALL of the lend-lease locomotive deliveries were in the 1944 or later.
3. ~2,000 locos were delivered and they were added to the ~20,000 park that Soviets already had.

Lend-lease was very important. It just wasn't as important as American propaganda has it. Nor it was as unimportant as Russian propaganda had it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are some very ignorant people who post on isteve.Ignoreant about 20th century history and much more besides.
Britain turned against Nazi Germany after Hitler's election in 1933 precisely because Hitler made no secret of renouncing Versailles and made every provocation and manouvre possible to declare that intent (including anschluss with Austria,seizing the Sudetenland, rearmnament etc).
Hitler was acting like the defeat of WW1 never happened, and it was obvious that he wanted to bring in German dominance and venegeance.
The fact that Hitler was a nasty, anti-semitic and racist dictator didn't help his cause either.
Communists were loathed in Britain at that time too, but Stalin never threatened British interests.That idiot who pontificated about Germany and Britain being 'racial and cultural brothers' and the Russians being 'commie aliens' or however his tiny, ill-educted mind put it, obviously knows absolutely nothing about the run-up and causes of Britain declaring war on Germany in 1939.The fact is neither Russia or the USA entered the war until 1941.It was Britain alone against Italy/Gemany bfore that.

Ted Plank said...

1. The Soviets moved their invasion of Manchuria up by a few days on getting the word of Hiroshima. They knew there would be only a limited window of time to effect a victory and dominate NE China / Korea.

2. Stalin himself noted the feeling of satisfaction felt "by those of us of the older generation" in beating the pants off Japan after the 1905 defeat.

3. Britain developed a great deal of radar, sonar and high tech innovations during the war, but their tanks were awful throughout the whole war, and their Hurricane fighter planes weren't much appreciated by the Soviets, either. But the Russians did like the obsolete American P-39 Aerocobra for ground support, and the Sherman tank did see a great deal of use.

4. Russian armor and infantry arms were world class, the quickness in which German and Russians innovated improvements in killing science and tactics on the Ostfront was quite remarkable. By comparison, only in 1945 did the Americans and British develop tanks that could stand up to the German Tiger and Panther class panzers, the US Pershing and British Comet.

5. For all the Japanese bravery, they were woefully outclassed in the Research And Development department. Whereas Germany started the war in Poland with biplanes still in frontline service and finished up 6 years later with ME-262 jet and ME-363 rocket planes, along with V-2 rockets (with an East Coast capable V-3 waiting in the wings), and the US started off drilling its infantrymen with broomsticks in 1940, finishing up the war with the Manhattan Project, Japan had the same rifles it began the war with, nearly non-existent radar, pretty much the same airplanes it started with and awful tanks. Striking.

6. Japanese know they got off fairly easy with Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the fairly dignified American occupation. Many are still angry about the Kuriles and southern Sakhalin, and will admit that they got a way better shake off the Yankees than if the Soviets had grabbed Hokkaido and northern Honshu. Which they would have.

7. The German 88 mm and 120 mm guns were both developed as AA guns, but the 88 was notorious for ripping through any tank of the war with ease, as was the 120 mm, installed on the last version of the Tiger that saw service, the Jagdtiger. It was Rommel himself who first took his AA 88 mm guns and trained them on the thick skinned (but horribly undergunned) British Matilda tanks during their famed charge at Arras in 1940 (the only British episode of the Battle Of France that isn't cringe inducing). If is indeed fair to say that their use against the Bomber Offensive reduced German effectiveness against Allied tanks.

8. While the Russians did indeed kill 70% of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS troops in the war, the Normandy campaign sucked up a huge amount of topline German forces. The human density of the frontlines in Normandy was 10 times more populated than the frontlines of the Russian Front, and the Nazi defeat there saw their best SS panzer divisions ground up into shreds.

That the Soviets annihilated 535,000 German troops during the same period (most of them taken prisoner) doesn't dilute the Western Allies impact. Once France was reclaimed by the Allies even the most hardheaded Nazis knew the war was over.

9. More Japanese are alive today, with more honor and dignity, than if a non nuclear weapon strategy had been pursued in 1945. There would have been no invasion, and no Communist influence. And yes, I do believe they must laugh at our and the Brits sorry plight over a glass of hot sake. As must the Germans, who are slowly but firmly convincing their Turks and Arabs to go away.

Anonymous said...

It must be said though... a device that kills everyone from babies just being born to old people breathing their last is a most inhuman weapon. We cannot speak of 'collateral damage' in the use of such a weapon. It was designed to kill everyone. Babies in hospitals, children in schools, women at home, every animal, and in the most horrendous way.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have ended the war and turned out good for Japan in the long run, but their use was a war crime just the same. A decision to indiscriminately kill all babies, children, women, old folks, dogs, and cats within a certain circumference by heat thousand times hotter than the sun can be historically rationalized maybe but not morally justified. Doing so would be the worst case of 'ends justifies the means'.

Suppose the North had the bomb during the Civil War. Suppose the bomb could have ended the war faster. It may indeed have 'saved lives', but does anyone have the right to kill like that?

Anonymous said...

"Britain turned against Nazi Germany after Hitler's election in 1933 precisely because Hitler made no secret of renouncing Versailles and made every provocation and manouvre possible to declare that intent (including anschluss with Austria,seizing the Sudetenland, rearmnament etc)."

But many in Britain were still symapthetic to Germany until 39, when Hitler invaded Poland. And many Brits, liberals and conservatives, thought the Versailles had been unjust and all Germans had been unduly punished. And many also accepted Hitler's demands as legitimate. It was when HItler began to overstep those bounds that Britain drew the line and said enough.

Anonymous said...

"Japanese know they got off fairly easy with Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the fairly dignified American occupation."

Japan deserved to lose, but losing millions of lives, its entire empire, its political independence, great power status, military power, etc is not getting off fairly easy.
Neither Germany nor Japan came got off 'easy'. Italians did sort of.

Anonymous said...

"Having deliberately slaughtered millions of innocent Japanese civilians, I don't think Americans are in any position to claim the moral high ground based on some notion that it was the Japanese who really didn't care about the civilians the Americans chose to kill."

I would argue that in the way US waged the war, it too was guilty of 'war crimes' and much 'evil'. Americans also killed a lot of POWs, tortured German prisoners, killed countless civilians, etc.
Americans didn't commit mass rape like Russians did in Germany, but then Japan did far less damage to US than Germany did to USSR. If Japan had at one time invaded 1/3 of US, killed millions of Americans, and harbored a grand plan to subjugate all Americans into slaves--and even murder 30 million Americans to make lebensraum for Japanese settlers--, I think Americans could have acted as down-and-dirty and barbaric as Russian soldiers in Germany.
Though Japan caused far less damage to US than Germany did to USSR--and though Japan had no plan to invade US(indeed not even Hawaii)--, it must be said Americans killed almost as many Japanese as Russians killed Germans. So, war brings out the 'worst' in all of us.

