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    Was MacArthur a Japanese agent? For my generation, clickbait. For the younglings, it’s “Who’s MacArthur”? Douglas MacArthur was, in the words of an admiring biographer, “the American Caesar”, the brilliant military commander who won the Pacific War (the Japanese end of World War II), ruled postwar Japan with a sure imperial hand from 1945 to...
  • I’ll go one deranged step further. The Anglo ruling class was deliberately setting up the Cold War. Why did the Soviets stop at the 38th parallel? In August of 1945, absolutely nothing could have stopped them from taking the entire peninsula. If you’re going to take half, why not the whole thing or just stay out entirely? Korea was rather neatly divided for the next stage.

    Also, why did the Western Allies get half of Berlin when the entire city of well within the Soviet zone of control? It made absolutely no sense to have that Western island in East Germany except for dramatic purposes.

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  • @Faust
    I hope someone else can supply the names, as thy now escape me. It seems to me that it is no longer disputed that Roosevelt was surrounded by communist sympathizers.

    For names, Whittaker Chambers’ testimony is a good start. McCarthy has been smeared by the usual suspects but that’s because he was mostly correct. Otherwise they probably would have ignored him.

    “It is in fact no exaggeration to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder that will play directly into the hands of our common enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come.”

    - Whittaker Chambers, Odyssey of a Friend (1969), (p. 52)

    Reading about the House Un-American Activities Committee will probably supply many names as well.

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  • @anon
    But for American possessions like Guam and the Philippines, taken after the senseless Spanish-American war, it seems to me like war with Japan could have been easily avoided. I never understood why Dutch control of Indonesia, French control of Indo-China or British control of Burma, Hong Kong, etc., was considered to be more desirable to Americans then Japanese control.

    I totally agree, and would even go so far as to say that Japanese control of at least portions of China (complete Japanese occupation was out of the question), rather than communist, corrupt nationalist, or warlord control, ought to have been a matter of strategic indifference to the United States.

    Your point about the Spanish-American War is also excellent. While some commentators have said that the Iraq invasion was the greatest U.S. strategic blunder, I’m inclined to give the Spanish-American War that dubious distinction. Spain posed no conceivable threat to the U.S. and our “victory” put us on a collision course with Japan in the Pacific and saddled us with Puerto Rico, a burden tht we continue to bear. Not to mention the brutal suppression of a Phillipine “insurrection,” which looks a whole lot like an independence movement in retrospect. But once a nation reaches a particular size, the temptation of its elites to seek to establish an empire is nearly irresistible. The American people pay the price.

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  • It’s interesting that Mr. Lee chose Memorial Day to libel one of America’s premier generals with “alternate history”. I’m ambiguous about Mr. Lee’s contribution to the dialogue. He’s an obviously learned and intelligent writer, but a clear advocate of “conspiracy theory” as history.
    Macarthur’s humane administration of Japan as the American proconsul there had its source in his travels in Japan prior to the war and his respect for the Japanese people. Had Patton been the proconsul, the occupation would have been a different thing entirely.

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  • anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Diversity Heretic
    I dispute none of your legal points. But from a geostrategic standpoint, how important was it to the United States that Indochina be governed by French colonialists rather than Japanese imperalists. How many American mothers and fathers would have risked their sons to achieve that goal?

    But for American possessions like Guam and the Philippines, taken after the senseless Spanish-American war, it seems to me like war with Japan could have been easily avoided. I never understood why Dutch control of Indonesia, French control of Indo-China or British control of Burma, Hong Kong, etc., was considered to be more desirable to Americans then Japanese control.

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    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    I totally agree, and would even go so far as to say that Japanese control of at least portions of China (complete Japanese occupation was out of the question), rather than communist, corrupt nationalist, or warlord control, ought to have been a matter of strategic indifference to the United States.

