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US occupation of Japan failure

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by scipio, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    While I certainly wish that more Japanese had been tried as war criminals, the record in Germany was not much better. Yes, a few of the surviving leaders were tried, but many of the guilty were "successfully" de-Nazified, it had more to do with expedience than anything else. I would like to have seen trials in both countries be longer and more thorough, but the Allied governments, including the US, were more interested in the threat of the Soviets.
     
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  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    There are problems with trying "war criminals"

    - If you try all the "decision makers" you will end up with destroying the loser's political infrastructure creating a hard to manage power void, this is even more dangerous if one of your "allies" is now hostile and supporting an ideology that is likely to occupy that "power void" as was the case in 1945.

    - Once you get to "low level" episodes" both sides had committed a large number of them, so it looks like "victor's justice" and that is likely to blur the moral issues and cause resentment down the line.

    - Allied policies concerning the treatment of POW, city bombing, shipwrecked sailors and submarine warfare were in a very grey (or outright black) zone with respect to the treaties, this led to some charges being hastily withdrawn when the defendants got some allied servicemen to testify it was "standard operating procedure" for the allies

    IMO the allied leadership did what they could, some of the accusations brought to the trials were blatantly unfair, and sometimes guilty but "useful" individuals got away, blaming the choices that were made at the time on the base of the psychological effects 50 years down the line is a bit rough on those who made those choices.

    One thing that must not be forgotten is that national pride is essential for a nation state to work, so sooner or later it will get to "the past is past let's get on with our work", there is no way to avoid that and anyone who thinks a nation will not shrug off the "shame" as soon as it can is likely to be disillusioned. The best you can do is identify the mind-sets that brought about the crimes (racism and extreme nationalism are the usual ones in the XX century though religious fanaticism is gaining ground in the XXI) and support a general rejection of them.
     
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  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    A very good post sir, well stated. The only thing I'd add is that you missed communism. It was probably the single biggest mind-set responsible for massacres and purges during the 20th century.
     
  4. scipio

    scipio Member

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    I agree too - there is a point of atonement and Germany achieved that a long time ago - lets move on. I was in a bar in Stockholm a few years ago with a German Colleague, the group next to us (although we were speaking English), asked if he was German and then got up and pointedly moved to other side of the room. Very unpleasant. As he said "they still hate us" but it was not I that was the "war" criminal.

    By contrast, I visited Japan many times and was very well treated but the Company we dealt with - lovely people and very friendly - presented me with a book on Japan, its culture, scenery and history - I read the section on WW2 - America forced us into it, we liberated other Asians, we were victims of the nuclear bomb - I wondered if my hosts had read this garbage or believed it themselves.

    But here we are some facts:

    The Pacific War was a war of liberation - Nagano Higeto, Justice Minister (1994)

    The Pacific War was a war to liberate colonised Asia - Motion to the Diet 1995 of the LDP (but motion withdrawn due to complaints by foreign government)

    Nanking massacre is a lie made up by the Chinese, Ishihara Shigetojustic Minister (1990)

    Foreign Comfort Women were prostitutes Kaiyama Seiroku, Chief Cabinet Secretary (1997) and recently repeated by the current Prime Minister

    The nationalism (and I suspect racialism) has crept back into Japanese life.

    The problem is that Japan was never forced to face up to its "mind set" and that I am afraid to say is a result of policy adopted by the American administration in the early days of the Occupation.
     
