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The Japanese WWII Philosophy: Fuel Is Expensive, Life Is Cheap
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      In my review of the current movie Midway, I opined in passing that in June 1942, the Japanese Zero carrier plane might have been “perhaps the best fighter in the world at the time.” The Zero was extremely light and thus had outstanding range and maneuverability in dogfights.

      Commenter Hun in the Sun counters:

      Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

      This ties into a general theme of the war between Japan and America. The Japanese militarists theorized that because to them, their lives were cheap, they would defeat the cowardly Americans who did shameful things like put armor protection around their pilots and make self-sealing gas tanks that wouldn’t erupt into flames when hit. The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.

      The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset. For example, of the 80 Doolittle Raiders who participated in the longshot bombing raid on Japan in April 1942, 73 got home (although the Japanese made sure the Chinese paid a terrible price for helping them).

      The Japanese didn’t formally adopt the kamikaze idea until late 1944 but you can see it implicit in a number of decisions they made, such as to not offer their pilots much protection from being shot up. It was honorable to die for the Emperor.

      But human capital is not infinite.

      As George S. Patton observed,

      “No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.”

      And, in fact, the Japanese ran out of good pilots during the war. Probably the moment when Japan had its best set of carrier pilots during WWII was at 7 AM on December 7, 1941. It was all downhill for them from there because they’d used up their best pilots by June 1942, and they couldn’t train pilots well during wartime, probably mostly because they didn’t have the fuel for training flights.

      Also, the American pilots tended to get better as they gained experience in battle, while the Japanese pilots tended to get deader.

      My impression is the Japanese were bad at training in WWII. They tended to brutalize trainee pilots, hit them with baseball bats and stupid stuff like that, because that’s what superiors do to inferiors. In contrast, Americans more or less thought cocky young guys made the best pilots.

       
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      1. I highly recommend the book Tennozan by George Fiefer, about the battle of Okinawa and the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. Incredible stuff. It includes a funny story of a Kamikaze pilot who, after the sacramental saki and everything, took to the skies on his mission, but doubled back and strafed his celebratory comrades before actually heading out.

      2. Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

        • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
        Correct.

        I hope that all of Steve's readers are aware that Franklin Roosevelt deliberately forced Japan to go to war.
        , @bomag

        a desperate attempt at self defense
         
        Manchuria much?

        They wanted an empire; maybe we did them a favor, since empires don't age well.
        , @anonymous

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.
         
        Alternately, they could have simply not attempted to have a giant empire spanning East Asia and the Pacific, brutalizing the conquered societies to an unprecedented level. Just a thought.
        , @AnotherDad

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

         
        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You're actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in--a very nasty--imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don't do it ... no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian ... imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade--the post-War American system--they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China--a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it's naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia--now fading--pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan's imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form "self-defense".
        , @Hypnotoad666

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.
         
        John Toland's classic The Rising Sun does a good job of describing the "decision" to go to war by the Emperor's privy council. It was basically a tragi-comedy of group think and cowardice in the bizarre context of Japan's stilted traditions surrounding the Emperor.

        The Emperor was theoretically the decision-maker but tradition and ritual prevented a free flow of information or any debate or disagreement in his presence. The Emperor's communications were deliberately cryptic. No one could tell what the Emperor wanted or had approved -- for example, was he approving statement and plans by his silence? Certainly no one could step out and play the role of "devil's advocate" or hypothesize all the things that could go wrong. Being "dovish" was also discouraged as doves tended to get assassinated by fanatical military cadets. (Although, interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, Tojo was one of the skeptics of the war option).

        As a result, the process of acquiescence over successive council meetings slowly moved the contingency plan into the default outcome that would occur unless the Americans made (highly unlikely) concessions in diplomatic talks. So Japan stumbled into a war with a vastly more powerful adversary with (as Steve notes), no "exit plan" whatsoever -- basically, it was "we attack, we win military victories, then something good will happen."

        As the coda to this debacle, I can't recommend enough John Dower's Pulitzer-Prize winning Ebracing Defeat. One of the reasons the Japanese were able to psychologically embrace the New Order was their total disillusionment with the stupidity and futility of the War Regime.

        https://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Defeat-Japan-Wake-World/dp/0393320278/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Japan+occupation&qid=1575576917&s=books&sr=1-3
      3. Also, the American pilots tended to get better as they gained experience in battle, while the Japanese pilots tended to get deader.

        Mostly deader or completely deader?

        • Replies: @moke357
        yes like sort of pregnate.
        , @iffen
        Mostly.

        As a group more of the pilots got completely dead so the trend for the group was toward mostly deader.
        , @Hamlet's Ghost
        Most deadest.
      4. “Samurai,” by Saber Sakai, is an excellent book on the air war in the Pacific from a top Japanese ace who survived. Japan was so short of trained pilots that at the war’s end Sakai was still flying missions though he had lost an eye in combat. Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.

        • Replies: @Lot
        “ Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.”

        This speaks well of the character of Americans and Japanese.
        , @J.Ross
        Saburo Sakai was an amazing guy who, due to the completely brainless restrictions the Japanese placed on themselves, never got a promotion or a medal, and had to stoop behind officers in the chow line; in our service he'd be at least a colonel.
        He encountered the new variation of the Wildcat with an aft-facing gun: he took a severe drubbing, including an injury to one eye, but managed his way back to base through hours of unimaginable agony, insisted on reporting before receiving aid (to prevent more pilots meeting the same trap -- here is a guy you drink to, no matter the uniform), then agonized through eye surgery which, thanks to the wartime circumstances, did not bother with anaesthesia.
        And after that he still wanted back in the fight.
        I suggest checking out Tamaichi Hara's Japanese Destroyer Captain. Hara is something like the surface fleet equivalent of Sakai's airborn mastery, but unlike Sakai, he's a university man, an intellectual (before the war, Hara invented a new type of undetectable torpedo which proved invaluable), and also much more subversive and critical. There is a hilarious rudder episode which I shall not spoil.
        --------
        It really is amazing to grow up in the 80s with the idealized robot-attended cyberpunk image of the Technological Japanese, and then read John Dower's must-buy Embracing Defeat, and see that the Japanese focus on tech was a reaction to being defeated by the nation of Ford, Edison, and Lindburgh; that before this, the Japanese self-conception was pretty much something a young John Milius or Boris Vellejo would jot down during a boring algebra class, aspiring at its best to be pure Robert E Howard.
        We will defeat them -- because we will it!
        ...
        Where do [they] get those wonderful toys?
        , @Veracitor
        Saburo Sakai info (good): https://www.historynet.com/samurai-of-the-air.htm. I recommend Sakai’s/Caidin’s book too (described at link).

        Backs up Steve’s analysis (of course).
        , @anonselly
        Can anyone imagine a German soldier every being able to go to WWII reunion? hahha haha
        hahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahha
        Going to their reunion, a likable fellow, now that's privaledge.
      5. American pilots were sent home (to be instructors sometimes) after they completed a certain number of missions. Japanese and German pilots flew until they were killed.

        • Replies: @moke357
        yes, "in for the duration". None of this "rotation" nonsense.
        , @Jack D

        American pilots were sent home (to be instructors sometimes) after they completed a certain number of missions.
         
        On paper it worked that way. In reality they needed a certain # of pilots (and bomber crews) for their missions and if they were short (and they were because the losses were tremendous in Europe) then they would just increase the required number of missions as you approached the cap - "sorry, we lied." Then as you approached the new number, they would just raise it again - rinse and repeat. It was more of a motivational trick than a sincere cap. "Just do x more missions and you can go home." If they had been honest up front and said "We are going to keep sending you until you die" then the crews might have rebelled or allowed themselves to be shot down to shorten their suffering. It was a cruel and manipulative tactic but war is a cruel thing, and not just to the enemy.
      6. But the “kamikaze“ mindset did affect the US military leadership’s perception of Japanese fanaticism. It helped justify the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (It also helped deter the Soviets from crossing into Western Europe.)

        • Replies: @anon
        Of all the parties in WW2 who were the most spared by the A-bomb it was the Japanese.

        Fire bombing and carpet bombing were inevitably expanding into non-military targets. It was only a matter of time before agricultural infrastructure was targeted, which would not lead to high direct casualties, but would lead to stratospheric indirect civilian casualties as famine and starvation took their toll — similar to the 1920’s Soviet-Jewish campaign against Ukrainians, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, 30 Years War, etc.

        Stratospheric casualties rarely occur from direct military conflict — or even isolated atomic attacks — but rather, from a few collapsed harvests and subsequent winters.
      7. Unrelated, but I just saw the latest in WWH: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/12/04/784838430/hair-dye-and-straightener-use-linked-to-higher-cancer-risk-especially-for-black-?

        I suspect they’ll find some way to blame this on YT.

        • Replies: @Kronos
        I just came across this little gem. I’m surprised it didn’t cause some Crown Heights crisis. I never thought too much about hair, but the NYT has opened my eyes to this political dimension.

        https://youtu.be/dNiBF948chk
      8. According to Paul Johnson, Japan was little more than several mafias fighting each other for supremacy within Japan–Army vs. Navy vs. Industrialists and I don’t remember who else. Politics and plans of conquest were moved forward by key assassinations–of each other. On the other hand, it looks like a better model than what we have today.

      9. Our wwii fighters were built around the an/m2 Browning “ma deuce” .50 cal, which was the best all-purpose AA machine gun around at the time. The m2 is a pretty hefty gun, so planes that mounted them (up to eight guns in some fighters) had to be rugged and powerful.

        I’d argue that, rather than a difference in philosophy, is why US planes were better armored, because we invaded Europe with the m4 Sherman tank, which was no match for German anti-tank guns.

        • Replies: @216
        Producing the Panther and the Tiger was quite the misallocation of resources, exceeded only by the V-2 vs the V-1. (The V-3 might have been cost effective if it had been immune from retalitory bombing).

        The later German tank designs were also rather unreliable, the Sherman was easy to repair. Unlike the Panzer mk. IV, the Sherman's mostly didn't get the upgraded gun.
        , @Paul Mendez
        Japanese and German planes carried 20mm and 30mm cannons from the very beginning of the war.
        , @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.
        , @animalogic
        Re Sherman tank -- my understanding is Patton & other said NO to a bigger gun (ie velocity, not size) just as Montgomery did with the Churchill tank. No this doesn't deal with the lack of armour problem.
        , @Diversity Heretic
        People who disparage the M4 Sherman tank should take a look at the "Chieftain's Hatch" videos. Nicolas Moran ("the Chieftain") rates the M4 as the best overall tank of the war, with the proviso that it needed the wet storage feature for the ammunition. The M4's armor was as thick as that of the T34 and sloped, the 75mm gun was probably adequate, if not outstanding, and the 76mm (U.S.) or 17 pounder (UK) was quite good and the crew ergonomics were outstanding. It's possible that the Sherman's bad reputation was as a result of survivor bias--a lot of Sherman crew escaped from a damaged tank whereas the crew of a T34, Panther or Tiger would have died from a similar hit.
      10. Anonymous[112] • Disclaimer says:

        It was all downhill for them from there because they’d used up their best pilots by June 1942

        I’d push that through the end of 1942 and maybe into early 1943, and modify it to “most” not the implied “all” of your statement.
        My grandfather was a VF aviator on three carriers during the Pacific war (both Lexingtons (CV-2, CV-16) and Enterprise (CV-6). He flew the F2A, F4F-3, F4F-4, F6F-3 and F6F-5. The year 1942 was the worst for him, being wounded three times, having one of his planes pushed over the side after it landed, it was so damaged, and being shot down at sea, while fighting Zeros. And, of course, losing his ship.
        But after 1942, despite accumulating far more combat hours in his logbook, he was never wounded again, never suffered any air-combat damage, and was not shot down. It was not until 1951, when he was flying flak suppression missions over North Korea in an F9F-2 from the Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), that his aircraft again suffered serious combat damage.

        After the war, he was stationed for many years in Japan, loved the country and the people. It’s very hard to believe that such a savage war, no quarter asked or given, was fought by two peoples who so soon after it ended came to like each other so well.

        • Agree: Old Prude
        • Replies: @Almost Missouri

        "It’s very hard to believe that such a savage war, no quarter asked or given, was fought by two peoples who so soon after it ended came to like each other so well."
         
        Yes it is. I wonder how much of it is that the savagery of the war killed off the hardest hate cases. And having survived the savagery, the remainder were mostly more than happy to "study war no more".
        , @Stebbing Heuer
        From what I can gather:

        1. by 1945 the Japanese were heartily sick of war and deprivation;

        2. the occupation was friendly and lenient, and the natural friendliness of American soldiers did a lot to generate good relations with a people who are almost universally decent and civilised.
      11. My father met, in the post war years, a Japanese man who has been a pilot in late WW2. The man admitted that he and his friends has been ardent to be kamikaze, but one of their superiors kept putting it off, to the point where it was getting vaguely weird and ridiculous. He and my dad marvelled at the sheer bravery of that superior officer.

        Not sure what my point is, but I’ve always wanted cause to use that anecdote.

        • Replies: @El Dato
        Apparently a lot of the volunteers were not at all ardent to die for the Top Palace Asshole, but peer pressure and convincing talk by superiors eventually persuaded them.

        Also:

        It was all downhill for them from there because they’d used up their best pilots by June 1942, and they couldn’t train pilots well during wartime, probably mostly because they didn’t have the fuel for training flights.
         
        And maybe their training regimen was really bad. I can imagine them trying to teach pilots the same as one teaches pupils in school, with lots of cramming, yelling, and punishment. Once the candidate hits the Real World, complete failure can practically not be avoided.
        , @anon
        The judo instructor at Tulane back in the 70's was a Japanese man who had been trained as a kamikaze pilot as a teenager. He never went on his mission because the war ended first.
        In an interview for the school paper he said the most important event in his life was after the war during the occupation when they announced on the radio that the Emporer was not God.
        He divided his life as Before, when Emporer was God, and After, when Emporer was not god.
      12. @Harry Baldwin
        "Samurai," by Saber Sakai, is an excellent book on the air war in the Pacific from a top Japanese ace who survived. Japan was so short of trained pilots that at the war's end Sakai was still flying missions though he had lost an eye in combat. Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.

        “ Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.”

        This speaks well of the character of Americans and Japanese.

        • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
        Chris "Wild Mn" Magee, an ace in the Black Sheep Squadron with nine kills, expresses the kinship between fighter pilots, even those on opposing sides, in this stanza from his poem “One Who, Like His Age, Died Young”:

        ‘Enemies’ you say. They were not mine.
        More than blood brothers, I swear,
        With tawny skin and warrior eye.
        Bushido-bred for hell-strife joy.
        Much closer my kin, my race than those
        Who cud-chew their lives can ever be.
         
      13. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

        The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.

        Defeat the US? That was not part of their plan at all. Japan was driven to desperation. Their attack on the US navy was defensive in the grand plan of things. Japan didn’t even plan to invade and conquer Hawaii. Their only plan was to keep the US out of Asian Pacific.

        Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power. The problem was lack of resources. As long as US sold oil and iron to Japan, it had enough to maintain its limited empire in Asia. But once US imposed embargo, Japan had no choice but to secure oil and other resources, and that meant taking Southeast Asia, a source of oil and rubber.
        If not for the embargo, Japan would have focused on North Asia. The embargo compelled Japan had to secure its own resources, and that meant confronting European imperialists who controlled Southeast Asia. Japan feared US would to come to aid of European powers, and so, it went about taking out the US navy in Hawaii.
        That was the extent of Japan’s intentions in regard to the US. And it would have been rational IF Japan had the means to keep the US out of Asian waters. Alas, it didn’t.
        So, it totally misses the point to discuss Japan’s plan to DEFEAT, let alone CONQUER, the US. That was never in the cards. From Japan’s POV, the US and European powers were the aggressors who colonized Asian territory. The problem was most of Asia didn’t buy the BS that Japan much cared for the welfare of all Asians. They knew what happened at Nanking.

        That said, despite Japan’s atrocities in China, the war between Japan and China was more the result of series of events that spiraled out of control than the product of some fiendish Japanese plot. Many in the Japanese government would have been content with Manchuria and parts of North China. There was a kind of uneasy truce between Japan and KMT, not least because Chiang understood China had no chance against Japan in the 30s. His plan was to first defeat the communists, then build up the economy, and then confront Japan and take back Manchuria eventually at a later date. But after his kidnap and release by the Manchurian officer, he had a change of heart and decided to unite with communists and take on Japan. He was most popular with the Chinese when he made this fateful decision that was equally patriotic and reckless.
        At this point, Japan felt their stake in Manchuria was threatened as all of China seemed to be uniting to fight the Japanese and take it back. Japan had a choice of fighting defensively to keep Manchuria or offensively to crush China’s will once and for all. In retrospective, Japan would have done better to have fought defensively to keep Manchuria, not least because US was okay with Japan ruling over Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. There might have no embargo if Japan just defended their stake in Manchuria than advancing into rest of China.

        At one time, US and Japan saw eye to eye in Asia. Both cooperated to keep Russia out and keep China down. The movie SAND PEBBLES is instructive. It’s about US imperial navy dealing with Chinese resistance led by nascent KMT. Even though Chiang became pro-American, the rise of Chinese nationalism(even minus the communist element) was deeply hostile to the imperialist powers: European, Japan, and the US.
        At this time, US and Europe, as imperialist powers, had more in common in Imperial Japan, and they all worked to keep China down.
        Still, with the rise of KMT, the US and Europe saw the writing on the wall and decided that China would gradually emerge as an independent power. US and Europe were grudgingly willing to return sovereignty, step by step, to the Chinese. US and Europe could feel somewhat more magnanimous because they had extensive empires even without their holdings in China. Brits had 1/4 of the world. French had colonies all over. US developed as an Anglo empire that wiped out the Indian savages and then, as if that wasn’t enough, took over Cuba and Philippines.
        In contrast, the rise of China meant Japan could lose its premier colony in Manchuria. Without that, Japan’s only empire was Taiwan and Korea. (If China became powerful enough, it could even take Taiwan from Japan.) And so, Japan came to eye China’s emergence as a power with far greater anxiety. This is why it was disingenuous for Japan to claim that it was fighting for Asia against evil white powers. But then, US did its part in helping Japan become an imperial power invited to join with US and Europe in imperialism in Asia.

        While US had every right to mourn the death of its brave men at Pearl Harbor and honor the soldiers in the war, it was hardly an innocent party in world affairs. Its war in Philippines was far more outrageous than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sure, one could say the Americans weren’t as bad as the Japanese — though that is debatable in US’s air wars of carpet bombing entire civilian populations in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam — , but that’s hardly consolation to the 100,000s of Filipinos who died in the US-Philippines War. Also, it’s not like Japan emerged as some rogue imperialist out of the blue. It was forced out of isolation and then encouraged when it modernized and joined with whites to colonize Asia. US hardly protested Japan’s takeover of Korean and Manchuria. If anything, the US tended to praise such as civilizing mission(which was half-true as imperialism does hasten progress in some ways: “What did the Romans ever do for us?”)

        Also, when we look at the grand sweep of history, the US fixation on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing. US was created by racial imperialism. Apparently, even the great expanse of America wasn’t enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines. While Japan attacked US navy in Hawaii, it was the Americans who invaded and colonized Hawaii and reduced its native population into a tourist curiosity for immigrant-invaders made up mostly of whites and then later Asians.

        And given US intervention in Vietnam(where it had no business) that led to deaths of millions and then US cooking up dirty lies to invade and/or destroy nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Japan’s dastardly deed seems hardly exceptional. At the very least, Japan attacked out of desperation as it was running out of essential materials. The US had everything and still intervened in other nations — often based on lies — and destroyed millions of lives. If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        • Disagree: Inquiring Mind
        • Replies: @syonredux

        If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
         
        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment. What would be needed to balance the scales for what Japan did in China between 1937 and 1935? Death by torture for every Japanese?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqnftyYWW4E

        the US fixation on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing.

         
        It would have been more bemusing if the USA had ignored the attack.......Or maybe it would have been more amusing.....Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened....
        , @Almost Missouri

        "the great expanse of America wasn’t enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines."
         
        Don't forget, America got started as a side effect of Columbus seeking unmediated trade with the Far East. Even after America became independent and sovereign, unmediated trade with the Far East was still a major animating goal. Even this morning, it is still an animating goal.

        The US was imperial on the sparsely populated North American mainland, but across the vast stretches of the Pacific, the objective was trade with the densely populated lands that were already there.

        The US didn't acquire Hawaii and the Philippines because it wanted Polynesian or Tagalog dependencies. Pacific islands were acquired as way stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China. That some islands ended up becoming colonies in their own right was an inadvertent side effect.
        , @syonredux

        If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

         
        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment. What would be needed to balance the scales for what Japan did in China between 1937 and 1945*? Death by torture for every Japanese?




        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqnftyYWW4E

        the US fixation on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing.
         
        It would have been more bemusing if the USA had ignored the attack…….Or maybe it would have been more amusing…..Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened….





        *Corrected a typo
        , @Dave Pinsen
        In The Godfather, Puzo and Coppola squeeze in a line about the oil embargo.

        https://youtu.be/r-I4VIR5yGg?t=1m14s
        , @Prester John
        "Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power."

        True indeed. It should be pointed out, however, that Germany did not have any designs upon the United States either. It was only after Japan bombed Pearl that Hitler, somewhat reluctantly but with a sense of inevitability, declared war on the US (much to the relief of Churchill). And yet, the German High Command never really formulated a Barbarossa-style grand strategy which could be implemented in a formal air-land-sea invasion of the North American mainland, largely because they were already fighting a war on two fronts in Europe and in the case of the Eastern Front, the tide would turn less than a year after Pearl in a city called Stalingrad.

        The rest, as they say, is history.
      14. Anonymous[358] • Disclaimer says:

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

        This is true, of course, but there may have been an American kamikaze attack at the Battle of Midway:

        One B-26, piloted by Lieutenant James Muri, strafed Akagi after dropping its torpedo, killing two men. Another, either attempting a suicide ramming, or out of control due to battle damage or an incapacitated pilot, narrowly missed crashing into Akagi’s bridge, where Nagumo was standing, before it cartwheeled into the sea.

        • Replies: @Steve Sailer
        That's in the movie.
        , @Almost Missouri
        It was also the event that tipped Nagumo into (mistakenly) regarding Midway airfield (where the B-26 had flown from) as a priority target, resulting in the disastrous re-re-arming his airfleet, scattering ordnance and fuel hither and yon the carrier decks, just in time for the arrival of the US dive bombers...
        , @J.Ross
        There is no contradiction. Westerners always had the idea that you do your utmost and try to come home, but, if you can't come home, you can spend your utmost on a military target (the alternatives are the same fiery death with no significance or a Japanese POW camp). Kamikaze is something different because it's deliberately suicidal from the beginning. Furthermore, as that illustration proves, the two patterns are not compatible. A true kamikaze attack requires a full fuel tank and fancy piloting (to make it past flak and, if you're good, even early detection) -- it's assigned to the best pilots, not the flunkies.
        , @Hypnotoad666

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

         
        As a substitute for kamikaze attack, the U.S. tried to deploy a remote radio-control system to crash explosive-laden aircraft into enemy targets. But it ended up killing the pilots anyway. In particular, that's how Joseph Kennedy, Jr. was killed.

        Operation Aphrodite (U.S. Army Air Corps) and Operation Anvil (U.S. Navy) made use of unmanned, explosive-laden Army Air Corps Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Navy Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator bombers that were deliberately crashed into their targets under radio control.[7] These aircraft could not take off safely on their own, so a crew of two would take off and fly to 2,000 feet (610 m) before activating the remote control system, arming the detonators, and parachuting from the aircraft.

        Kennedy was appointed a Lieutenant on July 1, 1944.[6] After the U.S. Army Air Corps operation missions were drawn up on July 23, 1944, Lieutenants Wilford John Willy[8] and Kennedy were designated as the first Navy flight crew. Willy, who was the executive officer of Special Air Unit ONE, had also volunteered for the mission and "pulled rank" over Ensign James Simpson, who was Kennedy's regular co-pilot. Kennedy and Willy (co-pilot) flew a BQ-8 "robot" aircraft (drone; a converted B-24 Liberator) for the U.S. Navy's first Aphrodite mission. Two Lockheed Ventura mother planes and a Boeing B-17 navigation plane took off from RAF Fersfield at 1800 on Saturday, August 12, 1944. Then the BQ-8 aircraft, loaded with 21,170 lb (9,600 kg) of Torpex, took off. It was to be used against the U-boat pens at Heligoland in the North Sea.[9][10]


        Last photograph of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. on day of flight, August 12, 1944.

        Commemorative headstone of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. at Arlington National Cemetery.
        Following them in a USAAF F-8 Mosquito to film the mission were pilot Lt. Robert A. Tunnel and combat camera man Lt. David J. McCarthy, who filmed the event from the perspex nose of the aircraft.[11] As planned, Kennedy and Willy remained aboard as the BQ-8 completed its first remote-controlled turn at 2,000 ft (610 m) near the North Sea coast. Kennedy and Willy removed the safety pin, arming the explosive package, and Kennedy radioed the agreed code Spade Flush, his last known words. Two minutes later (and well before the planned crew bailout, near RAF Manston), the Torpex explosive detonated prematurely and destroyed the Liberator, killing Kennedy and Willy instantly. Wreckage landed near the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk, England, causing widespread damage and small fires, but there were no injuries on the ground. According to one report, a total of 59 buildings were damaged in a nearby coastal town. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy_Jr.#Operations_Anvil_and_Aphrodite
         
      15. @Bill P
        Our wwii fighters were built around the an/m2 Browning "ma deuce" .50 cal, which was the best all-purpose AA machine gun around at the time. The m2 is a pretty hefty gun, so planes that mounted them (up to eight guns in some fighters) had to be rugged and powerful.

        I'd argue that, rather than a difference in philosophy, is why US planes were better armored, because we invaded Europe with the m4 Sherman tank, which was no match for German anti-tank guns.

        Producing the Panther and the Tiger was quite the misallocation of resources, exceeded only by the V-2 vs the V-1. (The V-3 might have been cost effective if it had been immune from retalitory bombing).

        The later German tank designs were also rather unreliable, the Sherman was easy to repair. Unlike the Panzer mk. IV, the Sherman’s mostly didn’t get the upgraded gun.

        • Replies: @Paul Mendez
        The Germans had no choice but to build Panthers, Tigers, V-1s, V-2s, etc.

        There was no way they could build enough PzKw 4s to outnumber the Russian T-34s and US Shermans. Or enough planes to regain control of the air. Their only hope was quality over quantity.

        Just like the Baby Boomers going all-in on stocks, because savings accounts and bonds ain’t going to save them.
        , @Unzerker
        The Panther cost only a bit more than the Panzer 4 to produce. For that money you had arguably the best tank of WW2.

        Hardly a misallocation of resources.
        , @68W58
        Heavy German tanks spent 10 hours in maintenance for every hour in combat, while the Sherman only spent an hour being maintained for every hour in combat. It’s easy to see the deficiencies of the Sherman compared to its German counterparts, but it had some serious advantages in terms of overall efficiency.
      16. Can we stop with this silly meme about a Japanese Bushido culture of death?

        Couple of points:
        1. Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        2. Kamikaze attacks were actually quite effective. A quick Wikipedia search the numbers are as follows:

        # of attacks: 2800 – 3800
        # of US casualties: 10,000 (about half KIA)
        # of ships sunk: 30 – 80
        # of ships damaged: 200 – 400

        So, the tactic caused twice the casualties it incurred and resulted in a sunk or damaged ship per 10 planes.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        • Agree: Paul Mendez
        • Replies: @syonredux

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.
         
        That hardly argues against the Japanese cult of honorable suicide.....

        Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.
         
        Not quite a one-to-one comparison. Kamikazes faced certain death; the fellows assaulting Normandy faced a high probability of death.
        , @syonredux
        Some interesting thoughts from Greg Cochran:

        Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo, or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone. They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give them a chance to do so. Even Spartans, products of a lifetime of military training, could surrender, as shown at Sphacteria in the Peloponnesian War.
         

        So an army that routinely executed last stands – one that always refused to surrender, that kept fighting until eliminated by firepower or starvation – would be anomalous. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s easy to remember: that’s what the Imperial Japanese Army was like in World War Two.
         

        In a typical battle, less than 2% of Japanese forces were taken prisoner. Of those that were, many had been knocked unconscious. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill Allied medics: Japanese sailors would attack Americans trying to fish them out of the water. As a young American infantry officer who faced them in Guadalcanal and Burma said, “for sheer, bloody, hardened steel guts, the stocky and hard-muscled little Jap doughboy has it all over any of us.” George MacDonald Fraser told of a Japanese soldier he encountered in August of 1945, when they had utterly lost the war: ” the little bastard came howling out of a thicket near the Sittang, full of spite and fury.. He was half-starved and near naked, and his only weapon was a bamboo stave, but he was in no mood to surrender.”

         

        The Japanese usually lost those battles (after their attacks in the beginning of the war) , losing something like ten times as many killed as their Western opponents, a ratio normally seen only in colonial wars. The Japanese relied on ‘courage and cold steel’, which simply wasn’t very effective. They simply did not grasp the dominance of artillery and automatic weapons in modern war – partly because they hadn’t fought in WWI (except for a small naval role), but, more importantly, because they didn’t want to understand. They’d had a chance to learn in the border conflicts with the Soviet Union in the late 30’s (Khalkin-Gol), but refused to do so.

         

        In addition, Japanese heroism is seldom fully appreciated because they were such utter assholes, in their treatment of prisoners and of conquered nations – cannibalism, vivisection, the Rape of Nanking and the destruction of Manila, germ warfare experiments on prisoners… even the water cure, although now we’re in favor of that. Under the Japanese, Asia was a charnel house. Regardless, their courage was most unusual.
         

        Compared to the last stands of the Japanese in the Pacific War, Thermopylae is nothing special. It is hardly even noticeable. The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma. There were no mutinies, unlike the French or Russians or Italians in WWI. When the Germany Navy was ordered out to a suicidal battle in 1918, the sailors rebelled and the government fell – but then, they weren’t Japanese.

         

        Many other nations and empires have tried to inculcate this kind of ultimate obedience, some going to great lengths – but Imperial Japan is the only one that achieved it, as far as I can tell. There’s isn’t even any reason to think they they tried particularly hard to do so – certainly they’d didn’t go anywhere near as far as the Spartans.

         

        If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?
         
        https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/ija/
        , @moke357
        yes, even that German army unit which shall not be named were "fanatical".... has bravery and love of homeland become "fascist"?.
        , @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
        Yeah, Steve's original post came across as a bit superficial in its treatment of the Japanese.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqwDvxLVZII
        , @Dacian Julien Soros
        By the time of D Day, the Soviets were in Botoshany and Auvere, beyond the pre-war borders. The Germans were pretty much defeated, and, in any case, pinned on the Eastern and Southern fronts. The Germans had been worn out by 5 years of actual battles, whereas the Brits mostly hid in holes waiting for Luftwaffe to go away, and Americans watched with great interest those 5 minutes of news preceding the movies.

        During the heroic D Day, the Allies were three times as many as the defenders. In absolute numbers, the head count was so small, that there were days at Stalingrad when the Romanian Army had bigger losses than all the Allies during the Normandy invasion.

        But yeah, muh American heroes.

        To address the bigger question: Japanese leaders assumed their soldiers will obey, and they were right. American leaders assumed their soldiers will shirk as much as possible, and focused on always having numeric and material superiority before engaging. They were also right. As explained a thousand times even in this thread, the Japanese did their best to preserve their empire against the growing American Empire. Less than three decades before Pearl Harbor, Americans killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in an attempt to colonize them. Japanese knew they were next, and tried, in vain, to fend it off by expanding Eastwards and by trying to look bigger than they were on their Western flank.

        I am sure Japanese leadership would have preferred to avoid the use of kamikaze, if that were an option - but it was not. In contrast, Americans were in a leisurely offensive, with most of the Pacific war happening on some shithole island that they could chose to take today, or next year. Were Japanese troops a few hundred miles from San Francisco, there would have been more desperation, and possibly demands for numeric-inferiority suicidal missions. My guess is that such demands would have failed flat.

        Today, Japanese are most admired for their porn, and Koreans for their extravagant Neo-Protestant churches. The pressure to circumcise is now onto China, where millions of Taiwanese, already "protected" by America, "think" they are one minute away from Chinese oppression. In a few centuries, relatively incompetent people like the generals that ran Japan during WWII, or the sycophants of Kim Jong series, would be held as Arminiuses and Vercingetorices of our times. But this outcome is mostly due to the people who took the 14 colonies, and half of Mexico, providing the material base for a large military and an endless supply of proles, rather than the "heroes" of 1945.
        , @megabar
        > seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        Yet there is a difference between a tactic where the is a high probability of death, versus one where death is the desired outcome. In the first, there is still some semblance of two-way loyalty; in the second, it is completely one-way.

        I'm not saying that the second approach is never justified, btw. But the bar is high.
      17. There’s also the practical consideration that the lighter a plane is, the further it can fly on less fuel. This was important in the Pacific. Skimping on armor was the easiest way to lighten load.

        The fuel shortage affected everything Japan did in the war.

        • Replies: @Curmudgeon
        The Zero had a range of 1500 miles, almost twice that of the Hellcat and Corsair. The popular image projected, is that the Japanese were technologically challenged. There was a guy in a small town about 50 miles from me, that spent years restoring WWII planes. His Hurricane was used in the film "The Battle of Britain" back in the 60s. He rebuilt a Zero found in a jungle on a Pacific island, and remarked that it was state of the art for the time.
        Also not considered was that the Zero carried torpedoes. Some of the Japanese torpedoes left no trail in the water, so they could not be tracked. Some of the Japanese submarines had float planes in compartments aft. They also operated ballasts hydraulically allowing for faster surfacing and descent. Oil was a huge issue for Japan and Germany, but eventually numbers win over technology. It's the grunt on the ground with a gun that wins wars.
      18. @Anonymous

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

         
        This is true, of course, but there may have been an American kamikaze attack at the Battle of Midway:

        One B-26, piloted by Lieutenant James Muri, strafed Akagi after dropping its torpedo, killing two men. Another, either attempting a suicide ramming, or out of control due to battle damage or an incapacitated pilot, narrowly missed crashing into Akagi's bridge, where Nagumo was standing, before it cartwheeled into the sea.
         

        That’s in the movie.

      19. The “offense is the best defense” ethos goes all the way back to the Samurai. Samurai armor was light and flexible compared to Western armor. It was mostly designed to keep those pesky arrows at bay while you skillfully opened the veins of your noble opponent with your katana. Japanese pilots didn’t think armor and self-sealing gas tanks were dishonorable as much as as they thought them unnecessary hindrances. If Japan had high-octane gas and super-charged engines, they probably would have opted for armor and self-sealing tanks in a heartbeat.

        Today’s US soldiers are so armored up they can’t run, go prone, climb a wall. Maybe they should go samurai.

        MY first small-type adult book was Samurai by Suburu Sakai. It helped that my father’s best friend was married to a Japanese woman who knew him.

        • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
        My first small-type adult book was "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (my working-class parents thought all books had magic powers, so they bought random books by the cartload and just left them all over the house, in full confidence that us kids would just spontaneously read whatever we were interested in). It gave me nightmares for years. I also wrote imitations of it. If I told you how young I was when I read that thing, you wouldn't believe me. Let's just say all my friends at the time still believed in Santa Claus.

        Some thoughts regarding all the Japan stuff...

        -- re the death cult vs. practicality debate, the answer is, both. Japan is simply just a very different culture from the West, it's a little like the Romans or the Celts before they were Christianized. You can get some insights into all the conflicting influences of Meiji/Taisho/descent into madness by reading Oe Kenzaburo' early stories, the "Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi," Vita Sexualis by Mori Ogai, the brilliant and magnificent weirdo Tanizaki Junichiro (Japan's Nabokov, in a way), Akutagawa and Soseki of course, (I don't really like Soseki but it's obligatory), and a few snippets of that scoundrel Mishima.

        -- Imperial racist ultranationalist Japan very much did intend to conquer and subdue all of North America, just not in the Pacific War time frame. ("A rifle behind every blade of grass" and all that.). They gambled everything that the Pearl Harbor attack would frighten and deter the rich, comfortable, soft, cowardly, short-sighted round-eyes just long enough for them to consolidate their base in Asia, then they would be impregnable, and the conquest of America would come later when it was too late. But, they lost that wager.




        --
        , @GeologyAnon
        The Zero was ran on *AT BEST* on 78 octane gasoline, and still able to outrun and outrange any contemporary USN fighter in the early war. Often they were forced to run on even worse fuel, in the low 70s or high 60s octane.

        78 octane av gas. Think about that. My truck can't run that. And the zero was still able to generate performance that would allow it to defeat a F4F running 110 octane through a turbocharged Wasp series radial. If that is not utterly gobsmacking to someone, than that person is completely devoid of any engineering knowledge.

        It was not underarmed, as some claim. It carried a zero convergence, high velocity 20mm cannon that was a far more useful weapon than the American M2. To give you an idea, a single 20mm shell has the same explosive power as a regular infantry hand grenade, although it generates less fragments. It is an enormous leap in killing power over any machine gun... You'll note all modern fighters use cannons, not machine guns.

        One hit from a 20mm cannon will easily knock down any single or twin engine fighter of the 1940s, so there F4F was at least as vulnerable to the Zero as the Zero was to the big Cat. The idea that the F4F could shrug off hits from an A6M is just lunacy. Since the cannon is fired without convergence, it is effective over a much longer range.

        In a head on engagement, the Zero could easily put down a wildcat by dint of it's much heavier, longer ranged, more accurate cannon.

        In a turning fight, the Zero just makes a mockery of the Wildcat, with superior turn radius, turn rate, rate of roll, acceleration, and rate of climb and a cannon that is far easier to aim in deflection than converging machine guns.

        It only loses out when starting in a low energy relative position, but guess what, so would virtually any other fighter ever made, against a peer aircraft.

        The engine cowlings on the A6M, the cooling vanes, were roughly cast and hand filled into shape by literal schoolchildren to free up skilled machinists.

        For what the Japs had to work with, it is an astounding piece of engineering. A plane that could outrange any enemy fighter massively, outrun and outturn him during maneuvering, then gun him down with a heavier armament. At the end of a 750 radius of action using 78 OCTANE FUEL.

        And people make elaborate social theories about why the cockpit wasn't a cast iron bathtub.
      20. @Harry Baldwin
        "Samurai," by Saber Sakai, is an excellent book on the air war in the Pacific from a top Japanese ace who survived. Japan was so short of trained pilots that at the war's end Sakai was still flying missions though he had lost an eye in combat. Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.

        Saburo Sakai was an amazing guy who, due to the completely brainless restrictions the Japanese placed on themselves, never got a promotion or a medal, and had to stoop behind officers in the chow line; in our service he’d be at least a colonel.
        He encountered the new variation of the Wildcat with an aft-facing gun: he took a severe drubbing, including an injury to one eye, but managed his way back to base through hours of unimaginable agony, insisted on reporting before receiving aid (to prevent more pilots meeting the same trap — here is a guy you drink to, no matter the uniform), then agonized through eye surgery which, thanks to the wartime circumstances, did not bother with anaesthesia.
        And after that he still wanted back in the fight.
        I suggest checking out Tamaichi Hara’s Japanese Destroyer Captain. Hara is something like the surface fleet equivalent of Sakai’s airborn mastery, but unlike Sakai, he’s a university man, an intellectual (before the war, Hara invented a new type of undetectable torpedo which proved invaluable), and also much more subversive and critical. There is a hilarious rudder episode which I shall not spoil.
        ——–
        It really is amazing to grow up in the 80s with the idealized robot-attended cyberpunk image of the Technological Japanese, and then read John Dower’s must-buy Embracing Defeat, and see that the Japanese focus on tech was a reaction to being defeated by the nation of Ford, Edison, and Lindburgh; that before this, the Japanese self-conception was pretty much something a young John Milius or Boris Vellejo would jot down during a boring algebra class, aspiring at its best to be pure Robert E Howard.
        We will defeat them — because we will it!

        Where do [they] get those wonderful toys?

        • Replies: @Alfa158
        Sakai was hit by one of the new Grumman TBF torpedo bombers. It had a rear facing gun turret, and another rear facing gun position in the belly. The airplane was bigger than the Grumman Wildcat but almost identical in shape. Sakai came up from behind and below thinking he was sneaking up on the blindside of a Wildcat and got a face full of thirty caliber.
        , @Joe Stalin
        Speaking of John Milius (Red Dawn, Apocalypse Now, Conan), his "Rough Rider" mini-series recently showed up on YT after a long absence.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDPhoOmW7WA

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ2X1jHLnnA
      21. >>And, in fact, the Japanese ran out of good pilots during the war.

        A former business partner of mine, his father trained Japanese pilots during the war.

        This man was in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped. Was on a submarine out in the bay.

        This man was a physics student when the war broke out. Didn’t serve in combat, just training. After the war received his Ph.D in physics and came to the USA and served as a professor at several American univerisites.

        From his father’s recollections, the Japanese pilots were the swellest guys in the world. After the war, those pilots who survived, a great number became the captains of industry of Japan’s reemerging industry/commercial base.

      22. @Bill P
        Our wwii fighters were built around the an/m2 Browning "ma deuce" .50 cal, which was the best all-purpose AA machine gun around at the time. The m2 is a pretty hefty gun, so planes that mounted them (up to eight guns in some fighters) had to be rugged and powerful.

        I'd argue that, rather than a difference in philosophy, is why US planes were better armored, because we invaded Europe with the m4 Sherman tank, which was no match for German anti-tank guns.

        Japanese and German planes carried 20mm and 30mm cannons from the very beginning of the war.

        • Replies: @Bill P
        Add up the weight and you'll see what I mean. Even with the two 20mm guns on the zero, the f4f's four m2s weighed over twice as much as the zero' s guns. The m2 is a big, heavy gun that needs a powerful, rugged platform.
      23. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

        America had a habit of not putting its best pilots in combat in WWII. When the war started, the very best flyers, the old barnstormers of the 1920s and 1930s, were put to work teaching classes. That was the inevitable side effect of not having enough instructors for the huge mass of new flying students.

      24. anon[356] • Disclaimer says:
        @Kronos
        But the “kamikaze“ mindset did affect the US military leadership’s perception of Japanese fanaticism. It helped justify the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (It also helped deter the Soviets from crossing into Western Europe.)

        https://youtu.be/2djG7snKS8w

        Of all the parties in WW2 who were the most spared by the A-bomb it was the Japanese.

        Fire bombing and carpet bombing were inevitably expanding into non-military targets. It was only a matter of time before agricultural infrastructure was targeted, which would not lead to high direct casualties, but would lead to stratospheric indirect civilian casualties as famine and starvation took their toll — similar to the 1920’s Soviet-Jewish campaign against Ukrainians, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, 30 Years War, etc.

        Stratospheric casualties rarely occur from direct military conflict — or even isolated atomic attacks — but rather, from a few collapsed harvests and subsequent winters.

        • Replies: @Redneck farmer
        Lizzie Collingham's The Taste Of War titles one chapter "Japan: Starving for The Emperor".
        , @Ash Williams
        Japan was ready to surrender.

        The only reason besides a mass-murdering "why not" to drop the bomb was to let Stalin know we had them, and would happily use them if he tried to take Europe.

        , @Jack D
        Putting aside your gratuitous anti-Semitic snipe, it is just not feasible to bomb agricultural production, especially not using the technology available to the US in those days. In a crowded urban area, a bomb causes a lot of damage. In a farm field you make a little crater. The next day the farmer goes out and fills in the bomb crater. Or maybe you have dug him a free fish pond.
      25. @NJ Transit Commuter
        Can we stop with this silly meme about a Japanese Bushido culture of death?

        Couple of points:
        1. Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        2. Kamikaze attacks were actually quite effective. A quick Wikipedia search the numbers are as follows:

        # of attacks: 2800 - 3800
        # of US casualties: 10,000 (about half KIA)
        # of ships sunk: 30 - 80
        # of ships damaged: 200 - 400

        So, the tactic caused twice the casualties it incurred and resulted in a sunk or damaged ship per 10 planes.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        That hardly argues against the Japanese cult of honorable suicide…..

        Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        Not quite a one-to-one comparison. Kamikazes faced certain death; the fellows assaulting Normandy faced a high probability of death.

      26. As George S. Patton observed…

        I keep a copy of Ralph Keyes’s Quote Verifier at bedside. While this particular one isn’t in it, it’s noteworthy how many famous quotations are in fact old saws, current jokes, or borrowed from a writer of the previous generation. This quip was in its second world war when Patton told it.

        If you can’t remember, or never knew, who said something, just slap it onto Twain, Wilde, Mencken, Rogers, or Churchill, according to time and place.

        Franklin probably said it first, anyway. Or second. Or it could be in the Bible.

      27. @216
        Producing the Panther and the Tiger was quite the misallocation of resources, exceeded only by the V-2 vs the V-1. (The V-3 might have been cost effective if it had been immune from retalitory bombing).

        The later German tank designs were also rather unreliable, the Sherman was easy to repair. Unlike the Panzer mk. IV, the Sherman's mostly didn't get the upgraded gun.

        The Germans had no choice but to build Panthers, Tigers, V-1s, V-2s, etc.

        There was no way they could build enough PzKw 4s to outnumber the Russian T-34s and US Shermans. Or enough planes to regain control of the air. Their only hope was quality over quantity.

        Just like the Baby Boomers going all-in on stocks, because savings accounts and bonds ain’t going to save them.

      28. Anonymous[156] • Disclaimer says:

        Weight doesn’t just reduce range but also speed and maneuverability, which makes a plane more vulnerable to attack. Better to not be hit at all than to be hit and survive.

        (I understand that when the German military in the previous war began issuing parachutes to pilots there was some resistance. This may have been bravado, but there was also the consideration that every extra pound of weight on board their flimsy aircraft reduced their agility in their air.)

        • Replies: @animalogic
        "Weight doesn’t just reduce range but also speed and maneuverability, which makes a plane more vulnerable to attack"
        Yes, but assuming all things are equal. By '43 Hellcats etc had surpasses ALL those variables, plus, they had better trained pilots.
      29. @Bill P
        Our wwii fighters were built around the an/m2 Browning "ma deuce" .50 cal, which was the best all-purpose AA machine gun around at the time. The m2 is a pretty hefty gun, so planes that mounted them (up to eight guns in some fighters) had to be rugged and powerful.

        I'd argue that, rather than a difference in philosophy, is why US planes were better armored, because we invaded Europe with the m4 Sherman tank, which was no match for German anti-tank guns.

        It’s a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII’s other major powers’ aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US’s peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews’ lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn’t really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn’t happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        • Agree: Old Prude
        • Replies: @anon
        It’s a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII’s other major powers’ aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht.

        US tanks were designed to be reliable and fast. Patton wanted them to be like cavalry, to get around into the flank and rear areas quickly. The primary use of the Sherman was against infantry, as mobile machinegun & 75mm artillery piece.. The tank destroyers were intended to deal with enemy tanks, also by flanking them. But what resulted was it often cost 3 or 4 Shermans to knock out one Tiger.

        The flaws became obvious and upgunned Shermans such as the Firefly were put into service, but they were still not up to facing off with Tiger or Panther as a rule. Fury is a dramatic story of an upgunned Sherman. Here is a movie version of several Shermans vs. one Tiger.

        Not safe for work.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8vFGQ0uJQc

        In 1945 the first M-26 Pershing tanks arrived in Germany. They were able to stand up to the Tiger and Panther. If the war had continued, the M-26 with its 90mm gun would have been more than enough to win battles.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meduxDj61sQ
        , @Larry, San Francisco
        Well theory 2 might be right, but I believe that the Air Force had much higher casualty rates than the tank corp or even the marines. I remember one night my father who was in the Eighth Air Force (shot down on his 26th mission) was arguing with a friend who had been a Marine NCO and had fought on Tarawa and Okinawa about who was crazier. I told my father that I was pretty sure the Air Force had a higher casualty rate than the Marines especially when he was serving (late 1943 to April 1944). He didn't believe me until he went to an Army Air Force reunion in Branson in the late eighties and found out he didn't meet many people he knew. Instead he found that most of the people he knew were in the list of the KIAs. He was pretty shaken by that.
        , @Bill P
        The .50 has excellent ballistics. It was pretty much ideal for its time, although it was on the heavy side and didn't have a very high rate of fire. So to use it effectively you need multiple guns, which means you need a powerful, robust airplane to carry them.

        The mg151/20 20mm autocannons only weighed ten pounds more than the m2, and the most any German plane mounted was four on an fw190.

        The p47 had four m2s on each wing!

        In reading the history of wwii, one thing that stood out to me was how much influence the weapon has on the ultimate design of a fighting vehicle. More often than not, planes, tanks and boats were built with a particular gun in mind rather than the other way around.

        The exceptions, like the Sherman firefly, stand out because they are rare.
        , @animalogic
        I suspect the answer is simple -- the western allies never fought the Soviets. Thus, they had no idea as to the value of up armoured, up gunned tanks. They made a mistake (questions were asked in the UK parliament on this exact subject)
        , @68W58
        You’re close with your theory about crossing water, but I think you’ve got the wrong type of body of water in mind. One reason for production of the lighter Sherman as opposed to heavier models available to the U.S. and allies at the time was that the war planners knew that the Germans would destroy bridges as they withdrew, so a lighter tank like the Sherman would create fewer problems crossing the improvised bridges that would have to be built than would heavier tanks.
        , @kaganovitch
        I don't think flying versus shipping can be the explanation.Although later aircraft, like the P-51,flew across the Atlantic to the European theatre, I'm pretty sure the P-47s were shipped there. The P-47 had a range of 800 miles and couldn't cross the Atlantic flying even via Greenland route. In other words the American doctrine of heavier aircraft preceded the advantage that flying transport enjoyed, hence ease of transport could not have been reason for discrepant doctrines for aircraft and tanks. The difference existed even when both were shipped as cargo.
        , @Jack D

        ) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn’t really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport.
         
        My understanding is that ships are generally constrained by volume and not by weight. Even something heavy like a ship full of tanks is really mostly air, especially taking into account the necessary space between the tanks when loaded. Ships float because the water that they displace weighs more than the ship and its cargo. Water is really heavy because it fully occupies its container.

        Shermans were light for the same reason Zeroes were light - you trade weight and crew protection for speed and fuel efficiency. In both cases, perhaps not the right decision in hindsight but hindsight is always 20/20.
        , @Doug
        > yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        As the Battle of the Bulge proved, superior tank armor basically means nothing against an enemy with total air superiority and an overwhelming advantage in fuel. By the time the US was actually fighting on the plains of Northern European, control of the skies and the world's oil supplies was virtually assured.

        The Shermans were light and under-armored because that was the most efficient way to quickly convert America's unlimited industrial resources into an overwhelming material advantage. The Americans didn't have to make hardy tanks, because no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more.
        , @MarkinLA
        The British, I believe, did quite well with plain vanilla Browning machine guns in their .303 caliber. They had multiple guns that were positions to come to a firing point ahead of the plane. I saw somewhere that the firing point was 250 yards ahead of the plane. One of the Polish aces who flew for Britian supposedly had his guns set to 100 yards. At that distance 8 .303 machine guns were probably a match for a 20 mm cannon.
      30. anon[444] • Disclaimer says:

        Grumman engineers were working on an improved F4F in 1940, but then changed to something better, much more better, starting with a 2000 HP radial engine. They built the F6F Hellcat specifically to kill Zeroes. Actually having a captured Zeke recovered from Alaska was very helpful. By 1944 the kill ratio vs. Japanese aircraft was 19 : 1.

        This vid is from the “Dogfights” series, and contains interviews with F6F pilots.

      31. Two of the best books on early WWII U.S. Naval Aviation are:

        – The First Team – John B. Lundstrom: https://slpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/348803116?active_tab=bib_info

        – The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: https://slpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/515196116?active_tab=bib_info

        Very early in the war some U.S. Navy squadrons were still equipped with the thoroughly outmoded Brewster F2A2 Buffalo, which was soon supplanted entirely by the better Grumman F4F Wildcat. In the Battle of Midway a Midway-based Marine Corps squadrons flew the F2A3 Buffalo, which fared so badly against the Zero that the Marine pilots cursed the Buffalo as a “flying coffin.”

        The early war F4F-3 Wildcats lacked folding wings, which spared them the extra weight of the folding apparatus, and had just four .50 caliber machine guns. Their fixed wings meant that aircraft carriers could embark fewer Wildcats. When the folding-wing F4F-4 version of the Wildcat with six .50 caliber guns entered service, veteran Naval Aviators disliked the weight penalty imposed by the folding wing mechanism and by the two additional machine guns. Quite a few of the veteran aviators considered that four .50 caliber guns supplied adequate firepower. It should also be noted that U.S. Naval Aviators were then among the best-trained, if not actually the best trained, military pilots in the world, and combat experience rapidly sharpened their already remarkable skills (as far as I’ve been able to make out, in the early phase of WWII U.S. Naval Aviators were the only fighter jocks to have trained sufficiently in deflection shooting).