HOWEVER, I would still argue that US and UK were morally far superior to Germans and Japanese. Not so much in the conduct of war but in the conduct of peace. UK dropped shitload of bombs on Germany, but after the war, most Brits wanted Germany to be a peaceful democratic nation. Though Americans killed like a mofo during WWII, after the dust settled, Americans wanted a peace, free, and humane Japan. So, when it comes to PEACE, US and UK were immeasurably better than Germany(which, in victory, would have enslaved/exterminated countless Russians) and Japan(which, in victory, would have treated Chinese and other Asians as servant nationalities). USSR was better than Nazi Germany to the extent that it had no intention to regard or treat peoples of other nations--even of defeated Germany--as permanent subhumans. The Soviets, at the very least, regarded peoples of other nations as potential comrades.
Even so, Soviet domination meant communist totalitarian oppression.

So, US and UK come out with flying colors in the area of PEACE. In war, all sides were bad, but in peace, US and UK were indeed good guys.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Nato might have been right about this. People of Libya now seem united and happy in the overthrow of Gaddafi. And Nato was smart not to use ground forces but only to supply air power support, military supplies, and financial aid to rebel groups. If rebel groups can get along now and work out a plan for new Libya, this will turn into a great victory. Not that I support foreign intervention, but sometimes even misguided policies can have good results. We'll have to see. Arab Spring culminates in Arab Summer with downfall of the longest dictatorship in that region.

Fred said...

"Given where EU is headed, I wish all of Europe had been 'liberated' by the Soviets. I highly doubt Soviets would have allowed massive influx of Africans and Muslims into Europe. I doubt if communism would have feminized Western European men. And living under Soviet tyranny, Europeans would have been less anti-American."

An interesting alternative history to consider would be if the Soviets conquered all of Continental Europe and Japan. One consequence of that would have been that we would have been an even more dominant industrial power for most of the rest of the 20th century, without competition from Japan and Germany. Heck, if the Soviet empire still fell 20 years ago, we'd still be the dominant industrial power today, because the Germans and Japanese would still have a hangover from communism (as the former East Germany does today).

We'd also be a lot more popular, since former Soviet-bloc countries are usually pro-American.

"Maybe. But Germans and Japanese, who'd been bombed and beaten all to hell, accepted the Allies as rightful victors. They knew who was boss. They felt the POWER raining down from the skies. They knew they were beaten and accepted and collaborated with the conquerors.

In Iraq, US went for surgical bombing and attacked the headquarters of Hussein and his cronies. Most Iraqis were not touched by bombs. So, most Iraqis didn't taste the hellishness of war, and so when Americans entered Baghdad, many Iraqis still had the fighting spirt to take on the occupiers."


This is a good point, and considering the huge number of Iraqis killed in the quasi-civil war that followed our invasion, overall civilian casualties for the Iraqis might have been lower had we beaten them into submission in 2003.

neil craig said...

Lend Lease probably added about 10% to Soviet power (less in terms of tanks since western tanks were crap compared to the T34 but more in terms of lorries and tinned goods, both of which are vital to keeping an army moving). Without that 10% would the USSR have lost. I suspect not but maybe.

On the other hand without 80% of German power being directed east would the US/UK have won D-day, the Battle of the Atlantic or even El Alamien - no way.

That is why picking over who saved who is rather silly - alliances save everybody.

Ted Plank said...

Japanese militarism was a truly depraved culture. While Paul Tibbets and his crew on the Enola Gay pushed a button to obliterate Hiroshima, and Curtis LeMay sent out a few hundred B-29s to also push buttons to incinerate Tokyo (the same result as Hiroshima / Nagasaki, with more manpower involved, but admittedly no post raid radiation deaths), the Imperial Japanese Army at every level inflicted millions of deaths throughout Greater East Asia in a Neanderthal, vicious fashion.

This culture needed to be humiliated and degraded in every way, and that a few hundred thousand Japanese civilians might perish to accomplish this task is small change compared to the butchery inflicted during the occupation of China (who lost 15 million killed at Japanese hands, 300,000 during one month in Nanking alone), the Philippines (Manila beat out Warsaw to be the most destroyed city of the war - 95%, thanks to bestial behavior by Japanese Navy troops who murdered and raped their way to the Yasukuni Shrine as the US Army closed in), the Kwai railway in Thailand and Burma (every mile of which was marked with hundreds of deaths of British POW's and local natives) and at all strata of their POW experience.

The 50 executed Americans noted above, having their heads chopped off when the war was over, are a perfect example of this mass psychological defect. I'd say the US was successful in rewiring the Japanese mind, one of our greatest accomplishments. During a recent poll of young Japanese, some 35% said they'd flee Japan if a foreign nation invaded, a far cry from the pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor and infantrymen who raised the Rising Sun from the Aleutians to the gates of India.

Germany lost 7 million killed during the war itself, another 2 million afterward as they were brutally ethnically cleansed out of East Prussia, Silesia and Pomerania, ancestral German lands that went back thousands of years. Japan, by contrast, lost less than 2 million, and was spared the tender mercies of Red Army occupation with all of its attendant rape and looting.

While some give a halfhearted shrug to Soviet sexual depredations after the major hecatomb made out of their nation under German occupation, it should be noted that their one week war in Manchuria was also full of general rape against the local Chinese population, and Japanese settlers.

While the two Koreas are actually morphing into a Petri dish of HG Wells Morlock and Eloi within only a few generations, Japan was spared and still has an unsullied national identity, thanks to the short, sharp application of nuclear weapons, American doggedness in the face of Soviet skullduggery (MacArthur refused Stalin's attempt to post occupation troops on mainland Japan) and skillful massaging of the Nipponese psyche post 1945.

Truly one of the better American chapters, and realized with varying degrees of gratitude by most Japanese.

If Confederate troops in their various swings through Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Pennsylvania had butchered hundreds of thousands of Unionists at the point of their bayonets, conducted gruesome medical experiments on them and sent Yankee women into sexual slavery by the tens of thousands, it would stand to reason that Lincoln and his cabinet would have obliterated Richmond by any means possible. RIght?

Even in the dark days of 1940 much of the British ruling class was sympathetic to Hitler. Churchill eking out the Prime Minister post instead of fascist sympathizer Lord Halifax is what prolonged the war and eventually made Nazi defeat possible. It was a close run thing.

Had we carpet bombed Bagdad and Kabul in manner akin to the rough handling Putin gave Grozny, there would be a lot more living Iraqis and Afghans today. Iraqis were WAITING for Americans to drop the hammer on them during the post "liberation" looting, when that never came is when everything went to Hell.

Anonymous said...

> If rebel groups can get along now and work out a plan for new Libya, this will turn into a great victory.

Which will never happen in 1000 years.

It takes a Qaddafi to rule Libya, just like it took a Saddam to rule Iraq.

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

[i]That's a crock. The German heavy AA batteries were not suitable for anti-tank work.[/i]

The German 88mm AA gun was regularly used on both fronts as an anti-tank weapon (a task that it performed well). 88mm guns were often towed along with German tank units.

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

About those crap American tanks...

The United States doctrine early in the war was to avoid engaging tanks with tanks. Dedicated "tank destroyers" (think big guns mounted on truck platform) were to be used.

The early tanks (the General Lee) were truly awful and were withdrawn from service when the Sherman tank arrived. The Sherman tank did what it was designed to do very well.. support infantry. It was never designed to go up against heavy tanks.