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  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    While I agree that many of the points are revisionist, America and the Western powers pretty much did force them into the war. Britain and the US did want to monopolize far eastern trade at the expense of the Japanese. We did fear post WWI that they would become a regional power and attempted to prevent their rise. Racist sentiments on the part of the United States and UK basically slapped them in the face at Versaille. The British decision to end the Anglo-Japanese pact in the 20's was another slap. The Naval treaties were a third slap and an attempt to keep them in their place. They went into Manchuria seeking resources, militarily. When the more liberal elements of the government had tried to use diplomacy and treaties to maintain relations with the west and meet Japan's resource needs in a more legitimate manner, they were answered by repeated attempts to keep them in their place. When the militant Imperial Army factions achieved this by military force, they of course gained standing and power within the government. The trade restrictions and economic embargos forced them into a corner, they had to fight or see their economy collapse.
    If we agree that the United States "Monroe Doctrine" is a legitimate doctrine. Japan really had a similar interest in asia. We (the US) fought a series of wars in central America, the Carribean in order to protect commercial interests there. It can also be argued that Japan learned how to deal with China from the British. Japan had been one of Britain's more loyal allies up until the 1920's when Britain ended the relationship. Much Japanese modernization followed the British model. During the 19th century Britain used military force to exploit the Chinese. Fought the two opium wars and the Boxer rebellion (alongside the Japanese and Americans in the latter). When you cut through all the BS it boiled down to Britain wanting to import opium to ease the drain on sterling silver in its commerce with the Chinese. They wanted British access to Chinese trade on terms that favored the British and exploited the Chinese. It used naval and military power to force these terms upon the chinese and there was little regard given to the cost in lives to the chinese or costs to their society. The Japanese emulated their mentors well, when they expanded into China in the latter 19th and early 20th century.
     
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  6. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Yes - the exploitation of China is one of the most disgraceful episodes in British History.

    But if I may correct you on the subject of Japan - it was with extreme reluctance that the British abandoned their Naval Treaty with Japan. It had served them well in WW1, when it allowed the British to concentrate its fleet in Home Waters against Germany. Churchill spoke out against letting down an old ally.

    The pressure came from the US and forced to choose between Japan and the US was a no-brainer - it had to be the US. The British did not want and could not afford a new Naval Race; besides they thought that the US might be generous and forgive some British Ward Debt (sorry to harp on) - it did not happen of course.

    The British were racist that is no doubt but really did not care in the case of Japan - the racist at Versailles was Bill Hughes PM of Australia and British actions merely went along with the Aussie line.

    Britain was a fast declining power in the Far East and reluctantly went along with the US sanctions but surely these came later in response to Japanese Military aggression in China.
     
  7. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    You're basically correct in your facts but a little off on the timing. The racial equality clause that Japan sought in the post WWI Versailles Treaty was torpedoed by Australia. Here is the proposal:

    "The equality of nations being a basic principle of the League of Nations, the High Contracting Parties agree to accord as soon as possible to all alien nationals of states, members of the League, equal and just treatment in every respect making no distinction, either in law or in fact, on account of their race or nationality."

    Nothing too radical to the modern reader, but to Britain, exploitation of non-whites in its colonies was one of the underlying principles of the colonial system. Even so, if not for the opposition of Australia, Britain might have supported it. They would not support the provision, the United States stood with Britain, despite the majority of the international delegates voting to approve the measure. It is easy to see why Japan in modern parlance, felt they had been "kicked to the curb".

    To support that the Japanese viewed the action in the manner I have described, I give you Japan's Ambassador to the Peace Conference, Baron Makino Nobuaki's statement in response to the rejection:
    "We are not too proud to fight but we are too proud to accept a place of admitted inferiority in dealing with one or more of the associated nations. We want nothing but simple justice."

    Japan had been a staunch ally during the war and now Britain turned her back on her. She also felt betrayed by the Americans.

