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  • History Weekend: Revisiting “Atomic Diplomacy,” the “Million Casualty Lie,” and Casualty Planning for the Invasion of Japan

    Posted by Trent Telenko on October 13th, 2017 (All posts by )

    When I wrote my Sept 2nd column “Happy VJ-Day, Plus 72 Years,” last month, it was with the intent to show a couple of things.  First, that “Atomic Diplomacy” — the belief that USA dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan to intimidate the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War — was a Leftist identity based belief system unsupported by the real historical record.  And second, that it’s genesis was due to the lies and cover up of those lies by a generation of high level US national security bureaucrats like Paul Nitze and WW2 generation flag rank politicians for decades after World War II.

    This column will expand on that second point by revisiting “Atomic Diplomacy,” the “Million Casualty Lie” founding myth that it pushed and recent research finds by research partner Ryan Crierie and I had on the War Department casualty planning for the Invasion of Japan.

    In addition to the lies of Paul Nitze so well laid out by Paul Newman’s various books, which my last VJ-Day column dealt with, there was in fact a great deal of lying about the American casualties and the Atomic bomb.  It was a “Million Casualty Lie,”  but the Atomic Diplomacy Historical Revisionists got the lie vector 180 degrees wrong.

    The Post War American military, and General Marshall in particular, was in fact hiding a much bigger casualty number for the conquest of Japan and the destruction of the Imperial Japanese military.  And they had been hiding it from public view since July 1944.

    The following will show that the War Department planning process is where these lies were born during the war,  where these institutional lies were spread from and the how/why/who kept these lies going in the decades afterwards.

    Chart 2. War Plans Division, War Department General Staff: 21 December 1941

    Figure 1 — War Plans Division, War Department General Staff: 21 December 1941.  A simple organizational chart reflecting inadequate planning for a global war. Source: OPD 312, 105

    The American Military’s “Million Casualty Lie

    Any great claim of lies by high officials requires a very high level of documentary proof, and it’s best to start with that proof.

    Below is a copy of a memo between Colonel Jack W. Hickman to Colonel Lindsay, in the War Department’s Operational Planning Division dated 17 July 1944. The summary in the files my research partner Ryan Crierie found in the National Archives read as follows:

    One Army Air study suggested that Japanese “fanaticism and determination to die” meant that “the major portion of the ground effort [should be allocated] to the Russians and Chinese,” inasmuch as it was doubtful the American people would wish to pay such a high price in lives lost for ending the war.

    And this is the document:

    Figure 2 — The July 17, 1944 OPD discussion of the need to take 2.3 million American casualties to exterminate the 6.5 million man Imperial Japanese military based on Allied to Japanese casualty ratios through the invasion of Saipan.

    Note very carefully that the summary of the memo very explicitly leaves out the casualty number.  The summary I quoted above was the last sentence in the last paragraph of the memo.  The 2.3 million American military casualty figure was in the sentence immediately preceding it.  And the memo made the point the American voting public would not put up with that level of casualties, so we should “outsource” (Not the term used, but the gist of the thought) these casualties to the Chinese and Russian armies.

    My co-researcher Ryan Crierie found this document (and much else) hunting down foot notes in Dale Hellegers’  We, the Japanese people: World War II and the origins of the Japanese constitution, Volume 1.

    Figure 3 — This is a screen capture of a internet search in “We, the Japanese people: World War II and the origins of the Japanese constitution, Volume 1” done by Ryan Crierie in May 2017. Note the games General Marshall played to hide casualty figures from Pres Truman at page 106.

     

    This “hide the casualties” game was a consistent pattern Ryan and I have run into following the document trail in planning leading to the end of WW2.  As was the War Department’s overwhelming interest in getting Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist Chinese Army, and especially after the early 1944 Nationalist Chinese collapse, Joseph Stalin‘s Soviet “Red Army” involved in the final kill of the Japanese Army in China.

    Of Lies, Military Planning and Flag Rank Squid Ink

    To place the above memo in context requires an understanding of  the planning process in World War 2.  Point blank: early on the war American military planning was awful.

    As my research partner Ryan puts it —

    Basically, the JCS staff and the attached sub-staffs were very dysfunctional for most of the war; pushing papers around which had little if any connection to actual decisions; because the decisions were made solely by the higher ups (King, Marshall, Arnold). Additionally, they were also very undermanned; which led to the British dominating most of the early war strategic planning from 1941-1943 because at that point, they had larger, more experienced staffs who were able to generate good quality papers on almost everything (in one clash, a JCS paper was 3 pages roughly, versus a 30 page paper that the British brought along).

    .
    To compound this well known planning problem, as far as WW2 historical scholarship  is concerned, was the treatment of Joint Chiefs of Staff level planning in the institutional history of the US Navy.  The disrespect of high level strategic planning in US Naval histories has had a decades long negative (as far as truthfulness is concerned) impact on the scholarship of both the diplomatic and military history communities in academia.
     .
    Even the best and most rigorous scholars of the Pacific war like Richard Frank and Barton Bernstein have been heavily influenced by this in their writings in that when they looked at the “Million Casualty Controversy” surrounding “Atomic Diplomacy”.
     .
    Bernstein is the best living diplomatic historian on the Pacific War and has been writing on Invasion of Japan casualties since 1986.  He started with the “Atomic Diplomacy” position on post war casualty estimates ‘being a myth’.  But his primary record research since then in the national archives moved him by 1999 to publishing articles that the Truman Administration would have cancelled the invasion of Japan for fear of mass casualties.
     .
    Richard Frank’s book ” Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire” comes to some of the same conclusions regards the Truman Administration’s fears of mass casualties in an invasion from a different direction with many of the same primary source documents.
     .
     Yet both scholar’s of the period of regard War Department casualty planning is no earlier than September 1944, when the decision to drop Formosa for Iwo Jima and Okinawa was made.
     .
    Genesis of a Casualty Planning Red Herring 
    There are several good reasons for this “Narrative Bending” at Formosa starting with Admiral King’s over-sized influence on the historical record. The following note from the recent King biography “Master of Seapower: A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King ,” and it states:

    Whitehill himself was disturbed by such contradictions and spoke to King about them . “ When the Army monograph of the Guadalcanal campaign was nearing completion , ” Whitehill later wrote , “ a copy of the manuscript was sent to Admiral King for comment . He returned it with the criticism that too much space was wasted on low – level planning papers that were of no importance . When it was pointed out to him that the documents he depreciated were all the work of Joint Chiefs of Staff planners , King countered by the irrefutable observation that no use had been made of them in planning the operation , which he and Marshall had had to do in such haste that they had had no time even to look at them ; hence they were of no importance in establishing the evolution of the plan . This introduces the disquieting possibility that , without the personal testimony of participants as a guide, the historian may place undue importance upon a seemingly reliable document that is , in fact , nothing more than a red herring .

