WWII – The Third Phase

Once America’s strength developed, and Russia survived to develop hers, the defeat of the Axis powers – Germany, Italy and Japan – became certain, as their combined military potential was so much smaller. The only uncertainties were – how long it would take, and how complete it would be. The most that the aggressors, turned defenders, could hope for was to obtain better terms of peace by spinning out time until the “giants” became weary or quarrelled. But the chances of such prolonged resistance depended on shortening fronts. None of the Axis leaders could bear to “lose face” by voluntary withdrawal, and so clung to every position until it collapsed. There was no real turning point in this third phase of the war, but only an incoming tide. The tide flowed more easily in Russia and in the Pacific, because in these areas an ever-growing superiority of force was combined with ample space for manoeuvre. In southern and western Europe the tide met more checks because space was more cramped.

The Anglo-American forces’ first bound back into Europe – in July 1943 – was eased by the way that Hitler and Mussolini poured troops across the sea into Tunisia in the hope of holding a bridgehead there to block the converging advance of the Allied armies from Egypt and Algeria. Tunisia turned into a trap, and the capture of the whole German-Italian army there left Sicily almost denuded of defence. But when the Allies pushed on from Sicily into Italy – in September 1943 – their advance up that narrow and mountainous peninsula became sticky and slow.

On 6 June 1944, the main Allied armies, which had been built up in England for a cross channel invasion, landed in Normandy. Here success was certain if they could firmly establish themselves ashore in a bridgehead big enough to build up their massed strength and swamp the Germans’ barricading line. For once they broke out, the whole width of France would be open for the manoeuvre of their armies, which were fully mechanised, whereas the bulk of the German forces were not.

The Germans’ defence was thus doomed to eventual collapse, unless they could throw the invaders back into the sea in the first few days. But in the event the move-up of their panzer reserves was fatally delayed by the paralysing interference of the Allied air forces, which had a 30:1 superiority over the Luftwaffe in this theatre.

Even if the invasion of Normandy had been repulsed on the beaches, the Allies’ now tremendous air superiority, applied direct against Germany, would have made her collapse certain. Until 1944, the strategic air offensive had fallen far short of the claims made for it, as an alternative to land invasion, and its effects had been greatly overestimated. The indiscriminate bombing of cities had not seriously diminished munitions production, while failing to break the will of the opposing peoples and compel them to surrender, as expected. For collectively they were too firmly under the grip of their tyrannical leaders, and individuals cannot surrender to bombers in the sky. But in 1944-45 air power was better directed – applied with ever increasing precision and crippling effects to the key centres of war production that were vital to the enemy’s power of resistance. In the Far East, too, the mastery of air power made the collapse of Japan certain, without any need for the atom bomb.

The main obstacle in the Allies’ path, once the tide had turned, was a self-raised barrier – their leader’s unwise and short-sighted demand for “unconditional surrender.” It was the greatest help to Hitler, in preserving his grip on the German people, and likewise to the War Party in Japan. If the Allied leaders had been wise enough to provide some assurance as to their peace terms, Hitler’s grip on the German people would have been loosened long before 1945. Three years earlier, envoys of the widespread anti-Nazi movement in Germany made known to Allied leaders their plans for overthrowing Hitler, and the names of the many leading soldiers who were prepared to join such a revolt, provided that they were given some assurance about the Allied peace terms. But then, and later, no indication or assurance was given them, so that it naturally became difficult for them to gain support for a “leap in the dark.”

Thus, “the unnecessary war” was unnecessarily prolonged, and millions more lives needlessly sacrificed, while the ultimate peace merely produced a fresh menace and the looming fear for another war. For the unnecessary prolongation of the Second World War in pursuit of the opponents’ “unconditional surrender,” proved of profit only to Stalin – by opening the way for Communist domination of Europe.

Courtesy of:

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WWII – The Second Phase

Britain was the only remaining active opponent of Nazi Germany. But she was left in the most perilous situation, militarily naked while menacingly enveloped by a 2000-mile stretch of enemy coastline.

Her army had only reached Dunkirk and avoided capture through Hitler’s strange action in halting his panzer forces for two days when they were a bare ten miles from the last remaining escape-port, then almost unguarded – a halt order inspired by a complex of motives, including Goring’s vainglorious desire that the Luftwaffe should take the final trick.

Even though the bulk of the British army had got away safely, it had lost most of its arms. While the survivors of the sixteen divisions that came back were being reorganised, there was only one properly armed division to defend the country, and the Fleet was kept in the far north out of reach of the Luftwaffe. If the Germans had landed in England any time during the month after the fall of France there would have been little chance of resisting them. But Hitler and his service chiefs had made no preparations invade England – nor even worked out any plans for such an obviously essential follow-up to their defeat of france. He let the vital month slip away in hopeful expectation that Britain would agree to make peace. Even when disillusioned on that score, the German preparations were half-hearted. When the Luftwaffe failed to drive the RAF out of the sky in the “Battle of Britain,” the Army and Navy chiefs were in fact glad of the excuse thus provided for suspending the invasion. More remarkable was Hitler’s own readiness to accept excuses for its suspension.

The records of his private talks show that it was partly due to a reluctance to destroy Britain and the British Empire, which he regarded as a stabilising element in the world, and still hoped to secure as a partner. But beyond this reluctance there was a fresh impulse. Hitler’s mind was again turning eastward. This was the key factor that proved decisive in preserving Britain.

Had Hitler concentrated on defeating Britain, her doom would have been almost certain. For although he had missed the best chance of conquering her by invasion, he could have developed such a stranglehold by combined air and submarine pressure, as to ensure her gradual starvation and ultimate collapse.

