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

ISSUE#12 COLUMBUS

As I have stated before, he may not have have been the first to discover America. However he was the first of what would would be lasting European colonization in the America’s.

It really began with the Mongol conquest they opened trade between the east and the west. Europeans wanted another way to get eastern goods. Columbus was an expert sailor and believed that by sailing west he could find a more direct wrought to Asia. He convinced the King and Queen of Spain to fund an expedition. They gave him what would become three famous ships the Nina Pin-ta and Santa Maria. In his journal he remarks about how he felt it was his calling. He believed the Holy Spirit was guiding him. He was view by many as a dreamer.

He set sail for Asia across the Atlantic ocean. After weeks at sea the arrived at what they thought was the East Indies (Indonesia). But it was soon apparent he was somewhere else. He had landed in the Caribbean on a small island. He would return to Spain and the world would never be the same. Soon American crops like corn, potatoes, chocolate, and tobacco would be in Europe.

The European powers began to colonize the America’s. In doing so they killed millions of people and destroyed great civilizations. The Modern world really began when Columbus landed in 1492. Many explorers came after him. But it was his vision that began the modern world. Some have said he was a monster. I guess that depends on your point of view. But his impact on history place him as one of the influential people to ever live. Now in his honor we celebrate holidays name cities streets and schools after him. We build statues of him and make movies about him. A lot of misinformation about him has been taught as fact. His is a legacy of drive and determination.

Sources

  1. wikipedia
  2. Voyages
  3. Journal of Columbus
  4. Eye witness history

1492 (Columbus)

ISSUE#10 THE ISRAEL PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

The Palestinian Israel conflict is an example of people letting pride and anger control them. On both sides. We see on the news suicide bombers and mothers happy about the death of their children.

It began with WWI like many of the last century’s conflicts. After the war the middle east map was redrawn. England controlled the Levant (known today as Palestine). They made law encouraging Jewish immigration. then came WWII and the Holocaust. Millions of Jews were slain by the Nazi’s. The world was shocked. The new U.N. created a new homeland for the Jews the same place as ancient Israel.

But people already lived their. This caused a conflict. The Arab nations around sought to drive the Jews into the sea. But they failed badly. Over the next 50 years this theme would repeat. Arab nations would attack and Israel would win convincingly. The most famous of these conflicts is the 6 days war. Israel took part of Syria Egypt and Jordain. They took Jerusalem and celebrated. The U.N. took the land Israel had captured and gave it to the Palestinians for a homeland. But many Israeli’s would not leave. And many Palestinians want Israel destroyed.

Israel has made peace with some of its neighbors Egypt and Jordain, but is not on good terms with other Arab nations. Both sides have a reasons for the land. but it will take either compromise or all out victory of one side to settle this dispute.

This small land is the center of our current world conflict. It is full of history. Important to many religions like: Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and the Baha’i faith. It could be the source of much more violence if history keeps repeating itself.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Brief History
  3. Fordham
  4. Map History

History of the conflict part 1

History of the conflict part 2

History of the conflict part 3