    This statement in bold above quoted from Thomas Buell’s footnotes is reflected all over the scholarship of the Pacific War.

    Point in fact, horrible planning was true of Joint Service planning through late 1943 and US Naval Planning in the Pacific theater almost through Okinawa, but it was most emphatically not true of War Department Planning from the winter of 1943-44 to the end of WWII.

    The Forgotten Operational Planning Division

    The War Department Operational Planning Division was one of those temporary institutions created by General Marshall to handle the planning of a global war when he abolished the separate military branches and formed the Army Ground force, Army Air Force and Army Service Force after the Fall of France in 1940.  It could not help but start out as too small and inadequate for the task.  It was all “learning by doing” while servicemen were dying.

    Worse, the amateurs of the War Department OPD was up against the planning bureaucracy of the British Empire that had won World War I.  American WWII strategy danced to a British tune for two years in North Africa, Sicily and Southern Italy, save in the Pacific, where Admiral King’s outsized personality and willingness to “lie like a rug” to get resources for Guadalcanal and the Middle Solomon’s offensives held sway.  Point in fact King managed to cut the US/UK Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) out of the Pacific theater entirely.

    This Darwinian strategy planning competition between American War Department and British military planners saw General Marshall radically “up the War Department’s game” such that by early 1944 the War Department strategic planning cycle looked as follows:

    • Phase 0: Verbal communications face to face or via telephone, leading to requests for papers or memos to be issued.  These are in placed like senior Naval staff and the War Department’s Operational Planning Division (OPD)
    • Phase 1: Memorandum is written on a specific subject. these involved the principle “big three” of Adm King, Gen Marshall and Gen Arnold.
    • Phase 2: Paper is written using data found in Memorandums and Paper(s) are re-written according to what the higher ups think of the early drafts. in the War Department they are documented by OPD Strategy Section Papers (SSP) of which there were 418 in WW2
    • Phase 4@: Papers get submitted to the appropriate committee (JCS, JPLC, etc)
    • Phase 5: Appropriate committees use those papers to help write their own papers, etc. Rewrites happen.
    • Phase 6 @@: Committees submit their papers at the next Combined chiefs of Staff (CCS) conference (ARCADIA, TERMINAL, etc)
    • Phase 7: The CCS either adopt/modify the papers submitted as high level policy to guide Allied strategy.

    @ Phase 4 or Phase 5 is where military theaters started draft operational plans parallel to JCS strategy plans..

    @@ Phase 6  was skipped for modified Phase 7 decision inside the US Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Pacific Theater strategy.  This magnified Admiral King’s strength in terms of domestic political power over American strategy while former assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt was President.


    Figure 4 — The growth of War Department Planning by May 1942 Source: OPD 312, 105

    The above planning phases are a result of Ryan Crierie’s recent research of George C. Marshall Papers correspondence, which filled in phases zero through three.  And my own research on phases four thru six above are heavily documented in HISTORY OF PLANNING DIVISION, ARMY SERVICE FORCE, (Vol. 1 thru 10) which is available through the US Command and General Staff college in Kansas.
     .
    This ten volume manuscript has been split into 48 different PDF format files on the C&GSC servers and describes all the strategic level logistics of the War Department in World War 2.  (It was a several week end project to get these Planning Division files located, downloaded and organized on my home computer system. And Ryan is the one who first summarized that planning process above after much back and forth of e-mails between us.)
     .
    What this War Department planning process told us was that during 1944 thru the end of WW2 there were several Pacific War decisions in various phases of that planning cycle that were influencing one another as events warranted.  In particular the cancelled invasions of Formosa and Kyushu were radically altered by the casualties taken assaulting Saipan.
     .
    These issues were shown in a number of memos passed between  Generals Marshall and Embrick “…regards Saipan casualties, the proposed invasion of Formosa, and Russian participation in the War with Japan” which were dated between 2 Sept Thru Oct 1944.  These memos and draft proposals covered War Department  phase five planning for the invasion of Formosa and  Phase 1/2 planning for the invasion of Japan as the first many OPD Strategy Section Paper (SSP) for the invasion of Japan came out in May 1944.   SSP’s 287, 247/2, 288, 289, and 291 came out in that order between 1 May and 17 May 1944 covering available resources, Army divisions in the Pacific and the invasion of the largest and most populated island in Japan, Honshu.
    .
    Then the invasion of Saipan  occurred and the War Department was faced with the first major Japanese army formation complete with civilians.  These numbers were cranked into ongoing planning with the previous 2.3 million American military casualty figure being one result.
    .
    Meanwhile, strategic planning running from March to early September 1944 the Invasion of Formosa was in the second go around at Phase five planning.  As the OPD review of US Navy plans to take all of Formosa in March 1944 had been summarily rejected in favor of Luzon for reasons of logistics and closeness of Japanese land based airpower.   The US Navy counter proposal was to only take southern Formosa _and_ a port in Southern China as a part of an encircle and blockade strategy.

    Figure 5 — The maturity of War Department Operation Division planning organizations in World War II

    This second plan showed the relative maturity of the War Department planning process vice that of the Navy Department.  The plain fact was that the on-going competition with the British chief of Staff in the various Allied strategy conferences gave OPD planners “the chops” to tear apart bad plans with authority, vim, vigor and vitality.
     .
    The second  OPD review of the modified plan was in HISTORY OF PLANNING DIVISION, ARMY SERVICE FORCE and could best be summarized as follows:
    • Logistically Possible on Paper,
    • Ultra Risky,
    • High Casualty,
    • Low Return on Investment If  Successful and
    • God help our amphibious sealift if we fail, because we would lose a year’s production of amphibious combatants withdrawing the beach head survivors.”
    .
    Needless to say the War Department did not back the Navy’s second Formosa plan. Thus MacArthur won the “Formosa versus Luzon” decision over the US Navy in the Pentagon halls of the OPD in March through August 1944.
    .
    The memos between General’s Marshall and Embrick made clear they read both OPD reviews and their emphasis on bringing in the Russians to keep down American casualties for the final kill of Japan meant they were aware of the  Colonel Jack W. Hickman to Colonel Lindsay memo. Point in fact, General Marshall was using the same Japanese to American casualty ratio methodology to evaluate the proposed US Navy Formosa operation. (See Appendix 1)
     .
    The Decision for Okinawa, the Death of FDR and Marshall’s Casualty Desperation

    The War Department opposition to Formosa and that of his commanders in the Pacific finally convinced Admiral King in late September 1944 to take his theater commander Admiral Nimitz’s advice to substitute Iwo Jima and Okinawa for Formosa and let General MacArthur “Return to the Philippines” including the main island of Luzon.  All the events of October 1944 invasion of the Philippines at Leyte through the invasion of Okinawa were set in motion

    Meanwhile, in Oct-Dec 1944 the plans to invade Japan moved to phase four of the OPD planning cycle. The casualty ratios were front and central for the medical planning the OPD was doing for the invasion.  As the casualty numbers and increased artillery ammunition use numbers to limit casualties during the battles of Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa came in, invasion logistical numbers were revised upward again and again.