Hitler, however, felt certain that he could not venture to concentrate his resources on the sea and air effort while the Russian army stood poised on his eastern border, as a threat to Germany on land. So he argued that the only way to make Germany’s rear secure was to attack and defeat Russia. His suspicion of Russia’s intentions was all the more intense because of hatred of Russian – style Communism had so long been his deepest emotion.

He also persuaded himself that Britain would agree to peace once she could no longer hope for Russian intervention in the war. Indeed, he imagined that Britain would have made peace already if Russia were not inciting her to fight on, when, on 21 July, Hitler held his first conference to discuss the hastily drafted plans for invading England, he revealed the turn of his mind, saying: “Stalin is flirting with Britain to keep her in the war and tie us down, with a view to gain time to take what he wants, knowing he could not get it once peace breaks out.” From this came the further conclusion: “Our attention must be turned to tackling the Russian problem.”

Planning was initiated immediately, though it was not until early in 1941 that he took the definite decision. The invasion was launched on 22 June- a day ahead of Napoleon’s date. The panzer forces quickly overran the Soviet armies that were immediately available and within less than a month had driven 450 miles into Russia – three quarters of the way to Moscow. But the Germans never reached there.

What were the key factors in their failure? The autumn mud and snow were the obvious ones. But more fundamental was the Germans’ miscalculation of the reserves that Stalin could bring up from the depths of Russia. They reckoned on meeting 200 divisions, and by mid-August had beaten these. But then a further 160 had appeared on the scene. By the time these in turn had been overcome, autumn had arrived, and when the Germans pushed on towards Moscow in the mud, they again found fresh armies blocking the route.Another basic factor was Russia’s continued primitiveness, despite all the technical progress achieved since the Soviet Revolution. It was not only a matter of the extraordinary endurance of her soldiers and people, but the primitiveness of her roads. If her road system had been developed comparably to that of the West, she would have been overrun almost as quickly as France. Even as it was, however, the invasion might have succeeded if the panzer forces had driven right on for Moscow in the summer, without waiting for the infantry – as Guderian had urged, only to be overruled on this occasion by Hitler and the older heads of the army,

The winter in Russia proved a terrible strain and drain on the German forces – and they never fully recovered from it. Yet is evident that Hitler still had a quite a good chance of victory in 1942, as the Red Army was seriously short of equipment, while Stalin’s grip on it had been shaken by the heavy initial defeats. Hitler’s new offensive swept quickly through to the edge of the Caucasus oilfields – on which Russia’s military machine depended. But Hitler split his forces between the double objectives of Caucasus and Stalingrad. Narrowly checked here, he wore down his army in repeated bull-headed efforts to capture the “City of Stalin,” becoming obsessed with that symbol of defiance. Forbidding any withdrawal when winter came, he doomed the army attacking it to encirclement and capture when Russia’s newly raised armies arrived on the scene late in the year.

The disaster at Stalingrad left the Germans with a far longer front than they could hold with their depleted strength. Withdrawal was the only saving course, as the generals urged, but Hitler obstinately refused to sanction it. Deaf to all arguments, he constantly insisted on “No retreat.’ That parrot cry could not stem the tide, and merely ensured that each eventual retreat would be enforced by a heavy defeat, at higher cost because it was delayed too long.

Hitler’s forces were suffering, increasingly, the consequences of strategic overstretch – which had proved the ruin of Napoleon. The strain was all the worse because in 1940 the war had been extended to the Mediterranean- by Mussolini, plunging into the war to take advantage of France’s downfall and Britain’s weakness. That had offered the British a chance for counterattack, in an area where sea power could exert its influence. Churchill was quick to seize the chance – in part, too quick. Britain’s mechanised force in Egypt, though small, soon smashed the out of date Italian army in North Africa, besides conquering Italian East Africa. It could have driven on to Tripoli, but was halted in order that a force could be landed in Greece – a premature and ill-prepared move that was easily repulsed by the Germans. But the Italian breakdown in North Africa led Hitler to send German reinforcements there , under Rommel. However, having his eyes fixed on Russia, Hitler sent only enough to bolster up the Italians, and never made a strong effort to seize the eastern, central and western gates of the Mediterranean – Suez, Malta and Gibraltar.

So in effect he merely opened up a fresh drain on Germany’s strength, which ultimately offset the success of Rommel’s counter-thrusts in postponing for over two years the clearance of North Africa. The Germans were now stretched out along both sides of the Mediterranean, and the whole coastline of Western Europe, while trying to hold a perilously wide front in the depths of Russia.

The natural consequences of such general overstretch were postponed, and the war prolonged by Japan’s entry into the war – in December 1941. But this proved more fatal to Hitler’s prospects in the long run, because it brought America’s weight into the war. The temporary effect of the Japanese surprise stroke at Pearl Harbour which crippled the US Pacific Fleet, enabled the Japanese to overrun the Allied positions in the Southwest Pacific – Malaya, Burma, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. But in this rapid expansion they became stretched out far beyond their basic capacity for holding their gains. For Japan was a small Island state with limited industrial power.

Courtesy of: History of the Second World War by B.H. Liddell Hart, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.

WWII – The First Phasel

On Friday, 1 September 1939, the German armies invaded Poland. On Sunday, the 3rd, the British government declared war on Germany, in fulfilment of the guarantee it had earlier given to Poland. Six hours later the French government, more reluctantly, followed the British lead.

Within less than a month Poland had been overrun. Within nine months most of Western Europe had been submerged by the spreading flood of war.

Could Poland have held out longer?

Could France and Britain have done more than they did to take the German pressure off Poland?

On the face of figures of armed strength, as now known, the answer to both questions would, at first sight, seem to be “yes.”

