Wednesday, September 02, 2015

70 years ago

A triumph for a great generation in America, even though I'm a complete revisionist believing it wasn't really our war. Japan wanted an Asian empire, to become sort of the Britain of Asia (islands with few natural resources except intelligence and industry) to compete with us, the British, and the Dutch, who then had Asian colonies. Not to excuse Japanese atrocities (they hate other Asians and were brutal to us), but why not a deal with imperial Japan, like Nixon did with Red China decades later? They didn't want to rule America and couldn't anyway. (Interesting fact: the Japanese admirals didn't want the war. They knew it was unwinnable and they liked the British; their navy was patterned after the Royal Navy, and they'd served together in World War I.)

The Missouri: what a beautiful ship. Been aboard one of her sisters, the New Jersey, likewise a museum, across the river from me in Camden. The Iowa class was built for a kind of fighting that already was becoming obsolete, ship-vs.-ship gunfights, from the Armada to Nelson at Trafalgar to the British (the King George V) sinking the Bismarck. They were built to fight the even bigger Japanese Yamato class (guns with 18-inch shells vs. the Iowas' 16-inch ones), which U.S. carrier planes sank. The Iowas ended up doing anti-aircraft cover for the new capital ships, the carriers in their task forces, and lots of shore bombardment (Korea and Vietnam).

The war arguably ended Aug. 14 with the cease-fire, today with the surrender ceremony, or in 1952 when our formal military occupation/rule of Japan ended. They're still a U.S. protectorate, naturally our biggest ally in Asia. (South Korea's probably second. The Philippines likes us but they're not a powerhouse.) How about Japan paying for its own defense, really? (Having renounced war after their defeat, they have only a token military.)

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