        In climb rate, initial dive speed, and turning radius the Zero was superior to the Wildcat, and was vastly superior in all respects to the Buffalo. One of the Zero’s remarkable superior attributes was its long range, which allowed Zero units to fly from Formosa (Taiwan) to attack the Philippines and, together with the attack and bombing planes the Zeros escorted, wipe out MacArthur’s entire air force in a matter of three days. The Zero’s long range also allowed it to escort Japanese dive bombers and torpedo bombers from the northwesternmost bases in the Solomons all the way to Guadalcanal. Until the Guadalcanal campaign the Western Allies had seriously underestimated the range of the Zero. Until the 1943 advent of the F6F Hellcat and the F4U Corsair, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Wildcats suffered from their short range. (USAAF P-39 Airacobra and P-40 Tomahawk fighters’ short range also determined the reach of MacArthur’s early New Guinea landings, as fighter range set the limit of the reach of USAAF bomber missions; when General Kenney’s Fifth Air Force began to field the long-range P-38 Lightning, the reach of MacArthur’s leap-frog landings increased accordingly; and it was USAAF P-38’s whose long range allowed them to fly from the southeastern Solomons all the way to Bougainville to intercept and shoot down Admiral Yamamoto’s flight of Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bombers.)

        One of the Japanese Navy’s self-imposed handicaps lay in the inflexibility incurred by tying its air groups to a specific aircraft carrier, while the U.S. Navy capitalized on the operational flexibility gained by rotating fighter, diver bomber, and torpedo bomber air groups among front line carriers and also into spells of training stateside or in Hawaii.

        • Replies: @Anonymous
        As I recall, the Finns had great success with the Brewster Buffalo, but they were flying the early models, which had only light armor. With each revision of the design, Brewster piled on more armor to the point where it flew like a pig, and it was with these later 'improved' models that the U.S. had to fight the Japanese.
      32. @Anonymous

        The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.
         
        Defeat the US? That was not part of their plan at all. Japan was driven to desperation. Their attack on the US navy was defensive in the grand plan of things. Japan didn't even plan to invade and conquer Hawaii. Their only plan was to keep the US out of Asian Pacific.

        Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power. The problem was lack of resources. As long as US sold oil and iron to Japan, it had enough to maintain its limited empire in Asia. But once US imposed embargo, Japan had no choice but to secure oil and other resources, and that meant taking Southeast Asia, a source of oil and rubber.
        If not for the embargo, Japan would have focused on North Asia. The embargo compelled Japan had to secure its own resources, and that meant confronting European imperialists who controlled Southeast Asia. Japan feared US would to come to aid of European powers, and so, it went about taking out the US navy in Hawaii.
        That was the extent of Japan's intentions in regard to the US. And it would have been rational IF Japan had the means to keep the US out of Asian waters. Alas, it didn't.
        So, it totally misses the point to discuss Japan's plan to DEFEAT, let alone CONQUER, the US. That was never in the cards. From Japan's POV, the US and European powers were the aggressors who colonized Asian territory. The problem was most of Asia didn't buy the BS that Japan much cared for the welfare of all Asians. They knew what happened at Nanking.

        That said, despite Japan's atrocities in China, the war between Japan and China was more the result of series of events that spiraled out of control than the product of some fiendish Japanese plot. Many in the Japanese government would have been content with Manchuria and parts of North China. There was a kind of uneasy truce between Japan and KMT, not least because Chiang understood China had no chance against Japan in the 30s. His plan was to first defeat the communists, then build up the economy, and then confront Japan and take back Manchuria eventually at a later date. But after his kidnap and release by the Manchurian officer, he had a change of heart and decided to unite with communists and take on Japan. He was most popular with the Chinese when he made this fateful decision that was equally patriotic and reckless.
        At this point, Japan felt their stake in Manchuria was threatened as all of China seemed to be uniting to fight the Japanese and take it back. Japan had a choice of fighting defensively to keep Manchuria or offensively to crush China's will once and for all. In retrospective, Japan would have done better to have fought defensively to keep Manchuria, not least because US was okay with Japan ruling over Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. There might have no embargo if Japan just defended their stake in Manchuria than advancing into rest of China.

        At one time, US and Japan saw eye to eye in Asia. Both cooperated to keep Russia out and keep China down. The movie SAND PEBBLES is instructive. It's about US imperial navy dealing with Chinese resistance led by nascent KMT. Even though Chiang became pro-American, the rise of Chinese nationalism(even minus the communist element) was deeply hostile to the imperialist powers: European, Japan, and the US.
        At this time, US and Europe, as imperialist powers, had more in common in Imperial Japan, and they all worked to keep China down.
        Still, with the rise of KMT, the US and Europe saw the writing on the wall and decided that China would gradually emerge as an independent power. US and Europe were grudgingly willing to return sovereignty, step by step, to the Chinese. US and Europe could feel somewhat more magnanimous because they had extensive empires even without their holdings in China. Brits had 1/4 of the world. French had colonies all over. US developed as an Anglo empire that wiped out the Indian savages and then, as if that wasn't enough, took over Cuba and Philippines.
        In contrast, the rise of China meant Japan could lose its premier colony in Manchuria. Without that, Japan's only empire was Taiwan and Korea. (If China became powerful enough, it could even take Taiwan from Japan.) And so, Japan came to eye China's emergence as a power with far greater anxiety. This is why it was disingenuous for Japan to claim that it was fighting for Asia against evil white powers. But then, US did its part in helping Japan become an imperial power invited to join with US and Europe in imperialism in Asia.

        While US had every right to mourn the death of its brave men at Pearl Harbor and honor the soldiers in the war, it was hardly an innocent party in world affairs. Its war in Philippines was far more outrageous than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sure, one could say the Americans weren't as bad as the Japanese -- though that is debatable in US's air wars of carpet bombing entire civilian populations in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam -- , but that's hardly consolation to the 100,000s of Filipinos who died in the US-Philippines War. Also, it's not like Japan emerged as some rogue imperialist out of the blue. It was forced out of isolation and then encouraged when it modernized and joined with whites to colonize Asia. US hardly protested Japan's takeover of Korean and Manchuria. If anything, the US tended to praise such as civilizing mission(which was half-true as imperialism does hasten progress in some ways: "What did the Romans ever do for us?")

        Also, when we look at the grand sweep of history, the US fixation on Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing. US was created by racial imperialism. Apparently, even the great expanse of America wasn't enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines. While Japan attacked US navy in Hawaii, it was the Americans who invaded and colonized Hawaii and reduced its native population into a tourist curiosity for immigrant-invaders made up mostly of whites and then later Asians.

        And given US intervention in Vietnam(where it had no business) that led to deaths of millions and then US cooking up dirty lies to invade and/or destroy nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Japan's dastardly deed seems hardly exceptional. At the very least, Japan attacked out of desperation as it was running out of essential materials. The US had everything and still intervened in other nations -- often based on lies -- and destroyed millions of lives. If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment. What would be needed to balance the scales for what Japan did in China between 1937 and 1935? Death by torture for every Japanese?

        the US fixation on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing.

        It would have been more bemusing if the USA had ignored the attack…….Or maybe it would have been more amusing…..Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened….

        • Replies: @bomag

        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment.
         
        Yeah, something sacred about protecting the innocent.

        But the notion gets tossed by: criminals; scammers; grifters; terrorists; ethnic cleansers; and demographic replacers.

        Maybe it's as a cartoon character mused: "there are no innocents."
      33. @Anonymous

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

         
        This is true, of course, but there may have been an American kamikaze attack at the Battle of Midway:

        One B-26, piloted by Lieutenant James Muri, strafed Akagi after dropping its torpedo, killing two men. Another, either attempting a suicide ramming, or out of control due to battle damage or an incapacitated pilot, narrowly missed crashing into Akagi's bridge, where Nagumo was standing, before it cartwheeled into the sea.
         

        It was also the event that tipped Nagumo into (mistakenly) regarding Midway airfield (where the B-26 had flown from) as a priority target, resulting in the disastrous re-re-arming his airfleet, scattering ordnance and fuel hither and yon the carrier decks, just in time for the arrival of the US dive bombers…

        • Replies: @El Dato
        AFAIK, another problem was that the Japanese thought fixed fuel lines would be a good idea. A death trap.

        The US relied on tank trucks being driven around. Someone attacks? Dump them overboard.
        , @MarkinLA
        Nagumo didn't necessarily make any mistake. There is a you-tube on Midway from the Japanese perspective. The problem was that land based air attacks, the time needed to refuel and rearm the aircraft, and the discovery of US carriers in the area only gave Nagumo 15 minutes to decide what to do and his decision was entirely by the book and could hardly be considered a blunder or mistake.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd8_vO5zrjo
      34. anon[444] • Disclaimer says:
        @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        It’s a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII’s other major powers’ aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht.

        US tanks were designed to be reliable and fast. Patton wanted them to be like cavalry, to get around into the flank and rear areas quickly. The primary use of the Sherman was against infantry, as mobile machinegun & 75mm artillery piece.. The tank destroyers were intended to deal with enemy tanks, also by flanking them. But what resulted was it often cost 3 or 4 Shermans to knock out one Tiger.

        The flaws became obvious and upgunned Shermans such as the Firefly were put into service, but they were still not up to facing off with Tiger or Panther as a rule. Fury is a dramatic story of an upgunned Sherman. Here is a movie version of several Shermans vs. one Tiger.

        Not safe for work.

        In 1945 the first M-26 Pershing tanks arrived in Germany. They were able to stand up to the Tiger and Panther. If the war had continued, the M-26 with its 90mm gun would have been more than enough to win battles.

        • Replies: @Hank Yobo
        Wasn't the Firefly a British modification of their Sherman tanks?
      35. @Paul Mendez
        The “offense is the best defense” ethos goes all the way back to the Samurai. Samurai armor was light and flexible compared to Western armor. It was mostly designed to keep those pesky arrows at bay while you skillfully opened the veins of your noble opponent with your katana. Japanese pilots didn’t think armor and self-sealing gas tanks were dishonorable as much as as they thought them unnecessary hindrances. If Japan had high-octane gas and super-charged engines, they probably would have opted for armor and self-sealing tanks in a heartbeat.

        Today’s US soldiers are so armored up they can’t run, go prone, climb a wall. Maybe they should go samurai.

        MY first small-type adult book was Samurai by Suburu Sakai. It helped that my father’s best friend was married to a Japanese woman who knew him.

        My first small-type adult book was “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (my working-class parents thought all books had magic powers, so they bought random books by the cartload and just left them all over the house, in full confidence that us kids would just spontaneously read whatever we were interested in). It gave me nightmares for years. I also wrote imitations of it. If I told you how young I was when I read that thing, you wouldn’t believe me. Let’s just say all my friends at the time still believed in Santa Claus.

        Some thoughts regarding all the Japan stuff…

        — re the death cult vs. practicality debate, the answer is, both. Japan is simply just a very different culture from the West, it’s a little like the Romans or the Celts before they were Christianized. You can get some insights into all the conflicting influences of Meiji/Taisho/descent into madness by reading Oe Kenzaburo’ early stories, the “Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi,” Vita Sexualis by Mori Ogai, the brilliant and magnificent weirdo Tanizaki Junichiro (Japan’s Nabokov, in a way), Akutagawa and Soseki of course, (I don’t really like Soseki but it’s obligatory), and a few snippets of that scoundrel Mishima.

        — Imperial racist ultranationalist Japan very much did intend to conquer and subdue all of North America, just not in the Pacific War time frame. (“A rifle behind every blade of grass” and all that.). They gambled everything that the Pearl Harbor attack would frighten and deter the rich, comfortable, soft, cowardly, short-sighted round-eyes just long enough for them to consolidate their base in Asia, then they would be impregnable, and the conquest of America would come later when it was too late. But, they lost that wager.

        • Replies: @SFG
        my working-class parents thought all books had magic powers, so they bought random books by the cartload and just left them all over the house, in full confidence that us kids would just spontaneously read whatever we were interested in

        Your working-class parents apparently cared about giving you a better life, thankfully, even if they didn't quite get how to go about it. I keep reading about working-class parents who beat the kids up when they try to read.
      36. According to John Keegan, towards the end of the war, the Japs had two million peasants digging up pine roots in the mountains to distill fuel for airplanes from.

        • Replies: @Houston 1992
        Wow
      37. @Anonymous

        The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.
         
        Defeat the US? That was not part of their plan at all. Japan was driven to desperation. Their attack on the US navy was defensive in the grand plan of things. Japan didn't even plan to invade and conquer Hawaii. Their only plan was to keep the US out of Asian Pacific.

        Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power. The problem was lack of resources. As long as US sold oil and iron to Japan, it had enough to maintain its limited empire in Asia. But once US imposed embargo, Japan had no choice but to secure oil and other resources, and that meant taking Southeast Asia, a source of oil and rubber.
        If not for the embargo, Japan would have focused on North Asia. The embargo compelled Japan had to secure its own resources, and that meant confronting European imperialists who controlled Southeast Asia. Japan feared US would to come to aid of European powers, and so, it went about taking out the US navy in Hawaii.
        That was the extent of Japan's intentions in regard to the US. And it would have been rational IF Japan had the means to keep the US out of Asian waters. Alas, it didn't.
        So, it totally misses the point to discuss Japan's plan to DEFEAT, let alone CONQUER, the US. That was never in the cards. From Japan's POV, the US and European powers were the aggressors who colonized Asian territory. The problem was most of Asia didn't buy the BS that Japan much cared for the welfare of all Asians. They knew what happened at Nanking.

        That said, despite Japan's atrocities in China, the war between Japan and China was more the result of series of events that spiraled out of control than the product of some fiendish Japanese plot. Many in the Japanese government would have been content with Manchuria and parts of North China. There was a kind of uneasy truce between Japan and KMT, not least because Chiang understood China had no chance against Japan in the 30s. His plan was to first defeat the communists, then build up the economy, and then confront Japan and take back Manchuria eventually at a later date. But after his kidnap and release by the Manchurian officer, he had a change of heart and decided to unite with communists and take on Japan. He was most popular with the Chinese when he made this fateful decision that was equally patriotic and reckless.
        At this point, Japan felt their stake in Manchuria was threatened as all of China seemed to be uniting to fight the Japanese and take it back. Japan had a choice of fighting defensively to keep Manchuria or offensively to crush China's will once and for all. In retrospective, Japan would have done better to have fought defensively to keep Manchuria, not least because US was okay with Japan ruling over Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. There might have no embargo if Japan just defended their stake in Manchuria than advancing into rest of China.

        At one time, US and Japan saw eye to eye in Asia. Both cooperated to keep Russia out and keep China down. The movie SAND PEBBLES is instructive. It's about US imperial navy dealing with Chinese resistance led by nascent KMT. Even though Chiang became pro-American, the rise of Chinese nationalism(even minus the communist element) was deeply hostile to the imperialist powers: European, Japan, and the US.
        At this time, US and Europe, as imperialist powers, had more in common in Imperial Japan, and they all worked to keep China down.
        Still, with the rise of KMT, the US and Europe saw the writing on the wall and decided that China would gradually emerge as an independent power. US and Europe were grudgingly willing to return sovereignty, step by step, to the Chinese. US and Europe could feel somewhat more magnanimous because they had extensive empires even without their holdings in China. Brits had 1/4 of the world. French had colonies all over. US developed as an Anglo empire that wiped out the Indian savages and then, as if that wasn't enough, took over Cuba and Philippines.
        In contrast, the rise of China meant Japan could lose its premier colony in Manchuria. Without that, Japan's only empire was Taiwan and Korea. (If China became powerful enough, it could even take Taiwan from Japan.) And so, Japan came to eye China's emergence as a power with far greater anxiety. This is why it was disingenuous for Japan to claim that it was fighting for Asia against evil white powers. But then, US did its part in helping Japan become an imperial power invited to join with US and Europe in imperialism in Asia.

        While US had every right to mourn the death of its brave men at Pearl Harbor and honor the soldiers in the war, it was hardly an innocent party in world affairs. Its war in Philippines was far more outrageous than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sure, one could say the Americans weren't as bad as the Japanese -- though that is debatable in US's air wars of carpet bombing entire civilian populations in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam -- , but that's hardly consolation to the 100,000s of Filipinos who died in the US-Philippines War. Also, it's not like Japan emerged as some rogue imperialist out of the blue. It was forced out of isolation and then encouraged when it modernized and joined with whites to colonize Asia. US hardly protested Japan's takeover of Korean and Manchuria. If anything, the US tended to praise such as civilizing mission(which was half-true as imperialism does hasten progress in some ways: "What did the Romans ever do for us?")

        Also, when we look at the grand sweep of history, the US fixation on Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing. US was created by racial imperialism. Apparently, even the great expanse of America wasn't enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines. While Japan attacked US navy in Hawaii, it was the Americans who invaded and colonized Hawaii and reduced its native population into a tourist curiosity for immigrant-invaders made up mostly of whites and then later Asians.

        And given US intervention in Vietnam(where it had no business) that led to deaths of millions and then US cooking up dirty lies to invade and/or destroy nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Japan's dastardly deed seems hardly exceptional. At the very least, Japan attacked out of desperation as it was running out of essential materials. The US had everything and still intervened in other nations -- often based on lies -- and destroyed millions of lives. If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        “the great expanse of America wasn’t enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines.”

        Don’t forget, America got started as a side effect of Columbus seeking unmediated trade with the Far East. Even after America became independent and sovereign, unmediated trade with the Far East was still a major animating goal. Even this morning, it is still an animating goal.

        The US was imperial on the sparsely populated North American mainland, but across the vast stretches of the Pacific, the objective was trade with the densely populated lands that were already there.

        The US didn’t acquire Hawaii and the Philippines because it wanted Polynesian or Tagalog dependencies. Pacific islands were acquired as way stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China. That some islands ended up becoming colonies in their own right was an inadvertent side effect.

        • Replies: @Old Prude
        Barbara Tuchman's "The Proud Tower" makes in clear that the world viewed America's aquisitions of the Philippines as naked imperialism and a betrayal of her principles, and surely it was. The Great White Fleet was certainly a jingoistic flexing of imperial muscle. We are so used to our imperial reach and sending our boys to fight in other lands that we think it normal. Only now that the imperial rot has set in, does there seem to be an awaking to what we have become.
        , @Bizarro World Observer
        Remember that the children of Protestant missionaries in Hawaii were behind the seizure of Hawaii by the U.S. They wanted to take political control of the islands from the natives to further their sugar and pineapple enterprises.
        , @ThreeCranes

        "Pacific islands were acquired as way stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China."
         
        Pacific islands were acquired as [coaling] stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China. We tend to forget how steam (as opposed to sail) tethered ships to a supply line.

        I forget which historian, but he makes much of Britain's switch to oil-fired furnaces for their capital ships and how this affected her need for a different global refueling infrastructure as compared to that necessitated by her former reliance on coal-fired boilers. Britain had abundant coal reserves but no oil to speak of. Her impetus to develop oil in the Middle East (Anglo-Persian Oil Company) was mainly due to her navy's need for oil, certainly not to any demand for automobile gas in 1915.
      38. @Anonymous

        The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.
         
        Defeat the US? That was not part of their plan at all. Japan was driven to desperation. Their attack on the US navy was defensive in the grand plan of things. Japan didn't even plan to invade and conquer Hawaii. Their only plan was to keep the US out of Asian Pacific.

        Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power. The problem was lack of resources. As long as US sold oil and iron to Japan, it had enough to maintain its limited empire in Asia. But once US imposed embargo, Japan had no choice but to secure oil and other resources, and that meant taking Southeast Asia, a source of oil and rubber.
        If not for the embargo, Japan would have focused on North Asia. The embargo compelled Japan had to secure its own resources, and that meant confronting European imperialists who controlled Southeast Asia. Japan feared US would to come to aid of European powers, and so, it went about taking out the US navy in Hawaii.
        That was the extent of Japan's intentions in regard to the US. And it would have been rational IF Japan had the means to keep the US out of Asian waters. Alas, it didn't.
        So, it totally misses the point to discuss Japan's plan to DEFEAT, let alone CONQUER, the US. That was never in the cards. From Japan's POV, the US and European powers were the aggressors who colonized Asian territory. The problem was most of Asia didn't buy the BS that Japan much cared for the welfare of all Asians. They knew what happened at Nanking.

        That said, despite Japan's atrocities in China, the war between Japan and China was more the result of series of events that spiraled out of control than the product of some fiendish Japanese plot. Many in the Japanese government would have been content with Manchuria and parts of North China. There was a kind of uneasy truce between Japan and KMT, not least because Chiang understood China had no chance against Japan in the 30s. His plan was to first defeat the communists, then build up the economy, and then confront Japan and take back Manchuria eventually at a later date. But after his kidnap and release by the Manchurian officer, he had a change of heart and decided to unite with communists and take on Japan. He was most popular with the Chinese when he made this fateful decision that was equally patriotic and reckless.
        At this point, Japan felt their stake in Manchuria was threatened as all of China seemed to be uniting to fight the Japanese and take it back. Japan had a choice of fighting defensively to keep Manchuria or offensively to crush China's will once and for all. In retrospective, Japan would have done better to have fought defensively to keep Manchuria, not least because US was okay with Japan ruling over Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. There might have no embargo if Japan just defended their stake in Manchuria than advancing into rest of China.

        At one time, US and Japan saw eye to eye in Asia. Both cooperated to keep Russia out and keep China down. The movie SAND PEBBLES is instructive. It's about US imperial navy dealing with Chinese resistance led by nascent KMT. Even though Chiang became pro-American, the rise of Chinese nationalism(even minus the communist element) was deeply hostile to the imperialist powers: European, Japan, and the US.
        At this time, US and Europe, as imperialist powers, had more in common in Imperial Japan, and they all worked to keep China down.
        Still, with the rise of KMT, the US and Europe saw the writing on the wall and decided that China would gradually emerge as an independent power. US and Europe were grudgingly willing to return sovereignty, step by step, to the Chinese. US and Europe could feel somewhat more magnanimous because they had extensive empires even without their holdings in China. Brits had 1/4 of the world. French had colonies all over. US developed as an Anglo empire that wiped out the Indian savages and then, as if that wasn't enough, took over Cuba and Philippines.
        In contrast, the rise of China meant Japan could lose its premier colony in Manchuria. Without that, Japan's only empire was Taiwan and Korea. (If China became powerful enough, it could even take Taiwan from Japan.) And so, Japan came to eye China's emergence as a power with far greater anxiety. This is why it was disingenuous for Japan to claim that it was fighting for Asia against evil white powers. But then, US did its part in helping Japan become an imperial power invited to join with US and Europe in imperialism in Asia.

        While US had every right to mourn the death of its brave men at Pearl Harbor and honor the soldiers in the war, it was hardly an innocent party in world affairs. Its war in Philippines was far more outrageous than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sure, one could say the Americans weren't as bad as the Japanese -- though that is debatable in US's air wars of carpet bombing entire civilian populations in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam -- , but that's hardly consolation to the 100,000s of Filipinos who died in the US-Philippines War. Also, it's not like Japan emerged as some rogue imperialist out of the blue. It was forced out of isolation and then encouraged when it modernized and joined with whites to colonize Asia. US hardly protested Japan's takeover of Korean and Manchuria. If anything, the US tended to praise such as civilizing mission(which was half-true as imperialism does hasten progress in some ways: "What did the Romans ever do for us?")

        Also, when we look at the grand sweep of history, the US fixation on Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing. US was created by racial imperialism. Apparently, even the great expanse of America wasn't enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines. While Japan attacked US navy in Hawaii, it was the Americans who invaded and colonized Hawaii and reduced its native population into a tourist curiosity for immigrant-invaders made up mostly of whites and then later Asians.

        And given US intervention in Vietnam(where it had no business) that led to deaths of millions and then US cooking up dirty lies to invade and/or destroy nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Japan's dastardly deed seems hardly exceptional. At the very least, Japan attacked out of desperation as it was running out of essential materials. The US had everything and still intervened in other nations -- often based on lies -- and destroyed millions of lives. If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment. What would be needed to balance the scales for what Japan did in China between 1937 and 1945*? Death by torture for every Japanese?

        the US fixation on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing.

        It would have been more bemusing if the USA had ignored the attack…….Or maybe it would have been more amusing…..Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened….

        *Corrected a typo

        • Replies: @El Dato

        Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened….
         
        > Roosevelt not opening the Christmas package about which he exactly knew when it would arrive.

        https://youtu.be/FTupV8o3mW4?t=8878

        "This is the beginning of the 'bipartisan' policy"
      39. @Paul Mendez
        Japanese and German planes carried 20mm and 30mm cannons from the very beginning of the war.

        Add up the weight and you’ll see what I mean. Even with the two 20mm guns on the zero, the f4f’s four m2s weighed over twice as much as the zero’ s guns. The m2 is a big, heavy gun that needs a powerful, rugged platform.

        • Replies: @istevefan
        The .50 cal (12.7 mm) was and is a great heavy machine gun, and the US did make it the standard weapon on all our fighters, both army and navy. This was done because the weapon was effective and it simplified the supply chain.

        However, 20 mm and larger armament were the way of the future. A single hit from such a cannon could bring down a plane.

        We initially put six .50 caliber guns into our F-86 fighters in Korea , but later versions of this plane used four 20 mm cannon instead. The Soviet MiG-15 was also equipped with heavier cannon. Even up to today we have pretty much standardized the 20 mm gatling gun in our fighters.
      40. 1.5 times as many aircrafts were lost in non combat accidents (equipment failures+pilot errors) than in combat. What does it tell us about the quality of aircrafts and the skills of the US pilots?

        According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes — inside the continental United States . They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.

        Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign locations. But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.

        22,948 (in combat) vs. 13,873 (in the US)+ 1000 (en route) + 20,633 (overseas)

        • Troll: SOL
        • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
        "What does that tell you about the quality of US aircrafts and the skills of the US pilots?"

        It tells you that when you go from being a nation of isolationist farmboys, to taking over half the planet, in just THREE AND A HALF YEARS, that the U.S. pilots and engineers were some of the most daring and remarkable people who ever lived.

        The fact that this very same group of people then proceeded to piss away, give away, and actively destroy their own entire civilization is of course a matter for a different blog.
        , @MikeatMikedotMike
        LOL you're proving yourself to be little more than a yuckmouth troll.
      41. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        Well theory 2 might be right, but I believe that the Air Force had much higher casualty rates than the tank corp or even the marines. I remember one night my father who was in the Eighth Air Force (shot down on his 26th mission) was arguing with a friend who had been a Marine NCO and had fought on Tarawa and Okinawa about who was crazier. I told my father that I was pretty sure the Air Force had a higher casualty rate than the Marines especially when he was serving (late 1943 to April 1944). He didn’t believe me until he went to an Army Air Force reunion in Branson in the late eighties and found out he didn’t meet many people he knew. Instead he found that most of the people he knew were in the list of the KIAs. He was pretty shaken by that.

        • Replies: @Steve Sailer
        Physicist Freeman Dyson was a statistical analyst for the RAF. I recall he said that bomber crewmen over Germany had about a 50-50 chance of surviving their normal 20 missions. That's the point of "Catch-22:" you can get out flying 20 missions if you are crazy, but it's totally not crazy to want to get out of having to fly 20 missions.
        , @Old Prude
        I remember going through the West Point Register of Graduates and taking special note of the number of graduates from class '41 through '43 listed as killed in the air over Europe.
        , @68W58
        It’s true-the eighth Air Force suffered more KIAs in WWII than the Marine Corps.
        , @Almost Missouri
        You may be right about the Air Corps (particularly the enlisted man bomber crews) having higher casualties than tankers. Front line Marine units often had casualties in excess of 100% or even 200% (i.e., lose most men, get replacements, lose most of those, rinse-repeat). I don't think bomber crew casualties were that high.

        In defense of my Theory 1), above, I don't think the flying corp expected such high casualties, whereas the infantry, well, you know...
      42. @Anonymous

        It was all downhill for them from there because they’d used up their best pilots by June 1942
         
        I'd push that through the end of 1942 and maybe into early 1943, and modify it to "most" not the implied "all" of your statement.
        My grandfather was a VF aviator on three carriers during the Pacific war (both Lexingtons (CV-2, CV-16) and Enterprise (CV-6). He flew the F2A, F4F-3, F4F-4, F6F-3 and F6F-5. The year 1942 was the worst for him, being wounded three times, having one of his planes pushed over the side after it landed, it was so damaged, and being shot down at sea, while fighting Zeros. And, of course, losing his ship.
        But after 1942, despite accumulating far more combat hours in his logbook, he was never wounded again, never suffered any air-combat damage, and was not shot down. It was not until 1951, when he was flying flak suppression missions over North Korea in an F9F-2 from the Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), that his aircraft again suffered serious combat damage.

        After the war, he was stationed for many years in Japan, loved the country and the people. It's very hard to believe that such a savage war, no quarter asked or given, was fought by two peoples who so soon after it ended came to like each other so well.

        “It’s very hard to believe that such a savage war, no quarter asked or given, was fought by two peoples who so soon after it ended came to like each other so well.”

        Yes it is. I wonder how much of it is that the savagery of the war killed off the hardest hate cases. And having survived the savagery, the remainder were mostly more than happy to “study war no more”.

        • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
        The hardest hate cases on the losing side were probably keeping their heads down and hoping not to face a tribunal and/or execution. Remember the (3?) US prisoners taken at Midway were thrown into the sea to drown after being 'questioned'.

        In my UK youth the atrocities of Japan and Germany were considered to be about equally bad. Lord Russell, a Nuremburg judge, published 'The Scourge of the Swastika' and 'The Knights of Bushido'. Only one is still in print, and we haven't had a stream of novels, films and TV programs about Japanese nastiness.

        The hardest hate cases on our side (many of them armchair haters not fighting men) were able to carry on well into the late 1940s.

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3664526/How-three-million-Germans-died-after-VE-Day.html

        His best estimate is that some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities. A million soldiers vanished before they could creep back to the holes that had been their homes. The majority of them died in Soviet captivity (of the 90,000 who surrendered at Stalingrad, only 5,000 eventually came home) but, shamingly, many thousands perished as prisoners of the Anglo-Americans. Herded into cages along the Rhine, with no shelter and very little food, they dropped like flies. Others, more fortunate, toiled as slave labour in a score of Allied countries, often for years. Incredibly, some Germans were still being held in Russia as late as 1979.

        The two million German civilians who died were largely the old, women and children: victims of disease, cold, hunger, suicide - and mass murder.

        Apart from the well-known repeated rape of virtually every girl and woman unlucky enough to be in the Soviet occupation zones, perhaps the most shocking outrage recorded by MacDonogh - for the first time in English - is the slaughter of a quarter of a million Sudeten Germans by their vengeful Czech compatriots. The survivors of this ethnic cleansing, naked and shivering, were pitched across the border, never to return to their homes. Similar scenes were seen across Poland, Silesia and East Prussia as age-old German communities were brutally expunged.

        Given that what amounted to a lesser Holocaust was unfolding under their noses, it may be asked why the western Allies did not stop this venting of long-dammed-up rage on the (mainly) innocent. MacDonogh's answer is that it could all have been even worse. The US Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, favoured turning Germany into a gigantic farm, and there were genocidal Nazi-like schemes afoot to starve, sterilise or deport the population of what was left of the bombed-out cities.
         
        Steve - I believe the standard Bomber Command tour was 30 missions. Statistically, with a 4.5-5% loss rate on each mission, you would not survive a single tour.
        , @Jim Don Bob

        the savagery of the war killed off the hardest hate cases
         
        I've often thought this is perhaps why Germany is such a wuss these days. Maybe the 5 million soldiers they lost in WW2 were the hard cases needed to keep people like Merkel from ascending to power.
      43. @J.Ross
        Saburo Sakai was an amazing guy who, due to the completely brainless restrictions the Japanese placed on themselves, never got a promotion or a medal, and had to stoop behind officers in the chow line; in our service he'd be at least a colonel.
        He encountered the new variation of the Wildcat with an aft-facing gun: he took a severe drubbing, including an injury to one eye, but managed his way back to base through hours of unimaginable agony, insisted on reporting before receiving aid (to prevent more pilots meeting the same trap -- here is a guy you drink to, no matter the uniform), then agonized through eye surgery which, thanks to the wartime circumstances, did not bother with anaesthesia.
        And after that he still wanted back in the fight.
        I suggest checking out Tamaichi Hara's Japanese Destroyer Captain. Hara is something like the surface fleet equivalent of Sakai's airborn mastery, but unlike Sakai, he's a university man, an intellectual (before the war, Hara invented a new type of undetectable torpedo which proved invaluable), and also much more subversive and critical. There is a hilarious rudder episode which I shall not spoil.
        --------
        It really is amazing to grow up in the 80s with the idealized robot-attended cyberpunk image of the Technological Japanese, and then read John Dower's must-buy Embracing Defeat, and see that the Japanese focus on tech was a reaction to being defeated by the nation of Ford, Edison, and Lindburgh; that before this, the Japanese self-conception was pretty much something a young John Milius or Boris Vellejo would jot down during a boring algebra class, aspiring at its best to be pure Robert E Howard.
        We will defeat them -- because we will it!
        ...
        Where do [they] get those wonderful toys?

        Sakai was hit by one of the new Grumman TBF torpedo bombers. It had a rear facing gun turret, and another rear facing gun position in the belly. The airplane was bigger than the Grumman Wildcat but almost identical in shape. Sakai came up from behind and below thinking he was sneaking up on the blindside of a Wildcat and got a face full of thirty caliber.

      44. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        The .50 has excellent ballistics. It was pretty much ideal for its time, although it was on the heavy side and didn’t have a very high rate of fire. So to use it effectively you need multiple guns, which means you need a powerful, robust airplane to carry them.

        The mg151/20 20mm autocannons only weighed ten pounds more than the m2, and the most any German plane mounted was four on an fw190.

        The p47 had four m2s on each wing!

        In reading the history of wwii, one thing that stood out to me was how much influence the weapon has on the ultimate design of a fighting vehicle. More often than not, planes, tanks and boats were built with a particular gun in mind rather than the other way around.

        The exceptions, like the Sherman firefly, stand out because they are rare.

      45. @NJ Transit Commuter
        Can we stop with this silly meme about a Japanese Bushido culture of death?

        Couple of points:
        1. Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        2. Kamikaze attacks were actually quite effective. A quick Wikipedia search the numbers are as follows:

        # of attacks: 2800 - 3800
        # of US casualties: 10,000 (about half KIA)
        # of ships sunk: 30 - 80
        # of ships damaged: 200 - 400

        So, the tactic caused twice the casualties it incurred and resulted in a sunk or damaged ship per 10 planes.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        Some interesting thoughts from Greg Cochran:

        Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo, or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone. They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give them a chance to do so. Even Spartans, products of a lifetime of military training, could surrender, as shown at Sphacteria in the Peloponnesian War.

        So an army that routinely executed last stands – one that always refused to surrender, that kept fighting until eliminated by firepower or starvation – would be anomalous. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s easy to remember: that’s what the Imperial Japanese Army was like in World War Two.

        In a typical battle, less than 2% of Japanese forces were taken prisoner. Of those that were, many had been knocked unconscious. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill Allied medics: Japanese sailors would attack Americans trying to fish them out of the water. As a young American infantry officer who faced them in Guadalcanal and Burma said, “for sheer, bloody, hardened steel guts, the stocky and hard-muscled little Jap doughboy has it all over any of us.” George MacDonald Fraser told of a Japanese soldier he encountered in August of 1945, when they had utterly lost the war: ” the little bastard came howling out of a thicket near the Sittang, full of spite and fury.. He was half-starved and near naked, and his only weapon was a bamboo stave, but he was in no mood to surrender.”

        The Japanese usually lost those battles (after their attacks in the beginning of the war) , losing something like ten times as many killed as their Western opponents, a ratio normally seen only in colonial wars. The Japanese relied on ‘courage and cold steel’, which simply wasn’t very effective. They simply did not grasp the dominance of artillery and automatic weapons in modern war – partly because they hadn’t fought in WWI (except for a small naval role), but, more importantly, because they didn’t want to understand. They’d had a chance to learn in the border conflicts with the Soviet Union in the late 30’s (Khalkin-Gol), but refused to do so.

        In addition, Japanese heroism is seldom fully appreciated because they were such utter assholes, in their treatment of prisoners and of conquered nations – cannibalism, vivisection, the Rape of Nanking and the destruction of Manila, germ warfare experiments on prisoners… even the water cure, although now we’re in favor of that. Under the Japanese, Asia was a charnel house. Regardless, their courage was most unusual.

        Compared to the last stands of the Japanese in the Pacific War, Thermopylae is nothing special. It is hardly even noticeable. The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma. There were no mutinies, unlike the French or Russians or Italians in WWI. When the Germany Navy was ordered out to a suicidal battle in 1918, the sailors rebelled and the government fell – but then, they weren’t Japanese.

        Many other nations and empires have tried to inculcate this kind of ultimate obedience, some going to great lengths – but Imperial Japan is the only one that achieved it, as far as I can tell. There’s isn’t even any reason to think they they tried particularly hard to do so – certainly they’d didn’t go anywhere near as far as the Spartans.

        If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?

        https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/ija/

        • Replies: @NJ Transit Commuter
        All good points, syonredux. I’d argue that a lot of the Japanese “willingness” to fight to the death was that there was no way for them to retreat on the small Pacific islands most of the battles took place on. (For example, the Americans fought to the last man on Wake Island early in the war). This has two implications.

        1. No room to tactically retreat. There are always incidents of soldiers killing surrendering enemy soldiers in the heat of battle. I remember reading a great account of this in Storm of Steel. On a small island, where combat is all at close quarters, it’s easy for small incidents to create a reputation that “Japanese never surrender” and “Americans kill anyone who tries to surrender.” And then this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

        2. No ability for a strategic retreat. For most of the war, Japanese soldiers couldn’t be evacuated from the islands they were sent to, because of a lack of fuel and ships. If you know you’re trapped, and likely to be killed (see point 1. above) you might as well fight to the death.

        In other theaters the Japanese did surrender. The Soviets captured over 500 K Japanese soldiers when they invaded Manchuria. Could this be because the Japanese and Soviets had room keep away from close quarter fighting why while a surrender could be arranged?
        , @Old Prude
        One can easily imagine the hate inspired by being attacked by someone you are trying to help. It would only take once and you'd say "F'em. Let em drown." Makes the decision to drop a nuke pretty easy.
        , @ThreeCranes

        "If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?"
         
        A just condemnation. They're not interested in anything sweaty and manly unless it involves a stone-age tribe in some exotic jungle.

        As an undergraduate I presented a paper in a Philosophy seminar on Aesthetics on the Bushido, Code of the Warrior which I called "The Art of Death". It didn't go over well with the staid, old, tradition-minded instructor.

        I still don't see why regarding dying well as an aesthetic as well as an ethical choice, is beyond the pale.
        , @obwandiyag
        There were few Japanese prisoners because the Americans shot them dead when they surrendered. Learn some real history rather than the lies of the victors.
        , @anonymous
        The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma.

        Yes, I believe John Dower put the percentage of the Japanese army and navy deaths due to starvation at 2/3 of 2.1 million total deaths. Other historians put the starvation percentage at 50% (of a total of 455k dead) in China, 80% (of 498k) in the Philippines, and over 90% (of 127k) in New Guinea.
      46. @216
        Producing the Panther and the Tiger was quite the misallocation of resources, exceeded only by the V-2 vs the V-1. (The V-3 might have been cost effective if it had been immune from retalitory bombing).

        The later German tank designs were also rather unreliable, the Sherman was easy to repair. Unlike the Panzer mk. IV, the Sherman's mostly didn't get the upgraded gun.

        The Panther cost only a bit more than the Panzer 4 to produce. For that money you had arguably the best tank of WW2.

        Hardly a misallocation of resources.

        • Replies: @Ozymandias
        "The Panther cost only a bit more than the Panzer 4 to produce. For that money you had arguably the best tank of WW2."

        The Panther's wide track base made it very maneuverable, but it was also hell on the transmission which made it an unreliable weapon. By the end of the war, the Soviets were building the best tanks on the planet.
        , @Diversity Heretic
        The greater controversy in German WWII armored fighting vehicle production was whether to build tanks at all, or build turretless Sturmgeschutzen or Panzerjagern, which could carry bigger guns with thicker armor protection with much less production cost. They did lack the offensive potential of a turreted tank and were organizationally assigned to the artiller, which didn't sit well with the Panzer generals.
      47. The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.

        Perhaps they didn’t think they had to beat us. Reading the large anti-interventionist sentiment in the US at that time might have led them to believe a knockout at Pearl would be enough to keep the US sidelined in the Pacific; if that is the case, they seriously misread the resolve of FDR and his cabal to get into that war, even at the cost od several outdated sacrificial pawns and a few thousand lives.

      48. @Jesse
        My father met, in the post war years, a Japanese man who has been a pilot in late WW2. The man admitted that he and his friends has been ardent to be kamikaze, but one of their superiors kept putting it off, to the point where it was getting vaguely weird and ridiculous. He and my dad marvelled at the sheer bravery of that superior officer.

        Not sure what my point is, but I've always wanted cause to use that anecdote.

        Apparently a lot of the volunteers were not at all ardent to die for the Top Palace Asshole, but peer pressure and convincing talk by superiors eventually persuaded them.

        Also:

        It was all downhill for them from there because they’d used up their best pilots by June 1942, and they couldn’t train pilots well during wartime, probably mostly because they didn’t have the fuel for training flights.

        And maybe their training regimen was really bad. I can imagine them trying to teach pilots the same as one teaches pupils in school, with lots of cramming, yelling, and punishment. Once the candidate hits the Real World, complete failure can practically not be avoided.

        • Replies: @MarkinLA
        There is a video about the Japanese replacement for the Zero which took a lot of it's design from American planes. It had twice the power but was stiil more manueverable than American planes due to specially developed technology. There is only one remaining speciment at the Air Force museum. It was highly effective and had a huge kill rate advantage over American planes. It was called the George and only 400 were produced before the factory was destroyed.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawanishi_N1K

        The pilots flying it were the best Japan had at the time. According to a video on the plane, the high command wanted them to engage in Kamakazee operations. They told their superiors that they would if they joined them in the cockpit. They never went.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc3Xj0Eqa4Q
      49. “The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population”

        I thought it was 100 million Japanese vs 140 million American?

        • Replies: @PiltdownMan
        About 131 million to 72 million, in 1939. Close enough to "twice."

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1939
        , @PiltdownMan
        About 131 million to 72 million, in 1939. Close enough to "twice."

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1939
      50. @VladIII
        Unrelated, but I just saw the latest in WWH: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/12/04/784838430/hair-dye-and-straightener-use-linked-to-higher-cancer-risk-especially-for-black-?

        I suspect they'll find some way to blame this on YT.

        I just came across this little gem. I’m surprised it didn’t cause some Crown Heights crisis. I never thought too much about hair, but the NYT has opened my eyes to this political dimension.

      51. @syonredux
        Some interesting thoughts from Greg Cochran:

        Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo, or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone. They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give them a chance to do so. Even Spartans, products of a lifetime of military training, could surrender, as shown at Sphacteria in the Peloponnesian War.
         

        So an army that routinely executed last stands – one that always refused to surrender, that kept fighting until eliminated by firepower or starvation – would be anomalous. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s easy to remember: that’s what the Imperial Japanese Army was like in World War Two.
         

        In a typical battle, less than 2% of Japanese forces were taken prisoner. Of those that were, many had been knocked unconscious. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill Allied medics: Japanese sailors would attack Americans trying to fish them out of the water. As a young American infantry officer who faced them in Guadalcanal and Burma said, “for sheer, bloody, hardened steel guts, the stocky and hard-muscled little Jap doughboy has it all over any of us.” George MacDonald Fraser told of a Japanese soldier he encountered in August of 1945, when they had utterly lost the war: ” the little bastard came howling out of a thicket near the Sittang, full of spite and fury.. He was half-starved and near naked, and his only weapon was a bamboo stave, but he was in no mood to surrender.”

         

        The Japanese usually lost those battles (after their attacks in the beginning of the war) , losing something like ten times as many killed as their Western opponents, a ratio normally seen only in colonial wars. The Japanese relied on ‘courage and cold steel’, which simply wasn’t very effective. They simply did not grasp the dominance of artillery and automatic weapons in modern war – partly because they hadn’t fought in WWI (except for a small naval role), but, more importantly, because they didn’t want to understand. They’d had a chance to learn in the border conflicts with the Soviet Union in the late 30’s (Khalkin-Gol), but refused to do so.

         

        In addition, Japanese heroism is seldom fully appreciated because they were such utter assholes, in their treatment of prisoners and of conquered nations – cannibalism, vivisection, the Rape of Nanking and the destruction of Manila, germ warfare experiments on prisoners… even the water cure, although now we’re in favor of that. Under the Japanese, Asia was a charnel house. Regardless, their courage was most unusual.
         

        Compared to the last stands of the Japanese in the Pacific War, Thermopylae is nothing special. It is hardly even noticeable. The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma. There were no mutinies, unlike the French or Russians or Italians in WWI. When the Germany Navy was ordered out to a suicidal battle in 1918, the sailors rebelled and the government fell – but then, they weren’t Japanese.

         

        Many other nations and empires have tried to inculcate this kind of ultimate obedience, some going to great lengths – but Imperial Japan is the only one that achieved it, as far as I can tell. There’s isn’t even any reason to think they they tried particularly hard to do so – certainly they’d didn’t go anywhere near as far as the Spartans.

         

        If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?
         
        https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/ija/

        All good points, syonredux. I’d argue that a lot of the Japanese “willingness” to fight to the death was that there was no way for them to retreat on the small Pacific islands most of the battles took place on. (For example, the Americans fought to the last man on Wake Island early in the war). This has two implications.

        1. No room to tactically retreat. There are always incidents of soldiers killing surrendering enemy soldiers in the heat of battle. I remember reading a great account of this in Storm of Steel. On a small island, where combat is all at close quarters, it’s easy for small incidents to create a reputation that “Japanese never surrender” and “Americans kill anyone who tries to surrender.” And then this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

        2. No ability for a strategic retreat. For most of the war, Japanese soldiers couldn’t be evacuated from the islands they were sent to, because of a lack of fuel and ships. If you know you’re trapped, and likely to be killed (see point 1. above) you might as well fight to the death.

        In other theaters the Japanese did surrender. The Soviets captured over 500 K Japanese soldiers when they invaded Manchuria. Could this be because the Japanese and Soviets had room keep away from close quarter fighting why while a surrender could be arranged?

        • Replies: @Wency
        Good observations (though I also find Cochran's observations interesting). Your point #1 seems to be seldom appreciated. The usual result of an attempted small-scale surrender on an active battlefield is getting gunned down.

        Take the jumpiness of a sleep-deprived cop without backup trying to arrest a potentially-armed crackhead at 3am in the ghetto, multiply it 100-fold, and that's the state of mind of an infantryman who witnesses the attempted surrender of someone he's just been in a firefight with.

        We're led to believe that holding up your hands or a white handkerchief is sacrosanct. A character in a movie is often portrayed as evil, or at least losing his grip, for not accepting such a surrender. I recall in The Patriot, Gibson's character killed a Redcoat who tried to throw up his hands and surrender from a distance of about 2 yards, and other characters were horrified by his failure to take him prisoner.

        Saving Private Ryan though portrayed such an incident basically without comment. And funny enough, the surrendering soldiers were apparently protesting their innocence, saying they were Czech, not German, before the Americans mockingly (and not comprehending) gunned them down.
        , @anonymous
        In other theaters the Japanese did surrender. The Soviets captured over 500 K Japanese soldiers when they invaded Manchuria. Could this be because the Japanese and Soviets had room keep away from close quarter fighting why while a surrender could be arranged?

        More likely it was because the war had already ended. The emperor gave the surrender order on August 15th (Soviet invasion began on the 9th), whereas the Soviets were capturing Japanese POWs in Manchuria well into September and October. By the same token, the Chinese nationalists took 1 million Japanese POWs after the war ended, the allies in Southeast Asia took some 700-800k, and the Americans took a few million. The main difference is that somewhere between 100-400k of the Japanese POWs that the Soviets captured still remained unaccounted for, even after 1950.
      52. @Simon in London
        "The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population"

        I thought it was 100 million Japanese vs 140 million American?

        About 131 million to 72 million, in 1939. Close enough to “twice.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1939

      53. @Simon in London
        "The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population"

        I thought it was 100 million Japanese vs 140 million American?

        About 131 million to 72 million, in 1939. Close enough to “twice.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1939

      54. @syonredux

        If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

         
        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment. What would be needed to balance the scales for what Japan did in China between 1937 and 1945*? Death by torture for every Japanese?




        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqnftyYWW4E

        the US fixation on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing.
         
        It would have been more bemusing if the USA had ignored the attack…….Or maybe it would have been more amusing…..Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened….





        *Corrected a typo

        Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened….

        > Roosevelt not opening the Christmas package about which he exactly knew when it would arrive.

        “This is the beginning of the ‘bipartisan’ policy”

      55. @Anonymous

        The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.
         
        Defeat the US? That was not part of their plan at all. Japan was driven to desperation. Their attack on the US navy was defensive in the grand plan of things. Japan didn't even plan to invade and conquer Hawaii. Their only plan was to keep the US out of Asian Pacific.

        Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power. The problem was lack of resources. As long as US sold oil and iron to Japan, it had enough to maintain its limited empire in Asia. But once US imposed embargo, Japan had no choice but to secure oil and other resources, and that meant taking Southeast Asia, a source of oil and rubber.
        If not for the embargo, Japan would have focused on North Asia. The embargo compelled Japan had to secure its own resources, and that meant confronting European imperialists who controlled Southeast Asia. Japan feared US would to come to aid of European powers, and so, it went about taking out the US navy in Hawaii.
        That was the extent of Japan's intentions in regard to the US. And it would have been rational IF Japan had the means to keep the US out of Asian waters. Alas, it didn't.
        So, it totally misses the point to discuss Japan's plan to DEFEAT, let alone CONQUER, the US. That was never in the cards. From Japan's POV, the US and European powers were the aggressors who colonized Asian territory. The problem was most of Asia didn't buy the BS that Japan much cared for the welfare of all Asians. They knew what happened at Nanking.

        That said, despite Japan's atrocities in China, the war between Japan and China was more the result of series of events that spiraled out of control than the product of some fiendish Japanese plot. Many in the Japanese government would have been content with Manchuria and parts of North China. There was a kind of uneasy truce between Japan and KMT, not least because Chiang understood China had no chance against Japan in the 30s. His plan was to first defeat the communists, then build up the economy, and then confront Japan and take back Manchuria eventually at a later date. But after his kidnap and release by the Manchurian officer, he had a change of heart and decided to unite with communists and take on Japan. He was most popular with the Chinese when he made this fateful decision that was equally patriotic and reckless.
        At this point, Japan felt their stake in Manchuria was threatened as all of China seemed to be uniting to fight the Japanese and take it back. Japan had a choice of fighting defensively to keep Manchuria or offensively to crush China's will once and for all. In retrospective, Japan would have done better to have fought defensively to keep Manchuria, not least because US was okay with Japan ruling over Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. There might have no embargo if Japan just defended their stake in Manchuria than advancing into rest of China.

        At one time, US and Japan saw eye to eye in Asia. Both cooperated to keep Russia out and keep China down. The movie SAND PEBBLES is instructive. It's about US imperial navy dealing with Chinese resistance led by nascent KMT. Even though Chiang became pro-American, the rise of Chinese nationalism(even minus the communist element) was deeply hostile to the imperialist powers: European, Japan, and the US.
        At this time, US and Europe, as imperialist powers, had more in common in Imperial Japan, and they all worked to keep China down.
        Still, with the rise of KMT, the US and Europe saw the writing on the wall and decided that China would gradually emerge as an independent power. US and Europe were grudgingly willing to return sovereignty, step by step, to the Chinese. US and Europe could feel somewhat more magnanimous because they had extensive empires even without their holdings in China. Brits had 1/4 of the world. French had colonies all over. US developed as an Anglo empire that wiped out the Indian savages and then, as if that wasn't enough, took over Cuba and Philippines.
        In contrast, the rise of China meant Japan could lose its premier colony in Manchuria. Without that, Japan's only empire was Taiwan and Korea. (If China became powerful enough, it could even take Taiwan from Japan.) And so, Japan came to eye China's emergence as a power with far greater anxiety. This is why it was disingenuous for Japan to claim that it was fighting for Asia against evil white powers. But then, US did its part in helping Japan become an imperial power invited to join with US and Europe in imperialism in Asia.

        While US had every right to mourn the death of its brave men at Pearl Harbor and honor the soldiers in the war, it was hardly an innocent party in world affairs. Its war in Philippines was far more outrageous than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sure, one could say the Americans weren't as bad as the Japanese -- though that is debatable in US's air wars of carpet bombing entire civilian populations in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam -- , but that's hardly consolation to the 100,000s of Filipinos who died in the US-Philippines War. Also, it's not like Japan emerged as some rogue imperialist out of the blue. It was forced out of isolation and then encouraged when it modernized and joined with whites to colonize Asia. US hardly protested Japan's takeover of Korean and Manchuria. If anything, the US tended to praise such as civilizing mission(which was half-true as imperialism does hasten progress in some ways: "What did the Romans ever do for us?")

        Also, when we look at the grand sweep of history, the US fixation on Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing. US was created by racial imperialism. Apparently, even the great expanse of America wasn't enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines. While Japan attacked US navy in Hawaii, it was the Americans who invaded and colonized Hawaii and reduced its native population into a tourist curiosity for immigrant-invaders made up mostly of whites and then later Asians.

        And given US intervention in Vietnam(where it had no business) that led to deaths of millions and then US cooking up dirty lies to invade and/or destroy nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Japan's dastardly deed seems hardly exceptional. At the very least, Japan attacked out of desperation as it was running out of essential materials. The US had everything and still intervened in other nations -- often based on lies -- and destroyed millions of lives. If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        In The Godfather, Puzo and Coppola squeeze in a line about the oil embargo.

      56. Japan is a brilliant display of how the NWO builds up faux ‘enemies’, so they can be taken down for their long term Globalist strategy.

        The British Empire itself gave the Japanese everything they needed for a modern carrier fleet. There was, as usual, some ‘British’ ‘lord’ who gave them all the world leading stuff the British were developing in the early twenties.