The German army was far from being ready for war in 1939. The Poles and French together had the equivalent of 150 divisions, including thirty five reserve divisions, and from which some had to be kept for French overseas commitments, against the German total of ninety-eight divisions, of which thirty-six were in an untrained state. Out of the forty divisions which the Germans left to defend their western frontier, only four were active divisions, fully trained and equipped. But Hitler’s strategy had placed France in a situation where she could only relieve pressure on Poland by developing a quick attack – a form of action for which her army was unfitted. Her old-fashioned mobilisation plan was slow in producing the required weight of forces, and her offensive plans dependent on a mass of heavy artillery which was not ready until the sixteenth day. By that time the Polish Army’s resistance was collapsing.

Poland was badly handicapped by her strange strategic situation – the country being placed like a “tongue” between Germany’s jaws, and Poland strategy made the situation worse by placing the bulk of her forces near the tip of the tongue. Moreover, these forces were out of date in equipment and ideas, still placing faith in a large mass of horsed cavalry – which proved helpless against the German tanks.

The Germans at that time had only six armoured and four mechanised divisions ready, but thanks to General Guderian’s enthusiasm, and Hitler’s backing, they had gone farther than any other army in adopting the new idea of high-speed mechanised warfare that had been conceived twenty years earlier by the British pioneers of this new kind and tempo of action. The Germans had also developed a much stronger air force than any of the other countries whereas not only the Poles, but the French also were badly lacking in air power, even to support and cover their armies.

Thus Poland saw the first triumphant demonstration of the new Blitzkrieg technique by the Germans, while the Western allies of Poland were still in the process of preparing for war on customary lines. On 17 September the Red Army advanced across Poland’s eastern frontier, a blow in the back that sealed her fate, as she had scarcely any troops left to oppose this second invasion.

The rapid overrunning of Poland was followed by a six months’ lull – christened the “Phoney War” by onlookers who were deceived by the surface appearance of calm. A truer name would have been the “Winter of Illusion.” For the leaders as well as the public in the Western countries spent the time in framing fanciful plans for attacking Germany’s flanks – and talked about them all too openly,

In reality, there was no prospect of France and Britain ever being able, alone, to develop the strength required to overcome Germany. Their best hope, now that Germany and Russia faced each other on a common border, was that friction would develop between these two mutually distrustful confederates, and draw Hitler’s explosive force eastward instead, instead of westward. That happened a year later, and might well have happened earlier if the Western Allies had not been impatient – as is the way of democracies.

Their loud and threatening talk of attacking Germany’s flanks spurred Hitler to forestall them. His first stroke was to occupy Norway. The captured records of his conferences show that until early in 1940, he still considered “the maintenance of Norway’s neutrality to be the best course” for Germany, but that in February he came to the conclusion that “the English intend to land there, and I want to be there before them.” A small German invading force arrived there on 9 April, upsetting the British plans for gaining control of that neutral area – and captured the chief ports while the Norwegian’s attention was absorbed by the British naval advance into Norwegian waters.

Hitler’s next stroke was against England and France and the Low Countries on 10 May. He had started to prepare the previous autumn when the Allies rejected the peace offer he had made after defeating Poland – feeling that to knock out France offered the best chance of making Britain agree to peace. But bad weather and doubts of his generals had caused repeated postponements from November onwards (1939). Then on 10 January a German officer who was flying to Bonn with papers about the plan missed his way in a snowstorm and landed in Belgium. This miscarriage caused the offensive to be put off until May, and it was radically recast meanwhile.That turned out very unfortunately for the Allies, and temporarily very lucky for Hitler, while changing the whole outlook for the war.

For the old plan, with the main advance going through the canal-lined area of central Belgium, would in fact have led to a head-on collision with the best part of the Franco-British forces, and so would probably have ended in failure – shaking Hitler’s prestige. But the new plans suggested by Manstein took the Allies completely by surprise and threw them off their balance, with disastrous results. For while they were pushing forward into Belgium, to meet the Germans’ opening assault there and in Holland, the mass of the German tanks – seven panzer divisions – drove through the hilly and wooded Ardennes, which the Allied High Command considered impassable to tanks. Crossing the Meuse with little opposition, they broke through the weak hinge of the Allied front, and then swept on westward to the Channel coast behind the back of the Allies’ armies in Belgium, cutting their communications. This decided the issue – before the bulk of the German infantry had even come into action. The British army barely managed to escape by sea from Dunkirk. The Belgians and a large part of the French were forced to surrender. The consequences were irreparable. For when the Germans struck southward, the week after Dunkirk, the remaining French armies proved incapable of withstanding them.

Yet never was a world-shaking disaster more easily preventable. The panzer thrust could have been stopped long before reaching the Channel by a concentrated counterstroke with similar forces. But the French though having more and better tanks than their enemy, had strung them out in small packets in the 1918 way.

The thrust could have been stopped earlier, on the Meuse if the French had not rushed into Belgium leaving their hinge so weak, or had moved reserves there sooner. But the French Command had not only regarded the Ardennes as impassable to tanks but reckoned that any attack on the Meuse would be a set-piece assault in the 1918 style, and would take nearly a week to prepare after arrival there, thus allowing the French ample time to bring up reserves. But the panzer forces reached the river early on 13 May and stormed the crossing that afternoon. A “tank time” pace of action bowled over an out of date “slow motion.”

But the Blitzkrieg pace was only possible because the Allied leaders had not grasped the new technique, and so did not know how to counter it. The thrust could have been stopped before it even reached the Meuse if the approaches had been well covered with minefields. It could have been stopped even if the mines were lacking – by the simple expedient of felling the trees along the forest roads which led to the Meuse. The loss of time in clearing them would have been fatal to the German chances.*

*A French friend of mine, then in charge of a sector on the Meuse, begged the High Command for permission to do this, but was told that the roads must be kept clear for the advance of the French cavalry. These cavalry duly pushed into the Ardennes but came out more rapidly and routed, with the German tanks on their heels.

