Closing Thought–20Aug19

Economics

How many of you, my readers, believe that China is holding our debt?

Let me correct this erroneous thinking….

It is NOT China but Japan that owns the most Treasury notes……that craps on so many talking points.

Japan surpassed China as the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities in June.

Japan has added about $21 billion since May, making its holdings the largest since October, 2016. Japan now holds $1.12 trillion Treasurys, and China has $1.11 trillion, a $2 billion increase from the month earlier, according to U.S. Treasury department data.

China has been a less aggressive buyer of the U.S. sovereign debt, and market players have speculated that one action it could take in the trade war with the U.S. is to lighten up on its U.S. holdings. But there are no signs that is happening, according to traders.

The U.K. is the third-largest holder with $342.3 billion, up from $323.1 billion a month earlier.

(CNBC)

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Closing Thought–09Aug19

It is 11:56 am……09 August 1945…..”Bock’s Car” is making its way through the skies of East Asia on its way to its date with destiny.

The “Fat Man” destroys Nagasaki

The devastation wrought at Hiroshima was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender. The United States had already planned to drop their second atom bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” on August 11 in the event of such recalcitrance, but bad weather expected for that day pushed the date up to August 9th. So at 1:56 a.m., a specially adapted B-29 bomber, called “Bock’s Car,” after its usual commander, Frederick Bock, took off from Tinian Island under the command of Maj. Charles W. Sweeney. Nagasaki was a shipbuilding center, the very industry intended for destruction. The bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m., 1,650 feet above the city. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT. The hills that surrounded the city did a better job of containing the destructive force, but the number killed is estimated at anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000 (exact figures are impossible, the blast having obliterated bodies and disintegrated records).

History and explanation of the bombs will help my readers grasp this event…..https://theconversation.com/world-politics-explainer-the-atomic-bombings-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-100452

But why Nagasaki?

By May of 1945 an exhausted and overrun Germany had surrendered. The war in Europe was over. The United States, aided by Great Britain, moved closer and closer to Japan. Massive suicide attacks by the Japanese caused great losses to the Pacific Fleet, but did not deter its drive.

Japan, thinking the Soviet Union was a friendly neutral in the war in the Pacific, submitted unofficial peace feelers to the United States through them. The Soviet Union, secretly wanting to join the war against Japan, suppressed the feelers. Ironically, the Japanese military made it impossible to pursue peace directly, as they arrested or killed anybody who tried to extend official peace offerings. As it was, these unofficial feelers were completely unacceptable to the U.S. as they merely made vague offering to return conquered territories in exchange for peace.

The big strategic question was how to force Japan’s surrender.

Japan’s major cities had been fire-bombed almost nightly. The islands were blockaded and the Japanese Navy had been destroyed. Planning for a massive invasion by Allied forces was underway. But was that the best answer? The cost in lives for both Allied forces and Japanese civilians would be heavy.

Harry S. Truman had just become the U.S. Presidency following Franklin Roosevelt’s death. The United States wanted the Soviet Union to enter the war, but was concerned that it would dominate too much of East Asia if the war dragged on. There were two atomic bombs available. Truman made a quick decision: drop both bombs as soon as possible, allowing a short time between missions for Japanese surrender.

(atomic archives)

We have been having a small debate here on IST on whether the bombs were necessary…..my thought is they were not necessary…

Here is an argument against dropping the bombs…..

Few issues in American history – perhaps only slavery itself – are as charged as the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. Was it necessary? Merely posing the question provokes indignation, even rage. Witness the hysterical shouting down of the 1995 Smithsonian exhibit that simply dared discuss the question fifty years after the act. Today, another eleven years on, Americans still have trouble coming to terms with the truth about the bombs.

But anger is not argument. Hysteria is not history. The decision to drop the bomb has been laundered through the American myth-making machine into everything from self-preservation by the Americans to concern for the Japanese themselves-as if incinerating two hundred thousand human beings in a second was somehow an act of moral largesse.

https://www.commondreams.org/views06/0806-25.htm

The thought is that the bombs were necessary to end the war that had taken so much of society….but did it?