What the Sherman lacked in lumbering armor and firepower, it made up with maneuverability and reliability. Lack of reliability plagued the German tanks.

Anonymous said...

Certain Brits did have some sympathy for Hitler after he took power in 1933 - but this was mainly due to his anti-bolshevism and his economic success in rebuilding Germany.
But it was only later, when the true nature of his regime had been exposed did the tide of opinion turn decisevly to revulsion.The nature of the political repression, the murders, the concentration camps, the jew-baiting became well known and elicited disgust.When it became clear to all that Hitler acted like Versailles never happened and sarted bullying neighboring staes and cutting off slices piecemeal, war between Britain (and France) and Germany became inevitable.
Britain had taken enormous losses in 1914-18 and had a nightmare of a reurgent Germany reasserting itself - the Brits knew full well the nature of the German war machine and its brutality and ruthlessness.
After declaring war, what set the seal was the German submarine action at Scapa Flow (Shetland Islands) in which HMS Royal Oak was sunk with great loss of life, this came a very few days after the war's declaration.
Therewas no going back after that - despite Rudolf Hess's pathetic ministrations.

Chicago said...

Seems like there's a lot of gung-ho folks out there fascinated with war; discussions like this brings out all the Walter Mitty armchair generals. I wonder if war would still be considered glamourous by so many in our culture had the US suffered the enormous losses and destruction of the other major participants.

Anonymous said...

it must be said Americans killed almost as many Japanese as Russians killed Germans.

Unless "almost" is "less than twice", it must not be said so.

Gc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"This culture needed to be humiliated and degraded in every way, and that a few hundred thousand Japanese civilians might perish to accomplish this task is small change compared to the butchery inflicted during the occupation of China (who lost 15 million killed at Japanese hands, 300,000 during one month in Nanking alone)"

15 million for China is the high estimate. Other scholars put it at less than 5 million. But it's true Japanese were murderous in China, but no worse than Belgium in Congo. France also conducted a horrific war on Algeria. But I don't recall Belgium or France being punished by the world community for their depravity.
And Germans carried out genocide in Namibia, but I don't recall much intentional outrage over that bloody mess.

This business about Japan-deserving-what-they-got-for-what-they-did-to-Asian-nations may be true on a cosmic-moral-scale, but it's disingenuous for Americans to use that argument in defense of its actions in war. Why? Had it not been for Pearl Harbor, Americans wouldn't have given a damn about what Japanese were doing to other Asians.
Most Americans would have thought, 'it's yellows killing yellows; not our business'.

Since 1990, the war in Congo may have taken 3 to 5 million lives. But where's the moral outrage? Hutus went on a massive killing spree, but there was no morally outraged American decision to punish Hutus for what they did to Tutsis.
So, while Japanese needed to be defeated, American justifications for its 'war crimes' against Japan simply aren't convincing since Americans did NOT act in the name of saving Asians, which was at best, a side issue for most Americans. Americans acted in a spirit of vengeance and ambition to gain control of the Pacific.

And given America's conquest of the West, its war on Mexico for a massive landgrab, its taking of Hawaii, its history of slavery, and etc,--and the far worse record of Hispanic invasion in South and Central America--, it's morally dubious for Americans to be lecturing to other nations about 'imperialism'--especially since Japan learned modern imperialism from the British, Dutch, Americans, French, Russians, Germans, etc. Japanese culture may be depraved--and sick to boot--, but Japan had been content to mind its own business before the Black Ships appeared. And when Japan first began to take Korea, Taiwan, and move into Manchuria, Americans lauded those as civilizing missions, as a kind of 'honorary white man's burden'. Just as Americans and Europeans half-created Saddam Hussein, they did the same with modern Japan, egging it on as a fellow imperialist power in the club of great powers.

Anonymous said...

Granted, Anglo-imperialism was smarter--and luckier since it got an early start. Anglos generally preferred depopulated areas like the North Americas, Australia, and etc. Japan and Germany, as late-comers, sought to invade and control heavily populated high civlizations like China and Russia, which made things far crueler and bloodier.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think Americans should have worked quickly toward a conditional surrender or even cease-fire with Japan. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and had to be punished. They were punished many times over even before surrender. Its cities bombed, its navy sunk, its supplies routes cut off, politically and economically isolated, millions killed, etc. US had complete air and naval supremacy over Japan. So, even without nukes and surrender, US had got its vengeance many times over, and Japan got its comeuppance.
US should really have eyed the much bigger prize: China, whose fate would really determine the future of the Pacific. Just as US used air power and special forces to lead Northern Alliance to victory in Afghanistan--and NATO did the same to aid rebels in Libya--, US should have done the same to help the Chinese Nationalists to win the same way. Use American air power/special forces and Chinese manpower. This way, KMT would have gained firm control of China from demoralized Japanese forces. Instead, US called in Russia!!!

Anonymous said...

Had we carpet bombed Bagdad and Kabul in manner akin to the rough handling Putin gave Grozny, there would be a lot more living Iraqis and Afghans today.

What do you base that bizarre assertion on?

We carpet bombed a lot of counties, with essentially zero positive effect. How did our bombing the crap out of North Vietnam help us? How did out carpet bombing Nazi Germany advance our military goals?

We don't bomb enemy civilians any more because we discovered the hard way that it is not advantageous to do so.

Anonymous said...

considering the huge number of Iraqis killed in the quasi-civil war that followed our invasion, overall civilian casualties for the Iraqis might have been lower had we beaten them into submission in 2003.

If only we had carpet bombed the North Vietnamese, we could have "beaten them into submission" and shortened the Vietnam War. Oh, wait ...

stari_momak said...

Doesn't this all pail in comparison to the violation of Japanese and Japanese-American civil rights by the wartime relocation and internment?

Anonymous said...

The German 88 mm and 120 mm guns were both developed as AA guns, but the 88 was notorious for ripping through any tank of the war with ease, as was the 120 mm, installed on the last version of the Tiger that saw service, the Jagdtiger.

The 88 on it's AA mount (as opposed to mounted in a tank) was not a very good anti-tank weapon. It was pressed into that use in some instances early in the war, when Allied tanks suddenly appeared in unexpected places, but it did not even have the sights to aim at tanks and other ground targets. The Germans had to aim them by looking down the barrel. These guns were also designed to be reloaded with the barrel up, breech down, in typical anti-aircraft use.

These problems also apply, but even more so, to the 12.8cm AA guns with their bigger and even less mobile mounts. These guns were designed to be radar aimed. The notion that you could take a heavy AA battery from Berlin, deploy it to Normandy, and have it tear up masses of Sherman tanks is simply delusional.

These sorts of threads attract lots of amateur military experts. I'm a graduate of the US Army artillery school in Ft Sill.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer was spot on in his analysis of Japanese leadership.

Hirohito was up to his eye balls with both Unit 731 (bugs) and Unit 516 (gas) in Manchuria via his control of the funding of both.

