(Editorial cartoon courtesy of SOFREP’s own Robert L. Lang, Master Cartoonist, created specially for this essay)
The Japanese (and other particulars) are mad, folks, boy are they mad. They are oh, ever-so mad, and in fact took to playing the race card over the white devil-race of America, who chose Asia as their sounding rod, their Rosetta stone for their newly discovered nuclear arsenal. Yes, the western heathens dropped not one but two nukes on the peaceful idyllic cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I’m comfortably sure that playing the race card meant jack squat to any governing faction during the second World War, so the Japanese waited for decades to try to play it. Why? Beats the dog crap out of me. Was it sympathy, restoration, reparations? Perhaps they should go ask the Chinese in Nanking how that is supposed to work.
The notion has come up time and again among the international peace-nic USA-bashing community of zealot nations, that America made a racist decision to test its nuclear weapons on the yellow man in the pacific theater, vice dropping the nuke on Caucasian Berlin in the Atlantic theater. That, a fact-less expostulation built on a wet sand foundation. I could eat a box of Alphabets and crap a better hypothesis.
The Japanese have a very strong case there, and if by ‘strong’ I mean ‘weak or practically non-existent’ then, ok sure, a strong case; feel the POWAH! Enter the case of the bombing of the German city Dresden. That is a deliberate case of Caucasians pounding the B-Jesus out of Caucasians for no military or strategic reason whatsoever. Dresden was home to countless priceless artifacts and monuments to architecture, but nothing an armada of RAF Avro Lancasters and Curtiss LeMay’s 8th USAAF Flying Forts couldn’t handle, nossirree!
The rage I feel over the destruction of Dresden is as real as the rage I feel over the loss of U.S. sons on Peleliu Pelao in the South Pacific, Hamburger Hill in Vietnam, Heartbreak Ridge in Korea, and every trench charge by the Anzacs on Gallipoli, Turkey… just really didn’t need to happen; they were just a means to no end.
Dresden was arguably one of the greatest horrific tragedies of the entire war, and there were a great many to choose from. Yes friends, the atrocities competition during that Word War was fierce. The military tactical gains from the destruction of cities like Dresden and Hiroshima were paltry at best. The strategic value proved to be remarkable at least.
The decision to hit Japanese cities with nuclear weapons was part of a deliberate strategic plan to hasten the end of the war with that country, specifically eliminating the necessity to invade Japan. That, in exchange of an estimated 1,000,000 casualties in a protracted land invasion campaign. You see, sometimes you have to kill a few people, in order to save a lot of people. In order to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.
Con: Dresden was a peaceful town
Pro: Dresden presented several factories that produced military hardware in support of the Nazi war effort
Con: Dresden was an artisan city boasting fine arts and glass/porcelain unmatched in the world
Pro: Dresden boasted a major rail hub and was considered a principal avenue of communication for the Nazi war effort in eastern Germany
Should have, would have, could have. Ol’ Humpty Dumpty himself Winston Churchill can be squarely placed on the whipping boy pedestal for the Dresden bombing. Although the attack was dominated as a joint British/American undertaking, it was indeed Winston that brokered the deal to pummel Dresden and other German cities of pallid military value.
In some of Churchill’s earliest memos and dispatches on the subject, ‘instilling a sense of “terror” in the German people’ were to the effect words that he would regret after the fact for years, as he tried to shrink from responsibility for the massacre and destruction.
What of the death toll? On the conservative and more scientific end of the estimate is 25,000 deaths, while on the wildest fringe of imagination of the spectrum is the high water mark of 500,000 victims, the latter, dwarfing the figure of the two Japanese cities combined.
The tremendous disparity in estimates lay in the fact that the city was swelled with refugee’s and those fleeing from the advance of the red war machine in the east: prisoners of war, defectors, deserters, and soldiers convalescing from wounds received at the front. Such a glut of people under the myriad of circumstances is simply a ponderous task to maintain with any degree of accuracy of inventory.
Corpses were difficult or impossible to identify. Many many other people simply were not missed. Imagine if you were to perish in a firestorm that was so vast, that everybody who would have missed you perished as well. If you died in a fire and nobody missed you, were you ever even alive to begin with? Whole families and entire neighborhoods vanished without a trace.