        Next, there is the masonic document known as the ‘Tanaka Memorial’. Just read it: it’s brazen in its pomp and limitless ambition. That’s exactly how they operate. They suckered Japan into believing they had the ‘right’ and an actual chance to replace the Western Powers in Asia. And as a result, they gave the ‘Illuminati’ the opportunity for their vehicle known as ‘the United States’ to conquer all Asia.

        Nowadays, it’s the Chinese who are being built up: tech transfers by the Jews to Beijing have been ongoing for decades.

        We’re supposed to not notice that it was the Transnationals owned by Wall Street who brought their machine park to China, so it can now parade as a monstrous threat to the entire world, and the West in particular.

        Trump and the Swamp are now directed to ‘confront China’ in a ‘new Cold War’.

        This is exactly how they operate.

        • LOL: IHTG
        • Replies: @Uhh
        If you really think that there exists a secret hidden ultra super evil organised sect of untouchable human-demon hybrids bent on ruling the world with an iron fist and making everyone a puppet like Marvel/DC supervillains, then you really are clueless about the human condition. I bet your "Tanaka Memorial" is as authentic as the Protocols. The Japanese in Nagasaki and Hiroshima might have agreed with you, but somehow disappeared without a trace after the Bomb, so we'll never know. Much like those pesky Jews were about to carry out their Elders' bidding, when the overmatched and undergunned Einsatzgruppen stopped them against all odds.

        But as an Illuminati serf, I'm supposed to stop you from revealing our secrets by smearing and ridiculing you, right?
        , @YetAnotherAnon
        Churchill:

        "Uncle Sam and Britannia were the godparents of the new Japan. In less than two generations, with no background but the remote past, the Japanese people advanced from the two-handed sword of the Samurai to the ironclad ship, the rifled cannon, the torpedo, and the Maxim gun; and a similar revolution took place in industry.
        The transition of Japan under British and American guidance from the Middle Ages to modern times was swift and violent. China was surpassed and smitten. It was with amazement that the world saw in 1905 the defeat of Czarist Russia, not only on the sea, but by great armies transported to the mainland and winning enormous battles in Manchuria.
        Japan now took her place among the Great Powers. The Japanese were themselves astonished at the respect with which they were viewed. "When we sent you the beautiful products of our ancient arts and culture you despised and laughed at us; but since we have got a first-class Navy and Army with good weapons we are regarded as a highly civilised nation."
         
        Japan was a British ally until 1923, when the USA made it clear to them that continuing the alliance would incur US displeasure. I'd be interested to know why the US felt that way - was it the 21 Demands, that would give Japan primacy in China?
      57. @Larry, San Francisco
        Well theory 2 might be right, but I believe that the Air Force had much higher casualty rates than the tank corp or even the marines. I remember one night my father who was in the Eighth Air Force (shot down on his 26th mission) was arguing with a friend who had been a Marine NCO and had fought on Tarawa and Okinawa about who was crazier. I told my father that I was pretty sure the Air Force had a higher casualty rate than the Marines especially when he was serving (late 1943 to April 1944). He didn't believe me until he went to an Army Air Force reunion in Branson in the late eighties and found out he didn't meet many people he knew. Instead he found that most of the people he knew were in the list of the KIAs. He was pretty shaken by that.

        Physicist Freeman Dyson was a statistical analyst for the RAF. I recall he said that bomber crewmen over Germany had about a 50-50 chance of surviving their normal 20 missions. That’s the point of “Catch-22:” you can get out flying 20 missions if you are crazy, but it’s totally not crazy to want to get out of having to fly 20 missions.

        • Replies: @Bill P
        My grandpa flew 32 missions in a b-17. I think he was eligible to get out after 25, but volunteered for some more. However, by the end of his combat duty around mid '44 it was a lot less hazardous than when he went on his first mission.

        His first mission was as a replacement for the guys who got decimated over Schweinfurt. He talked to me a fair amount about his wartime experience. More than he did to his own kids, according to my mom.

        My takeaway from our talks was that he really didn't like it, and it was terrifying, especially the flak and seeing other planes go down. He told me how people bailed out and then their parachutes ignited after coming into contact with burning fuel. He said they looked like "burning ping pong balls."

        He died five years ago at the age of 91. It was a good life, but the war damaged him pretty badly. Glory and heroism are very expensive.
        , @Joe Stalin

        At the British Bomber Command, Dyson and colleagues proposed removing two gun turrets from the RAF Lancaster bombers, to cut the catastrophic losses due to German fighters in the Battle of Berlin. A Lancaster without turrets could fly 50 mph (80 km/h) faster and be much more maneuverable.

        All our advice to the commander in chief [went] through the chief of our section, who was a career civil servant. His guiding principle was to tell the commander in chief things that the commander in chief liked to hear ... To push the idea of ripping out gun turrets, against the official mythology of the gallant gunner defending his crew mates ... was not the kind of suggestion the commander in chief liked to hear.[72]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson
         
        , @Lurker
        Theoretically an RAF tour was 30 missions. (Many people opted to fly more)
      58. @Almost Missouri

        "the great expanse of America wasn’t enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines."
         
        Don't forget, America got started as a side effect of Columbus seeking unmediated trade with the Far East. Even after America became independent and sovereign, unmediated trade with the Far East was still a major animating goal. Even this morning, it is still an animating goal.

        The US was imperial on the sparsely populated North American mainland, but across the vast stretches of the Pacific, the objective was trade with the densely populated lands that were already there.

        The US didn't acquire Hawaii and the Philippines because it wanted Polynesian or Tagalog dependencies. Pacific islands were acquired as way stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China. That some islands ended up becoming colonies in their own right was an inadvertent side effect.

        Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower” makes in clear that the world viewed America’s aquisitions of the Philippines as naked imperialism and a betrayal of her principles, and surely it was. The Great White Fleet was certainly a jingoistic flexing of imperial muscle. We are so used to our imperial reach and sending our boys to fight in other lands that we think it normal. Only now that the imperial rot has set in, does there seem to be an awaking to what we have become.

        • Replies: @Redneck farmer
        We decided to give up the Philippines before WW2 though. Our Allies didn't want to give up their colonies.
      59. @Larry, San Francisco
        Well theory 2 might be right, but I believe that the Air Force had much higher casualty rates than the tank corp or even the marines. I remember one night my father who was in the Eighth Air Force (shot down on his 26th mission) was arguing with a friend who had been a Marine NCO and had fought on Tarawa and Okinawa about who was crazier. I told my father that I was pretty sure the Air Force had a higher casualty rate than the Marines especially when he was serving (late 1943 to April 1944). He didn't believe me until he went to an Army Air Force reunion in Branson in the late eighties and found out he didn't meet many people he knew. Instead he found that most of the people he knew were in the list of the KIAs. He was pretty shaken by that.

        I remember going through the West Point Register of Graduates and taking special note of the number of graduates from class ’41 through ’43 listed as killed in the air over Europe.

      60. @Almost Missouri

        "It’s very hard to believe that such a savage war, no quarter asked or given, was fought by two peoples who so soon after it ended came to like each other so well."
         
        Yes it is. I wonder how much of it is that the savagery of the war killed off the hardest hate cases. And having survived the savagery, the remainder were mostly more than happy to "study war no more".

        The hardest hate cases on the losing side were probably keeping their heads down and hoping not to face a tribunal and/or execution. Remember the (3?) US prisoners taken at Midway were thrown into the sea to drown after being ‘questioned’.

        In my UK youth the atrocities of Japan and Germany were considered to be about equally bad. Lord Russell, a Nuremburg judge, published ‘The Scourge of the Swastika’ and ‘The Knights of Bushido’. Only one is still in print, and we haven’t had a stream of novels, films and TV programs about Japanese nastiness.

        The hardest hate cases on our side (many of them armchair haters not fighting men) were able to carry on well into the late 1940s.

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3664526/How-three-million-Germans-died-after-VE-Day.html

        His best estimate is that some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities. A million soldiers vanished before they could creep back to the holes that had been their homes. The majority of them died in Soviet captivity (of the 90,000 who surrendered at Stalingrad, only 5,000 eventually came home) but, shamingly, many thousands perished as prisoners of the Anglo-Americans. Herded into cages along the Rhine, with no shelter and very little food, they dropped like flies. Others, more fortunate, toiled as slave labour in a score of Allied countries, often for years. Incredibly, some Germans were still being held in Russia as late as 1979.

        The two million German civilians who died were largely the old, women and children: victims of disease, cold, hunger, suicide – and mass murder.

        Apart from the well-known repeated rape of virtually every girl and woman unlucky enough to be in the Soviet occupation zones, perhaps the most shocking outrage recorded by MacDonogh – for the first time in English – is the slaughter of a quarter of a million Sudeten Germans by their vengeful Czech compatriots. The survivors of this ethnic cleansing, naked and shivering, were pitched across the border, never to return to their homes. Similar scenes were seen across Poland, Silesia and East Prussia as age-old German communities were brutally expunged.

        Given that what amounted to a lesser Holocaust was unfolding under their noses, it may be asked why the western Allies did not stop this venting of long-dammed-up rage on the (mainly) innocent. MacDonogh’s answer is that it could all have been even worse. The US Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, favoured turning Germany into a gigantic farm, and there were genocidal Nazi-like schemes afoot to starve, sterilise or deport the population of what was left of the bombed-out cities.

        Steve – I believe the standard Bomber Command tour was 30 missions. Statistically, with a 4.5-5% loss rate on each mission, you would not survive a single tour.

        • Replies: @FPD72
        A 4.5% loss per mission rate yields a 25% survival rate after 30 missions.
      61. @syonredux
        Some interesting thoughts from Greg Cochran:

        Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo, or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone. They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give them a chance to do so. Even Spartans, products of a lifetime of military training, could surrender, as shown at Sphacteria in the Peloponnesian War.
         

        So an army that routinely executed last stands – one that always refused to surrender, that kept fighting until eliminated by firepower or starvation – would be anomalous. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s easy to remember: that’s what the Imperial Japanese Army was like in World War Two.
         

        In a typical battle, less than 2% of Japanese forces were taken prisoner. Of those that were, many had been knocked unconscious. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill Allied medics: Japanese sailors would attack Americans trying to fish them out of the water. As a young American infantry officer who faced them in Guadalcanal and Burma said, “for sheer, bloody, hardened steel guts, the stocky and hard-muscled little Jap doughboy has it all over any of us.” George MacDonald Fraser told of a Japanese soldier he encountered in August of 1945, when they had utterly lost the war: ” the little bastard came howling out of a thicket near the Sittang, full of spite and fury.. He was half-starved and near naked, and his only weapon was a bamboo stave, but he was in no mood to surrender.”

         

        The Japanese usually lost those battles (after their attacks in the beginning of the war) , losing something like ten times as many killed as their Western opponents, a ratio normally seen only in colonial wars. The Japanese relied on ‘courage and cold steel’, which simply wasn’t very effective. They simply did not grasp the dominance of artillery and automatic weapons in modern war – partly because they hadn’t fought in WWI (except for a small naval role), but, more importantly, because they didn’t want to understand. They’d had a chance to learn in the border conflicts with the Soviet Union in the late 30’s (Khalkin-Gol), but refused to do so.

         

        In addition, Japanese heroism is seldom fully appreciated because they were such utter assholes, in their treatment of prisoners and of conquered nations – cannibalism, vivisection, the Rape of Nanking and the destruction of Manila, germ warfare experiments on prisoners… even the water cure, although now we’re in favor of that. Under the Japanese, Asia was a charnel house. Regardless, their courage was most unusual.
         

        Compared to the last stands of the Japanese in the Pacific War, Thermopylae is nothing special. It is hardly even noticeable. The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma. There were no mutinies, unlike the French or Russians or Italians in WWI. When the Germany Navy was ordered out to a suicidal battle in 1918, the sailors rebelled and the government fell – but then, they weren’t Japanese.

         

        Many other nations and empires have tried to inculcate this kind of ultimate obedience, some going to great lengths – but Imperial Japan is the only one that achieved it, as far as I can tell. There’s isn’t even any reason to think they they tried particularly hard to do so – certainly they’d didn’t go anywhere near as far as the Spartans.

         

        If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?
         
        https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/ija/

        One can easily imagine the hate inspired by being attacked by someone you are trying to help. It would only take once and you’d say “F’em. Let em drown.” Makes the decision to drop a nuke pretty easy.

        • Replies: @Mr. Anon
        After a short while, when the enemy never offers to surrender, I guess one tends to stop asking.
      62. @Harry Baldwin
        "Samurai," by Saber Sakai, is an excellent book on the air war in the Pacific from a top Japanese ace who survived. Japan was so short of trained pilots that at the war's end Sakai was still flying missions though he had lost an eye in combat. Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.

        Saburo Sakai info (good): https://www.historynet.com/samurai-of-the-air.htm. I recommend Sakai’s/Caidin’s book too (described at link).

        Backs up Steve’s analysis (of course).

      63. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

        And with zero ‘diversity’, imagine that — a modern miracle.

        “Gerald Ford playing basketball on USS Monterey 06-1944”

        • Replies: @El Dato
        An excellent on-ship tracking & targeting systems; as well as control & communications.

        https://www.amazon.com/Between-Human-Machine-Cybernetics-Technology-dp-0801880572/dp/0801880572/

        https://www.amazon.com/Information-Sea-Shipboard-Command-Technology/dp/1421410265/
      64. @James Speaks

        Also, the American pilots tended to get better as they gained experience in battle, while the Japanese pilots tended to get deader.
         
        Mostly deader or completely deader?

        yes like sort of pregnate.

      65. @Foreign Expert
        American pilots were sent home (to be instructors sometimes) after they completed a certain number of missions. Japanese and German pilots flew until they were killed.

        yes, “in for the duration”. None of this “rotation” nonsense.

      66. @NJ Transit Commuter
        Can we stop with this silly meme about a Japanese Bushido culture of death?

        Couple of points:
        1. Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        2. Kamikaze attacks were actually quite effective. A quick Wikipedia search the numbers are as follows:

        # of attacks: 2800 - 3800
        # of US casualties: 10,000 (about half KIA)
        # of ships sunk: 30 - 80
        # of ships damaged: 200 - 400

        So, the tactic caused twice the casualties it incurred and resulted in a sunk or damaged ship per 10 planes.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        yes, even that German army unit which shall not be named were “fanatical”…. has bravery and love of homeland become “fascist”?.

      67. @Steve Sailer
        Physicist Freeman Dyson was a statistical analyst for the RAF. I recall he said that bomber crewmen over Germany had about a 50-50 chance of surviving their normal 20 missions. That's the point of "Catch-22:" you can get out flying 20 missions if you are crazy, but it's totally not crazy to want to get out of having to fly 20 missions.

        My grandpa flew 32 missions in a b-17. I think he was eligible to get out after 25, but volunteered for some more. However, by the end of his combat duty around mid ’44 it was a lot less hazardous than when he went on his first mission.

        His first mission was as a replacement for the guys who got decimated over Schweinfurt. He talked to me a fair amount about his wartime experience. More than he did to his own kids, according to my mom.

        My takeaway from our talks was that he really didn’t like it, and it was terrifying, especially the flak and seeing other planes go down. He told me how people bailed out and then their parachutes ignited after coming into contact with burning fuel. He said they looked like “burning ping pong balls.”

        He died five years ago at the age of 91. It was a good life, but the war damaged him pretty badly. Glory and heroism are very expensive.

        • Replies: @Houston 1992
        How did the damage manifest itself ? Did he use the GI bill ? Did not ww2 veterans have the pick of marriageable women if/ when they returned.
        , @Fen Tiger

        Glory and heroism are very expensive.
         
        That's the truth. My father did two WW2 tours in Italy and Greece flying fighter-reconnaissance Spitfires (low-level tactical photography and ground attack). He, of course, had numerous terrifying experiences, and saw dreadful things. The Po running red, nearly drowning in the Aegean, a good friend burning up in his aircraft on the ground - and so on, and on.

        As children, my sister and I always assumed that the lights on all night were for us: it was only in the last 20 years that I learnt they were for him: nightmares every night, without fail. And that lasted until he died aged 95.

        The most surprising thing is, he loved flying so much he stayed in and made a career of it.
      68. @Bill P
        Our wwii fighters were built around the an/m2 Browning "ma deuce" .50 cal, which was the best all-purpose AA machine gun around at the time. The m2 is a pretty hefty gun, so planes that mounted them (up to eight guns in some fighters) had to be rugged and powerful.

        I'd argue that, rather than a difference in philosophy, is why US planes were better armored, because we invaded Europe with the m4 Sherman tank, which was no match for German anti-tank guns.

        Re Sherman tank — my understanding is Patton & other said NO to a bigger gun (ie velocity, not size) just as Montgomery did with the Churchill tank. No this doesn’t deal with the lack of armour problem.

      69. @anon
        Of all the parties in WW2 who were the most spared by the A-bomb it was the Japanese.

        Fire bombing and carpet bombing were inevitably expanding into non-military targets. It was only a matter of time before agricultural infrastructure was targeted, which would not lead to high direct casualties, but would lead to stratospheric indirect civilian casualties as famine and starvation took their toll — similar to the 1920’s Soviet-Jewish campaign against Ukrainians, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, 30 Years War, etc.

        Stratospheric casualties rarely occur from direct military conflict — or even isolated atomic attacks — but rather, from a few collapsed harvests and subsequent winters.

        Lizzie Collingham’s The Taste Of War titles one chapter “Japan: Starving for The Emperor”.

      70. @Old Prude
        Barbara Tuchman's "The Proud Tower" makes in clear that the world viewed America's aquisitions of the Philippines as naked imperialism and a betrayal of her principles, and surely it was. The Great White Fleet was certainly a jingoistic flexing of imperial muscle. We are so used to our imperial reach and sending our boys to fight in other lands that we think it normal. Only now that the imperial rot has set in, does there seem to be an awaking to what we have become.

        We decided to give up the Philippines before WW2 though. Our Allies didn’t want to give up their colonies.

        • Replies: @Art Deco
        It was never the intention to make the Philippines a permanent dependency and local electoral institutions were erected as soon as the insurgency was defeated.
      71. @James Speaks

        Also, the American pilots tended to get better as they gained experience in battle, while the Japanese pilots tended to get deader.
         
        Mostly deader or completely deader?

        Mostly.

        As a group more of the pilots got completely dead so the trend for the group was toward mostly deader.

      72. @Anonymous

        It was all downhill for them from there because they’d used up their best pilots by June 1942
         
        I'd push that through the end of 1942 and maybe into early 1943, and modify it to "most" not the implied "all" of your statement.
        My grandfather was a VF aviator on three carriers during the Pacific war (both Lexingtons (CV-2, CV-16) and Enterprise (CV-6). He flew the F2A, F4F-3, F4F-4, F6F-3 and F6F-5. The year 1942 was the worst for him, being wounded three times, having one of his planes pushed over the side after it landed, it was so damaged, and being shot down at sea, while fighting Zeros. And, of course, losing his ship.
        But after 1942, despite accumulating far more combat hours in his logbook, he was never wounded again, never suffered any air-combat damage, and was not shot down. It was not until 1951, when he was flying flak suppression missions over North Korea in an F9F-2 from the Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), that his aircraft again suffered serious combat damage.

        After the war, he was stationed for many years in Japan, loved the country and the people. It's very hard to believe that such a savage war, no quarter asked or given, was fought by two peoples who so soon after it ended came to like each other so well.

        From what I can gather:

        1. by 1945 the Japanese were heartily sick of war and deprivation;

        2. the occupation was friendly and lenient, and the natural friendliness of American soldiers did a lot to generate good relations with a people who are almost universally decent and civilised.

      73. @216
        Producing the Panther and the Tiger was quite the misallocation of resources, exceeded only by the V-2 vs the V-1. (The V-3 might have been cost effective if it had been immune from retalitory bombing).

        The later German tank designs were also rather unreliable, the Sherman was easy to repair. Unlike the Panzer mk. IV, the Sherman's mostly didn't get the upgraded gun.

        Heavy German tanks spent 10 hours in maintenance for every hour in combat, while the Sherman only spent an hour being maintained for every hour in combat. It’s easy to see the deficiencies of the Sherman compared to its German counterparts, but it had some serious advantages in terms of overall efficiency.

        • Replies: @james wilson
        It could be said that since you could field many more Shermans than Germans, it was a far superior weapon but not to be confused with an anti-tank weapon.
      74. @anon
        Of all the parties in WW2 who were the most spared by the A-bomb it was the Japanese.

        Fire bombing and carpet bombing were inevitably expanding into non-military targets. It was only a matter of time before agricultural infrastructure was targeted, which would not lead to high direct casualties, but would lead to stratospheric indirect civilian casualties as famine and starvation took their toll — similar to the 1920’s Soviet-Jewish campaign against Ukrainians, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, 30 Years War, etc.

        Stratospheric casualties rarely occur from direct military conflict — or even isolated atomic attacks — but rather, from a few collapsed harvests and subsequent winters.

        Japan was ready to surrender.

        The only reason besides a mass-murdering “why not” to drop the bomb was to let Stalin know we had them, and would happily use them if he tried to take Europe.

      75. “other than to be braver than the Americans.”

        Based on what US Marines went through at Iwo Jima, Saipan, Pelelui, Tarawa, and Okinawa – just to name a few spots along the Pacific island hopping campaign – I’m not really sure there’s any evidence the Japanese were braver than the Americans.

      76. @but an humble craftsman
        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

        Correct.

        I hope that all of Steve’s readers are aware that Franklin Roosevelt deliberately forced Japan to go to war.

        • Replies: @CAL2
        If someone refuses to sell to you, can you kill them? I love people who say we made the Japanese go to war. It tends to be people who are stuck in an America is always wrong and bad mindset.
      77. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        I suspect the answer is simple — the western allies never fought the Soviets. Thus, they had no idea as to the value of up armoured, up gunned tanks. They made a mistake (questions were asked in the UK parliament on this exact subject)

      78. @anon
        It’s a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII’s other major powers’ aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht.

        US tanks were designed to be reliable and fast. Patton wanted them to be like cavalry, to get around into the flank and rear areas quickly. The primary use of the Sherman was against infantry, as mobile machinegun & 75mm artillery piece.. The tank destroyers were intended to deal with enemy tanks, also by flanking them. But what resulted was it often cost 3 or 4 Shermans to knock out one Tiger.

        The flaws became obvious and upgunned Shermans such as the Firefly were put into service, but they were still not up to facing off with Tiger or Panther as a rule. Fury is a dramatic story of an upgunned Sherman. Here is a movie version of several Shermans vs. one Tiger.

        Not safe for work.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8vFGQ0uJQc

        In 1945 the first M-26 Pershing tanks arrived in Germany. They were able to stand up to the Tiger and Panther. If the war had continued, the M-26 with its 90mm gun would have been more than enough to win battles.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meduxDj61sQ

        Wasn’t the Firefly a British modification of their Sherman tanks?

        • Replies: @anon
        Wasn’t the Firefly a British modification of their Sherman tanks?

        Yes, using the 17-pounder anti-tank gun.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Firefly

        The US had a 76mm high velocity gun that was arriving in Europe on some Shermans in 1944.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/76_mm_gun_M1

        The US provided a few thousand Shermans to the Soviet Army as well, many with the higher velocity gun.

        Upgunned M4 Sherman tanks wth the 76mm gun were quite able to destroy Soviet-made T-34/85 tanks in Korea during that conflict.
      79. @NJ Transit Commuter
        Can we stop with this silly meme about a Japanese Bushido culture of death?

        Couple of points:
        1. Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        2. Kamikaze attacks were actually quite effective. A quick Wikipedia search the numbers are as follows:

        # of attacks: 2800 - 3800
        # of US casualties: 10,000 (about half KIA)
        # of ships sunk: 30 - 80
        # of ships damaged: 200 - 400

        So, the tactic caused twice the casualties it incurred and resulted in a sunk or damaged ship per 10 planes.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        Yeah, Steve’s original post came across as a bit superficial in its treatment of the Japanese.

      80. @NJ Transit Commuter
        Can we stop with this silly meme about a Japanese Bushido culture of death?

        Couple of points:
        1. Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        2. Kamikaze attacks were actually quite effective. A quick Wikipedia search the numbers are as follows:

        # of attacks: 2800 - 3800
        # of US casualties: 10,000 (about half KIA)
        # of ships sunk: 30 - 80
        # of ships damaged: 200 - 400

        So, the tactic caused twice the casualties it incurred and resulted in a sunk or damaged ship per 10 planes.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        By the time of D Day, the Soviets were in Botoshany and Auvere, beyond the pre-war borders. The Germans were pretty much defeated, and, in any case, pinned on the Eastern and Southern fronts. The Germans had been worn out by 5 years of actual battles, whereas the Brits mostly hid in holes waiting for Luftwaffe to go away, and Americans watched with great interest those 5 minutes of news preceding the movies.

        During the heroic D Day, the Allies were three times as many as the defenders. In absolute numbers, the head count was so small, that there were days at Stalingrad when the Romanian Army had bigger losses than all the Allies during the Normandy invasion.

        But yeah, muh American heroes.

        To address the bigger question: Japanese leaders assumed their soldiers will obey, and they were right. American leaders assumed their soldiers will shirk as much as possible, and focused on always having numeric and material superiority before engaging. They were also right. As explained a thousand times even in this thread, the Japanese did their best to preserve their empire against the growing American Empire. Less than three decades before Pearl Harbor, Americans killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in an attempt to colonize them. Japanese knew they were next, and tried, in vain, to fend it off by expanding Eastwards and by trying to look bigger than they were on their Western flank.

        I am sure Japanese leadership would have preferred to avoid the use of kamikaze, if that were an option – but it was not. In contrast, Americans were in a leisurely offensive, with most of the Pacific war happening on some shithole island that they could chose to take today, or next year. Were Japanese troops a few hundred miles from San Francisco, there would have been more desperation, and possibly demands for numeric-inferiority suicidal missions. My guess is that such demands would have failed flat.

        Today, Japanese are most admired for their porn, and Koreans for their extravagant Neo-Protestant churches. The pressure to circumcise is now onto China, where millions of Taiwanese, already “protected” by America, “think” they are one minute away from Chinese oppression. In a few centuries, relatively incompetent people like the generals that ran Japan during WWII, or the sycophants of Kim Jong series, would be held as Arminiuses and Vercingetorices of our times. But this outcome is mostly due to the people who took the 14 colonies, and half of Mexico, providing the material base for a large military and an endless supply of proles, rather than the “heroes” of 1945.

        • Replies: @RAZ
        Yeah, American heroes. Takes some cojones to storm a beach.

        The bigger fight was on the Eastern Front. But relative lack of casualties compared to that of the (much vaunted?) Romanian Army doesn't degrade from the heroism of those who fought. You'd better have numerical superiority when storming a beach. Job is easier for the defender.

        Knew a family who lost a son on D Day.
        , @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

        American leaders assumed their soldiers will shirk as much as possible, and focused on always having numeric and material superiority before engaging. They were also right.

         
        S.L.A. Marshall reached the same conclusion about the average fighting unit in reviewing the combat performance in Europe.

        Incidentally, I've never read this book, though it's on my shelf:

        https://www.amazon.com/Deserters-Hidden-History-World-War/dp/0143125486

        People who focus on D-Day and the Rangers and the 101st Airborne, etc, etc, probably aren't aware that those units in question were not the average.
      81. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        You’re close with your theory about crossing water, but I think you’ve got the wrong type of body of water in mind. One reason for production of the lighter Sherman as opposed to heavier models available to the U.S. and allies at the time was that the war planners knew that the Germans would destroy bridges as they withdrew, so a lighter tank like the Sherman would create fewer problems crossing the improvised bridges that would have to be built than would heavier tanks.

      82. @utu
        1.5 times as many aircrafts were lost in non combat accidents (equipment failures+pilot errors) than in combat. What does it tell us about the quality of aircrafts and the skills of the US pilots?

        According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes — inside the continental United States . They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.

        Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign locations. But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.
         
        22,948 (in combat) vs. 13,873 (in the US)+ 1000 (en route) + 20,633 (overseas)

        “What does that tell you about the quality of US aircrafts and the skills of the US pilots?”

        It tells you that when you go from being a nation of isolationist farmboys, to taking over half the planet, in just THREE AND A HALF YEARS, that the U.S. pilots and engineers were some of the most daring and remarkable people who ever lived.

        The fact that this very same group of people then proceeded to piss away, give away, and actively destroy their own entire civilization is of course a matter for a different blog.

        • Agree: Dan Hayes
        • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

        The fact that this very same group of people then proceeded to piss away, give away, and actively destroy their own entire civilization is of course a matter for a different blog.

         
        The problem with threads like this one, though, is that obviously many of the people involved do not understand that our "victory" in World War Two was part of the process of how we destroyed our own civilization.
      83. @Anonymous
        Weight doesn't just reduce range but also speed and maneuverability, which makes a plane more vulnerable to attack. Better to not be hit at all than to be hit and survive.

        (I understand that when the German military in the previous war began issuing parachutes to pilots there was some resistance. This may have been bravado, but there was also the consideration that every extra pound of weight on board their flimsy aircraft reduced their agility in their air.)

        “Weight doesn’t just reduce range but also speed and maneuverability, which makes a plane more vulnerable to attack”
        Yes, but assuming all things are equal. By ’43 Hellcats etc had surpasses ALL those variables, plus, they had better trained pilots.

      84. @Larry, San Francisco
        Well theory 2 might be right, but I believe that the Air Force had much higher casualty rates than the tank corp or even the marines. I remember one night my father who was in the Eighth Air Force (shot down on his 26th mission) was arguing with a friend who had been a Marine NCO and had fought on Tarawa and Okinawa about who was crazier. I told my father that I was pretty sure the Air Force had a higher casualty rate than the Marines especially when he was serving (late 1943 to April 1944). He didn't believe me until he went to an Army Air Force reunion in Branson in the late eighties and found out he didn't meet many people he knew. Instead he found that most of the people he knew were in the list of the KIAs. He was pretty shaken by that.

        It’s true-the eighth Air Force suffered more KIAs in WWII than the Marine Corps.

      85. The logical assumption would be a nation embarking on building a maritime empire, especially over the vast pacific, would be the expansion of merchant fleet construction and an emphasis on shipping defense.
        With Imperial Japan you would be wrong. As with nearly every other aspect Japans war effort was at cross purposes.
        The role of US submarines in the war is understated. By mid 1945 there was virtually nothing left for them to sink.

      86. Exactly right Steve. Imperial Japan of the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s – conserve resources fanatically but life is cheap.

        Also in military aviation, Japan stuck too long with the dated idea (from WWI), that fighter planes should be hyper, hyper maneuverable but carried no armor protection for the pilot and fuel tanks. This was a tragic mistake. They finally learned and changed the philosophy late in the war and started producing some a couple of very good fighter aircraft with armor but it was too little, too late.

        The Hellcat and Corsair destroyed the lion’s share of the Japanese air arm in 1943, early ’44.

        • Replies: @JMcG
        Tamiya, a Japanese manufacturer of plastic scale models, supposedly refuses to produce a Hellcat model because it was used to kill so many Japanese pilots.
      87. @Old Prude
        One can easily imagine the hate inspired by being attacked by someone you are trying to help. It would only take once and you'd say "F'em. Let em drown." Makes the decision to drop a nuke pretty easy.

        After a short while, when the enemy never offers to surrender, I guess one tends to stop asking.

      88. @Almost Missouri
        It was also the event that tipped Nagumo into (mistakenly) regarding Midway airfield (where the B-26 had flown from) as a priority target, resulting in the disastrous re-re-arming his airfleet, scattering ordnance and fuel hither and yon the carrier decks, just in time for the arrival of the US dive bombers...

        AFAIK, another problem was that the Japanese thought fixed fuel lines would be a good idea. A death trap.

        The US relied on tank trucks being driven around. Someone attacks? Dump them overboard.

      89. @but an humble craftsman
        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

        a desperate attempt at self defense

        Manchuria much?

        They wanted an empire; maybe we did them a favor, since empires don’t age well.

        • Replies: @BB753
        Too bad America got herself an Empire by defeating the Axis powers!
        , @Andrew Gilbert
        And Japan colonized Korea decades before Manchuria...
      90. @eah
        By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

        And with zero 'diversity', imagine that -- a modern miracle.

        "Gerald Ford playing basketball on USS Monterey 06-1944"
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gerald_Ford_playing_basketball_on_USS_Monterey_06-1944-Darkened_Larger.jpg

        An excellent on-ship tracking & targeting systems; as well as control & communications.

        https://www.amazon.com/Between-Human-Machine-Cybernetics-Technology-dp-0801880572/dp/0801880572/

      91. @Almost Missouri

        "the great expanse of America wasn’t enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines."
         
        Don't forget, America got started as a side effect of Columbus seeking unmediated trade with the Far East. Even after America became independent and sovereign, unmediated trade with the Far East was still a major animating goal. Even this morning, it is still an animating goal.

        The US was imperial on the sparsely populated North American mainland, but across the vast stretches of the Pacific, the objective was trade with the densely populated lands that were already there.

        The US didn't acquire Hawaii and the Philippines because it wanted Polynesian or Tagalog dependencies. Pacific islands were acquired as way stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China. That some islands ended up becoming colonies in their own right was an inadvertent side effect.

        Remember that the children of Protestant missionaries in Hawaii were behind the seizure of Hawaii by the U.S. They wanted to take political control of the islands from the natives to further their sugar and pineapple enterprises.

      92. Uhh [AKA "An Illuminati operative"] says:
        @Anthony Migchels
        Japan is a brilliant display of how the NWO builds up faux 'enemies', so they can be taken down for their long term Globalist strategy.

        The British Empire itself gave the Japanese everything they needed for a modern carrier fleet. There was, as usual, some 'British' 'lord' who gave them all the world leading stuff the British were developing in the early twenties.

        Next, there is the masonic document known as the 'Tanaka Memorial'. Just read it: it's brazen in its pomp and limitless ambition. That's exactly how they operate. They suckered Japan into believing they had the 'right' and an actual chance to replace the Western Powers in Asia. And as a result, they gave the 'Illuminati' the opportunity for their vehicle known as 'the United States' to conquer all Asia.

        Nowadays, it's the Chinese who are being built up: tech transfers by the Jews to Beijing have been ongoing for decades.

        We're supposed to not notice that it was the Transnationals owned by Wall Street who brought their machine park to China, so it can now parade as a monstrous threat to the entire world, and the West in particular.

        Trump and the Swamp are now directed to 'confront China' in a 'new Cold War'.

        This is exactly how they operate.

        If you really think that there exists a secret hidden ultra super evil organised sect of untouchable human-demon hybrids bent on ruling the world with an iron fist and making everyone a puppet like Marvel/DC supervillains, then you really are clueless about the human condition. I bet your “Tanaka Memorial” is as authentic as the Protocols. The Japanese in Nagasaki and Hiroshima might have agreed with you, but somehow disappeared without a trace after the Bomb, so we’ll never know. Much like those pesky Jews were about to carry out their Elders’ bidding, when the overmatched and undergunned Einsatzgruppen stopped them against all odds.

        But as an Illuminati serf, I’m supposed to stop you from revealing our secrets by smearing and ridiculing you, right?

        • LOL: Redneck farmer
      93. @but an humble craftsman
        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Alternately, they could have simply not attempted to have a giant empire spanning East Asia and the Pacific, brutalizing the conquered societies to an unprecedented level. Just a thought.

      94. @Anthony Migchels
        Japan is a brilliant display of how the NWO builds up faux 'enemies', so they can be taken down for their long term Globalist strategy.

        The British Empire itself gave the Japanese everything they needed for a modern carrier fleet. There was, as usual, some 'British' 'lord' who gave them all the world leading stuff the British were developing in the early twenties.

        Next, there is the masonic document known as the 'Tanaka Memorial'. Just read it: it's brazen in its pomp and limitless ambition. That's exactly how they operate. They suckered Japan into believing they had the 'right' and an actual chance to replace the Western Powers in Asia. And as a result, they gave the 'Illuminati' the opportunity for their vehicle known as 'the United States' to conquer all Asia.

        Nowadays, it's the Chinese who are being built up: tech transfers by the Jews to Beijing have been ongoing for decades.

        We're supposed to not notice that it was the Transnationals owned by Wall Street who brought their machine park to China, so it can now parade as a monstrous threat to the entire world, and the West in particular.

        Trump and the Swamp are now directed to 'confront China' in a 'new Cold War'.

        This is exactly how they operate.

        Churchill:

        “Uncle Sam and Britannia were the godparents of the new Japan. In less than two generations, with no background but the remote past, the Japanese people advanced from the two-handed sword of the Samurai to the ironclad ship, the rifled cannon, the torpedo, and the Maxim gun; and a similar revolution took place in industry.
        The transition of Japan under British and American guidance from the Middle Ages to modern times was swift and violent. China was surpassed and smitten. It was with amazement that the world saw in 1905 the defeat of Czarist Russia, not only on the sea, but by great armies transported to the mainland and winning enormous battles in Manchuria.
        Japan now took her place among the Great Powers. The Japanese were themselves astonished at the respect with which they were viewed. “When we sent you the beautiful products of our ancient arts and culture you despised and laughed at us; but since we have got a first-class Navy and Army with good weapons we are regarded as a highly civilised nation.

        Japan was a British ally until 1923, when the USA made it clear to them that continuing the alliance would incur US displeasure. I’d be interested to know why the US felt that way – was it the 21 Demands, that would give Japan primacy in China?

        • Replies: @Thooky
        Read Thucydides and you'll understand why.
        , @nebulafox
        The essential idea behind the British-Japanese alliance was that the Royal Navy could no longer watch the whole world in an era of increasing competition from newer powers: the Boer War was symptomatic of British over-reach. Splendid isolation was dead by 1900. So, if Britain needed to share the seas with an ally now, best another potential naval power who was far away enough so that it didn't have any vital clashing interests with the UK and preferably shared the same main enemy, which until around 1905 for the UK was still Russia, not Germany. Japan was the right customer.

        The British Empire was still very much the British Empire in the 1920s: WWI deeply shook and wounded it, but it didn't outright kill it. London's foreign policy priorities could still diverge drastically from Washington's. So, Japan and Britain remained on friendly terms until around 1940, long after US-Japanese relations had gone sour.

        >Life expectancy has recovered, the economy has survived low oil prices, he’s retrieved Sebastopol – he is literally Making Russia Great Again.

        I'm more cynical about Putin than that-the corruption is still soul-suckingly terrible-but there's no question that the Russians have very good reason for not trusting the West's prescriptions on how to run their country after the experience of the 1990s. I'd also agree that Russia's interests need not necessarily conflict with ours.

        (I neither like nor dislike Putin: I'm not Russian, it isn't my concern to like him or not. He is what he is, a Russian secret policeman, and just needs to be dealt with realistically.)
      95. @Lot
        “ Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.”

        This speaks well of the character of Americans and Japanese.

        Chris “Wild Mn” Magee, an ace in the Black Sheep Squadron with nine kills, expresses the kinship between fighter pilots, even those on opposing sides, in this stanza from his poem “One Who, Like His Age, Died Young”:

        ‘Enemies’ you say. They were not mine.
        More than blood brothers, I swear,
        With tawny skin and warrior eye.
        Bushido-bred for hell-strife joy.
        Much closer my kin, my race than those
        Who cud-chew their lives can ever be.

      96. @Unzerker
        The Panther cost only a bit more than the Panzer 4 to produce. For that money you had arguably the best tank of WW2.

        Hardly a misallocation of resources.

        “The Panther cost only a bit more than the Panzer 4 to produce. For that money you had arguably the best tank of WW2.”

        The Panther’s wide track base made it very maneuverable, but it was also hell on the transmission which made it an unreliable weapon. By the end of the war, the Soviets were building the best tanks on the planet.

      97. @David
        According to John Keegan, towards the end of the war, the Japs had two million peasants digging up pine roots in the mountains to distill fuel for airplanes from.

        Wow

      98. @Almost Missouri

        "the great expanse of America wasn’t enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines."
         
        Don't forget, America got started as a side effect of Columbus seeking unmediated trade with the Far East. Even after America became independent and sovereign, unmediated trade with the Far East was still a major animating goal. Even this morning, it is still an animating goal.

        The US was imperial on the sparsely populated North American mainland, but across the vast stretches of the Pacific, the objective was trade with the densely populated lands that were already there.

        The US didn't acquire Hawaii and the Philippines because it wanted Polynesian or Tagalog dependencies. Pacific islands were acquired as way stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China. That some islands ended up becoming colonies in their own right was an inadvertent side effect.

        “Pacific islands were acquired as way stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China.”

        Pacific islands were acquired as [coaling] stations for unmediated trade to the Far East, especially China. We tend to forget how steam (as opposed to sail) tethered ships to a supply line.

        I forget which historian, but he makes much of Britain’s switch to oil-fired furnaces for their capital ships and how this affected her need for a different global refueling infrastructure as compared to that necessitated by her former reliance on coal-fired boilers. Britain had abundant coal reserves but no oil to speak of. Her impetus to develop oil in the Middle East (Anglo-Persian Oil Company) was mainly due to her navy’s need for oil, certainly not to any demand for automobile gas in 1915.

      99. @Bill P
        My grandpa flew 32 missions in a b-17. I think he was eligible to get out after 25, but volunteered for some more. However, by the end of his combat duty around mid '44 it was a lot less hazardous than when he went on his first mission.

        His first mission was as a replacement for the guys who got decimated over Schweinfurt. He talked to me a fair amount about his wartime experience. More than he did to his own kids, according to my mom.

        My takeaway from our talks was that he really didn't like it, and it was terrifying, especially the flak and seeing other planes go down. He told me how people bailed out and then their parachutes ignited after coming into contact with burning fuel. He said they looked like "burning ping pong balls."

        He died five years ago at the age of 91. It was a good life, but the war damaged him pretty badly. Glory and heroism are very expensive.

        How did the damage manifest itself ? Did he use the GI bill ? Did not ww2 veterans have the pick of marriageable women if/ when they returned.

        • Replies: @Bill P
        He was bitter and disillusioned for a long time afterward, and pretty hard. It didn't help in his relationship with his kids. He did get over it when he was old, but it had its effects on the family.

        Multiply that by hundreds of thousands and add in the pain of all the families that lost loved ones and you might get an idea of what wars - even victorious ones - do to nations.

        I wonder sometimes why we ignore that aspect of wwii, despite the fact that we lost six or seven times more men than in Vietnam. And think of the Europeans, who lost much more. WWII was absolutely catastrophic.
      100. The torpedo-bomber run at Midway was pretty suicidal.

      101. I do not understand how attacking the United States, which was not then at war, would benefit Japan. In other words, what was Japanese thinking?

        • Replies: @Tex

        I do not understand how attacking the United States, which was not then at war, would benefit Japan. In other words, what was Japanese thinking?
         
        Japan was locked into a war of conquest in China. To continue they needed access to lots of raw materials, most of which were only readily available in the Dutch East Indies. But there were sanctions against Japan supported by the United States and Britain (the Netherlands had been overrun by Germany and their colonies were reliant on bigger allies).

        Worse yet, the US and UK were supplying China with arms and military supplies.

        Roosevelt made it clear that if Japan tried to annex the East Indies, there'd be trouble. Rather than make peace with China, Japan decided to get the trouble started early and on their terms.

        In short, finding they were unable to polish off the rather backward and disorganized Chinese, they thought it would be easier to finish the job if they took on the British and American empires too.
        , @Diversity Heretic
        Japan felt backed into a corner by the economic warfare (embargoes and asset freezes) being waged by the United States beginning around 1938 because of Japanese aggression in China and later in French Indochina. The peaceful way of out the corner for Japan was some kind of withdrawal from China, but the Japanese leadership couldn't lose face and believed that east Asia was for Japan what Latin America was for the United States: it's own sphere of influence in which it could do what it wanted without interference from the outside. Japan really wanted the oil and other resources of the Dutch East Indies, but the Phillipines, an American-governed colony sat right on the shipping lanes between the Dutch East Indies and Japan. Japan had to reckon that a hostile United States would seek to interdict those shipping lanes with air and submarine attacks. Ergo, reasoned the Japanese leadership, the U.S. would be hostile anyway, so why not get in first licks, build a defensive perimeter that would take a long time and many casualties to roll back, and see if the U.S. is willing to accept terms that allows Japan to keep its gains, or to resume normal trade, or some measure of both.

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.
      102. @but an humble craftsman
        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You’re actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in–a very nasty–imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don’t do it … no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian … imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade–the post-War American system–they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China–a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it’s naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia–now fading–pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan’s imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form “self-defense”.

        • Replies: @Jack D
        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven't said how the modern Iranians differ. It's a somewhat similar situation. The Iranians are heir to a great civilization (hijacked by an alien religion, but never mind - they have embraced it as part of their current identity) and they have been left out (indeed actively squeezed out) of the modern trading system and denied what they see as their rightful place as a regional power (THE regional power) by the Americans. America has its reasons for doing so (and not just because of Israel) and should keep doing so until the regime of the Ayatollahs falls (or until Hell freezes over, whichever comes first), but this doesn't mean that the Ayatollahs are going to like it.

        I believe the Iranians are too smart to strike directly at the Americans - they know that they could not win an open war. The Japanese thought (or at least deluded themselves to think) that they could take on America in the Pacific and push us out of "their" region. The Iranians are under no such delusion. They have already had their kamikaze war (with Iraq) and now understand that even suicidal zeal is no substitute for military superiority.

        What they will do instead (have already done) is to strike at us using proxies and secretive means in order to preserve deniability. Maybe they think that if they make themselves enough of a pain in the ass then someday some pacifist or isolationist American President will decide that it's not worth the bother. In the meantime, they can keep sending us little "greeting cards" to remind us that they are not going anywhere and that they are not happy.

        We need to keep nukes out of the Iranians hands because from the Iranian POV a suitcase nuke in NY or DC would fall within this sphere.
        , @but an humble craftsman

        ... crazy crap one reads ...
         
        you have read, but not understood. Maybe you should get off the moralizing propaganda and read some books, even mainstream history is nearer to the truth than the half digested stuff you substitute for knowledge.

        Imperial Japan was British equipped and the British used them as their attack dog in Asia. First, in the late 19th century against Cina. Imperial Japan's war in 1905 broke the Russians and thus decided the great game for a generation - until some alcoholic fool sold the Japanese out to the US who had their own imperialistic designs in Asia.

        By sheer coincidence, when the short lived Japanese empire collapsed, the British empire followed suit.
        , @Lars Porsena
        Thing is, imperialism had a material logic all it's own.

        The European powers were imperialistic and colonial. The British WERE dominating China, not to mention India, the Russians had an interest in taking parts of it as well as land the Japanese wanted. The Brits and the French were also in Indonesia and Vietnam. The Dutch and Portuguese had been around. The US had already occupied the Philippines and invaded Korea at one point (Korean Expedition of 1871).

        Basically European powers (plus the US) had shown every interest in invading and occupying east Asia. And they had modernized, industrialized war machines that could only be stopped by other modernized, industrialized war machines, not by anything traditional.

        Japan can plainly see this. There are plenty of European powers that might have taken an interest in subjugating them at some point. And if they did, well, there was absolutely nothing the Japanese could do to stop it or defend themselves without a modernized army. So they wanted a modernized army to defend Japan. This was made painfully clear by none other than the US who basically caused Japan's modernization and the collapse of the isolationist Shogunate that just wanted to be left alone.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Expedition

        So they came to the entirely reasonable and correct conclusion that if they wanted to stay a sovereign and independent Japan and not be eventually subjugated by foreigners, they had to develop an industrialized military to defend themselves from industrialized European empires poking around their neighborhood.

        Here's the catch, the game all the empires were playing - control of access to necessary resources, and a denial of access to adversaries. If you want an industrialized military to defend your country, you need industrial resources. Steel, oil, rubber. You have no industrialized military without them and you can't defend Japan. And Japan doesn't have any of those things.

        Thus, to defend Japan you need a Japanese empire. You need access to your own colonies with the strategic resources you need for defense, and control of shipping lanes to back home that can't be disrupted by your enemies, or else your enemies can shut down your self-defense capabilities before attacking you and put you at their mercy. You're basically disarmed without access to strategic resources.
        , @nebulafox
        The thing about Japan's invasion of China was that Chiang wanted, if at all possible, to get along with Tokyo. He trained in Japan. Economically speaking, he basically wanted to do to China what the Meiji-era government did in Japan: and what the CCP eventually, finally would do in the 1980s and 1990s. He was willing to let the Japanese have Manchuria for the time being if it bought time for him to get the rest of China's crap together. And he shared strong anti-Communist tendencies with the Japanese: by 1936, Chiang was on the verge of completely eliminating the CCP. Things got so ridiculous that toward the end, Chiang was kidnapped and basically told at gunpoint to say no to Tokyo, or face death.

        But we all know how history turned out. In order to defend Korea, the Japanese military believed it had to have Manchukuo. In order to defend Manchukuo, well, you needed a stronger position in China. Foreign adventures create their logic. (How unlike anybody we know, currently trying to desperately make Afghanistan safe for democracy...) The ultimate lesson can be seen in the results: the Japanese invasion, rather than exterminating Communism, would put the CCP in power eventually.

        Much like how Operation Barbarossa would bring Bolshevism to the heart of Europe rather than crushing it.
        , @Anonymous
        China had a very weak central government and was an economic colony of the Western powers.

        Japan did justify its actions in the name of decolonization and trade. It regarded East Asia as being in its sphere of influence and sought to develop China and East Asia in Meiji restoration style, and thus believed its aims were reasonable.
        , @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

        The Japanese were engaged in–a very nasty–imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don’t do it … no conflict.

         
        This is completely a-historical nonsense.

        The reality is that America, even in the 1930s, had far more money invested in trade with Japan than it did with any business in China. America had no vital strategic interests in China nor in any of the other areas subject to Japanese imperialism. American administrations, beginning with Hoover, put themselves in the way of Japanese expansion. The two countries had no natural reason to conflict.

        See: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
      103. @syonredux
        Some interesting thoughts from Greg Cochran:

        Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo, or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone. They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give them a chance to do so. Even Spartans, products of a lifetime of military training, could surrender, as shown at Sphacteria in the Peloponnesian War.
         

        So an army that routinely executed last stands – one that always refused to surrender, that kept fighting until eliminated by firepower or starvation – would be anomalous. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s easy to remember: that’s what the Imperial Japanese Army was like in World War Two.
         

        In a typical battle, less than 2% of Japanese forces were taken prisoner. Of those that were, many had been knocked unconscious. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill Allied medics: Japanese sailors would attack Americans trying to fish them out of the water. As a young American infantry officer who faced them in Guadalcanal and Burma said, “for sheer, bloody, hardened steel guts, the stocky and hard-muscled little Jap doughboy has it all over any of us.” George MacDonald Fraser told of a Japanese soldier he encountered in August of 1945, when they had utterly lost the war: ” the little bastard came howling out of a thicket near the Sittang, full of spite and fury.. He was half-starved and near naked, and his only weapon was a bamboo stave, but he was in no mood to surrender.”

         

        The Japanese usually lost those battles (after their attacks in the beginning of the war) , losing something like ten times as many killed as their Western opponents, a ratio normally seen only in colonial wars. The Japanese relied on ‘courage and cold steel’, which simply wasn’t very effective. They simply did not grasp the dominance of artillery and automatic weapons in modern war – partly because they hadn’t fought in WWI (except for a small naval role), but, more importantly, because they didn’t want to understand. They’d had a chance to learn in the border conflicts with the Soviet Union in the late 30’s (Khalkin-Gol), but refused to do so.

         

        In addition, Japanese heroism is seldom fully appreciated because they were such utter assholes, in their treatment of prisoners and of conquered nations – cannibalism, vivisection, the Rape of Nanking and the destruction of Manila, germ warfare experiments on prisoners… even the water cure, although now we’re in favor of that. Under the Japanese, Asia was a charnel house. Regardless, their courage was most unusual.
         

        Compared to the last stands of the Japanese in the Pacific War, Thermopylae is nothing special. It is hardly even noticeable. The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma. There were no mutinies, unlike the French or Russians or Italians in WWI. When the Germany Navy was ordered out to a suicidal battle in 1918, the sailors rebelled and the government fell – but then, they weren’t Japanese.

         

        Many other nations and empires have tried to inculcate this kind of ultimate obedience, some going to great lengths – but Imperial Japan is the only one that achieved it, as far as I can tell. There’s isn’t even any reason to think they they tried particularly hard to do so – certainly they’d didn’t go anywhere near as far as the Spartans.

         

        If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?
         
        https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/ija/

        “If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?”

        A just condemnation. They’re not interested in anything sweaty and manly unless it involves a stone-age tribe in some exotic jungle.

        As an undergraduate I presented a paper in a Philosophy seminar on Aesthetics on the Bushido, Code of the Warrior which I called “The Art of Death”. It didn’t go over well with the staid, old, tradition-minded instructor.

        I still don’t see why regarding dying well as an aesthetic as well as an ethical choice, is beyond the pale.

      104. @Harry Baldwin
        "Samurai," by Saber Sakai, is an excellent book on the air war in the Pacific from a top Japanese ace who survived. Japan was so short of trained pilots that at the war's end Sakai was still flying missions though he had lost an eye in combat. Sakai was a likable character who was very popular with his former foes at reunions of American WW II fighter pilots.

        Can anyone imagine a German soldier every being able to go to WWII reunion? hahha haha
        hahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahha
        Going to their reunion, a likable fellow, now that’s privaledge.