After the fall of France, there was a popular tendency to ascribe it to the poor state of French morale, and to assume that the fall was inevitable. That is a fallacy, a case of “putting the cart before the horse.” The collapse of French morale only occurred after the military breakthrough- which could so easily have been prevented. By 1942 all armies had learned how to check the Blitzkrieg attack – but a lot would have been saved if they had learned before the war.

By courtesy:

Key Factors and Turning Points WWII

This catastrophic conflict which ended by opening Russia’s path into the heart of Europe was aptly called by Mr. Churchill “the unnecessary war.”

In striving to avert it, and curb Hitler, a basic weakness in the policy of Britain and France was their lack of understanding of strategical factors. Through this they slid into war at the moment most unfavourable to them, and then precipitated an avoidable disaster of far-reaching consequences. Britain survived by what appeared to be a miracle – but really because Hitler made the same mistakes that aggressive dictators have repeatedly made throughout history.

The Vital Pre-War Phase

In retrospect it has become clear that the first fatal step for both sides was the German re-entry into the Rhineland in 1936, For Hitler, this move carried a two-fold strategic advantage – it provided cover for Germany’s key industrial vital area in the Ruhr, and it provided him with a potential springboard into France.

Why was this move not checked? Primarily, because France and Britain were anxious to avoid any risk of armed conflict that might develop into war. The reluctance to act was increased because the German re-entry into the Rhineland appeared to be merely an effort to rectify an injustice, even though done in the wrong way. The British, particularly, being politically-minded tended to regard it more as a political than as a military step – failing to see its strategic implications.

In his 1938 moves Hitler again drew strategic advantage from political factors – the German and Austrian peoples’ desire for union, the strong feeling in Germany about Czech treatment of the Sudeten Germans; and again there was widespread feeling in the Western countries that there was a measure of justice in Germany’s case on both issues.

But Hitler’s march into Austria in March laid bare the southern flank of Czecho-Slovakia – which to him was an obstacle in the development of his plans for eastward expansion. In September he secured – by the threat of war and the resultant Munich agreement – not merely the return of the Sudetenland but the strategic paralysis of Czecho-Slovakia.

In March 1939 Hitler occupied the remainder of Czecho-Slovakia, and thereby enveloped the flank of Poland – the last of a series of “bloodless” manoeuvres. This step of his was followed by a fatally rash move on the British government’s part – the guarantee suddenly offered to Poland and Rumania, each of them strategically isolated, without first securing any assistance from Russia, the only power which could give them effective support.

By their timing, these guarantees were bound to act as a provocation; and, as we now know, until he was met by this challenging gesture Hitler had no immediate intention of attacking Poland. By their placing, in parts of Europe inaccessible to the forces of Britain and France, they provided an almost irresistible temptation. Thereby the Western powers undermined the essential basis of the only type of strategy which their now inferior strength made practical for them. For instead of being able to check aggression by presenting a strong force to any attack in the West, they gave Hitler an easy chan e of breaking a weak front and thus gaining an initial triumph.

The only chance if avoiding war now lay in securing support of Russia, the only power that could give Poland direct support and thus provide a deterrent to Hitler. However, despite the urgency of the situation, the British government’s steps were dilatory and half-hearted. But beyond their own hesitations were the objections of the Polish government, and the other small powers in Eastern Europe, to accepting military support from Russia – since these feared that reinforcement by her armies would be equivalent to invasion.

Very different was Hitler’s response to the new situation created by the British backing of Poland. Britain’s violent reaction and redoubled armament measures shook him, but the effect was opposite to that intended. His solution was coloured by his historically derived picture of the British. Regarding them as cool-headed and rational, with their emotions controlled by their head, he felt that they would not dream of entering a war on behalf of Poland unless they could obtain Russia’s support. So, swallowing his hatred and fear of “Bolshevism,” he bent his efforts and energies towards conciliating Russia and securing her abstention. It was a turnabout more startling than Chamberlain’s – and as fatal in consequences.

On 23 August, Ribbentrop flew to Moscow, and the pact was signed. It was accompanied by a secret agreement under which Poland was to be partitioned between Germany and Russia.

This pact made war certain – in the intense state of feeling that had been created by Hitler’s rapid series of aggressive moves. The British, having pledged themselves to support Poland, felt that they could not stand aside without losing their honour – and without opening Hitler’s way to wider conquest. And Hitler would not draw back from his purpose in Poland, even when he came to see that it involved a general war.

Thus the train of European civilisation rushed into the long, dark tunnel from which it only emerged after six exhausting years had passed. Even then, the bright sunlight of victory proved illusory.

By courtesy:

Karl Haushofer

He was for a joint German, Russian and Japan axis over the Asian landmass and, worked hard at collaboration with Japan culminating in the Axis Pact in 1936 which also included Italy. Haushofer was very disappointed when Hitler invaded Russia and the flight of Rudolph Hess, the Deputy Fuehrer, in 1941 from Germany in a Messerschmitt 110 was an attempt to bring about some kind of understanding with Britain through contact with a Scot noble near whose castle he had parachuted in 1941.

Germany under the Versailles Treaty was barred from an Air Force and was to keep a limited size of the navy and army. So with Russian help, aircraft factories were set up in Russia and airmen trained for the air force. Tanks were produced and tested in field manoeuvres in the vast areas of Russia. Japan also gained from German and Italian prowess in aeronautics and many of the aircraft designs bore that stamp – S.M. Husain.

