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Requiem for Victory at Sea, Part 3 (The “Fortunes” of War?)

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The B‑29 Super­fortress

COMMENT: Hav­ing been born in 1949, I grew up with World War II as a crit­i­cal ele­ment of my polit­i­cal, civic and cog­ni­tive upbring­ing. I vivid­ly remem­ber watch­ing the doc­u­men­tary “Vic­to­ry at Sea” on tele­vi­sion as a child. As I have grown old­er, more knowl­edge­able and wis­er, learn­ing the truth about World War II has been very sad and painful.

Watch­ing the films of World War II, the hero­ism of Allied and U.S. com­bat­ants was deeply impressed on my per­son­al­i­ty and per­cep­tions. Footage of U.S. air­men in com­bat with Ger­man and Japan­ese planes res­onates dif­fer­ent­ly now, under­scor­ing the tragedy of the events and the cyn­i­cism that appears to have dic­tat­ed strat­e­gy devised by key offi­cers and politi­cians.

In FTR #905, among oth­er broad­casts, we have detailed the pro­found cor­po­rate links between Amer­i­can oli­garchs and their coun­ter­parts in Japan. As the Sea­graves not­ed in an excerpt of The Yam­a­to Dynasty sum­ma­riz­ing the after­math of World War II in Asia: “. . . . Amer­i­ca’s oli­garchs had res­cued Japan’s oli­garchs. . . .”

The Amer­i­can air war against Japan may well have been selec­tive­ly con­duct­ed, with dev­as­tat­ing fire­bomb­ing raids dec­i­mat­ing the res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hoods of much of Japan, while spar­ing the infra­struc­ture vital to the Zaibat­sus (giant con­glom­er­ates that dominated–and con­tin­ue to dominate–the Japan­ese econ­o­my) and the coun­try’s war-mak­ing capac­i­ty.

The pos­si­bly that this appar­ent­ly delib­er­ate strat­e­gy was designed to dec­i­mate that ele­ment of the Japan­ese pop­u­la­tion that might have sought a more egal­i­tar­i­an polit­i­cal and social struc­ture, while spar­ing the elite is one to be seri­ous­ly con­tem­plat­ed.

This pos­si­bil­i­ty will be fur­ther explored in future posts.

Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; pp. 115–116.

. . . . Despite pro­pa­gan­da to the con­trary, Amer­i­can and Euro­peans who toured Japan imme­di­ate­ly after the sur­ren­der were sur­prised that infra­struc­ture, fac­to­ries, util­i­ties, and rail­ways were large­ly intact, thanks to selec­tive Amer­i­can bomb­ing. Fire­bomb­ing had destroyed tens of thou­sands of the tin­der­box homes of ordi­nary Japan­ese, giv­ing Tokyo the look of a dev­as­tat­ed city, but great estates, fac­to­ries and vital infra­struc­ture seemed mag­i­cal­ly to have been spared. John Dev­er notes: “Vast areas of poor peo­ple’s res­i­dences, small shops and fac­to­ries in the cap­i­tal were gut­ted . . . but a good num­ber of the homes of the wealthy in fash­ion­able neigh­bor­hoods sur­vived. . . Toky­o’s finan­cial dis­trict [was] large­ly undam­aged. Undam­aged, also, was the build­ing that housed much of the impe­r­i­al mil­i­tary bureau­cra­cy at war’s end. . . . Rail­ways still func­tioned more or less effec­tive­ly through­out the coun­try . . . U.S bomb­ing pol­i­cy . . . had tend­ed to reaf­firm exist­ing hier­ar­chies of for­tune. . .”

 

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