He was also deeply involved in policy decisions on using gas in China. See:

Documents on Japanese Poison Gas Warfare in China
by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi
York University, Toronto

at this link:

http://chinajapan.org/articles/07.1/07.1wakabayashi3-33.pdf

It went on to say –

Finally, microfilmed Japanese Army documents currently scheduled for publication in Japan have been found to contain an order– “Imperial Headquarters Army Directive Number 452–dated 13 May 1939. (For some reason, the original directive cannot be located at the Self-Defense Forces Research Institute in Tokyo where these documents are housed.) According to the Asahi, which reported this finding, Japanese historians generally agree that directives of this type, called tairikushi were normally issued with Emperor Showa’s knowledge and approval. Directive Number 452 explicitly commanded field units to: “employ special material yellow and study its operational value on campaigns in occupied territory.” The code name “special material yellow” designated either iperito or lewisite. 6


Thus, this Japanese Army directive provides conclusive evidence to substantiate wartime Chinese allegations that Imperial Forces used lethal varieties of gas in addition to non-lethal types such as sneeze- or tear-gas, whose use has already been established. Furthermore, the directive proves that the Imperial high command ordered not just the deployment, but also the actual use, of those poison gases in China.

In sum, then, postwar Japanese and Chinese findings based on international archival research prove indisputably that Imperial Armed Forces received orders in the emperor’s name to engage in lethal chemical warfare against Chinese military and civilian personnel during the Fifteen-Year War. Thus these findings confirm the contentions raised in File I.B. 152-A.

Anonymous said...

I.B. 152-A was a US War Department secret report on the Japanese military gas attack on the Chinese Nationalists at Ichang, China in October 1941.

The Nationalists extensively documented the attack, which killed 600 and wounded 1,000 more, and judging from the report, had American military attaches there during the investigation. They were further supported by local Episcopal Church medical missionary reports of the treatment of wounded Chinese. These were published on Nov 26, 1941 and were picked up by American news wires and republished in the states the week before Pearl Harbor.

When the war kicked off on Dec 7, 1941. A general order from the Imperial General staff went out not to use chemicals. This was followed like a lot of Japanese General Staff orders...it was ignored when the chain of command broke down.

Between Dec 1941 and the Summer of 1944 the Japanese used "Chabin" AC blood agent gas grenades twice on western forces. Once on the 7th Hussar Tank Regiment in Burma in 1942 and twice on American troops on Guadalcanal in 1943.

When the American threat to Saipan, Guam and Tinian was developing, Premier General Tojo wanted to use chemical weapons to defend them. He was opposed by elements of the Japanese military and it didn't happen.

The only way that "opposition" could have been effective was with the support of Emperor Hirohito.

After the fall of those three islands and Tojo's government, another tairikushi was issues to remove all chemical weapon stocks from the Pacific and Burma theaters.

This was followed more rigorously, particularly in the Home Islands, but the chain of command issues still existed.

American air power disrupted logistics prevented chemical weapon removal from the Philippines. So MacArthur's 6th Army captured Japanese chemical stocks on Leyte.

During the fight for Luzon, Filipino Guerrilla’s reported to 6th Army in January – February 1945 that the Japanese garrison in Davao Mindanao had planted mustard gas land mines and tested the blood agent AC in hand grenade on dogs.

The 1st Cav. Div. then got gassed several times with vomiting agent gas candles and 75mm shells by Japanese naval suicide troops in Feb 1945 during the battle of Manila.

And finally the 24th Infantry Div. where hit by more Chabin grenades in Mindanao in May-June 1945 during the "Victor II" operations there. The American Army “Victor II” river campaign from Cebu to Davao Mindanao by General Eichelberger is much more easily explained by his need to avoid those reported but later shown as non-existent mustard gas mine fields.

Tom said...

Communists were loathed in Britain at that time too, but Stalin never threatened British interests.

Communists did threaten British interests. After the war, they changed names and tactics but not the end goal. They're the reason that Britain's indigenous people are being replaced.

Fred said...

"Americans didn't commit mass rape like Russians did in Germany"

American troops had plenty of cigarettes. If you had cigarettes, you could have had consensual sex with most German women in 1945. No need to rape them.

"it would stand to reason that Lincoln and his cabinet would have obliterated Richmond by any means possible. RIght?"

Sherman's March to the Sea was the 19th century equivalent of carpet bombing.

Anonymous said...

8/21/11 10:05 PM Anon...

Every point made is entirely counter factual.

The 88 started life as FLAK -- and was used as PAK from 1940 onward. It was the exact same gun.

Heavy bombers were routinely used to hit railyards. The very first B-17 mission was such a strike. P-47s went after locos and rolling stock -- NOT railyards. Railyards were routinely protected by lots of light FLAK. So the USAAF used the heavies -- a lot.

Speer stated, for the record, that the USAAF was his primary problem from 1943 onwards. Further, that many, many upgrades and projects were stalled or gutted by Allied air strikes.

Things like the Panther II -- impossible to transition to -- it would've corrected all of the weaknesses of the Panther.

Thwarted the scale up of the JagPanther. It was intended to produce two Jags for each Panther. It never happened.

Vast redesign forced upon Germany -- because of ball bearings shortages.

WWII was won and lost in the air. No army went anywhere without air control.

Anonymous said...

@ Neil Craig..

Your math is wrong.

Half of all copper came from America.

Half of all rails came from America.

Without tungsten carbide tool bits -- all free from America -- some via Sweden -- American paid -- her machine output collapses 80%.

It's plain that the Soviet boosters posting here aren't machinists or engineers.

I'll keep it simple: the exact same machine can speed up SEVEN TIMES on average when you shift from High Speed Steel to Tungsten Carbide.

THAT"S where the Soviet miracle came from.

We de-bottle necked their defense production.

And we didn't wait until 1944. That's pure BS.

FDR and Marshall were so concerned about the USSR that she had priority over the US Army!

American radio tubes and telephone technology entirely transformed Soviet command practices.

That's not a 10% effect, you civilian, it's utterly profound. One day the Germans are listening in on your radio signals -- the next you're not even broadcasting.

One day your tanks -- all of them -- have NO RADIOS -- the commanders have to stick their heads up and out and wave flags. (!) The next week they're talking on the radio. This was entirely due to American aid -- and it transformed the Red Army overnight from loser to can't lose.

The 80% figure is not weighted for combat power. The West sucked off (2) Panzer Armies (1) Parachute Army (!) virtually all of the Luftwaffe and the bulk of 88mm gun barrels -- of which all Eastern Commanders were screaming for more.

On a war product basis HALF of Germany's output was for the Luftwaffe. (!) Their massive army only received 45% -- their navy 5%.

The Red Army never had success until the Americans cured their weaknesses; and that happened during the Summer of 1942.

Deal with it.

Naturally Stalin never admitted that the Italian surrender was pivotal in 1943. Instead, we're fed a diet of BS about Kursk. Yeah, they won -- but at a great cost. The Italian surrender = massive advance to Kiev at ZERO COST. It also destroyed the Italian threat + enough German divisions to make a shock army.

Even today, a fact that passes as common knowledge in Italy, gets no press. The average East Front 'expert' is totally unaware of it. Like magic the Germans are stopped at Kursk -- and, blink, they're defending West of the Dnieper.

