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Reflections on “V-J Day”

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by 12/19/2014. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) contains FTR #827.  (The previous flash drive was current through the end of May of 2012 and contained FTR #748.)

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COMMENT: While moving some books, we came across Fred J. Cook’s analytical account of the McCarthy period, The Nightmare Decade. One of the focal points of Cook’s book is McCarthy’s theme that State Department [Communist] treachery had “lost” China to Mao and his forces.

Aside from the airy presumption that China was “ours” to “lose,” McCarthy’s thesis ignored the effects of U.S. policy in that country before, during and after, World War II. (This transgression is, of course, supplemental to Tailgunner Joe’s fabrication of evidence against those he targeted.)

In addition to support for Chiang Kai-Shek, whom General Joseph Stilwell compared to Mussolini, U.S. policy of using scores of thousands of Japanese soldiers as anti-Communist combatants was loathsome to the Chinese population, who had felt the full measure of Japanese atrocity during years of warfare.

Leafing through Nightmare Decade for the first time in years, we came across a passage read into the record in AFA #11.

More than 16 months after V-J Day (the official conclusion of the hostilities of World War II in Asia, the U.S. was countenancing the use of 80,000 Japanese troops (roughly eight divisions) as anti-Communist combatants in eastern and northwestern Manchuria alone!

Having been raised on Victory at Sea and similar fare, this passage is yet another reminder that–70 years or so after V-J Day–“we’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.”

In retrospect, we never were.

FTR #426 places U.S. China policy in historical context, as do the shows we’ve done about the remarkable work of Sterling and Peggy Seagrave.

The Nightmare Decade: The Life and Times of Senator Joe McCarthy by Fred J. Cook; Copyright 1971 by Fred J. Cook; Random House [HC]; ISBN 0-394-46270-x; p. 219.

. . . . When the war ended, China was in utter chaos. Thousands of Japanese troops wandered around the countryside, fully armed, with no one accepting their surrender. John F. Melby [a State Department officer], in a day-by-day diary he kept at the time, reflected in bewilderment upon this anomaly. On December 27, 1945, he noted: “I still don’t understand about the Japanese. Officially they are being disarmed, but the fact is they never seem to be. In Shanghai, fifteen thousand still walk the streets with full equipment. In Nanking, the high Japanese generals are bosom buddies of the Chinese. In the north, tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers are used to guard railroads and warehouses and to fight the Communists. If you ask what this is all about, the answer is either a denial or in more candid moments a ‘Shh, we don’t talk about that.'” In another entry on January 30, 1947, a good sixteen months after V-J Day, Melby noted that, though it was being kept “very quiet,” there were “eighty thousand holdout Japanese troops in eastern and northwestern Manchuria, who are fully equipped, fighting the Communists.” . . . .

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