View Full Version : Reflections On WWII Beginnings/End/Today

08-13-2015, 05:06 PM

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WW2's End Links To Its Origins
by Austin Bay (http://www.austinbay.net/)
August 11, 2015

Atom bombs destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki end the Hollywood version of WW2. It's stunning cinema: a fireball, a cloud, and the curtain drops.

That rendition, however, misses the post-Nagasaki political intrigue in Tokyo. Japan could not respond to the atomic attacks. The inability to respond spurred more sober Japanese leaders in the "peace" faction to risk assassination, confront the "war" faction's hard-core fanatics and convince the emperor to seek peace.

The fanatics still wanted to fight. Obsessed fanatics, be their obsession bushido or lebensraum or workers paradise or the Caliphate, don't drop the sword.

This 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings and the end of the war (August 15) is generating the usual pro and con commentary over President Harry Truman's decision to use atomic weapons. Paul Fussell's classic essay "Thank God for the Atom Bomb" more than answers the wails, kvetches and anti-American accusations of the con crowd. Fussell noted that when the bombs were dropped the Allies were suffering 7,000 casualties per week in the Pacific. In the days after Nagasaki, as Tokyo's peace and war factions intrigued, "captured American fliers were executed (heads chopped off); the U.S. submarine Bonefish was sunk (all aboard drowned); the destroyer Callaghan went down ... and the Destroyer Escort Underhill was lost."

The "heads chopped off" echoes contemporary fanatics. The Islamic State in the Levant chops off the heads of 12-year-old kids.

The anniversary of WW2's end, however, strikes me as an opportune time to quickly survey how the war began. The final act does connect to the first acts.