    Your point about the Spanish-American War is also excellent. While some commentators have said that the Iraq invasion was the greatest U.S. strategic blunder, I'm inclined to give the Spanish-American War that dubious distinction. Spain posed no conceivable threat to the U.S. and our "victory" put us on a collision course with Japan in the Pacific and saddled us with Puerto Rico, a burden tht we continue to bear. Not to mention the brutal suppression of a Phillipine "insurrection," which looks a whole lot like an independence movement in retrospect. But once a nation reaches a particular size, the temptation of its elites to seek to establish an empire is nearly irresistible. The American people pay the price.
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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Faust
    I hope someone else can supply the names, as thy now escape me. It seems to me that it is no longer disputed that Roosevelt was surrounded by communist sympathizers.

    You mean the infamous and bizarre Harry Hopkins, as well as the extensive coterie of more-or-less known Ivy League commies such as Alger Hiss.

    Being a commie made life much more interesting for a bored scion of East Coast wealth: the frisson of crime, free access to gay and straight sex, money, fame, in a word: EXCITEMENT.

    Roosevelt was no fool and must have known that Hopkins and many others were Soviet agents, but he let them be because they helped him stay in power and kept distractions (such as democratic controls) away from him. In other words, wheelchair-bound Roosevelt turned traitor (probably as early as the mid-1930s) to enjoy a few more moments of glory and power. Then as now, wide sections of the media and government elite would have had at least some inkling of what was going on, but found it more comfortable to keep mum.

    A similar constellation occured later in West Germany: “social democrat” Chancellor Willy Brandt surrounded himself with suspected communist agents and sympathizers under a tacit deal: the entourage (and the complicit and/or “discreet” media) shielded Brandt’s womanizing and drinking from public view. In return, Brandt went along with their pro-communist initiatives. Brandt was ultimately toppled by another faction in his own party when his office manager was unmasked as an East German spy.

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  • @Faust
    I hope someone else can supply the names, as thy now escape me. It seems to me that it is no longer disputed that Roosevelt was surrounded by communist sympathizers.

    Some of the more commonly named-names are Alger Hiss, Harry Hopkins, and Harry Dexter White.

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  • He and Cybil Sheppard had great chemistry in “Moonlighting.”

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  • @random observer
    A naval blockade of a country's ports or direct interdiction of its shipping at sea is an act of war. It involves actual or implied violence, as well as interdiction of a country's waters and violation of the freedom of the seas.

    An oil embargo or any other kind of trade embargo is, however, not an act or war or a "clear declaration of war" and appears to be nowhere so regarded outside of Pearl Harbour circles. The US was not under any obligation to sell oil or anything else to Japan. It was a clearly aggressive diplomatic move but such moves have never, before or since, been regarded as a casus belli.

    Arguably, the freezing of Japanese assets in the US in the summer of 1941 was a much more aggressive diplomatic move, but freezing of foreign assets in one's country has never been regarded as a casus belli either, and still is not.

    Also, the oil embargo was imposed after Japan invaded French Indochina, a violation of French sovereignty, in order to enforce its own embargo on imports entering China. Japan's embargo move involve actual invasion of a third country, with casualties and everything. Not a casus belli for the United States in any way. But a perfectly valid reason for America's own embargo.

    Aside from French Indo China, it seems to me that the Japanese had long since invaded Manchuria and participated in the “Rape of Nanking”, how much of that could we be expected to susidize?

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  • @Drakejax
    All sorts of facets to the decision to drop the bombs. Roosevelt wanted Soviet participation in the war against Japan from the beginning, and probably didn't want Japan weasiling out of the war before that happened. So plenty of "FDR was a commy agent" room for theorizing, especially given the importance of the August '45 Soviet invasion of Manchuria in the ultimate triumph of Chinese Communism.

    The other thing to remember is that Truman was simple guy. We had an invasion plan moving inexorably forward, and nobody could answer this question "if we made the atom bomb and kept it secret from everyone [except the Soviets] then how do we know for absolute certainty that Japan isn't about to do the same?" In other words, once we had the bomb, it pretty much had to be dropped absent an immediate Japanese surrender. Not to mention the threat of Japanese biological warfare possibly someday amounting to something - why wait to find out when you can end the war right now?

