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The 12 Things Every American Should Know About WWII

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by belasar, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    It would be worse for German Ag in Russia since they used considerably less machinery than the US and the infrastructure to move the harvest was lacking to the Soviets both before and after the war. I read somewhere even in the 50's to 70's large quantities of crops never got out of the farms or was left to spoil at collection points and distribution points. This might simply be due to inefficiencies in the Soviet system.
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Among the Jews, I think the preferred term for Nazi destruction of Europe's Jewish population is Shoah. Holocaust seems to be a more general term.
    Many understand Holocaust as a general term for the crimes and horrors perpetrated by the Nazis; others go even farther and use it to encompass other acts of mass murder as well. Consequently, we consider it important to use the Hebrew word Shoah with regard to the murder of and persecution of European Jewry in other languages as well.
    The Holocaust - Yad Vashem
     
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  3. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Thank you for info Lou. Seems I used a more general term.
     
  4. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    (Double post)
     
  5. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    (double post) apparently I'm having technical issues.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I think the term genocide better describes the world-wide destruction of humanity. Reserve the term Shoah especially as it applies to the destruction of 6 million European Jews. Holocaust can be used (as I do) for the 13 million who were purposely killed by the Nazis for no other reason than who they were.
     
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  7. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I agree
     
  8. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    I would change six to: "The advent of Total War would force the US and her Allies to engage in military actions that remain controversial to this day, such as unrestricted naval warfare, strategic bombing of cities where much industry was located and the first and only use of Atomic bombs."
    The attack on Mers-el-Kebir is still controversial, as is the Altmark incident.
     
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  9. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    Done! Didn't want yo leave out Perfidious Albion :)
     
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  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Some minor quibbles that may have already been brought up ... still reading the thread
    At the time France was arguably one of the top 5 as well. I would be inclined to mention that there were a lot of minor allied countries although some didn't join until it was pretty clear who would win and that the benefits of joining were significant.
    I tend to think it's a bit more complex than that. Quickly devolves into a chicken and egg situation though.
    I think I would reword this to say no organized effort at the national level. Even then though when you consider things like the germ warfare experiments it's debatable.
    I'd say officially an active participant. The "shoot on sight" order and some of the other activities bring to question exactly how you define "active" other wise.
    Some might consider the invasions in the Aleutians as significant. Then there's the question of what exactly is "US territory"? Does Guam count for instance?
    .
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That's a point that's probably worth expanding on and certainly worth including
    That's a rather controversial point on the other hand. I for instance think it had an impact but not nearly as much as the bombs did. If the war had gone on longer it might have had more impact though but that sort of becomes a tautology because if the war didn't end with dropping the bombs then obviously their impact was not as great.
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    In regard to France I did have some qualms on how to address their participation in the war. On paper they indeed were a major player but in reality they had a very limited effect on the outcome of the war and became rather quickly more of a footnote. This is also true of Italy and China, though China's affect on Japan was in many ways quite profound. Bottom line though is a coherent and reasonably accurate narrative can be told without them, especially in this 'click-bait' format.

    I am in full agreement that the causes for the war are much more complex and you could easily write a 500 page (or more) book just on that subject, but again this format requires a paragraph sized statement that will hopefully both encourage further investigation while leaving them with a reasonably accurate understanding why the war happened when it did and where it did.

    Please see amended version of Japanese War Crimes where I tried to expand on it.

    By any measure Pearl Harbor is the one real act of devastation committed on 'US Soil' in the minds of most modern day Americans for which this list is intended. Again brevity had to trade off with total accuracy.

    I have tried to dampen down the 'America won the war alone' theme that was a staple of my own middle and high school education, but this list is intended for Americans and said in the OP different countries would naturally focus on different things in some areas.

    I tried to avoid too much controversy in listing the events that caused bot a German or Japanese surrender. Nor could we say any one of them in isolation would cause their surrender then and there. As to Japan specifically I personally think ranking the reasons for her surrender were Blockade (50%), Atomic Bombs (35%) and Russian DoW (15%). This of course is just my opinion.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    To be fair...From my Grade school days, World War II was always covered under AMERICAN HISTORY...Which was probably why it focused on the American war effort.
     