In an extreme case an entire Luftschutzhause (bomb shelter) of 1000-person capacity a perdu completely. The structure was broken open and nothing remained but bones floating in a rancid brown/green liquid of essentially melted fat. People vanished.
Bombers carried a calculated and tested ratio of high explosive (HE) bombs to incendiary bombs. HE would blow roofs, doors, and windows from houses, creating open air channels that would feed oxygen to a massive fire storm vortex that formed in the center of the city and rose thousands of feet into the sky. People disappeared.
Winds generated by the gargantuan vortices are estimated to have reached ~150 miles per hour, pulling children out of parents’ arms, and dragging scores of people through streets into the heart of the twister of flame. People simply disappeared.
Graves registration was anything but impeccable. The amount of corpses was so overwhelming that the urgency to ‘neutralize’ them by interment or cremation held priority over proper identification. The haste to rid the city of rotting corpses lead to massive open-air cremation pallets where the dead were stacked by hundreds awaiting extermination.
American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, an American prisoner of war held in Dresden at the time of the bombing, renders a horrific first-hand account of the experience in his famous novel: Slaughter House Five. Vonnegut, as a prisoner of war, was tasked with recovery of bodies from all measure of scenario, including the breach of an underground shelter where thousands had succumbed to the heat and oxygen-deprived atmosphere of the ground zero vortex. Bodies would continue to be discovered in the ruins for over a decade of clean up and reconstruction of the fairytale city of Dresden.
Japanese war guilt? I think not. Of all the glass houses in all the countries that ‘participated’ in World War II, I think a Japanese glass house is the thinnest and most brittle of all-—careful hurling your guilt rocks, Japan! And by the way: “Shutup!” And another thing: Korea called; they want all their trees back.
What does George E. Hand IV think of it all? Well, the civilian geo is simply appalled and clutches his pearls as he flips through the Dresden photo album. The veteran Ice-G is shedding tear after crocodile tear.
Like it or not, the Allied Forces in the day knew what it took to win a world war in just about four years. The US has lost that resolve, that audacity, those balls. Somewhere and somehow along the way, America has traded all of that fortitude and resigned to a quagmire of being stuck in two Vietnams at the same time, losing son after son, daughter after daughter.
Finally, I am put in mind of a true story I had the pleasure of being a part of: My Green Beret A-Team and I went to Japan one winter to teach cold weather training to elements of the 25th Infantry Division from Schofield Barracks Hawaii.
Our junior engineer was a strapping American farm boy from Idaho, God’s other country, and Abraham was his name-o. He didn’t say much. He had a really goofy voice, and a goofy accent to match. He simply resigned to the notion that he looked and sounded stupid. We loved him nonetheless.
As we had just landed in Tokyo, and were awaiting transportation, we elected to partake in a $20 ‘Supah Hipstah’ American-style sandwich and coffee. As we quietly sat, ate, sipped, and chatted, I noticed a close-by table had taken apparent notice of the American military man-band that we were, and I felt a brief encounter was afoot. I just hoped it would be a cordial one.
No such luck.
So then the turkey carver at the other table, after much banter with his slack-jawed samurai posse, got up and sauntered over to our table, where he stood snobbishly with his hands on his girlishly slender hips. “How do you do?” one of my bros greeted smiling.
“Hello you, American soldiers,” the college-age man began “My grandfather was fightah pilot in World War II. He shot down many American planes, and killed many American soldiers,” he sneered.
The brothers and I looked at each other stunned and enraged, looking for one another to come up with a retort for this pompous pin-headed punk. Except for Abe, stupid Abe, nobody looked at him because he was just… stupid, and never had anything clever to say.
It was then that Abraham took a sip of coffee, grinned his goofy grin, and in his goofy voice answered: “Hey that’s cool; my grandfather was the bombardier on the Enola Gay—-sayonara shithead!”
And the homeboys roared with laughter, amazement, and genuine great affection for their Engineer, Abraham. Advantage: Murica!!