Tally it up: Hitler loses his southern flank in Russia, his ally, and has to stump up THREE new armies out of the clear blue. Two for Russia and one for Italy.

While the bulk of the ground war was in the East -- the bulk of the production war was in the West.

And WWII was a war of production.

----

There's a war bio in print -- by an SS Major. He'd risen from the ranks --been everywhere. In his opinion the absolute worst fighting risks were facing the Americans. When his division was told that they were to move east to fight Russians ( again ) morale soared. He'd rather fight 4 SS vs 32 Soviets than 4 SS vs 4 Americans. He considered the West Front suicide.

He had a reason: Bradley had an UNWRITTEN standing order. 1st priority = parachute troops; 2nd priority SS Panzers; 3rd priority SS, 4th priority Panzers; 5th priority infantry.

When Patton moved north against the Bulge he was blocked by parachute troops. The entire formation was shattered within a day and a half. He hosed them down with VT fused arty.

The Soviet success in 1944 only occurred after the West sucked all of the aircraft out of Army Group Center. That spelled curtains -- and thusly it was from AGC that the conspiracy to kill Hitler exploded.

Anonymous said...

"If only we had carpet bombed the North Vietnamese, we could have "beaten them into submission" and shortened the Vietnam War. Oh, wait"

America had a carrot and stick approach to North Vietnam. With Germany and Japan, US/UK attacked to win and conquer. It was stick and stick.
With North Vietnam, US dropped bombs not to defeat the North but to being it to the bargaining table. So, just when massive bombing was about convince the North that the war was unwinnable, US would stop the bombing and call for peace.. thus buying time for North Vietnamese yet again to recoup their losses and prepare for more war. But if US had kept bombing and attacking without respite until N. Vietnamese screamed 'enough, enough, we surrender', it might have been different.

Anonymous said...

"Seems like there's a lot of gung-ho folks out there fascinated with war; discussions like this brings out all the Walter Mitty armchair generals. I wonder if war would still be considered glamourous by so many in our culture had the US suffered the enormous losses and destruction of the other major participants."

I could have won every war in history cuz I have the benefit of hindsight. Where is that damned time machine.

Anonymous said...

The 88 on it's AA mount (as opposed to mounted in a tank) was not a very good anti-tank weapon. It was pressed into that use in some instances early in the war, when Allied tanks suddenly appeared in unexpected places, but it did not even have the sights to aim at tanks and other ground targets. The Germans had to aim them by looking down the barrel. These guns were also designed to be reloaded with the barrel up, breech down, in typical anti-aircraft use.

When you're this anti-informed -- don't post.

The described guns were made organic to panzer divisions in 1940. Rommel famously used them to stop the British. He fired them from a LIMBERED position.(!) He used them in all of his Afrika Korps battles.

They did NOT need to drop the breech. There is no end of film showing Germans loading it on the horizontal - -and firing it like mad.

The 11th Panzer Division, in 1941, had an entire AA regiment -- staffed by the Luftwaffe -- attached for the campaign. It was sent like a fire brigade to any sector troubled by KV-1s. ( The model for the Tiger I tank -- check out their specs. )

And, yes, the 88's AA sights worked perfectly in the PAK role. It wasn't until 1943 that a PAK specific 88 was introduced.

-----

Only ONE 128 PAK was ever produced. It weighed so much that it took an artillery hauling half-track to move it. It spent its final hours on the Seelow Heights.

It was quickly determined that all such barrels belonged in a tracked chassis: the JagTiger -- which was primarily used exactly like a towed PAK. It was routinely left behind whenever offensive operations were attempted.

While intended for Soviet tanks -- it never went East! Instead, they were sent to stop the Americans. Ditto for the JagPanther.

American arty was so intense that PAK teams could not survive. So the PAKs went east and the Jags went west.

Anonymous said...

Neoncon view of Asian future and America's role in it

Ted Plank said...

The 88mm anti aircraft gun owned the entire theater in an anti tank role in North Africa. British tanks, mostly armed with a 40mm gun that didn't even have a high explosive round, couldn't mount a successful assault anywhere they were present.

The 88 also went everywhere its bulky frame could be hauled during the invasion of the Soviet Union. It was the only German artillery piece that could reliably pierce the Russian T-34 and KV1 tanks that ruled the battlefield anywhere they showed up in 1941.

The 88 was the main gun on the Tiger 1, King Tiger and Jagdpanther armored fighting vehicles, all capable of dominating any Sherman, T-35/85 or JSII Stalin tank they ran across up the end of the war.

Regarding the 120mm, were it not for the bomber offensive, 120mm production would probably have been switched to cranking out more 88's and the impressive 75mm anti-tank gun.

The life expectancy of Soviet tank crews spread out over the entire 4 years was close to that of the U Boat crews - bleak. With a denser enemy anti-tank net, it would have been bleaker.

Regarding carpet bombing, someone tell me how much guerilla warfare followed in the wake of Strategic Bombing of Germany and Japan? When you see your enemy is capable of obliterating your entire existence, it sort of humbles you. At least, it would me.

Anonymous said...

Decent book on the fall of Japan and fate of Asia after WWII: In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia by Ronald Spector

DanJ said...

I served in probably the last unit in the world to use the 88 flak gun, or as we called it, the "88 ItK 37 RMB". This was at a coastal artillery installation in Finland in the 1990's.

The guns had earlier been decommissioned from AA use. They were still good for basic artillery training and target practice. We did get our money's worth from these guns, purchased in 1943. Never a problem.

scottlocklin said...

While the War Nerd's article is an excellent one, there is a Soviet Produced documentary, narrated by Burt Lancaster "the forgotten war" which is worth a looksie as well.
I think Cook's probably technically right, but understating the importance of vaporizing cities. I figure the US motivation for keeping the Yalta agreement a secret is dirt simple: they wanted the Sovs to follow through with it, and giving the Japanese a chance to shore up their defences in Manchuria would not have been the actions of a reliable ally.
This is one of these things that can never really be answered. Ask a Russian patriot, and it was Russia's invasion of Manchuria which did it. Also, they are unlikely to give Patton or American manufacturing much credit for the defeat of the Nazis. Ask an American patriot and we did it all. Ask a Japanese and .... well, Sushi anyone? The Germans will just look at their shoes and act embarrassed.

David said...

"I've heard that racism was one major reason why the A-bomb was dropped on Japan, that it would've impossible for the bomb to have been dropped on a white country like Germany, had Germany been in Japan's position."

Google Dresden. (It wasn't an A-bomb but was vastly murderous white-on-white civilian bombing.)

Svigor said...

The Germans will just look at their shoes and act embarrassed.

Why a German would act embarrassed over Germany losing a war vs. Great Britain, Russia, and America combined is anybody's guess.

RssnPtrt said...

***Ask a Russian patriot, and it was Russia's invasion of Manchuria which did it.***

Actually, not true. The prevailing view in Russia is that Japan was thoroughly defeated by the USA and 600,000 POWs taken in Manchuria was simply a final (and optional) straw.

***Also, they are unlikely to give Patton or American manufacturing much credit for the defeat of the Nazis.***

Credit where credit is due... About 10%, give or take a few.

