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Japan 1945: possibility of a negotiated peace


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Showing 76-100 of 201 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 8:44:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2012 8:51:46 AM PST
brief

"There was no scheme , no strategic reserve of rice ready to rush to a prostate nation. The first thing the japanese received from their conquerors was contempt. Then a dribble of aid, clearly marked as to origin, titrated to minimise the likehood of revolt rather than prevent malnutrition. "

Ah yeah, that's it.

Let me provide with a thumbnail understanding of immediate post war analysis. "contempt" was not what the GI and US felt for the Japanese. The first thing they felt was hatred. But then they saw the state of the country. They were moved by the food shortages and the destitute wreckage of many cities. I am sorry they did not plan on feeding their hated enemy. As a curiosity, I would like your list of victors that feed populations that had just spent three and a half years killing them and torturing their POW's. I shall await your exhaustive list with much anticipation. Yet, I think I will wait until the Inferno freezes over.

But lets take it further. The US logistical capacity was nearly stretched to the breaking point feeding it's destitute allies and its soldiers and sailors with a shortage of farm help. But lets consider a little further, Japans population, about 70,000,000, all in need of food. I don't think the Chinese are going to be real cooperative, do you? Who does that really leave? The US. What does that mean in real terms. On VJ day the US is going to have a plan for coming up with 15 MILLION TONS of rice and ancillary foodstuffs and supplies in amounts I can't even begin to estimate. I would also point out that at that level we are talking 650 calories per day. If we were to really feed them we would have to ship on the order of 50 million tons of rice for the first year. This feat would have been a pretty mean accomplishment given that we have to grow it and ship it 5,000 miles. But the accomplishment becomes more staggering when one considers that the total US rice production for 1945 was about 3.5 million tons. I am sorry the understaffed farmers did not grow an additional 25+ million tons of rice. They just didn't plan for it.

Now that's just rice. Fertilizers, farm machinery, seed, pesticide, ancillaries. What about everything else? Locomotives, rail road tie, track, plumbing, ... even common niceties like toilet paper for heavens sake. The country was a wreck. You are using your imagination to substitute for reality. That's a troubling thing.

I will close by saying check your facts. Do even the roughest estimates. It is folks like you, that are fed nonsense as it it were facts, and then ... believe it, that trouble me.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 9:19:48 AM PST
Surfin,
It funny the posters are crying for the Japanese, Have they looked at what happened to the Germans and Eastern Europeans under Soviet rule in 1945 and 1946? Not only weren't they fed, the Soviets looted everything left in the countries and raped every woman they could get a hold of. Or the Japanese conduct in the countries they conqured? They were hardly models of civilized behavior to conqured peoples, or neutrals for that matter.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 10:20:40 AM PST
RMS

Then vote yes on my post!!! To be fair, the Japanese got a much better deal than did the Germans. What, 10 class A's convicted? And the complicit top dog skates! There are some real issues with the way the Tokyo Trials were handled. Some very important people walked (Ishii, Kishi, Aikakawa, whereas some relatively innocents were given rather harsh sentences (Kido, for example) the arbitrary nature was very troubling. The way Hirohito was treated always bugged me. He was complicit in the war, advocated for it, supported the army the entire way until the end, then he walks. I understand the necessity. The Japanese people as a whole probably benefited from it. But the exoneration and then absolvement of all responsibility REALLY bugs me.

I've blabbed enough. Those like brief live in this bubble of unreality that is staggering. It is fine to be compassionate. But not nonsensical, to condemn a people as deliberately cruel and vengeful for post war treatment of Japan ... for not doing what was impossible to do? Wow, that really requires so disassociation from the facts!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 11:02:32 AM PST
briefcandle says:
IGS, you are actually making my point, ie that the bombs did not end the starvation (nor the malnutrition).
As for the poster whose father ferried food stuffs ashore- most of the aid to post war japan came in the form of loans, which, when they became available were used to import calories and farm equipment. The japanese were not fed by international charity but by debt and their own efforts.