Messerschmitt Me 262, the first jet fighter to see active service in WWII. Hitler interfered in its role and wanted it developed as a fighter bomber for which it was not suited. However, the fighter version of this aircraft created a havoc like atmosphere in the Allied airmen because it was unmatched in speed being. 100 mph faster than any aircraft at the time.

The Japanese jet fighter modelled after the Messerschmitt Me 262 above, in the planning stage

This Navy fighter with folded wings for better storage on the carrier deck was also a wonder weapon

The six engined aircraft was a wonder weapon which was still on the drawing board when the war folded. It was to fly from Japan to the west coast of the United States, drop its bomb load,and, return back.

The Japanese focused on developing bacteriological weapons for which a secret factory was set up in Manchuria. Hence they did not develop jet fighters.

German philosopher: Karl Ernst Haushofer (27 August 1869 – 10 March 1946) was a German general, geographer and politician. Through his student Rudolf Hess, Haushofer’s ideas influenced the development of Adolf Hitler’s expansionist strategies, although Haushofer denied direct influence on Nazi Germany. Under the Nuremberg Laws, Haushofer’s wife and children were categorized as Mischlinge. His son, Albrecht, was issued a German Blood Certificate through the help of Hess.

Centre: Father Edmund A. Walsh, professor of geopolitics and Dean at Georgetown University.

Albrecht Haushofer in War plans

Quick Facts

  • Birth name: Karl Ernst Haushofer
  • Born: 27 August 1869, Munich
  • Died: 10 March 1946 (aged 76)
  • Allegiance: German Empire
  • Branch: Imperial German Army
  • Years of service: 1887–1919
  • Rank: Major general
  • Spouse(s): Martha Mayer-Doss, married 1896; died 1945.
  • Children: Albrecht Haushofer
  • Other work: Professor at University of Munich

Life and career

Haushofer belonged to a family of artists and scholars. He was born in Munich to Max Haushofer, a well-known professor of economics, politician and author of both academic and literary works, and Adele Haushofer (née Fraas). On his graduation from the Munich Gymnasium (high school), in 1887, Haushofer entered the 1st Field Artillery regiment (Prinzregent Luitpold) of the Bavarian Army and completed Kriegsschule, Artillerieschule and War Academy (Kingdom of Bavaria). In 1896, he married Martha Mayer-Doss (1877–1946) whose father was Jewish. They had two sons, Albrecht Haushofer and Heinz Haushofer (1906–1988). In 1903, he accepted a teaching position at the Bavarian War Academy.

In November 1908, Haushofer was ordered to Tokyo as a military attache to study the Imperial Japanese Army and as a military advisor in artillery instruction. He travelled with his wife via India and South East Asia and arrived in February 1909. He was received by Emperor Meiji and became acquainted with many important people in politics and the armed forces. In autumn 1909, he travelled with his wife for a month to Korea and Manchuria on the occasion of a railway construction. In June 1910, they returned to Germany via Russia and arrived one month later. However, shortly after returning to Bavaria, he began to suffer from a severe lung disease and was given a leave from the army for three years.

During his convalescence, from 1911 to 1913, Haushofer would work on his doctorate of philosophy from Munich University for a thesis on Japan titled, “Reflections on Greater Japan’s Military Strength, World Position, and Future.”

(Dai Nihon, Betrachtungen über Groß-Japans Wehrkraft, Weltstellung und Zukunft). He established himself as one of Germany’s foremost experts regarding the Far East, and co-founded the geopolitical monthly Zeitschrift für Geopolitik (ZfG), which he would co-edit until it was suspended towards the end of World War II.

Haushofer continued his career as a professional soldier after the annexation of Bavaria by Germany, serving in the army of Imperial Germany and returning to teach War History at the Military Academy in Munich.

During World War I, he served as a commanding officer, and commanded a brigade on the western front. He retired with the rank of major general in 1919; however, he became disillusioned after Germany’s loss and severe sanctioning. Around the same time, he forged a friendship with the young Rudolf Hess, who would become his scientific assistant and later the deputy leader of the Nazi Party. Their familiarity formed the basis of the mistaken assumption of an equally close contact between Haushofer and Hitler.

Haushofer entered academia with the aim of restoring and regenerating Germany. Haushofer believed the Germans’ lack of geographical knowledge and geopolitical awareness to be a major cause of Germany’s defeat in World War I, as Germany had found itself with a disadvantageous alignment of allies and enemies. The fields of political and geographical science thus became his areas of specialty. In 1919, Haushofer became Privatdozent for political geography at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and in 1933 professor, although he declined a formal position and salary, as this would have interfered with his military pension.

Haushofer also broadcast monthly radio lectures on the international political situation from 1925 to 1931 and from 1933 to 1939. This Weltpolitischer Monatsbericht made him a household name in contemporary Germany, and he came to be known in circles far removed from academia. He was a founding member of the Deutsche Akademie, of which he served as president from 1934 to 1937. He was a prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles, reviews, commentaries, obituaries and books, many of which were on Asian topics, and he arranged for many leaders in the Nazi party and in the German military to receive copies of his works.

Louis Pauwels, in his book Monsieur Gurdjieff, describes Haushofer as a former student of George Gurdjieff. Others, including Pauwels, said that Haushofer created a Vril society and that he was a secret member of the Thule Society. Stefan Zweig speaks warmly of him but says history will have to judge how far he knowingly contributed to Nazi doctrine, as more documentation becomes available. Zweig credits him with the concept of Lebensraum, used in a psychological sense of a nation’s relative energies.