Anonymous said...

But if US had kept bombing and attacking without respite until N. Vietnamese screamed 'enough, enough, we surrender', it might have been different.

As the "forgotten war" it isn't often recognized, but the Korean War involved heavy aerial bombing. There were about three years of heavy indiscriminate bombing and basically everything in North Korea was turned into a military target. Virtually all the towns were burned down and civilians and civilian infrastructure became targets with the specific goal of undermining civilian morale

Estimates of civilian deaths range from 2 to 5 million. LeMay himself admitted around 20% of the population was killed from the bombing. North Korea's population was around 10 million at the start of the Korean War.

David Davenport said...

Not true. If they invaded Japan, it would have been by choice, by human free will, not some inevitable natural occurrence. They could have chosen not to invade and spared millions of lives.

I don't understand that rhetoric about free choice and free will.

If the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings hadn't caused Imperial Japan to surrender, the Truman administration and the War Dept. would have gone ahead and invaded Japan on the ground:

...

"No sooner had the ink dried on the unconditional surrender document at Reims [Germany] in May 1945 than thirty American divisions, along with air corps and naval units, began rushing from Europe to join in Operation Downfall, the looming invasion of Japan. Douglas MacArthur [1880-1964] planned a two-step assault, the largest amphibious and airborn invasion that history had known. Downfall would begin with Operation Olympic--a frontal assault on Kyushu, the southernmost island, by nearly eight hundred thousand men--on November 1, 1945. The second phase, Operation Coronet--the landing by two million more troops on the largest island, Honshu--would follow on March 1, 1946 [stress added]." William B. Breuer, 1995, Feuding Allies: The Private Wars of the High Comman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), page 302.

By August 1945 the war in the Pacific was winding down, but it was not yet over. Yes the Japanese were being defeated, but their eventual defeat would be tremendously expensive in terms of Allied and Japanese lives lost, both military and civilian. Millions would have died because the Japanese people were prepared to fight to the bitter end: kamikazee planes, suicide boats, 2,350,000 military personnel, 250,000 garrison troops, and 32,000,000 men and women in the militia were "pledged, even eager, to die for the emperor" (William B. Breuer, 1995, Feuding Allies: The Private Wars of the High Command [John Wiley & Sons, Inc.], page 304.) Yes, the bomb had to be used:

"You think of the lives which would have been lost in an invasion of Japan's home islands--a staggering number of American lives but millions more of Japanese--and you thank God for the atomic bomb." William Manchester, 1979, Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War (Little, Brown and Company), page 210.
William Manchester served in the Pacific Theatre of Operations and almost every individual who attended the lectures by Giles, Urbanowicz, and Wilson on the Pacific Princess in May and June of 2005 would agree with this statement! I will also argue that every World War II veteran who who attended the lectures on the Pacific Princess cruise would also agree with William Manchester's statement!

"On 1 June [1945] the President's Interim Committee, composed of high officials and top atomic scientists, recommended that the new bomb be used again Japan as soon as possible, without warning, and against a target that would reveal its 'devastating strength.' A well-considered alternative, to drop one bomb on a relatively uninhabited part of Japan, after due warning, in order to demonstrated the uselessness of further struggle, was rejected. It was feared that Japan would move in Allied P.O.W.s as 'guinea pigs'; and nobody could predict whether or not the bomb would work. If, after a warning, it proved a dud, the United States would be placed in a ridiculous position. And anyone who has followed our account of the senseless destruction and suffering inflicted by the kamikazes around Okinawa will appreciate the fact that compassion for Japan formed no factor in this decision [stress added]." Samuel Eliot Morison, 1960, Victory in the Pacific: 1945 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company), pages 339-340.

...


WORLD WAR II ENDS!

Anonymous said...

In the discussion about Ostfront war technology there's a critical factor that gets neglected - intelligence. The "Lucy' spy ring funneling information to the Soviet provided details on Operation Citadel, the '43 Kursk offensive. The Soviets were thoroughly prepared when it eventually came. The Germans on the other hand were completely in the dark.

Fred said...

""If only we had carpet bombed the North Vietnamese, we could have "beaten them into submission" and shortened the Vietnam War. Oh, wait""

We didn't bomb North Vietnam the way we bombed Germany. Our air strikes in North Vietnam were mostly limited to military targets. We also avoided some obvious targets (their dam system) that could have caused massive civilian casualties.

Anonymous said...

Google Dresden. (It wasn't an A-bomb but was vastly murderous white-on-white civilian bombing.)

The RAF did the larger part of the Dresden bombing and killing.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know what that's supposed to mean. I imagine that very few Germans or Japanese looked on the Allies as 'rightful victors'".

I don't mean it in the moral sense. I mean it like... after a boxing match, the guy who gets whupped real bad admits that the victorious fighter was the 'better man'. Not better morally but better in being BADASS!!
Germany and Japan--military and civilians--both got beat so bad that they knew who the new boss was. Germans knew Soviets were not mess with, and Japanese knew Americans really meant business. When the war ended, no one had a heart to lead an insurgency.

Anonymous said...

The 88mm anti aircraft gun owned the entire theater in an anti tank role in North Africa.

I guess you mean "Other than the actual guns mounted in the German tanks, which were basically all 50mm or 75mm. And other than the German anti-tank guns mounted as SP guns - the Sturmgeschütz and Jadgpanzers, which mounted 75mm guns almost exclusively."

I believe that one battalion of Tiger tanks saw service in North Africa, and on occasion the anti-aircrat 88's were pressed into service in an anti-tank role. But the majority of Allied AFV's destroyed in Europe and NAfrica were knocked out by guns other than the 88.


someone tell me how much guerilla warfare followed in the wake of Strategic Bombing of Germany and Japan

Irrelevant. Guerrilla warfare has exactly nothing to do with strategic bombing. There wasn't a lot of guerrilla warfare after Russia took over Poland, but not because Poland was carpet bombed.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know what that's supposed to mean. I imagine that very few Germans or Japanese looked on the Allies as 'rightful victors'".

It's also like Jack Johnson thing. White people simply couldn't believe that the black man was the heavyweight champion of the world. So, they looked for the great white hope. But when Johnson mauled Jim Jeffries and totally humiliated and reduced him to a pile of sorryassness, whites people then knew Johnson was the champ, and the white man had been forever defeated by the negro who was now the alpha male badass. When a people get beat REAL BAD, they really lose heart. And Jack Johnson did to white male pride what B-29s did to Japanese national pride. Japanese were beaten so badly that soon after surrender, most Japanese were relieved than bitter. And Japanese women were lining up to go with American GIs while defeated Japanese males could only watch as wussies.

Japanese lost heart when bomb after bomb rained downon Japan. They knew the Great Anglo-American was the most fearsome mofo on the planet... at least until Jews did the Judo move on the wasp and became the new boss.

Anonymous said...

The 88 was the main gun on the Tiger 1, King Tiger and Jagdpanther armored fighting vehicles, all capable of dominating any Sherman, T-35/85 or JSII Stalin tank they ran across up the end of the war.