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 11:06:46 AM PST
briefcandle says:
Hey IGS, I just voted yes on your post. :-)

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 11:14:55 AM PST
briefcandle says:
I do think it worthwhile to have charged the emperor with something, to give him the opportunity to fly, maybe to lock him up for a while to suffer the ignominy of flushing his own toilet and squeezing his own toothpaste tube, perhaps exile him on ile d'yeu with petain ( de gaulle always wanted a part in the war on japan). I think that even some level of post war humiliation would have been useful in these times when wwii barely survives in the consciousness of the young japan.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 11:38:29 AM PST
briefcandle says:
re soviet looting

As a matter of policy factory plant and equipment was repatriated to the soviet union. During that first great burst of barbarossa a great deal of soviet industrial capacity was destroyed or removed to the reich-it didn't all get shifted behind the urals. Do you wonder how speer actually increased german production into 1944 despite allied bombing? Slave labour and the confiscated tools of production garnered by conquest.

You may call it looting a better word is reparation.

As for all those bicycles and wrist watches that the red army took from every german, that's looting.
As for every woman violated, that's rape- and from barbarossa to berlin, never did so many women suffer this way in modern times, or perhaps ever. But it is a delicate subject with the russians- there was outrage to antony beevor's 'berlin' in russia when it was published.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 11:48:17 AM PST
Brief

They did end the starvation, for without the end, it would have been even worse. "loans"? They paid 3% of that money back, they call that a grant. They were fed by international charity. In fact, under the circumstances, we felt a particular need to do so.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 12:21:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2012 12:28:07 PM PST
Laker Fan says:
briefcandle wrote:
"IGS, you are actually making my point, ie that the bombs did not end the starvation (nor the malnutrition)."

Yes, I was thinking along those same lines while reading his post. Atomic bombs or not, starvation and malnutrition would persist for years. Another thing that stood out was the inconsistency of justifying such raw hatred for the Japanese civilian population, yet at the same time claiming the merciful nature of nuking them so we could feed them sooner. If they were so evil and vile, why should he care whether or not they starved?

Also, it should be noted that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, including an estimated 200,000 young children, starved to death during the Iraq Sanctions of 1990-2003. And the Iraqi government did nothing nearly as heinous as the Japanese govenrment during WW2. Either way, it was the civilians who paid. A horrible situation, no matter how you look at it. Where is IGS's bleeding heart for those poor, starving Iraqis? Would it have been preferable to nuke Baghdad in August 1990 and save hundreds of thousands more lives down the road? That is what IGS's logic teaches us.

In the end, it is evident the international community of nations have made a moral choice. Direct attacks on civilians by nuclear, chemical, biological, incendiary, and other weapons are illegal under any and all circumstances. Blockades and economic sanctions are legal, provided: "Relief consignments, equipment and personnel must be able to pass rapidly and freely if the assistance is meant for the civilian population of the opposing side. This includes medicines, religious items, food and clothing."

Current international law makes the moral choice pretty clear, going forward. Only those who lack respect for the law will dispute this.

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 1:37:35 PM PST
Dodge

"yet at the same time claiming the merciful nature of nuking them so we could feed them sooner. If they were so evil and vile, why should he care whether or not they starved?"

In the beginning they couldn't have cared less whether the Japanese starved. Although in the end they did provide them with some $15 billion (1945 dollars) in grants. So I don't know what that says.

But the US upper echelons were worried about two things. 1) Casualties. Truman was looking at estimates ranging from a quarter of a million and up, the army was planning for more than that. So that is the main motivation. And 2) ending the war in a manner such that there would be no more wars (that is old 1918 working in Truman's head). They all remembered that. Short, decisive, and total victory was needed. I'd say they succeeded on both counts. Japan has been a downright good citizen in the world since. That's a winner.

As for Iraq, who cares. I did not care for the Japanese and the majority of Americans did not either. I believe that any aid organization was free to provide food. Moreover, is there some reason that the fertile crescent chose not to feed its people? That is not on anyone's head but the Iraqi's.