After the establishment of the Nazis, Haushofer remained friendly with Hess, who protected Haushofer and his wife from the racial laws of the Nazis, which deemed her a “half-Jew”. During the prewar years, Haushofer was instrumental in linking Japan to the Axis powers, acting in accordance with the theories of his book Geopolitics of the Pacific Ocean.

After the July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler, Haushofer’s son Albrecht (1903–1945) went into hiding but was arrested on 7 December 1944 and put into the Moabit prison in Berlin. During the night of 22–23 April 1945, he and other prisoners, such as Klaus Bonhoeffer, were walked out of the prison by an SS-squad and shot. Beginning on 24 September 1945, Karl Haushofer was informally interrogated by Father Edmund A. Walsh on behalf of the Allied forces to determine whether he should stand trial for war crimes; Walsh determined that he had not committed any.

On the night of 10–11 March 1946, he and his wife committed suicide in a secluded hollow on their Hartschimmelhof estate at Pähl/Ammersee. Both drank arsenic and his wife then hanged herself.

Geopolitics

Haushofer developed Geopolitik from widely varied sources, including the writings of Oswald Spengler, Alexander Humboldt, Karl Ritter, Friedrich Ratzel, Rudolf Kjellén, and Halford J. Mackinder.

Geopolitik contributed to Nazi foreign policy chiefly in the strategy and justifications for lebensraum. The theories contributed five ideas to German foreign policy in the interwar period:

• organic state

• lebensraum

• autarky

• pan-regions

• land power/sea power dichotomy.

Geostrategy as a political science is both descriptive and analytical like political geography but adds a normative element in its strategic prescriptions for national policy. While some of Haushofer’s ideas stem from earlier American and British geostrategy, German geopolitik adopted an essentialist outlook toward the national interest, oversimplifying issues and representing itself as a panacea. As a new and essentialist ideology, geopolitik found itself in a position to prey upon the post-World War I insecurity of the populace.

Haushofer’s position in the University of Munich served as a platform for the spread of his geopolitical ideas, magazine articles, and books. In 1922, he founded the Institute of Geopolitics in Munich, from which he proceeded to publicize geopolitical ideas. By 1924, as the leader of the German geopolitik school of thought, Haushofer would establish the Zeitschrift für Geopolitik monthly devoted to geopolitik. His ideas would reach a wider audience with the publication of Volk ohne Raum by Hans Grimm in 1926, popularizing his concept of lebensraum. Haushofer exercised influence both through his academic teachings, urging his students to think in terms of continents and emphasizing motion in international politics, and through his political activities. While Hitler’s speeches would attract the masses, Haushofer’s works served to bring the remaining intellectuals into the fold.

Geopolitik was essentially a consolidation and codification of older ideas, given a scientific gloss:

• Lebensraum was a revised colonial imperialism

• Autarky a new expression of tariff protectionism

• Strategic control of key geographic territories exhibiting the same thought behind earlier designs on the Suez and Panama Canals; a view of controlling the land in the same way as those choke points control the sea

• Pan-regions (Panideen) based upon the British Empire, and the American Monroe Doctrine, Pan-American Union and hemispheric defence, whereby the world is divided into spheres of influence.

• Frontiers – His view of barriers between peoples not being political (borders) or natural placements of races or ethnicities but as being fluid and determined by the will or needs of ethnic/racial groups.

• The key reorientation in each dyad is that the focus is on land-based empire rather than naval imperialism.

Ostensibly based upon the geopolitical theory of American naval expert Alfred Thayer Mahan, and British geographer Halford J. Mackinder, German geopolitik adds older German ideas. Enunciated most forcefully by Friedrich Ratzel and his Swedish student Rudolf Kjellén, they include an organic or anthropomorphized conception of the state, and the need for self-sufficiency through the top-down organization of society. The root of uniquely German geopolitik rests in the writings of Karl Ritter who first developed the organic conception of the state that would later be elaborated upon by Ratzel and accepted by Hausfhofer. He justified lebensraum, even at the cost of other nations’ existence because conquest was a biological necessity for a state’s growth.

Ratzel’s writings coincided with the growth of German industrialism after the Franco-Prussian war and the subsequent search for markets that brought it into competition with Britain. His writings served as welcome justification for imperial expansion. Influenced by Mahan, Ratzel wrote of aspirations for German naval reach, agreeing that sea power was self-sustaining, as the profit from trade would pay for the merchant marine, unlike land power. Haushofer was exposed to Ratzel, who was friends with Haushofer’s father, a teacher of economic geography, and would integrate Ratzel’s ideas on the division between sea and land powers into his theories, saying that only a country with both could overcome this conflict.

Haushofer’s geopolitik expands upon that of Ratzel and Kjellén. While the latter two conceive of geopolitik as the state as an organism in space put to the service of a leader, Haushofer’s Munich school specifically studies geography as it relates to war and designs for empire. The behavioral rules of previous geopoliticians were thus turned into dynamic normative doctrines for action on lebensraum and world power.

Haushofer defined geopolitik in 1935 as “the duty to safeguard the right to the soil, to the land in the widest sense, not only the land within the frontiers of the Reich, but the right to the more extensive Volk and cultural lands.” Culture itself was seen as the most conducive element to dynamic special expansion. It provided a guide as to the best areas for expansion, and could make expansion safe, whereas projected military or commercial power could not. Haushofer even held that urbanization was a symptom of a nation’s decline, evidencing a decreasing soil mastery, birthrate and effectiveness of centralized rule.