All manufactured in tiny quantities - under 500 Tiger II's, 1,300 Tiger I's, and 400 JagdPanthers. Germany built about 11,000 StuG III's and IV's, 9,000 Pz IV's, and 6,000 Panthers, which did the bulk of the real world fighting. Only war geeks obsess over the "freaks" - Germany wasted a lot of time and effort on some strange and unproductive projects.

Anonymous said...

Germany and Japan--military and civilians--both got beat so bad that they knew who the new boss was.


That's a really, really goofy way to look at a war. We didn't beat the British - both military and civilians - so bad that they knew who the new boss was in 1776 or 1812. How come?

We didn't beat the Spanish - both military and civilians - so bad that they knew who the new boss was in 1898. What's up with that? US leadership were not properly briefed on the anonymous internet commenters rules of war?

The North Koreans did not beat America - both military and civilians - so bad that they knew who the new boss was in 1975. It's really inexplicable, isn't it?

The thing is that though you are trying to apply street fight rules to international conflict, you don't even know the rules of street fighting. I've been in more than my share of fights, and the object is virtually never to "beat the other guy so bad that they know who the new boss is".

Back when the typical American male actually got in fist-fights from time to time, there was a more intelligent assessment of violence, its purpose, and its limitations. These days we have to listen to keyboard warriors who'd break down and cry if somebody punched them in the nose doing their impression of Genghis Khan and lusting for the lamentation of the women and the massacre of the innocents.

Anonymous said...

We didn't bomb North Vietnam the way we bombed Germany. Our air strikes in North Vietnam were mostly limited to military targets. We also avoided some obvious targets (their dam system) that could have caused massive civilian casualties.

Nor like the way we bombed Korea during the "forgotten war".

The Korean War involved about 3 years of heavy indiscriminate bombing. Basically everything became a military target including civilians and infrastructure such as large irrigation dams that provided water for 75% of North Korea's food production were bombed.

LeMay himself admitted the bombing killed around 20% of the population and said that they had "burned down every town in North Korea" (http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1995/06/19/1995_06_19_047_TNY_CARDS_000370012). Estimates of civilian deaths range from 2 to 5 million. North Korea's population was around 10 million at the start of the Korean War.

Anonymous said...

We didn't bomb North Vietnam the way we bombed Germany. Our air strikes in North Vietnam were mostly limited to military targets. We also avoided some obvious targets (their dam system) that could have caused massive civilian casualties.

The bombing survey that was done of WW2 showed that German morale wasn't hurt by the bombing but was stiffened, and that German industrial production actually went up rather than down in the context of the bombing. It suggested that bombing wasn't that effective at stopping supply lines. It showed that bombing was just good for destroying cities. The experience of the heavy bombing leveled against North Korea that ultimately wasn't that effective suggests similar conclusions.

neil craig said...

Anonymous' "On a war product basis HALF of Germany's output was for the Luftwaffe. (!) Their massive army only received 45% -- their navy 5%" would certainly be strong evidence that the contributions were balanced if proven. However since, after 1940 the German's never came close to being able to match Allied air power it seems counterintuitive. Perhaps you could provide evidence.

I also think your assessment of the loss of an Italina "Shock army" massively overestimates the military contribution of the Italians, whose record was not of success.
---------------
As regards the 88

"The greatest single tank destroyer is the German 88 MM anti-aircraft gun. For example, on May 27th at 8:00 AM., Axis forces having enveloped Bir Hacheim, a German tank force of sixty tanks attacked the British 22nd Brigade some distance to the northeast. The British moved to attack this force with 50 light and medium American tanks. It soon became apparent that this British force was inadequate and the Brigadier commanding ordered a second regiment of 50 tanks into action. In ten minutes the 88 MM German AA guns destroyed 8 American medium tanks of this reinforcing regiment. All day thereafter the British engaged the enemy half-heartedly and finally withdrew. Sixteen American medium tanks were lost in all. These sixteen fell victims without a single exception to the 88 MM AA gun."

http://www.lonesentry.com/tacticalstudy/index.html

Anonymous said...

"The bombing survey that was done of WW2 showed that German morale wasn't hurt by the bombing but was stiffened, and that German industrial production actually went up rather than down in the context of the bombing."

Initially yes, but after series of bombings, Germans had enough of it, especially in cities that got bombed. I can't imagine people in Hamburg and Dresden just loving the war after they'd been bombed out--and it dawn on them that Allies had gained air supremacy over their country. Also, those industrial production figures, it turns out, were vastly exaggerated by Speer. WAGES OF DESTRUCTION spells it out pretty much.

Anonymous said...

"Far from being the revival of some medieval dream of conquest sparked by the example of the Teutonic Knights, Hitler’s drive to conquer Eastern Europe was based on a very modern model, a model of colonization, enslavement, and extermination that had its parallels in the creation of European empires in Africa and Australia, or the nineteenth-century Russian conquest of Central Asia and Siberia."

And of course, later, the conquest of Palestine by Jews.

Anonymous said...

"The media is playing this up to give more credit to the communists for "winning" WW2 (a pyrrhic victory if there ever was one). The Europeans have already rewritten history to make the USSR responsible for beating Germany. Of course the USSR would not have survived without Lend Lease and the Western Front, and was the worst of all the parties involved in the war in terms of total body count, and in "victory" imposed a communist regime over Eastern Europe."

Holy shit, how callous are you? The Soviets DID beat Hitler, and not the U.S. The evidence? Over 30 MILLION Russians died in WWII compared to only 300,000 Americans, and 85% of the total casualties in WWII were German and Russian. Not only that, but ALL the biggest battles of WWII were between the Germans and Soviets. FACTS. Get over it. Stop believing the Hollywwod bullshit. Even if the U.S had never entered Europe in WWII, Germany would have been beaten anyeway. When the U.S entered in July, 1945, Germany was already on it's knees and would have lost even if the U.S had never entered the war.

Anonymous said...

"Why a German would act embarrassed over Germany losing a war vs. Great Britain, Russia, and America combined is anybody's guess."

Exactly. The Germans lost to sheer numbers ONLY. The Wehrmacht would have kicked the ass of the U.S army, the Red Army and the RAF single-handedly, but it could not possibly win against the combined push of the Red Army from the East, the constant bombings of the RAF over it's Ruhr industry, and the U.S pushing from the West. Too much for a country the size of Texas with barely 20% of the population of it's combined enemies to handle. And the Russians, Americans and British should be ASHAMED that it took them six years to break that little country. Epic incompetence. Oh, and the U.S needs to be on trial for war crimes for what it did to Dresden. A complete slaughter of a civilian polulation, half of which were children under the age of ten, for NO reason whatsoever except to show strength.

Anonymous said...

I also think your assessment of the loss of an Italina "Shock army" massively overestimates the military contribution of the Italians, whose record was not of success.

Craig...

You missed the point entirely.

Their 'contribution' to the war in the East was to lay down their arms -- with no notice to the Germans -- one fine Summer day -- leaving a staggering door 80 miles wide in the center-South Ukraine.

Next, with no ammo expenditure -- nor lost vehicles or tanks -- the Soviets drive straight on to Keiv. Imagine: the biggest advance of the war without firing a shot.