        • Replies: @J.Ross
        On YouTube there was a subtitled segment from a (Dutch?) TV show, with German vets meeting and answering questions at a military museum. A woman objects to their claim that they committed no war crimes and talks about executions of civilians in her own village. They press her for details and she admits that it was a reprisal for terrorism (partisan activity) -- and they all make this German hand gesture and say, "there you have it, there you have it."
        But it's not like modern governments use terrorism under military occupation as license to kill random people without a trial.
      105. @NJ Transit Commuter
        All good points, syonredux. I’d argue that a lot of the Japanese “willingness” to fight to the death was that there was no way for them to retreat on the small Pacific islands most of the battles took place on. (For example, the Americans fought to the last man on Wake Island early in the war). This has two implications.

        1. No room to tactically retreat. There are always incidents of soldiers killing surrendering enemy soldiers in the heat of battle. I remember reading a great account of this in Storm of Steel. On a small island, where combat is all at close quarters, it’s easy for small incidents to create a reputation that “Japanese never surrender” and “Americans kill anyone who tries to surrender.” And then this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

        2. No ability for a strategic retreat. For most of the war, Japanese soldiers couldn’t be evacuated from the islands they were sent to, because of a lack of fuel and ships. If you know you’re trapped, and likely to be killed (see point 1. above) you might as well fight to the death.

        In other theaters the Japanese did surrender. The Soviets captured over 500 K Japanese soldiers when they invaded Manchuria. Could this be because the Japanese and Soviets had room keep away from close quarter fighting why while a surrender could be arranged?

        Good observations (though I also find Cochran’s observations interesting). Your point #1 seems to be seldom appreciated. The usual result of an attempted small-scale surrender on an active battlefield is getting gunned down.

        Take the jumpiness of a sleep-deprived cop without backup trying to arrest a potentially-armed crackhead at 3am in the ghetto, multiply it 100-fold, and that’s the state of mind of an infantryman who witnesses the attempted surrender of someone he’s just been in a firefight with.

        We’re led to believe that holding up your hands or a white handkerchief is sacrosanct. A character in a movie is often portrayed as evil, or at least losing his grip, for not accepting such a surrender. I recall in The Patriot, Gibson’s character killed a Redcoat who tried to throw up his hands and surrender from a distance of about 2 yards, and other characters were horrified by his failure to take him prisoner.

        Saving Private Ryan though portrayed such an incident basically without comment. And funny enough, the surrendering soldiers were apparently protesting their innocence, saying they were Czech, not German, before the Americans mockingly (and not comprehending) gunned them down.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        >Saving Private Ryan though portrayed such an incident basically without comment. And funny enough, the surrendering soldiers were apparently protesting their innocence, saying they were Czech, not German, before the Americans mockingly (and not comprehending) gunned them down.

        These things happen in combat. I remember one anecdotal story about the Eastern Front that basically went like this: one German patrol discovered the mutilated bodies of some of their comrades in a ravine. Said German patrol decided, OK, they weren't going to be taking prisoners that month, then, and proceeded to gun down the first Russians who attempted to cross the lines to them. And on places like Iwo Jima or Okinawa, there were indeed a lot of Americans who simply refused to take prisoners in the midst of combat. Tragically, most IJA personnel who tried to surrender and often got shot for their trouble were conscripted native Okinawans or Korean slave laborers who didn't want any part of the war. (As far as the Japanese went... well, you know, if these strange alien people are trying to burn you alive, you aren't going to be too merciful if you get your hands on one of them. See the fate of Ralph Ignatowski on Iwo.)

        When the combat ends and tempers cool, prisoners usually have a much greater chance of being accepted. Usually. But when the bullets fly, the animal nature deeply embedded in mankind shows itself, both its best (the way that buddies will die for each other) and worst aspects.

        This sort of tit for tat escalation and deepening mutual hatred is a mainstay of warfare going back to Homer's Iliad or the Old Testament. Some wars and conflicts are better than others (hell, some theaters of the same war are better than others-that scene would have been a day in the life of your average soldier on the Eastern Front or in the Pacific), but there rarely, if ever, is none of this stuff. We like to pretend in the 21st Century that human beings aren't capable of this stuff, as much as we can, but when the proverbial crap hits the fan, it becomes unignorable.
        , @YetAnotherAnon
        John Keegan's The Face Of Battle describes British soldiers reaction to Germans in Normandy trying to surrender only when their position was hopeless, and after a fierce action with many casualties on both sides.

        "Too late, mate"
      106. No, the Japanese pilots at the beginning of the war were excellent. They had been training for years and were absolute experts with the Zero (which was a good plane). A special unit had been formed years before the war to train these guys. Inexperienced American pilots with slow pre-war planes could not compete at all.

        The problem for the Japs is that they only had a (very) limited number of these guys, whose training and professionalism could not be replaced in wartime. So every ace pilot that died or was crippled destroyed their air power by exactly that much. Meanwhile for the US both gas and pilot lives were cheap and we were able to wage a war of attrition.

        • Replies: @JMcG
        USN Aviators at the beginning of the war were probably the best in the world. Someone has already recommended John B Lundstrom’s The First Team, a recommendation with which I concur.
        American tactics were poor at the beginning, but the Japanese lost a lot of pilots in 1942 to the Wildcat.
        Remember, USN fighter pilots used the F3F series until 1940-41. That was certainly a dogfighter’s delight.
      107. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        I don’t think flying versus shipping can be the explanation.Although later aircraft, like the P-51,flew across the Atlantic to the European theatre, I’m pretty sure the P-47s were shipped there. The P-47 had a range of 800 miles and couldn’t cross the Atlantic flying even via Greenland route. In other words the American doctrine of heavier aircraft preceded the advantage that flying transport enjoyed, hence ease of transport could not have been reason for discrepant doctrines for aircraft and tanks. The difference existed even when both were shipped as cargo.

      108. “No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.”

        Today is a good day to die… for the other guy!

        • Replies: @Joe Stalin
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv9XNFpRdhg

        Didn't see the quote though in the written recreation of his speech.

        http://www.pattonhq.com/speech.html
      109. @NJ Transit Commuter
        Can we stop with this silly meme about a Japanese Bushido culture of death?

        Couple of points:
        1. Every country, not just Japan, has used tactics that required high casualties and suicidal tactics when they was the best choice. Look at D-Day. How suicidal was a frontal attack against concrete pill boxes and beaches where artillery was pre-registered? But there is no talk of a cult of death in the US, simply a recognition of the bravery of soldiers who made the sacrifice the optimal tactics required.

        2. Kamikaze attacks were actually quite effective. A quick Wikipedia search the numbers are as follows:

        # of attacks: 2800 - 3800
        # of US casualties: 10,000 (about half KIA)
        # of ships sunk: 30 - 80
        # of ships damaged: 200 - 400

        So, the tactic caused twice the casualties it incurred and resulted in a sunk or damaged ship per 10 planes.

        Considering that zero planes were practically worthless in battle by the end of the war and Japan did not have enough fuel for air combat, seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        > seems to me that the kamikaze tactic was a sound one, not a meaningless sacrifice.

        Yet there is a difference between a tactic where the is a high probability of death, versus one where death is the desired outcome. In the first, there is still some semblance of two-way loyalty; in the second, it is completely one-way.

        I’m not saying that the second approach is never justified, btw. But the bar is high.

      110. anon[527] • Disclaimer says:
        @Jesse
        My father met, in the post war years, a Japanese man who has been a pilot in late WW2. The man admitted that he and his friends has been ardent to be kamikaze, but one of their superiors kept putting it off, to the point where it was getting vaguely weird and ridiculous. He and my dad marvelled at the sheer bravery of that superior officer.

        Not sure what my point is, but I've always wanted cause to use that anecdote.

        The judo instructor at Tulane back in the 70’s was a Japanese man who had been trained as a kamikaze pilot as a teenager. He never went on his mission because the war ended first.
        In an interview for the school paper he said the most important event in his life was after the war during the occupation when they announced on the radio that the Emporer was not God.
        He divided his life as Before, when Emporer was God, and After, when Emporer was not god.

        • Replies: @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang
        I’ve heard from several sources that when the radio broadcast went out, it had to be followed by a second broadcast. The Emperor spoke in such formalized, archaic, ritualized Japanese that he was literally incomprehensible (let alone the compounding factor that his message was spiritually/culturally incomprehensible)
      111. @AnotherDad

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

         
        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You're actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in--a very nasty--imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don't do it ... no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian ... imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade--the post-War American system--they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China--a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it's naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia--now fading--pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan's imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form "self-defense".

        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven’t said how the modern Iranians differ. It’s a somewhat similar situation. The Iranians are heir to a great civilization (hijacked by an alien religion, but never mind – they have embraced it as part of their current identity) and they have been left out (indeed actively squeezed out) of the modern trading system and denied what they see as their rightful place as a regional power (THE regional power) by the Americans. America has its reasons for doing so (and not just because of Israel) and should keep doing so until the regime of the Ayatollahs falls (or until Hell freezes over, whichever comes first), but this doesn’t mean that the Ayatollahs are going to like it.

        I believe the Iranians are too smart to strike directly at the Americans – they know that they could not win an open war. The Japanese thought (or at least deluded themselves to think) that they could take on America in the Pacific and push us out of “their” region. The Iranians are under no such delusion. They have already had their kamikaze war (with Iraq) and now understand that even suicidal zeal is no substitute for military superiority.

        What they will do instead (have already done) is to strike at us using proxies and secretive means in order to preserve deniability. Maybe they think that if they make themselves enough of a pain in the ass then someday some pacifist or isolationist American President will decide that it’s not worth the bother. In the meantime, they can keep sending us little “greeting cards” to remind us that they are not going anywhere and that they are not happy.

        We need to keep nukes out of the Iranians hands because from the Iranian POV a suitcase nuke in NY or DC would fall within this sphere.

        • Disagree: YetAnotherAnon
        • Replies: @anon
        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven’t said how the modern Iranians differ.

        One difference should be obvious:

        What was the Japanese TFR in the 1930's?
        What has the Iranian TFR been since about 1990 or so?
        , @Hypnotoad666

        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven’t said how the modern Iranians differ.
         
        One difference/similarity is that Japan had no oil and needed to import it. Iran has tons of oil and needs to export it. Their situations are like mirror images -- but they are both serious economic vulnerabilities.
      112. @Foreign Expert
        American pilots were sent home (to be instructors sometimes) after they completed a certain number of missions. Japanese and German pilots flew until they were killed.

        American pilots were sent home (to be instructors sometimes) after they completed a certain number of missions.

        On paper it worked that way. In reality they needed a certain # of pilots (and bomber crews) for their missions and if they were short (and they were because the losses were tremendous in Europe) then they would just increase the required number of missions as you approached the cap – “sorry, we lied.” Then as you approached the new number, they would just raise it again – rinse and repeat. It was more of a motivational trick than a sincere cap. “Just do x more missions and you can go home.” If they had been honest up front and said “We are going to keep sending you until you die” then the crews might have rebelled or allowed themselves to be shot down to shorten their suffering. It was a cruel and manipulative tactic but war is a cruel thing, and not just to the enemy.

      113. @Anonymous

        The Japanese didn’t really have much of a coherent plan for how to defeat the U.S., which had twice the population and far more natural resources and potential for industry, other than to be braver than the Americans.
         
        Defeat the US? That was not part of their plan at all. Japan was driven to desperation. Their attack on the US navy was defensive in the grand plan of things. Japan didn't even plan to invade and conquer Hawaii. Their only plan was to keep the US out of Asian Pacific.

        Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power. The problem was lack of resources. As long as US sold oil and iron to Japan, it had enough to maintain its limited empire in Asia. But once US imposed embargo, Japan had no choice but to secure oil and other resources, and that meant taking Southeast Asia, a source of oil and rubber.
        If not for the embargo, Japan would have focused on North Asia. The embargo compelled Japan had to secure its own resources, and that meant confronting European imperialists who controlled Southeast Asia. Japan feared US would to come to aid of European powers, and so, it went about taking out the US navy in Hawaii.
        That was the extent of Japan's intentions in regard to the US. And it would have been rational IF Japan had the means to keep the US out of Asian waters. Alas, it didn't.
        So, it totally misses the point to discuss Japan's plan to DEFEAT, let alone CONQUER, the US. That was never in the cards. From Japan's POV, the US and European powers were the aggressors who colonized Asian territory. The problem was most of Asia didn't buy the BS that Japan much cared for the welfare of all Asians. They knew what happened at Nanking.

        That said, despite Japan's atrocities in China, the war between Japan and China was more the result of series of events that spiraled out of control than the product of some fiendish Japanese plot. Many in the Japanese government would have been content with Manchuria and parts of North China. There was a kind of uneasy truce between Japan and KMT, not least because Chiang understood China had no chance against Japan in the 30s. His plan was to first defeat the communists, then build up the economy, and then confront Japan and take back Manchuria eventually at a later date. But after his kidnap and release by the Manchurian officer, he had a change of heart and decided to unite with communists and take on Japan. He was most popular with the Chinese when he made this fateful decision that was equally patriotic and reckless.
        At this point, Japan felt their stake in Manchuria was threatened as all of China seemed to be uniting to fight the Japanese and take it back. Japan had a choice of fighting defensively to keep Manchuria or offensively to crush China's will once and for all. In retrospective, Japan would have done better to have fought defensively to keep Manchuria, not least because US was okay with Japan ruling over Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. There might have no embargo if Japan just defended their stake in Manchuria than advancing into rest of China.

        At one time, US and Japan saw eye to eye in Asia. Both cooperated to keep Russia out and keep China down. The movie SAND PEBBLES is instructive. It's about US imperial navy dealing with Chinese resistance led by nascent KMT. Even though Chiang became pro-American, the rise of Chinese nationalism(even minus the communist element) was deeply hostile to the imperialist powers: European, Japan, and the US.
        At this time, US and Europe, as imperialist powers, had more in common in Imperial Japan, and they all worked to keep China down.
        Still, with the rise of KMT, the US and Europe saw the writing on the wall and decided that China would gradually emerge as an independent power. US and Europe were grudgingly willing to return sovereignty, step by step, to the Chinese. US and Europe could feel somewhat more magnanimous because they had extensive empires even without their holdings in China. Brits had 1/4 of the world. French had colonies all over. US developed as an Anglo empire that wiped out the Indian savages and then, as if that wasn't enough, took over Cuba and Philippines.
        In contrast, the rise of China meant Japan could lose its premier colony in Manchuria. Without that, Japan's only empire was Taiwan and Korea. (If China became powerful enough, it could even take Taiwan from Japan.) And so, Japan came to eye China's emergence as a power with far greater anxiety. This is why it was disingenuous for Japan to claim that it was fighting for Asia against evil white powers. But then, US did its part in helping Japan become an imperial power invited to join with US and Europe in imperialism in Asia.

        While US had every right to mourn the death of its brave men at Pearl Harbor and honor the soldiers in the war, it was hardly an innocent party in world affairs. Its war in Philippines was far more outrageous than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sure, one could say the Americans weren't as bad as the Japanese -- though that is debatable in US's air wars of carpet bombing entire civilian populations in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam -- , but that's hardly consolation to the 100,000s of Filipinos who died in the US-Philippines War. Also, it's not like Japan emerged as some rogue imperialist out of the blue. It was forced out of isolation and then encouraged when it modernized and joined with whites to colonize Asia. US hardly protested Japan's takeover of Korean and Manchuria. If anything, the US tended to praise such as civilizing mission(which was half-true as imperialism does hasten progress in some ways: "What did the Romans ever do for us?")

        Also, when we look at the grand sweep of history, the US fixation on Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing. US was created by racial imperialism. Apparently, even the great expanse of America wasn't enough for the US, and it had to go seeking overseas empires even as far as Hawaii and then Philippines. While Japan attacked US navy in Hawaii, it was the Americans who invaded and colonized Hawaii and reduced its native population into a tourist curiosity for immigrant-invaders made up mostly of whites and then later Asians.

        And given US intervention in Vietnam(where it had no business) that led to deaths of millions and then US cooking up dirty lies to invade and/or destroy nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Japan's dastardly deed seems hardly exceptional. At the very least, Japan attacked out of desperation as it was running out of essential materials. The US had everything and still intervened in other nations -- often based on lies -- and destroyed millions of lives. If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

        “Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power.”

        True indeed. It should be pointed out, however, that Germany did not have any designs upon the United States either. It was only after Japan bombed Pearl that Hitler, somewhat reluctantly but with a sense of inevitability, declared war on the US (much to the relief of Churchill). And yet, the German High Command never really formulated a Barbarossa-style grand strategy which could be implemented in a formal air-land-sea invasion of the North American mainland, largely because they were already fighting a war on two fronts in Europe and in the case of the Eastern Front, the tide would turn less than a year after Pearl in a city called Stalingrad.

        The rest, as they say, is history.

        • Replies: @Lurker
        At the height of their military power (relative to the opposition), the Germans couldn't cross 20 odd miles of English Channel. Crossing the Atlantic would have been a wee bit more difficult again.
      114. I still don’t understand why U.S. forces didn’t simply direct every battleship and aircraft carrier to Japan in 1942 and try to deliver a knockout punch on their turf. The counter argument of course is that that would have been unacceptably bloody, but what were Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Guadacanal? Maybe fighting them on various meaningless atolls across the Pacific was actually more bloody in the long run.

        • Replies: @Polichinello
        Because the Japanese had an overwhelming advantage in carriers and battleships at that point in the war and they would have sunk our fleet within a month or two, leaving the U.S. with no navy. Funny enough, that's exactly what the Japanese were hoping we'd do. Unfortunately for them, a warplan that has the step "Then the enemy does something completely stupid." doesn't work out very often.

        If you look at how the Japanese handled their short, undeclared war with the Soviet Union in 1939, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol (or the Nomohan Incident), you'll see they learned nothing from the experience, even after getting their ass handed to them by the Red Army. The Japanese used the same philosophy of "Men are cheaper than material", and it got them exactly the same result they got six years later.
        , @Collectingdust
        Those meaningless atolls and islands acted as the forward bases for logistics, ships and planes. They were the most valuable real estate on earth at the time, are so even now, and might be the trigger for a coming war with China. The Pacific is mighty big.

        A knockout punch against Japan in 1942 would have been impossible. Even in 1945 with control of relatively close Iwo Jima and Okinawa, total air superiority and the experience of Normandy and other large scale beach invasions, the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan. The projected casualties were astronomical. The war would have continued through 1946 at least. Hence the fire bombings and the atom bombs.
        , @Kevin O'Keeffe

        I still don’t understand why U.S. forces didn’t simply direct every battleship and aircraft carrier to Japan in 1942 and try to deliver a knockout punch on their turf.
         
        Because we might've lost that battle. And then quite possibly the war.
      115. @anon
        Of all the parties in WW2 who were the most spared by the A-bomb it was the Japanese.

        Fire bombing and carpet bombing were inevitably expanding into non-military targets. It was only a matter of time before agricultural infrastructure was targeted, which would not lead to high direct casualties, but would lead to stratospheric indirect civilian casualties as famine and starvation took their toll — similar to the 1920’s Soviet-Jewish campaign against Ukrainians, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, 30 Years War, etc.

        Stratospheric casualties rarely occur from direct military conflict — or even isolated atomic attacks — but rather, from a few collapsed harvests and subsequent winters.

        Putting aside your gratuitous anti-Semitic snipe, it is just not feasible to bomb agricultural production, especially not using the technology available to the US in those days. In a crowded urban area, a bomb causes a lot of damage. In a farm field you make a little crater. The next day the farmer goes out and fills in the bomb crater. Or maybe you have dug him a free fish pond.

        • Replies: @MarkinLA
        You destroy the means of agricultural production and the ability to transport it to cities. Every day you send out sorties to strafe and destroy barns and collection points. Low level fighter-bombers and fighters were highly successful at the end of the war in Europe destroying railroad assets and trucks. Strafing the famers in the fields, fisherman on the beach, and fishing boats would also be part of operations. Rockets were not self guiding but low level actions made them reasonably accurate.
      116. OT

        https://newcriterion.com/issues/2019/10/leninthink

        “Lenin regarded all interactions as zero-sum. To use the phrase he made famous, the fundamental question is always “Who Whom?”—who dominates whom, who does what to whom, ultimately who annihilates whom…

        Lenin constantly recommended that people be shot “without pity” or “exterminated mercilessly” (Leszek Kołakowski wondered wryly what it would mean to exterminate people mercifully). “Exterminate” is a term used for vermin, and, long before the Nazis described Jews as Ungeziefer (vermin), Lenin routinely called for “the cleansing of Russia’s soil of all harmful insects, of scoundrels, fleas, bedbugs—the rich, and so on.”

        Lenin worked by a principle of anti-empathy, and this approach was to define Soviet ethics. I know of no other society, except those modeled on the one Lenin created, where schoolchildren were taught that mercy, kindness, and pity are vices. After all, these feelings might lead one to hesitate shooting a class enemy or denouncing one’s parents.

        In Lenin’s view, a true revolutionary did not establish the correctness of his beliefs by appealing to evidence or logic, as if there were some standards of truthfulness above social classes. Rather, one engaged in “blackening an opponent’s mug so well it takes him ages to get it clean again.” Nikolay Valentinov, a Bolshevik who knew Lenin well before becoming disillusioned, reports him saying: “There is only one answer to revisionism: smash its face in!”

        When Mensheviks objected to Lenin’s personal attacks, he replied frankly that his purpose was not to convince but to destroy his opponent. “

        • Replies: @Jack D
        And yet Lenin was a pussycat compared to Stalin.

        BTW, when Lenin said "Who,whom" he really didn't mean it in the sense that is attributed to him in this article (and elsewhere). The phrase's meaning evolved as it was repeated by Trotsky and Stalin.

        Calling your political opponents vermin, assassinating their character (and sometimes their bodies), etc. are all pretty standard revolutionary tactics. As Mao said, a revolution is not a dinner party. I don't know what kind of straw man is being cut down here. Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not. The reward that nice Western style social democrats in Russia got for their niceness was a bullet in the head or if they were lucky a life in exile spent looking over their shoulder for assassins (nothing has changed - being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health). Lenin was bad but what came after him was even worse.
        , @anonymous coward

        ...schoolchildren were taught that mercy, kindness, and pity are vices.
         
        Fake news. Soviet schoolchildren were certainly never taught that.
      117. @AnotherDad

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

         
        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You're actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in--a very nasty--imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don't do it ... no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian ... imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade--the post-War American system--they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China--a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it's naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia--now fading--pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan's imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form "self-defense".

        … crazy crap one reads …

        you have read, but not understood. Maybe you should get off the moralizing propaganda and read some books, even mainstream history is nearer to the truth than the half digested stuff you substitute for knowledge.

        Imperial Japan was British equipped and the British used them as their attack dog in Asia. First, in the late 19th century against Cina. Imperial Japan’s war in 1905 broke the Russians and thus decided the great game for a generation – until some alcoholic fool sold the Japanese out to the US who had their own imperialistic designs in Asia.

        By sheer coincidence, when the short lived Japanese empire collapsed, the British empire followed suit.

        • Replies: @Doug
        > By sheer coincidence, when the short lived Japanese empire collapsed, the British empire followed suit.

        Hmm. If only there were some other series of events between 1939-1945 that might explain a common cause for these outcomes.
      118. “Also, the American pilots tended to get better as they gained experience in battle, while the Japanese pilots tended to get deader.”

        LOL Classic Sailer. I’m donating $50 for that line alone

      119. Japan lacked a really powerful aircraft engine at the time the Zero was developed. I believe the engine put out 700 HP and change. The 2800 cubic inch engine in the Hellcat and Corsair could put out over 2,000 ponies; more for short periods with water/alcohol injection. So all “unnecessary” weight had to be eliminated if the plane were to have the range and performance required. Once the limitations of the aircraft were known, US pilots were instructed to avoid any silk-scarf style “dogfighting” at low altitudes, and use their aircraft’s speed in a dive to attack the Zero. Aerobatic flying skills may have created WW1 aces in one-on-one aerial combat, but speed, firepower, and survivability of airframes were the difference in the WW2 battles pitting formations of aircraft against each other. It didn’t hurt US chances that the Grumman plant on Long Island was immune to enemy attack and had unlimited access to material and labor. Once the Hellcat was in production, building the outdated but still useful Wildcat, which was relegated to the decks of small “escort” carriers, was farmed out to General motors. Japan had no such mass industrial base to match that.

      120. Bottom line: the Zero represented advanced aircraft design for its day, and might have been a jumping off point for export of sport and transport aircraft to other nations. The Japanese knew its limitations but basically told their pilots: Don’t get hit and you’ll be fine!

      121. Albright: It’s worth it to kill 500,000 Iraqi kids.

        This from a nation with no shortage of oil.

      122. Re: the Sherman Tank

        There’s a great deal of debate the relative merits of this design, and I recommend Nicholas Moran’s talks, which are available on YouTube.

        The TL;DW version is that the U.S. had to create a medium tank that could operate in environments as diverse as the Russian Steppes (the Red Army operated about 5,000 to good effect) to the equatorial islands in the Pacific. The tank had to be transportable on Liberty ships, and it had to be able to cross several river barriers. Also, it had to work and to be easily recoverable, because once it went overseas, it was there to stay. It couldn’t be shipped back to the factory, something the Germans and the Russians could and did do with their severely damaged tanks. The Sherman met all those requirements. It was not a perfect tank, but it was capable of taking on and defeating anything in the Axis inventory, including the Tiger, even with the 75mm gun, which frontline units tended to prefer well into 1945. Yes, there were improvements, and these were gradually implemented throughout the war, until you reached the EZ8. Despite the claims of the Sherman being a “deathtrap”, it had a higher survivability rate than other tanks on the battlefield. It was quite easy to evacuate once disabled.

        What about the Pershing? Well, it was a powerful tank, and the Cologne footage shows how easily it could deal with a Panther once it managed to get to the battle, but it was also underpowered, prone to breakdowns and very difficult to transport. During the Korean War, up against the T-34-85, it did well, but as the war went on, the Army got tired of it, and replaced it for another tank: The Sherman.

        In short, the Sherman was the tank that the U.S. needed during WWII.

        Also, that Fury scene is ludicrously ahistorical, as Moran makes clear.

      123. The USA had about ten times the industrial capacity of Japan in 1941 so it is not surprising that Japan went cheap on certain armaments (relative to the USA). The Japanese plan was to seize a large area of the Pacific, use the Japanese fleet to fend off an American counterattack and defend their island bases to the death, hoping the Americans would not be willing to pay the price to reconquer them. Their plan foundered on the vulnerability of their communications to American penetration and the refusal of the Imperial Navy to develop a convoy strategy to protect their supply ships. The strategy of MacArthur to avoid Japanese strong points but attack more weakly held islands frustrated the plan to bleed the Americans dry. BTW, I have always been puzzled by the Japanese attack on the USA rather than merely attacking the European empires in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The answer to this puzzlement was revealed to me in an Unz.com article. President Roosevelt would assure ambassadors privately (e.g, the Portuguese ambassador to the USA) that the USA fully intended to attack Japanese forces in the event of war, knowing the Japanese had penetrated the diplomatic codes of the Portuguese. The ambassadors would dutifully report these conversations to their governments, with the Japanese intercepting the messages.

      124. @Bragadocious
        I still don't understand why U.S. forces didn't simply direct every battleship and aircraft carrier to Japan in 1942 and try to deliver a knockout punch on their turf. The counter argument of course is that that would have been unacceptably bloody, but what were Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Guadacanal? Maybe fighting them on various meaningless atolls across the Pacific was actually more bloody in the long run.

        Because the Japanese had an overwhelming advantage in carriers and battleships at that point in the war and they would have sunk our fleet within a month or two, leaving the U.S. with no navy. Funny enough, that’s exactly what the Japanese were hoping we’d do. Unfortunately for them, a warplan that has the step “Then the enemy does something completely stupid.” doesn’t work out very often.

        If you look at how the Japanese handled their short, undeclared war with the Soviet Union in 1939, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol (or the Nomohan Incident), you’ll see they learned nothing from the experience, even after getting their ass handed to them by the Red Army. The Japanese used the same philosophy of “Men are cheaper than material”, and it got them exactly the same result they got six years later.

        • Replies: @68W58
        People very often overlook the importance of logistics, but it is almost always the decisive factor in a large war.
        , @CAL2
        A lot of people forget that the Japanese navy got the better of the US navy in the Solomons after Midway. We were down to a single carrier at one point. The surface actions went in Japan's favor except for a couple of instances. It was really Yamamoto's failure to launch a unified push on Guadalcanal and the army's poor performance that significantly helped the US offensive.

        Guadalcanal is really what bled the Japanese navy air corp and surface forces. They got the better of the surface actions and played about equal on the carrier battles. However, they couldn't replace the losses.

        Japan had a second rate army and a world class navy.
      125. @syonredux
        Some interesting thoughts from Greg Cochran:

        Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo, or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone. They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give them a chance to do so. Even Spartans, products of a lifetime of military training, could surrender, as shown at Sphacteria in the Peloponnesian War.
         

        So an army that routinely executed last stands – one that always refused to surrender, that kept fighting until eliminated by firepower or starvation – would be anomalous. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s easy to remember: that’s what the Imperial Japanese Army was like in World War Two.
         

        In a typical battle, less than 2% of Japanese forces were taken prisoner. Of those that were, many had been knocked unconscious. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill Allied medics: Japanese sailors would attack Americans trying to fish them out of the water. As a young American infantry officer who faced them in Guadalcanal and Burma said, “for sheer, bloody, hardened steel guts, the stocky and hard-muscled little Jap doughboy has it all over any of us.” George MacDonald Fraser told of a Japanese soldier he encountered in August of 1945, when they had utterly lost the war: ” the little bastard came howling out of a thicket near the Sittang, full of spite and fury.. He was half-starved and near naked, and his only weapon was a bamboo stave, but he was in no mood to surrender.”

         

        The Japanese usually lost those battles (after their attacks in the beginning of the war) , losing something like ten times as many killed as their Western opponents, a ratio normally seen only in colonial wars. The Japanese relied on ‘courage and cold steel’, which simply wasn’t very effective. They simply did not grasp the dominance of artillery and automatic weapons in modern war – partly because they hadn’t fought in WWI (except for a small naval role), but, more importantly, because they didn’t want to understand. They’d had a chance to learn in the border conflicts with the Soviet Union in the late 30’s (Khalkin-Gol), but refused to do so.

         

        In addition, Japanese heroism is seldom fully appreciated because they were such utter assholes, in their treatment of prisoners and of conquered nations – cannibalism, vivisection, the Rape of Nanking and the destruction of Manila, germ warfare experiments on prisoners… even the water cure, although now we’re in favor of that. Under the Japanese, Asia was a charnel house. Regardless, their courage was most unusual.
         

        Compared to the last stands of the Japanese in the Pacific War, Thermopylae is nothing special. It is hardly even noticeable. The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma. There were no mutinies, unlike the French or Russians or Italians in WWI. When the Germany Navy was ordered out to a suicidal battle in 1918, the sailors rebelled and the government fell – but then, they weren’t Japanese.

         

        Many other nations and empires have tried to inculcate this kind of ultimate obedience, some going to great lengths – but Imperial Japan is the only one that achieved it, as far as I can tell. There’s isn’t even any reason to think they they tried particularly hard to do so – certainly they’d didn’t go anywhere near as far as the Spartans.

         

        If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?
         
        https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/ija/

        There were few Japanese prisoners because the Americans shot them dead when they surrendered. Learn some real history rather than the lies of the victors.

        • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

        There were few Japanese prisoners because the Americans shot them dead when they surrendered. Learn some real history rather than the lies of the victors.
         
        The lies of the progressive, welfarist, "Good War" victors, who introduced carpet bombing and nuclear war to the world. On women and children.

        Of course we weren't any better than they were. We'd been electing progressives for years.

        A saner, right-wing view:

        We—the great, idealistic, humane democracies, on the so-called civilized side—began bombing men, women and children in Germany. Last week we reached the climax—we destroyed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Japanese cities with the new atomic bomb...

        We can rejoice that hostilities are to cease at last. But we shall not soon purge ourselves of the feeling of guilt which prevails among us. Military necessity will be our constant cry in answer to criticism, but it will never erase from our minds the simple truth that we, of all civilized nations, though hesitating to use poison gas, did not hesitate to employ the most destructive weapon of all times indiscriminately against men, women and children. What a precedent for the future we have furnished to other nations even less concerned than we with scruples or ideals!

        https://www.usnews.com/news/special-reports/the-manhattan-project/articles/2015/09/28/editorial-from-1945-what-hath-man-wrought
         
      126. @AnotherDad

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

         
        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You're actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in--a very nasty--imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don't do it ... no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian ... imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade--the post-War American system--they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China--a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it's naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia--now fading--pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan's imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form "self-defense".

        Thing is, imperialism had a material logic all it’s own.

        The European powers were imperialistic and colonial. The British WERE dominating China, not to mention India, the Russians had an interest in taking parts of it as well as land the Japanese wanted. The Brits and the French were also in Indonesia and Vietnam. The Dutch and Portuguese had been around. The US had already occupied the Philippines and invaded Korea at one point (Korean Expedition of 1871).

        Basically European powers (plus the US) had shown every interest in invading and occupying east Asia. And they had modernized, industrialized war machines that could only be stopped by other modernized, industrialized war machines, not by anything traditional.

        Japan can plainly see this. There are plenty of European powers that might have taken an interest in subjugating them at some point. And if they did, well, there was absolutely nothing the Japanese could do to stop it or defend themselves without a modernized army. So they wanted a modernized army to defend Japan. This was made painfully clear by none other than the US who basically caused Japan’s modernization and the collapse of the isolationist Shogunate that just wanted to be left alone.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Expedition

        So they came to the entirely reasonable and correct conclusion that if they wanted to stay a sovereign and independent Japan and not be eventually subjugated by foreigners, they had to develop an industrialized military to defend themselves from industrialized European empires poking around their neighborhood.

        Here’s the catch, the game all the empires were playing – control of access to necessary resources, and a denial of access to adversaries. If you want an industrialized military to defend your country, you need industrial resources. Steel, oil, rubber. You have no industrialized military without them and you can’t defend Japan. And Japan doesn’t have any of those things.

        Thus, to defend Japan you need a Japanese empire. You need access to your own colonies with the strategic resources you need for defense, and control of shipping lanes to back home that can’t be disrupted by your enemies, or else your enemies can shut down your self-defense capabilities before attacking you and put you at their mercy. You’re basically disarmed without access to strategic resources.

        • Replies: @Doug
        > So they came to the entirely reasonable and correct conclusion that if they wanted to stay a sovereign and independent Japan and not be eventually subjugated by foreigners

        I'm sorry, but that's BS.

        By 1937, the chance of Japan being colonized by the West was essentially zero. Even if they pulled out of Manchuria and Korea. After World War I, imperialism was already well into decline. Not only were the overseas empires serious burdens on post-Depression European finances, but the League of Nations significantly constrained outright aggression.

        Egypt, Iraq, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Cuba, the Balkans, Finland, and Iceland were all decolonized prior to 1937. India was being given much more extensive local autonomy, and most of the Western foreign concessions in China were being returned.

        Furthermore by that point, Japan's performance in the 1905 war with Russia and Great War had already proven itself the military equal of the great Western Powers. The only power with the actual economy might to even come close to subjugating the Japanese archipelago was the US. So the fact that the dipshits in charge of military policy decided to provoke American by launching a sneak attack on its homeland is proof that their central motivation was most definitely *not* just avoiding imperial subjugation.
      127. @Bragadocious
        I still don't understand why U.S. forces didn't simply direct every battleship and aircraft carrier to Japan in 1942 and try to deliver a knockout punch on their turf. The counter argument of course is that that would have been unacceptably bloody, but what were Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Guadacanal? Maybe fighting them on various meaningless atolls across the Pacific was actually more bloody in the long run.

        Those meaningless atolls and islands acted as the forward bases for logistics, ships and planes. They were the most valuable real estate on earth at the time, are so even now, and might be the trigger for a coming war with China. The Pacific is mighty big.

        A knockout punch against Japan in 1942 would have been impossible. Even in 1945 with control of relatively close Iwo Jima and Okinawa, total air superiority and the experience of Normandy and other large scale beach invasions, the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan. The projected casualties were astronomical. The war would have continued through 1946 at least. Hence the fire bombings and the atom bombs.

        • Agree: 68W58
        • Replies: @Bragadocious

        the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan

         
        Excuse me, the British? Were they involved somehow in the Pacific after their humiliating defeat at Singapore? They were basically onlookers, aside from a few scrums in India (fought largely by Indians and Sikhs).

        Pacific theater deaths in WW2: U.S. 111, 606, UK 5,670 (many non-British).
      128. @YetAnotherAnon
        The hardest hate cases on the losing side were probably keeping their heads down and hoping not to face a tribunal and/or execution. Remember the (3?) US prisoners taken at Midway were thrown into the sea to drown after being 'questioned'.

        In my UK youth the atrocities of Japan and Germany were considered to be about equally bad. Lord Russell, a Nuremburg judge, published 'The Scourge of the Swastika' and 'The Knights of Bushido'. Only one is still in print, and we haven't had a stream of novels, films and TV programs about Japanese nastiness.

        The hardest hate cases on our side (many of them armchair haters not fighting men) were able to carry on well into the late 1940s.

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3664526/How-three-million-Germans-died-after-VE-Day.html

        His best estimate is that some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities. A million soldiers vanished before they could creep back to the holes that had been their homes. The majority of them died in Soviet captivity (of the 90,000 who surrendered at Stalingrad, only 5,000 eventually came home) but, shamingly, many thousands perished as prisoners of the Anglo-Americans. Herded into cages along the Rhine, with no shelter and very little food, they dropped like flies. Others, more fortunate, toiled as slave labour in a score of Allied countries, often for years. Incredibly, some Germans were still being held in Russia as late as 1979.

        The two million German civilians who died were largely the old, women and children: victims of disease, cold, hunger, suicide - and mass murder.

        Apart from the well-known repeated rape of virtually every girl and woman unlucky enough to be in the Soviet occupation zones, perhaps the most shocking outrage recorded by MacDonogh - for the first time in English - is the slaughter of a quarter of a million Sudeten Germans by their vengeful Czech compatriots. The survivors of this ethnic cleansing, naked and shivering, were pitched across the border, never to return to their homes. Similar scenes were seen across Poland, Silesia and East Prussia as age-old German communities were brutally expunged.

        Given that what amounted to a lesser Holocaust was unfolding under their noses, it may be asked why the western Allies did not stop this venting of long-dammed-up rage on the (mainly) innocent. MacDonogh's answer is that it could all have been even worse. The US Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, favoured turning Germany into a gigantic farm, and there were genocidal Nazi-like schemes afoot to starve, sterilise or deport the population of what was left of the bombed-out cities.
         
        Steve - I believe the standard Bomber Command tour was 30 missions. Statistically, with a 4.5-5% loss rate on each mission, you would not survive a single tour.

        A 4.5% loss per mission rate yields a 25% survival rate after 30 missions.

      129. @YetAnotherAnon
        OT

        https://newcriterion.com/issues/2019/10/leninthink

        "Lenin regarded all interactions as zero-sum. To use the phrase he made famous, the fundamental question is always “Who Whom?”—who dominates whom, who does what to whom, ultimately who annihilates whom...

        Lenin constantly recommended that people be shot “without pity” or “exterminated mercilessly” (Leszek Kołakowski wondered wryly what it would mean to exterminate people mercifully). “Exterminate” is a term used for vermin, and, long before the Nazis described Jews as Ungeziefer (vermin), Lenin routinely called for “the cleansing of Russia’s soil of all harmful insects, of scoundrels, fleas, bedbugs—the rich, and so on.”

        Lenin worked by a principle of anti-empathy, and this approach was to define Soviet ethics. I know of no other society, except those modeled on the one Lenin created, where schoolchildren were taught that mercy, kindness, and pity are vices. After all, these feelings might lead one to hesitate shooting a class enemy or denouncing one’s parents.

        In Lenin’s view, a true revolutionary did not establish the correctness of his beliefs by appealing to evidence or logic, as if there were some standards of truthfulness above social classes. Rather, one engaged in “blackening an opponent’s mug so well it takes him ages to get it clean again.” Nikolay Valentinov, a Bolshevik who knew Lenin well before becoming disillusioned, reports him saying: “There is only one answer to revisionism: smash its face in!”

        When Mensheviks objected to Lenin’s personal attacks, he replied frankly that his purpose was not to convince but to destroy his opponent. "
         

        And yet Lenin was a pussycat compared to Stalin.

        BTW, when Lenin said “Who,whom” he really didn’t mean it in the sense that is attributed to him in this article (and elsewhere). The phrase’s meaning evolved as it was repeated by Trotsky and Stalin.

        Calling your political opponents vermin, assassinating their character (and sometimes their bodies), etc. are all pretty standard revolutionary tactics. As Mao said, a revolution is not a dinner party. I don’t know what kind of straw man is being cut down here. Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not. The reward that nice Western style social democrats in Russia got for their niceness was a bullet in the head or if they were lucky a life in exile spent looking over their shoulder for assassins (nothing has changed – being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health). Lenin was bad but what came after him was even worse.

        • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
        The thrust of the piece is that Lenin was actually a worse human than Stalin. Given Stalin's power, he would have been more severe.

        "Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not."

        You could say the same of Hitler.

        The only thing stopping Lenin from having a Stalin-sized bodycount was that he died early, and in his years of power didn't have the iron grip on the country which Stalin inherited.

        "nothing has changed – being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health"

        I disagree with you - indeed I find it hard to believe that's a serious remark. Putin's Russia is nothing like Lenin's or Stalin's.

        https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-think-about-vladimir-putin/
      130. @Glaivester

        “No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.”
         
        Today is a good day to die... for the other guy!

        Didn’t see the quote though in the written recreation of his speech.

        http://www.pattonhq.com/speech.html

      131. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        ) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn’t really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport.

        My understanding is that ships are generally constrained by volume and not by weight. Even something heavy like a ship full of tanks is really mostly air, especially taking into account the necessary space between the tanks when loaded. Ships float because the water that they displace weighs more than the ship and its cargo. Water is really heavy because it fully occupies its container.

        Shermans were light for the same reason Zeroes were light – you trade weight and crew protection for speed and fuel efficiency. In both cases, perhaps not the right decision in hindsight but hindsight is always 20/20.

        • Replies: @anon
        Even something heavy like a ship full of tanks is really mostly air, especially taking into account the necessary space between the tanks when loaded.

        The medium tank took up space than a heavy tank. Pulling numbers out of the air, if in a given transport-ship space I can park 2 Shermans or 1.5 "heavies", I'm going to hold off on shipping "heavies" because I want as many tanks onshore across the Atlantic as I can get.
        , @JMcG
        Dockside cranes were weight limited. Cargo ships at the time were generally not roll-on roll-off.
      132. @Polichinello
        Because the Japanese had an overwhelming advantage in carriers and battleships at that point in the war and they would have sunk our fleet within a month or two, leaving the U.S. with no navy. Funny enough, that's exactly what the Japanese were hoping we'd do. Unfortunately for them, a warplan that has the step "Then the enemy does something completely stupid." doesn't work out very often.

        If you look at how the Japanese handled their short, undeclared war with the Soviet Union in 1939, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol (or the Nomohan Incident), you'll see they learned nothing from the experience, even after getting their ass handed to them by the Red Army. The Japanese used the same philosophy of "Men are cheaper than material", and it got them exactly the same result they got six years later.

        People very often overlook the importance of logistics, but it is almost always the decisive factor in a large war.

        • Replies: @anon
        People very often overlook the importance of logistics,

        Zhukov sure didn't.

        https://infogalactic.com/info/Battles_of_Khalkhin_Gol

        The failure in Mongolia was the main reason for Imperial Japan's turn southward, towards Indochina, the Philippines, etc. leading to the attack on the US.
      133. @AnotherDad

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

         
        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You're actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in--a very nasty--imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don't do it ... no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian ... imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade--the post-War American system--they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China--a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it's naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia--now fading--pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan's imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form "self-defense".

        The thing about Japan’s invasion of China was that Chiang wanted, if at all possible, to get along with Tokyo. He trained in Japan. Economically speaking, he basically wanted to do to China what the Meiji-era government did in Japan: and what the CCP eventually, finally would do in the 1980s and 1990s. He was willing to let the Japanese have Manchuria for the time being if it bought time for him to get the rest of China’s crap together. And he shared strong anti-Communist tendencies with the Japanese: by 1936, Chiang was on the verge of completely eliminating the CCP. Things got so ridiculous that toward the end, Chiang was kidnapped and basically told at gunpoint to say no to Tokyo, or face death.

        But we all know how history turned out. In order to defend Korea, the Japanese military believed it had to have Manchukuo. In order to defend Manchukuo, well, you needed a stronger position in China. Foreign adventures create their logic. (How unlike anybody we know, currently trying to desperately make Afghanistan safe for democracy…) The ultimate lesson can be seen in the results: the Japanese invasion, rather than exterminating Communism, would put the CCP in power eventually.

        Much like how Operation Barbarossa would bring Bolshevism to the heart of Europe rather than crushing it.

        • Replies: @Polichinello
        But we all know how history turned out. In order to defend Korea, the Japanese military believed it had to have Manchukuo. In order to defend Manchukuo, well, you needed a stronger position in China. Foreign adventures create their logic. (How unlike anybody we know, currently trying to desperately make Afghanistan safe for democracy…) The ultimate lesson can be seen in the results: the Japanese invasion, rather than exterminating Communism, would put the CCP in power eventually.

        What made all this worse was that the Japanese Kwantung Army was filled with mid-level officers who would initiate incidents, and then present their superiors with various fait accomplis. That worked out fine when they were battling the decaying and chaotic Chinese state, but not so much when they pulled the same stunt on the Russians, who, by 1939, with the Hitler-Stalin Pact, were having none of it.
      134. @Wency
        Good observations (though I also find Cochran's observations interesting). Your point #1 seems to be seldom appreciated. The usual result of an attempted small-scale surrender on an active battlefield is getting gunned down.

        Take the jumpiness of a sleep-deprived cop without backup trying to arrest a potentially-armed crackhead at 3am in the ghetto, multiply it 100-fold, and that's the state of mind of an infantryman who witnesses the attempted surrender of someone he's just been in a firefight with.

        We're led to believe that holding up your hands or a white handkerchief is sacrosanct. A character in a movie is often portrayed as evil, or at least losing his grip, for not accepting such a surrender. I recall in The Patriot, Gibson's character killed a Redcoat who tried to throw up his hands and surrender from a distance of about 2 yards, and other characters were horrified by his failure to take him prisoner.

        Saving Private Ryan though portrayed such an incident basically without comment. And funny enough, the surrendering soldiers were apparently protesting their innocence, saying they were Czech, not German, before the Americans mockingly (and not comprehending) gunned them down.

        >Saving Private Ryan though portrayed such an incident basically without comment. And funny enough, the surrendering soldiers were apparently protesting their innocence, saying they were Czech, not German, before the Americans mockingly (and not comprehending) gunned them down.

        These things happen in combat. I remember one anecdotal story about the Eastern Front that basically went like this: one German patrol discovered the mutilated bodies of some of their comrades in a ravine. Said German patrol decided, OK, they weren’t going to be taking prisoners that month, then, and proceeded to gun down the first Russians who attempted to cross the lines to them. And on places like Iwo Jima or Okinawa, there were indeed a lot of Americans who simply refused to take prisoners in the midst of combat. Tragically, most IJA personnel who tried to surrender and often got shot for their trouble were conscripted native Okinawans or Korean slave laborers who didn’t want any part of the war. (As far as the Japanese went… well, you know, if these strange alien people are trying to burn you alive, you aren’t going to be too merciful if you get your hands on one of them. See the fate of Ralph Ignatowski on Iwo.)

        When the combat ends and tempers cool, prisoners usually have a much greater chance of being accepted. Usually. But when the bullets fly, the animal nature deeply embedded in mankind shows itself, both its best (the way that buddies will die for each other) and worst aspects.

        This sort of tit for tat escalation and deepening mutual hatred is a mainstay of warfare going back to Homer’s Iliad or the Old Testament. Some wars and conflicts are better than others (hell, some theaters of the same war are better than others-that scene would have been a day in the life of your average soldier on the Eastern Front or in the Pacific), but there rarely, if ever, is none of this stuff. We like to pretend in the 21st Century that human beings aren’t capable of this stuff, as much as we can, but when the proverbial crap hits the fan, it becomes unignorable.

        • Replies: @CAL2
        There are a couple of books out by a German newspaperman who interviewed German D-Day veterans in the 50's. Several of them commented that as they were machine gunning the troops landing that they realized the Allied soldiers would not be in the mood to take prisoners. There seems to be a general understanding among soldiers of what is going to happen in certain situations.
      135. @J.Ross
        Saburo Sakai was an amazing guy who, due to the completely brainless restrictions the Japanese placed on themselves, never got a promotion or a medal, and had to stoop behind officers in the chow line; in our service he'd be at least a colonel.
        He encountered the new variation of the Wildcat with an aft-facing gun: he took a severe drubbing, including an injury to one eye, but managed his way back to base through hours of unimaginable agony, insisted on reporting before receiving aid (to prevent more pilots meeting the same trap -- here is a guy you drink to, no matter the uniform), then agonized through eye surgery which, thanks to the wartime circumstances, did not bother with anaesthesia.
        And after that he still wanted back in the fight.
        I suggest checking out Tamaichi Hara's Japanese Destroyer Captain. Hara is something like the surface fleet equivalent of Sakai's airborn mastery, but unlike Sakai, he's a university man, an intellectual (before the war, Hara invented a new type of undetectable torpedo which proved invaluable), and also much more subversive and critical. There is a hilarious rudder episode which I shall not spoil.
        --------
        It really is amazing to grow up in the 80s with the idealized robot-attended cyberpunk image of the Technological Japanese, and then read John Dower's must-buy Embracing Defeat, and see that the Japanese focus on tech was a reaction to being defeated by the nation of Ford, Edison, and Lindburgh; that before this, the Japanese self-conception was pretty much something a young John Milius or Boris Vellejo would jot down during a boring algebra class, aspiring at its best to be pure Robert E Howard.
        We will defeat them -- because we will it!
        ...
        Where do [they] get those wonderful toys?

        Speaking of John Milius (Red Dawn, Apocalypse Now, Conan), his “Rough Rider” mini-series recently showed up on YT after a long absence.

        • Replies: @J.Ross
        "Fear God and take your own part."
        The perspective of phronesis and materialism.
        Seeking this; notice December 10 is coming, and no doubt much culling of YouTube material declared to be "unprofitable."
        Against phronesis and the material is logic and the ideal: here a no doubt college educated tweeter explains how offlogfallingly simple it would be to alter the legal philosophy of the United States --
        https://postimg.cc/N9gLHYnq
      136. There is “Greg” whose YOUTUBE videos on WW2 aircraft are superb. Which plane was ‘better’ is not a straightforward issue. Higher manifold pressure gave more power but manifold pressure varies with altitude and supercharger capacity. US fighters had higher octane fuel which prevented knock when operating at ‘military emergency power’. German fighters had good nitrous injection systems and could operate at military emergency power for longer than the typical US limit of 5 minutes.

        Then there is pilot quality. Because the Germans or Japanese didn’t have as much fuel, pilot training was a problem. They just couldn’t give new pilots the flying time they needed to gain experience so the loss of combat veteran pilots couldn’t be made up.

        As mentioned by 1944 Japanese pilots were flying outdated aircraft against more numerous and superior aircraft. They were already engaging in what were effectively ‘kamikaze’ missions when they engaged in combat. This raises an interesting ‘what if’. The Japanese had a formidable ‘kamikaze’ aircraft, the Ohka. It was fast ( up to 600mph during its dive) and had a 2600lbs warhead. Over 700 of these rocket powered piloted bombs were built. The problem was two fold. They needed a twin engined bomber to get them within range of the US fleet and the inexperienced pilots couldn’t handle the high speed often losing control. Had the Japanese put their best remaining pilots in these aircraft and made an all out attack on the US fleet then tethered off Okinawa to support the 10th Army on shore the US might have lost that battle.

      137. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
        Correct.

        I hope that all of Steve's readers are aware that Franklin Roosevelt deliberately forced Japan to go to war.

        If someone refuses to sell to you, can you kill them? I love people who say we made the Japanese go to war. It tends to be people who are stuck in an America is always wrong and bad mindset.

        • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

        I love people who say we made the Japanese go to war. It tends to be people who are stuck in an America is always wrong and bad mindset.
         
        America isn't always wrong, just FDR. (And his party.) But I'll grant that he left immigration laws and baseball alone-- except for the anthem and drafting the best players.
      138. @Steve Sailer
        Physicist Freeman Dyson was a statistical analyst for the RAF. I recall he said that bomber crewmen over Germany had about a 50-50 chance of surviving their normal 20 missions. That's the point of "Catch-22:" you can get out flying 20 missions if you are crazy, but it's totally not crazy to want to get out of having to fly 20 missions.

        At the British Bomber Command, Dyson and colleagues proposed removing two gun turrets from the RAF Lancaster bombers, to cut the catastrophic losses due to German fighters in the Battle of Berlin. A Lancaster without turrets could fly 50 mph (80 km/h) faster and be much more maneuverable.

        All our advice to the commander in chief [went] through the chief of our section, who was a career civil servant. His guiding principle was to tell the commander in chief things that the commander in chief liked to hear … To push the idea of ripping out gun turrets, against the official mythology of the gallant gunner defending his crew mates … was not the kind of suggestion the commander in chief liked to hear.[72]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson

        • Replies: @Anonymous
        The big British bombers needed more guns not less. In particular, they needed a ventral turret. It's likely that a majority of British bombers lost after 1942 were attacked from below. They had no defense against this.
      139. @nebulafox
        >Saving Private Ryan though portrayed such an incident basically without comment. And funny enough, the surrendering soldiers were apparently protesting their innocence, saying they were Czech, not German, before the Americans mockingly (and not comprehending) gunned them down.

