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The forgotten end of the second world war

daftandbarmy

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An interesting reveal in some history that may have been too much neglected .

The forgotten end of the second world war | The Spectator
Two weeks ago, VJ day (Victory over Japan day) celebrated the end of the Pacific War. On 15 August 1945 Emperor Hirohito, with his high-pitched voice and arcane royal language, which was heard by his people for the first time, announced Japan’s surrender. Huddled around their radios the Japanese heard Hirohito say:
‘We have ordered our government to communicate to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration [The Potsdam Declaration 26 July 1945, signed by President Truman, Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai Shek, ordered Japan’s unconditional surrender or face ‘prompt and utter destruction’]… The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage… the Enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb [the atom bomb used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki]… should we continue to fight, it would result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but it would also lead to the total extinction of human civilisation.’
Thus, Hirohito’s curmudgeonly acceptance of defeat ended with the implication that Japan’s surrender was not only to save itself but also ‘selflessly’ to save mankind. The emperor’s description of America’s ‘cruel bomb’ also helped set up Japan’s post-war narrative of victimhood.

So, the Pacific war and indeed the second world war ended on 15 August 1945? Wrong. Heavy fighting continued until 2 September and incurred, in just three weeks, the deaths of an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 people, including tens of thousands of Japanese civilians who died of illness and starvation. In aggregate, this was about the same number of British people who died during five years of war in Europe.

Reflecting the usual western centric view of the second world war it is largely forgotten in the narrative of the second world war that our allies, the Soviet Union, continued to fight Japan after 15 August 1945 in areas as far afield as Mongolia, Siberia, Manchuria (Manchukuo), North Korea, the southern half of Sakhalin and the Kuril islands.

 
The narrative about the use of the A Bombs constantly is changing. It seems several "historians" cannot determine or appreciate that the man - Harry Truman - who approved the use of the first one was in between a rock and a hard place. Many view the events of 1945 with lenses from 2023.
 
The narrative about the use of the A Bombs constantly is changing. It seems several "historians" cannot determine or appreciate that the man - Harry Truman - who approved the use of the first one was in between a rock and a hard place. Many view the events of 1945 with lenses from 2023.

Target selection was the question.

Kyoto was top of the list, but replaced by Nagasaki.

My RMT is from Kyoto, and I have visited it. Beautiful city.

Even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
While the Japanese war cabinet argued about whether to surrender, and on what terms, the U.S. Army Strategic Air Force on Guam and Tinian geared up for a thousand-plane raid upon the Empire. It would be the last air raid of the Second World War.
 
The narrative about the use of the A Bombs constantly is changing. It seems several "historians" cannot determine or appreciate that the man - Harry Truman - who approved the use of the first one was in between a rock and a hard place. Many view the events of 1945 with lenses from 2023.
The narrative provided on the A-bomb in the first place was flawed and purposely omitted a bunch of information to paint America in a better light.

They purposely hid the aftermath from the public. Secretly studying the effects of the radiation on the civilians effected well pretending to the world there was nothing after the bomb was dropped. They were afraid the public would turn against future usage of it if they knew the consequences (not to mention fear of a Geneva convention violation because of using them).

Civilians affected were treated terribly. Lack of proper medical care due to lack of knowledge and the US purposely not telling them it was radiation. The Japanese initially thought it was a follow up disease/chemical attack the US had used causing the effects. The US and Japanese governments also refused to pay anything until the 50s to the survivors. Up until the late 1970s they didn’t publicly acknowledge the effects, it was a conspiracy theory until that point.

WWII is only starting to be studied impartially. The survivors of the war are all basically dead and now there is less reason to try and paint everything in a positive light. Much like how WWI didn’t start being studied properly until recently. Still a decade or two out from a real impartial view due to most Western countries having a lot of bias in maintaining the status quo, but we are getting there.

The modern world was made in the aftermath of WWII, how anyone can think we wouldn’t paint that history in our favour is beyond me.
 