Arguments against the bombings usually take a moral tack. That whatever the ends, it’s never right to intentionally vaporize women and children. But in recent years an entire new argument has emerged: Bomb or no bomb, the war would have ended anyway.

Below, some things you may not have known about the momentous events of August 1945.

Did the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki really end the war?

As I have written we here on IST have been having a small debate…so I need to include this debate from the BBC….

For years debate has raged over whether the US was right to drop two atomic bombs on Japan during the final weeks of the Second World War. The first bomb, dropped on the city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, resulted in a death toll of around 135,000. The second, which hit Nagasaki on 9 August, killed at least 50,000 people (and according to some estimates, as many as 74,000 died). But was the US justified? We put the question to two History Extra readers…

https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/atomic-bomb-hiroshima-nagasaki-justified-us-debate-bombs-death-toll-japan-how-many-died-nuclear/

And that is the way it was…09Aug1945

Stay tuned for the post on the Nuremberg Trials.

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Manchurian Offensive

We here on IST have had a bit of a discussion on the Second World War and the acts that were undertaken to end it. Basically we were discussing whether the bombs dropped were necessary.

The entry of the USSR into the war in the Pacific made Japan think that their position was hopeless was brought up….I thought I would look into that event and what were the repercussions.

At one minute past midnight on 9 Aug 1945, or 61 minutes after the declaration of war, Soviet troops organized in three fronts poured into Japanese-occupied northeastern China, a region also known by its historical name of Manchuria. Northeastern China had been governed by the Japanese-sponsored puppet regime of Manchukuo since 1932. The Soviet troops were of the Far Eastern Command under the overall command of Marshal Aleksandr Vasilevsky, who devised a giant pincer movement against the unprepared Japanese troops. In Vasilevsky’s plan, the Transbaikal Front under Marshal R. Y. Malinovsky was to attack from the west across the Inner Mongolian desert and over the Greater Khingan mountain range, with Mukden (Shenyang), Liaoning Province, China as the primary target; the attached 36th Army was to break off after the initial invasion and head toward Harbin and Qiqihar to meet the 2nd Far East Front. The 2nd Far East Front under General M. A. Purkayev attacked in the center largely in a support role only, with the primary objectives of securing Harbin and Qiqihar, upon the successful completion of which, the front was to move toward the port of Lushunkou (Russian: Port-Artur; Anglicized: Port Arthur) of the city of Dalian, Liaoning Province after the 1st Far East Front completed its primary objectives. Finally, from the east over the Lesser Khingan mountain range, the 1st Far East Front under Marshal K. A. Meretskov was to capture the cities in east, including Changchun; its secondary objective was to cut off Japanese escape routes into Korea, and its tertiary objective was to invade and occupy northern Korea. In total, 1,577,725 men in 89 divisions with the support of 3,704 tanks, 1,852 self-propelled guns, 27,086 artillery pieces, and 3,721 aircraft were utilized in the invasion.

https://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=167

But why did the USSR feel it necessary to enter into the War in the Pacific?

The Second World War was an unparalleled calamity for the Soviet Union. As many as 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians died as a result of the conflict that started with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ended with the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

Consumed by this existential struggle along its western border, the Soviet Union was a comparatively minor factor in the Pacific War until the very end. Yet Moscow’s timely intervention in the war against Japan allowed it to expand its influence along the Pacific Rim.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/revealed-why-the-soviet-unions-entry-the-pacific-war-matters-13628

09 August 1945 was a Day of Destiny for the world.

If you, my reader, has an opinion on this historical event please feel free to join in the conversation.

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06 August 1945

The time is 0815 hrs!

And the Atomic Age begins!

74 years ago today the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima…..and for the first time a theory became a weapon and a new age had begun.

President Harry S Truman, announcing the news from the cruiser, USS Augusta, in the mid-Atlantic, said the device was more than 2,000 times more powerful than the largest bomb used to date.