    When the horror of and casualty numbers from Okinawa were relayed to Harry Truman after he became President in April 1945, he started questioning the Joint Chiefs on that basis.  General Marshall took these Presidential expression of interests to heart and began a series of bureaucratic initiatives to determine

    1. How to reduce American military casualties with the best tactics and conventional weapons available, The “Sphinx Project” that had weapon test reports from May through the end of WW2 and into October 1945. (I’ve covered this effort in previous Chicagoboyz columns, see notes and sources)
    2. How to reduce American Military casualties with what is know know as “Weapons of Mass Destruction” AKA nukes and lethal gas. See Appendix 2 for the Marshall –  McCloy – Stimson memo, and note that “S1” was a War Department code word for the Atomic bomb.
    3. Determine how many casualties it would take to get the Japanese to surrender. This resulted in the SHOCKLEY REPORT in Appendix 3

     

    The Sphinx Report coverpage for the Camp Hood Exercises

    Figure 6 — The cover of the report on the culminating exercise for the conventional phase of the Sphinx project. Lessons learned from this exercise were later published as TC34 Reduction of Japanese Cave Fortifications (11 August 1945).

     

    While these efforts were going on in May-June 1945, the War Department then began manipulating casualty ratios presented to President Truman via General Hull at OPD cherry picking the lower casualty ratios of General MacArthur ‘s New Guinea and Philippine operation versus the frontal assaults of Admiral Nimitz’s Central Pacific theater. This, with some fast communications foot work by General Marshall with General MacArthur to get him to disavow his casualty projections for Operation Olympic as “worst case” medical planning unrelated to actual combat.  This little manipulation by General Marshall got the approval of the Operation Olympic invasion half of the projected invasion of Japan on June 18, 1945.

    OPD Planning in the Background of Olympic

    In the background to all this Operation Olympic manipulative drama in April-June 1945 was a OPD planning documents titled  “CORONET” and “POST CORONET OPERATIONS”. Coronet was a 25 Division Assault on the Tokyo Plain in March 1946.

    “POST CORONET OPERATIONS” envisioned three to four nine division assaults on Hokkaido, Northern and  Southern Honshu, plus Shikoku for the rest of 1946 plus a 25 division assault in China in late 1946-early 1947.  These “POST CORONET OPERATIONS” were summarized in a report titled  “Operations against the Japanese,” Strategic Logistics Branch, Planning Division, 5 July 1945, Office Of The Commanding General”. 

    To support all of this planning,  the Strategic Logistics Branch of the OPD initiated several procurement projects to support Japanese invasion operations in February 1945.  According to  HISTORY OF PLANNING DIVISION these were the following:

    • ASF-P-SL-1 Honshu Operation
    • ASF-P-SL-2 Kyushu Operation
    • ASF-P-SL-5 “Logistic Study for Projected Operations”, (Philippine Base Development to support ASF-P-SL-1 and ASF-P-SL-2)

    En total, these logistical plans envisions 62 divisions worth of amphibious assaults.

    Some simple math that General Marshall would have used, given that similar ratios were in OPD use since July 1944:

    1. Assuming four each nine Division sized assaults on Hokkaido, Northern and  Southern Honshu, plus Shikoku. That is 27 divisions at 35% casualties…plus 25-35 more Divisions in China operations,
    .
    2. 35% casualties of a  40K division slice that ASF-P-SL-1 called for is 14,000 casualties.
    .
    3. 14,000 times 62 = 868,000 casualties.

    All AFTER Coronet.

    General Marshall’s million casualty claims were the most well documented numbers in all of World War II.  And he knew this months before the Operation Olympic decision!

    Marshall’s Great Genocide Secret

    All this casualty planning, drama manipulating data to get an invasion decision from Pres Truman was the background to General Marshall’s last most secret, and frankly, genocidal effort to reduce American military casualties in World War II, a report titled “A STUDY OF THE POSSIBLE USE OF TOXIC GAS IN OPERATION OLYMPIC” and dated 9 June 1945, a description of which is excerpted from Thomas B. Allen AND Norman Polmar, 1995 article “POISONOUS INVASION PRELUDE,” below —

    The plan for the U.S. invasion of Japan during World War II included a
    massive poison-gas attack that “might easily kill 5,000,000 people and
    injure that many more,” according to a long-suppressed document
    unearthed from U.S. archives.
    .
    The highly specific plan — which authorities tried to cover-up after
    the war — was drafted before the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and
    Nagasaki in August 1945 killed an estimated 200,000 people and ended
    the war without an invasion.
    .
    The plan designated “gas attack zones” on detailed maps of Tokyo and
    other major Japanese cities. Only five copies of the original,
    top-secret study were produced, making it one of the most closely held
    documents of the war.
    .
    The proposal for the attack is revealed in a 30-page document that was
    deliberately altered after the war so historians would never see that
    U.S. Army chemical warfare planners had recommended a preemptive
    poison-gas strike.
    .
    We obtained the original document. It bears inked-in changes, made in
    1947. The word “retaliatory” was frequently inserted to make it agree
    with announced U.S. wartime policy which, by U.S. presidential
    directive, prohibited first-strike use of poison gas.

    PITY THE ACADEMIC LEFT

    The real pity here is that the Academic Left’s collective ‘nose’ for conspiracies and lies associated with America’s “Atomic Victory” over Japan were absolutely right.

    There were numerous lies and conspiracies told by people like Paul Nitze lying above how likely Japan was to surrender in August 1945, America’s Cold War driven conspiracy of hiding of Japanese bioweapons war criminals to keep their research away from the Soviet Union, and finally, General Marshall’s planned chemical warfare genocide of the Japanese people to get Japan to surrender..

    The real truth in all of this was that the Academic Left was simply to filled with their own identity issues over the Cold War to actually find them.

    And it left them as easily manipulated tool and fools for those institutional lies and conspiracies.