        These things happen in combat. I remember one anecdotal story about the Eastern Front that basically went like this: one German patrol discovered the mutilated bodies of some of their comrades in a ravine. Said German patrol decided, OK, they weren't going to be taking prisoners that month, then, and proceeded to gun down the first Russians who attempted to cross the lines to them. And on places like Iwo Jima or Okinawa, there were indeed a lot of Americans who simply refused to take prisoners in the midst of combat. Tragically, most IJA personnel who tried to surrender and often got shot for their trouble were conscripted native Okinawans or Korean slave laborers who didn't want any part of the war. (As far as the Japanese went... well, you know, if these strange alien people are trying to burn you alive, you aren't going to be too merciful if you get your hands on one of them. See the fate of Ralph Ignatowski on Iwo.)

        When the combat ends and tempers cool, prisoners usually have a much greater chance of being accepted. Usually. But when the bullets fly, the animal nature deeply embedded in mankind shows itself, both its best (the way that buddies will die for each other) and worst aspects.

        This sort of tit for tat escalation and deepening mutual hatred is a mainstay of warfare going back to Homer's Iliad or the Old Testament. Some wars and conflicts are better than others (hell, some theaters of the same war are better than others-that scene would have been a day in the life of your average soldier on the Eastern Front or in the Pacific), but there rarely, if ever, is none of this stuff. We like to pretend in the 21st Century that human beings aren't capable of this stuff, as much as we can, but when the proverbial crap hits the fan, it becomes unignorable.

        There are a couple of books out by a German newspaperman who interviewed German D-Day veterans in the 50’s. Several of them commented that as they were machine gunning the troops landing that they realized the Allied soldiers would not be in the mood to take prisoners. There seems to be a general understanding among soldiers of what is going to happen in certain situations.

      140. @Collectingdust
        Those meaningless atolls and islands acted as the forward bases for logistics, ships and planes. They were the most valuable real estate on earth at the time, are so even now, and might be the trigger for a coming war with China. The Pacific is mighty big.

        A knockout punch against Japan in 1942 would have been impossible. Even in 1945 with control of relatively close Iwo Jima and Okinawa, total air superiority and the experience of Normandy and other large scale beach invasions, the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan. The projected casualties were astronomical. The war would have continued through 1946 at least. Hence the fire bombings and the atom bombs.

        the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan

        Excuse me, the British? Were they involved somehow in the Pacific after their humiliating defeat at Singapore? They were basically onlookers, aside from a few scrums in India (fought largely by Indians and Sikhs).

        Pacific theater deaths in WW2: U.S. 111, 606, UK 5,670 (many non-British).

        • Replies: @Collectingdust
        Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet called for British troops to take part in the invasion. Obviously, the brunt of the forces would have been American.
        , @Gimeiyo

        Pacific theater deaths in WW2: U.S. 111, 606, UK 5,670 (many non-British).
         
        That has to be an undercount if it includes non-British. The British also fought the Japanese (and their sometime ally, Aung San Suu Kyi's father) in Burma. I don't know the casualty figures off the top of my head, but Wikipedia tells me Britain and her Empire suffered about 40,000 dead in the Burma campaign, about 12,000 dead in the Malayan campaign, and about 2,000 dead in Hong Kong. Yes most of that would be Indians. If only 10% were British that would match your figure.
        , @Hank Yobo
        About a million "British" troops fought against the Japanese during the Burma campaigns. Hardly onlookers. And Orde Wingate didn't exist either.
      141. @Wency
        Good observations (though I also find Cochran's observations interesting). Your point #1 seems to be seldom appreciated. The usual result of an attempted small-scale surrender on an active battlefield is getting gunned down.

        Take the jumpiness of a sleep-deprived cop without backup trying to arrest a potentially-armed crackhead at 3am in the ghetto, multiply it 100-fold, and that's the state of mind of an infantryman who witnesses the attempted surrender of someone he's just been in a firefight with.

        We're led to believe that holding up your hands or a white handkerchief is sacrosanct. A character in a movie is often portrayed as evil, or at least losing his grip, for not accepting such a surrender. I recall in The Patriot, Gibson's character killed a Redcoat who tried to throw up his hands and surrender from a distance of about 2 yards, and other characters were horrified by his failure to take him prisoner.

        Saving Private Ryan though portrayed such an incident basically without comment. And funny enough, the surrendering soldiers were apparently protesting their innocence, saying they were Czech, not German, before the Americans mockingly (and not comprehending) gunned them down.

        John Keegan’s The Face Of Battle describes British soldiers reaction to Germans in Normandy trying to surrender only when their position was hopeless, and after a fierce action with many casualties on both sides.

        “Too late, mate”

      142. @Anonymous

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

         
        This is true, of course, but there may have been an American kamikaze attack at the Battle of Midway:

        One B-26, piloted by Lieutenant James Muri, strafed Akagi after dropping its torpedo, killing two men. Another, either attempting a suicide ramming, or out of control due to battle damage or an incapacitated pilot, narrowly missed crashing into Akagi's bridge, where Nagumo was standing, before it cartwheeled into the sea.
         

        There is no contradiction. Westerners always had the idea that you do your utmost and try to come home, but, if you can’t come home, you can spend your utmost on a military target (the alternatives are the same fiery death with no significance or a Japanese POW camp). Kamikaze is something different because it’s deliberately suicidal from the beginning. Furthermore, as that illustration proves, the two patterns are not compatible. A true kamikaze attack requires a full fuel tank and fancy piloting (to make it past flak and, if you’re good, even early detection) — it’s assigned to the best pilots, not the flunkies.

      143. @Polichinello
        Because the Japanese had an overwhelming advantage in carriers and battleships at that point in the war and they would have sunk our fleet within a month or two, leaving the U.S. with no navy. Funny enough, that's exactly what the Japanese were hoping we'd do. Unfortunately for them, a warplan that has the step "Then the enemy does something completely stupid." doesn't work out very often.

        If you look at how the Japanese handled their short, undeclared war with the Soviet Union in 1939, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol (or the Nomohan Incident), you'll see they learned nothing from the experience, even after getting their ass handed to them by the Red Army. The Japanese used the same philosophy of "Men are cheaper than material", and it got them exactly the same result they got six years later.

        A lot of people forget that the Japanese navy got the better of the US navy in the Solomons after Midway. We were down to a single carrier at one point. The surface actions went in Japan’s favor except for a couple of instances. It was really Yamamoto’s failure to launch a unified push on Guadalcanal and the army’s poor performance that significantly helped the US offensive.

        Guadalcanal is really what bled the Japanese navy air corp and surface forces. They got the better of the surface actions and played about equal on the carrier battles. However, they couldn’t replace the losses.

        Japan had a second rate army and a world class navy.

        • Replies: @Polichinello
        Japan had a second rate army and a world class navy.

        Additionally, Japan had committed 2/3's of that army to a quagmire in China.
        , @Jack D
        Japan is an island nation like that other maritime power, Britain. After Perry showed up with his Black Ships, the Japanese realized that they needed a modern navy too and they set out to copy the British, right down to the diet (Japanese eat curry because the British served curry on their ships).

        They went from a closed feudal society to a modern industrial power in the blink of an eye - there is really nothing like it in all of history. Usually contact with the West was fatal to traditional societies - there was nothing left of Amerindian society from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego after the 1st white man landed. But the Japanese pulled it off and without losing their essential Japaneseness.
      144. Larry David being culturally sensitive to the descendant of a kamikaze:

        “Maybe he decided it wasn’t for him and went back to base!”

      145. @Bill P
        My grandpa flew 32 missions in a b-17. I think he was eligible to get out after 25, but volunteered for some more. However, by the end of his combat duty around mid '44 it was a lot less hazardous than when he went on his first mission.

        His first mission was as a replacement for the guys who got decimated over Schweinfurt. He talked to me a fair amount about his wartime experience. More than he did to his own kids, according to my mom.

        My takeaway from our talks was that he really didn't like it, and it was terrifying, especially the flak and seeing other planes go down. He told me how people bailed out and then their parachutes ignited after coming into contact with burning fuel. He said they looked like "burning ping pong balls."

        He died five years ago at the age of 91. It was a good life, but the war damaged him pretty badly. Glory and heroism are very expensive.

        Glory and heroism are very expensive.

        That’s the truth. My father did two WW2 tours in Italy and Greece flying fighter-reconnaissance Spitfires (low-level tactical photography and ground attack). He, of course, had numerous terrifying experiences, and saw dreadful things. The Po running red, nearly drowning in the Aegean, a good friend burning up in his aircraft on the ground – and so on, and on.

        As children, my sister and I always assumed that the lights on all night were for us: it was only in the last 20 years that I learnt they were for him: nightmares every night, without fail. And that lasted until he died aged 95.

        The most surprising thing is, he loved flying so much he stayed in and made a career of it.

      146. @Jack D
        And yet Lenin was a pussycat compared to Stalin.

        BTW, when Lenin said "Who,whom" he really didn't mean it in the sense that is attributed to him in this article (and elsewhere). The phrase's meaning evolved as it was repeated by Trotsky and Stalin.

        Calling your political opponents vermin, assassinating their character (and sometimes their bodies), etc. are all pretty standard revolutionary tactics. As Mao said, a revolution is not a dinner party. I don't know what kind of straw man is being cut down here. Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not. The reward that nice Western style social democrats in Russia got for their niceness was a bullet in the head or if they were lucky a life in exile spent looking over their shoulder for assassins (nothing has changed - being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health). Lenin was bad but what came after him was even worse.

        The thrust of the piece is that Lenin was actually a worse human than Stalin. Given Stalin’s power, he would have been more severe.

        “Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not.”

        You could say the same of Hitler.

        The only thing stopping Lenin from having a Stalin-sized bodycount was that he died early, and in his years of power didn’t have the iron grip on the country which Stalin inherited.

        “nothing has changed – being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health”

        I disagree with you – indeed I find it hard to believe that’s a serious remark. Putin’s Russia is nothing like Lenin’s or Stalin’s.

        https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-think-about-vladimir-putin/

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        >You could say the same of Hitler.

        Lenin and Hitler had something in common, despite their vastly different personalities, styles of rule, ideologies, etc: their psychological mentality was far more akin to a religious leader's than a normal politician. This does not necessarily correlate to the level of monstrosity in a leader: Stalin did not have this mentality at all, for example, he was very much a grounded political boss through and through. And there were plenty of great and good figures in history (Gandhi, definitely, Churchill, maybe) with it. But it is worth noting.

        The Hitler/Bormann relationship in the 1940s was also much akin to Lenin's with Stalin, post-stroke, though with far more disastrous results for Germany.
        , @Dan Hayes
        YetAnotherAnon:

        Thanks for supplying Caldwell's article. My respect for him has even further increased with the dismembering of his ties to the late unlamented "Weekly Standard"!
        , @Jack D
        I completely disagree with Caldwell's thesis:

        if you know enough about what a given American thinks of Putin, you can probably tell what he thinks of Donald Trump.
         
        Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin. Putin is what you get when you cross a Mafia Don with a KGB agent. He hasn't even been good for his own people aside from his buddies and he sure as hell ain't good for America.
      147. Ironically the Japanese would have been better off using kamikazes early in the war as guided bombs. They only did so at the end because obeisance commanded it when Tojo and the other talking heads in Tokyo were asking for the impossible. Confucian management principles can only take you so far as the competency of your superiors.

      148. anon[252] • Disclaimer says:
        @Hank Yobo
        Wasn't the Firefly a British modification of their Sherman tanks?

        Wasn’t the Firefly a British modification of their Sherman tanks?

        Yes, using the 17-pounder anti-tank gun.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Firefly

        The US had a 76mm high velocity gun that was arriving in Europe on some Shermans in 1944.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/76_mm_gun_M1

        The US provided a few thousand Shermans to the Soviet Army as well, many with the higher velocity gun.

        Upgunned M4 Sherman tanks wth the 76mm gun were quite able to destroy Soviet-made T-34/85 tanks in Korea during that conflict.

        • Replies: @mmack
        Apocryphal story on the 76MM armed M4A2 Shermans we shipped to the USSR: The Soviets really liked getting the 76MM armed tanks as each one came with an additional feature:

        A bottle of American bourbon or whiskey, carefully wrapped against breakage and placed in the breech of the 76MM gun.

        Allegedly 😄
      149. And on places like Iwo Jima or Okinawa, there were indeed a lot of Americans who simply refused to take prisoners in the midst of combat.

        The Japanese had a terrible habit of faking surrenders; i.e., flying a white flag long enough to get close enough to take out their would-be captors. You wouldn’t be so eager to take a chance given that history.

        • Agree: Jim Don Bob
      150. anonymous[209] • Disclaimer says:
        @NJ Transit Commuter
        All good points, syonredux. I’d argue that a lot of the Japanese “willingness” to fight to the death was that there was no way for them to retreat on the small Pacific islands most of the battles took place on. (For example, the Americans fought to the last man on Wake Island early in the war). This has two implications.

        1. No room to tactically retreat. There are always incidents of soldiers killing surrendering enemy soldiers in the heat of battle. I remember reading a great account of this in Storm of Steel. On a small island, where combat is all at close quarters, it’s easy for small incidents to create a reputation that “Japanese never surrender” and “Americans kill anyone who tries to surrender.” And then this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

        2. No ability for a strategic retreat. For most of the war, Japanese soldiers couldn’t be evacuated from the islands they were sent to, because of a lack of fuel and ships. If you know you’re trapped, and likely to be killed (see point 1. above) you might as well fight to the death.

        In other theaters the Japanese did surrender. The Soviets captured over 500 K Japanese soldiers when they invaded Manchuria. Could this be because the Japanese and Soviets had room keep away from close quarter fighting why while a surrender could be arranged?

        In other theaters the Japanese did surrender. The Soviets captured over 500 K Japanese soldiers when they invaded Manchuria. Could this be because the Japanese and Soviets had room keep away from close quarter fighting why while a surrender could be arranged?

        More likely it was because the war had already ended. The emperor gave the surrender order on August 15th (Soviet invasion began on the 9th), whereas the Soviets were capturing Japanese POWs in Manchuria well into September and October. By the same token, the Chinese nationalists took 1 million Japanese POWs after the war ended, the allies in Southeast Asia took some 700-800k, and the Americans took a few million. The main difference is that somewhere between 100-400k of the Japanese POWs that the Soviets captured still remained unaccounted for, even after 1950.

        • Agree: syonredux
      151. @nebulafox
        The thing about Japan's invasion of China was that Chiang wanted, if at all possible, to get along with Tokyo. He trained in Japan. Economically speaking, he basically wanted to do to China what the Meiji-era government did in Japan: and what the CCP eventually, finally would do in the 1980s and 1990s. He was willing to let the Japanese have Manchuria for the time being if it bought time for him to get the rest of China's crap together. And he shared strong anti-Communist tendencies with the Japanese: by 1936, Chiang was on the verge of completely eliminating the CCP. Things got so ridiculous that toward the end, Chiang was kidnapped and basically told at gunpoint to say no to Tokyo, or face death.

        But we all know how history turned out. In order to defend Korea, the Japanese military believed it had to have Manchukuo. In order to defend Manchukuo, well, you needed a stronger position in China. Foreign adventures create their logic. (How unlike anybody we know, currently trying to desperately make Afghanistan safe for democracy...) The ultimate lesson can be seen in the results: the Japanese invasion, rather than exterminating Communism, would put the CCP in power eventually.

        Much like how Operation Barbarossa would bring Bolshevism to the heart of Europe rather than crushing it.

        But we all know how history turned out. In order to defend Korea, the Japanese military believed it had to have Manchukuo. In order to defend Manchukuo, well, you needed a stronger position in China. Foreign adventures create their logic. (How unlike anybody we know, currently trying to desperately make Afghanistan safe for democracy…) The ultimate lesson can be seen in the results: the Japanese invasion, rather than exterminating Communism, would put the CCP in power eventually.

        What made all this worse was that the Japanese Kwantung Army was filled with mid-level officers who would initiate incidents, and then present their superiors with various fait accomplis. That worked out fine when they were battling the decaying and chaotic Chinese state, but not so much when they pulled the same stunt on the Russians, who, by 1939, with the Hitler-Stalin Pact, were having none of it.

      152. • Replies: @J.Ross
        Here the Bezos Blog catches up to iSteve years later. Why are they finally acknowledging it?
        The same day, a Jewish cemetary in France is desecrated -- with squished swastikas which look like they came from a guy used to writing the letter aleph (consider their orientation), and by coincidence the French legislature now recognizes criticism of the Israeli government as illegal incitement to violence.
        (There's been a lot of news lately, some of it still moderated, but almost all of it is objectively good news. Tuesday was the big day but today gives us Joe Biden descending to a shouting match with a voter who knows about Burisma, then rebuffing allegations of age with offers of push-up contests. The Democrats are going forward with "impeachment" because the DoJ is absolutely going forward with what has been promised for so long. One hundred and four investigations into FBI misconduct [this is why Sessions fell out with Trump], indictments already, and more to come. Hillary donors outed as pedophiles and indicted for money laundering. In other words Democrats are doomed and they're pinning everything on a screechfest, hoping to confuse low-information normies: but as Biden's shouting match illustrates, THEY KNOW, and shouting just makes you look Schiffy.)
      153. anonymous[209] • Disclaimer says:
        @syonredux
        Some interesting thoughts from Greg Cochran:

        Everyone has heard of famous last stands, such as Thermopylae, the Alamo, or the French Foreign Legion at Camerone. They are memorable partly because they are rare – generally, soldiers surrender when all is lost, assuming that their enemies give them a chance to do so. Even Spartans, products of a lifetime of military training, could surrender, as shown at Sphacteria in the Peloponnesian War.
         

        So an army that routinely executed last stands – one that always refused to surrender, that kept fighting until eliminated by firepower or starvation – would be anomalous. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s easy to remember: that’s what the Imperial Japanese Army was like in World War Two.
         

        In a typical battle, less than 2% of Japanese forces were taken prisoner. Of those that were, many had been knocked unconscious. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill Allied medics: Japanese sailors would attack Americans trying to fish them out of the water. As a young American infantry officer who faced them in Guadalcanal and Burma said, “for sheer, bloody, hardened steel guts, the stocky and hard-muscled little Jap doughboy has it all over any of us.” George MacDonald Fraser told of a Japanese soldier he encountered in August of 1945, when they had utterly lost the war: ” the little bastard came howling out of a thicket near the Sittang, full of spite and fury.. He was half-starved and near naked, and his only weapon was a bamboo stave, but he was in no mood to surrender.”

         

        The Japanese usually lost those battles (after their attacks in the beginning of the war) , losing something like ten times as many killed as their Western opponents, a ratio normally seen only in colonial wars. The Japanese relied on ‘courage and cold steel’, which simply wasn’t very effective. They simply did not grasp the dominance of artillery and automatic weapons in modern war – partly because they hadn’t fought in WWI (except for a small naval role), but, more importantly, because they didn’t want to understand. They’d had a chance to learn in the border conflicts with the Soviet Union in the late 30’s (Khalkin-Gol), but refused to do so.

         

        In addition, Japanese heroism is seldom fully appreciated because they were such utter assholes, in their treatment of prisoners and of conquered nations – cannibalism, vivisection, the Rape of Nanking and the destruction of Manila, germ warfare experiments on prisoners… even the water cure, although now we’re in favor of that. Under the Japanese, Asia was a charnel house. Regardless, their courage was most unusual.
         

        Compared to the last stands of the Japanese in the Pacific War, Thermopylae is nothing special. It is hardly even noticeable. The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma. There were no mutinies, unlike the French or Russians or Italians in WWI. When the Germany Navy was ordered out to a suicidal battle in 1918, the sailors rebelled and the government fell – but then, they weren’t Japanese.

         

        Many other nations and empires have tried to inculcate this kind of ultimate obedience, some going to great lengths – but Imperial Japan is the only one that achieved it, as far as I can tell. There’s isn’t even any reason to think they they tried particularly hard to do so – certainly they’d didn’t go anywhere near as far as the Spartans.

         

        If cultural anthropologists had any curiosity – which of course they don’t – they ought to find this story fascinating. How was it even possible?
         
        https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/ija/

        The Imperial Army and Navy put 35,000 men on Guadalcanal – about 25,000 of those died, some in combat, but most by starvation. Obedient to orders, they died before surrendering. There were many such battles: whole Japanese divisions starved to death in New Guinea and Burma.

        Yes, I believe John Dower put the percentage of the Japanese army and navy deaths due to starvation at 2/3 of 2.1 million total deaths. Other historians put the starvation percentage at 50% (of a total of 455k dead) in China, 80% (of 498k) in the Philippines, and over 90% (of 127k) in New Guinea.

      154. @James Speaks

        Also, the American pilots tended to get better as they gained experience in battle, while the Japanese pilots tended to get deader.
         
        Mostly deader or completely deader?

        Most deadest.

      155. @68W58
        Heavy German tanks spent 10 hours in maintenance for every hour in combat, while the Sherman only spent an hour being maintained for every hour in combat. It’s easy to see the deficiencies of the Sherman compared to its German counterparts, but it had some serious advantages in terms of overall efficiency.

        It could be said that since you could field many more Shermans than Germans, it was a far superior weapon but not to be confused with an anti-tank weapon.

      156. @Dacian Julien Soros
        By the time of D Day, the Soviets were in Botoshany and Auvere, beyond the pre-war borders. The Germans were pretty much defeated, and, in any case, pinned on the Eastern and Southern fronts. The Germans had been worn out by 5 years of actual battles, whereas the Brits mostly hid in holes waiting for Luftwaffe to go away, and Americans watched with great interest those 5 minutes of news preceding the movies.

        During the heroic D Day, the Allies were three times as many as the defenders. In absolute numbers, the head count was so small, that there were days at Stalingrad when the Romanian Army had bigger losses than all the Allies during the Normandy invasion.

        But yeah, muh American heroes.

        To address the bigger question: Japanese leaders assumed their soldiers will obey, and they were right. American leaders assumed their soldiers will shirk as much as possible, and focused on always having numeric and material superiority before engaging. They were also right. As explained a thousand times even in this thread, the Japanese did their best to preserve their empire against the growing American Empire. Less than three decades before Pearl Harbor, Americans killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in an attempt to colonize them. Japanese knew they were next, and tried, in vain, to fend it off by expanding Eastwards and by trying to look bigger than they were on their Western flank.

        I am sure Japanese leadership would have preferred to avoid the use of kamikaze, if that were an option - but it was not. In contrast, Americans were in a leisurely offensive, with most of the Pacific war happening on some shithole island that they could chose to take today, or next year. Were Japanese troops a few hundred miles from San Francisco, there would have been more desperation, and possibly demands for numeric-inferiority suicidal missions. My guess is that such demands would have failed flat.

        Today, Japanese are most admired for their porn, and Koreans for their extravagant Neo-Protestant churches. The pressure to circumcise is now onto China, where millions of Taiwanese, already "protected" by America, "think" they are one minute away from Chinese oppression. In a few centuries, relatively incompetent people like the generals that ran Japan during WWII, or the sycophants of Kim Jong series, would be held as Arminiuses and Vercingetorices of our times. But this outcome is mostly due to the people who took the 14 colonies, and half of Mexico, providing the material base for a large military and an endless supply of proles, rather than the "heroes" of 1945.

        Yeah, American heroes. Takes some cojones to storm a beach.

        The bigger fight was on the Eastern Front. But relative lack of casualties compared to that of the (much vaunted?) Romanian Army doesn’t degrade from the heroism of those who fought. You’d better have numerical superiority when storming a beach. Job is easier for the defender.

        Knew a family who lost a son on D Day.

        • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
        Your point?

        Dacian Julien Soros may have gotten a bit offensive, but he's also right: Steve's original post is too superficial vis-a-vis the Japanese and repeats many of the old tropes about the War. Dacian is correcting them.

        And I'm fine with anything that removes the myth from World War Two.
        , @Dacian Julien Soros
        I know / knew hundreds of family survivors. One of my grandmothers was a war widow, and that is common in Romania. Romania, a country that is 9 times smaller, incurred more than 2/3 of the heroic US Army. Maybe other fronts were more soliciting, but France was relatively easy. US troops had less than one year of fighting on the French front; Stalingrad alone took 6 months.

        Again, it's one thing when you watch the war at the movies, and it's different when your town is on the actual front line.
      157. @Percy Gryce
        OT: "Hate hoax" has entered the vernacular:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/local/hate-crime-hoax-indiana-church/

        Here the Bezos Blog catches up to iSteve years later. Why are they finally acknowledging it?
        The same day, a Jewish cemetary in France is desecrated — with squished swastikas which look like they came from a guy used to writing the letter aleph (consider their orientation), and by coincidence the French legislature now recognizes criticism of the Israeli government as illegal incitement to violence.
        (There’s been a lot of news lately, some of it still moderated, but almost all of it is objectively good news. Tuesday was the big day but today gives us Joe Biden descending to a shouting match with a voter who knows about Burisma, then rebuffing allegations of age with offers of push-up contests. The Democrats are going forward with “impeachment” because the DoJ is absolutely going forward with what has been promised for so long. One hundred and four investigations into FBI misconduct [this is why Sessions fell out with Trump], indictments already, and more to come. Hillary donors outed as pedophiles and indicted for money laundering. In other words Democrats are doomed and they’re pinning everything on a screechfest, hoping to confuse low-information normies: but as Biden’s shouting match illustrates, THEY KNOW, and shouting just makes you look Schiffy.)

      158. @but an humble craftsman
        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        John Toland’s classic The Rising Sun does a good job of describing the “decision” to go to war by the Emperor’s privy council. It was basically a tragi-comedy of group think and cowardice in the bizarre context of Japan’s stilted traditions surrounding the Emperor.

        The Emperor was theoretically the decision-maker but tradition and ritual prevented a free flow of information or any debate or disagreement in his presence. The Emperor’s communications were deliberately cryptic. No one could tell what the Emperor wanted or had approved — for example, was he approving statement and plans by his silence? Certainly no one could step out and play the role of “devil’s advocate” or hypothesize all the things that could go wrong. Being “dovish” was also discouraged as doves tended to get assassinated by fanatical military cadets. (Although, interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, Tojo was one of the skeptics of the war option).

        As a result, the process of acquiescence over successive council meetings slowly moved the contingency plan into the default outcome that would occur unless the Americans made (highly unlikely) concessions in diplomatic talks. So Japan stumbled into a war with a vastly more powerful adversary with (as Steve notes), no “exit plan” whatsoever — basically, it was “we attack, we win military victories, then something good will happen.”

        As the coda to this debacle, I can’t recommend enough John Dower’s Pulitzer-Prize winning Ebracing Defeat. One of the reasons the Japanese were able to psychologically embrace the New Order was their total disillusionment with the stupidity and futility of the War Regime.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        Eri Hotta's "Japan 1941" is a great option, if you are looking for a Japanese author.

        >(Although, interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, Tojo was one of the skeptics of the war option).

        As I mentioned earlier, the mastermind of the Manchurian incident, Ishiwara Kanji, was even more vociferously opposed to war with the US in 1941, despite being a pan-Asianist who believed an ultimate conflict between East and West was inevitable. (He was also against the 1937 invasion of China.) Politics in 1930s Japan was a pretty grey business with little of the black/white that you'd expect looking from Japan on the outside with the culture of consensus making sure that the public image was one of unity.
        , @Stebbing Heuer
        That's not true, about tradition and ritual stifling discussion and information flow.

        The Meiji Emperor insisted on free and open discussion and on his having the right to float opinions and thoughts, even incorrect ones, when talking with peers and ministers. The success of Meiji's reign bears out the wisdom of his approach.

        The problem in the Showa era was Hirohito.
      159. @Houston 1992
        How did the damage manifest itself ? Did he use the GI bill ? Did not ww2 veterans have the pick of marriageable women if/ when they returned.

        He was bitter and disillusioned for a long time afterward, and pretty hard. It didn’t help in his relationship with his kids. He did get over it when he was old, but it had its effects on the family.

        Multiply that by hundreds of thousands and add in the pain of all the families that lost loved ones and you might get an idea of what wars – even victorious ones – do to nations.

        I wonder sometimes why we ignore that aspect of wwii, despite the fact that we lost six or seven times more men than in Vietnam. And think of the Europeans, who lost much more. WWII was absolutely catastrophic.

        • Agree: houston 1992
      160. @anon
        Wasn’t the Firefly a British modification of their Sherman tanks?

        Yes, using the 17-pounder anti-tank gun.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Firefly

        The US had a 76mm high velocity gun that was arriving in Europe on some Shermans in 1944.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/76_mm_gun_M1

        The US provided a few thousand Shermans to the Soviet Army as well, many with the higher velocity gun.

        Upgunned M4 Sherman tanks wth the 76mm gun were quite able to destroy Soviet-made T-34/85 tanks in Korea during that conflict.

        Apocryphal story on the 76MM armed M4A2 Shermans we shipped to the USSR: The Soviets really liked getting the 76MM armed tanks as each one came with an additional feature:

        A bottle of American bourbon or whiskey, carefully wrapped against breakage and placed in the breech of the 76MM gun.

        Allegedly 😄

      161. @Paul
        I do not understand how attacking the United States, which was not then at war, would benefit Japan. In other words, what was Japanese thinking?

        I do not understand how attacking the United States, which was not then at war, would benefit Japan. In other words, what was Japanese thinking?

        Japan was locked into a war of conquest in China. To continue they needed access to lots of raw materials, most of which were only readily available in the Dutch East Indies. But there were sanctions against Japan supported by the United States and Britain (the Netherlands had been overrun by Germany and their colonies were reliant on bigger allies).

        Worse yet, the US and UK were supplying China with arms and military supplies.

        Roosevelt made it clear that if Japan tried to annex the East Indies, there’d be trouble. Rather than make peace with China, Japan decided to get the trouble started early and on their terms.

        In short, finding they were unable to polish off the rather backward and disorganized Chinese, they thought it would be easier to finish the job if they took on the British and American empires too.

      162. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
        @AnotherDad

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

         
        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You're actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in--a very nasty--imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don't do it ... no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian ... imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade--the post-War American system--they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China--a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it's naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia--now fading--pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan's imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form "self-defense".

        China had a very weak central government and was an economic colony of the Western powers.

        Japan did justify its actions in the name of decolonization and trade. It regarded East Asia as being in its sphere of influence and sought to develop China and East Asia in Meiji restoration style, and thus believed its aims were reasonable.

      163. @Bragadocious

        the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan

         
        Excuse me, the British? Were they involved somehow in the Pacific after their humiliating defeat at Singapore? They were basically onlookers, aside from a few scrums in India (fought largely by Indians and Sikhs).

        Pacific theater deaths in WW2: U.S. 111, 606, UK 5,670 (many non-British).

        Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet called for British troops to take part in the invasion. Obviously, the brunt of the forces would have been American.

      164. @YetAnotherAnon
        The thrust of the piece is that Lenin was actually a worse human than Stalin. Given Stalin's power, he would have been more severe.

        "Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not."

        You could say the same of Hitler.

        The only thing stopping Lenin from having a Stalin-sized bodycount was that he died early, and in his years of power didn't have the iron grip on the country which Stalin inherited.

        "nothing has changed – being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health"

        I disagree with you - indeed I find it hard to believe that's a serious remark. Putin's Russia is nothing like Lenin's or Stalin's.

        https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-think-about-vladimir-putin/

        >You could say the same of Hitler.

        Lenin and Hitler had something in common, despite their vastly different personalities, styles of rule, ideologies, etc: their psychological mentality was far more akin to a religious leader’s than a normal politician. This does not necessarily correlate to the level of monstrosity in a leader: Stalin did not have this mentality at all, for example, he was very much a grounded political boss through and through. And there were plenty of great and good figures in history (Gandhi, definitely, Churchill, maybe) with it. But it is worth noting.

        The Hitler/Bormann relationship in the 1940s was also much akin to Lenin’s with Stalin, post-stroke, though with far more disastrous results for Germany.

      165. OT: Steve, let’s have a review of Gilbert’s The Trayvon Hoax: https://www.thetrayvonhoax.com/

      166. @Anonymous
        There's also the practical consideration that the lighter a plane is, the further it can fly on less fuel. This was important in the Pacific. Skimping on armor was the easiest way to lighten load.

        The fuel shortage affected everything Japan did in the war.

        The Zero had a range of 1500 miles, almost twice that of the Hellcat and Corsair. The popular image projected, is that the Japanese were technologically challenged. There was a guy in a small town about 50 miles from me, that spent years restoring WWII planes. His Hurricane was used in the film “The Battle of Britain” back in the 60s. He rebuilt a Zero found in a jungle on a Pacific island, and remarked that it was state of the art for the time.
        Also not considered was that the Zero carried torpedoes. Some of the Japanese torpedoes left no trail in the water, so they could not be tracked. Some of the Japanese submarines had float planes in compartments aft. They also operated ballasts hydraulically allowing for faster surfacing and descent. Oil was a huge issue for Japan and Germany, but eventually numbers win over technology. It’s the grunt on the ground with a gun that wins wars.

      167. @Lars Porsena
        Thing is, imperialism had a material logic all it's own.

        The European powers were imperialistic and colonial. The British WERE dominating China, not to mention India, the Russians had an interest in taking parts of it as well as land the Japanese wanted. The Brits and the French were also in Indonesia and Vietnam. The Dutch and Portuguese had been around. The US had already occupied the Philippines and invaded Korea at one point (Korean Expedition of 1871).

        Basically European powers (plus the US) had shown every interest in invading and occupying east Asia. And they had modernized, industrialized war machines that could only be stopped by other modernized, industrialized war machines, not by anything traditional.

        Japan can plainly see this. There are plenty of European powers that might have taken an interest in subjugating them at some point. And if they did, well, there was absolutely nothing the Japanese could do to stop it or defend themselves without a modernized army. So they wanted a modernized army to defend Japan. This was made painfully clear by none other than the US who basically caused Japan's modernization and the collapse of the isolationist Shogunate that just wanted to be left alone.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Expedition

        So they came to the entirely reasonable and correct conclusion that if they wanted to stay a sovereign and independent Japan and not be eventually subjugated by foreigners, they had to develop an industrialized military to defend themselves from industrialized European empires poking around their neighborhood.

        Here's the catch, the game all the empires were playing - control of access to necessary resources, and a denial of access to adversaries. If you want an industrialized military to defend your country, you need industrial resources. Steel, oil, rubber. You have no industrialized military without them and you can't defend Japan. And Japan doesn't have any of those things.

        Thus, to defend Japan you need a Japanese empire. You need access to your own colonies with the strategic resources you need for defense, and control of shipping lanes to back home that can't be disrupted by your enemies, or else your enemies can shut down your self-defense capabilities before attacking you and put you at their mercy. You're basically disarmed without access to strategic resources.

        > So they came to the entirely reasonable and correct conclusion that if they wanted to stay a sovereign and independent Japan and not be eventually subjugated by foreigners

        I’m sorry, but that’s BS.

        By 1937, the chance of Japan being colonized by the West was essentially zero. Even if they pulled out of Manchuria and Korea. After World War I, imperialism was already well into decline. Not only were the overseas empires serious burdens on post-Depression European finances, but the League of Nations significantly constrained outright aggression.

        Egypt, Iraq, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Cuba, the Balkans, Finland, and Iceland were all decolonized prior to 1937. India was being given much more extensive local autonomy, and most of the Western foreign concessions in China were being returned.

        Furthermore by that point, Japan’s performance in the 1905 war with Russia and Great War had already proven itself the military equal of the great Western Powers. The only power with the actual economy might to even come close to subjugating the Japanese archipelago was the US. So the fact that the dipshits in charge of military policy decided to provoke American by launching a sneak attack on its homeland is proof that their central motivation was most definitely *not* just avoiding imperial subjugation.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        Even China was able to refactor the unequal treaties under the KMT by the 1920s and 1930s. This reflected China's relative stabilization and industralization as one warlord after another was brought into the KMT coalition or killed off, but moreso Old Europe's self-inflicted mortal wound from 1914-1918. Britain, France, Germany, Russia: none of them were in any position to simply impose their will like they previously could by 1919. All of them would spend the next decade mostly dealing with internal problems ranging from mass strikes and economic gridlock to, in the case of the new USSR, democidal civil war.

        The only two remaining powers in China who escape the war's fallout were, shock shock, Japan and the United States. In the case of the former, expansionism in China was in large part driven by severe domestic problems, and you could also make an argument that America's antagonism toward Japanese ambitions in China mostly reflected the potential damage to economic interests in a time where the Great Depression was still in effect.

        In places like India or Vietnam where there were pre-colonial traditions of organized statehood, local nationalists could see just how badly WWI had mauled their masters and wonder why they didn't press while the iron was hot. It'd take a few decades and another world war to finish off the old order for good, but it wasn't like it was in great shape during the antebellum period. It smelled of weakness and decay: and the appeal of ideologies like fascism or communism was driven not least by a desire for an alternative to an obviously discredited old elite.
        , @Lars Porsena
        You seem to be missing my point here. I am saying that self-defense rational was the reason for empire, not for Pearl Harbor. It's why they invaded Korea and China and ultimately would have had aims on Singapore too probably no matter what the British did. They were right, they needed that empire, and industrialization, to avoid subjugation.

        And you're focusing on 1937. That is a bit late in the game man. Wheels were put into motion long before that. The Meiji Era was 1868-1912. Before WWI.

        The league of nations significantly constrained nothing. Japan proved that.

        IMO, Pearl Harbor was a disastrously bad decision why ever they did it. Retrospectively, the Axis had issues with finishing 1 war before starting a totally different one on a different front. Not wise. Already being at war with half the world is not the time to start attacking new people. Hitler should have been focused on finishing the war with England before getting involved with Russia, Germany and Japan should have ganged up on and focused on finishing Russia before Japan attacking America, and Japan should have focused on finishing it's business in China before doing anything else.
      168. @Jack D
        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven't said how the modern Iranians differ. It's a somewhat similar situation. The Iranians are heir to a great civilization (hijacked by an alien religion, but never mind - they have embraced it as part of their current identity) and they have been left out (indeed actively squeezed out) of the modern trading system and denied what they see as their rightful place as a regional power (THE regional power) by the Americans. America has its reasons for doing so (and not just because of Israel) and should keep doing so until the regime of the Ayatollahs falls (or until Hell freezes over, whichever comes first), but this doesn't mean that the Ayatollahs are going to like it.

        I believe the Iranians are too smart to strike directly at the Americans - they know that they could not win an open war. The Japanese thought (or at least deluded themselves to think) that they could take on America in the Pacific and push us out of "their" region. The Iranians are under no such delusion. They have already had their kamikaze war (with Iraq) and now understand that even suicidal zeal is no substitute for military superiority.

        What they will do instead (have already done) is to strike at us using proxies and secretive means in order to preserve deniability. Maybe they think that if they make themselves enough of a pain in the ass then someday some pacifist or isolationist American President will decide that it's not worth the bother. In the meantime, they can keep sending us little "greeting cards" to remind us that they are not going anywhere and that they are not happy.

        We need to keep nukes out of the Iranians hands because from the Iranian POV a suitcase nuke in NY or DC would fall within this sphere.

        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven’t said how the modern Iranians differ.

        One difference should be obvious:

        What was the Japanese TFR in the 1930’s?
        What has the Iranian TFR been since about 1990 or so?

      169. @anonselly
        Can anyone imagine a German soldier every being able to go to WWII reunion? hahha haha
        hahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahha
        Going to their reunion, a likable fellow, now that's privaledge.

        On YouTube there was a subtitled segment from a (Dutch?) TV show, with German vets meeting and answering questions at a military museum. A woman objects to their claim that they committed no war crimes and talks about executions of civilians in her own village. They press her for details and she admits that it was a reprisal for terrorism (partisan activity) — and they all make this German hand gesture and say, “there you have it, there you have it.”
        But it’s not like modern governments use terrorism under military occupation as license to kill random people without a trial.

        • Replies: @Curmudgeon

        A woman objects to their claim that they committed no war crimes and talks about executions of civilians in her own village.
         
        Under the Peace of Westphalia (1648) the "rules" of war were established. Civilian casualties were to be avoided to as great a degree as possible. All combatants were to be in uniform. Combatants not in uniform were spies, who could be executed on site. Those aiding and abetting spies were also considered spies.
        It was the Nuremberg Kangaroo Court that decided the rules of war, established almost 300 years previously, no longer existed, and the executions, ex post facto, were declared war crimes. At the same time, the war crimes under the Peace of Westphalia - avoiding civilian casualties - became the British government's primary focus. Bomber Harris stated he was only carrying out government policy. Curious how a clerk in a concentration camp is a war criminal, but the fire bombers of civilians, or those who ordered it, are not.
      170. @but an humble craftsman

        ... crazy crap one reads ...
         
        you have read, but not understood. Maybe you should get off the moralizing propaganda and read some books, even mainstream history is nearer to the truth than the half digested stuff you substitute for knowledge.

        Imperial Japan was British equipped and the British used them as their attack dog in Asia. First, in the late 19th century against Cina. Imperial Japan's war in 1905 broke the Russians and thus decided the great game for a generation - until some alcoholic fool sold the Japanese out to the US who had their own imperialistic designs in Asia.

        By sheer coincidence, when the short lived Japanese empire collapsed, the British empire followed suit.

        > By sheer coincidence, when the short lived Japanese empire collapsed, the British empire followed suit.

        Hmm. If only there were some other series of events between 1939-1945 that might explain a common cause for these outcomes.

        • Replies: @but an humble craftsman
        Inexplicable indeed.

        One of those instances in history where we are tempted to fall for the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy but of course know that it would be utterly, ridicule-inducingly impossible to even hypothesize any relationship between these events at all.
      171. @Hypnotoad666

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.
         
        John Toland's classic The Rising Sun does a good job of describing the "decision" to go to war by the Emperor's privy council. It was basically a tragi-comedy of group think and cowardice in the bizarre context of Japan's stilted traditions surrounding the Emperor.

        The Emperor was theoretically the decision-maker but tradition and ritual prevented a free flow of information or any debate or disagreement in his presence. The Emperor's communications were deliberately cryptic. No one could tell what the Emperor wanted or had approved -- for example, was he approving statement and plans by his silence? Certainly no one could step out and play the role of "devil's advocate" or hypothesize all the things that could go wrong. Being "dovish" was also discouraged as doves tended to get assassinated by fanatical military cadets. (Although, interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, Tojo was one of the skeptics of the war option).

        As a result, the process of acquiescence over successive council meetings slowly moved the contingency plan into the default outcome that would occur unless the Americans made (highly unlikely) concessions in diplomatic talks. So Japan stumbled into a war with a vastly more powerful adversary with (as Steve notes), no "exit plan" whatsoever -- basically, it was "we attack, we win military victories, then something good will happen."

        As the coda to this debacle, I can't recommend enough John Dower's Pulitzer-Prize winning Ebracing Defeat. One of the reasons the Japanese were able to psychologically embrace the New Order was their total disillusionment with the stupidity and futility of the War Regime.

        https://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Defeat-Japan-Wake-World/dp/0393320278/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Japan+occupation&qid=1575576917&s=books&sr=1-3

        Eri Hotta’s “Japan 1941” is a great option, if you are looking for a Japanese author.

        >(Although, interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, Tojo was one of the skeptics of the war option).

        As I mentioned earlier, the mastermind of the Manchurian incident, Ishiwara Kanji, was even more vociferously opposed to war with the US in 1941, despite being a pan-Asianist who believed an ultimate conflict between East and West was inevitable. (He was also against the 1937 invasion of China.) Politics in 1930s Japan was a pretty grey business with little of the black/white that you’d expect looking from Japan on the outside with the culture of consensus making sure that the public image was one of unity.

      172. anon[183] • Disclaimer says:
        @Jack D

        ) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn’t really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport.
         
        My understanding is that ships are generally constrained by volume and not by weight. Even something heavy like a ship full of tanks is really mostly air, especially taking into account the necessary space between the tanks when loaded. Ships float because the water that they displace weighs more than the ship and its cargo. Water is really heavy because it fully occupies its container.

        Shermans were light for the same reason Zeroes were light - you trade weight and crew protection for speed and fuel efficiency. In both cases, perhaps not the right decision in hindsight but hindsight is always 20/20.

        Even something heavy like a ship full of tanks is really mostly air, especially taking into account the necessary space between the tanks when loaded.

        The medium tank took up space than a heavy tank. Pulling numbers out of the air, if in a given transport-ship space I can park 2 Shermans or 1.5 “heavies”, I’m going to hold off on shipping “heavies” because I want as many tanks onshore across the Atlantic as I can get.

      173. @obwandiyag
        There were few Japanese prisoners because the Americans shot them dead when they surrendered. Learn some real history rather than the lies of the victors.

        There were few Japanese prisoners because the Americans shot them dead when they surrendered. Learn some real history rather than the lies of the victors.

        The lies of the progressive, welfarist, “Good War” victors, who introduced carpet bombing and nuclear war to the world. On women and children.

        Of course we weren’t any better than they were. We’d been electing progressives for years.

        A saner, right-wing view:

        We—the great, idealistic, humane democracies, on the so-called civilized side—began bombing men, women and children in Germany. Last week we reached the climax—we destroyed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Japanese cities with the new atomic bomb…

        We can rejoice that hostilities are to cease at last. But we shall not soon purge ourselves of the feeling of guilt which prevails among us. Military necessity will be our constant cry in answer to criticism, but it will never erase from our minds the simple truth that we, of all civilized nations, though hesitating to use poison gas, did not hesitate to employ the most destructive weapon of all times indiscriminately against men, women and children. What a precedent for the future we have furnished to other nations even less concerned than we with scruples or ideals!

        https://www.usnews.com/news/special-reports/the-manhattan-project/articles/2015/09/28/editorial-from-1945-what-hath-man-wrought

      174. @Bill P
        Our wwii fighters were built around the an/m2 Browning "ma deuce" .50 cal, which was the best all-purpose AA machine gun around at the time. The m2 is a pretty hefty gun, so planes that mounted them (up to eight guns in some fighters) had to be rugged and powerful.

        I'd argue that, rather than a difference in philosophy, is why US planes were better armored, because we invaded Europe with the m4 Sherman tank, which was no match for German anti-tank guns.

        People who disparage the M4 Sherman tank should take a look at the “Chieftain’s Hatch” videos. Nicolas Moran (“the Chieftain”) rates the M4 as the best overall tank of the war, with the proviso that it needed the wet storage feature for the ammunition. The M4’s armor was as thick as that of the T34 and sloped, the 75mm gun was probably adequate, if not outstanding, and the 76mm (U.S.) or 17 pounder (UK) was quite good and the crew ergonomics were outstanding. It’s possible that the Sherman’s bad reputation was as a result of survivor bias–a lot of Sherman crew escaped from a damaged tank whereas the crew of a T34, Panther or Tiger would have died from a similar hit.

      175. @Almost Missouri

        "It’s very hard to believe that such a savage war, no quarter asked or given, was fought by two peoples who so soon after it ended came to like each other so well."
         
        Yes it is. I wonder how much of it is that the savagery of the war killed off the hardest hate cases. And having survived the savagery, the remainder were mostly more than happy to "study war no more".

        the savagery of the war killed off the hardest hate cases

        I’ve often thought this is perhaps why Germany is such a wuss these days. Maybe the 5 million soldiers they lost in WW2 were the hard cases needed to keep people like Merkel from ascending to power.

        • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard

        I’ve often thought this is perhaps why Germany is such a wuss these days. Maybe the 5 million soldiers they lost in WW2 were the hard cases needed to keep people like Merkel from ascending to power.
         
        I think there is something to this, but I'm not sure how to prove it.

        Let's not forget the generation that was lost in WW1 either. Plenty of hard cases were lost on both sides of that conflict.
      176. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        > yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        As the Battle of the Bulge proved, superior tank armor basically means nothing against an enemy with total air superiority and an overwhelming advantage in fuel. By the time the US was actually fighting on the plains of Northern European, control of the skies and the world’s oil supplies was virtually assured.

        The Shermans were light and under-armored because that was the most efficient way to quickly convert America’s unlimited industrial resources into an overwhelming material advantage. The Americans didn’t have to make hardy tanks, because no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more.

        • Replies: @Almost Missouri
        Agree, OTOH,

        "no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more"
         
        as a nominal democracy, the US had at least to pretend to care that they were trying to minimize the death and disfigurement that those lost tank crews (a.k.a., sons and husbands of voters) were suffering as they got spammed into the front lines.
        , @Polichinello
        The Shermans were light and under-armored because that was the most efficient way to quickly convert America’s unlimited industrial resources into an overwhelming material advantage. The Americans didn’t have to make hardy tanks, because no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more.

        The Sherman's sloping frontal armor effectively rendered it about as thick as the Tiger's, IIRC. It could be argued that the Sherman was under-gunned, as the M4A1 used a short-barreled 75 mm gun, but that gun was actually preferred by frontline commanders, as it was more effective at taking out the the biggest anti-tank threat, towed PaK-75 guns with the low-velocity HE rounds. Everyone likes to think of Sherman v. Tiger match-ups, but there were only something like three (count'em, three) incidents where American tanks squared off against a Tiger. In one, the Pershing actually lost, while the Shermans won.

        Bearing in mind, too, about the armor, by 1944, the quality of German steel suffered a severe decline as they lost access to strategic alloying minerals, which rendered their steel thick, but brittle.
      177. @Unzerker
        The Panther cost only a bit more than the Panzer 4 to produce. For that money you had arguably the best tank of WW2.

        Hardly a misallocation of resources.

        The greater controversy in German WWII armored fighting vehicle production was whether to build tanks at all, or build turretless Sturmgeschutzen or Panzerjagern, which could carry bigger guns with thicker armor protection with much less production cost. They did lack the offensive potential of a turreted tank and were organizationally assigned to the artiller, which didn’t sit well with the Panzer generals.

      178. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

        By today’s standards, the US held life, even its own, pretty cheap until the latter yrs of the Vietnam War.

        So many were slaughtered in the Civil War. The South, like Japan, put up a futile fight, and Lincoln unleashed Slash-and-Burn Sherman on the South in a terrible white-on-white internecine warfare.

        US lost 117,000 in WWI, an incredible sum when one considers US entered in the last year of the war, and the war had nothing to do with the US.

        Relative to Germany, USSR, and Japan, one could argue that the US cared more for its own soldiers than the enemies did in WWII. Millions died among Germans, USSR, and Japan whereas US lost less than 1/2 million men. But when it came to killing the OTHER side, the US was no different and fought no holds barred with massive air campaigns over Germany and Japan.
        Also, as US mainland was safe from invasion, it didn’t have to fight desperately as USSR, Germany, and Japan did — all three nations risked total invasion(and even potential mass genocide) under defeat. If US had been threatened with invasion and conquest, Americans would have had only two options: (1) The French Way, which would have saved lives but ended in defeat and occupation. (2) The Russian Way, which was costly in human lives but turned back the tide and expelled the enemy.

        Even during the Korean War when American soldiers were fighting far away in a part of the world most Americans knew nothing about, there wasn’t much discussion of US deaths.
        That became a real issue in the Vietnam War. Compared to US deaths in a single year of fighting in WWI, US didn’t do so badly over 8 yrs in Vietnam in terms of casualties, but it became a major issue, eventually leading to many in both parties to oppose the war. By today’s standards, 55,000 dead Americans would be intolerable. At the very least, the US has become far more sensitive about the lives of its soldiers.

        Still, the US doesn’t much care about destroying entire nations on the Other Side. Even the Left has been pretty muted about the total destruction of Iraqi society. Many Liberals cheered for Obama’s turning Libya into a hell hole and failed nation. And both GOP and Dems haven’t shed a tear for the 1/2 million dead in Syria due to US/Israel/Saudis’ alliance with Global Jihadis. When US does invoke moralism, it’s totally bogus… like pretending to care about Kurds! According to current supremacist dogma of the US, a single Jewish life is worth 100,000 Arab lives.

        Also, even though US is more mindful about losing its soldiers, now it has even women in combat, which means it is willing to expend the lives of both sexes in what are mostly Wars for Israel.

      179. @Larry, San Francisco
        Well theory 2 might be right, but I believe that the Air Force had much higher casualty rates than the tank corp or even the marines. I remember one night my father who was in the Eighth Air Force (shot down on his 26th mission) was arguing with a friend who had been a Marine NCO and had fought on Tarawa and Okinawa about who was crazier. I told my father that I was pretty sure the Air Force had a higher casualty rate than the Marines especially when he was serving (late 1943 to April 1944). He didn't believe me until he went to an Army Air Force reunion in Branson in the late eighties and found out he didn't meet many people he knew. Instead he found that most of the people he knew were in the list of the KIAs. He was pretty shaken by that.

        You may be right about the Air Corps (particularly the enlisted man bomber crews) having higher casualties than tankers. Front line Marine units often had casualties in excess of 100% or even 200% (i.e., lose most men, get replacements, lose most of those, rinse-repeat). I don’t think bomber crew casualties were that high.

        In defense of my Theory 1), above, I don’t think the flying corp expected such high casualties, whereas the infantry, well, you know…

      180. @RAZ
        Yeah, American heroes. Takes some cojones to storm a beach.

        The bigger fight was on the Eastern Front. But relative lack of casualties compared to that of the (much vaunted?) Romanian Army doesn't degrade from the heroism of those who fought. You'd better have numerical superiority when storming a beach. Job is easier for the defender.

        Knew a family who lost a son on D Day.

        Your point?