An accurate assessment of the damage caused has so far been impossible due to a huge cloud of impenetrable dust covering the target. Hiroshima is one of the chief supply depots for the Japanese army.

The bomb was dropped from an American B-29 Superfortress, known as Enola Gay, at 0815 local time. The plane’s crew say they saw a column of smoke rising and intense fires springing up.

Now as the world marks the release of this weapon of destruction a Declaration has been issued…

Around the world today, we see self-centered nationalism in ascendance, tensions heightened by international exclusivity and rivalry, with nuclear disarmament at a standstill. What are we to make of these global phenomena? Having undergone two world wars, our elders pursued an ideal — a world beyond war. They undertook to construct a system of international cooperation. Should we not now recall and, for human survival, strive for that ideal world? I ask this especially of you, the youth who have never known war but will lead the future. For this purpose, I ask you to listen carefully to the hibakusha of Aug. 6, 1945.

A woman who was five then has written this poem:

Little sister with a bowl cut / head spraying blood

embraced by Mother / turned raging Asura

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190805/p2g/00m/0na/104000c

For years I have read and written about the possibility that this weapon may have not been needed……now the American Conservative has written an article on this attack…..

August 6 usually doesn’t make headlines in America. But mark the day by what absence demonstrates: On the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and some 140,000 non-combatants, there is no call for reflection in the United States.

In an era when pundits routinely worry about America’s loss of moral standing because of an offish, ill-mannered president, the only nation in history to employ a weapon of mass destruction on an epic scale, against an undefended civilian population, otherwise shrugs off the significance of an act of immorality.

But it is August 6, and so let us talk about Hiroshima.

Don’t Whitewash the Hiroshima Bombing

With the rise of nuclear desires the possibility of something horrible could be unleashed but let us hope that this series of destructive power should never be used on humans again.

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Remember Pearl Harbor

Today is 07 December the day in 1941 when the forces of the empire of Japan attacked our naval fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii…..a day we remember….the day our Greatest Generation went to war.

Too many people know the day but not the situation…..and the old professor is here to help…..too many blow the day off and that is just wrong…….

First some myths about Pearl Harbor…..https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-pearl-harbor/2011/11/23/gIQAbdKrLO_story.html

Why did Japan do it? Doing nothing is a viable strategic option, and oftentimes a good one. Imperial Japan would have been far better off had it forgone the attack on Pearl Harbor and confined its operations to the Western Pacific. Had Tokyo exercised some forbearance, it may have avoided rousing the “sleeping giant” that Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto reputedly said he feared so much. And even if it did awaken the American giant, it would have avoided filling him with what Yamamoto called a “terrible resolve” to crush Japan. Think about it:

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-japan-failed-pearl-harbor-18638

Japan was clever to come up with this tactic, right?

Well not really they got the idea from the Brits…….

Through the dark skies came waves of aircraft lumbering under the weight of the torpedoes they carried. The date was November 11, 1940, the place was the southern Italian port of Taranto, and the battle that ensued that night was the prelude to the Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor .

In the fall of 1940, Britain was in trouble. France had fallen, Nazi Germany ruled Western Europe, and the British Empire stood alone. To make matters worse, Mussolini’s Italy had entered the war. Though weaker than Germany or Japan, Italy had a priceless advantage: it was situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, athwart the sea routes to the Suez Canal and the vital island of Malta, which the British needed to supply as a thorn in Axis supply routes to North Africa. To avoid Italian naval and air forces, British convoys would have to forgo the direct route into the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar, and sail all the way around Africa to come up through the Suez Canal.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/revealed-where-japan-got-idea-pearl-harbor-37952

More history for my reader…..1941 was not the first attack on Pearl…..yep it was attacked 9 years earlier……

No American military engagement has undergone more post-mortems than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Between 1941 and 1946, various departments of the U.S. government conducted nine official inquiries. A tenth inquiry was held as recently as 1995, when the Department of Defense re-examined the culpability placed on Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Major General Walter C. Short for a lack of preparedness prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The investigation, issued as the Dorn Report, absolved Kimmel and Short of responsibility for the devastation caused by the attack and recommended posthumously restoring Kimmel and Short to the ranks they held prior to the attack.