     

    -End-

     

    Sources and Notes:

    Thomas B. Allen AND Norman Polmar, “POISONOUS INVASION PRELUDE”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA), WORLD Section, Page A-1, August 4, 1995

    Barton J. Bernstein, “A Postwar Myth: 500,000 U.S. Lives Saved,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (June/July 1986), 38–40

    , Review Essay titled “RECONSIDERING “INVASION MOST COSTLY”: POPULAR-HISTORY SCHOLARSHIP, PUBLISHING STANDARDS, AND THE CLAIM OF HIGH U.S. CASUALTY ESTIMATES TO HELP LEGITIMIZE THE ATOMIC BOMBINGS” found in PEACE & CHANGE, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 1999, © 1999 Peace History Society and
    Consortium on Peace Research, Education, and Development

    , “The Alarming Japanese Buildup on Southern Kyushu, Growing U.S. Fears, and Counterfactual Analysis: Would the Planned November 1945 Invasion of Southern Kyushu Have Occurred?” Pacific Historical Review Vol. 68, No. 4 (Nov., 1999), pp. 561-609 (article consists of 49 pages) Published by: University of California Press
    Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4492371

    Buell, Thomas B.. Master of Seapower: A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (Kindle Locations 11206-11213). Naval Institute Press. Kindle Edition.  https://www.amazon.com/Master-Seapower-Biography-Admiral-Ernest/dp/1591140420/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=WG52VQW7WJ27GKVJBB67

    .
    John Ellis van Courtland Moon, “Chemical Weapons and Deterrence: The World War II Experience” International Security, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Spring, 1984), pp. 3-35 Published by The MIT Press
    Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2538560
     .
    , “Project SPHINX: the Question of the Use of Gas in the Planned Invasion of Japan,” Journal of Strategic Studies 12 (September 1989): 303-323

    Edward J. Drea, MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945 (Modern War Studies) Univ of Kansas; ISBN-10: 0700605762, ISBN-13: 978-07006057,67 1991

    Richard Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, Random House; 1St Edition edition ISBN-10: 067941424X, ISBN-13: 978-0679414247, September 28, 1999

    Dale Hellegers, “We, the Japanese People: World War II and the Origins of the Japanese Constitution (2 Volume Set) 1st Edition, ISBN-13: 978-0804734547, ISBN-10: 0804734542, Stanford University Press; December 1, 2002
    https://www.amazon.com/We-Japanese-People-Origins-Constitution/dp/0804734542

    Colonel Jack W. Hickman to Colonel Lindsay, 17 July 1944, NA, RG 165: OPD ABC 381 Strategy Sec. Papers [(1-7-43) F/W SS 282/10].

    HISTORY OF PLANNING DIVISION, ARMY SERVICE FORCE, (Vol. 1 thru 10), File No, 3-6.1, Acc No. 48/3-1, WAR DEPARTMENT SPECIAL STAFF HISTORICAL DIVISION, (HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPT FILE), AGENCY OF ORIGIN: Planning Div, Office of Director of Plans and Opns ASF, WAR DEPARTMENT,  Electronic copy in author’s possession

    Ronald Lewin,  The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers, and the Defeat of Japan, Farrar Straus Giroux; ISBN-10: 1135307555, ISBN-13: 978-1135307554. ASIN: B000NQBZNW, 1982

    “Operations against the Japanese,” Strategic Logistics Branch, Planning Division, 5 July 1945, Office Of The Commanding General
     .
    Marshall correspondence with Genral Embrick regards Saipan casualties, the proposed invasion of Formosa, and Russian participation in the War with Japan 2 Sept Thru Oct 1944, “Embick, S.D., 1944” Folder, George C. Marshall Papers, Electronic documents in author’s possession down loaded from the ProQuest database at the Nimitz Library summer 2016
     .
    “J.J. McCloy, Memorandum of Conversation with General Marshall, 29 May 1945, Subject: Objectives towards Japan and Methods of Concluding the War with Minimum Casualties, n.d., S-1 folder, Stimson Safe File, RG 107.
    .
    Robert P. Newman, Truman and the Hiroshima Cult, Michigan State University Press; ISBN-10: 0870134035 ISBN-13: 978-0870134036 July 31, 1995
     .
    , Enola Gay and the Court of History,  New York: Peter Lang, 2004. ISBN 0-8204-7071-6. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xv, 201.
     .

    Trent Telenko, “History Friday — The WMD Back-Up Plans for the Atomic Bomb,” August 8th, 2014
    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/44678.html

    .

    “___,” “History Friday: Analyzing The Okinawa Kamikaze Strikes & Japanese/US Planning For Operation Olympic” March 7th, 2014

    History Friday: Analyzing The Okinawa Kamikaze Strikes & Japanese/US Planning For Operation Olympic

    .

    “___,” “History Friday: Videos of The Sphinx Project & Laying Down A Marker” October 4th, 2013

    History Friday: Videos of The Sphinx Project & Laying Down A Marker

    .
    Training Circular 34  (TC34) Reduction of Japanese Cave Fortifications (11 August 1945) RG 165 , NARA
    TC 34 was an evolved and improved version of the tactics used by I Corps at Biak. Those tactics boiled down to a limited tactical objective  attack cycle with the following  four step process —
    a. Defoliation,
    b. Evaluation,
    c. Devastation, and
    d. Extermination.
    .
    At Biak they realized that you can’t really begin destroying a Japanese cave position until you identified every outlet. Identifying those outlets required extensive defoliation _before_ planning and applying direct firepower of a general attack to a cave outlet complex. Once you had the Cave position developed, identified post-defoliation and devastated by direct and indirect fire to all outlets,   Then and only then is when you committed the Tank-infantry flame thrower team to exterminate the caves.
    .
    This was a very methodical, limited objective, form of siege warfare intended to seal every outlet before moving on.  It was a form of civil engineering with direct fire high explosives and napalm.
    .
    United States Strategic Bombing Survey: Summary Report (Pacific war) Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1 July 1946
     .
     .
    Appendix 1  Embick – Marshall memos
     .
    ———————–
    George C. Marshall Papers
    Folder: “Embick, S.D., 1944.”

    Draft Version of Memo for Embick

    WAR DEPARTMENT
    OFFICE CHIEF OF STAFF
    WASHINGTON

    8/31/44

    Gen. Handy

    Please check this draft of memo to Embick.

    Also, please send Admiral Leahy the study made on the Kyushu operation, including G-2’s latest estimates of strength in Japan and in southern Kyushu.

    GCM

    copy of memo to Adm Leahy [9/1/44]. Gen. Handy noted by Col McCarthy & sent to RR file 9/1/44 through Col. [Illegible]

    8/31/44

    MEMORANDUM FOR GENERAL EMBICK:

    I have been studying your Joint Strategic Survey Committee report (JCS 924/2) regarding the policy to be followed towards the final defeat of Japan. There are certain phases of the matter pertaining to the views of your Committee regarding which I am not at all clear and I wish you would give me an informal note your views on the subjects.

    What consideration are you giving to the entry of Russia into the war?