        Dacian Julien Soros may have gotten a bit offensive, but he’s also right: Steve’s original post is too superficial vis-a-vis the Japanese and repeats many of the old tropes about the War. Dacian is correcting them.

        And I’m fine with anything that removes the myth from World War Two.

        • Replies: @RAZ
        Can debate whether this was our fight and whether we should have been there (though Germany did declare war on us first, not the other way around) . But no need to denigrate the heroism of those who fought.
      181. @utu
        1.5 times as many aircrafts were lost in non combat accidents (equipment failures+pilot errors) than in combat. What does it tell us about the quality of aircrafts and the skills of the US pilots?

        According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes — inside the continental United States . They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.

        Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign locations. But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.
         
        22,948 (in combat) vs. 13,873 (in the US)+ 1000 (en route) + 20,633 (overseas)

        LOL you’re proving yourself to be little more than a yuckmouth troll.

      182. @Dacian Julien Soros
        By the time of D Day, the Soviets were in Botoshany and Auvere, beyond the pre-war borders. The Germans were pretty much defeated, and, in any case, pinned on the Eastern and Southern fronts. The Germans had been worn out by 5 years of actual battles, whereas the Brits mostly hid in holes waiting for Luftwaffe to go away, and Americans watched with great interest those 5 minutes of news preceding the movies.

        During the heroic D Day, the Allies were three times as many as the defenders. In absolute numbers, the head count was so small, that there were days at Stalingrad when the Romanian Army had bigger losses than all the Allies during the Normandy invasion.

        But yeah, muh American heroes.

        To address the bigger question: Japanese leaders assumed their soldiers will obey, and they were right. American leaders assumed their soldiers will shirk as much as possible, and focused on always having numeric and material superiority before engaging. They were also right. As explained a thousand times even in this thread, the Japanese did their best to preserve their empire against the growing American Empire. Less than three decades before Pearl Harbor, Americans killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in an attempt to colonize them. Japanese knew they were next, and tried, in vain, to fend it off by expanding Eastwards and by trying to look bigger than they were on their Western flank.

        I am sure Japanese leadership would have preferred to avoid the use of kamikaze, if that were an option - but it was not. In contrast, Americans were in a leisurely offensive, with most of the Pacific war happening on some shithole island that they could chose to take today, or next year. Were Japanese troops a few hundred miles from San Francisco, there would have been more desperation, and possibly demands for numeric-inferiority suicidal missions. My guess is that such demands would have failed flat.

        Today, Japanese are most admired for their porn, and Koreans for their extravagant Neo-Protestant churches. The pressure to circumcise is now onto China, where millions of Taiwanese, already "protected" by America, "think" they are one minute away from Chinese oppression. In a few centuries, relatively incompetent people like the generals that ran Japan during WWII, or the sycophants of Kim Jong series, would be held as Arminiuses and Vercingetorices of our times. But this outcome is mostly due to the people who took the 14 colonies, and half of Mexico, providing the material base for a large military and an endless supply of proles, rather than the "heroes" of 1945.

        American leaders assumed their soldiers will shirk as much as possible, and focused on always having numeric and material superiority before engaging. They were also right.

        S.L.A. Marshall reached the same conclusion about the average fighting unit in reviewing the combat performance in Europe.

        Incidentally, I’ve never read this book, though it’s on my shelf:

        People who focus on D-Day and the Rangers and the 101st Airborne, etc, etc, probably aren’t aware that those units in question were not the average.

      183. @Doug
        > yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        As the Battle of the Bulge proved, superior tank armor basically means nothing against an enemy with total air superiority and an overwhelming advantage in fuel. By the time the US was actually fighting on the plains of Northern European, control of the skies and the world's oil supplies was virtually assured.

        The Shermans were light and under-armored because that was the most efficient way to quickly convert America's unlimited industrial resources into an overwhelming material advantage. The Americans didn't have to make hardy tanks, because no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more.

        Agree, OTOH,

        “no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more”

        as a nominal democracy, the US had at least to pretend to care that they were trying to minimize the death and disfigurement that those lost tank crews (a.k.a., sons and husbands of voters) were suffering as they got spammed into the front lines.

        • Replies: @Tex

        as a nominal democracy, the US had at least to pretend to care that they were trying to minimize the death and disfigurement that those lost tank crews (a.k.a., sons and husbands of voters) were suffering as they got spammed into the front lines.
         
        "They Were Expendable". Although the phrase was coined for PT boats, it was pretty clear it applied to the crew too.

        There's a lot of cognitive dissonance in the American way of war. We recognize that war is about inhumane and ruthless sacrifice, but we really don't want it applied to us. So we see a lot of public support for wars "so long as we don't get hurt."

        As long as you have a decent supply of chump opponents and no conscience, that's a valid way of war. Once you get an enemy who fights back with skill and determination, or worse yet, some qualms about what you're doing, that stops working.

        I think people in the '40s might have been more realistic about war, or maybe their choices were just more stark. I'd go so far as to say there was a certain logic to the Cold War (keep a strong hand to deter actual war), but it broke down in Korea and Vietnam. I daresay that since the '90s it's like we've got an empire on crack.
        , @GeologyAnon
        You are just an inexhaustible font of fuddlore aren't you?

        With wet storage the Sherman had by far the lowest ratio of KIAs/WIAs suffered per tank knocked out in the war. It was an extremely safe tank, with effective armor equal to the Tiger 1 and every crewman supplied with his own large egress point and numerous fire suppression systems that other nations forewent. It had the firepower to easily deal with the real tank killers, Stugs and Paks, and the mobility to outflank the Panther and Tiger series tanks with ease. Again, all tanks in the entire war, you had the best chance of surviving unscathed from a penetrating hit in the Sherman. So in the extremely unlikely event you even encountered a Panther and were hit and knocked out, only one crewman of five would be killed on average.

        Idiotic drivel like the movie Fury and numerous baby-boomer oriented history channel specials give the idea that Sherman's were constantly getting chumped by the big Cats. This is completely ahistorical. Most Sherman crews never even saw a PzV. The biggest threat to the survival of any tanker, from any nation, was towed anti-tank guns, followed by mines, followed by tube artillery, followed by assault guns like the Stug or 122, followed very very distantly with tank-on-tank battles which were barely more relevant to overall losses than infantry weapons like the Panzerfaust or Bazooka.
        And lost on the History Channel crowd is how the 76mm Sherman could penetrate the Panther from any angle, even frontally, was radically faster, more mechanically reliable, and the far better vehicle to be onboard if penetrated. By time any US tanker was butting heads with the Panther in late 1944 76mm Shermans were abundant.

        Furthermore for your theory that pilots were more aristocratic than tankers or something and so were given better weapons relatively... What the hell are you talking about?

        Loss rates for combat aircrew of both the USN and USAAC were an order of magnitude more than for tankers! A successful, mind you, successful, USN strike on a Japanese Fast Carrier group resulted in 25% KIA among the attacking air wing until almost 1943! That's if everything went well!

        Consider the other side: you're one of these 'managerial' class bomber pilots who has to contend with Me 262s. An operational jet fighter with 4*30mm cannon, probably flown by an 'experten' with more than 100 kills already, that is more than 80mph faster than your fastest escorting fighter.

        I'm guessing in that moment you wouldn't be thinking "Gee those tankers sure have it rough, good thing my equipment is so superior to the Nazis, since I'm a pilot"
      184. @The Germ Theory of Disease
        "What does that tell you about the quality of US aircrafts and the skills of the US pilots?"

        It tells you that when you go from being a nation of isolationist farmboys, to taking over half the planet, in just THREE AND A HALF YEARS, that the U.S. pilots and engineers were some of the most daring and remarkable people who ever lived.

        The fact that this very same group of people then proceeded to piss away, give away, and actively destroy their own entire civilization is of course a matter for a different blog.

        The fact that this very same group of people then proceeded to piss away, give away, and actively destroy their own entire civilization is of course a matter for a different blog.

        The problem with threads like this one, though, is that obviously many of the people involved do not understand that our “victory” in World War Two was part of the process of how we destroyed our own civilization.

      185. Anonymous[865] • Disclaimer says:

        Regarding the often lunatic behavior of Japanese soldiers during the war, remember that they were high on meth (a Japanese invention) for much of the time. The Germans also issued it to their troops at the beginning of the war but soon stopped because it was making them crazy. The Japanese never stopped.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        The IJA was not a fun place to be a conscripted private. You take a bunch of 18 year old testosterone fueled boys and keep them in line with torture, and then put them through the innately brutalizing experience of war, when they suddenly get a chance to kick around some other people for once, they'll happily take it. The IJA deliberately encouraged this.

        My girlfriend's grandmother experienced the Japanese occupation of Malaysia. Not fun times. Girls were dressed as boys so they wouldn't get gang-raped, and the locals would leave for the hills whenever the IJA came in so they could loot the kampung peacefully and just leave without any further problems.
      186. @Anonymous

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

         
        This is true, of course, but there may have been an American kamikaze attack at the Battle of Midway:

        One B-26, piloted by Lieutenant James Muri, strafed Akagi after dropping its torpedo, killing two men. Another, either attempting a suicide ramming, or out of control due to battle damage or an incapacitated pilot, narrowly missed crashing into Akagi's bridge, where Nagumo was standing, before it cartwheeled into the sea.
         

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

        As a substitute for kamikaze attack, the U.S. tried to deploy a remote radio-control system to crash explosive-laden aircraft into enemy targets. But it ended up killing the pilots anyway. In particular, that’s how Joseph Kennedy, Jr. was killed.

        Operation Aphrodite (U.S. Army Air Corps) and Operation Anvil (U.S. Navy) made use of unmanned, explosive-laden Army Air Corps Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Navy Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator bombers that were deliberately crashed into their targets under radio control.[7] These aircraft could not take off safely on their own, so a crew of two would take off and fly to 2,000 feet (610 m) before activating the remote control system, arming the detonators, and parachuting from the aircraft.

        Kennedy was appointed a Lieutenant on July 1, 1944.[6] After the U.S. Army Air Corps operation missions were drawn up on July 23, 1944, Lieutenants Wilford John Willy[8] and Kennedy were designated as the first Navy flight crew. Willy, who was the executive officer of Special Air Unit ONE, had also volunteered for the mission and “pulled rank” over Ensign James Simpson, who was Kennedy’s regular co-pilot. Kennedy and Willy (co-pilot) flew a BQ-8 “robot” aircraft (drone; a converted B-24 Liberator) for the U.S. Navy’s first Aphrodite mission. Two Lockheed Ventura mother planes and a Boeing B-17 navigation plane took off from RAF Fersfield at 1800 on Saturday, August 12, 1944. Then the BQ-8 aircraft, loaded with 21,170 lb (9,600 kg) of Torpex, took off. It was to be used against the U-boat pens at Heligoland in the North Sea.[9][10]

        Last photograph of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. on day of flight, August 12, 1944.

        Commemorative headstone of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. at Arlington National Cemetery.
        Following them in a USAAF F-8 Mosquito to film the mission were pilot Lt. Robert A. Tunnel and combat camera man Lt. David J. McCarthy, who filmed the event from the perspex nose of the aircraft.[11] As planned, Kennedy and Willy remained aboard as the BQ-8 completed its first remote-controlled turn at 2,000 ft (610 m) near the North Sea coast. Kennedy and Willy removed the safety pin, arming the explosive package, and Kennedy radioed the agreed code Spade Flush, his last known words. Two minutes later (and well before the planned crew bailout, near RAF Manston), the Torpex explosive detonated prematurely and destroyed the Liberator, killing Kennedy and Willy instantly. Wreckage landed near the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk, England, causing widespread damage and small fires, but there were no injuries on the ground. According to one report, a total of 59 buildings were damaged in a nearby coastal town. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy_Jr.#Operations_Anvil_and_Aphrodite

        • Replies: @Jack D
        This is the opposite of the kamikaze mindset. They were not trying to kill the pilots. They wanted to send unmanned drones but the drone technology of the time was not good enough for a takeoff - one the plane was airborne and in level flight the human pilots could bail out over friendly territory and then it would operate as a remote control drone.

        I don't know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely - probably something stupid that Kennedy did. But if they had been able to do this, it would have saved American lives - Kennedy would be drinking beer in an English pub when his drone hit the target, not getting shot at by German ack-ack.

        Soldiers in combat take risks all the time but this is different than intentionally sending men on suicide missions.
      187. @Doug
        > So they came to the entirely reasonable and correct conclusion that if they wanted to stay a sovereign and independent Japan and not be eventually subjugated by foreigners

        I'm sorry, but that's BS.

        By 1937, the chance of Japan being colonized by the West was essentially zero. Even if they pulled out of Manchuria and Korea. After World War I, imperialism was already well into decline. Not only were the overseas empires serious burdens on post-Depression European finances, but the League of Nations significantly constrained outright aggression.

        Egypt, Iraq, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Cuba, the Balkans, Finland, and Iceland were all decolonized prior to 1937. India was being given much more extensive local autonomy, and most of the Western foreign concessions in China were being returned.

        Furthermore by that point, Japan's performance in the 1905 war with Russia and Great War had already proven itself the military equal of the great Western Powers. The only power with the actual economy might to even come close to subjugating the Japanese archipelago was the US. So the fact that the dipshits in charge of military policy decided to provoke American by launching a sneak attack on its homeland is proof that their central motivation was most definitely *not* just avoiding imperial subjugation.

        Even China was able to refactor the unequal treaties under the KMT by the 1920s and 1930s. This reflected China’s relative stabilization and industralization as one warlord after another was brought into the KMT coalition or killed off, but moreso Old Europe’s self-inflicted mortal wound from 1914-1918. Britain, France, Germany, Russia: none of them were in any position to simply impose their will like they previously could by 1919. All of them would spend the next decade mostly dealing with internal problems ranging from mass strikes and economic gridlock to, in the case of the new USSR, democidal civil war.

        The only two remaining powers in China who escape the war’s fallout were, shock shock, Japan and the United States. In the case of the former, expansionism in China was in large part driven by severe domestic problems, and you could also make an argument that America’s antagonism toward Japanese ambitions in China mostly reflected the potential damage to economic interests in a time where the Great Depression was still in effect.

        In places like India or Vietnam where there were pre-colonial traditions of organized statehood, local nationalists could see just how badly WWI had mauled their masters and wonder why they didn’t press while the iron was hot. It’d take a few decades and another world war to finish off the old order for good, but it wasn’t like it was in great shape during the antebellum period. It smelled of weakness and decay: and the appeal of ideologies like fascism or communism was driven not least by a desire for an alternative to an obviously discredited old elite.

      188. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
        Your point?

        Dacian Julien Soros may have gotten a bit offensive, but he's also right: Steve's original post is too superficial vis-a-vis the Japanese and repeats many of the old tropes about the War. Dacian is correcting them.

        And I'm fine with anything that removes the myth from World War Two.

        Can debate whether this was our fight and whether we should have been there (though Germany did declare war on us first, not the other way around) . But no need to denigrate the heroism of those who fought.

        • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

        (though Germany did declare war on us first, not the other way around)

         
        Sorry, but Franklin Roosevelt had already committed the U.S. military to acts of aggression against Germany long before Germany made the war official.

        For history on this, I recommend the following

        Mr. Roosevelt's Navy: The private war of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1939-1942 https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Roosevelts-Navy-Atlantic-1939-1942/dp/0870213954

        President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941 by the great historian Charles A. Beard https://www.amazon.com/dp/0765809982/
      189. @Paul
        I do not understand how attacking the United States, which was not then at war, would benefit Japan. In other words, what was Japanese thinking?

        Japan felt backed into a corner by the economic warfare (embargoes and asset freezes) being waged by the United States beginning around 1938 because of Japanese aggression in China and later in French Indochina. The peaceful way of out the corner for Japan was some kind of withdrawal from China, but the Japanese leadership couldn’t lose face and believed that east Asia was for Japan what Latin America was for the United States: it’s own sphere of influence in which it could do what it wanted without interference from the outside. Japan really wanted the oil and other resources of the Dutch East Indies, but the Phillipines, an American-governed colony sat right on the shipping lanes between the Dutch East Indies and Japan. Japan had to reckon that a hostile United States would seek to interdict those shipping lanes with air and submarine attacks. Ergo, reasoned the Japanese leadership, the U.S. would be hostile anyway, so why not get in first licks, build a defensive perimeter that would take a long time and many casualties to roll back, and see if the U.S. is willing to accept terms that allows Japan to keep its gains, or to resume normal trade, or some measure of both.

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.

        • Replies: @Jack D
        Just as any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, any sufficiently poor decision is indistinguishable from madness.

        The Japanese were able to accomplish their short term goals after Pearl Harbor and temporarily kick the Western powers out of the Pacific. But they completely misjudged the American character. If they had stayed away from bombing American territory then maybe it would have been like Vietnam - eventually the American public would have gotten sick of American boys dying over places that they couldn't even spell. They could have killed millions of more Chinese and it would have been no skin off of our backs. But by their "ungentlemanly" surprise attack on US territory they united the American public and made sure that we would never give them terms.
        , @Houston 1992
        Just curious , was Japan importing oil from the Dutch Indonesia or from the US ? Were the Japanese able to export any oil from Indonesia back to the fatherland ? Were there any refineries in Indonesia or did Shell just export the oil , and to where ? Netherlands , UK?
        , @Johann Ricke

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.
         
        Anyone with a finger on America's pulse at the time would have figured out that absent an attack on US possessions, there is no possible way the US would have lifted a finger against Japan, other than through economic means, as it expanded throughout the Far East. Japan's move relied on several assumptions panning out: (1) the US would not completely mobilize the nation's resources for a war over what were peripheral territories of very little value in and of themselves and (2) Japan, with the relatively new technologies of the time as well as new war-making doctrines, could do something similar to what Germany had accomplished in France, sweep away the opposition before it had time to rally. Both proved to be wrong.
        , @lysias
        And the U.S. continues to behave towards Latin America in the way that Japan behaved towards East Asia. The coup in Bolivia just happened.
      190. @Doug
        > So they came to the entirely reasonable and correct conclusion that if they wanted to stay a sovereign and independent Japan and not be eventually subjugated by foreigners

        I'm sorry, but that's BS.

        By 1937, the chance of Japan being colonized by the West was essentially zero. Even if they pulled out of Manchuria and Korea. After World War I, imperialism was already well into decline. Not only were the overseas empires serious burdens on post-Depression European finances, but the League of Nations significantly constrained outright aggression.

        Egypt, Iraq, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Cuba, the Balkans, Finland, and Iceland were all decolonized prior to 1937. India was being given much more extensive local autonomy, and most of the Western foreign concessions in China were being returned.

        Furthermore by that point, Japan's performance in the 1905 war with Russia and Great War had already proven itself the military equal of the great Western Powers. The only power with the actual economy might to even come close to subjugating the Japanese archipelago was the US. So the fact that the dipshits in charge of military policy decided to provoke American by launching a sneak attack on its homeland is proof that their central motivation was most definitely *not* just avoiding imperial subjugation.

        You seem to be missing my point here. I am saying that self-defense rational was the reason for empire, not for Pearl Harbor. It’s why they invaded Korea and China and ultimately would have had aims on Singapore too probably no matter what the British did. They were right, they needed that empire, and industrialization, to avoid subjugation.

        And you’re focusing on 1937. That is a bit late in the game man. Wheels were put into motion long before that. The Meiji Era was 1868-1912. Before WWI.

        The league of nations significantly constrained nothing. Japan proved that.

        IMO, Pearl Harbor was a disastrously bad decision why ever they did it. Retrospectively, the Axis had issues with finishing 1 war before starting a totally different one on a different front. Not wise. Already being at war with half the world is not the time to start attacking new people. Hitler should have been focused on finishing the war with England before getting involved with Russia, Germany and Japan should have ganged up on and focused on finishing Russia before Japan attacking America, and Japan should have focused on finishing it’s business in China before doing anything else.

      191. America’s antagonism toward Japanese ambitions in China mostly reflected the potential damage to economic interests

        What economic interests did the US have in China in those days? Nil. Not all of history is driven by economics. American Christian missionaries probably had a bigger influence than economic interests.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        The US had plenty of economic interests in China: the Open Door policy was still a solid reality. Republican China was hardly the North Korea-esque closed society that it would become under Mao. During the Nanjing decade, significant amount of modernization and industralization were taking place. The power of the central government, though still not fully recovered to pre-late Qing norms, was greater than at any point since the Taiping Rebellion. It was hardly without problems-revolts everywhere, significant corruption-but it was a place where foreign investors were deeply attracted to.

        The real thing of interest is that it wouldn't be until 1940 that the US really began to block materials that were critical to the Japanese war effort. This was because FDR was always focused primarily on Germany. Asia was, to him, secondary. Not so secondary as to not tacitly support the KMT, but also secondary enough to not listen to those who wanted the Japanese halted at all costs.

        Anywhom, this wasn't anything new: as early as the 1860s, China-which at the time had no railroads or modern steamships or anything-was nonetheless a *massive* market for the global hegemon of the day, the British Empire. That was already having an effect on geopolitical decisions in London, re, the decision to aid the Qing government against the Taiping Rebellion.

        >Not all of history is driven by economics.

        A view I agree with: individuals play way more of a role in history than academic historians like to admit these days. WWII made academia overcorrect and switch to a fanatical insistence that all that matters are greater trends and forces, a tendency that is still there today. It's immature.

        But to the extent that American policy decisions (not to be confused with individual reactions) were driven by Japanese behavior in China as opposed to the threat that Japanese dominance posed to our interests, it largely concerned stuff like the sinking of the Panay. I don't believe concern for Chinese lives played a huge factor in Washington's calculations, whatever the concerns of individuals on the ground or the occasional public shock at this atrocity or that: and why should they have? Not our people.
      192. @Joe Stalin

        At the British Bomber Command, Dyson and colleagues proposed removing two gun turrets from the RAF Lancaster bombers, to cut the catastrophic losses due to German fighters in the Battle of Berlin. A Lancaster without turrets could fly 50 mph (80 km/h) faster and be much more maneuverable.

        All our advice to the commander in chief [went] through the chief of our section, who was a career civil servant. His guiding principle was to tell the commander in chief things that the commander in chief liked to hear ... To push the idea of ripping out gun turrets, against the official mythology of the gallant gunner defending his crew mates ... was not the kind of suggestion the commander in chief liked to hear.[72]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson
         

        The big British bombers needed more guns not less. In particular, they needed a ventral turret. It’s likely that a majority of British bombers lost after 1942 were attacked from below. They had no defense against this.

        • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
        The DeHavilland Mosquito had no defensive guns at all and was one of the most successful Allied aircraft, albeit as a light, not a heavy bomber. Curtis Le May proposed to pull all of the guns out of the B-29s, safe the tail gun. (Eventually the lower guns were reinstalled and the gunners shot at searchlights.° The chances of hitting an enemy fighter with visually directed guns was virtually nill in the daytime and at night it was hopeless. The guns served mainly to raise crew morale; at least they could shoot back.

        I suppose the sight of tracers coming at a not-too-highly motivated enemy pilot could discourage him, although if the tracers were way wide, he might be encouraged.
      193. @Hypnotoad666

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.
         
        John Toland's classic The Rising Sun does a good job of describing the "decision" to go to war by the Emperor's privy council. It was basically a tragi-comedy of group think and cowardice in the bizarre context of Japan's stilted traditions surrounding the Emperor.

        The Emperor was theoretically the decision-maker but tradition and ritual prevented a free flow of information or any debate or disagreement in his presence. The Emperor's communications were deliberately cryptic. No one could tell what the Emperor wanted or had approved -- for example, was he approving statement and plans by his silence? Certainly no one could step out and play the role of "devil's advocate" or hypothesize all the things that could go wrong. Being "dovish" was also discouraged as doves tended to get assassinated by fanatical military cadets. (Although, interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, Tojo was one of the skeptics of the war option).

        As a result, the process of acquiescence over successive council meetings slowly moved the contingency plan into the default outcome that would occur unless the Americans made (highly unlikely) concessions in diplomatic talks. So Japan stumbled into a war with a vastly more powerful adversary with (as Steve notes), no "exit plan" whatsoever -- basically, it was "we attack, we win military victories, then something good will happen."

        As the coda to this debacle, I can't recommend enough John Dower's Pulitzer-Prize winning Ebracing Defeat. One of the reasons the Japanese were able to psychologically embrace the New Order was their total disillusionment with the stupidity and futility of the War Regime.

        https://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Defeat-Japan-Wake-World/dp/0393320278/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Japan+occupation&qid=1575576917&s=books&sr=1-3

        That’s not true, about tradition and ritual stifling discussion and information flow.

        The Meiji Emperor insisted on free and open discussion and on his having the right to float opinions and thoughts, even incorrect ones, when talking with peers and ministers. The success of Meiji’s reign bears out the wisdom of his approach.

        The problem in the Showa era was Hirohito.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        The impression I get of Hirohito is that he was a deeply conflicted, introverted, and detail as opposed to big picture oriented individual who ultimately could not reconcile his upbringing to his personal inclinations, and therefore fell on the worst of both worlds with catastrophic consequences for Japan.

        It wouldn't have been as easy as some suppose to put the breaks on war with the US. He had brothers that were far more radical than he was (Prince Chichibu was a favorite of the Kodo-ha), and the Japanese imperial institution was indeed fundamentally different from China's or Russia's: it is littered with examples of emperors being deposed and put under house arrest, to be replaced with more amenable family members. It's worth recalling that Hirohito already had a particularly close shave in 1936 with the 226 plotters who wanted to "liberate" him: they had Chichibu in reserve if Hirohito was not as amenable to their vision as they planned, as he almost certainly wouldn't have been.

        But all that said, I agree with you. I'll quote Isaac Meyers' opinion from the History of Japan podcast: isn't the example of leadership doing what is right, and not necessarily popular? Hirohito's character just wasn't up for what his role demanded of him in the 1930s, which was a strong, authoritative figure willing to demark what was what. Hirohito would have been going up against tradition, to be clear. He would have been going up against powerful people. But he had a grandfather who was quite willing to do that, and Japan profited as a result. Why not him?
      194. @Hypnotoad666

        The U.S., in contrast, generally eschewed the kamikaze mindset.

         
        As a substitute for kamikaze attack, the U.S. tried to deploy a remote radio-control system to crash explosive-laden aircraft into enemy targets. But it ended up killing the pilots anyway. In particular, that's how Joseph Kennedy, Jr. was killed.

        Operation Aphrodite (U.S. Army Air Corps) and Operation Anvil (U.S. Navy) made use of unmanned, explosive-laden Army Air Corps Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Navy Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator bombers that were deliberately crashed into their targets under radio control.[7] These aircraft could not take off safely on their own, so a crew of two would take off and fly to 2,000 feet (610 m) before activating the remote control system, arming the detonators, and parachuting from the aircraft.

        Kennedy was appointed a Lieutenant on July 1, 1944.[6] After the U.S. Army Air Corps operation missions were drawn up on July 23, 1944, Lieutenants Wilford John Willy[8] and Kennedy were designated as the first Navy flight crew. Willy, who was the executive officer of Special Air Unit ONE, had also volunteered for the mission and "pulled rank" over Ensign James Simpson, who was Kennedy's regular co-pilot. Kennedy and Willy (co-pilot) flew a BQ-8 "robot" aircraft (drone; a converted B-24 Liberator) for the U.S. Navy's first Aphrodite mission. Two Lockheed Ventura mother planes and a Boeing B-17 navigation plane took off from RAF Fersfield at 1800 on Saturday, August 12, 1944. Then the BQ-8 aircraft, loaded with 21,170 lb (9,600 kg) of Torpex, took off. It was to be used against the U-boat pens at Heligoland in the North Sea.[9][10]


        Last photograph of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. on day of flight, August 12, 1944.

        Commemorative headstone of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. at Arlington National Cemetery.
        Following them in a USAAF F-8 Mosquito to film the mission were pilot Lt. Robert A. Tunnel and combat camera man Lt. David J. McCarthy, who filmed the event from the perspex nose of the aircraft.[11] As planned, Kennedy and Willy remained aboard as the BQ-8 completed its first remote-controlled turn at 2,000 ft (610 m) near the North Sea coast. Kennedy and Willy removed the safety pin, arming the explosive package, and Kennedy radioed the agreed code Spade Flush, his last known words. Two minutes later (and well before the planned crew bailout, near RAF Manston), the Torpex explosive detonated prematurely and destroyed the Liberator, killing Kennedy and Willy instantly. Wreckage landed near the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk, England, causing widespread damage and small fires, but there were no injuries on the ground. According to one report, a total of 59 buildings were damaged in a nearby coastal town. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy_Jr.#Operations_Anvil_and_Aphrodite
         

        This is the opposite of the kamikaze mindset. They were not trying to kill the pilots. They wanted to send unmanned drones but the drone technology of the time was not good enough for a takeoff – one the plane was airborne and in level flight the human pilots could bail out over friendly territory and then it would operate as a remote control drone.

        I don’t know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely – probably something stupid that Kennedy did. But if they had been able to do this, it would have saved American lives – Kennedy would be drinking beer in an English pub when his drone hit the target, not getting shot at by German ack-ack.

        Soldiers in combat take risks all the time but this is different than intentionally sending men on suicide missions.

        • Replies: @Hypnotoad666

        I don’t know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely – probably something stupid that Kennedy did.
         
        The Kennedys have a very bad track record with airplanes. If I were a Kennedy, I think I'd take the train.
        , @Art Deco
        I don’t know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely – probably something stupid that Kennedy did.

        Why Kennedy? He had a confederate on board and (IIRC) the plane was to be put under some sort of remote control from a companion aircraft and Kennedy and the other fellow were due to bail out. If I'm not mistaken, the explosion was so powerful it destroyed both planes.
      195. @Jack D
        This is the opposite of the kamikaze mindset. They were not trying to kill the pilots. They wanted to send unmanned drones but the drone technology of the time was not good enough for a takeoff - one the plane was airborne and in level flight the human pilots could bail out over friendly territory and then it would operate as a remote control drone.

        I don't know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely - probably something stupid that Kennedy did. But if they had been able to do this, it would have saved American lives - Kennedy would be drinking beer in an English pub when his drone hit the target, not getting shot at by German ack-ack.

        Soldiers in combat take risks all the time but this is different than intentionally sending men on suicide missions.

        I don’t know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely – probably something stupid that Kennedy did.

        The Kennedys have a very bad track record with airplanes. If I were a Kennedy, I think I’d take the train.

      196. @Doug
        > yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        As the Battle of the Bulge proved, superior tank armor basically means nothing against an enemy with total air superiority and an overwhelming advantage in fuel. By the time the US was actually fighting on the plains of Northern European, control of the skies and the world's oil supplies was virtually assured.

        The Shermans were light and under-armored because that was the most efficient way to quickly convert America's unlimited industrial resources into an overwhelming material advantage. The Americans didn't have to make hardy tanks, because no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more.

        The Shermans were light and under-armored because that was the most efficient way to quickly convert America’s unlimited industrial resources into an overwhelming material advantage. The Americans didn’t have to make hardy tanks, because no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more.

        The Sherman’s sloping frontal armor effectively rendered it about as thick as the Tiger’s, IIRC. It could be argued that the Sherman was under-gunned, as the M4A1 used a short-barreled 75 mm gun, but that gun was actually preferred by frontline commanders, as it was more effective at taking out the the biggest anti-tank threat, towed PaK-75 guns with the low-velocity HE rounds. Everyone likes to think of Sherman v. Tiger match-ups, but there were only something like three (count’em, three) incidents where American tanks squared off against a Tiger. In one, the Pershing actually lost, while the Shermans won.

        Bearing in mind, too, about the armor, by 1944, the quality of German steel suffered a severe decline as they lost access to strategic alloying minerals, which rendered their steel thick, but brittle.

      197. @YetAnotherAnon
        The thrust of the piece is that Lenin was actually a worse human than Stalin. Given Stalin's power, he would have been more severe.

        "Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not."

        You could say the same of Hitler.

        The only thing stopping Lenin from having a Stalin-sized bodycount was that he died early, and in his years of power didn't have the iron grip on the country which Stalin inherited.

        "nothing has changed – being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health"

        I disagree with you - indeed I find it hard to believe that's a serious remark. Putin's Russia is nothing like Lenin's or Stalin's.

        https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-think-about-vladimir-putin/

        YetAnotherAnon:

        Thanks for supplying Caldwell’s article. My respect for him has even further increased with the dismembering of his ties to the late unlamented “Weekly Standard”!

      198. @CAL2
        A lot of people forget that the Japanese navy got the better of the US navy in the Solomons after Midway. We were down to a single carrier at one point. The surface actions went in Japan's favor except for a couple of instances. It was really Yamamoto's failure to launch a unified push on Guadalcanal and the army's poor performance that significantly helped the US offensive.

        Guadalcanal is really what bled the Japanese navy air corp and surface forces. They got the better of the surface actions and played about equal on the carrier battles. However, they couldn't replace the losses.

        Japan had a second rate army and a world class navy.

        Japan had a second rate army and a world class navy.

        Additionally, Japan had committed 2/3’s of that army to a quagmire in China.

        • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

        Additionally, Japan had committed 2/3’s of that army to a quagmire in China.

         
        Quagmire? Says who?

        The point of the invasion was to secure certain resources for their empire and contain the spread of communism, which the Japanese, like any sensible person, viewed as an direct threat to their existence. The Japanese succeeded in these two goals. So I don't know what makes it a quagmire to dedicate their army to maintaining their national presence.

        Not that America would know much about keeping communism out of Asia. We were too busy siding with Uncle Joe, weren't we?
      199. @Jack D
        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven't said how the modern Iranians differ. It's a somewhat similar situation. The Iranians are heir to a great civilization (hijacked by an alien religion, but never mind - they have embraced it as part of their current identity) and they have been left out (indeed actively squeezed out) of the modern trading system and denied what they see as their rightful place as a regional power (THE regional power) by the Americans. America has its reasons for doing so (and not just because of Israel) and should keep doing so until the regime of the Ayatollahs falls (or until Hell freezes over, whichever comes first), but this doesn't mean that the Ayatollahs are going to like it.

        I believe the Iranians are too smart to strike directly at the Americans - they know that they could not win an open war. The Japanese thought (or at least deluded themselves to think) that they could take on America in the Pacific and push us out of "their" region. The Iranians are under no such delusion. They have already had their kamikaze war (with Iraq) and now understand that even suicidal zeal is no substitute for military superiority.

        What they will do instead (have already done) is to strike at us using proxies and secretive means in order to preserve deniability. Maybe they think that if they make themselves enough of a pain in the ass then someday some pacifist or isolationist American President will decide that it's not worth the bother. In the meantime, they can keep sending us little "greeting cards" to remind us that they are not going anywhere and that they are not happy.

        We need to keep nukes out of the Iranians hands because from the Iranian POV a suitcase nuke in NY or DC would fall within this sphere.

        I agree with you about Japan, but you haven’t said how the modern Iranians differ.

        One difference/similarity is that Japan had no oil and needed to import it. Iran has tons of oil and needs to export it. Their situations are like mirror images — but they are both serious economic vulnerabilities.

      200. @68W58
        People very often overlook the importance of logistics, but it is almost always the decisive factor in a large war.

        People very often overlook the importance of logistics,

        Zhukov sure didn’t.

        https://infogalactic.com/info/Battles_of_Khalkhin_Gol

        The failure in Mongolia was the main reason for Imperial Japan’s turn southward, towards Indochina, the Philippines, etc. leading to the attack on the US.

      201. @Diversity Heretic
        Japan felt backed into a corner by the economic warfare (embargoes and asset freezes) being waged by the United States beginning around 1938 because of Japanese aggression in China and later in French Indochina. The peaceful way of out the corner for Japan was some kind of withdrawal from China, but the Japanese leadership couldn't lose face and believed that east Asia was for Japan what Latin America was for the United States: it's own sphere of influence in which it could do what it wanted without interference from the outside. Japan really wanted the oil and other resources of the Dutch East Indies, but the Phillipines, an American-governed colony sat right on the shipping lanes between the Dutch East Indies and Japan. Japan had to reckon that a hostile United States would seek to interdict those shipping lanes with air and submarine attacks. Ergo, reasoned the Japanese leadership, the U.S. would be hostile anyway, so why not get in first licks, build a defensive perimeter that would take a long time and many casualties to roll back, and see if the U.S. is willing to accept terms that allows Japan to keep its gains, or to resume normal trade, or some measure of both.

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.

        Just as any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, any sufficiently poor decision is indistinguishable from madness.

        The Japanese were able to accomplish their short term goals after Pearl Harbor and temporarily kick the Western powers out of the Pacific. But they completely misjudged the American character. If they had stayed away from bombing American territory then maybe it would have been like Vietnam – eventually the American public would have gotten sick of American boys dying over places that they couldn’t even spell. They could have killed millions of more Chinese and it would have been no skin off of our backs. But by their “ungentlemanly” surprise attack on US territory they united the American public and made sure that we would never give them terms.

      202. @Bragadocious
        I still don't understand why U.S. forces didn't simply direct every battleship and aircraft carrier to Japan in 1942 and try to deliver a knockout punch on their turf. The counter argument of course is that that would have been unacceptably bloody, but what were Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Guadacanal? Maybe fighting them on various meaningless atolls across the Pacific was actually more bloody in the long run.

        I still don’t understand why U.S. forces didn’t simply direct every battleship and aircraft carrier to Japan in 1942 and try to deliver a knockout punch on their turf.

        Because we might’ve lost that battle. And then quite possibly the war.

      203. @Jack D

        America’s antagonism toward Japanese ambitions in China mostly reflected the potential damage to economic interests
         
        What economic interests did the US have in China in those days? Nil. Not all of history is driven by economics. American Christian missionaries probably had a bigger influence than economic interests.

        The US had plenty of economic interests in China: the Open Door policy was still a solid reality. Republican China was hardly the North Korea-esque closed society that it would become under Mao. During the Nanjing decade, significant amount of modernization and industralization were taking place. The power of the central government, though still not fully recovered to pre-late Qing norms, was greater than at any point since the Taiping Rebellion. It was hardly without problems-revolts everywhere, significant corruption-but it was a place where foreign investors were deeply attracted to.

        The real thing of interest is that it wouldn’t be until 1940 that the US really began to block materials that were critical to the Japanese war effort. This was because FDR was always focused primarily on Germany. Asia was, to him, secondary. Not so secondary as to not tacitly support the KMT, but also secondary enough to not listen to those who wanted the Japanese halted at all costs.

        Anywhom, this wasn’t anything new: as early as the 1860s, China-which at the time had no railroads or modern steamships or anything-was nonetheless a *massive* market for the global hegemon of the day, the British Empire. That was already having an effect on geopolitical decisions in London, re, the decision to aid the Qing government against the Taiping Rebellion.

        >Not all of history is driven by economics.

        A view I agree with: individuals play way more of a role in history than academic historians like to admit these days. WWII made academia overcorrect and switch to a fanatical insistence that all that matters are greater trends and forces, a tendency that is still there today. It’s immature.

        But to the extent that American policy decisions (not to be confused with individual reactions) were driven by Japanese behavior in China as opposed to the threat that Japanese dominance posed to our interests, it largely concerned stuff like the sinking of the Panay. I don’t believe concern for Chinese lives played a huge factor in Washington’s calculations, whatever the concerns of individuals on the ground or the occasional public shock at this atrocity or that: and why should they have? Not our people.

      204. @Anonymous
        Regarding the often lunatic behavior of Japanese soldiers during the war, remember that they were high on meth (a Japanese invention) for much of the time. The Germans also issued it to their troops at the beginning of the war but soon stopped because it was making them crazy. The Japanese never stopped.

        The IJA was not a fun place to be a conscripted private. You take a bunch of 18 year old testosterone fueled boys and keep them in line with torture, and then put them through the innately brutalizing experience of war, when they suddenly get a chance to kick around some other people for once, they’ll happily take it. The IJA deliberately encouraged this.

        My girlfriend’s grandmother experienced the Japanese occupation of Malaysia. Not fun times. Girls were dressed as boys so they wouldn’t get gang-raped, and the locals would leave for the hills whenever the IJA came in so they could loot the kampung peacefully and just leave without any further problems.

      205. @Diversity Heretic
        Japan felt backed into a corner by the economic warfare (embargoes and asset freezes) being waged by the United States beginning around 1938 because of Japanese aggression in China and later in French Indochina. The peaceful way of out the corner for Japan was some kind of withdrawal from China, but the Japanese leadership couldn't lose face and believed that east Asia was for Japan what Latin America was for the United States: it's own sphere of influence in which it could do what it wanted without interference from the outside. Japan really wanted the oil and other resources of the Dutch East Indies, but the Phillipines, an American-governed colony sat right on the shipping lanes between the Dutch East Indies and Japan. Japan had to reckon that a hostile United States would seek to interdict those shipping lanes with air and submarine attacks. Ergo, reasoned the Japanese leadership, the U.S. would be hostile anyway, so why not get in first licks, build a defensive perimeter that would take a long time and many casualties to roll back, and see if the U.S. is willing to accept terms that allows Japan to keep its gains, or to resume normal trade, or some measure of both.

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.

        Just curious , was Japan importing oil from the Dutch Indonesia or from the US ? Were the Japanese able to export any oil from Indonesia back to the fatherland ? Were there any refineries in Indonesia or did Shell just export the oil , and to where ? Netherlands , UK?

        • Replies: @Gimeiyo

        Just curious , was Japan importing oil from the Dutch Indonesia or from the US ? Were the Japanese able to export any oil from Indonesia back to the fatherland ? Were there any refineries in Indonesia or did Shell just export the oil , and to where ? Netherlands , UK?
         
        Until 1941, we were the primary supplier of oil for the Japanese invasion of China (we supplied something 81% of their oil in 1941; ~92% of their oil was imported). There were refineries in the Dutch East Indies, e.g. Balikpapan.
      206. @Jim Don Bob

        the savagery of the war killed off the hardest hate cases
         
        I've often thought this is perhaps why Germany is such a wuss these days. Maybe the 5 million soldiers they lost in WW2 were the hard cases needed to keep people like Merkel from ascending to power.

        I’ve often thought this is perhaps why Germany is such a wuss these days. Maybe the 5 million soldiers they lost in WW2 were the hard cases needed to keep people like Merkel from ascending to power.

        I think there is something to this, but I’m not sure how to prove it.

        Let’s not forget the generation that was lost in WW1 either. Plenty of hard cases were lost on both sides of that conflict.

        • Replies: @lysias
        It took a long time for Germany to recover from the Thirty Years War. But recover she eventually did.
      207. @Joe Stalin
        Speaking of John Milius (Red Dawn, Apocalypse Now, Conan), his "Rough Rider" mini-series recently showed up on YT after a long absence.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDPhoOmW7WA

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ2X1jHLnnA

        “Fear God and take your own part.”
        The perspective of phronesis and materialism.
        Seeking this; notice December 10 is coming, and no doubt much culling of YouTube material declared to be “unprofitable.”
        Against phronesis and the material is logic and the ideal: here a no doubt college educated tweeter explains how offlogfallingly simple it would be to alter the legal philosophy of the United States —
        https://postimg.cc/N9gLHYnq

        • Replies: @Joe Stalin
        "Against phronesis and the material is logic and the ideal: here a no doubt college educated tweeter explains how offlogfallingly simple it would be to alter the legal philosophy of the United States —
        https://postimg.cc/N9gLHYnq"

        One good thing about Beto O'Rourke is that nobody has to make stuff up as to the ultimate aims of the so-called "Gun Safety" Cat's Paws of the Ruling Class; everything they say is to ultimately grab your gun.

        The IT Age enables gun owners to create "gun controller" lists just like they want to create lists of "gun owners," as your Alison Airies anti-gun rant alludes to. I will note that this female is so stupid that she thinks you need the NSA to track down gun owners and the NRA. Any fool knows the front covers of American Rifleman/ Hunter are imaged by USPS and stored in a DB. The BATF has a giant stack of Form 4473s that can easily be entered in a DB, as the Clinton Regime did in the 1990s.

        All that is needed is active push back DIRECTLY against them on a nationwide scale to oppose this.

        For example, the gun controllers decided to publish a map of concealed weapon holders so that they could be attacked. Gun owners used IT to counterattack against the gun controllers. This EXACT technique could be used at ANY stage of conflict.

        After Pinpointing Gun Owners, Paper Is a Target

        By Christine Haughney

        Jan. 6, 2013

        WHITE PLAINS — Local newspapers across the country look for stories that will bring them national attention, but The Journal News, a daily nestled in a wooded office park in a suburb north of New York, may have gotten more than it bargained for.

        Two weeks ago, the paper published the names and addresses of handgun permit holders — a total of 33,614 — in two suburban counties, Westchester and Rockland, and put maps of their locations online. The maps, which appeared with the article “The Gun Owner Next Door: What You Don’t Know About the Weapons in Your Neighborhood,” received more than one million views on the Web site of The Journal News — more than twice as many as the paper’s previous record, about a councilman who had two boys arrested for running a cupcake stand.

        But the article, which left gun owners feeling vulnerable to harassment or break-ins, also drew outrage from across the country. Calls and e-mails grew so threatening that the paper’s president and publisher, Janet Hasson, hired armed guards to monitor the newspaper’s headquarters in White Plains and its bureau in West Nyack, N.Y.

        Personal information about editors and writers at the paper has been posted online, including their home addresses and information about where their children attended school; some reporters have received notes saying they would be shot on the way to their cars; bloggers have encouraged people to steal credit card information of Journal News employees; and two packages containing white powder have been sent to the newsroom and a third to a reporter’s home (all were tested by the police and proved to be harmless).

        “As journalists, we are prepared for criticism,” Ms. Hasson said, as she sat in her meticulously tended office and described the ways her 225 employees have been harassed since the article was published. “But in the U.S., journalists should not be threatened.” She has paid for staff members who do not feel safe in their homes to stay at hotels, offered guards to walk employees to their cars, encouraged employees to change their home telephone numbers and has been coordinating with the local police.

        The decision to report and publish the data, taken from publicly available records, happened within a week of the school massacre in nearby Newtown, Conn. On Dec. 17, Dwight R. Worley, a tax reporter, returned from trying to interview the families of victims in Newtown with an idea to obtain and publish local gun permit data. He discussed his idea with his immediate editor, Kathy Moore, who in turn talked to her bosses, according to CynDee Royle, the paper’s editor.

        Mr. Worley started putting out requests for public information that Monday, receiving the data from Westchester County that day and from Rockland County three days later. All the editors involved said there were not any formal meetings about the article, although it came up at several regular news meetings. Ms. Royle, who had been at The Journal News in 2006 when the newspaper published similar data, without mapping it or providing street numbers, said that editors discussed publishing the data in at least three meetings.

        Ms. Hasson said Ms. Royle told her that an article with gun permit data would be published on Sunday, Dec. 23. While Ms. Hasson had not been at the paper in 2006, she knew there had been some controversy then. She made sure to be available on Dec. 23 by e-mail, and accessible to the staff if any problems came up. A spokesman for Gannett, which owns The Journal News, said it was never informed about the coming article.

        “We’ve run this content before,” Ms. Hasson said. “I supported it, and I supported the publishing of the info.”

        By Dec. 26, employees had begun receiving threatening calls and e-mails, and by the next day, reporters not involved in the article were being threatened. The reaction did not stop at the local paper: Gracia C. Martore, the chief executive of Gannett, also received threatening messages.

        Many of the threats, Ms. Hasson said, were coming from across the country, and not from the paper’s own community. But local gun owners and supporters are encouraging an advertiser boycott of The Journal News. Scott Sommavilla, president of the 35,000-member Westchester County Firearm Owners Association, said 44,000 people had downloaded a list of advertisers from his group’s Web site. But he emphasized that his association would never encourage any personal threats. Appealing to advertisers, he said, is the best way for gun owners to express their disapproval of the article.

        “They’re really upset about it,” Mr. Sommavilla said. “They’re afraid for their families.”

        The paper’s decision has drawn criticism from journalists who question whether The Journal News should have provided more context and whether it was useful to publish individual names and addresses. Journalists with specialties in computer-assisted reporting have argued that just because public data has become more readily available in recent years does not mean that it should be published raw. In ways, they argued, it would have been more productive to publish data by ZIP code or block.

        “The Journal News, I personally think, should have rethought the idea as actually going so far to identify actual addresses,” said Steve Doig, a professor with an expertise in data journalism at Arizona State. “This particular database ought to remain a public record. Just because it’s available and public record doesn’t mean we have to make it so readily available.”

        Mr. Worley disagrees. “The people have as much of a right to know who owns guns in their communities as gun owners have to own weapons,” he said.

        Mr. Doig pointed out that the recent publication of gun information by other papers has made access to this public information more difficult because legislators started blocking the data immediately. “The backlash, very typically from this, is for legislators to try to close up the access to this type of data.”

        Mr. Worley said he had received mainly taunting phone calls sprinkled in with callers who said “you should die.” He found broken glass outside of his home and would not say how much time he was spending there right now. But he said he had largely been supported by the newsroom.

        The Journal News’s features editor, Mary Dolan, said that while she was not involved with the publication of the article, her home address and phone numbers were published online in retaliation. She has had to disconnect her phone and has “taken my social media presence and just put it on the shelf for a while.” She has also received angry phone calls from former neighbors in Westchester whose gun information was published.

        She said she was especially concerned about the part-time staff members who write up wedding anniversary and church potluck announcements who have been harassed. But she supports the paper for its decision.

        “It sparked a conversation that needed to occur in this country, and it revealed tactics that will be employed when gun owners feel their rights are threatened,” she said.

        Putnam County has refused to release similar data, but Ms. Hasson said she would continue to press for it. She would not say whether the paper had lost any of its advertisers. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, The Journal News, like many newspapers nationwide, has had sharp declines in circulation. Its total circulation from Monday through Friday fell from 111,536 in September 2007 to 68,850 in September 2012.

        At the same time, Ms. Hasson has been trying to calm the nerves of her family after photographs of the home she is renting and references to her adult children were put online.

        “They are concerned about my safety,” she said about her children. “But they are very supportive.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/nyregion/after-pinpointing-gun-owners-journal-news-is-a-target.html
         
      208. @Stebbing Heuer
        That's not true, about tradition and ritual stifling discussion and information flow.

        The Meiji Emperor insisted on free and open discussion and on his having the right to float opinions and thoughts, even incorrect ones, when talking with peers and ministers. The success of Meiji's reign bears out the wisdom of his approach.

        The problem in the Showa era was Hirohito.

        The impression I get of Hirohito is that he was a deeply conflicted, introverted, and detail as opposed to big picture oriented individual who ultimately could not reconcile his upbringing to his personal inclinations, and therefore fell on the worst of both worlds with catastrophic consequences for Japan.

        It wouldn’t have been as easy as some suppose to put the breaks on war with the US. He had brothers that were far more radical than he was (Prince Chichibu was a favorite of the Kodo-ha), and the Japanese imperial institution was indeed fundamentally different from China’s or Russia’s: it is littered with examples of emperors being deposed and put under house arrest, to be replaced with more amenable family members. It’s worth recalling that Hirohito already had a particularly close shave in 1936 with the 226 plotters who wanted to “liberate” him: they had Chichibu in reserve if Hirohito was not as amenable to their vision as they planned, as he almost certainly wouldn’t have been.

        But all that said, I agree with you. I’ll quote Isaac Meyers’ opinion from the History of Japan podcast: isn’t the example of leadership doing what is right, and not necessarily popular? Hirohito’s character just wasn’t up for what his role demanded of him in the 1930s, which was a strong, authoritative figure willing to demark what was what. Hirohito would have been going up against tradition, to be clear. He would have been going up against powerful people. But he had a grandfather who was quite willing to do that, and Japan profited as a result. Why not him?

        • Replies: @Stebbing Heuer
        Thanks for this.

        Will look up Meyers' podcast.
      209. @Diversity Heretic
        Japan felt backed into a corner by the economic warfare (embargoes and asset freezes) being waged by the United States beginning around 1938 because of Japanese aggression in China and later in French Indochina. The peaceful way of out the corner for Japan was some kind of withdrawal from China, but the Japanese leadership couldn't lose face and believed that east Asia was for Japan what Latin America was for the United States: it's own sphere of influence in which it could do what it wanted without interference from the outside. Japan really wanted the oil and other resources of the Dutch East Indies, but the Phillipines, an American-governed colony sat right on the shipping lanes between the Dutch East Indies and Japan. Japan had to reckon that a hostile United States would seek to interdict those shipping lanes with air and submarine attacks. Ergo, reasoned the Japanese leadership, the U.S. would be hostile anyway, so why not get in first licks, build a defensive perimeter that would take a long time and many casualties to roll back, and see if the U.S. is willing to accept terms that allows Japan to keep its gains, or to resume normal trade, or some measure of both.

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.

        Anyone with a finger on America’s pulse at the time would have figured out that absent an attack on US possessions, there is no possible way the US would have lifted a finger against Japan, other than through economic means, as it expanded throughout the Far East. Japan’s move relied on several assumptions panning out: (1) the US would not completely mobilize the nation’s resources for a war over what were peripheral territories of very little value in and of themselves and (2) Japan, with the relatively new technologies of the time as well as new war-making doctrines, could do something similar to what Germany had accomplished in France, sweep away the opposition before it had time to rally. Both proved to be wrong.

        • Agree: Jack D
        • Replies: @anon
        Yamamoto had misgivings. He said, if he was ordered to lead the IJN

        "I shall run wild considerably for the first six months or a year, but I have utterly no confidence for the second and third years."
         
        Furthermore, he attempted to warn the militarists about the American culture:

        Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it would not be enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians [who speak so lightly of a Japanese-American war] have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.
         