To Haushofer, the existence of a state depended on living space, the pursuit of which must serve as the basis for all policies. Germany had a high population density, but the old colonial powers had a much lower density, a virtual mandate for German expansion into resource-rich areas. Space was seen as military protection against initial assaults from hostile neighbours with long-range weaponry. A buffer zone of territories or insignificant states on one’s borders would serve to protect Germany. Closely linked to that need was Haushofer’s assertion that the existence of small states was evidence of political regression and disorder in the international system. The small states surrounding Germany ought to be brought into the vital German order. These states were seen as being too small to maintain practical autonomy even if they maintained large colonial possessions and would be better served by protection and organization within Germany. In Europe, he saw Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece and the “mutilated alliance” of Austro-Hungary as supporting his assertion.

Haushofer’s version of autarky was based on the quasi-Malthusian idea that the earth would become saturated with people and no longer able to provide food for all. There would essentially be no increases in productivity.

Haushofer and the Munich school of geopolitik would eventually expand their conception of lebensraum and autarky well past the borders of 1914 and “a place in the sun” to a New European Order, then to a New Afro-European Order, and eventually to a Eurasian Order. That concept became known as a pan-region, taken from the American Monroe Doctrine, and the idea of national and continental self-sufficiency. That was a forward-looking refashioning of the drive for colonies, something that geopoliticians did not see as an economic necessity but more as a matter of prestige, putting pressure on older colonial powers. The fundamental motivating force would be not economic but cultural and spiritual. Haushofer was, what is called today, a proponent of “Eurasianism”, advocating a policy of German–Russian hegemony and alliance to offset an Anglo-American power structure’s potentially dominating influence in Europe.

Beyond being an economic concept, pan-regions were a strategic concept as well. Haushofer acknowledges the strategic concept of the Heartland Theory put forward by the British geopolitician Halford Mackinder. If Germany could control Eastern Europe and subsequently Russian territory, it could control a strategic area to which hostile seapower could be denied. Allying with Italy and Japan would further augment German strategic control of Eurasia, with those states becoming the naval arms protecting Germany’s insular position.

Contacts with Nazi leadership

Evidence points to a disconnect between the advocates of geopolitik and Hitler, although their practical tactical goals were nearly indistinguishable.

Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s secretary who would assist in the writing of Mein Kampf, was a close student of Haushofer’s. While Hess and Hitler were imprisoned after the Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Haushofer spent six hours visiting the two, bringing along a copy of Friedrich Ratzel’s Political Geography and Clausewitz’s On War. After World War II, Haushofer would deny that he had taught Hitler, and claimed that the National Socialist Party perverted Hess’s study of geopolitik. Hitler’s biographers disagree somewhat on the extent of Haushofer’s influence on Hitler: Ian Kershaw writes that “[his] influence was probably greater than the Munich professor was later prepared to acknowledge,” while Joachim C. Fest says that “Hitler’s version of [Haushofer’s] ideas was distinctly his own.” Haushofer himself viewed Hitler as a half-educated man who never correctly understood the geopolitik principles explained by Hess, and saw Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop as the principal distorter of geopolitik in Hitler’s mind.

Although Haushofer accompanied Hess on numerous propaganda missions, and participated in consultations between Nazis and Japanese leaders, he claimed that Hitler and the Nazis only seized upon half-developed ideas and catchwords. Furthermore, the Nazi party and government lacked any official organ that was receptive to geopolitik, leading to selective adoption and poor interpretation of Haushofer’s theories. Ultimately, Hess and Konstantin von Neurath, Nazi Minister of Foreign Affairs, were the only officials Haushofer would admit had a proper understanding of geopolitik.

Father Edmund A. Walsh, professor of geopolitics and dean at Georgetown University, who interviewed Haushofer after the allied victory in preparation for the Nuremberg trials, disagreed with Haushofer’s assessment that geopolitik was terribly distorted by Hitler and the Nazis. He cites Hitler’s speeches declaring that small states have no right to exist, and the Nazi use of Haushofer’s maps, language and arguments. Even if distorted somewhat, Walsh felt that was enough to implicate Haushofer’s geopolitik.

Haushofer also denied assisting Hitler in writing Mein Kampf, saying that he only knew of it once it was in print, and never read it. Walsh found that even if Haushofer did not directly assist Hitler, discernible new elements appeared in Mein Kampf, as compared to previous speeches made by Hitler. Geopolitical ideas of lebensraum, space for depth of defense, appeals for natural frontiers, balancing land and seapower, and geographic analysis of military strategy entered Hitler’s thought between his imprisonment and publishing of Mein Kampf. Chapter XIV, on German policy in Eastern Europe, in particular displays the influence of the materials Haushofer brought Hitler and Hess while they were imprisoned.

Haushofer was never a member of the Nazi Party, and did voice disagreements with the party, leading to his brief imprisonment. Haushofer came under suspicion because of his contacts with left wing socialist figures within the Nazi movement (led by Gregor Strasser) and his advocacy of essentially a German–Russian alliance. This Nazi left wing had some connections to the Communist Party of Germany and some of its leaders, especially those who were influenced by the National Bolshevist philosophy of a German–Russian revolutionary alliance, as advocated by Ernst Niekisch, Julius Evola, Ernst Jünger, Hielscher and other figures of the “conservative revolution.” He did profess loyalty to the Führer and make anti-Semitic remarks on occasion. However, his emphasis was always on space over race, believing in environmental rather than racial determinism. He refused to associate himself with anti-Semitism as a policy, especially because his wife was half-Jewish. Haushofer admits that after 1933 much of what he wrote was distorted under duress: his wife had to be protected by Hess’s influence (who managed to have her awarded ‘honorary German’ status); his son was implicated in the July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler and was executed by the Gestapo; he himself was imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp for eight months; and his son and grandson were imprisoned for two-and-a-half months.