    To what extent do you weigh the comparative losses resulting from a number of minor operations to gain air bases within the perimeter defined on your map against those to be anticipated from an unexpectedly early, in other words, a surprise, attack on the Japanese mainland before a larger garrison has concentrated there?

    At the present time, for example, there is a comparatively small force in Japan proper but it is to be expected that this will gradually increase as we close in for the kill. Do you gentlemen think there will be less losses resulting from the gradual approach and a final assault after a heavy air beating, or by striking at a much earlier date by way of surprise before the enemy has prepared himself for the final struggle in the homeland? In this connection have you considered the effect of a maximum carrier air strike or strikes against the Japanese homeland? By this I mean an operation extending over ten days or two weeks.

    Except on the mainland of Asia there are few land masses affording reasonable air facilities within effective range of Japan. Formosa is the closest to Japan of these large land masses and Luzon comes next.

    The Japanese are concentrating strength in Formosa. Extending your illustration taken from the Saipan operation to Formosa, we may expect to suffer __________ casualties in taking that island. Consider this loss in Formosa in comparison to the prospects for an operation against the southern half of Kyushu, where at the present time only the equivalent of one Japanese division is stationed, if made following one or two fleet air strikes against the Japanese mainland.

    I am not going into the question of the security of our lines of communication or the logistical complications but merely discussing this matter from the viewpoint of casualties to be anticipated and Japanese air power to facilitate the fighting of their ground troops.

    Please either see me personally to talk this over or let me have an informal statement.

    Chief of Staff.

    see final memo
    ahead 9/1/44

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Gen Marshall

    31 August 1944.

    MEMORANDUM FOR GENERAL HANDY:

    The second copy of the attached memorandum to General Embick has the changes marked which we propose.

    The specific figures on casualties are:

    Saipan: Japs

    27,000 -(killed 25,111)

    U.S.

    16,471 -(killed 3,051)

     

    Formosa: Estimated strength on 15 Feb 45

    140,000

                     Add for Amoy

    5,000

                     Total

    145,000

    A straight ratio gives 88,600 casualties of which about 16,000 would be killed.

    ETO Theater Section informs me that from January, 1942, to 21 August, 1944, the Ground Force casualties in ETO were:

    Killed

    17,133

    Total, all types

    98,138

    /S/
    L
    G. A. L.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Actual Memo Sent to Embick

    OCS
    GCM

    1 September 1944

    MEMORANDUM FOR GENERAL EMBICK:

    I have been studying your Joint Strategic Survey Committee report (JCS 924/2) regarding the policy to be followed towards the final defeat of Japan. There are certain phases of the matter pertaining to the views of your Committee regarding which I am not at all clear and I wish you would give me your views.

    What consideration are you giving to the entry of Russia into the war?

    To what extent do you weigh the comparative losses resulting from a number of minor operations to gain air bases within the perimeter defined on your map, against those to be anticipated from an unexpectedly early, in other words, a surprise attack on the Japanese mainland before a larger garrison has concentrated there?

    At the present time, for example, there is a comparatively small force in Japan proper but it is to be expected that this will gradually increase as we close in for the kill. It seems to me that the attrition of men and resources resulting from a prolonged campaign involving a series of secondary operations prior to the final assault on Japan, may equal or exceed the cost of an early invasion of the Japanese homeland. Do you gentlemen think there will be less losses resulting from the gradual approach and a final assault after a heavy air beating, or by striking at a much earlier date by way of surprise before the enemy has prepared himself for the final struggle in the homeland? In this connection, have you considered the effect of a maximum carrier air strike or strikes against the Japanese homeland? By this, I mean an operation extending over ten days or two weeks.

    Except on the mainland of Asia, there are few land masses affording reasonable air facilities within effective range of Japan. Formosa is the closest to Japan of these large land masses and Luzon comes next. The map in your paper shows that, for the purpose of attacking Japan, neither of these is a suitable base for other than very long range aircraft. Furthermore, the information I have is that it will be a considerable time after we have seized these areas before we will be able to bring against Japan the bombing effort they are capable of supporting.

    The Japanese are concentrating strength in Formosa. Extending your illustration taken from the Saipan operation to Formosa, we may, based on estimated Japanese strength on February 15, 1945, expect to suffer approximately 90,000 casualties taking that island. This approximates our total U.S. ground force casualties in France during the first two and a half months of the present campaign. Consider this loss in Formosa in comparison to the prospects for an operation against the southern half of Kyushu, where at the present time only the equivalent of one Japanese division is stationed, if made following one or two fleet air strikes against the Japanese mainland.

    I am not going into the question of the security of our lines of communication or the logistical complications but merely discussing this matter from the viewpoint of casualties to be anticipated and Japanese air power to facilitate the fighting of their ground troops.

    Please either see me personally to talk this over or let me have an informal statement.

    (Sgd) G.C. MARSHALL
    Chief of Staff.

    cc: OPB
    Col [illgible]
    Col Mc.
    RR 10/25/44-[illegible]

    see draft underneath
    w/notes on casualties
    8/31/44

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

     .
    Appendix 2  Marshall –  McCloy – Stimson memo
     .
    FILE WITH S1
    MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH GENERAL MARSHALL
    May 29, 1945 – 11:45 a.m.
    Present: Secretary of War
                 General Marshall  C/S has noted and has no further suggestions. Hull.
                 Mr. McCloy
    Subject: Objectives toward Japan and methods of concluding war with minimum casualties.
    The Secretary of War referred to the earlier meeting with the Acting Secretary of State and Mr. Forrestal on the matter of the President’s speech and the reference to Japan. He felt the decision to postpone action now was a sound one. This only postponed consideration of the matter for a time, however, for we should have to consider it again preparatory to the employment of S-1. The Secretary referred to the burning of Tokyo and the possible ways and means of employing the larger bombs. The Secretary referred to the letter from Dr. Bush and Dr. Conant on the matter of disclosing the nature of the process to other nations as well as to Dr. Bush’s memorandum on the same general subject. General Marshall took their letters and stated he would read them and give his views on their recommendations as soon as possible.
    General Marshall said he thought these weapons might first be used against straight military objectives such as a large naval installation and then if no complete result was derived from the effect of that, he thought we ought to designate a number of large manufacturing areas from which the people would be warned to leave – telling the Japanese that we intended to destroy such centers. There would be no individual designations so that the Japs would not know exactly where we were to hit – a number should be named and the hit should follow shortly after. Every effort should be made to keep our record of warning clear. We must offset by such warning methods the opprobrium which might follow from an ill considered employment of such force.
    The General then spoke of his stimulation of the new weapons and operations people to the development of new weapons and tactics to cope with the care and last ditch defense tactics of the suicidal Japanese. He sought to avoid the attrition we were now suffering from such fanatical but hopeless defense methods – it requires new tactics. He also spoke of gas and the possibility of using it in a limited degree, say on the outlying islands where operations were now going on or were about to take place. He spoke of the type of gas that might be employed. It did not need to be our newest and most potent – just drench them and sicken them so that the fight would be taken out of them – saturate an area, possibly with mustard, and just stand off. He said he had asked the operations people to find out what we could do quickly – where the dumps were and how much time and effort would be required to bring the gas to bear. There would be the matter of public opinion which we had to consider, but that was something which might also be dealt with. The character of the weapon was no less humane than phosporous and flame throwers and need not be used against dense populations or civilians – merely against these last pockets of resistance which had to be wiped out but had no other military significance.
    The General stated that he was having these studies made and in due course would have some recommendations to make.
    The Secretary stated that he was meeting with scientists and industrialists this week on S-1 and that he would talk with the Chief of Staff again after these meetings and the General repeated that he would shortly give the Secretary his views on the suggestions contained in the letter above referred to.
    /S/
    J.J. McC.
    ————————————
     .
    Appendix 3  Bowles –  Shockley memo