    I hope someone else can supply the names, as thy now escape me. It seems to me that it is no longer disputed that Roosevelt was surrounded by communist sympathizers.

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    • Replies: @Drakejax
    Some of the more commonly named-names are Alger Hiss, Harry Hopkins, and Harry Dexter White.
    , @Anonymous
    You mean the infamous and bizarre Harry Hopkins, as well as the extensive coterie of more-or-less known Ivy League commies such as Alger Hiss.

    Being a commie made life much more interesting for a bored scion of East Coast wealth: the frisson of crime, free access to gay and straight sex, money, fame, in a word: EXCITEMENT.

    Roosevelt was no fool and must have known that Hopkins and many others were Soviet agents, but he let them be because they helped him stay in power and kept distractions (such as democratic controls) away from him. In other words, wheelchair-bound Roosevelt turned traitor (probably as early as the mid-1930s) to enjoy a few more moments of glory and power. Then as now, wide sections of the media and government elite would have had at least some inkling of what was going on, but found it more comfortable to keep mum.

    A similar constellation occured later in West Germany: "social democrat" Chancellor Willy Brandt surrounded himself with suspected communist agents and sympathizers under a tacit deal: the entourage (and the complicit and/or "discreet" media) shielded Brandt's womanizing and drinking from public view. In return, Brandt went along with their pro-communist initiatives. Brandt was ultimately toppled by another faction in his own party when his office manager was unmasked as an East German spy.
    , @Jacques Sheete
    For names, Whittaker Chambers' testimony is a good start. McCarthy has been smeared by the usual suspects but that's because he was mostly correct. Otherwise they probably would have ignored him.

    “It is in fact no exaggeration to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder that will play directly into the hands of our common enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come.”

    - Whittaker Chambers, Odyssey of a Friend (1969), (p. 52)

    Reading about the House Un-American Activities Committee will probably supply many names as well.

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  • @random observer
    A naval blockade of a country's ports or direct interdiction of its shipping at sea is an act of war. It involves actual or implied violence, as well as interdiction of a country's waters and violation of the freedom of the seas.

    An oil embargo or any other kind of trade embargo is, however, not an act or war or a "clear declaration of war" and appears to be nowhere so regarded outside of Pearl Harbour circles. The US was not under any obligation to sell oil or anything else to Japan. It was a clearly aggressive diplomatic move but such moves have never, before or since, been regarded as a casus belli.

    Arguably, the freezing of Japanese assets in the US in the summer of 1941 was a much more aggressive diplomatic move, but freezing of foreign assets in one's country has never been regarded as a casus belli either, and still is not.

    Also, the oil embargo was imposed after Japan invaded French Indochina, a violation of French sovereignty, in order to enforce its own embargo on imports entering China. Japan's embargo move involve actual invasion of a third country, with casualties and everything. Not a casus belli for the United States in any way. But a perfectly valid reason for America's own embargo.

    I dispute none of your legal points. But from a geostrategic standpoint, how important was it to the United States that Indochina be governed by French colonialists rather than Japanese imperalists. How many American mothers and fathers would have risked their sons to achieve that goal?

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    • Replies: @anon
    But for American possessions like Guam and the Philippines, taken after the senseless Spanish-American war, it seems to me like war with Japan could have been easily avoided. I never understood why Dutch control of Indonesia, French control of Indo-China or British control of Burma, Hong Kong, etc., was considered to be more desirable to Americans then Japanese control.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Kiza
    It has always been a big mystery to me why the US leadership demanded unconditional surrender from Japan when this condition was costing lives of many a US soldier and the lives of 1/2 million Japanese civilians (fire-bombings and nuclear explosions). Forget about revenge, it is not an important motivator at the top of the dung heap. I believe that the US really wanted to crush Japan militarily and mentally so that it never becomes a competitor again, to plow over its Carthage. The dropping of nuclear bombs was for several reasons, showing them to the Russians probably the main one.