    The demise of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance began with the Imperial Conference of 1921. Canada felt an alliance with Japan would threaten them if the US and Japan ever went to war. Australia favored continuance in order to counter rising Japanese power in the region, they felt America's isolationist stance meant the US couldn't be counted upon to counter Japan. So Britain decided to let the treaty lapse, despite Japan's desire for a renewal. The League of Nations decreed that a one year notice be given, so in 1923 it went away. Both the US and Britain feared the rising Japan as a threat to their trade with China and the Far East. They both sought to restrain their growth and power through the Naval Treaties that set Japan's fleet at 60% of either Britain or the US. The 5:5:3 ratio guaranteed inferiority to either fleet and a marked inferiority if the two powers should ally themselves with one another. Japan again saw this as a slap in the face, but as yet did not want to turn their backs on the western powers. There were a ton of other slights during the early 20th century where Japan was treated differently by the Western powers than she would have had she been a European nation. The depression came in 1929 and US attempts to bring itself out with trade restrictions and the general shrinking of the money supply led Japan to look regionally to meet its resoource needs. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, Japan had been granted Russia's lease on the Liaotung/Liaodong Peninsula (eastern Manchuria). They had also been granted control of the southern branch of the Southern Chinese Railway in inner Manchuria. Japan through this latter concession had greatly exploited the natural resources in the area. A group of Japanese Army officers decided to "create" an incident to allow for an invasion of greater Manchuria. When they invaded the Japanese government was shocked and had it not been for the astonishing success of their adventure, they would have been dealt with. As it was the military's influence increased and the moderate voices power declined.
    The United States needed Japanese commerce to help restart its economy. During the 30's US exports to Japan skyrocketed and Japan became the United States number one trading partner. Then when war threatened in Europe they started turning off the spigot. When Britain and Germany went to war, much of the material Japan had been getting from the US was needed by Britain, but the US was hampered by neutrality laws. Roosevelt and his minions found ways around the laws in order to aid the British, but in order to prevent shortages for the US population until our industrial base was brought back up to speed, trade sanctions were put on Japan under the auspices of restraining their actions in China. It is at this point that the US pushed Britain and the NEI to enforce the oil embargo against Japan. The end result was predictable. Either Japan would be allowed to buy the petroleum it needed to support its economy or the economy would collapse. It attempted to negotiate with Washington, but was turned down. Those that favored a peaceful, negotiated peace, once rebuffed by Washington, fell from power and the hardline military faction gained control of the government. The only other option remaining was to seize the necessary resources militarily. They chose this course.
    I find this little snippet very concise in laying out the situation facing Japan in the 1930's:

    "Japan was now isolated, with Stalin's brooding empire to the north, a rising China to the east and, to the south, Western imperial powers that detested and distrusted her.
    When civil war broke out in China, Japan in 1931 occupied Manchuria as a buffer state. This was the way the Europeans had collected their empires. Yet, the West was "shocked, shocked" that Japan would embark upon a course of "aggression." Said one Japanese diplomat, "Just when we learn how to play poker, they change the game to bridge."
    Japan now decided to create in China what the British had in India – a vast colony to exploit that would place her among the world powers."
     
  8. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    AFAIK, Roosevelt's intention was to eliminate imperialism, and then just 2 (two) days after the surrender of Japan, the Netherlands has opposed the independence of Indonesia. Other imperialists were storming back to Asia to re-gain their eastern "possessions" just like America was fighting a war for them. While America was deliberating Pacific, in Europe the Dutch, Belgians and French were fighting alongside the Nazi Germany, against the USA . Then, in 1945 they came to claim ownership over the countries the US Army has just deliberated.

    In my view America had no other choice but to fraternize with Japan and some other Asian countries, to effectively oppose re-establishment of the prewar imperial division of Asia.
     
  9. scipio

    scipio Member

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    We both agree that Australia was against the proposal and that otherwise Lloyd George would have gone along with the Japanese proposal but you are quite wrong if you believe as you say that America "was standing with Britain".

    Bowing to strong anti-Japanese racialist pressure from California, the US was just as determined to torpedo the proposal as Australia. Its decision had nothing to do with Britain.
     
  10. scipio

    scipio Member

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    The Washington Naval Treaty
    The big winner was the USA. Japan believed she needed 70% of the US total in order to be able to defeat the US but only got 60%.

    Britain was the big loser and the Treaty was very unpopular in the UK, with Churchill, as you might guess speaking out strongly against it. Effectively it meant the end of Britain's ability to control three Oceans the Med (yes I know the Med is not an Ocean), Atlantic,and Pacific. Britain was the only nation which had to scrap tonnage to comply with the totals agreed - all the others were able to increase them. It also failed to get the submarine banned. There was certainly no love lost with the US and some historians date this as the day on which Britain surrendered global dominance to the US.