    21 July 1945

    MEMORANDUM For:        Dr. Edward L. Bowles.

    Subject:                                Proposals for Increasing the Scope of Casualty Studies.

    Recently, as you know, I have been trying to gather and organize information bearing on the problem of casualties in the Pacific War. It seems to me most important that the facts relating to this question be surveyed thoroughly and coordinated into a single well integrated picture. Such a study should be available for consideration in connection with the total casualties to be expected in the Japanese war, the rate at which land invasion should be pushed ahead in Japan or held back while attrition by air and blockade proceeds, and the relative apportionment of effort between the Army Air Forces and the Army Ground Forces and within each Force. The reason why a study of casualties would have such diverse applications is that the big cost to the nation in this war will be dead and disabled Americans. Consequently, in evaluating one plan or another, the expected casualties should be estimated as accurately as possible. It appears to me that at present adequate studies of the casualty problem are not being made.

    The most basic problem in the Japanese war is the establishment of what is necessary to cause Japan to capitulate. There is a very important historical study which can be made in this connection but apparently has never been made either in the War Department or outside. The object of the study is to determine to what extent the behavior of a nation in war can be predicted from the behavior of her troops in individual battles. If the study shows that the behavior of nations in all historical cases comparable to Japan’s has in fact been invariably consistent with the behavior of the troops in battle, than it means that the Japanese dead and ineffectives at the time of defeat will exceed the corresponding number for the Germans. In other words, we shall probably have to kill at least 5 to 10 million Japanese. This might cost us between 1.7 and 4 million casualties including 400,000 to 800,000 killed.

    However, as I mentioned, the historical study referred to above has not been made. I have discussed it with Col. MacCormack of MIS and also with Professor Quincy Wright of the University of Chicago. Professor Wright has directed a large number of studies on the history of war during the past 20 years and in 1942 published “A Study of War” in two volumes. I discussed this problem with Professor Wright about two weeks ago and he is unacquainted with any such study. He feels, however, that such a study has considerable promise of enabling better predictions to be made as to the course of the war and the reactions of Japan. I do not want to give the impression that such a study would furnish a complete guide to the future of the war, but merely that it would illuminate the situation from a new and unexplored angle and might well affect our conclusions in an important way.

    In addition to the study mentioned above concerning the breaking point of the nation, studies are needed on the casualty ratios between Japanese and U.S. troops in battle. Some studies along these lines have already been carried out in G-2 and more are in progress. At present the studies break a number of campaigns down into casualties by day of the campaign. One interesting finding of these studies is that the ratio between the Jap killed and U.S. killed is much more consistent between the one campaign and another when the landing phase and mopping up phases are eliminated. This consistency applies only to the Pacific campaigns studied, these being quite different from the Southwest Pacific campaigns. The following Table summarizes these findings:

    Campaign

    Ratio of Jap Killed to U.S. Killed

    Entire Campaign

    Middle Third (a)

    Saipan

    8 (b)

    11

    Guam

    9 (b)

    10

    Iwo Jima

    4 (b)

    8

    Okinawa

    14.5 (c)

    11

    Leyte

    22 (b)

    39

    Luzon

    22 (b)

    25

    (a) This corresponds to the interval between the time when one-third the Japs are killed and the time when two-thirds are killed. Values are based on data collected by G-2.

    (b) Values from “Health”, pg. 15, 31 May 1945.

    (c) Based on data collected by G-2.

    These values suggest that in areas where the tactical situation resembles that met in the first four campaigns listed, the major part of the campaign will be fought with a ratio of about 10 Japs killed for every U.S. killed.

    It would be worthwhile, in my opinion, to extend these casualty studies of the various campaigns so as to correlate them with information regarding the cause of our casualties (i.e. whether by rifle, machine gun, mortar, etc.) and with our ammunition expenditures. In particular, every effort should be made to establish definitely the reason for the marked difference between the values for the Southwest Pacific and the others.

    So far as I can make out, there are severe organizational difficulties in the War Department to making integrated studies. In exploring the possibilities, I have found some data and studies in each of the following: Surgeon General’s Office, Army Ground Forces, G-1 and G-2. It is, for example, the function of G-2 to study Japanese casualties but except in the case of a special request such as I made for information on casualty ratios, they do not deal with U.S. Casualties. Similarly it is not the function of any of the groups mentioned to correlate the casualties with ammunition expenditures. What is needed apparently is some sort of an organization set up at a suitably high level with informal contacts with all parts of the War Department which can contribute to the problem. This organization, which might, in fact, merely be a committee from the interested sections, could then assign projects in such a way as to end with an integrated picture where now there are uncorrelated studies.

    To summarize, it appears to me that two specific recommendations may be in order:

    1. A historical study of defeated nations should be undertaken and an attempt made to relate the behavior of the nation to the behavior of her troops. Professor Wright has indicated a willingness to guide such a study and has suggested certain former students whom he believes capable of carrying out the details. At my request, Professor wright plans to prepare an outline which we could use as a basis for setting up such a project.

    2. A suitable agency for carrying out integrated casualty studies should be formed so as to combine and supplement the studies presently being made.

    W.B. Shockley,
    Expert Consultant,
    Office of the Secretary of War.

     

    27 Responses to “History Weekend: Revisiting “Atomic Diplomacy,” the “Million Casualty Lie,” and Casualty Planning for the Invasion of Japan”

    1. Mike K Says:

      I think without the atomic bomb, there would have been no invasion. Truman and Marshall would have flinched from the casualty estimates.

      The Navy could have gone with the blockade option and it would have starved millions to death. The submarine force had finally solved the torpedo problem and were running out of targets by 1945. Between the subs and the B 29, Japan would have been destroyed.

