ISSUE#15 WWII IN THE PACIFIC AND ASIA

When you look at modern day Asia and the Pacific its hard to imagine how different it was 65 years ago. Japan was most warlike nation in Asia. They were a nation that worshiped their Emperor as a God. They pillaged and plundered China, southeast Asia, Korea, and the Pacific islands. China was not communist nor was the north half of Korea. Thailand was known as Siam. and many other countries were yet free of western rule. Even more amazing was how different it was just 20 years before. Japan was friendly to the west, and China was far more stable.

So what happened?

China over-through the emperor and had a severe famine and an ugly civil war. Prior to WWII the pro democracy faction was winning the Chinese civil war. They had driven the Communist into the western farmlands and out of the cities. Then Japan attacked and invaded the territory held by the pro democracy Chinese. As a result the communists took control of the country after the war.

Japan had underwent two big social changes. One the Emperor had grown in power and was even worshiped as a God. Two an anti western Japan for Japan movement. A good example of this is: In movie theaters they would show a foolish Japanese man that embraced western ideas. He would do western things and be rebuked by a smart athletic Japanese man.

Japan would no longer sit back and allow western powers to control Asia. Many European powers were weakened by the first world war. The U.S. and many nations were suffering from the great depression. Asia was ready for the taking. Japan sought to create a great Asian empire. They took Korea, part of Russia, most of China, and south east Asia. They also went deep into the pacific. They took the Philippines and other islands. In these places they committed horrible acts they raped women and killed children in brutal manner to impose fear in the population.

The war in the Pacific started years before America entered the war. But after America became involved things changed. The war with America began good for Japan. The attack on pearl harbor had crippled the U.S. Pacific fleet. They won most of the early battles. Then two things changed the war greatly. The first was the battle of midway it was the the first decisive Naval victory for the U.S. and a turning point. The Second was the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo. It is believed that more people died from the fires caused by the raid than at either of the atomic bomb drops. It was the time that Japan had been hit hard in Japan. As the war in Europe ended the U.S. put of more its might against Japan.

But Japan would not go down without a fight. on islands like Iwo jima the Japanese fought like dragons often to the last man. And Russia was now about to enter the war. The U.S. did not want Russia to take part of Japan like it did Germany. These are the two main reasons that the U.S. decided to drop the bomb.

The Japanese were getting arming women and children for a fight to the death against America. As military planners prepared for the invasion of Japan it became clear that the casualties would be far greater than those of D day and the European invasion. During the War the U.S. had changed presidents due to the death of F.D.R. Truman did not even know of the bomb before he was president. It was projected casualties and the Soviets entering Japan that he made the decision to drop the bomb.

Some say they had to. Others say it could have been avoided. But one thing is for sure the world would never be the same Hiroshima was destroyed with a Uranium bomb. But Japan still would not surrender so the U.S. dropped a second Larger Plutonium bomb on the city of Nagasaki. Japan realized that it was not just facing invasion. It was facing complete destruction. The world was shocked at the destructive power of this new weapon. It was so horrible that no nation since has used it in battle. It would change Japan forever

Within days for the first time ever the Emperor spoke to the Japanese people (that were ready to fight to the death) he informed them that Japan had surrendered to the Americans. For the Japanese people this was end of the world. They had believed the Emperor to be a God.  Now the first time they here his voice as he declares the surrender of their great nation.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Iwo Jima
  3. Manhattan Project
  4. BBC
  5. Eye Witness
  6. National Geographic