        This quote was distributed without the final sentence, appearing to be a great boast. The last sentence proved to be prescient.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoroku_Yamamoto

        However, the "sleeping giant" line at the end of the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora" appears to be made up.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoroku_Yamamoto%27s_sleeping_giant_quote
         
        , @Eagle Eye

        ... absent an attack on US possessions, there is no possible way the US would have lifted a finger against Japan, other than through economic means,
         
        Disagree. Although public opinion was anti-war (e.g. Charles Lindbergh), FDR desperately needed a war to stay in power, and worked hard and smart for years to bring this about. FDR's actions were a reprise of Wilson's strategy for dragging the U.S. into World War I so he could suspend the Constitution, have critics arrested for sedition, and rule without pesky supervision.

        FDR himself played a major role in WW I as secretary for the Navy. His counterpart in the UK was one Winston Churchill. Official histories seem to downplay this connection. This suggests that the FDR-Churchill connection around 1916 was much more important than was understood at the time.
      210. @Redneck farmer
        We decided to give up the Philippines before WW2 though. Our Allies didn't want to give up their colonies.

        It was never the intention to make the Philippines a permanent dependency and local electoral institutions were erected as soon as the insurgency was defeated.

      211. @Jack D
        This is the opposite of the kamikaze mindset. They were not trying to kill the pilots. They wanted to send unmanned drones but the drone technology of the time was not good enough for a takeoff - one the plane was airborne and in level flight the human pilots could bail out over friendly territory and then it would operate as a remote control drone.

        I don't know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely - probably something stupid that Kennedy did. But if they had been able to do this, it would have saved American lives - Kennedy would be drinking beer in an English pub when his drone hit the target, not getting shot at by German ack-ack.

        Soldiers in combat take risks all the time but this is different than intentionally sending men on suicide missions.

        I don’t know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely – probably something stupid that Kennedy did.

        Why Kennedy? He had a confederate on board and (IIRC) the plane was to be put under some sort of remote control from a companion aircraft and Kennedy and the other fellow were due to bail out. If I’m not mistaken, the explosion was so powerful it destroyed both planes.

        • Replies: @Jack D
        I was just kidding. No one seems to know what really happened. The B-17 was packed to the gills with 20 tons of high explosives (no need to carry fuel for the return flight or armaments or anything except for explosives) and blew up over water so it was impossible to determine what had gone wrong from the little shards of confetti that had once been a plane. But the explosion seemed to take away the Army's appetite for repeating the experiment. In wartime you try out a lot of ideas and some of them turn out to be really stupid and kill people and some turn out to be brilliant. It was not like today's risk averse culture.
      212. @bomag

        a desperate attempt at self defense
         
        Manchuria much?

        They wanted an empire; maybe we did them a favor, since empires don't age well.

        Too bad America got herself an Empire by defeating the Axis powers!

        • Replies: @Lars Porsena
        We were already getting ourselves an empire before we started fighting the Axis powers.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States

        As pertains to Asia:

        First Sumatran Expedition 1832
        Second Sumatran Expedition 1838
        First Fiji Expedition 1855
        Second Opium War 1856
        Second Fiji Expedition 1859
        Shimonoseki War 1863
        Formosa Expedition 1867
        Korean Expedition 1871
        Second Samoan Civil War 1898
        Spanish-American War 1898
        Philippine-American War 1899
        Moro Rebellion 1899
        Boxer Rebellion 1899

        This list is not exhaustive. Lots of places were strong-armed without formal wars.

        This bold one is news to me, I didn't even know about 1863. Apparently we, along with British made the Yamaguchi prefecture of feudal Japan pay us 3 million bucks for not going along with our gunboat diplomacy on the Perry Expedition of 1853, which is not on the list because they caved to threats without actual war. But then they tried to change their mind and expel foreigners so they got a slight war. We were basically already in the process of subjugating them into our systems and values.
      213. Those guys would all be 90+ now anyway and their infant children mostly survived. No it was more that the warrior instinct was beaten out of the Germans. If you are a smart child (and Germans are not dumb) and you touch the stove and you burn yourself and then you touch the stove again and you burn yourself again then you might not try to touch the stove a 3rd time.

        Same thing with the Japanese. I think it’s hilarious that we think of the N.Koreans as being dog eating fanatics but the Japanese were 10x as fanatic as the N. Koreans and now they are our good friends who sell us high quality automobiles and delicious raw fish.

      214. @Art Deco
        I don’t know what caused the plane to detonate prematurely – probably something stupid that Kennedy did.

        Why Kennedy? He had a confederate on board and (IIRC) the plane was to be put under some sort of remote control from a companion aircraft and Kennedy and the other fellow were due to bail out. If I'm not mistaken, the explosion was so powerful it destroyed both planes.

        I was just kidding. No one seems to know what really happened. The B-17 was packed to the gills with 20 tons of high explosives (no need to carry fuel for the return flight or armaments or anything except for explosives) and blew up over water so it was impossible to determine what had gone wrong from the little shards of confetti that had once been a plane. But the explosion seemed to take away the Army’s appetite for repeating the experiment. In wartime you try out a lot of ideas and some of them turn out to be really stupid and kill people and some turn out to be brilliant. It was not like today’s risk averse culture.

        • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
        I believe the aircraft piloted by Joseph Kennedy was a B-24. Although he was in the Navy, Kennedy had extensive experience flying the Naval maritime patrol version of the B-24, which is why he was flying it.

        The planes selected (both B-17s and B-24s) were generally worn out. Flying a plane that's ready for the scrap heap and filled with explosives, and one that you plan to bail out of (bailing out of a B-24 was especially dreaded because of the big twin rudders) isn't a suicide mission, but it was a very risky one.
      215. @CAL2
        A lot of people forget that the Japanese navy got the better of the US navy in the Solomons after Midway. We were down to a single carrier at one point. The surface actions went in Japan's favor except for a couple of instances. It was really Yamamoto's failure to launch a unified push on Guadalcanal and the army's poor performance that significantly helped the US offensive.

        Guadalcanal is really what bled the Japanese navy air corp and surface forces. They got the better of the surface actions and played about equal on the carrier battles. However, they couldn't replace the losses.

        Japan had a second rate army and a world class navy.

        Japan is an island nation like that other maritime power, Britain. After Perry showed up with his Black Ships, the Japanese realized that they needed a modern navy too and they set out to copy the British, right down to the diet (Japanese eat curry because the British served curry on their ships).

        They went from a closed feudal society to a modern industrial power in the blink of an eye – there is really nothing like it in all of history. Usually contact with the West was fatal to traditional societies – there was nothing left of Amerindian society from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego after the 1st white man landed. But the Japanese pulled it off and without losing their essential Japaneseness.

      216. The last actual NFL football player Chuck Bednarik was a B24 tailgunner and flew 30 missions during the war.

      217. @CAL2
        If someone refuses to sell to you, can you kill them? I love people who say we made the Japanese go to war. It tends to be people who are stuck in an America is always wrong and bad mindset.

        I love people who say we made the Japanese go to war. It tends to be people who are stuck in an America is always wrong and bad mindset.

        America isn’t always wrong, just FDR. (And his party.) But I’ll grant that he left immigration laws and baseball alone– except for the anthem and drafting the best players.

      218. @BB753
        Too bad America got herself an Empire by defeating the Axis powers!

        We were already getting ourselves an empire before we started fighting the Axis powers.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States

        As pertains to Asia:

        First Sumatran Expedition 1832
        Second Sumatran Expedition 1838
        First Fiji Expedition 1855
        Second Opium War 1856
        Second Fiji Expedition 1859
        Shimonoseki War 1863
        Formosa Expedition 1867
        Korean Expedition 1871
        Second Samoan Civil War 1898
        Spanish-American War 1898
        Philippine-American War 1899
        Moro Rebellion 1899
        Boxer Rebellion 1899

        This list is not exhaustive. Lots of places were strong-armed without formal wars.

        This bold one is news to me, I didn’t even know about 1863. Apparently we, along with British made the Yamaguchi prefecture of feudal Japan pay us 3 million bucks for not going along with our gunboat diplomacy on the Perry Expedition of 1853, which is not on the list because they caved to threats without actual war. But then they tried to change their mind and expel foreigners so they got a slight war. We were basically already in the process of subjugating them into our systems and values.

        • Agree: BB753, utu
      219. @Bragadocious

        the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan

         
        Excuse me, the British? Were they involved somehow in the Pacific after their humiliating defeat at Singapore? They were basically onlookers, aside from a few scrums in India (fought largely by Indians and Sikhs).

        Pacific theater deaths in WW2: U.S. 111, 606, UK 5,670 (many non-British).

        Pacific theater deaths in WW2: U.S. 111, 606, UK 5,670 (many non-British).

        That has to be an undercount if it includes non-British. The British also fought the Japanese (and their sometime ally, Aung San Suu Kyi’s father) in Burma. I don’t know the casualty figures off the top of my head, but Wikipedia tells me Britain and her Empire suffered about 40,000 dead in the Burma campaign, about 12,000 dead in the Malayan campaign, and about 2,000 dead in Hong Kong. Yes most of that would be Indians. If only 10% were British that would match your figure.

      220. @Bragadocious

        the US and British were terrified of a full scale invasion of Japan

         
        Excuse me, the British? Were they involved somehow in the Pacific after their humiliating defeat at Singapore? They were basically onlookers, aside from a few scrums in India (fought largely by Indians and Sikhs).

        Pacific theater deaths in WW2: U.S. 111, 606, UK 5,670 (many non-British).

        About a million “British” troops fought against the Japanese during the Burma campaigns. Hardly onlookers. And Orde Wingate didn’t exist either.

        • Replies: @Bragadocious
        Orde Wingate lol. It was probably best he never existed, since he was the Ariel Sharon of the 1930s, brutalizing Arabs in Palestine and helping his fellow Zionists to ethnically cleanse them.

        As for Burma, he was a nothing more than a gnat, as far as Imperial Japan was concerned. But you sound like a Commonwealth kool-aid drinker, probably 14 years old. No one who's serious would mention Wingate as any kind of significant figure.

        "A million 'British' troops"

        Yes, air quotes around British are definitely required here.
        , @Lurker
        My grandfather was one of them. Shot through the face in 1944. He survived - rescued by Indian troops after a night lying in the jungle. Airlifted to India, for him the war was over. Physically he recovered but some kind of PTSD for decades afterward.
      221. @Diversity Heretic
        Japan felt backed into a corner by the economic warfare (embargoes and asset freezes) being waged by the United States beginning around 1938 because of Japanese aggression in China and later in French Indochina. The peaceful way of out the corner for Japan was some kind of withdrawal from China, but the Japanese leadership couldn't lose face and believed that east Asia was for Japan what Latin America was for the United States: it's own sphere of influence in which it could do what it wanted without interference from the outside. Japan really wanted the oil and other resources of the Dutch East Indies, but the Phillipines, an American-governed colony sat right on the shipping lanes between the Dutch East Indies and Japan. Japan had to reckon that a hostile United States would seek to interdict those shipping lanes with air and submarine attacks. Ergo, reasoned the Japanese leadership, the U.S. would be hostile anyway, so why not get in first licks, build a defensive perimeter that would take a long time and many casualties to roll back, and see if the U.S. is willing to accept terms that allows Japan to keep its gains, or to resume normal trade, or some measure of both.

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.

        And the U.S. continues to behave towards Latin America in the way that Japan behaved towards East Asia. The coup in Bolivia just happened.

        • Replies: @Art Deco
        The coup in Bolivia just happened.

        You mean the ballot-box stuffer who had no constitutional warrant to stand as a candidate had to resign in the face of massive street demonstrations and the urging of the military chief of staff he himself had selected. (Which, somehow, is supposed to have been orchestrated by the skeletal staff of Foreign Service officers in La Paz, go figure). A tad short of the Rape of Nanking.
      222. anon[279] • Disclaimer says:
        @Johann Ricke

        In retrospect, the choice the Japanese leadership made was poor (and there were factions in the Japanese government who considered the war in China an unwinnable quagmire) but the Pearl Harbor attack was not an act of madness.
         
        Anyone with a finger on America's pulse at the time would have figured out that absent an attack on US possessions, there is no possible way the US would have lifted a finger against Japan, other than through economic means, as it expanded throughout the Far East. Japan's move relied on several assumptions panning out: (1) the US would not completely mobilize the nation's resources for a war over what were peripheral territories of very little value in and of themselves and (2) Japan, with the relatively new technologies of the time as well as new war-making doctrines, could do something similar to what Germany had accomplished in France, sweep away the opposition before it had time to rally. Both proved to be wrong.

        Yamamoto had misgivings. He said, if he was ordered to lead the IJN

        “I shall run wild considerably for the first six months or a year, but I have utterly no confidence for the second and third years.”

        Furthermore, he attempted to warn the militarists about the American culture:

        Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it would not be enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians [who speak so lightly of a Japanese-American war] have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.

        This quote was distributed without the final sentence, appearing to be a great boast. The last sentence proved to be prescient.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoroku_Yamamoto

        However, the “sleeping giant” line at the end of the movie “Tora, Tora, Tora” appears to be made up.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoroku_Yamamoto%27s_sleeping_giant_quote

        • Replies: @Johann Ricke

        Yamamoto had misgivings. He said, if he was ordered to lead the IJN
         
        He was sandbagging. Every war is a gamble. That's especially so when a small country is attacking a state many times its own size. Japan took a huge risk in attacking China, whose population dwarfed Japan's and whose economy was ~50% larger. It went through with it because it's not the first time a relative minnow has swallowed a whale, and that's just in China.

        The Mongols were few in number and impoverished compared to the Khitans, the Jurchens and Song China. They defeated all three. The feat took 80 years from start to finish, but they ruled them for a century, once the conquests were complete. The Jurchens/Manchurians had a fairly small state that conquered Ming China and ruled for over 3 centuries, forming China's last de jure monarchy. You might think they'd call it the House of Qing, except that Chinese dynastic names aren't surnames the way they are in England. Prince Harry is Harry Windsor, but the Last Emperor's given name was Pu Yi, of the House of Aisin Gioro.
      223. @Houston 1992
        Just curious , was Japan importing oil from the Dutch Indonesia or from the US ? Were the Japanese able to export any oil from Indonesia back to the fatherland ? Were there any refineries in Indonesia or did Shell just export the oil , and to where ? Netherlands , UK?

        Just curious , was Japan importing oil from the Dutch Indonesia or from the US ? Were the Japanese able to export any oil from Indonesia back to the fatherland ? Were there any refineries in Indonesia or did Shell just export the oil , and to where ? Netherlands , UK?

        Until 1941, we were the primary supplier of oil for the Japanese invasion of China (we supplied something 81% of their oil in 1941; ~92% of their oil was imported). There were refineries in the Dutch East Indies, e.g. Balikpapan.

      224. @The Wild Geese Howard

        I’ve often thought this is perhaps why Germany is such a wuss these days. Maybe the 5 million soldiers they lost in WW2 were the hard cases needed to keep people like Merkel from ascending to power.
         
        I think there is something to this, but I'm not sure how to prove it.

        Let's not forget the generation that was lost in WW1 either. Plenty of hard cases were lost on both sides of that conflict.

        It took a long time for Germany to recover from the Thirty Years War. But recover she eventually did.

      225. @RAZ
        Yeah, American heroes. Takes some cojones to storm a beach.

        The bigger fight was on the Eastern Front. But relative lack of casualties compared to that of the (much vaunted?) Romanian Army doesn't degrade from the heroism of those who fought. You'd better have numerical superiority when storming a beach. Job is easier for the defender.

        Knew a family who lost a son on D Day.

        I know / knew hundreds of family survivors. One of my grandmothers was a war widow, and that is common in Romania. Romania, a country that is 9 times smaller, incurred more than 2/3 of the heroic US Army. Maybe other fronts were more soliciting, but France was relatively easy. US troops had less than one year of fighting on the French front; Stalingrad alone took 6 months.

        Again, it’s one thing when you watch the war at the movies, and it’s different when your town is on the actual front line.

        • Replies: @Jack D

        One of my grandmothers was a war widow,
         
        Was he fighting FOR the Axis or against it?
      226. @Bill P
        Add up the weight and you'll see what I mean. Even with the two 20mm guns on the zero, the f4f's four m2s weighed over twice as much as the zero' s guns. The m2 is a big, heavy gun that needs a powerful, rugged platform.

        The .50 cal (12.7 mm) was and is a great heavy machine gun, and the US did make it the standard weapon on all our fighters, both army and navy. This was done because the weapon was effective and it simplified the supply chain.

        However, 20 mm and larger armament were the way of the future. A single hit from such a cannon could bring down a plane.

        We initially put six .50 caliber guns into our F-86 fighters in Korea , but later versions of this plane used four 20 mm cannon instead. The Soviet MiG-15 was also equipped with heavier cannon. Even up to today we have pretty much standardized the 20 mm gatling gun in our fighters.

      227. @anon
        The judo instructor at Tulane back in the 70's was a Japanese man who had been trained as a kamikaze pilot as a teenager. He never went on his mission because the war ended first.
        In an interview for the school paper he said the most important event in his life was after the war during the occupation when they announced on the radio that the Emporer was not God.
        He divided his life as Before, when Emporer was God, and After, when Emporer was not god.

        I’ve heard from several sources that when the radio broadcast went out, it had to be followed by a second broadcast. The Emperor spoke in such formalized, archaic, ritualized Japanese that he was literally incomprehensible (let alone the compounding factor that his message was spiritually/culturally incomprehensible)

        • Replies: @Corn
        I’ve read something similar. Supposedly Emperor Hirohito spoke an archaic dialect of Japanese known as “court Japanese”. I read it’s debatable how much of the surrender address the average Japanese sitting by his radio understood.
        , @Diversity Heretic
        The emperor's speech was delivered in a court dialect that very few Japanese could understand. Rather bizarrely, I once spoke with a Korean woman who was in Japan at the time (and thoroughly enjoying the drubbing the Americans were giving the Japanese) who claimed to have heard and understood the emperor's speech.
      228. @AnotherDad

        Basically, initiation of hostilities was a desperate attempt at self defense by the vastly lesser power.

        Hopefully Iran does bot get pushed into the same trap.

         
        The crazy crap one reads in iSteve comments. You're actually insulting the Iranians.

        The Japanese were engaged in--a very nasty--imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don't do it ... no conflict.

        The one point to be made in defense of Germany and Japan in the 20th century wars was that they were rising in a world where market access had already been divied up by British and French and to a much lesser extent American, Dutch, Russian, Belgian ... imperialism. It was not ridiculous for Germany and Japan to find the existing order to be offensive and want to remake it. And if they had openly pushed for decolonization and open trade--the post-War American system--they would have had allies in the project like America.

        But the Japanese had first grabbed Korea as a colony, then created their Manchurian puppet state, then started the War by invading China--a place that the Western powers had not colonized as it was so large and important that there was a general agreement that no one power should be allowed to dominate it (or perhaps could dominate it).

        Prior to it's naked imperialism, Meiji Japan had a pretty good reputation in America. It was seen as a modern, Westernizing, can-do kind of place. As Americans like to think of themselves. A shining light amongst Asian backwardness.

        The reputation of the Japanese in Asia--now fading--pretty much tells you all you need to know about Japan's imperialism and aggression. In no way shape or form "self-defense".

        The Japanese were engaged in–a very nasty–imperialism. It was that imperialism that brought them into conflict with the US. Nothing else. Don’t do it … no conflict.

        This is completely a-historical nonsense.

        The reality is that America, even in the 1930s, had far more money invested in trade with Japan than it did with any business in China. America had no vital strategic interests in China nor in any of the other areas subject to Japanese imperialism. American administrations, beginning with Hoover, put themselves in the way of Japanese expansion. The two countries had no natural reason to conflict.

        See: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

      229. @RAZ
        Can debate whether this was our fight and whether we should have been there (though Germany did declare war on us first, not the other way around) . But no need to denigrate the heroism of those who fought.

        (though Germany did declare war on us first, not the other way around)

        Sorry, but Franklin Roosevelt had already committed the U.S. military to acts of aggression against Germany long before Germany made the war official.

        For history on this, I recommend the following

        Mr. Roosevelt’s Navy: The private war of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1939-1942 https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Roosevelts-Navy-Atlantic-1939-1942/dp/0870213954

        President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941 by the great historian Charles A. Beard https://www.amazon.com/dp/0765809982/

      230. @Polichinello
        Japan had a second rate army and a world class navy.

        Additionally, Japan had committed 2/3's of that army to a quagmire in China.

        Additionally, Japan had committed 2/3’s of that army to a quagmire in China.

        Quagmire? Says who?

        The point of the invasion was to secure certain resources for their empire and contain the spread of communism, which the Japanese, like any sensible person, viewed as an direct threat to their existence. The Japanese succeeded in these two goals. So I don’t know what makes it a quagmire to dedicate their army to maintaining their national presence.

        Not that America would know much about keeping communism out of Asia. We were too busy siding with Uncle Joe, weren’t we?

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        Said Hirohito when he flat out acussed his army minister of lying to his face on what conflict with the West would entail, citing the army's inability to bring the China war to a conclusion.

        Trying to make Chiang's political life impossible was an... interesting way of sticking it to the Reds.
      231. @The Germ Theory of Disease
        My first small-type adult book was "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (my working-class parents thought all books had magic powers, so they bought random books by the cartload and just left them all over the house, in full confidence that us kids would just spontaneously read whatever we were interested in). It gave me nightmares for years. I also wrote imitations of it. If I told you how young I was when I read that thing, you wouldn't believe me. Let's just say all my friends at the time still believed in Santa Claus.

        Some thoughts regarding all the Japan stuff...

        -- re the death cult vs. practicality debate, the answer is, both. Japan is simply just a very different culture from the West, it's a little like the Romans or the Celts before they were Christianized. You can get some insights into all the conflicting influences of Meiji/Taisho/descent into madness by reading Oe Kenzaburo' early stories, the "Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi," Vita Sexualis by Mori Ogai, the brilliant and magnificent weirdo Tanizaki Junichiro (Japan's Nabokov, in a way), Akutagawa and Soseki of course, (I don't really like Soseki but it's obligatory), and a few snippets of that scoundrel Mishima.

        -- Imperial racist ultranationalist Japan very much did intend to conquer and subdue all of North America, just not in the Pacific War time frame. ("A rifle behind every blade of grass" and all that.). They gambled everything that the Pearl Harbor attack would frighten and deter the rich, comfortable, soft, cowardly, short-sighted round-eyes just long enough for them to consolidate their base in Asia, then they would be impregnable, and the conquest of America would come later when it was too late. But, they lost that wager.




        --

        my working-class parents thought all books had magic powers, so they bought random books by the cartload and just left them all over the house, in full confidence that us kids would just spontaneously read whatever we were interested in

        Your working-class parents apparently cared about giving you a better life, thankfully, even if they didn’t quite get how to go about it. I keep reading about working-class parents who beat the kids up when they try to read.

      232. Barrett Tillman has written two great historical fiction books about the Pacific air war.
        Dauntless: A Novel of Midway and Guadalcanal (Bantam Books, 1992) ISBN 0553075284
        Hellcats: A Novel of the Pacific War (Brassey’s, 1996) ISBN 1574880934

        • Replies: @anon
        Barrett Tillman

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett_Tillman

        "You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your training".

        Good books with nuggets of wisdom embedded.
      233. @Anonymous
        The big British bombers needed more guns not less. In particular, they needed a ventral turret. It's likely that a majority of British bombers lost after 1942 were attacked from below. They had no defense against this.

        The DeHavilland Mosquito had no defensive guns at all and was one of the most successful Allied aircraft, albeit as a light, not a heavy bomber. Curtis Le May proposed to pull all of the guns out of the B-29s, safe the tail gun. (Eventually the lower guns were reinstalled and the gunners shot at searchlights.° The chances of hitting an enemy fighter with visually directed guns was virtually nill in the daytime and at night it was hopeless. The guns served mainly to raise crew morale; at least they could shoot back.

        I suppose the sight of tracers coming at a not-too-highly motivated enemy pilot could discourage him, although if the tracers were way wide, he might be encouraged.

        • Replies: @anon
        Curtis Le May proposed to pull all of the guns out of the B-29s, safe the tail gun.

        More than proposed, General Le May ordered it to be done. Night time lower altitude firebombing raids encountered many fewer interceptors than the daylight high altitude raids had.

        In early 1945 Major General Curtis Lemay, commander of XXI Bomber Command—the Marianas-based B-29-equipped bombing force—ordered most of the defensive armament and remote-controlled sighting equipment removed from the B-29s under his command.
         
        The chances of hitting an enemy fighter with visually directed guns was virtually nill in the daytime and at night it was hopeless. The guns served mainly to raise crew morale; at least they could shoot back.

        The General Electric Central Fire Control system on the B-29 directed four remotely controlled turrets armed with two .50 Browning M2 machine guns each.[N 2] All weapons were aimed optically with targeting computed by analog electrical instrumentation. There were five interconnected sighting stations located in the nose and tail positions and three Plexiglas blisters in the central fuselage.[N 3] Five General Electric analog computers (one dedicated to each sight) increased the weapons' accuracy by compensating for factors such as airspeed, lead, gravity, temperature and humidity. The computers also allowed a single gunner to operate two or more turrets (including tail guns) simultaneously. The gunner in the upper position acted as fire control officer, managing the distribution of turrets among the other gunners during combat
         
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-29_Superfortress
      234. @Jack D
        I was just kidding. No one seems to know what really happened. The B-17 was packed to the gills with 20 tons of high explosives (no need to carry fuel for the return flight or armaments or anything except for explosives) and blew up over water so it was impossible to determine what had gone wrong from the little shards of confetti that had once been a plane. But the explosion seemed to take away the Army's appetite for repeating the experiment. In wartime you try out a lot of ideas and some of them turn out to be really stupid and kill people and some turn out to be brilliant. It was not like today's risk averse culture.

        I believe the aircraft piloted by Joseph Kennedy was a B-24. Although he was in the Navy, Kennedy had extensive experience flying the Naval maritime patrol version of the B-24, which is why he was flying it.

        The planes selected (both B-17s and B-24s) were generally worn out. Flying a plane that’s ready for the scrap heap and filled with explosives, and one that you plan to bail out of (bailing out of a B-24 was especially dreaded because of the big twin rudders) isn’t a suicide mission, but it was a very risky one.

        • Replies: @Hank Archer
        Kennedy was flying a PB4Y - the naval version of the B-24. It has a conventional single vertical stabilizer configuration.
      235. @YetAnotherAnon
        The thrust of the piece is that Lenin was actually a worse human than Stalin. Given Stalin's power, he would have been more severe.

        "Lenin was undoubtedly not a nice guy but he was the man for the job of taking power in Russia when weaker men were not."

        You could say the same of Hitler.

        The only thing stopping Lenin from having a Stalin-sized bodycount was that he died early, and in his years of power didn't have the iron grip on the country which Stalin inherited.

        "nothing has changed – being an enemy of Putin can be very bad for your health"

        I disagree with you - indeed I find it hard to believe that's a serious remark. Putin's Russia is nothing like Lenin's or Stalin's.

        https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-think-about-vladimir-putin/

        I completely disagree with Caldwell’s thesis:

        if you know enough about what a given American thinks of Putin, you can probably tell what he thinks of Donald Trump.

        Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin. Putin is what you get when you cross a Mafia Don with a KGB agent. He hasn’t even been good for his own people aside from his buddies and he sure as hell ain’t good for America.

        • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
        "He hasn’t even been good for his own people aside from his buddies"

        He took over a looted country where connected insiders had stripped the state assets, life expectancy was collapsing, and the US/UK were dismembering her allies.

        We all (except maybe you) could have wished that he'd expropriated and jailed the criminal oligarchs (i.e. all of them) - but, weighing the forces against him, he allowed them to keep their loot in exchange for keeping out of politics. Those who wouldn't take the deal ended up exiled or in jail, rightly so IMHO.

        Life expectancy has recovered, the economy has survived low oil prices, he's retrieved Sebastopol - he is literally Making Russia Great Again.

        Reading about the gulf between the new-rich and new-poor in the Yeltsin years, it felt like Komarovsky had come back off the page of Dr Zhivago to full life.

        It's true that I wouldn't want to live under Putin, but I'm not a Russian. I wouldn't want to live under Assad, either, but he's Syria's best hope.

        I wish the UK and US had leaders who cared about their countries as much as Putin cares about Russia - AND could do something about it. Trump loves America, but can he actually DO anything?

        "he sure as hell ain’t good for America"

        Why not? It would be good for America if they got out of starting endless Middle East wars. He's doing them a favour in Syria. Are you sure it's America you're worried about?

        I ain't got nuthin' against them Russians. No Russian ever called me deplorable.
        , @nebulafox
        >Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin.

        True: Donald Trump is a clown. Putin is not.

        Putin might be an authoritarian silovik through and through, with all the tendencies you'd expect from that. Of course I wouldn't want him ruling here. But he's also at least a serious man who we've sent, in succession, a pseudo-hick, an academic, and a former reality TV star to deal with. And those are the guys who managed to be less noxious than their alternatives! With our own politics increasingly resembling a weird, donor-controlled reality TV show that few Americans have any bearing on...
        , @Art Deco
        Since 1999, the following has transpired:

        1. Per capita product in real terms has doubled. (Bracketing out fuel and mineral exports and adjusting for income distribution, it resembles that of the U.S. ca. 1969)

        2. The share of nominal domestic product accounted for by fuel and mineral exports has declined (from 20% to 15%).

        3. The homicide rate has declined by 65% (still high at 9.2 per 100,000, to be sure).

        4. Life expectancy at birth has increased by 6 years (from 66.0 to 72.0, room for improvement).

        5. The total fertility rate has increased from 1.2 births per woman per lifetime to 1.8 births.

        6. A menu of present-tense macroeconomic indicators are satisfactory. Inflation rate is currently 0.3% per annum; employment-to-population ratio is 0.595; unemployment rate is 4.6% of the work force; the current account of the balance of payments is in surplus; the central government budget is in surplus to the tune of 2.7% of gdp; outstanding central government debt is currently 13.5% to gdp.

        7. Certain discrete problems have been tackled, e.g. the Chechen insurgency.

        8. The level and degree of political pluralism, public discussion, and freedom of movement exceeds that of any time span in Russia's modern history (1789- ) bar, perhaps, two: 1905-17 and 1988-2004.


        You can fuss about how much of the foregoing is attributable to his contingent decisions, to be sure. Just remember there's reasons this man's approval ratings have been north of 80% at times.
      236. @Dacian Julien Soros
        I know / knew hundreds of family survivors. One of my grandmothers was a war widow, and that is common in Romania. Romania, a country that is 9 times smaller, incurred more than 2/3 of the heroic US Army. Maybe other fronts were more soliciting, but France was relatively easy. US troops had less than one year of fighting on the French front; Stalingrad alone took 6 months.

        Again, it's one thing when you watch the war at the movies, and it's different when your town is on the actual front line.

        One of my grandmothers was a war widow,

        Was he fighting FOR the Axis or against it?

      237. @Hank Archer
        Barrett Tillman has written two great historical fiction books about the Pacific air war.
        Dauntless: A Novel of Midway and Guadalcanal (Bantam Books, 1992) ISBN 0553075284
        Hellcats: A Novel of the Pacific War (Brassey's, 1996) ISBN 1574880934

        Barrett Tillman

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett_Tillman

        “You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your training”.

        Good books with nuggets of wisdom embedded.

      238. If studying the technical and cultural aspects of war is your thing, fine. It’s male and I like it myself. But I get the impression that Steve is still down with the “Good War” understanding of WW2. If so. too bad. That war and its conventional Allied interpretation is the basis for so much of what the Vdare crowd are complaining about today. They should all talk to their colleague Pat Buchanan about the Good War as he wrote a book about its real causes – at least SOME of them anyway . Or maybe they are talking to Buchanan but are just not talking to us about it? Gee, why would that be?

      239. @Prester John
        "Unlike Germans who really planned to conquer and colonize Russia, Japan had no plan to invade or defeat the US. Japanese aims were in Asia, to be the premier power."

        True indeed. It should be pointed out, however, that Germany did not have any designs upon the United States either. It was only after Japan bombed Pearl that Hitler, somewhat reluctantly but with a sense of inevitability, declared war on the US (much to the relief of Churchill). And yet, the German High Command never really formulated a Barbarossa-style grand strategy which could be implemented in a formal air-land-sea invasion of the North American mainland, largely because they were already fighting a war on two fronts in Europe and in the case of the Eastern Front, the tide would turn less than a year after Pearl in a city called Stalingrad.

        The rest, as they say, is history.

        At the height of their military power (relative to the opposition), the Germans couldn’t cross 20 odd miles of English Channel. Crossing the Atlantic would have been a wee bit more difficult again.

        • Replies: @but an humble craftsman
        Indeed, sir.

        But please let us not get meaningless technicalities get in the way of a good yarn.

        Anyway, reading about Telford, Rotherham and the like, one really wonders whether the people of these islands gained anything by that war.
      240. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

        Additionally, Japan had committed 2/3’s of that army to a quagmire in China.

         
        Quagmire? Says who?

        The point of the invasion was to secure certain resources for their empire and contain the spread of communism, which the Japanese, like any sensible person, viewed as an direct threat to their existence. The Japanese succeeded in these two goals. So I don't know what makes it a quagmire to dedicate their army to maintaining their national presence.

        Not that America would know much about keeping communism out of Asia. We were too busy siding with Uncle Joe, weren't we?

        Said Hirohito when he flat out acussed his army minister of lying to his face on what conflict with the West would entail, citing the army’s inability to bring the China war to a conclusion.

        Trying to make Chiang’s political life impossible was an… interesting way of sticking it to the Reds.

      241. @J.Ross
        "Fear God and take your own part."
        The perspective of phronesis and materialism.
        Seeking this; notice December 10 is coming, and no doubt much culling of YouTube material declared to be "unprofitable."
        Against phronesis and the material is logic and the ideal: here a no doubt college educated tweeter explains how offlogfallingly simple it would be to alter the legal philosophy of the United States --
        https://postimg.cc/N9gLHYnq

        “Against phronesis and the material is logic and the ideal: here a no doubt college educated tweeter explains how offlogfallingly simple it would be to alter the legal philosophy of the United States —
        https://postimg.cc/N9gLHYnq”

        One good thing about Beto O’Rourke is that nobody has to make stuff up as to the ultimate aims of the so-called “Gun Safety” Cat’s Paws of the Ruling Class; everything they say is to ultimately grab your gun.

        The IT Age enables gun owners to create “gun controller” lists just like they want to create lists of “gun owners,” as your Alison Airies anti-gun rant alludes to. I will note that this female is so stupid that she thinks you need the NSA to track down gun owners and the NRA. Any fool knows the front covers of American Rifleman/ Hunter are imaged by USPS and stored in a DB. The BATF has a giant stack of Form 4473s that can easily be entered in a DB, as the Clinton Regime did in the 1990s.

        All that is needed is active push back DIRECTLY against them on a nationwide scale to oppose this.

        For example, the gun controllers decided to publish a map of concealed weapon holders so that they could be attacked. Gun owners used IT to counterattack against the gun controllers. This EXACT technique could be used at ANY stage of conflict.

        After Pinpointing Gun Owners, Paper Is a Target

        By Christine Haughney

        Jan. 6, 2013

        WHITE PLAINS — Local newspapers across the country look for stories that will bring them national attention, but The Journal News, a daily nestled in a wooded office park in a suburb north of New York, may have gotten more than it bargained for.

        Two weeks ago, the paper published the names and addresses of handgun permit holders — a total of 33,614 — in two suburban counties, Westchester and Rockland, and put maps of their locations online. The maps, which appeared with the article “The Gun Owner Next Door: What You Don’t Know About the Weapons in Your Neighborhood,” received more than one million views on the Web site of The Journal News — more than twice as many as the paper’s previous record, about a councilman who had two boys arrested for running a cupcake stand.

        But the article, which left gun owners feeling vulnerable to harassment or break-ins, also drew outrage from across the country. Calls and e-mails grew so threatening that the paper’s president and publisher, Janet Hasson, hired armed guards to monitor the newspaper’s headquarters in White Plains and its bureau in West Nyack, N.Y.

        Personal information about editors and writers at the paper has been posted online, including their home addresses and information about where their children attended school; some reporters have received notes saying they would be shot on the way to their cars; bloggers have encouraged people to steal credit card information of Journal News employees; and two packages containing white powder have been sent to the newsroom and a third to a reporter’s home (all were tested by the police and proved to be harmless).

        “As journalists, we are prepared for criticism,” Ms. Hasson said, as she sat in her meticulously tended office and described the ways her 225 employees have been harassed since the article was published. “But in the U.S., journalists should not be threatened.” She has paid for staff members who do not feel safe in their homes to stay at hotels, offered guards to walk employees to their cars, encouraged employees to change their home telephone numbers and has been coordinating with the local police.

        The decision to report and publish the data, taken from publicly available records, happened within a week of the school massacre in nearby Newtown, Conn. On Dec. 17, Dwight R. Worley, a tax reporter, returned from trying to interview the families of victims in Newtown with an idea to obtain and publish local gun permit data. He discussed his idea with his immediate editor, Kathy Moore, who in turn talked to her bosses, according to CynDee Royle, the paper’s editor.

        Mr. Worley started putting out requests for public information that Monday, receiving the data from Westchester County that day and from Rockland County three days later. All the editors involved said there were not any formal meetings about the article, although it came up at several regular news meetings. Ms. Royle, who had been at The Journal News in 2006 when the newspaper published similar data, without mapping it or providing street numbers, said that editors discussed publishing the data in at least three meetings.

        Ms. Hasson said Ms. Royle told her that an article with gun permit data would be published on Sunday, Dec. 23. While Ms. Hasson had not been at the paper in 2006, she knew there had been some controversy then. She made sure to be available on Dec. 23 by e-mail, and accessible to the staff if any problems came up. A spokesman for Gannett, which owns The Journal News, said it was never informed about the coming article.

        “We’ve run this content before,” Ms. Hasson said. “I supported it, and I supported the publishing of the info.”

        By Dec. 26, employees had begun receiving threatening calls and e-mails, and by the next day, reporters not involved in the article were being threatened. The reaction did not stop at the local paper: Gracia C. Martore, the chief executive of Gannett, also received threatening messages.

        Many of the threats, Ms. Hasson said, were coming from across the country, and not from the paper’s own community. But local gun owners and supporters are encouraging an advertiser boycott of The Journal News. Scott Sommavilla, president of the 35,000-member Westchester County Firearm Owners Association, said 44,000 people had downloaded a list of advertisers from his group’s Web site. But he emphasized that his association would never encourage any personal threats. Appealing to advertisers, he said, is the best way for gun owners to express their disapproval of the article.

        “They’re really upset about it,” Mr. Sommavilla said. “They’re afraid for their families.”

        The paper’s decision has drawn criticism from journalists who question whether The Journal News should have provided more context and whether it was useful to publish individual names and addresses. Journalists with specialties in computer-assisted reporting have argued that just because public data has become more readily available in recent years does not mean that it should be published raw. In ways, they argued, it would have been more productive to publish data by ZIP code or block.

        “The Journal News, I personally think, should have rethought the idea as actually going so far to identify actual addresses,” said Steve Doig, a professor with an expertise in data journalism at Arizona State. “This particular database ought to remain a public record. Just because it’s available and public record doesn’t mean we have to make it so readily available.”

        Mr. Worley disagrees. “The people have as much of a right to know who owns guns in their communities as gun owners have to own weapons,” he said.

        Mr. Doig pointed out that the recent publication of gun information by other papers has made access to this public information more difficult because legislators started blocking the data immediately. “The backlash, very typically from this, is for legislators to try to close up the access to this type of data.”

        Mr. Worley said he had received mainly taunting phone calls sprinkled in with callers who said “you should die.” He found broken glass outside of his home and would not say how much time he was spending there right now. But he said he had largely been supported by the newsroom.

        The Journal News’s features editor, Mary Dolan, said that while she was not involved with the publication of the article, her home address and phone numbers were published online in retaliation. She has had to disconnect her phone and has “taken my social media presence and just put it on the shelf for a while.” She has also received angry phone calls from former neighbors in Westchester whose gun information was published.

        She said she was especially concerned about the part-time staff members who write up wedding anniversary and church potluck announcements who have been harassed. But she supports the paper for its decision.

        “It sparked a conversation that needed to occur in this country, and it revealed tactics that will be employed when gun owners feel their rights are threatened,” she said.

        Putnam County has refused to release similar data, but Ms. Hasson said she would continue to press for it. She would not say whether the paper had lost any of its advertisers. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, The Journal News, like many newspapers nationwide, has had sharp declines in circulation. Its total circulation from Monday through Friday fell from 111,536 in September 2007 to 68,850 in September 2012.

        At the same time, Ms. Hasson has been trying to calm the nerves of her family after photographs of the home she is renting and references to her adult children were put online.

        “They are concerned about my safety,” she said about her children. “But they are very supportive.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/nyregion/after-pinpointing-gun-owners-journal-news-is-a-target.html

      242. @Steve Sailer
        Physicist Freeman Dyson was a statistical analyst for the RAF. I recall he said that bomber crewmen over Germany had about a 50-50 chance of surviving their normal 20 missions. That's the point of "Catch-22:" you can get out flying 20 missions if you are crazy, but it's totally not crazy to want to get out of having to fly 20 missions.

        Theoretically an RAF tour was 30 missions. (Many people opted to fly more)

      243. @Hank Yobo
        About a million "British" troops fought against the Japanese during the Burma campaigns. Hardly onlookers. And Orde Wingate didn't exist either.

        Orde Wingate lol. It was probably best he never existed, since he was the Ariel Sharon of the 1930s, brutalizing Arabs in Palestine and helping his fellow Zionists to ethnically cleanse them.

        As for Burma, he was a nothing more than a gnat, as far as Imperial Japan was concerned. But you sound like a Commonwealth kool-aid drinker, probably 14 years old. No one who’s serious would mention Wingate as any kind of significant figure.

        “A million ‘British’ troops”

        Yes, air quotes around British are definitely required here.

        • Replies: @Hank Yobo
        Thanks for all the invective instead of a substantive critique. Is your original statement, that the British--your word, not mine-- were mere "onlookers" after Singapore, still tenable in light of the historical evidence? As to Wingate, three DSO's suggests he was more than just an arm-chair general unlike some of the UNZ commentariat.
      244. @Lurker
        At the height of their military power (relative to the opposition), the Germans couldn't cross 20 odd miles of English Channel. Crossing the Atlantic would have been a wee bit more difficult again.

        Indeed, sir.

        But please let us not get meaningless technicalities get in the way of a good yarn.

        Anyway, reading about Telford, Rotherham and the like, one really wonders whether the people of these islands gained anything by that war.

        • Agree: Lurker
      245. @Hank Yobo
        About a million "British" troops fought against the Japanese during the Burma campaigns. Hardly onlookers. And Orde Wingate didn't exist either.

        My grandfather was one of them. Shot through the face in 1944. He survived – rescued by Indian troops after a night lying in the jungle. Airlifted to India, for him the war was over. Physically he recovered but some kind of PTSD for decades afterward.

        • Replies: @Hank Yobo
        The European combat theaters get all of the limelight while Far Eastern military operations are largely part of a forgotten war. I hope that you remain proud of your grandfather's strength, courage, and service.
      246. @YetAnotherAnon
        OT

        https://newcriterion.com/issues/2019/10/leninthink

        "Lenin regarded all interactions as zero-sum. To use the phrase he made famous, the fundamental question is always “Who Whom?”—who dominates whom, who does what to whom, ultimately who annihilates whom...

        Lenin constantly recommended that people be shot “without pity” or “exterminated mercilessly” (Leszek Kołakowski wondered wryly what it would mean to exterminate people mercifully). “Exterminate” is a term used for vermin, and, long before the Nazis described Jews as Ungeziefer (vermin), Lenin routinely called for “the cleansing of Russia’s soil of all harmful insects, of scoundrels, fleas, bedbugs—the rich, and so on.”

        Lenin worked by a principle of anti-empathy, and this approach was to define Soviet ethics. I know of no other society, except those modeled on the one Lenin created, where schoolchildren were taught that mercy, kindness, and pity are vices. After all, these feelings might lead one to hesitate shooting a class enemy or denouncing one’s parents.

        In Lenin’s view, a true revolutionary did not establish the correctness of his beliefs by appealing to evidence or logic, as if there were some standards of truthfulness above social classes. Rather, one engaged in “blackening an opponent’s mug so well it takes him ages to get it clean again.” Nikolay Valentinov, a Bolshevik who knew Lenin well before becoming disillusioned, reports him saying: “There is only one answer to revisionism: smash its face in!”

        When Mensheviks objected to Lenin’s personal attacks, he replied frankly that his purpose was not to convince but to destroy his opponent. "
         

        …schoolchildren were taught that mercy, kindness, and pity are vices.

        Fake news. Soviet schoolchildren were certainly never taught that.

      247. anon[693] • Disclaimer says:
        @Diversity Heretic
        The DeHavilland Mosquito had no defensive guns at all and was one of the most successful Allied aircraft, albeit as a light, not a heavy bomber. Curtis Le May proposed to pull all of the guns out of the B-29s, safe the tail gun. (Eventually the lower guns were reinstalled and the gunners shot at searchlights.° The chances of hitting an enemy fighter with visually directed guns was virtually nill in the daytime and at night it was hopeless. The guns served mainly to raise crew morale; at least they could shoot back.

        I suppose the sight of tracers coming at a not-too-highly motivated enemy pilot could discourage him, although if the tracers were way wide, he might be encouraged.

        Curtis Le May proposed to pull all of the guns out of the B-29s, safe the tail gun.

        More than proposed, General Le May ordered it to be done. Night time lower altitude firebombing raids encountered many fewer interceptors than the daylight high altitude raids had.

        In early 1945 Major General Curtis Lemay, commander of XXI Bomber Command—the Marianas-based B-29-equipped bombing force—ordered most of the defensive armament and remote-controlled sighting equipment removed from the B-29s under his command.

        The chances of hitting an enemy fighter with visually directed guns was virtually nill in the daytime and at night it was hopeless. The guns served mainly to raise crew morale; at least they could shoot back.

        The General Electric Central Fire Control system on the B-29 directed four remotely controlled turrets armed with two .50 Browning M2 machine guns each.[N 2] All weapons were aimed optically with targeting computed by analog electrical instrumentation. There were five interconnected sighting stations located in the nose and tail positions and three Plexiglas blisters in the central fuselage.[N 3] Five General Electric analog computers (one dedicated to each sight) increased the weapons’ accuracy by compensating for factors such as airspeed, lead, gravity, temperature and humidity. The computers also allowed a single gunner to operate two or more turrets (including tail guns) simultaneously. The gunner in the upper position acted as fire control officer, managing the distribution of turrets among the other gunners during combat

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-29_Superfortress

        • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
        Point well made and taken! I should have limited my comment to guns directly by the gunner (e.g., the waist gunners in the B-17 and B-24). Guns with some kind of sophisticated gunsite (and the B-29's system was state-of-the-art) had a higher probability of hitting an opponent, but I don't think a ventral turret in an Avro Lancaster would have used such a system, and I wonder about its effectiveness at night.
      248. @bomag

        a desperate attempt at self defense
         
        Manchuria much?

        They wanted an empire; maybe we did them a favor, since empires don't age well.

        And Japan colonized Korea decades before Manchuria…

      249. @YetAnotherAnon
        Churchill:

        "Uncle Sam and Britannia were the godparents of the new Japan. In less than two generations, with no background but the remote past, the Japanese people advanced from the two-handed sword of the Samurai to the ironclad ship, the rifled cannon, the torpedo, and the Maxim gun; and a similar revolution took place in industry.
        The transition of Japan under British and American guidance from the Middle Ages to modern times was swift and violent. China was surpassed and smitten. It was with amazement that the world saw in 1905 the defeat of Czarist Russia, not only on the sea, but by great armies transported to the mainland and winning enormous battles in Manchuria.
        Japan now took her place among the Great Powers. The Japanese were themselves astonished at the respect with which they were viewed. "When we sent you the beautiful products of our ancient arts and culture you despised and laughed at us; but since we have got a first-class Navy and Army with good weapons we are regarded as a highly civilised nation."
         
        Japan was a British ally until 1923, when the USA made it clear to them that continuing the alliance would incur US displeasure. I'd be interested to know why the US felt that way - was it the 21 Demands, that would give Japan primacy in China?

        Read Thucydides and you’ll understand why.

      250. @Jack D
        I completely disagree with Caldwell's thesis:

        if you know enough about what a given American thinks of Putin, you can probably tell what he thinks of Donald Trump.
         
        Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin. Putin is what you get when you cross a Mafia Don with a KGB agent. He hasn't even been good for his own people aside from his buddies and he sure as hell ain't good for America.

        “He hasn’t even been good for his own people aside from his buddies”

        He took over a looted country where connected insiders had stripped the state assets, life expectancy was collapsing, and the US/UK were dismembering her allies.

        We all (except maybe you) could have wished that he’d expropriated and jailed the criminal oligarchs (i.e. all of them) – but, weighing the forces against him, he allowed them to keep their loot in exchange for keeping out of politics. Those who wouldn’t take the deal ended up exiled or in jail, rightly so IMHO.

        Life expectancy has recovered, the economy has survived low oil prices, he’s retrieved Sebastopol – he is literally Making Russia Great Again.

        Reading about the gulf between the new-rich and new-poor in the Yeltsin years, it felt like Komarovsky had come back off the page of Dr Zhivago to full life.

        It’s true that I wouldn’t want to live under Putin, but I’m not a Russian. I wouldn’t want to live under Assad, either, but he’s Syria’s best hope.

        I wish the UK and US had leaders who cared about their countries as much as Putin cares about Russia – AND could do something about it. Trump loves America, but can he actually DO anything?

        “he sure as hell ain’t good for America”

        Why not? It would be good for America if they got out of starting endless Middle East wars. He’s doing them a favour in Syria. Are you sure it’s America you’re worried about?

        I ain’t got nuthin’ against them Russians. No Russian ever called me deplorable.

        • LOL: Pat Kittle
        • Replies: @LondonBob
        Putin is a role model for how the West could be revitalised, hence the hate.
        , @Jack D

        I ain’t got nuthin’ against them Russians. No Russian ever called me deplorable.
         
        I think you've captured the problem right there. Ali was wrong about the Viet Cong - they (or their real masters in Hanoi and ultimately Moscow) did not wish Ali well. Putin does not wish you well. He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American's loss is Russia's gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win. Maybe if you were a Russian and Putin was on your side this would be a good thing (not really because Putin is the kind of guy who thinks that the winnings that accrue to Russia are his personal property - he can keep them for himself or dole them out to his friends or maybe give a few crumbs to average Russians, as he wishes) but he's not, he's on the other side and wants your side to lose.

        I really don't get the alt.right love for Putin at all.
      251. If you don’t have lots of raw materials, you have to design accordingly.

        The Mitsubishi Zero was a superb piece of late 1930’s engineering. Without armor & self-sealing gas tanks the Zero was 900 lbs. lighter than its American rival, and even the US military agreed it was superior at the outset of the war, a lesson learned the hard way.

        As a result, American pilots were ordered NOT to engage in dogfights with the Zero, but rather to ambush it from above, and get the hell outa there immediately upon pulling out of the dive.

        As I recall, Americans examined a captured Zero and learned that the Zero, like the British Spitfire, was carbureted (not fuel injected). That meant in an abrupt dive to the left it would experience brief fuel starvation, knowledge which American pilots in newer planes subsequently used to their advantage.

        • Replies: @Foreign Expert
        There is an interesting interview with Minoru Honda, a Japanese pilot, on youtube. He basically was everywhere during WW2 and has quite balanced opinions.
      252. @Bragadocious
        Orde Wingate lol. It was probably best he never existed, since he was the Ariel Sharon of the 1930s, brutalizing Arabs in Palestine and helping his fellow Zionists to ethnically cleanse them.

        As for Burma, he was a nothing more than a gnat, as far as Imperial Japan was concerned. But you sound like a Commonwealth kool-aid drinker, probably 14 years old. No one who's serious would mention Wingate as any kind of significant figure.

        "A million 'British' troops"

        Yes, air quotes around British are definitely required here.

        Thanks for all the invective instead of a substantive critique. Is your original statement, that the British–your word, not mine– were mere “onlookers” after Singapore, still tenable in light of the historical evidence? As to Wingate, three DSO’s suggests he was more than just an arm-chair general unlike some of the UNZ commentariat.

        • Replies: @Bragadocious
        What historical evidence? Where are the great British battles against Japan after Singapore? No I'm not talking about battles the British subcontracted out to Indians and other mercenaries. I'm talking about major battles fought by native Brits against Japanese. There are none.

        I bet there were way more gun-toting white native Britons in India to protect Britain from Indian nationalism than there were out in the jungles of SE Asia looking for Japs to kill. As always, Britain's primary goal was to preserve its empire, not soil its hands killing the enemy.
      253. @Lurker
        My grandfather was one of them. Shot through the face in 1944. He survived - rescued by Indian troops after a night lying in the jungle. Airlifted to India, for him the war was over. Physically he recovered but some kind of PTSD for decades afterward.

        The European combat theaters get all of the limelight while Far Eastern military operations are largely part of a forgotten war. I hope that you remain proud of your grandfather’s strength, courage, and service.

        • Replies: @Lurker
        Thank you sir, I do.
      254. @YetAnotherAnon
        "He hasn’t even been good for his own people aside from his buddies"

        He took over a looted country where connected insiders had stripped the state assets, life expectancy was collapsing, and the US/UK were dismembering her allies.

        We all (except maybe you) could have wished that he'd expropriated and jailed the criminal oligarchs (i.e. all of them) - but, weighing the forces against him, he allowed them to keep their loot in exchange for keeping out of politics. Those who wouldn't take the deal ended up exiled or in jail, rightly so IMHO.