      Pelilieu was a waste of resources and more evidence of the casualty rate to be expected.

    2. dearieme Says:

      My God, hot stuff Mr Telenko.

      Mike’s suggestion of no invasion sounds plausible. US Intelligence was presumably negligible from within Japan, so that any attempt to wipe out the ruling elite would have had little chance of success. It’s hard to see any alternative to a siege meant to starve them out. On which basis the atomic bombing was one of the great humanitarian acts in history.

    3. Gringo Says:

      Mike K
      The Navy could have gone with the blockade option and it would have starved millions to death.
      Operation Starvation, the mining of Japanese inland waters by planes dropping mines, was very effective: 670 ships sunk or damaged at a cost of 15 planes lost. It was begun in late March, 1945.

      Eventually most of the major ports and straits of Japan were repeatedly mined, severely disrupting Japanese logistics and troop movements for the remainder of the war with 35 of 47 essential convoy routes having to be abandoned. For instance, shipping through Kobe declined by 85%, from 320,000 tons in March to only 44,000 tons in July.[4] Operation Starvation sank more ship tonnage in the last six months of the war than the efforts of all other sources combined.

      After the war, the commander of Japan’s minesweeping operations noted that he thought this mining campaign could have directly led to the defeat of Japan on its own had it begun earlier. Similar conclusions were reached by American analysts who reported in July 1946 in the United States Strategic Bombing Survey that it would have been more efficient to combine the United States’ effective anti-shipping submarine effort with land- and carrier-based air power to strike harder against merchant shipping and begin a more extensive aerial mining campaign earlier in the war. This would have starved Japan, forcing an earlier end to the war.[5]

      It is possible that the blockade could have won it, but as Mike points out, at the cost of millions of Japanese starving to death. Those who get outraged about those killed at either Hiroshima or Nagasaki- either of which had about the same number of fatalities as firebombing Tokyo- conveniently forget this possibility.

    4. Whitehall Says:

      I wonder what lessons Mattis can take from this history to apply to today’s wars?

      Obama’s move to Afghanistan might be an analog to a supposed full-force attack to take back Dutch Harbor. In other words, a huge mistake and misdirection.

      Or maybe let the Russians get involved in Syria?

    5. Mike K Says:

      ” at the cost of millions of Japanese starving to death.”

      This, of course, is the scenario for England had not two things happened. One is “ASDIC,” which we call SONAR. The other is the US entry which provided more shipping, more destroyers and more long range aircraft to watch the German sub packs.

      I think the B 24s out of England made a big difference in the anti-submarine war.

    6. Sam L. Says:

      Admiral Daniel Gallery (his ship captured the U-505) wrote books on his experiences before and during the war, and in one of them said that we didn’t need to nuke the Japanese; we could have blockaded and starved them into surrender. Now, who would have starved? My guess is the old, the women, and the children, with the military getting fed. While we had reasons to hate the Japanese, how would this have played in America?

    7. MCS Says:

      Could we have sustained that level of causalities either physically or politically? If we had, the 50’s in America would have resembled the 20’s in England and Europe, grey, straightened and sad.

      As it was, we benefited from being the only advanced economy that hadn’t suffered from the detonation of uncounted tons of high explosives, twice.

      The effect the American consciousness of standing aside while millions of Japanese starved is unknowable. The fact that the military was cooking the books and preventing Truman from making an informed decision is disturbing and certainly has relevance today.

    8. Trent Telenko Says:

      MCS said —

      >>Could we have sustained that level of causalities either physically or politically?

      Proportionately, we suffered far worst in the last year of the American Civil War.

      >>If we had, the 50’s in America would have resembled the 20’s in England and Europe, grey, straightened and sad.

      In some ways yes, in some ways no. Pres. Truman would have integrated the Army during the final assaults on Japan. The American manpower situation really left him no choice. And the American military would have used women in far more military roles for the same reason.

      So civil rights and women’s liberation would have come earlier. And we would have still had the most advanced economy in the world.

      OTOH, the “Baby Boom” would have been significantly smaller.

      >>The fact that the military was cooking the books and preventing Truman from making an informed decision is disturbing and certainly has relevance today.

      It’s in large part because I saw then General Colin Powell’s manipulations of the Bush I and Clinton Administrations on Somalia and ex-Yugoslavia that I was able to piece Marshall’s manipulations together.

      Once you have the template of flag rank’s as manipulative bureaucratic politicians, playing with casualty and force structure numbers, spotting them in the historical record becomes much easier.

    9. Mike K Says:

      “The American manpower situation really left him no choice. And the American military would have used women in far more military roles for the same reason.”

      I’m just not sure the Army could have done it.

      The logistics of the transfer to the Pacific; the point system that would have drained the Army of experienced non-coms and junior officers.

      I think without the Bomb, we would have starved them to death,

      At the Battle of the Bulge, Marshall was trying to get Congress to approve more draftees.

      General Hershey was immovable.

    10. Trent Telenko Says:

      Mike K,

      We were supporting 60 odd divisions in Europe and about 26 in the Pacific.

      The War on Japan would take about 45 on a one front basis.

      Given that a pacific division took twice as much logistical support as a European one, the shut down of the ETO/MTO would have been enough with about a year to rejigger the supply chain.

    11. Roy Says:

      Trent wrote, “Once you have the template of flag rank’s as manipulative bureaucratic politicians, playing with casualty and force structure numbers, spotting them in the historical record becomes much easier.”

      Vietnam Vets experiencially understood that reality. Their stories provided strong support for my conviction that a nation must have significant, publicly understood and accepted reason to go to war, and must further have definable objectives for that war.

      All of which leads to a following conclusion: I reject the idea of Volar (volunteer army). It makes a war far too cheap. While the military certainly needs long-term professionals, it ranks must be ‘peopled’ by those who don’t want to be in the service, who are there because they see it as necessary to protect their family and friends, and whose loss will mean costs far more than money.

    12. MCS Says:

      Lincoln came fairly close to losing in 1864. Truman didn’t have an election until 1948 but he wasn’t the President elected in ’44.

      If we had passively contained Japan, Russia would have assembled the resources to intervene eventually. The interval between crossing the Rhine and confronting the Russians was too short for it to occur to most Americans that we could have simply stopped and waited for the Russians. After four years of anti-Japanese propaganda, most Americans would have been perfectly willing to abandon Japan to the Russians.

      Strategically, this would have been a disaster. It would have ceded Asia as well as Eastern Europe to Russia. We’ll never know if Civilian support would have survived the long lists of killed and wounded from a Japanese invasion. As the son of someone in training to participate I am convinced that the Japanese military command would have been perfectly willing to see every person in Japan dead before admitting defeat.