The German units nearest the surrender zone were enveloped en masse by Soviet spearheads.

It was Stalingrad redux for the Germans -- for the Soviets is was a gift from the West.

The lack of fighting denied Stalin any heroic imagery. Indeed, it's embarrassing to let the world know that the West destroyed the German position in the East via this mechanism.

Hitler had to replace the Italians -- that's one army.

He had to replace the lost Germans -- that's army number two.

He had to shunt a Panzer Army into Italy to greet the Anglo-Americans -- that's army number three.

So the Italian surrender was TWICE as bleeding as the fiasco at Stalingrad.

Deal with it.

BTW, this reality makes everyone uncomfortable -- which is why it is not a video on the History Channel.

(It embarrasses the USSR. It is not helpful to the NATO alliance. It became a tabooed reality.)

Anonymous said...

"Why a German would act embarrassed over Germany losing a war vs. Great Britain, Russia, and America combined is anybody's guess."

You can't be this stupid!

1. German shame in WWII is moral than military-related. Germans are not ashamed for having lost; they are ashamed for the reasons they fought: to enslave and exterminate 'subhumans'.
There is no shame in losing to bigger/larger forces. But there is shame in moral degradation.

2. Though German military was the best pound-for-pound, war isn't only about fighting spirit and military might but about decision-making. Hitler militarily did most things right until June 1941 when he attacked Russia, and then he made one fatal mistake after another. And then, Germany didn't just loser but was raped/mauled toward defeat. There is no shame in a big strong guy getting beat up by 20 smaller guys; the strong guy was simply overwhelmed. But if the big strong guy DECIDED to take on 20 guys, there is shame in his stupidity. Hitler's decision to invade USSR--and then declare war on US when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor--was stupid. And the fact that Germans worshiped that lunatic as a god and invested their entire future in his hands is shameful too.

3. German hubris paved the way toward massive psychological trauma. WWII wasn't an ordinary war between nations. Germans had pumped themselves with hyper-pride in being the best, invincible, unbeatable(it was said WWI would have been won too if not for the 'stab in the back'), and etc. Though Germans were the best soldiers, they were not gods. But Hitler and Germans made themselves believe as though they were gods. So, it was humiliating to be brought back down to ground, especially by men deemed to be 'subhuman'. Worse, Russian 'subhumans' raped superior 'Aryan' women in huge numbers,and the so-called 'Aryan' supermen could do nothing but stand around and watch(and pee in their pants like scaredy cats).
Because of their vastly inflated self-image, defeat in WWII was a huge psychologial blow to Germans. They were bound to feel shame.

Svigor said...

Actually, you can make a strong case that Germany's invasion of Russia was a very near thing. If they'd zigged instead of zagged, they could very well have taken Moscow. And this isn't just hindsight; Hitler's generals were begging to zig.

The Russians coming out on top doesn't strike me as inevitable. If the Germans had taken Moscow, Russia could very well have collapsed. All the rail lines led to Moscow.

Anonymous said...

those industrial productions figures, it turns out, were vastly exaggerated by Speer


The loonies are coming out of the woodwork now.

Anonymous said...

It's also like Jack Johnson thing. White people simply couldn't believe that the black man was the heavyweight champion of the world. So, they looked for the great white hope. But when Johnson mauled Jim Jeffries and totally humiliated and reduced him to a pile of sorryassness, whites people then knew Johnson was the champ, and the white man had been forever defeated by the negro who was now the alpha male badass. When a people get beat REAL BAD, they really lose heart. And Jack Johnson did to white male pride what B-29s did to Japanese national pride.



Isn't there some rule that stupid people can't post on the internet?

No?

Well, there should be.

David said...

>The RAF did the larger part of the Dresden bombing and killing.<

Would they have, had they known that the heirs of their victory would be the London rioters, the chavs, and the sharia pakis? Probably: perfidious Albion.

Reg Cæsar said...

And of course, later, the conquest of Palestine by Jews. --anonymous

Yeah, those Semites sure know their stuff when it comes to conquest.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't there some rule that stupid people can't post on the internet?
No? Well, there should be."

That is called political correctness when manifested on the left and denial of reality when manifested on the right.

And as with Starkey, when people can't face the stark truth, they just call it 'shupid'.

But look at the social and cultural reality today regarding race relations, and it cannot be denied. Blacks FEEEEEEEL the rage and power, and whites are so afraid and traumatized of blacks that they resort to calling them 'youths'.

Gc said...

Italians lost to Ethiopians armed with camels. It`s weird how it seems that across the pond the French are the poor soldiers. In fact the operation Barbadossa was delayed because Hitler have to save Mussolini`s ass in Greece. Greco-Italian war.
What contributed to the Germany`s loss was also that their troops were everywhere occupying various countries and that it was very difficult to supply the troops so far in Russia. Some say that the reason why Stalin didn`t try to continue his attack to Paris and beyond was that the Red Army`s supply was already as far streched that it could be in Berlin.
It was widely believed that after Normandy the Nazi Germany would be done in almost instantly, but it took still another year. There were even some bad moments during the Battle of Bulge.
The reason for Germany`s poor production (of planes in particular) is often attributed to Goering who Hitler didn`t wan`t to sack off no matter what. Finally after Speer took over those production numbers started to skyrocket even when there was a very heavy bombing going on.

Anonymous said...

"I've heard that racism was one major reason why the A-bomb was dropped on Japan, that it would've impossible for the bomb to have been dropped on a white country like Germany, had Germany been in Japan's position."

The idea that race difference elicited more intense and hostile attitudes towards the Japanese than towards the Germans isn't unreasonable. It's what you'd predict from sociobiology and there's empirical support for it:

http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2011/08/american-white-awareness-during-world-war-ii/#more-10095

Anonymous said...

It isn't either one or the other.

The Russians did the bulk of destroying the manpower and armour of the German Wermacht. It's easily evident in observing the Order of Battle during the continuous campaigns in the East.

However, without involvement by Western Allies, the situation may have been fatal for Stalin.

The units that were deployed to the West , to counter African, Italian and French invasion, siphoned off the cream of the German Army.

Rommels Afrika Corp.. in the end ground down to dust or surrendered en masse. Italy : SS Panzer, Fallschirmjager ( elite parachute infantry ) , Panzer Grenadier , Mountain divisions and specialty units like the Panzer Lehr and Herman Goering divsions.

One has to realize that every time a unit , especially Elite unit, suffered high attrition -- the replacements of equal calibre became increasingly hard to acquire . Eventually the close to 40 SS divisions created, stripped the Wermacht of top line commanders ( equiv. sargeant, lieutenant etc ). By the end of 1944 the Elite units were just shadows of themselves despite this.

Now, consider if the West basically stayed out, and these units were available to Hitler for deployment to the East. Considering how many times the Elite formations pulled Wermacht ass out of the fire, by offensive bold strokes or defensively brilliant actions; it's entirely plausible that Hitler could have prevailed. ( leaving aside his idiotic Strategic command ability -- for example.. getting sucked into a Grudge match at Stalingrad over ego , when a typical enveloping action could have taken it all quicker and with very little loss compared to city fighting )