    Whilst there were tensions in the relationship with Japan, the weakness of Britain's position in the Pacific (and again Churchill railed against the decision) to abandon Japan was fear she would be caught up in a conflict between the US and Japan. This was particularly the worry of Canada but also Australia. In deference to the wishes of its Commonwealth partners in the Pacific, and the desire to avoid another ruinous Warship Building Arms Race (and the competition with the Kaiser was fresh in British memory).


    I have taken this bit from Wiki which is fairly accurate on both the Naval Treaty and the Anglo-Japanese Treaty (Meighen was PM of Canada)

    I think you can see that the British risked antagonising the Japanese in order to avoid bigger problems with the US. In no sense was there any joint interest between Britain and the US in facing Japan - in fact all Britain wanted was to hang onto the status quo in the face of two expanding, aggressive powers.
     
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  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The Japanese were somewhat delusional. Their 70% was based on fighting two US Fleets(Pacific & Atlantic) at different times, but provided that the US did not "play" by Japanese rules, and waited to take the offensive until both fleets were combined, then the Japanese had no hope, and they knew it. Further, Japan would be bankrupted by a "naval race" with the United States and the Japanese negotiators knew it, although the "Fleet" faction did not want to, and never did, admit it.



    This is absolute bull and you know it.

    The United States had to scrap 15 of her older battleships, as well as several battleships and battlecruisers then under construction(but not yet completed). That being said, the British did have to scrap many of their newer ships - some only 7 years old. Whereas, the majority of the American battleships scrapped, albeit those not under construction, were older (16-17 years old), with the two "youngest", the USS South Carolina & USS Michigan were both 13 years old.

    Don't forget that the Japanese also had to scrap 10 battleships, as well as several that were under construction, and cancel her planned battleships, but not yet under construction.

    For reference, see: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pre-war/1922/nav_lim.html
    and the accompanying Replacement tables:
    http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pre-war/1922/us_tabl.html
    http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pre-war/1922/gb_tabl.html
    http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pre-war/1922/jn_tabl.html



    Britain had lost "control" of the Pacific a long time ago and they knew it. Hence their Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 with Japan. The British needed help to maintain their naval presence in the Pacific(to counteract the German colonies and a growing Unite States) and Japan filled that gap. The British in return would provide training, technology, and warship construction for the Japanese - which they were badly in need of. So, whether the British admitted to it or not, they had already "lost" the Pacific by the turn of the century. The British could maintain the "Med" only by keeping France and Italy happy. As for the Atlantic, this only came into question during World War I, with the construction of several new American battleships. Until that time there really was no question about British control of the Atlantic.

    Still, during post-World War I, Britain could not hope to "control" all three, especially if the Japanese & American plans for warship construction had been allowed to proceed as planned. Thus, even if there was no treaty, the British "controlling" all three "oceans" at once was very much in question. Likely only the "Med" could be "controlled" with out much effort.

    I would not say that the British "surrendered" global dominance, so much as other nations rose to surpass her, and at growth rate with which she could not hope to compete. I believe that we are seeing this now between the US and China, and as always, Russia is lurking in the wings - if she ever gets her stuff together.



    To be truthful, I am sorry, but Wiki is far from accurate on the Anglo-Japanese treaty(particularly it's demise)

    The Anglo-Japanese Alliance died a "natural" death, that is it was not near as useful to the parties as it had been when it was signed. For instance, Russia was no longer a major threat to Japan - given the Japanese victory in 1905-06, the Russian loss of World War I in 1918, and the ongoing Russian Revolution - so Russia/Soviets would not pose a threat for the foreseeable future. Also, with the end of World War I, Germany no longer had a presence in the Pacific - this was the driving factor behind the British need for the treaty in the first place, thus the Pacific required far less of a naval commitment than it had previously. Then you have to take into account that the Japanese had grown to be their own naval power, and no longer needed the substantial help that the British had been providing. Japan now had her on effective navy, she was building her own warships - including battleships, and Japan was now designing and constructing her own naval weapons and improving existing naval technologies. Thus, in the end, the ties that had originally bound the two nations together were nowhere near as strong as the had been in 1902 when the treaty was originally signed, nor when the treaty was renewed in 1905 and 1911, when it was renewed. What sealed the treaty's demise was the growth of the United States, during World War I, into a world naval power that had quickly eclipsed the power of Japan.
     