WWII is only starting to be studied impartially. The survivors of the war are all basically dead and now there is less reason to try and paint everything in a positive light. Much like how WWI didn’t start being studied properly until recently. Still a decade or two out from a real impartial view due to most Western countries having a lot of bias in maintaining the status quo, but we are getting there.

The modern world was made in the aftermath of WWII, how anyone can think we wouldn’t paint that history in our favour is beyond me.
 
Keep in mind timelines. Particularly in relation to strategic bombing of Japan. The Allies began bombing Germany before the entry of the Americans in the war, but the most effective phase of strategic bombing only began in late '42 and into '43. The air war against the Japanese homeland (not counting the propaganda benefit of the Doolittle raid in '42) didn't begin until the B-29 was available and even then there were delays until the Americans secured airfields that were in range of the Japanese islands. The first raids happened in June '44, originating in India with refueling stops in China, but that only put them only in range of a few coastal areas and effectiveness of those raids was insignificant. It wasn't until November '44 with the successful Marianas campaign that the Americans established airfields from which they could launch an effective bombing campaign against Japan. The first few months were only moderately successful, until March '45, when there was a change of focus to nighttime firebombing raids against the cities. Those were more successful. The atomic bombs were five months later.

In one of those "what if' questions . . . What if development of the atomic bomb had been quicker, say by a year? In August 1944, the Americans weren't in bomber range of Tokyo (or any of the other main cities), but were daily dropping ordnance on Germany . . . would they have dropped it on Berlin?
 
In one of those "what if' questions . . . What if development of the atomic bomb had been quicker, say by a year? In August 1944, the Americans weren't in bomber range of Tokyo (or any of the other main cities), but were daily dropping ordnance on Germany . . . would they have dropped it on Berlin?

I don't know.

By the summer 1944, the strategic bombers were mostly working in support of Operation Overlord in Normandy under Gen. Eisenhower. The Transportation Plan was a priority.

Berlin was heavily defended. An especially difficult target in summer.

There were no B 29s in Europe. Would have had to use a Bomber Command Lancaster and crew.

From what Gen. Groves said, he never seriously considered it. He did discuss it with President Roosevelt, however

Of course, FDR would have had the final word.

This was the briefing for RCAF Bomber Command crews for Dresden,

Dresden, the seventh largest city in Germany and not much smaller than Manchester is also the largest unbombed builtup area the enemy has got. In the midst of winter with refugees pouring westward and troops to be rested, roofs are at a premium, not only to give shelter to workers, refugees, and troops alike, but to house the administrative services displaced from other areas. At one time well known for its china, Dresden has developed into an industrial city of first-class importance ... The intentions of the attack are to hit the enemy where he will feel it most, behind an already partially collapsed front, to prevent the use of the city in the way of further advance, and incidentally to show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do.

Ref: Battlefields in the Air: Canadians in Bomber Command
Page 152.

As far as poison gas attacks against Germany were concerned, they did not happen.

But, several Bomber Command squadrons were specially trained to carry them out.

General Eisenhower was strongly opposed.

Ref: Bomber Command by Sir Max Hastings page 287
 
In one of those "what if' questions . . . What if development of the atomic bomb had been quicker, say by a year? In August 1944, the Americans weren't in bomber range of Tokyo (or any of the other main cities), but were daily dropping ordnance on Germany . . . would they have dropped it on Berlin?
That in itself is a very good question that we can speculate on but we will never know the answer. One can argue that "the Jerries look like us so we won't drop it on them" and that "the Japs are savages anyways" (which we know is untrue) so it may not have been dropped on Berlin.
 
Although true we will never know, I doubt Churchill (and possibly Stalin) would have allowed it and, yes, racism would have probably played a part in it. The apparent calculus of the losses to do an amphibious landing on Japan were quite frightening; whereas landings on Europe were on defended but occupied lands.
 