    Peter's version is, although a bit far-fetched, potentially a good explanation of what may have transpired. Peter also weaves in the most exotic story of WW2, the Yamashita's gold (stolen Chinese gold), into his version, although MacArthur did not fulfill his part of the bargain with the Japanese to stop the US advancement. I personally believe that MacArthur got a part of Yamashita's gold but by torturing the Japanese having any knowledge of it, rather than through a deal with its holders, that is voluntarily.

    Overall, Peter's version is an excellent one just for offering a new angle, for the benefit of breaking the mold and freeing up the minds of the readers from the bland and dumb established historical orthodoxies.

    Finally, let me summarize the silly official history: the US imposed an oil embargo on Japan (a clear declaration of war) for mistreating the Chinese; then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, then the US dropped nuclear bombs and firebombed the Japanese civilians to shorten the war and save US lives; whilst today the US is encouraging Japan's re-militarization to counter the bad Chinese. Therefore, the only constant is divide et impera and innocents dying.

    There may be some silliness in the official history, but you seem to be implying that the fact that the US’ main ally has changed since the 1940s is part of it. I don’t see why. That’s how history, geopolitics, and the human condition in general have always worked. There are few long-term alliances, and none forever. When the alliances are based solely on common interests and nothing else, they will be as long as those interests in common and no longer.

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  • A naval blockade of a country’s ports or direct interdiction of its shipping at sea is an act of war. It involves actual or implied violence, as well as interdiction of a country’s waters and violation of the freedom of the seas.

    An oil embargo or any other kind of trade embargo is, however, not an act or war or a “clear declaration of war” and appears to be nowhere so regarded outside of Pearl Harbour circles. The US was not under any obligation to sell oil or anything else to Japan. It was a clearly aggressive diplomatic move but such moves have never, before or since, been regarded as a casus belli.

    Arguably, the freezing of Japanese assets in the US in the summer of 1941 was a much more aggressive diplomatic move, but freezing of foreign assets in one’s country has never been regarded as a casus belli either, and still is not.

    Also, the oil embargo was imposed after Japan invaded French Indochina, a violation of French sovereignty, in order to enforce its own embargo on imports entering China. Japan’s embargo move involve actual invasion of a third country, with casualties and everything. Not a casus belli for the United States in any way. But a perfectly valid reason for America’s own embargo.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    I dispute none of your legal points. But from a geostrategic standpoint, how important was it to the United States that Indochina be governed by French colonialists rather than Japanese imperalists. How many American mothers and fathers would have risked their sons to achieve that goal?
    , @Faust
    Aside from French Indo China, it seems to me that the Japanese had long since invaded Manchuria and participated in the "Rape of Nanking", how much of that could we be expected to susidize?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Kiza
    It has always been a big mystery to me why the US leadership demanded unconditional surrender from Japan when this condition was costing lives of many a US soldier and the lives of 1/2 million Japanese civilians (fire-bombings and nuclear explosions). Forget about revenge, it is not an important motivator at the top of the dung heap. I believe that the US really wanted to crush Japan militarily and mentally so that it never becomes a competitor again, to plow over its Carthage. The dropping of nuclear bombs was for several reasons, showing them to the Russians probably the main one.

    Peter's version is, although a bit far-fetched, potentially a good explanation of what may have transpired. Peter also weaves in the most exotic story of WW2, the Yamashita's gold (stolen Chinese gold), into his version, although MacArthur did not fulfill his part of the bargain with the Japanese to stop the US advancement. I personally believe that MacArthur got a part of Yamashita's gold but by torturing the Japanese having any knowledge of it, rather than through a deal with its holders, that is voluntarily.