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  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Perhaps or perhaps not. Rather depends on what you consider a victory.

    They may have thought that they needed that to prevail or even have a chance in a naval confronation. However they weren't going to get it without the treaty either. They simply didn't have the economy to do so.
    None of the major powers could afford a naval arms race that's why they agreed to the treaty. Note also that the defintion of "standard tonnage" was designed to help the British although it arguably helped the US as well.

    ??? Of course there was. Japanese activities in China were affecting Britains interest there in a very negative way.
     
  13. scipio

    scipio Member

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    No I try to get the facts correct and although I think the overall result is the same, I bow to your more accurate knowledge at how the end results was arrived at. I was going on memory without checking my facts.

    The net result was as I outlined - Britain avoided a new naval arms race, at the start she had the largest fleet at the end she had the same size as the US but quality wise worse since it was older. Japan was unhappy - delusional or not, the UK was unhappy to lose her superiority and but relieved at the same time, the US maybe not victorious but certainly the happiest.

    What I was trying to describe is that Britain recognised its weak position, tried to pussy foot around two antagonists squaring up to each other, and tried to maintain the uneasy peace as long as possible, appeasement of Japan if necessary but in the final analysis recognising that the US was better option.

    Agreed but I did say "some historians" - I go along with the majority historians 1870ish was the last time she could throw her weight around without needing Allies.

    Where does all this leave us?

    Britain certainly was not calling the shots as USMC's contribution might lead one to think.

    A delusional Japan believing she needed lebensraum in China and a US determined not to allow her on both ethical and commercial grounds.

    The way in which Japan went about resolving her dilemma was absolutely criminal and I do not need to list the atrocities, She knew and had acted better and correctly in both the Russo Japanese War and WW1.

    Most of her criminals starting with the Emperor were not brought to book and neither was she forced to face up to her crimes. The US was solely responsible this state of affairs.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That's a bit of a simplification. There were two thoughts in Japan. One was that the treaty was a "good" thing and the other was that it was a "bad" one. The divisions went from the ground up to the very top. Even many of those that didn't like the treaty recognised it's necessity or it wouldn't have passed.
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, a naval arms race was not avoided, only made less expensive. The "important" race of battleship building was avoided, however, it was replaced by a far cheaper race in construction of a "new" class of warship, "created" by the Treaty, the heavy cruiser. This shortfall in the original Treaty was later corrected in the London Naval Treaty of 1930, which placed limits on all major ship types, except for small combatant warships under 600 tons.

    You're also incorrect about the British Navy - battleships - being worse quality wise, by being "older". They weren't, as the British Navy had completed 20 battleships during world War I and would be allowed the 2 "new" Nelson class that had just begun construction & were scheduled to be completed in 1925, as opposed to the Americans commissioning only 9 plus 5 more in the immediate post-war period.

    Japan had no good reason to be unhappy with the Treaty, for with one fell swoop, they had removed the US Navy from the Western Pacific with the addition of the clause that prohibited the build up of facilities in the Pacific. Thus, the Americans could not constructed, fortify, or expand facilities in their territories, Guam & the Philippines, which were closest to Japan. And, by so doing, effectively tethered the US Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor. The addition of this clause, in return for agreeing to the 5-5-3 battleship ratio, was of far greater import than had they gotten their 10-10-7 battleship ration(but at the expense of allowing the US to expand and fortify Guam and the Philippines). However, the "Fleet" faction was so blinded by their commitment to the 70% ratio that they never admitted to this "Treaty" victory.