    13. Mike K Says:

      “the shut down of the ETO/MTO would have been enough with about a year to rejigger the supply chain.”

      I think the morale problem would have been insuperable. I remember the end of the war and the sense of relief that the “boys would be coming home.”

      My parents had parties for all the returning servicemen and their friends.

      The party for VJ Day lasted three days. I remember drunks coming up the stairs and falling into bed with my sister and me. My cousin, Ruth, went work each day of the party, washing only her face. After work she returned to our house and the party. My father was in the juke box business and many of his friends were tavern owners. All taverns, by law, had to close at noon of VJ Day and they would all grab a case of whiskey and come over to our house.

      I just think it would have been too difficult to refocus the entire military on the Pacific.

    14. MCS Says:

      And even if they could have done it in a year, the timetable gave them until November.

    15. dearieme Says:

      “Strategically, this would have been a disaster.” Why? It would have been a disaster for the Japanese of course but why would it have mattered much to the US, a country many thousands of miles away with its own continental economy?

    16. Grurray Says:

      “but why would it have mattered much to the US”

      For starters, with the western end of the Pacific Ocean controlled by hostile communist forces, it’s easy to imagine the development of intermodal containerization facing severe obstacles. This would’ve restricted world trade and reversed the post-war economic expansion, which was already hobbled by the uncertain geopolitical climate in the late 40s and 50s. As the world’s leading exporter, America would’ve been devastated.

      Secondly, Japan had previously been an expanding empire for almost a century. After the post-war occupation and reconstruction, their imperialism continued in the form of market-based economic power. Had they been communist under Soviet sway instead, there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t resume expansionist aims, only militarily with far less virtuous intentions. Chinese style communism was catastrophically deadly, but at least it was insular. Japanese style communism with their outward focus wouldn’t stay contained for long.

      With Pacific trade so central to the 20th century world economy, World War III becomes much more likely. The efficiency of ‘Japan, Inc’ coupled with the contagion of international communism, and there’s plenty of reasons to believe the outcome could be in their favor.

    17. dearieme Says:

      That, Grurray, may be the weakest set of arguments I’ve ever seen advanced on this blog.

    18. MCS Says:

      My perspective was more immediate. I saw a Russian occupation of Japan as providing warm water ports with nearly unrestricted access to Western Pacific and passages to the Indian Ocean. They would have been in position to cut us off from SE Asia at least.

      On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that the same solid Soviet management genius that made Eastern Europe such a dynamo would have obtained for Japan. Possibly, they (the Russians) could have learned to build decent ships.

    19. Trent Telenko Says:

      Mike K,

      Regards this —

      >>I think the morale problem would have been insuperable.

      I disagree for several reasons.

      The invasion of Kyushu was being done with local Pacific forces. Dealing with mass turn over in divisional infantry after mass casualties from previous operations was second nature for the officer and NCO corps in the Pacific Army and USMC.

      The invasion would not have been done instead of nukes and gas. They would have been an integrated whole. Nukes would have been part of the preparatory bombardment. Gas for logistical reasons — predominantly caused by US Navy intransigence — would have come between Olympic and Coronet, the invasion of Honshu.

      And by Nov 1945 we would have been building a new a-bomb every 18 days, give or take two days.

    20. Grurray Says:

      Dearie,

      I wish it were. The Japanese communist party has been quite active in post-war politics and is still operating. Various radical Maoist terror groups emerged from it in the 60s, such the Japanese Red Army who also had links to Arab terror groups. Japan could have easily had their own version of the Cultural Revolution and exported violence via maritime channels.

    21. Trent Telenko Says:

      MCS said —

      >>My perspective was more immediate. I saw a Russian occupation of Japan as providing warm water ports with nearly unrestricted access to Western Pacific and passages to the Indian Ocean. They would have been in position to cut us off from SE Asia at least.

      An extended war in the Pacific would have seen several pulses of about a dozen nukes — the first with the Kyushu landing — plus tens of thousands of tons of B-29 delivered gas on Japan and Japanese military garrisons across the Pacific and China starting in Dec 1945 – Jan 1946.

      The resultant famines in the Japanese home islands would have killed millions on top of the direct losses from nukes and gas. You’re looking at 20 to 30 million of the 75 million Home Island Japanese.

      That sort of demonstration of the relative American military power would have kept Stalin’s horns in through 1948 at least.

      That sort of through going destruction of Japan as a functional society would have forced the Truman Administration to back Chiang’s “Final Solution” to the Communist problem rather than cut off Chiang’s military support that let the Soviets rearm and refit Mao’s forces with the IJA’s Manchurian weapon’s stocks.

    22. Jh Says:

      The histroy written by the winers?
      Does that reflect the truth?
      May be not.

      I wounder this subject inspire other to digg and reserch to the “six million lie”
      After WWII?

    23. Jonathan Says:

      the “six million lie”

      fuck off

    24. StevenPaf Says:

      test_soft_del

    25. mhj Says:

      The record is pretty clear that King and Nimitz intended to argue against invading Kyushu when the final decision on Olympic was ripe, and might even have been prepared to resign over it.

      MacArthur wanted to invade as long as he was the Supreme Commander–but having unnecessarily destroyed Manila and much of Luzon, his credibility was somewhat damaged. Truman not being FDR and 1945 not being 1944, it is possible the new President would have stood up to him as FDR feared to do before the 1944 election.

      Maybe the big Truman vs. MacArthur confrontation would have come in September 1945 rather than 1951.

    26. Anonymous Says:

      Follow up on my 15Oct comment that the volunteer army paradigm makes war too cheap. Technology allows transferring the work of war to those willing to serve for pay. This make the cost of war merely treasure rather than family members. For a variety of reasons people tend to ignore costs when only in money, especially when apparently not very much money. That neglect leads to bypassing debate defining the objectives of specific wars, committing to that war, and getting it over with. Instead, wars just drag on-and lots people other than U.S. citizens suffer.

      https://warontherocks.com/2017/10/transparency-about-the-costs-of-war-wont-change-americans-minds/

    27. MCS Says:

      My extrapolation was based on the continued non-use of the bomb. Probably not very realistic.

      On the other hand, the same tactics of troop dispersal and shelter that were effective against conventional air and artillery would have limited the effectiveness of tactical use of the a-bomb. There just wasn’t much left to bomb unless the Japanese command obliged by providing masses of troops out in the open.

      A tactic of throwing the invaders back into the sea would have done that. The more realistic alternative of withdrawal, dispersion and making us fight for every foot wouldn’t have provided many targets.

      Given the complete lack of concern for fall out, I shudder to consider the delayed cost of several dozen bombs.

      All in all, I’m glad that none of this ever came up.