X-Message-Number: 16665
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 10:10:49 -0700
From: Lee Corbin <>
Subject: Facts About World War II

More historical mistakes:

>Americans bombed Japan with two A-Bombs? ... Did the American
>government need to sacrifice 150,000 or so of civilians for
>30,000-50,000 American lives?

It was estimated by the planners of the Final Conflict---as the
invasion of the Japanese home islands was called---that probably
500,000 American casualties would result, and perhaps twice that
many Japanese casualties.  We may suppose, therefore, that the
loss of life would have exceeded that of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki
atomic attacks by a factor of two or three.  The atomic bombings
saved many more Japanese lives than they cost.  And before yet
another historical inaccuracy is perpetrated, even with the 
nuclear bombing of those two cities, the Japanese government
just barely surrendered---it was a very close run thing.  (The
book "The Fall of Japan", by William Craig, describes the final
days in detail.)

>But it was decided that it was the right way to do it and
>"Japs" did not deserve any better.

Another myth, if you think that racism had anything to do
with it.  Please recall that more people died in the
bombing raid on Dresden than on any Japanese city, even
the horrible fire-bombing of Tokyo on March 13-14, 1945
which killed more people than Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

>Don't forget that Japanese Americans were put in the concentration
>camps in the USA during WWII, while their sons were fighting
>Japan and Hitler.  Isn't this a paradox?

It was absolutely necessary!  Military authorities estimated 
that perhaps as much as five percent of the Japanese-American
population would have welcomed a Japanese invasion of the
west coast.  Ever heard of the "Black Dragon"?  Uh, these are

extremely politically incorrect subjects, but the Black Dragon
was a group of Japanese-Americans ready to commit sabotage if
a Japanese invasion materialized.

The facts of the preceding paragraph are not likely to be
appreciated without granting the Japanese-Americans the same
human frailties that everyone else possesses.  Imagine for a
moment that you are a young American of Japanese ancestry 
living in America at the time.  But remove yourself from your
usual station in life, and imagine instead that you are in the
bottom five percent in terms of social standing (among your
own people), and in the bottom five percent in intelligence and
job success.  As with young men of any heritage, this creates
very tangible resentments.  You have also on a large number of
occasions been subjected to white racism and discrimination.
So how do you feel when you read in the newspapers of the
conquests of the invincible Japanese Army throughout east Asia?
Wouldn't your heart swell with pride as you read about the
exploits of these other young men so much like yourself?

We would have to give the Japanese-American citizens living in
the U.S. at the time---the overwhelming majority of which were
amazingly loyal to the United States (why, I cannot figure)---
almost superhuman status were we to imagine them free from the
same feelings that have always animated people throughout history.

>Americans lost in WWII fewer people than Soviets did. To the
>best of my knowledge the number of American POWs, KIAs, and
>MIAs was close to a million, while Russians had over 20,000,000...
>WWII is portrayed in US as "America's war" fought both in the
>European and Pacific theatres, however not too many people are
>aware of the dominant Soviet forces and their significant (if
>not overwhelming) contribution to defeating Hitler in Europe.

That's very true!

>Nonetheless, you don't hear about that in the press, it's not being
>discussed - why?  Because, at some point someone has decided that the
>political agenda of one government (US of A) is more important than
>straight facts.

Things are never "decided" in this way.  Every nation sees history
through its own rose-colored glasses, that's all.  There's no

>I hope this long e-mail has given you some food for thought.
>Nothing is stupid or barbaric, it happens, it just happens...

Yes, that's the best attitude!  It's completely pointless to
label large historical groups as "stupid".  It's much more
productive to try to understand WHY they did what they did.

(Quiz for the curious:  In what city did more people die during
a conflict than any other city in history, and by a factor of
about five or ten?   Hint: "Only Tanya is left.")

Lee Corbin

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