"Where is IGS's bleeding heart for those poor, starving Iraqis? "

Bleeding heart? My point was in response to another poster who suggested US culpability for not feeding the Japanese. My response was we had none. Efforts were made, but the requirements were vastly beyond the US's capability to do so. I am not sure a different take away can be had from my post. Moreover, they WERE evil and vile (that is what my post said), we hated them (my post said that), but this turned to pity in a relatively short period (my post said that) so whatever do you mean?

As far as the Iraqi's, anyone could have shipped them food had they wanted to do so, could they not? In other words, what's your point.

And to return to Japan, yes a quick end to the war DID prevent worsening starvation. The vast bulk of Japanese ag resources were in the countryside, away from the large starving urban centers (as they generally are today). Well in order to get food from the ag centers to the cities you have to ship it there. Well war means all of those road and rail nets are getting shot up on a daily basis. Essentially unusable. War ending enables transit to begin again. It enables repair of network. It enables importation of US locomotives and rolling stock within weeks, fuel, road net recovery. That was the critical element in short term starvation alleviation. Yes, ending the war changed everything. Let alone providing a new lease on life given to all of those in the occupied territories and the front line combat troops that were no longer fighting, let alone the POW's. Nope, those bombs save plenty. And a quick end to the war was in everyone's interest.

I have never understood the nature divorce from reality on this issue. Was it too far? I don't know. But it did do the trick.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 2:30:02 PM PST
patrick says:
I guess Hirohito was also instrumental in hastening the final no more screwing around with ridiculous lists of conditions such as the first real Japanese peace offer in late July or August,
just do it today, final surrender decision...and some would say that makes him a man of peace ultimately and he maybe deserved some levity..
But of course if Hitler had offered to give it up late 1944 early 1945, there would have been no breaks given to him...even if he wanted it.
Which is unlikely...you can no more picture Hitler ever becoming a willing prisoner than you can the average Pacific island garrison Japanese general.
the record does perhaps suggest that the Emperor fully expected to be arrested and executed by the occupiers and that he said that that is of no consequence.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 2:35:19 PM PST
patrick says:
de gaulle always wanted a part in the war on japan

I wonder why.

Why be interested in anything except the liberation and recovery of France, if ur someone like de Gaulle...maybe the SE Asia colonial angle, same angle the NEI honchos would have had in Indonesia.

Maybe just to make sure France had bargaining power in case the Americans said, thats it, no more white colonialism in Asia, everyone gets independance"

which America would be cautious about so doing, because every significant Independance movement in Asia, as soon as they morphed from pro-Japanese to anti-Japanese, also tended to be communist-scripted.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 2:40:06 PM PST
patrick says:
Also, it should be noted that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, including an estimated 200,000 young children, starved to death during the Iraq Sanctions of 1990-2003"

naw, they didnt.

if u ask them, btw, they will tell you that everyone in Gaza is starving.

Everytime there is a story on Gaza in news, every person in background seems to outweigh me by at least 20 pounds and most of the women look like they would have to at least breathe in to fit through my doorway.
its the other little game they play with the West, along with the 'we're all innocent civilians and were all being genocided in war crimes" routine.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 2:46:21 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2012 2:48:01 PM PST
patrick says:
there is that moving footage of that small Japanese child sitting violently trembling , if u have ever seen it,it comes up in many Pacific war history/documentaries I think maybe its in the aftermath of Saipan or Iwo Jima or Okinawa...I dont know if that sequence film was ever shown in America while war was still on, but its maybe one of the few pieces of wartime film taken prior to the atomic bombings, that elicits a strong human compassion/pity reaction for a Japanese, that Ive seen..

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 2:56:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2012 2:56:58 PM PST
patrick says:
As far as the Iraqi's, anyone could have shipped them food had they wanted to do so, could they not? In other words, what's your point

and they were free to purchase as much as they wanted, and they had oil to pay, and even if they hadnt, theyd have gotten credit for food..
Its all nonsense...It was the transparent game Saddam played to get sanctions and inspections lifted altogether, and resume doing what he wanted to do..
ably assisted by Western flake-fringe-left-propgandist Arabists like the UKs George Galloway, I might add..