  14. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    I'd say the ranking for the causes of Japanese surrender was Russian Dow 80%, Blockade 10% Atomics 10%. Until the Russians entered, the Japanese were hoping for a Soviet brokered peace. Even with the atomics, they aren't boots on the ground. Loss of Manchuria was severe blow to the empire, in a way that destroying a city was not. Lots cities were destroyed.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Japanese always knew the Russians would get into the fight when it suited them, this was not a shock. And Anami was on record as calling for the Japanese people to "chew grass and eat dirt" rather than surrender, so the blockade wasn't news either. But after his aide visited Hiroshima and another officer reported on Nagasaki the good War Minister moved from "war" to "peace". This deadlocked the Cabinet at 3 to 3 and the "Big Six" had to appear before Showa and tell them they couldn't decide on a future course of action. That allowed the Emperor to cast the tie breaker.
     
  16. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    On June 22 (well before the Bombs), the Emperor summoned the Big Six to a meeting. "I desire that concrete plans to end the war, unhampered by existing policy, be speedily studied and that efforts made to implement them." It was agreed to solicit Soviet aid in ending the war. So yes,it definitely affected them, and they weren't expecting Soviet involvement, or they wouldn't have approached the USSR to get them to broker the peace. It was hoped as a non-warring member (in the Pacific) of the Allies that they held more sway over US/UK than other neutral states (such as Sweden).

    In 1944, 70% of all iron sources of East Asia were in Manchuria.
    Apart from sharpening bamboo sticks, what alternatives faced the Emperor after the loss of Manchuria, and the impending loss of Korea?

    The Nagasaki bomb coincides with the Soviet invasion. Was the good War Minister unaware or unaffected by that news? My understand is that it was the Foreign minister Togo, and not Anami that switched, but I maybe be misremembering...

    Regardless, they waffled long enough in their indecisiveness for it to become very clear that the defence of Manchuria was not going well.

    Firebombing of Tokyo in March '45 killed more, did it sway any of the "Big Six?"
     
  17. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    I think the effect the Atomic Bombs and the fire bombings, have been understated severely. As Opana pointed out, Japan was fine to continue fighting with the Soviets and the Blockade, but when the Japanese saw the destruction of the Atomic bombs they realized they were done. They also didn't know how many more bombs the Americans possessed, and the threat of an uprising and coup by the people after suffering such devastating losses probably terrified the Japanese more than anything else.
     
  18. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    I think the opposite; that the effect of the Russian entry into the war has been severely understated in the West. Just as the destruction of AGC and Operation Bagration was ignored for decades. I don't see a willingness on the Japanese leadership's part to continue fighting against all three Allies, when they were already clearly losing and seeking a solution prior to the Soviet DoW.

    We should remember that it was the US that occupied Japan (and therefore we should exercise caution and trace primary sources for statements, preferably in diaries and concurrent notes, not post-war interviews), that there was a need to justify the enormous cost, and moral burden of using the bomb. It was known to Washington prior to their use that Japan was seeking peace through Moscow, but the Russians were not interested in that, and merely stringing them along as they wanted a slice of Asia too, something the US was not too keen on.
     
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  19. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    I think the argument can go either way, one thing to think about is not what the Japanese Generals or cabinet thought, but what the people thought. From what I have read, Japanese people wanted to fight on, but the advent of the atomic bombs and regular bombing by the USAAF B-29's terrorized them more than Soviet involvement. While the government easily could have carried on the war, the Japanese people ultimately could've decided that by a coup or uprising. It's a little hard to carry on a fight when you're people are afraid to continue fighting, not because of starvation, or the Soviets, but the advent of total destruction and incineration by fire or Atomic radiation. I believe the Japanese people played a big role in having the war end in September of 1945, more than people think. Just my opinion though....
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    They may have told their ambassadors to solicit USSR intervention, but they never, ever, give them any instructions or guidelines. I believe this was just a pro forma act and more kabuki than diplomacy.
    They weren't hoping for an improvement of the situation vis-a-vis raw materials, the USN was shooting at flotsam by then. Anami inducted all men between 17 and 60 (IIRC) to as defenders of Yamato. Women from 17 to 40 (again, from memory.) They gave school girls wooden awls and told them to stab the tall Americans in the genitals. (One such attack and no girl would have been able to get close to the invaders before they were shot.
    If you regard The Cause of Japan to be accurate Togo Shigenori was always on the side of the peace faction. Given that he was gaimudaijin (がいむだいじん) in Dec. 1941 as well, the question remains open. Anami knew of the DOW, it was the first hard fact the ambassdors could pass along.
    They had written Manchuria off, and just killing Japanese wasn't impressive by then. The utter devastation of the "big bombs" finally got to Anami, his personal representative to the scene at Hiroshima (a Lt. General on Anami's staff) must have done a heck of a job with his report.
     
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