    Overall, Peter's version is an excellent one just for offering a new angle, for the benefit of breaking the mold and freeing up the minds of the readers from the bland and dumb established historical orthodoxies.

    Finally, let me summarize the silly official history: the US imposed an oil embargo on Japan (a clear declaration of war) for mistreating the Chinese; then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, then the US dropped nuclear bombs and firebombed the Japanese civilians to shorten the war and save US lives; whilst today the US is encouraging Japan's re-militarization to counter the bad Chinese. Therefore, the only constant is divide et impera and innocents dying.

    It has always been a big mystery to me

    Just one of many?

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  • Kiza says:

    It has always been a big mystery to me why the US leadership demanded unconditional surrender from Japan when this condition was costing lives of many a US soldier and the lives of 1/2 million Japanese civilians (fire-bombings and nuclear explosions). Forget about revenge, it is not an important motivator at the top of the dung heap. I believe that the US really wanted to crush Japan militarily and mentally so that it never becomes a competitor again, to plow over its Carthage. The dropping of nuclear bombs was for several reasons, showing them to the Russians probably the main one.

    Peter’s version is, although a bit far-fetched, potentially a good explanation of what may have transpired. Peter also weaves in the most exotic story of WW2, the Yamashita’s gold (stolen Chinese gold), into his version, although MacArthur did not fulfill his part of the bargain with the Japanese to stop the US advancement. I personally believe that MacArthur got a part of Yamashita’s gold but by torturing the Japanese having any knowledge of it, rather than through a deal with its holders, that is voluntarily.

    Overall, Peter’s version is an excellent one just for offering a new angle, for the benefit of breaking the mold and freeing up the minds of the readers from the bland and dumb established historical orthodoxies.

    Finally, let me summarize the silly official history: the US imposed an oil embargo on Japan (a clear declaration of war) for mistreating the Chinese; then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, then the US dropped nuclear bombs and firebombed the Japanese civilians to shorten the war and save US lives; whilst today the US is encouraging Japan’s re-militarization to counter the bad Chinese. Therefore, the only constant is divide et impera and innocents dying.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    It has always been a big mystery to me

    Just one of many?
    , @random observer
    There may be some silliness in the official history, but you seem to be implying that the fact that the US' main ally has changed since the 1940s is part of it. I don't see why. That's how history, geopolitics, and the human condition in general have always worked. There are few long-term alliances, and none forever. When the alliances are based solely on common interests and nothing else, they will be as long as those interests in common and no longer.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • All sorts of facets to the decision to drop the bombs. Roosevelt wanted Soviet participation in the war against Japan from the beginning, and probably didn’t want Japan weasiling out of the war before that happened. So plenty of “FDR was a commy agent” room for theorizing, especially given the importance of the August ’45 Soviet invasion of Manchuria in the ultimate triumph of Chinese Communism.

    The other thing to remember is that Truman was simple guy. We had an invasion plan moving inexorably forward, and nobody could answer this question “if we made the atom bomb and kept it secret from everyone [except the Soviets] then how do we know for absolute certainty that Japan isn’t about to do the same?” In other words, once we had the bomb, it pretty much had to be dropped absent an immediate Japanese surrender. Not to mention the threat of Japanese biological warfare possibly someday amounting to something – why wait to find out when you can end the war right now?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Faust
    I hope someone else can supply the names, as thy now escape me. It seems to me that it is no longer disputed that Roosevelt was surrounded by communist sympathizers.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Mac’s efforts to prevent any prosecution of ” the Sire” for war crimes are mind boggling. They are detailed in John Bower’s Embracing Defeat: Japan In The Wake Of World War II. He basically obstructed any investigation then told Truman his thorough investigation of the Emporer uncovered no evidence against him!! I thought this was because Mac liked the fact that the Japanese “God” needed to make appointments to see “Ceasar.” The book reports that no record exists of the 10 or so meetings they held. All discusions were attended only by the Royal Interpreter. Hmmmm.

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