        Life expectancy has recovered, the economy has survived low oil prices, he's retrieved Sebastopol - he is literally Making Russia Great Again.

        Reading about the gulf between the new-rich and new-poor in the Yeltsin years, it felt like Komarovsky had come back off the page of Dr Zhivago to full life.

        It's true that I wouldn't want to live under Putin, but I'm not a Russian. I wouldn't want to live under Assad, either, but he's Syria's best hope.

        I wish the UK and US had leaders who cared about their countries as much as Putin cares about Russia - AND could do something about it. Trump loves America, but can he actually DO anything?

        "he sure as hell ain’t good for America"

        Why not? It would be good for America if they got out of starting endless Middle East wars. He's doing them a favour in Syria. Are you sure it's America you're worried about?

        I ain't got nuthin' against them Russians. No Russian ever called me deplorable.

        Putin is a role model for how the West could be revitalised, hence the hate.

        • Replies: @Jack D
        The West could be revitalized by getting rid of a free press and turning democracy into a sham? If that's our only path forward out of this, I'd rather stay in our current Clown World please. At least in Clown World no one smears Novichok on my doorknob.
      255. Just when I convince myself again that the commenters here on average are know-nothing blowhards, Steve throws a juicy beefsteak over the fence, to give us a run, and we read in the comments stuff that we didn’t know. Is this in Midway? A Japanese Zero crashed into a marsh on one of the Aleutian islands. Noticed, it was shipped states-side, repaired, and flown in mock combat to discover the envelope of of its strengths and vulnerabilities. Did our best guys have a higher IQ that their best guys?

        Anecdote: I worked part-time for a used bookstore with unusual customers. One day an ex-German submarine designer came looking for books on that subject. Asked by Ray Gould the owner if he had had a hard time during WW II. The German submarine designer replied in effect “Oh no, it was the best time of my life.”

        • Replies: @Hank Archer
        I met a former [email protected] WAVE who trained as a aviation mechanic. She was there when they brought that Zero into Los Alamitos NAS, helped refurbish the Zero to flyable condition and performed routine maintenance on it afterward.
      256. @Doug
        > By sheer coincidence, when the short lived Japanese empire collapsed, the British empire followed suit.

        Hmm. If only there were some other series of events between 1939-1945 that might explain a common cause for these outcomes.

        Inexplicable indeed.

        One of those instances in history where we are tempted to fall for the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy but of course know that it would be utterly, ridicule-inducingly impossible to even hypothesize any relationship between these events at all.

      257. @syonredux

        If Japan deserved firebombings and two nukes over Pearl Harbor, the US deserves 100 nukes for WMD lies and Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
         
        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment. What would be needed to balance the scales for what Japan did in China between 1937 and 1935? Death by torture for every Japanese?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqnftyYWW4E

        the US fixation on Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is bemusing.

         
        It would have been more bemusing if the USA had ignored the attack.......Or maybe it would have been more amusing.....Just imagine the reaction of the Japanese if the USA pretended that the attack never happened....

        Never really cared for the notion of collective punishment.

        Yeah, something sacred about protecting the innocent.

        But the notion gets tossed by: criminals; scammers; grifters; terrorists; ethnic cleansers; and demographic replacers.

        Maybe it’s as a cartoon character mused: “there are no innocents.”

      258. @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang
        I’ve heard from several sources that when the radio broadcast went out, it had to be followed by a second broadcast. The Emperor spoke in such formalized, archaic, ritualized Japanese that he was literally incomprehensible (let alone the compounding factor that his message was spiritually/culturally incomprehensible)

        I’ve read something similar. Supposedly Emperor Hirohito spoke an archaic dialect of Japanese known as “court Japanese”. I read it’s debatable how much of the surrender address the average Japanese sitting by his radio understood.

      259. @YetAnotherAnon
        Churchill:

        "Uncle Sam and Britannia were the godparents of the new Japan. In less than two generations, with no background but the remote past, the Japanese people advanced from the two-handed sword of the Samurai to the ironclad ship, the rifled cannon, the torpedo, and the Maxim gun; and a similar revolution took place in industry.
        The transition of Japan under British and American guidance from the Middle Ages to modern times was swift and violent. China was surpassed and smitten. It was with amazement that the world saw in 1905 the defeat of Czarist Russia, not only on the sea, but by great armies transported to the mainland and winning enormous battles in Manchuria.
        Japan now took her place among the Great Powers. The Japanese were themselves astonished at the respect with which they were viewed. "When we sent you the beautiful products of our ancient arts and culture you despised and laughed at us; but since we have got a first-class Navy and Army with good weapons we are regarded as a highly civilised nation."
         
        Japan was a British ally until 1923, when the USA made it clear to them that continuing the alliance would incur US displeasure. I'd be interested to know why the US felt that way - was it the 21 Demands, that would give Japan primacy in China?

        The essential idea behind the British-Japanese alliance was that the Royal Navy could no longer watch the whole world in an era of increasing competition from newer powers: the Boer War was symptomatic of British over-reach. Splendid isolation was dead by 1900. So, if Britain needed to share the seas with an ally now, best another potential naval power who was far away enough so that it didn’t have any vital clashing interests with the UK and preferably shared the same main enemy, which until around 1905 for the UK was still Russia, not Germany. Japan was the right customer.

        The British Empire was still very much the British Empire in the 1920s: WWI deeply shook and wounded it, but it didn’t outright kill it. London’s foreign policy priorities could still diverge drastically from Washington’s. So, Japan and Britain remained on friendly terms until around 1940, long after US-Japanese relations had gone sour.

        >Life expectancy has recovered, the economy has survived low oil prices, he’s retrieved Sebastopol – he is literally Making Russia Great Again.

        I’m more cynical about Putin than that-the corruption is still soul-suckingly terrible-but there’s no question that the Russians have very good reason for not trusting the West’s prescriptions on how to run their country after the experience of the 1990s. I’d also agree that Russia’s interests need not necessarily conflict with ours.

        (I neither like nor dislike Putin: I’m not Russian, it isn’t my concern to like him or not. He is what he is, a Russian secret policeman, and just needs to be dealt with realistically.)

      260. @Jack D
        I completely disagree with Caldwell's thesis:

        if you know enough about what a given American thinks of Putin, you can probably tell what he thinks of Donald Trump.
         
        Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin. Putin is what you get when you cross a Mafia Don with a KGB agent. He hasn't even been good for his own people aside from his buddies and he sure as hell ain't good for America.

        >Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin.

        True: Donald Trump is a clown. Putin is not.

        Putin might be an authoritarian silovik through and through, with all the tendencies you’d expect from that. Of course I wouldn’t want him ruling here. But he’s also at least a serious man who we’ve sent, in succession, a pseudo-hick, an academic, and a former reality TV star to deal with. And those are the guys who managed to be less noxious than their alternatives! With our own politics increasingly resembling a weird, donor-controlled reality TV show that few Americans have any bearing on…

        • Replies: @Jack D
        Right, but we have a democracy so there's BEEN a succession. Maybe Putin is a serious man and really is the best man for the job of leading Russia but he's been in charge now for almost 20 years and probably will be until they put him in the ground (or maybe on display next to Lenin in Red Square).

        Whatever clown we put in charge we can at least get rid of in 4 years and get a different clown - the Russians are stuck with Putin for life whether they like him or not. Maybe they do really like him but it makes no difference if they don't - he's staying one way or the other. I thought that it was widely recognized in civilized countries that having Czars or dictators for life is not really a good idea - no matter how good or wise the Czar is, concentrating absolute lifetime power in the hands of one man is not a good idea. That you need a system of checks and balances. Russia was in the process of setting up such a system and Putin completely destroyed that (and probably not only for his lifetime but for another few decades beyond). That alone is enough to condemn him in my book but in fact there's plenty more.
      261. @Almost Missouri
        Agree, OTOH,

        "no matter how many they lost they could just keep spamming more"
         
        as a nominal democracy, the US had at least to pretend to care that they were trying to minimize the death and disfigurement that those lost tank crews (a.k.a., sons and husbands of voters) were suffering as they got spammed into the front lines.

        as a nominal democracy, the US had at least to pretend to care that they were trying to minimize the death and disfigurement that those lost tank crews (a.k.a., sons and husbands of voters) were suffering as they got spammed into the front lines.

        “They Were Expendable”. Although the phrase was coined for PT boats, it was pretty clear it applied to the crew too.

        There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance in the American way of war. We recognize that war is about inhumane and ruthless sacrifice, but we really don’t want it applied to us. So we see a lot of public support for wars “so long as we don’t get hurt.”

        As long as you have a decent supply of chump opponents and no conscience, that’s a valid way of war. Once you get an enemy who fights back with skill and determination, or worse yet, some qualms about what you’re doing, that stops working.

        I think people in the ’40s might have been more realistic about war, or maybe their choices were just more stark. I’d go so far as to say there was a certain logic to the Cold War (keep a strong hand to deter actual war), but it broke down in Korea and Vietnam. I daresay that since the ’90s it’s like we’ve got an empire on crack.

      262. @YetAnotherAnon
        "He hasn’t even been good for his own people aside from his buddies"

        He took over a looted country where connected insiders had stripped the state assets, life expectancy was collapsing, and the US/UK were dismembering her allies.

        We all (except maybe you) could have wished that he'd expropriated and jailed the criminal oligarchs (i.e. all of them) - but, weighing the forces against him, he allowed them to keep their loot in exchange for keeping out of politics. Those who wouldn't take the deal ended up exiled or in jail, rightly so IMHO.

        Life expectancy has recovered, the economy has survived low oil prices, he's retrieved Sebastopol - he is literally Making Russia Great Again.

        Reading about the gulf between the new-rich and new-poor in the Yeltsin years, it felt like Komarovsky had come back off the page of Dr Zhivago to full life.

        It's true that I wouldn't want to live under Putin, but I'm not a Russian. I wouldn't want to live under Assad, either, but he's Syria's best hope.

        I wish the UK and US had leaders who cared about their countries as much as Putin cares about Russia - AND could do something about it. Trump loves America, but can he actually DO anything?

        "he sure as hell ain’t good for America"

        Why not? It would be good for America if they got out of starting endless Middle East wars. He's doing them a favour in Syria. Are you sure it's America you're worried about?

        I ain't got nuthin' against them Russians. No Russian ever called me deplorable.

        I ain’t got nuthin’ against them Russians. No Russian ever called me deplorable.

        I think you’ve captured the problem right there. Ali was wrong about the Viet Cong – they (or their real masters in Hanoi and ultimately Moscow) did not wish Ali well. Putin does not wish you well. He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American’s loss is Russia’s gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win. Maybe if you were a Russian and Putin was on your side this would be a good thing (not really because Putin is the kind of guy who thinks that the winnings that accrue to Russia are his personal property – he can keep them for himself or dole them out to his friends or maybe give a few crumbs to average Russians, as he wishes) but he’s not, he’s on the other side and wants your side to lose.

        I really don’t get the alt.right love for Putin at all.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        >I think you’ve captured the problem right there. Ali was wrong about the Viet Cong – they (or their real masters in Hanoi and ultimately Moscow) did not wish Ali well.

        Nitpicking, but the VC would not become a full subsidiary of the North Vietnamese until the US military cleaned their clocks during Tet and Hanoi had to send in the NVA to replace them. There were tensions between Hanoi and the Southerner dominated VC throughout the 1960s, not that Washington was ever able to-or really could-effectively exploit this. The Viet Cong saw themselves as planning to re-unify the South as an equal party to the North, something Hanoi wasn't interested in. It's plausible that part of the point of Tet was to thin out the VC and more effectively put them under Hanoi's control.

        And the North Vietnamese-taking the lesson from Korea and Dien Bien Phu to give no more than lip service to ideas of internationalism-were always very careful to keep a good, healthy distance from the USSR and China. They really didn't trust foreigners: Chinese laborers loaned to them during the 1960s would be kept under strict segregation from the populace and under constant watch. They weren't able to completely ignore superpower dictates-see 1972-but they had a surprising degree of independence. Interestingly enough, the South was also more independent from the US than anybody gave them credit for.

        To be fair to the North Koreans, it was only because the Sino-Soviet split that Hanoi could do what it did to such an extent: the game collapsed in the early 1970s with Nixon effectively putting the US in China's camp.

        >He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American’s loss is Russia’s gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win.

        Just because the world is more of a zero sum game than our ruling class's propaganda implies doesn't mean we necessarily both have to lose with every single move. Putin probably didn't start believing that the world operated on this calculus in 2008, yet he did show early on his reign that he was willing to get along with the US, especially after 9/11 seemed to finally slam the dangers of Islamic radicalism home to the Americans.

        After the Obama experience and now the Trump brou-haha, I think he's done trying to comprehend what goes in Washington, so relations will have to take time to heal. However, he's getting older and there's no real stable succession plan in place between all the turf lords snapping at his heels. Putin's much more Chiang Kai-Shek than Josef Stalin: he rules by essentially co-opting the warlords. I'm more worried about what is going to happen in Russia after he's gone than during his life.

        >I really don’t get the alt.right love for Putin at all.

        Well, it is strange on an effective policy level: Putin hardly passes his own alt-right's muster, at any rate. The Russian hard-right despises him for his tolerance of mass Islamic immigration from Central Asia, his visible coziness with what is left of Russia's Jews, his plutocratic tendencies, etc, etc. Putin might make Western liberals pee their pants on a number of levels, but that doesn't map him to the "alt-right": it's never wise to draw too many correlations between different political cultures.

        But-apart from the intellectual limitations of the alt-right-I think it could be summed up neatly in how Obama, the epitome of the New America being forced upon the Old, visibly despised Putin and vice versa, in terms that cannot be comprehended outside of an ideological bent. I don't think it really goes any deeper other than "here's a white-looking guy willing to say no to the visions of the GoodThinkers and who visibly makes them babble to themselves". Orban enjoys popularity for the same reasons.

        There's a racial dimension to this: Xi Jinping is no less interested in giving Western bien-pensants and globalists the horse-laugh and probably shares Putin's utter contempt for the societal crazes currently in vogue in the West as a symptom of decline and decay. But he's not being feted as a hero here.
        , @YetAnotherAnon
        "He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American’s loss is Russia’s gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win. "

        You've got this completely the wrong way round. It was the US/UK/EU who encircled post-Soviet Russia. All he wanted (and still wants, mostly) was for Russia to be left alone. Didn't happen. He chose to push back, not cave, and that's what you see as a problem.

        "Do thou oppose that man with all thy might,
        Who, unprovoked, provokes thee to a fight"
         
        We're just going to have to agree to disagree - a novel concept, I know. Putin is a great Russian leader - a historic one - my worry for Russia is I don't see where the next one's coming from.
      263. @nebulafox
        >Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin.

        True: Donald Trump is a clown. Putin is not.

        Putin might be an authoritarian silovik through and through, with all the tendencies you'd expect from that. Of course I wouldn't want him ruling here. But he's also at least a serious man who we've sent, in succession, a pseudo-hick, an academic, and a former reality TV star to deal with. And those are the guys who managed to be less noxious than their alternatives! With our own politics increasingly resembling a weird, donor-controlled reality TV show that few Americans have any bearing on...

        Right, but we have a democracy so there’s BEEN a succession. Maybe Putin is a serious man and really is the best man for the job of leading Russia but he’s been in charge now for almost 20 years and probably will be until they put him in the ground (or maybe on display next to Lenin in Red Square).

        Whatever clown we put in charge we can at least get rid of in 4 years and get a different clown – the Russians are stuck with Putin for life whether they like him or not. Maybe they do really like him but it makes no difference if they don’t – he’s staying one way or the other. I thought that it was widely recognized in civilized countries that having Czars or dictators for life is not really a good idea – no matter how good or wise the Czar is, concentrating absolute lifetime power in the hands of one man is not a good idea. That you need a system of checks and balances. Russia was in the process of setting up such a system and Putin completely destroyed that (and probably not only for his lifetime but for another few decades beyond). That alone is enough to condemn him in my book but in fact there’s plenty more.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        You know, one thing that the people arguing that the USSR was way weaker than it looked in the 1970s-they were right!-was that they never managed a stable succession without purges. Same here. We shouldn't overestimate Putin.

        Look, I'm not arguing the system is "better". I will argue that the system is what it is for a reason, shouldn't shock anybody familiar with Russian history, and that all things considered, it could be way worse. Lenin himself wanted to transform Russia into a place more like Germany, and thought that getting rid of the Tsars would accomplish it. That didn't work out, either.

        (And that if rule by the foreign-backed oligarchs who misruled Russia in the 1990s was a step toward democracy, no wonder the Russians weren't enthusiastic. It was even debatable whether it was truly democratic. And if it was, whether the truly democratic move, insofar as reflecting the will of the people, was a decision to go authoritarian again.)

        I could offer 1990s Indonesia's transition away from Suharto into as a counterpoint of a similarly corruption-addled, oligarch-ridden country that nevertheless managed to successfully transition away from authoritarianism in a way Russia didn't. One thing that was very different was that throughout the New Order years, Indonesia slowly developed the rudimentary basis you needed for a transition away from authoritarian government to a reasonably liberal state, even as that authoritarian government reached its peak power and prestige in the 1980s. In Russia, it just all happened at once. And the official organs of state-to say nothing of the infrastructure and things it ran-were on the decline for decades in a way that should be disturbingly familiar to many Americans.

        > I thought that it was widely recognized in civilized countries that having Czars or dictators for life is not really a good idea – no matter how good or wise the Czar is, concentrating absolute lifetime power in the hands of one man is not a good idea.

        Well, you'd better hope our ruling elites turn it around or are replaced by people who will, otherwise a lot of Americans will start thinking that. A lot of people my age already have: I don't think even commentators here understand the full extent as to how authoritarian-friendly my generation is becoming, on both ends of the political spectrum. The effects of social atomization and evisceration of social bonds, fully welcomed by our elites, are manifesting here.

        It's happened before.
        , @Lars Porsena

        Whatever clown we put in charge we can at least get rid of in 4 years and get a different clown
         
        Who does the exact same things, because they are increasingly ceremonial and not even in charge anymore. The Deep State, part of what lead to Trump. Although as you point out, Trump is not really all that strong of a strong man. Despite all the hysteria, he's pretty well within the norms.

        Imagine if in the UK, they got to elect a new ceremonial Prince of Wales every 4 years instead of being stuck with the one they've got until someone croaks.

        It's not so different.

        If we want anything other than the extant deep state running us, we are going to need a very, very strong man.
      264. @Jack D

        I ain’t got nuthin’ against them Russians. No Russian ever called me deplorable.
         
        I think you've captured the problem right there. Ali was wrong about the Viet Cong - they (or their real masters in Hanoi and ultimately Moscow) did not wish Ali well. Putin does not wish you well. He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American's loss is Russia's gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win. Maybe if you were a Russian and Putin was on your side this would be a good thing (not really because Putin is the kind of guy who thinks that the winnings that accrue to Russia are his personal property - he can keep them for himself or dole them out to his friends or maybe give a few crumbs to average Russians, as he wishes) but he's not, he's on the other side and wants your side to lose.

        I really don't get the alt.right love for Putin at all.

        >I think you’ve captured the problem right there. Ali was wrong about the Viet Cong – they (or their real masters in Hanoi and ultimately Moscow) did not wish Ali well.

        Nitpicking, but the VC would not become a full subsidiary of the North Vietnamese until the US military cleaned their clocks during Tet and Hanoi had to send in the NVA to replace them. There were tensions between Hanoi and the Southerner dominated VC throughout the 1960s, not that Washington was ever able to-or really could-effectively exploit this. The Viet Cong saw themselves as planning to re-unify the South as an equal party to the North, something Hanoi wasn’t interested in. It’s plausible that part of the point of Tet was to thin out the VC and more effectively put them under Hanoi’s control.

        And the North Vietnamese-taking the lesson from Korea and Dien Bien Phu to give no more than lip service to ideas of internationalism-were always very careful to keep a good, healthy distance from the USSR and China. They really didn’t trust foreigners: Chinese laborers loaned to them during the 1960s would be kept under strict segregation from the populace and under constant watch. They weren’t able to completely ignore superpower dictates-see 1972-but they had a surprising degree of independence. Interestingly enough, the South was also more independent from the US than anybody gave them credit for.

        To be fair to the North Koreans, it was only because the Sino-Soviet split that Hanoi could do what it did to such an extent: the game collapsed in the early 1970s with Nixon effectively putting the US in China’s camp.

        >He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American’s loss is Russia’s gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win.

        Just because the world is more of a zero sum game than our ruling class’s propaganda implies doesn’t mean we necessarily both have to lose with every single move. Putin probably didn’t start believing that the world operated on this calculus in 2008, yet he did show early on his reign that he was willing to get along with the US, especially after 9/11 seemed to finally slam the dangers of Islamic radicalism home to the Americans.

        After the Obama experience and now the Trump brou-haha, I think he’s done trying to comprehend what goes in Washington, so relations will have to take time to heal. However, he’s getting older and there’s no real stable succession plan in place between all the turf lords snapping at his heels. Putin’s much more Chiang Kai-Shek than Josef Stalin: he rules by essentially co-opting the warlords. I’m more worried about what is going to happen in Russia after he’s gone than during his life.

        >I really don’t get the alt.right love for Putin at all.

        Well, it is strange on an effective policy level: Putin hardly passes his own alt-right’s muster, at any rate. The Russian hard-right despises him for his tolerance of mass Islamic immigration from Central Asia, his visible coziness with what is left of Russia’s Jews, his plutocratic tendencies, etc, etc. Putin might make Western liberals pee their pants on a number of levels, but that doesn’t map him to the “alt-right”: it’s never wise to draw too many correlations between different political cultures.

        But-apart from the intellectual limitations of the alt-right-I think it could be summed up neatly in how Obama, the epitome of the New America being forced upon the Old, visibly despised Putin and vice versa, in terms that cannot be comprehended outside of an ideological bent. I don’t think it really goes any deeper other than “here’s a white-looking guy willing to say no to the visions of the GoodThinkers and who visibly makes them babble to themselves”. Orban enjoys popularity for the same reasons.

        There’s a racial dimension to this: Xi Jinping is no less interested in giving Western bien-pensants and globalists the horse-laugh and probably shares Putin’s utter contempt for the societal crazes currently in vogue in the West as a symptom of decline and decay. But he’s not being feted as a hero here.

        • Replies: @Jack D
        I think Orban makes a lot more sense as an authentic candidate for alt.right hero worship but I guess being in charge of an obscure, can't find it on the map place like Hungary disqualifies him from the big time.
        , @Jack D

        I’m more worried about what is going to happen in Russia after he’s gone than during his life.
         
        This is Russia's problem more than our problem, although the possibility of someone unstable being in charge of all those nukes is worrisome.

        At least in a monarchy there was a built in succession plan. And left wing systems have ideological continuity. Right wing dictatorships rarely survive the death of the founding fuhrer and the ideology usually comes down to not much more than fuhrer worship. I don't really see a smooth transition back to democracy as occurred in say Spain or Portugal. Putin has trampled all shoots of democracy and there is far too much money and power at stake for the warlords to go quietly. The best analogy is really the Mafia or Mexican drug cartels - when a Don dies or is locked up, rival gangs will shoot it out until one of them emerges as the victor. A lot of innocents may get caught in the crossfire.
      265. @nebulafox
        >I think you’ve captured the problem right there. Ali was wrong about the Viet Cong – they (or their real masters in Hanoi and ultimately Moscow) did not wish Ali well.

        Nitpicking, but the VC would not become a full subsidiary of the North Vietnamese until the US military cleaned their clocks during Tet and Hanoi had to send in the NVA to replace them. There were tensions between Hanoi and the Southerner dominated VC throughout the 1960s, not that Washington was ever able to-or really could-effectively exploit this. The Viet Cong saw themselves as planning to re-unify the South as an equal party to the North, something Hanoi wasn't interested in. It's plausible that part of the point of Tet was to thin out the VC and more effectively put them under Hanoi's control.

        And the North Vietnamese-taking the lesson from Korea and Dien Bien Phu to give no more than lip service to ideas of internationalism-were always very careful to keep a good, healthy distance from the USSR and China. They really didn't trust foreigners: Chinese laborers loaned to them during the 1960s would be kept under strict segregation from the populace and under constant watch. They weren't able to completely ignore superpower dictates-see 1972-but they had a surprising degree of independence. Interestingly enough, the South was also more independent from the US than anybody gave them credit for.

        To be fair to the North Koreans, it was only because the Sino-Soviet split that Hanoi could do what it did to such an extent: the game collapsed in the early 1970s with Nixon effectively putting the US in China's camp.

        >He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American’s loss is Russia’s gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win.

        Just because the world is more of a zero sum game than our ruling class's propaganda implies doesn't mean we necessarily both have to lose with every single move. Putin probably didn't start believing that the world operated on this calculus in 2008, yet he did show early on his reign that he was willing to get along with the US, especially after 9/11 seemed to finally slam the dangers of Islamic radicalism home to the Americans.

        After the Obama experience and now the Trump brou-haha, I think he's done trying to comprehend what goes in Washington, so relations will have to take time to heal. However, he's getting older and there's no real stable succession plan in place between all the turf lords snapping at his heels. Putin's much more Chiang Kai-Shek than Josef Stalin: he rules by essentially co-opting the warlords. I'm more worried about what is going to happen in Russia after he's gone than during his life.

        >I really don’t get the alt.right love for Putin at all.

        Well, it is strange on an effective policy level: Putin hardly passes his own alt-right's muster, at any rate. The Russian hard-right despises him for his tolerance of mass Islamic immigration from Central Asia, his visible coziness with what is left of Russia's Jews, his plutocratic tendencies, etc, etc. Putin might make Western liberals pee their pants on a number of levels, but that doesn't map him to the "alt-right": it's never wise to draw too many correlations between different political cultures.

        But-apart from the intellectual limitations of the alt-right-I think it could be summed up neatly in how Obama, the epitome of the New America being forced upon the Old, visibly despised Putin and vice versa, in terms that cannot be comprehended outside of an ideological bent. I don't think it really goes any deeper other than "here's a white-looking guy willing to say no to the visions of the GoodThinkers and who visibly makes them babble to themselves". Orban enjoys popularity for the same reasons.

        There's a racial dimension to this: Xi Jinping is no less interested in giving Western bien-pensants and globalists the horse-laugh and probably shares Putin's utter contempt for the societal crazes currently in vogue in the West as a symptom of decline and decay. But he's not being feted as a hero here.

        I think Orban makes a lot more sense as an authentic candidate for alt.right hero worship but I guess being in charge of an obscure, can’t find it on the map place like Hungary disqualifies him from the big time.

      266. @Jack D
        Right, but we have a democracy so there's BEEN a succession. Maybe Putin is a serious man and really is the best man for the job of leading Russia but he's been in charge now for almost 20 years and probably will be until they put him in the ground (or maybe on display next to Lenin in Red Square).

        Whatever clown we put in charge we can at least get rid of in 4 years and get a different clown - the Russians are stuck with Putin for life whether they like him or not. Maybe they do really like him but it makes no difference if they don't - he's staying one way or the other. I thought that it was widely recognized in civilized countries that having Czars or dictators for life is not really a good idea - no matter how good or wise the Czar is, concentrating absolute lifetime power in the hands of one man is not a good idea. That you need a system of checks and balances. Russia was in the process of setting up such a system and Putin completely destroyed that (and probably not only for his lifetime but for another few decades beyond). That alone is enough to condemn him in my book but in fact there's plenty more.

        You know, one thing that the people arguing that the USSR was way weaker than it looked in the 1970s-they were right!-was that they never managed a stable succession without purges. Same here. We shouldn’t overestimate Putin.

        Look, I’m not arguing the system is “better”. I will argue that the system is what it is for a reason, shouldn’t shock anybody familiar with Russian history, and that all things considered, it could be way worse. Lenin himself wanted to transform Russia into a place more like Germany, and thought that getting rid of the Tsars would accomplish it. That didn’t work out, either.

        (And that if rule by the foreign-backed oligarchs who misruled Russia in the 1990s was a step toward democracy, no wonder the Russians weren’t enthusiastic. It was even debatable whether it was truly democratic. And if it was, whether the truly democratic move, insofar as reflecting the will of the people, was a decision to go authoritarian again.)

        I could offer 1990s Indonesia’s transition away from Suharto into as a counterpoint of a similarly corruption-addled, oligarch-ridden country that nevertheless managed to successfully transition away from authoritarianism in a way Russia didn’t. One thing that was very different was that throughout the New Order years, Indonesia slowly developed the rudimentary basis you needed for a transition away from authoritarian government to a reasonably liberal state, even as that authoritarian government reached its peak power and prestige in the 1980s. In Russia, it just all happened at once. And the official organs of state-to say nothing of the infrastructure and things it ran-were on the decline for decades in a way that should be disturbingly familiar to many Americans.

        > I thought that it was widely recognized in civilized countries that having Czars or dictators for life is not really a good idea – no matter how good or wise the Czar is, concentrating absolute lifetime power in the hands of one man is not a good idea.

        Well, you’d better hope our ruling elites turn it around or are replaced by people who will, otherwise a lot of Americans will start thinking that. A lot of people my age already have: I don’t think even commentators here understand the full extent as to how authoritarian-friendly my generation is becoming, on both ends of the political spectrum. The effects of social atomization and evisceration of social bonds, fully welcomed by our elites, are manifesting here.

        It’s happened before.

      267. @nebulafox
        >I think you’ve captured the problem right there. Ali was wrong about the Viet Cong – they (or their real masters in Hanoi and ultimately Moscow) did not wish Ali well.

        Nitpicking, but the VC would not become a full subsidiary of the North Vietnamese until the US military cleaned their clocks during Tet and Hanoi had to send in the NVA to replace them. There were tensions between Hanoi and the Southerner dominated VC throughout the 1960s, not that Washington was ever able to-or really could-effectively exploit this. The Viet Cong saw themselves as planning to re-unify the South as an equal party to the North, something Hanoi wasn't interested in. It's plausible that part of the point of Tet was to thin out the VC and more effectively put them under Hanoi's control.

        And the North Vietnamese-taking the lesson from Korea and Dien Bien Phu to give no more than lip service to ideas of internationalism-were always very careful to keep a good, healthy distance from the USSR and China. They really didn't trust foreigners: Chinese laborers loaned to them during the 1960s would be kept under strict segregation from the populace and under constant watch. They weren't able to completely ignore superpower dictates-see 1972-but they had a surprising degree of independence. Interestingly enough, the South was also more independent from the US than anybody gave them credit for.

        To be fair to the North Koreans, it was only because the Sino-Soviet split that Hanoi could do what it did to such an extent: the game collapsed in the early 1970s with Nixon effectively putting the US in China's camp.

        >He sees the world as a geopolitical zero sum game where American’s loss is Russia’s gain (and vice versa) so he wants America to lose and Russia to win.

        Just because the world is more of a zero sum game than our ruling class's propaganda implies doesn't mean we necessarily both have to lose with every single move. Putin probably didn't start believing that the world operated on this calculus in 2008, yet he did show early on his reign that he was willing to get along with the US, especially after 9/11 seemed to finally slam the dangers of Islamic radicalism home to the Americans.

        After the Obama experience and now the Trump brou-haha, I think he's done trying to comprehend what goes in Washington, so relations will have to take time to heal. However, he's getting older and there's no real stable succession plan in place between all the turf lords snapping at his heels. Putin's much more Chiang Kai-Shek than Josef Stalin: he rules by essentially co-opting the warlords. I'm more worried about what is going to happen in Russia after he's gone than during his life.

        >I really don’t get the alt.right love for Putin at all.

        Well, it is strange on an effective policy level: Putin hardly passes his own alt-right's muster, at any rate. The Russian hard-right despises him for his tolerance of mass Islamic immigration from Central Asia, his visible coziness with what is left of Russia's Jews, his plutocratic tendencies, etc, etc. Putin might make Western liberals pee their pants on a number of levels, but that doesn't map him to the "alt-right": it's never wise to draw too many correlations between different political cultures.

        But-apart from the intellectual limitations of the alt-right-I think it could be summed up neatly in how Obama, the epitome of the New America being forced upon the Old, visibly despised Putin and vice versa, in terms that cannot be comprehended outside of an ideological bent. I don't think it really goes any deeper other than "here's a white-looking guy willing to say no to the visions of the GoodThinkers and who visibly makes them babble to themselves". Orban enjoys popularity for the same reasons.

        There's a racial dimension to this: Xi Jinping is no less interested in giving Western bien-pensants and globalists the horse-laugh and probably shares Putin's utter contempt for the societal crazes currently in vogue in the West as a symptom of decline and decay. But he's not being feted as a hero here.

        I’m more worried about what is going to happen in Russia after he’s gone than during his life.

        This is Russia’s problem more than our problem, although the possibility of someone unstable being in charge of all those nukes is worrisome.

        At least in a monarchy there was a built in succession plan. And left wing systems have ideological continuity. Right wing dictatorships rarely survive the death of the founding fuhrer and the ideology usually comes down to not much more than fuhrer worship. I don’t really see a smooth transition back to democracy as occurred in say Spain or Portugal. Putin has trampled all shoots of democracy and there is far too much money and power at stake for the warlords to go quietly. The best analogy is really the Mafia or Mexican drug cartels – when a Don dies or is locked up, rival gangs will shoot it out until one of them emerges as the victor. A lot of innocents may get caught in the crossfire.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        >This is Russia’s problem more than our problem, although the possibility of someone unstable being in charge of all those nukes is worrisome.

        That's what I'm concerned about, particularly when you consider that in Russia-like Mexico-the lines between organized crime, the military, and the government can get blurry.

        >Putin has trampled all shoots of democracy and there is far too much money and power at stake for the warlords to go quietly.

        But there really wasn't all that much in the way of organic democratic structures in Russia to begin with, as I alluded to earlier. That's hardly Putin's fault. If you want a democratic Russia, you are going to have make far deeper changes to the timeline than getting rid of Putin, going back to the latter-day USSR.

        The existence of the oligarchs also had its roots in the rot that infected the latter-day USSR. To the long-lasting gratitude of the Russian public, Putin neutered them to some degree, bringing those that could be controlled under the state's yoke and ruining those that couldn't be.

        We can argue about how corrupt Putin and his securocrat cronies are-and there's no question they are-but it clearly doesn't compare to the total mass despoilment of the economy in the 1990s. Whatever the flaws of having security officers in charge of your country, they are unlikely to be totally indifferent to its fate like businessmen could be, and as Art Deco shows, in basic life metrics, average Russians are uniformly better off than they were 20 years ago. That might not be necessarily saying much, but it isn't exactly nothing, either.
      268. @Jack D
        Putting aside your gratuitous anti-Semitic snipe, it is just not feasible to bomb agricultural production, especially not using the technology available to the US in those days. In a crowded urban area, a bomb causes a lot of damage. In a farm field you make a little crater. The next day the farmer goes out and fills in the bomb crater. Or maybe you have dug him a free fish pond.

        You destroy the means of agricultural production and the ability to transport it to cities. Every day you send out sorties to strafe and destroy barns and collection points. Low level fighter-bombers and fighters were highly successful at the end of the war in Europe destroying railroad assets and trucks. Strafing the famers in the fields, fisherman on the beach, and fishing boats would also be part of operations. Rockets were not self guiding but low level actions made them reasonably accurate.

        • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
        Another option is biological warfare directed against crop production rather than humans. I remember years ago reading a description of biological warfare agents developed by the U.S. before the Nixon Administration unilaterally renounced the use of biological warfare. I was surprised to see that some weapons were intended to kill crop plants, not people.
        , @Jack D

        Strafing the famers in the fields, fisherman on the beach, and fishing boats would also be part of operations.
         
        These would also be war crimes, but never mind.
      269. @Almost Missouri
        It's a striking contrast: the US planes were famously durable compared to WWII's other major powers' aircraft, yet the US tanks were under-armored and under-gunned compared to their principal adversary, the Wehrmacht. (They were perfectly adequate against the Japanese, but the Pacific island hopping campaign was not armor-centric like the the fighting on the Northern European plain.)

        Your M2 .50 cal theory is a new one on me. On paper, the 20mm cannon was superior to the .50 cal gun. The 20mm cannons had longer range, more kinetic energy, and a more damaging payload. And yet there is no arguing with the success the US had with the .50 cal. Maybe the .50 is just in one of those elusive sweet spots: sufficient energy to disable whatever it hit, but with a higher rate of fire and larger ammo load than the 20mm, so it got more chances to hit.

        My own theories on the US's peculiar strong-plane/weak-tank dichotomy boil down to two possibly overlapping hypotheses:

        1) Social class: as officers, aircraft pilots were more likely to come from the ownership/managerial/designer class, so the aircraft designers, manufacturers and procurement officers were more likely to cherish the crews' lives. Tank crews, by contrast, were typically an NCO plus a few enlisted men, often farmboys, since they could already drive tractors and trucks so needed less training. As such, the designers, builders and deployers of US tanks were a little more ready to trade blood for treasure in this sector.

        2) Water: all US materiel had to cross the ocean to get to the front. Since aircraft fly anyway, this isn't really a barrier, but for armor, larger and heavier tanks meant fewer getting to the battlefield on each transport. Soviet and German armor could roll out of the factory and onto the battlefield (sometimes literally), so the only limit on size was how much steel you wanted put on a given chassis. By contrast, the US M4 medium tank had to compromise between strength and shipping capacity. Was it the right compromise? Well, it seemed to work out in net, if you personally didn't happen to be one of the 75AT or FLAK 88 casualties.

        The British, I believe, did quite well with plain vanilla Browning machine guns in their .303 caliber. They had multiple guns that were positions to come to a firing point ahead of the plane. I saw somewhere that the firing point was 250 yards ahead of the plane. One of the Polish aces who flew for Britian supposedly had his guns set to 100 yards. At that distance 8 .303 machine guns were probably a match for a 20 mm cannon.

      270. @Diversity Heretic
        I believe the aircraft piloted by Joseph Kennedy was a B-24. Although he was in the Navy, Kennedy had extensive experience flying the Naval maritime patrol version of the B-24, which is why he was flying it.

        The planes selected (both B-17s and B-24s) were generally worn out. Flying a plane that's ready for the scrap heap and filled with explosives, and one that you plan to bail out of (bailing out of a B-24 was especially dreaded because of the big twin rudders) isn't a suicide mission, but it was a very risky one.

        Kennedy was flying a PB4Y – the naval version of the B-24. It has a conventional single vertical stabilizer configuration.

      271. @Almost Missouri
        It was also the event that tipped Nagumo into (mistakenly) regarding Midway airfield (where the B-26 had flown from) as a priority target, resulting in the disastrous re-re-arming his airfleet, scattering ordnance and fuel hither and yon the carrier decks, just in time for the arrival of the US dive bombers...

        Nagumo didn’t necessarily make any mistake. There is a you-tube on Midway from the Japanese perspective. The problem was that land based air attacks, the time needed to refuel and rearm the aircraft, and the discovery of US carriers in the area only gave Nagumo 15 minutes to decide what to do and his decision was entirely by the book and could hardly be considered a blunder or mistake.

        • Replies: @Steve Sailer
        The U.S. was very lucky at Midway. The famous fact that the American torpedo bombers got to the Japanese fleet first and lured the Zeros down to sea level so they couldn't defend against the divebombers arriving minutes later three miles up was mostly due to luck.
      272. @Anonymouse
        Just when I convince myself again that the commenters here on average are know-nothing blowhards, Steve throws a juicy beefsteak over the fence, to give us a run, and we read in the comments stuff that we didn't know. Is this in Midway? A Japanese Zero crashed into a marsh on one of the Aleutian islands. Noticed, it was shipped states-side, repaired, and flown in mock combat to discover the envelope of of its strengths and vulnerabilities. Did our best guys have a higher IQ that their best guys?

        Anecdote: I worked part-time for a used bookstore with unusual customers. One day an ex-German submarine designer came looking for books on that subject. Asked by Ray Gould the owner if he had had a hard time during WW II. The German submarine designer replied in effect "Oh no, it was the best time of my life."

        I met a former [email protected] WAVE who trained as a aviation mechanic. She was there when they brought that Zero into Los Alamitos NAS, helped refurbish the Zero to flyable condition and performed routine maintenance on it afterward.

      273. @Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang
        I’ve heard from several sources that when the radio broadcast went out, it had to be followed by a second broadcast. The Emperor spoke in such formalized, archaic, ritualized Japanese that he was literally incomprehensible (let alone the compounding factor that his message was spiritually/culturally incomprehensible)

        The emperor’s speech was delivered in a court dialect that very few Japanese could understand. Rather bizarrely, I once spoke with a Korean woman who was in Japan at the time (and thoroughly enjoying the drubbing the Americans were giving the Japanese) who claimed to have heard and understood the emperor’s speech.

      274. @anon
        Curtis Le May proposed to pull all of the guns out of the B-29s, safe the tail gun.

        More than proposed, General Le May ordered it to be done. Night time lower altitude firebombing raids encountered many fewer interceptors than the daylight high altitude raids had.

        In early 1945 Major General Curtis Lemay, commander of XXI Bomber Command—the Marianas-based B-29-equipped bombing force—ordered most of the defensive armament and remote-controlled sighting equipment removed from the B-29s under his command.
         
        The chances of hitting an enemy fighter with visually directed guns was virtually nill in the daytime and at night it was hopeless. The guns served mainly to raise crew morale; at least they could shoot back.

        The General Electric Central Fire Control system on the B-29 directed four remotely controlled turrets armed with two .50 Browning M2 machine guns each.[N 2] All weapons were aimed optically with targeting computed by analog electrical instrumentation. There were five interconnected sighting stations located in the nose and tail positions and three Plexiglas blisters in the central fuselage.[N 3] Five General Electric analog computers (one dedicated to each sight) increased the weapons' accuracy by compensating for factors such as airspeed, lead, gravity, temperature and humidity. The computers also allowed a single gunner to operate two or more turrets (including tail guns) simultaneously. The gunner in the upper position acted as fire control officer, managing the distribution of turrets among the other gunners during combat
         
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-29_Superfortress

        Point well made and taken! I should have limited my comment to guns directly by the gunner (e.g., the waist gunners in the B-17 and B-24). Guns with some kind of sophisticated gunsite (and the B-29’s system was state-of-the-art) had a higher probability of hitting an opponent, but I don’t think a ventral turret in an Avro Lancaster would have used such a system, and I wonder about its effectiveness at night.

      275. @Hank Yobo
        The European combat theaters get all of the limelight while Far Eastern military operations are largely part of a forgotten war. I hope that you remain proud of your grandfather's strength, courage, and service.

        Thank you sir, I do.

      276. @MarkinLA
        You destroy the means of agricultural production and the ability to transport it to cities. Every day you send out sorties to strafe and destroy barns and collection points. Low level fighter-bombers and fighters were highly successful at the end of the war in Europe destroying railroad assets and trucks. Strafing the famers in the fields, fisherman on the beach, and fishing boats would also be part of operations. Rockets were not self guiding but low level actions made them reasonably accurate.

        Another option is biological warfare directed against crop production rather than humans. I remember years ago reading a description of biological warfare agents developed by the U.S. before the Nixon Administration unilaterally renounced the use of biological warfare. I was surprised to see that some weapons were intended to kill crop plants, not people.

      277. @Hank Yobo
        Thanks for all the invective instead of a substantive critique. Is your original statement, that the British--your word, not mine-- were mere "onlookers" after Singapore, still tenable in light of the historical evidence? As to Wingate, three DSO's suggests he was more than just an arm-chair general unlike some of the UNZ commentariat.

        What historical evidence? Where are the great British battles against Japan after Singapore? No I’m not talking about battles the British subcontracted out to Indians and other mercenaries. I’m talking about major battles fought by native Brits against Japanese. There are none.

        I bet there were way more gun-toting white native Britons in India to protect Britain from Indian nationalism than there were out in the jungles of SE Asia looking for Japs to kill. As always, Britain’s primary goal was to preserve its empire, not soil its hands killing the enemy.

      278. @Jack D
        Right, but we have a democracy so there's BEEN a succession. Maybe Putin is a serious man and really is the best man for the job of leading Russia but he's been in charge now for almost 20 years and probably will be until they put him in the ground (or maybe on display next to Lenin in Red Square).

        Whatever clown we put in charge we can at least get rid of in 4 years and get a different clown - the Russians are stuck with Putin for life whether they like him or not. Maybe they do really like him but it makes no difference if they don't - he's staying one way or the other. I thought that it was widely recognized in civilized countries that having Czars or dictators for life is not really a good idea - no matter how good or wise the Czar is, concentrating absolute lifetime power in the hands of one man is not a good idea. That you need a system of checks and balances. Russia was in the process of setting up such a system and Putin completely destroyed that (and probably not only for his lifetime but for another few decades beyond). That alone is enough to condemn him in my book but in fact there's plenty more.

        Whatever clown we put in charge we can at least get rid of in 4 years and get a different clown

        Who does the exact same things, because they are increasingly ceremonial and not even in charge anymore. The Deep State, part of what lead to Trump. Although as you point out, Trump is not really all that strong of a strong man. Despite all the hysteria, he’s pretty well within the norms.

        Imagine if in the UK, they got to elect a new ceremonial Prince of Wales every 4 years instead of being stuck with the one they’ve got until someone croaks.

        It’s not so different.

        If we want anything other than the extant deep state running us, we are going to need a very, very strong man.

      279. @MarkinLA
        You destroy the means of agricultural production and the ability to transport it to cities. Every day you send out sorties to strafe and destroy barns and collection points. Low level fighter-bombers and fighters were highly successful at the end of the war in Europe destroying railroad assets and trucks. Strafing the famers in the fields, fisherman on the beach, and fishing boats would also be part of operations. Rockets were not self guiding but low level actions made them reasonably accurate.

        Strafing the famers in the fields, fisherman on the beach, and fishing boats would also be part of operations.

        These would also be war crimes, but never mind.

        • Replies: @MarkinLA
        Just pointing out that your comment about starving the Japanese into submission being impossible was incorrect.
        , @anon
        These would also be war crimes,

        Not if executed by the winning side.
      280. @lysias
        And the U.S. continues to behave towards Latin America in the way that Japan behaved towards East Asia. The coup in Bolivia just happened.

        The coup in Bolivia just happened.

        You mean the ballot-box stuffer who had no constitutional warrant to stand as a candidate had to resign in the face of massive street demonstrations and the urging of the military chief of staff he himself had selected. (Which, somehow, is supposed to have been orchestrated by the skeletal staff of Foreign Service officers in La Paz, go figure). A tad short of the Rape of Nanking.

        • Replies: @Jack D
        The CIA is responsible for 20 out of the last 10 coups in Latin America, according to certain sources. This is one thing that right wing nut jobs and left wing nut jobs can agree about.
      281. @Jack D

        Strafing the famers in the fields, fisherman on the beach, and fishing boats would also be part of operations.
         
        These would also be war crimes, but never mind.

        Just pointing out that your comment about starving the Japanese into submission being impossible was incorrect.

      282. @El Dato
        Apparently a lot of the volunteers were not at all ardent to die for the Top Palace Asshole, but peer pressure and convincing talk by superiors eventually persuaded them.

        Also:

        It was all downhill for them from there because they’d used up their best pilots by June 1942, and they couldn’t train pilots well during wartime, probably mostly because they didn’t have the fuel for training flights.
         
        And maybe their training regimen was really bad. I can imagine them trying to teach pilots the same as one teaches pupils in school, with lots of cramming, yelling, and punishment. Once the candidate hits the Real World, complete failure can practically not be avoided.

        There is a video about the Japanese replacement for the Zero which took a lot of it’s design from American planes. It had twice the power but was stiil more manueverable than American planes due to specially developed technology. There is only one remaining speciment at the Air Force museum. It was highly effective and had a huge kill rate advantage over American planes. It was called the George and only 400 were produced before the factory was destroyed.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawanishi_N1K

        The pilots flying it were the best Japan had at the time. According to a video on the plane, the high command wanted them to engage in Kamakazee operations. They told their superiors that they would if they joined them in the cockpit. They never went.

      283. @Art Deco
        The coup in Bolivia just happened.

        You mean the ballot-box stuffer who had no constitutional warrant to stand as a candidate had to resign in the face of massive street demonstrations and the urging of the military chief of staff he himself had selected. (Which, somehow, is supposed to have been orchestrated by the skeletal staff of Foreign Service officers in La Paz, go figure). A tad short of the Rape of Nanking.

        The CIA is responsible for 20 out of the last 10 coups in Latin America, according to certain sources. This is one thing that right wing nut jobs and left wing nut jobs can agree about.

        • Replies: @nebulafox
        Depends on the country: Latin America isn't a homogenous blob.

        In some, like Chile in the early 1970s, the US role was real, but indirect and not critical. Chile was not like Guatemala, it had a long history of successful, stable open government. The man who fell did so because he triggered constitutional and economic crisis which led to mass factionalism within Chilean society. Foreign intelligence (the Brazilians along with us) helped the revolting parties, but they hardly caused the internal political conditions that led to the repeated military coups in 1973. Pinochet actually helped put down a previous one that August. He probably noticed that the workers weren't going to defend Allende as he crushed the plotters. What the central-right politicians in Chile who tacitly approved of the army intervention didn't get was how much the Security Doctrine had infected the military, which would lead to the dictatorship.

        But then you have your Guatemalas and El Salvadors, places where American involvement in politics has historically often been authoritative, and where the seeds that would eventually develop further into the "invade the world, invite the world" mindset in future decades can be seen growing throughout the 1980s. Bush Senior ended up getting attacked in the early 1990s for rejecting the idea that these wars were worthy ends in themselves with the Cold War winding down by the neocons in the basement...
      284. @LondonBob
        Putin is a role model for how the West could be revitalised, hence the hate.

        The West could be revitalized by getting rid of a free press and turning democracy into a sham? If that’s our only path forward out of this, I’d rather stay in our current Clown World please. At least in Clown World no one smears Novichok on my doorknob.

        • Replies: @J.Ross
        So you honestly think Russia had a free press or a democracy any time recently?
        , @Art Deco
        I think you're overstating the probity of democratic institutions in various occidental countries at this time.

        That having been said, Russia's political order is disfigured by electoral fraud, by unequal access to the media among political competitors, and by episodic harassment of political dissidents. Regret to tell you all of these phenomena are present in attenuated form in the country in which you and I live. It's just that the opposition is popular enough to cadge a plurality of offices in spite of these forces.

        Russia's political culture differs from that of the rest of Eastern Europe, which in turn differs from that of western Europe. The balance of public opinion has for a generation now bounced around certain set points. Roughly 55% of the public has been content with The Machine. The remainder have been about equally divided between Soviet nostalgiacs, Russian nationalists, and the occidental spectrum. Russian nationalists are about equally divided between Zhirinovsky admirers and the remainder. The occidental spectrum is about equally divided between a social-liberal Europhile element and a more populist / social democratic element. The closest analogue is Mexico during the terminal phases of the PRI hegemony (during which time the opposition was vigorous, but represented a minority viewpoint).
      285. @Jack D
        I completely disagree with Caldwell's thesis:

        if you know enough about what a given American thinks of Putin, you can probably tell what he thinks of Donald Trump.
         
        Donald Trump is nothing like the thuggish Putin. Putin is what you get when you cross a Mafia Don with a KGB agent. He hasn't even been good for his own people aside from his buddies and he sure as hell ain't good for America.

        Since 1999, the following has transpired:

        1. Per capita product in real terms has doubled. (Bracketing out fuel and mineral exports and adjusting for income distribution, it resembles that of the U.S. ca. 1969)

        2. The share of nominal domestic product accounted for by fuel and mineral exports has declined (from 20% to 15%).

        3. The homicide rate has declined by 65% (still high at 9.2 per 100,000, to be sure).

        4. Life expectancy at birth has increased by 6 years (from 66.0 to 72.0, room for improvement).

        5. The total fertility rate has increased from 1.2 births per woman per lifetime to 1.8 births.

        6. A menu of present-tense macroeconomic indicators are satisfactory. Inflation rate is currently 0.3% per annum; employment-to-population ratio is 0.595; unemployment rate is 4.6% of the work force; the current account of the balance of payments is in surplus; the central government budget is in surplus to the tune of 2.7% of gdp; outstanding central government debt is currently 13.5% to gdp.

        7. Certain discrete problems have been tackled, e.g. the Chechen insurgency.

        8. The level and degree of political pluralism, public discussion, and freedom of movement exceeds that of any time span in Russia’s modern history (1789- ) bar, perhaps, two: 1905-17 and 1988-2004.

        You can fuss about how much of the foregoing is attributable to his contingent decisions, to be sure. Just remember there’s reasons this man’s approval ratings have been north of 80% at times.

        • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
        • Replies: @Curmudgeon

        Life expectancy at birth has increased by 6 years (from 66.0 to 72.0, room for improvement).
         
        This is true, however, actuaries, who make up the tables, ignore many things. Without factoring in things like wars, which skew life expectancy tables downward, there are factors that increase life expectancy upward, but do not actually prolong "normal" life expectancy. I can give two quick examples: 1) People with cystic fibrosis born before the 1980s, were lucky to live to age 18. Now they are living into their 30s. They will never live to "normal" life expectancy. 2) Also prior to the 1980s premature babies almost never survived at 34 weeks gestation, now they do. That doesn't alter the fact that large numbers of those premies suffer from birth defects. They may well live longer, even into adulthood, but they too, will never live to "normal" life expectancy.
        My grandmother was one of 6 children born in the 1870s and 80s. In the mid 1960s, all 6 were still living, and were over 80. My grandmother died at age 96, and the youngest died at 103. Some people just have better genes.