WWII's Japanese War Lords Left off the Hook!
Recently, ceremonies of "Remembrance" were held for the victims of the U.S.' A-bombings of Japan. No mention, however, was made of the fascist Japanese War Lords, like Hideki Tojo, who had launched wars of aggression against Asian/Pacific states, beginning in 1931, and with the U.S., in 1941. Tojo's granddaughter recently said, "Japan didn't fight wars of aggression." Ignoring the evils of the War Lords plays into the hands of the Revisionists.
Some of the ways in which the August, 1945 A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. were recalled recently grossly distorted history and were very one-sided. They leave the WWII's Japanese War Lords, and war criminals, like Hideki Tojo, off the hook for their horrific crimes against humanity, which included the killing of millions of peoples, especially in China. Also, over 200,000 women in the territories occupied by Japan: China, Korea and other Asian/Pacific states, were turned into sexual slaves ("comfort women") to serve the officers of the Japanese Imperial Army. (1) Although Tojo, with others, was put on trial for his war crimes after WWII and executed for his evil deeds, (2) his granddaughter recently insisted that he was a scapegoat and that "Japan didn't fight wars of aggression." (3)
The Baltimore Sun reporting on Aug. 9, 2005, about the Nagasaki 'Remembrance' ceremony, said the mayor of that city, "criticized U.S. nuclear policy..." However, the Nagasaki mayor didn't say one single word about how Japanese fascists were responsible for launching WWII. So, what are the people of his city to think? Probably, that America was the aggressor in the conflict and that Japan was just an innocent victim! I'm afraid the new generation growing up in Japan isn't being told the entire truth about WWII, nor, as well, are their counterparts in the U.S. How then, are they ever to learn the lessons of the history of that critical period?
The fanatical Japanese War Lords, who were political cronies of the equally fanatical Nazis, are the ones who started the conflict with the U.S. by their preemptive attack on Pearl Harbor. (Haven't we heard that word "preemptive" a lot lately?) The War Lords, with their Imperial Army, are the ones who also rampaged through China, Korea, Manchuria, Singapore, the Philippines, and other countries in the Asia/Pacific region, beginning in 1931, and up until 1945. (1) They left in their bloodstained wake massive destruction, death, misery and mayhem. In December, 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the city of Nanking, in China. Within a period of three months, it had slaughtered roughly 350,000 Chinese and raped an estimated 20,000 women. According to the author of the expose', "The Rape of Nanking," the victims: men, women and children were "killed with bayonets, swords, even bamboo sticks. Their bodies [were] sexually mutilated." (4)
Unfortunately, the frame of reference that is used surrounding events remembering the dropping of the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki contain little or no context like the above. It's all about the Americans dropping the A-bombs and the Japanese victims. Period! Case closed! The vicious Japanese thugs who began a campaign of naked aggression against their neighboring countries as early as 1931, (and deliberately, without any warning, attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, with hopes of landing a knockout punch on the U.S.), and, who are ultimately responsible for all the carnage that followed, including the inexcusable maltreatment of POWs, aren't even mentioned! Can you image someone letting Adolf Hitler's murderous Nazi gang get off that easily for its massive crimes against humanity during WWII?
Biological warfare was also on the agenda of these scheming Japanese fascists. From 1932 to 1945, Imperial Japan was developing germ warfare for its military. This notorious project centered mostly in northern China, became known as "Unit 731." Thousands of Chinese men, women and children, Koreans, and POWs, too, including some Americans, were infested with strains of anthrax, bubonic plague, cholera and other diseases. In all, an estimated 580,000 victims died. The scientist, who ran the operation, Dr. Shiro Ishii, incredibly, escaped prosecution for his wrongdoings. (5) Does anyone doubt that these dangerous biological chemicals would have, if possible, been used on American cities by these demented War Lords?
Few Americans of my generation will ever forget the stories about the "Bataan Death March" of April 9th-15th, 1942. (6) On those dates, surrendering American and Filipino POWs, 70,000 of them, were forced to march by their Japanese captors, 65 miles in searing heat to a prison camp, located at Camp O'Donnell. Bataan is a peninsula found in the Luzon providence of the Philippines. With little or no water or food, almost 10,000 perished along the way. Some were left out in the sun to die, others were beheaded for falling behind or killed for just no reason at all. No mercy was shown the desperate POWs by the Japanese. After the war, the Japanese monster in charge of that ghastly operation, General Masharu Homma, was convicted of War Crimes and executed on April 3, 1946, outside of Manila.
And, then there is also that shocking, never-to-be-forgotten photo of the badly-emaciated General Jonathan Wainwright. He was the highest ranking American POW of the so-called "Japanese Empire." Wainwright, and the troops under his command, gallantly defended the island of Corregidor fortress in the Philippines until required to surrender on May 6, 1942, to the overwhelming Japanese forces. He then spent the next three years as a POW, barely kept alive by his captors, until the prison camp that he was confined in, on Manchuria, was liberated by the Russian Army. (7)
One of the worst Japanese atrocities occurred late in the war. On Dec. 17, 1944, the Japanese guards at the Palwawan camp (Philippines) herded 150 American POWs into three covered trenches. The trenches were then set on fire and as the POWs tried to escape the blaze, they were shot and killed. Only 11 of the 150 POWs were able to survive that massacre. (8)
One sad consequence of this censoring of history is that the American heroes of WWII in the Pacific, the hundreds of thousands who fought and died fighting against the Japanese Imperialists, remain mostly unsung. Many of them, men, and women, too, came out of the working class and off the farms of our nation. I also believe that the innocent peoples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in 1945, could have been saved from destruction, if those same fanatical Japanese War Lords, the ones who also condoned burying people alive; men, women and children in China, would have done the right thing and surrendered to the Allied Forces, when they knew that their cause was hopeless. If they weren't fanatics, than why didn't they surrender after Hiroshima? Why did they force the U.S. drop a second bomb? The devastating human toll of those two A-bombings should primarily be attributed to the unbridled fanaticism of the fascist Japanese War Lords. They brought the world the evils of Japanese Imperialism-Racism and Militarism. (9)
Finally, I say: Stop turning a blind eye to the barbaric crimes of the fascist Japanese War Lords. It will only favor a revisionist revival in Japan. Do you really want history to repeat itself?
4. "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust," by Iris Chang. If you are up to it, there is also a book of photographs of that gory massacre, which can be found at: http://www.tribo.org/nanking/index.html
5. "A Plague Upon Humanity: The Secret Genocide of Axis Japan's Germ Warfare Operation," by Daniel Barenblatt.
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_Death_March (Photo of "Bataan Death March," Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives at: www.archives.com)
9. The fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden actually took more innocent lives than did the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. See, http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/03/60-years-ago-tonight-firebombing-of.html
© William Hughes 2005.
William Hughes is the author of "Saying ''No' to the War Party" (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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