https://www.military.com/navy/pearl-harbor-first-attack.html

There are other facts that are not as well known as the actual attack….and I can fill in the blanks for my readers……

The deadly surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, launched without a declaration of war, made 7 December 1941 “a date which will live in infamy”, declared President Franklin D Roosevelt. Early that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese planes sank or damaged 21 warships and destroyed more than 150 planes on nearby airfields; more than 2,000 Americans lost their lives.

https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/pearl-harbor-facts-date-live-infamy-franklin-roosevelt-japan-surprise-attack-americans/

Finally a perspective from someone who was actually on the ground in Pearl for the attack……

About 7:45 a.m., through the crackle and buzz of interference, gunnery and anti-aircraft officer Benny Mott was jolted by pilots’ voices rising with alarm over the radio transmitter aboard the USSEnterprise. They were shouting to one another.

“Hey, did you see that army plane shooting at me?”

“That’s no army plane! That’s a Japanese plane! Look at the red circles on his wings!”

https://www.history.com/news/pearl-harbor-1941-from-a-sailors-perspective

Where World War One made the world we know today……World War Two solidified America’s world leadership.

If you are going to Remember Pearl Harbor then know all the history not just the nit-picked stuff!

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Class Dismissed!

Why Did Japan Surrender?

As we remember the end of World War Two by the dropping of two nukes on two Japanese cities in August 1945…..there has always been a debate on why Japan surrendered…was it a direct result of the bombs?  Or were there other factors that we may not be aware of?

My personal opinion is……I do not think that the bombs were necessary….and most people think they were so that the US could avoid a lengthy invasion of the Japanese Islands….

There is contentious debate among scholars about why Japan surrendered in World War II. Some believe the Aug. 15, 1945, declaration was the result of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It’s possible that these finally pushed Emperor Hirohito (posthumously called Emperor Showa) to break the deadlock in the Supreme War Council and accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration for unconditional surrender issued by the Allied leaders on July 26, 1945. In that declaration, there was a promise of “prompt and utter destruction” if the armed forces of Japan didn’t surrender. The use of weapons of mass destruction causing the incineration of large swaths of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in quick succession backed up that threat, highlighting the futility of continuing the war. Emperor Hirohito’s intervention on the side of those favoring capitulation was crucial to winning over those hardliners who didn’t. In this narrative, the dawning of the nuclear age brought peace. It also allowed military leaders to save face, since they could claim that the war was not lost on the battlefield, and agree to surrender to spare the Japanese people from more suffering.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/08/06/commentary/japan-surrender-world-war-ii/#.W3vi48K1uM-

If you, my reader, would like to let us know your thoughts on the closing days of World War Two….then we would appreciate them…..

MacArthur’s Invasion

It is August the month in 1945 that the US decided to drop two A-bombs to force Japan to agree to an unconditional surrender…..which they did and the rest is history, as they say……

But located in MacArthur’s papers that were published after is death in the 1960’s found that he had plans to invade the Japanese Islands….it was to be called “Operation Downfall”…….

The planning for Operation Downfall began in early 1945 at the Argonaut Conference in Malta, where the Combined Chiefs of Staff with the approval of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill set forth the following objectives for the Pacific War:

Following the Okinawa operation, to seize additional positions to intensify the blockade air bombardment of Japan in order to create a situation favorable to: An assault on Kyushu for the purpose of further reducing Japanese capabilities by containing and destroying major enemy forces and further intensifying the blockade and air bombardment in order to establish a tactical condition favorable to the decisive invasion of the industrial heart of Japan through the Tokyo Plain.

https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2015/08/08/how_macarthur_was_going_to_invade_japan_220.html

Since his plans were dashed by the bombs he had to wait for the next war, the Korean War, for his massive invasion of another country.

Class Dismissed!

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