That in itself is a very good question that we can speculate on but we will never know the answer.

Gemeral Groves and Secretary Stimson met face to face with President Roosevelt on 30 or 31 Dec., 1944.

Just before FDR departed for the Yalta Conference.

The president was "quite disturbed" over the Battle of the Bulge.

According to Gen. Groves, ( in his book, "Now it Can Be Told" ) "President Roosevelt said if we had bombs before the Eurpoean war was over he would like to drop them on Germany, as well as Japan."

Groves explained to the president it would be very difficult, even if the bomb was ready in time, to bomb Germany, for various reasons.

The main one being that Germany still had a very strong aerial defence.

If the B 29 was introduced to Europe, Germany would take every and any risk to to bring one down so they could examine it.

Using a Lancaster with an RAF ( possibly RCAF ) crew ( Groves: "Which I am sure the Prime Minister would have been glad to make available to us." ) to drop an American bomb would not have pleased Gen. Arnold, and created difficulties.

Gen. Groves: "Mr. Roosevelt told me to be ready to do it." ( Germany )

As far as "daily dropping ordnance on Germany" in 1944,

In March 1944 70% of Bomber Commnands bombs had been dropped on Germany.

By April, this proportion fell to well under half.

In May, to less than a quarter.

In June, "to neglible proprations."

In May 1944, Eisenhower formally notified Roosevelt and Marshall that he considered the Tranportation Plan "indispensible" to "get ashore and stay there."

The bombing of Germany was no longer the priority it had been since "The Battle of Berlin".

"We can wreck Berlin from end to end if the USAAF will come in on it. It will cost between 400-500 aircraft. It will cost Germany the war."

As one Commander put it, "Berlin won. It was too tough a nut to crack."
 
If we forget the present ways of thinking and think like 1940s persons.
The Second World War had been waging in some place for almost 8 years in places. Japan and China had been fighting since 07 July 1937.
Various sources China reporting over 20 million dead, Japan 1.1 to 1.9 million troops dead, Taiwan another 9 plus million, wounded, killed, missing military and civilians etc.

Add in the Allied numbers in the Pacific, you have almost the population of Canada today, dead or wounded.

People were tired of war, tired of death, and tired of the cost of the war.
The USA had spent over $341 Billion on the war, Canada had spent almost $16 Billion ( USA Dollars in 1939 to 1945 dollars) Canada's population in 1945 was almost 12 million persons ( $1330 per Canadian ) Total spent by the Allies on the Second World War is some where around 1,301.316 billion dollars. ( that is a number I have no clue what it really means, it is just very big) .

Dropping the bomb looked a cheap solution to a 8 year old conflict, and draining every country's treasury and killing a huge chunk of their population.

Had they yet this drag on to a full blown invasion of main land Japan, and the outer islands, the death toil is estimated in the millions, Amercians were tired of the war, and they were the last super power standing and they had the means to end the war bring their troops home. 24 men on 2 planes ended the war for the Americans.

The human estimated cost of the invasion was the thing that made the bombing happen, and the fact the US had to show the world they had the power. Mistrust of the USSR was factor. Showing the bombing as a warning to the USSR.

The idea of dropping one today is clouded by what they saw 78 years ago.
 
Meh! He had two DSOs for gallantry in WW1 so he gets a bye. He only messed up the Japanese copy.

:D

If he gets a bye does Harry Truman get one too?

Harry S. Truman enlisted for service in World War I with the National Guard and received his commission as a first lieutenant, Battery F, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Missouri National Guard, on June 22, 1917. On September 5, 1917, Truman’s regiment was called into federal service as the 129th Field Artillery Regiment. Truman was promoted to captain on April 23, 1918. He commanded Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery in France during the War. Truman was honorably discharged on May 6, 1919. He received his commission as a major in the Officers’ Reserve Corps in 1920. Truman remained an officer in the Field Artillery Reserve until he retired with the rank of colonel on January 31, 1953.
 
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