Sunday, May 29, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search

Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found

VideoFound: Shepherd mix, showed up near C.R. 307 and C.R. 317, La Vernia, about one week ago, has orange collar with no tags. 210-385-2892.
Reward! Lost: Fox Terrier, white and orange female, named Sara, no collar, went missing May 1, near F.M. 775 and 3432. Call Lindsay at 210-284-0094.

VideoLost: German mix, male, tip of one ear missing, micro chipped, last seen with blue collar and blue bone tag with name and house number. Call if found, 830-779-2512.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Experienced electrician needed. Call 210-885-4101, fax 830-393-0909, or email
Very part-time help needed to feed cats, chickens, and horses, Monday-Friday, 2 times per day, morning after dawn but before 9 a.m. for approx. 30-45 minutes and p.m. before dark (summer about 6-8 p.m., winter 4-5 p.m.) for approx. 60-90 minutes. Suitable for someone who lives near location, which is exactly halfway between New Berlin and La Vernia. No smoking and requires working in all weather conditions. Long term job, it will not replace income, it will supplement. 830-372-5762.  
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos

Video Vault ›


Remembering the Significance of VJ Day

E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
August 8, 2012 | 2,004 views | 1 comment

By Dr. Marvin Folkertsma

Consider this fictitious scenario: In the summer of 1950, President Thomas E. Dewey faced a national security crisis of extraordinary proportions--one that his advisors agreed likely would define his presidency. After beating his Democratic opponent in 1948 by a comfortable margin, Dewey received news that Soviet-backed armies in Korea, Hokkaido, and Northern Honshu had mounted a massive invasion of Southern Honshu, with the goal of unifying Japan under a single government. He knew that American occupation forces--under strength, dispirited, and still fighting insurgencies loyal to the emperor in Kyushu and Shikoku, as well as other scattered parts of the former Japanese empire--were hardly in a position to resist.

Although he based much of his election campaign on a “Truman Lost Japan” platform, he now lamented the fact that the war dragged on through the spring of 1947 instead of ending in the summer of 1945. That brought in the Russians, who took over all of Korea and carved out an occupation zone in northern Japan, transforming it into one of their notorious “people’s republics.” The United Nations could do nothing--the Russians had the veto--and Americans were sick of war. What was the United States going to do? Use atomic bombs to stop the invasion? Unthinkable! Especially not with the Russians also having tested an atomic weapon during the previous fall.

The new American president slumped in his chair in the oval office, disconsolate--and angry. China, Russia, Korea, and now probably Japan--all communist dictatorships. Where else would Joe Stalin press his advantage? In Europe again, against Germany? Central Asia, perhaps? Iran? Pakistan? Victories whet imperialist appetites. And America was losing the Cold War. If only that novice Harry Truman had acted as tough as he talked...

Of course, the fact that Truman did, spared us this nightmare version of an early Cold War alternative history. In fact, in the months leading to the actual surrender of Japan, which occurred on 14 August 1945 (Washington time), a variety of morbid statistics on estimated casualties haunted the president’s thoughts. On Okinawa alone, American casualties ran to 75,000. And a horrendous battle it was--replete with flamethrowers torching caves filled with suicidal Japanese soldiers and terrified Okinawan citizens, tanks attacked by enemies with bombs attached to their heads, endless mortar and artillery bombardments--it was the worst battle in a war that had also included Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima.

Then there was the kamikaze. From April 6 to June 22, when the island was finally declared secure, the Japanese staged 10 big attacks involving 1,465 aircraft, inflicting tremendous damage, in terms of ships sunk, lives lost, and morale depleted. Indeed, historian Max Hastings notes in his superb account, “Retribution,” that “For the sacrifice of a few hundred half-trained pilots, vastly more damage was inflicted upon the U. S. Navy than the Japanese surface fleet had accomplish since Pearl Harbor” [italics added]. What was the number of aircraft available to Japan to defend the home islands against an American invasion? Answer: 10,000. Half of those were kamikaze. That’s not to mention suicide boats, human-torpedoes, human-bombs, and swimmers with bombs.

No doubt pondering this information worsened the soul hollowing-out nature of casualty estimates for an invasion of Japan, which President Truman had been receiving since August 1944. The most recent figures from the last week of July 1945, were provided by General George C. Marshall and entailed the loss of anywhere from a quarter million to one million Americans. Likely, Japan would lose all of its nearly three-quarter-million man army in the region, along with millions of civilians. For numbers like these, the word “intolerable” barely gnaws on the edge of one’s imagination.

Which of course brings to mind the way the war actually ended, with the dropping of two atomic bombs, the Russian invasion of Manchuria, Emperor Hirohito’s dramatic radio message to his people, and the signing of the surrender terms on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. In the final analysis, by the emperor’s own words, it was the atomic bombs, and not the Russian invasion of Manchuria, that forced the issue: “The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but it would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization.”

So the greatest war in history finally came to an end. And not just to an end, but to the best conclusion that could be expected, considering the circumstances. And for the millions of lives, Americans and Japanese alike, saved by Truman’s decision, no better expression of relief can be found than in the words of notable historian and former combat soldier, Paul Fussell: “For all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live.”

Thanks to him, President Truman, and millions of other brave men and women, so are we.

Dr. Marvin Folkertsma is a professor of political science and fellow for American studies with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

© 2012 by The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The views & opinions expressed herein may, but do not necessarily, reflect the views of Grove City College.
‹ Previous Blog Entry

Your Opinions and Comments

Elaine K.  
August 8, 2012 10:35am
New post.

Share your comment or opinion on this story!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives

Commentaries page
Commentaries who represents me?
Voncille Bielefeld homeHeavenly Touch homeAllstate & McBride RealtyTriple R DC Experts

  Copyright © 2007-2016 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.