Nicholson Baker (
Baker shows that the Japanese, as early as 1934, were complaining that Roosevelt was deliberately provoking them. In January 1941, Japan protested the U.S. military buildup in Hawaii. Joseph Grew, our ambassador to Japan, reported rumors that the Japanese response would be a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Yet according to World War II mythology, America was blissfully sleeping, unprepared for war, when caught by surprise by the dastardly "sneak attack." (Isn't it curious that Asians carry out "sneak attacks," whereas Westerners launch "preemptive strikes"?) A year earlier, Baker shows, Roosevelt began planning the bombing of Japan -- which had invaded China, but with which we were not at war -- from Chinese air bases with American planes and, when necessary, American pilots. Pearl Harbor was a purely military target, but Roosevelt wanted to bomb Japanese cities with incendiary bombs; he'd been assured that their cities would burn fast, being made largely of wood and paper.
Roosevelt evinced no desire to negotiate. In fact, Baker writes, in October he "began leaking the news of his new war plan," with $100 billion earmarked for airplanes alone. Grew again warned Roosevelt that he was pushing Japan toward armed conflict with the United States, but the president continued his war preparations. Finally, the night before the Japanese attack, Roosevelt sent a message to Emperor Hirohito calling for talks. He read it to the Chinese ambassador, remarking that he thought the message would "be fine for the record."lattimes /By Mark Kurlansky
March 9, 2008
“Human Smoke” deliberately has no argument, but Churchill appears as more of a warmonger than he is usually portrayed, and there is far more than in most textbooks about pacifist opposition to the war in the United States and Britain and to Britain’s pre-Blitz bombing campaign of German cities.
“I came to the Second World War with a typically inadequate American education.” Mr. Baker said, “and I was surprised to discover that Churchill had this crazy, late-night side. He was obviously thrilled to be in the midst of this escalating war. This is a man who wanted Europe to starve — he wanted to starve it into a state of revolt.”NYT/March 4, 2008
A Debunker on the Road to World War II
By CHARLES McGRATH
Franklin Roosevelt, now a lawyer in New York City, noticed that Jews made up one-third of the freshman class at Harvard. He talked the problem over with Henry Morgenthau, Sr., and he went to the Harvard Board of Overseers, of which he was a member. "It was decided," Roosevelt later explained, "that over a period of years the number of Jews should be reduced one or two per cent a year until it was down to 15%." It was about 1922.
The Royal Air Force announced the staging of a mock bombing exercise at its annual air pageant in Hendon, north of London. It was June 11, 1927.
The New York Times described the Hendon event in advance: "The 'town,' which will be built largely of airplane wings, will be bombed to bits. Airplanes will drop food and ammunition to the European 'refugees,' who will be fl eeing after having escaped from the citadel in which they have been 'beleaguered' by the town's native inhabitants." The town was located in the imaginary land of Irquestine.onlinewsj
The Horror of D-Day
A New Openness to Discussing Allied War Crimes in WWII
By Klaus Wiegrefe
D-Day may have been the beginning of the end of Germany's campaign of horror during World War II. But a new book by British historian Antony Beevor makes it clear that the "greatest generation" wasn't above committing a few war crimes of its own.
According to the findings of German historian Peter Lieb, many Canadian and American units were given orders on D-Day to take no prisoners.
In his 2007 book "The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1934-1944" Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson described various war crimes committed by the Allies. And now we have the same thing with Normandy.