    As to the "happiness" of the UK and US, only the politicians were "happy", after all an expensive battleship race had been avoided, however, the Admirals of the respective nations were decidedly less than "happy" with the end result.



    None of USMCPrice's comments lead me to believe that Britain was "calling the shots." Although, with respect to the Anglo-Japanes Alliance, this would be correct, as of the post World War I period, Britain was in the driver's seat here, as the Japanese needed Britain(to offset the growing American presence in the Pacific) far more than the British needed Japan.

    As of 1920, Japan was not looking for "lebensraum" in China, as they had already well established their presence there after the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Japanese desires for Manchuria were primarily centered within the Kwangtung Army and did not arise until later in the 1920's, although there was a brief Japanese excursion into Outer Manchuria, the Japanese were forced to return captured territory there in 1925.

    How the Japanese "acted" during the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, and even during the Soviet Civil War, is essentially irrelevant. As the ultra-nationalists were not in power at that time,

    IIRC, the King of Italy was never "brought to book" for his actions either, yet I do not hear you complaining about that. Indeed, near about all Italian War Crimes were "forgotten" in the post-war years out of Allied fears that Italy would go Communist. Strange that you have not mentioned this at all...Very strange indeed.
     
  16. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I don't think I have to add anything to this debate, apart from I know and support what Scipio is saying and agree with his premise..

    The debate ends for me with a few wise words....from USMC...That says all I would have said and do believe.

    May be unpallatable to some but it is a view widely held this side of the pond...

    The point is that while Japan appears to be dodging responsibility and re-writing history, we too are guilty of the same thing.
     
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  17. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    I've run out of salutes. Two shall be the number of your saluting and nor shall it be three.

    Takao has said, as he so often does, much what I would like to have said about the Washington and London treaties. Certainly Japan does seem to be neglecting to face her crimes of the first half of the twentieth century, but I think the same could be said of other powers. Thus singling out Japan for such treatment feels somewhat hypocritical. Further, Japan's recent nationalism seems quite unexceptional in light of what I see elsewhere around the globe: in China, Russia, France, and not least the United States. Indeed, recent German economic policy seems nothing nothing short of imperialistic. Germany may have effaced itself in terms of political expansionism, but German nationalism is by no means significantly reduced. I should think any football match would give that away. (I cannot help but thinking of Clease saying "Whatever you do, don't mention the war" or "World Cup.") Germans are still, in my substantial but anecdotal experience, justifiably proud of their culture. (Would that the United States enshrined so many poets, composers, mathematicians, philosophers, and thinkers among its lauded heroes.)

    If politically sanctioned crimes disqualify pride in our nations than none of us would be allowed any at all. Even if you were to institute a statue of limitations of, say, 100 years I believe we would all be forced to admit guilt to some extent or other. So singling out Japan smacks of the very nationalism, and indeed racsim, of which you might accuse certain noteworthy conservative Japanese politicians. (We must each have our own "Most Holy Synod of Drunken Fools and Imbeciles" mustn't we? There are assuredly such in the United States that make similarly ludicrous statements on a near daily basis. Perhaps this is true of all liminal times.)
     
  18. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Although this may be a minor issue, why the US led allies allowed the Soviet to take Kuril Islands and southern half of Sakhalin from Japan ? Letting Japan holding onto those territories would maintain geopolitical thorns on the Soviet. Even until today, the development of those territories are considerably less than those on Japanese Archipalego, except offshore petroleum products. No offense to Russia, if Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk remained Toyohara, would the city better developed ?
     
  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    I'm late to this thread and haven't read most of it but I think the United States also demilitarized the Utah and Wyoming under terms of the treaty.
    Come to think of it, didn't we scrap the Florida too, which was newer than the South Carolina and Michigan?

    Edit:

    Forget everything I just said. I was confusing the Washington and London Naval treaties. :)
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I was just going to say...
     

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