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 3:51:42 PM PST
You are right patrick. The whole bit on Saipan where the GI using bull horns begging the Japanese civilians to not jump off cliff's is so sad. There was pity. It is endemic in the culture and it predates WWII by many years. I think of the sinking of the ship Titanic where a Japanese passenger (the only one) managed to escape the sinking. When he returned he was reviled as a coward, lost is job, and was publicly condemned in the press. I remember reading some of the minutes of meeting between Grew and Truman when they were discussing how to phrase a condition of surrender such that it would not compel mass suicide among the Japanese. It was a really weird time.

But no, I do not give Hirohito a pass. He was a diehard Imperial possession expansion and hold advocate until late in the war, he advocated for the war at the beginning, and until late in the game he was a Ketsun-go advocate. He certainly could have advocated for peace in mid-'44 when it was clear that the war was lost. But he did not. Later he did not do so as he feared assassination as many did. I don't understand the Japanese psychology of the period very well. That in part is what lead to the bombings. But, no Hirohito is not the great advocate of peace he is painted to be. He is a complicit war criminal as guilty as Hitler and his coterie.

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 4:06:19 PM PST
patrick says:
I think of the sinking of the ship Titanic where a Japanese passenger (the only one) managed to escape the sinking. When he returned he was reviled as a coward, lost is job, and was publicly condemned in the press. I remember reading some of the minutes

thats astonishing, I didnt know of that story. That isnt even anything involving being involved in a conflict, nor is it a case of an accident which occured in any way on his watch.He wasnt even crew, was a passenger, and hes not allowed to survive an accident that he had no role in bringing about.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 4:16:20 PM PST
patrick says:
basically the war and abusing China was a good idea while the game was going their way, i guess...

Storrey makes an interesting assertion in the history im reading, regarding Tojo. I always knew that of course the public were not being told of the defeats/disasters either late or earlier in the war, Midway was reported as a victory, noone officially knew that the cream of the carrier force was there just b4 Midway, then mysteriously missing after it.
But Storrey says that even -Tojo-- had not been told about the disastrous outcome at Midway.
Im not sure what thats about, the Navy Army enmity taken to extreme where even if the Army figure is the ranking executive in the government itself, that the Navy wont admit that they have had their clocks cleaned, even to him.
Surely that at least the bare failure of the actual objective to take Midway must have been admitted, even if in some gobbldegook legalese language.
the Navy which had never known an actual defeat went to take Midway...theyre back, or some of them are, and someone besides Japan is still residing on Midway...seems a fairly easy exercise in joining the dots that something at least went wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 4:46:37 PM PST
Yeah

It's a weird story. I think the guy's name was Hoshono. The only reason I know is because I was bored waiting for my son to finish his homework, so I picked up a book called "1912". It is an exhaustive understanding of the Titanic, the ship, its manufacture, and its fatal demise.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 5:18:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2012 5:33:46 PM PST
Laker Fan says:
IGS wrote:
"That is not on anyone's head but the Iraqi's."

That is precisely why blockade is currently considered acceptable under international law, and nuking civilians is not. And that is why blockade of Japan would also be considered acceptable under current international law, and nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not.

"As far as the Iraqi's, anyone could have shipped them food had they wanted to do so, could they not? In other words, what's your point."

My point is that blockade, even though it can and often does result in large amounts of suffering and death, is considered morally and legally acceptable under current international law. While nuking cities is not. Even if the blockade actually causes more deaths in the long run. Current international law does not automatically assume the lower number of deaths is the morally acceptable choice. The reason is that dropping nukes on cities is an intentional act of deliberate, purposeful killing, while in most cases civilian casualties caused by blockade are unintentional. The US blockade of Japan had the direct goal of depriving Japan of crticial strategic materials, not to starve the population, which was an unintended side effect. The atomic bombings had the specific goal of killing as many civilians as possible to force the Japanese to surrender. This actually fits the definition of terrorism, in case you were not aware. If you are incapable of comprehending the moral distinction between these two choices, then there is not much more I can say about the matter.

"but this turned to pity in a relatively short period (my post said that) so whatever do you mean?"

