In that book, which spent 46 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a film directed by Clint Eastwood , Bradley took great care to locate and speak with family and friends who actually knew the men depicted. In doing this, he received praise for his realistic portrayals and bringing the men involved to life. The book and the film is an in-depth look at those involved and their war-time service. Of the six men who raised the second and larger replacement flag on Mount Suribachi on February 23, , PhM2c.
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It is a small country - the size of California. Japanese prisoners of war The appalling treatment often meted out to their prisoners of war was a recent phenomena. In the Sino-Japanese war of , their treated their Russian prisoners very well, and adhered to international agreements governing behaviour in war. Japan in World War 1 They were on the side of the Allies. Emperor Hirohito His father had mental health problems, and he was brought up instead by a retired admiral. He was enrolled at a military school at age 7.
The emphasis was on military subjects. His teachers included an army general, two navy rear-admirals and four active duty lieutenant generals. In the evenings, military tutors "played war-strategy games with him". He was constantly in the company of older military men, who encouraged him to act in a military manner. General education in Japan was militaristic Hirohito was far from alone in having a martial curriculum. The army officer-custodians of young Japanes minds had long endured rough corporal punishments in their barracks, and they transplanted their brutal treatment to the schools.
Japanese soldiers Boot camp was utterly brutal. They told soldiers they they would die for the emperor. Recruits were constantly told their lives were worth nothing compared to the glorious contribution they could make to their country by dying in battle for the emperor.
It was absolutely forbidden to withdraw, surrender, or become a prisoner of war. Life for the trainee Japanese soldier The new army recruit entered a violent asylum where he was pummelled, slapped, kicked and beaten daily.
They took over large sections of the eastern area of the country, including Nanking, which spawned the famous book "The Rape of Nanking", describing this fighting in all its savagery. The Japanese won and the British surrendered. It gave America a sense of moral ferocity that no government propaganda could have come close to matching. The Americans planned a daring raid. They planned to fly bombers off aircraft carrier ships, which had never been achieved before - because bombers were so big.
They were too big to land back on the ships, so had to fly on, after the raid, to land in unoccupied parts of China. The raid was a great success.
They dropped magnesium firebombs on Tokyo and other places on Honshu Island, causing notable damage. Japan was bowled over by the intrusion. There were many casualties The Japanese took terrible vengeance by infiltrating that part of China that had helped the airmen.
It is calculated that a quarter of a million Chinese were killed in their three month campaign of revenge. Biological Warfare Japan was so outraged by the Doolittle Raid that it unleashed biological warfare, and experimented on Chinese civilians at the infamous Unit They were infected with bubonic plague, pneumonia,epidemic haemorrhagic fever, typhoid and syphilis.
The Chinese were injected with pathogens and their bodies used as disease incubators. The Japanese then sprayed these things across east China. The total number of casualties has never been determined, but the effects and be imputed from Japanese records "On reports stated that during one assault, a last-minute change in the wind led to the deaths of 1, Japanese soldiers and the injury of 10, more.
Battle of Midway Island. They therefore sent out bomber and fighter planes which caused havoc to the Japanese fleet of ships. The Battle of Midway decided the outcome of the war. The Japanese fleet was crippled. Five minutes of applied American air power had turned the tide of the Pacific War. It was far from over though, because the Japanese would not surrender. Every inch of the way - the Japanese would not surrender. American air power takes over the outer islands of Japan. The Japanese built impregnable fortresses on islands like Rabaul and Truk.
They thought these fortresses would secure the South Pacific. But using its airplanes, the US leap-frogged its way to victory. They used their airplanes to soften up the islands for the US Marines to capture. Not only would they bomb in advance of the troops, but they would keep the marines supplied with food, medical supplies and ammunition. These supplies would be flown in, and the wounded flown out. Island by island the Americans were heading for Japan.
War atrocities committed by the Americans and the Japanese. These happened on both sides e. In spite of the efforts of the author to be fair to both sides, I got the impression that the Japanese were far more cruel towards the people they captured, not least because their culture had no respect whatsoever for POWs. In their books, anyone threatened with being taken prisoner should do the honourable thing and commit suicide, therefore people who allowed themselves to be taken prisoner were regarded as despicable.
I think their attitude was greatly exacerbated by the experiences of fire bombing that the Japanese had at the hands of the Americans. It was horrendous. I think revenge played no small part in the way they treated their prisoners Death rates in Prisoner of War Camps: Germany For me this was almost the most shocking part of the book. Japanese troops left defending the islands were expected to fend for themselves. The Japanese army did nothing to support them.
Incredibly, Allied bullets accounted only for one third of all Japanese troop fatalities in the Pacific war. Indeed, when the Americans island-hopped toward Tokyo they simply bypassed these pitiful abandoned troops.
Some of them tried to stay alive by farming and fishing. More than one-third died of sickness and starvation. On Wolwei, a force of over 7, men numbered fewer than 2, by the end of the war.
All over the islands these soldiers tried to survive by eating things like boiled grass. In some instances they resorted to cannibalism Only 10, survived. Allied bullets killed relatively few. The vast majority died through disease and starvation. Examples of the Japanese refusal to surrender On Attu, 2, Japanese soldiers fought to the end and just 29 became prisoners of war.
A fatality rate of On Tarawa, Only eight Japanese were captured alive. On Makin, only one out of more than three hundred men survived the battle. At the Marshalls, the Japanese lost 3, and only 51 were captured, a fatality rate of At Kwajalein, the Japanese garrison lost 4,, with only 79 taken prisoner, a fatality rate of Saipan An island miles from Japan, that the Japanese never thought would be attacked.
There were also approximately 20, civilians. The Americans attacked the island with vigour. Realising its soldiers and civilians were hopeless trapped, Japanese military leaders decided that all the Japanese on the island - soldiers and civilians alike - should die - and gave the order that this should be done.
The Japanese army, often just using bamboo sticks, just hopelessly kept attacking the landing American soldiers. The civilians committed suicide by jumping off a cliff called Marpi Point - men, women and children.
Just a few surrendered. Iwo Jima Island The air force bombed this island ferociously before the troops arrived. When the US Marines landed there, the fighting was terrible, but like Guam, Tinian and Saipan islands, it gave the Americans long airfields that B airplanes could take off from, to bring war to the island of Japan.
The found that mixing Naphthenic and Palmitic acids hence na-palm with gasoline produced a sticky Vaseline-like yellow paste that stuck to materials and burned slowly.
It was a perfect incendiary. This jellied gasoline would stick to anything - roofs, walls, humans - and it could not be put out. Water only splattered it. Napalm link Napalm fire bombing of Tokyo. An overwhelming downpour of jellied gasoline. Quote from Brigadier General Bonner Fellers. He described the Tokyo raid in a confidential memo as "one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history. But nevertheless it was the dropping of the atom bombs that finally provoked the senior military into surrender Japan could surrender or face "utter and complete destruction".
There was no surrender, and in August there followed some more terrible bombing of Japan. Hiroshima Hiroshima housed the headquarters of the army that would defend Kyushu from American landings.
James Bradley (author)
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
'Flyboys' by James Bradley