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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. [1] 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 [2].  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748 [3].)

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[7]COMMENT: While mov­ing some books, we came across Fred J. Cook’s [8] ana­lyt­i­cal account of the McCarthy peri­od, The Night­mare Decade [9]. 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 [10], whom Gen­er­al Joseph Stil­well [11]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 [12].

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 [13] 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 [14] places U.S. Chi­na pol­i­cy in his­tor­i­cal con­text [15], as do the shows we’ve done about the remark­able work of Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave [16].

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. [9]

. . . . 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 [17], the high Japan­ese gen­er­als are bosom bud­dies of the Chi­nese [18]. 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.” . . . .