You use this "pity" as a justification to argue that dropping the atomic bombs was the moral thing to do. It alleviated the suffering of many Japanese. But, why wasn't this same "pity" applied to the Iraqis 50 years later? That is whatever I mean.

"Nope, those bombs save plenty. And a quick end to the war was in everyone's interest."

Yet, we didn't do that to Baghdad in August 1990. Or Hanoi in 1965. Why not? A quick end to either war was in everyone's interest.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 5:31:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2012 5:33:22 PM PST
Laker Fan says:
IGS wrote:
"It is an exhaustive understanding of the Titanic, the ship, its manufacture, and its fatal demise."

Sounds like an interesting book.

In the movie Titanic, the ship's owner Ismay defies the "women and children first" rule and gets on a lifeboat. The look of utter contempt and disgust in the face of the British sailor lowering the lifeboat spoke volumes. But, perhaps Ismay justified his choice to himself thus:
"I am causing the death of a woman, and possibly her child, by taking their place on this lifeboat. But, using my wealth and power, I will save the lives of many more by contributions to philanthropic causes for the rest of my life. Yes, the ends justify the means."

Good luck convincing that British sailor of Ismay's moral courage.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 8:15:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2012 12:01:41 AM PST
Dodge

"My point is that blockade, even though it can and often does result in large amounts of suffering and death, is considered morally and legally acceptable ... While nuking cities is not. Even if the blockade actually causes more deaths in the long run. ... dropping nukes on cities is an intentional act of deliberate, purposeful killing, while in most cases civilian casualties caused by blockade are unintentional ... "

Convenient fig leaf of a distinction don't you think. Probable starvation versus probable incineration, long slow death versus likely instantaneous disintegration. Hmmmm, tough choice. Dead is dead Dodge. Seems like a convenient way of avoiding a war crime prosecution, nothing more.

I should rather think that a blockade against Hanoi was unworkable. I suspect it would have been a great idea. Bomb every road and rail line anywhere near the city, kill anything that even remotely looks like a SAM site, and mine the harbor, then strafe anything that moves near the city. I think that would have been a workable alternative. Given that it enabled you to hold the entire civilian population of Hanoi hostage. Probably a better alternative given the importance of Hanoi.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 10:41:05 PM PST
Surfin,
That's essentially what Nixon did with the linebacker campaigns. They cut the road and rail links from the PRC and mined Haiphong Harbor and it's approaches so the the Soviet aid couldn't get through. That was what forced the North to the Paris Peace Talks, and the signature of the (temporary) peace treaty.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 6:59:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2012 7:08:27 AM PST
Laker Fan says:
IGS wrote:
"Convenient fig leaf of a distinction don't you think."

Convenient enough to be international law. Blocakdes are legal. Nuclear bombing of cities is not. That is the law. I did not make the law. But at least I can read and comrpehend it.

Convenient enough that blockade was the method used against Iraq from 1990 to 2003. Despite the hundreds ot thousands of civilian deaths that occurred, I don't hear very many people arguing that we should have nuked Baghdad instead. I don't hear very many people arguing for the nuclear bombing of Hanoi, either.

I can also comprehend the moral distinction between deliberate and violent slaughter of civilians, and unintentional (collateral) deaths of civilians. I say again, if you are incapable of comprehending the moral distinction between these two situations, there is not much I can say that will make a difference.

In the end, our difference of opinion centers on two fundamental questions.
1. Is "the ends justify the means" argument sufficient to morally justify direct attacks against civilians? You say yes, I say no.
2. Should international law apply equally and fully to everyone on this planet, at least in prinicple if not in actual practice? You say no, I say yes.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2012 7:24:19 AM PST
Dodger,
What I don't think you realize is that in war, the most ruthless participant sets the rules. If you allow your opponent to operate in any manner that he pleases without repercussions, you will lose. The only way to enforce the rules of war is retaliation. If he breaks the rules you can't obey them either unless you want to surrender an unsurmountable advantage to your enemy.

If there was some mechanism to enforce the rules of war it would be nice, but there isn't, so the most ruthless participant can drive the moral level of a war rather than the more idealistic participant (which is usually the US)
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Initial post:  Aug 16, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 28, 2014

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