The idea of contact between Haushofer and the Nazi establishment has been stressed by several authors. These authors have expanded Haushofer’s contact with Hitler to a close collaboration while Hitler was writing Mein Kampf and made him one of the ‘future Chancellor’s many mentors’. Haushofer may have been a short-term student of Gurdjieff, that he had studied Zen Buddhism, and that he had been initiated at the hands of Tibetan lamas, although these notions are debated.

The influence of Haushofer on Nazi ideology is dramatized in the 1943 short documentary film, Plan for Destruction, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Works

• English Translation and Analysis of Major General Karl Ernst Haushofer’s Geopolitics of the Pacific Ocean: Studies on the Relationship between Geography and History ISBN 0-7734-7122-7

• Das Japanische Reich in seiner geographischen Entwicklung (L.W. Seidel & sohn, 1921 Wien)

• Geopolitik des Pazifischen Ozeans. (1925)

• Bausteine zur Geopolitik. (1928)

• Weltpolitik von heute. (Zeitgeschichte-Verlag Wilhelm Undermann, 1934)[48]

• Napoleon I., Lübeck : Coleman, 1935

• Kitchener, Lübeck : Coleman, 1935

• Foch, Lübeck : Coleman, 1935

• Weltmeere und Weltmächte, Berlin : Zeitgeschichte Verlag, 1937

• Deutsche Kulturpolitik im indopazifischen Raum, Hamburg : Hoffmann u. Campe, 1939

• Grenzen in ihrer geographischen und politischen Bedeutung, Heidelberg; Berlin; Magdeburg : Vowinckel, 1939

• Wehr-Geopolitik : Geogr. Grundlagen e. Wehrkunde, Berlin : Junker u. Dünnhaupt, 1941

• Japan baut sein Reich, Berlin : Zeitgeschichte-Verlag Wilhelm Undermann, 1941

• Das Werden des deutschen Volkes : Von d. Vielfalt d. Stämme zur Einheit d. Nation, Berlin : Propyläen-Verl., 1941

• Der Kontinentalblock : Mitteleuropa, Eurasien, Japan, Berlin : Eher, 1941

• Das Reich : Großdeutsches Werder im Abendland, Berlin : Habel, 1943

• Geopolitische Grundlagen, Verleger Berlin; Wien : Industrieverl. Spaeth & Linde, 1939.

• De la géopolitique, Paris: Fayard, 1986.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

The Atomic Bomb and Japan’s Surrender; Prelude to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

There were many Allied military leaders who changed their public opinion about the dropping of the atomic bomb post war.

The death of President Roosevelt on 23 April 1945 created serious problems in the US-Russia relations. At Yalta, earlier in February 1945, Stalin and the American President Roosevelt had hit it off much to the consternation of Winston Churchill. Churchill out of power, continued to poison relations of America with Russia by his iron curtain speech in 1956 with the Missourian President looking on. President Truman who took over from President Roosevelt never honoured the pledges made over Europe at Yalta and expected that Stalin would be frightened by the new might of the atomic bomb, they now possessed. He hastened the dropping of the atomic bomb for this purpose. Churchill took part in the Potsdam Conference but later the Conservative Government was toppled in Britain and the remainder of the issues were for the new prime minister, Clement Attlee-S.M.Husain.

Winston Churchill in the last volume of his war memoirs relates how on 14 July 1945 – when he was at the Potsdam Conference with President Truman and Stalin – he was handed a sheet of paper with the cryptic message: “Babies satisfactorily born.” Mr. Stimson, the US Secretary of War, explained its meaning- that the experimental test of the atomic bomb on the previous day had proved successful. “The President invited me to confer with him forthwith. He had with him General Marshall and Admiral Leahy.”

Churchill’s account of the sequel is of such far-reaching significance that the main passage deserves to be quoted at length:

We seemed suddenly to have become possessed of a merciful abridgement of the slaughter in the East and of a far happier prospect in Europe. I have no doubt that these thoughts were present in the minds of my American friends. At any rate, there never was a moment’s discussion as to whether the atomic bomb should be used or not. To avert a vast indefinite butchery, to bring the war to an end, to give peace to the world, to lay healing hands upon its tortured peoples by a manifestation of overwhelming power at the cost of a few explosions, seemed, after, all our toils and perils, a miracle of deliverance.

British consent in principle to the use of the weapon had been given on 4 July, before the test had taken place. The final decision now lay in the main with President Truman, who had the weapon; but I never doubted what it would be, nor have I ever doubted since that he was right. The historic fact remains, and must be judged in the after- time, that the decision whether or not to use the atomic bomb to compel the surrender of Japan was never even an issue. There was unanimous, automatic, unquestioned agreement around our table; nor did I ever hear the slightest suggestion that we should do otherwise.*

*Churchill: The Second World War, vol VI, page 553

But later, Churchill himself raises doubts about the case for using the atomic bomb, when he says:

It would be a mistake to suppose that the fate of Japan was settled by the atomic bomb. Her defeat was certain before the first bomb fell, and was brought about by overwhelming maritime power. This alone had made it possible to seize the ocean bases from which to launch the final attack and force her metropolitan Army to capitulate without striking a blow. Her shipping had been destroyed.*

*Churchill: The Second World War, vol VI, page 559

Churchill also mentions that at Potsdam, three weeks before the bomb was dropped, he was told privately by Stalin of a message from the Japanese ambassador in Moscow expressing Japan’s desire for peace-and adds that in passing on this news to President Truman he suggested that the Allies’ demand for “unconditional surrender” might be somewhat modified to ease the way for the Japanese to surrender.

But these Japanese peace-seeking approaches had started much earlier, and were already better known to the American authorities than Churchill indicated or was perhaps aware. Just before Christmas 1944, the American intelligence in Washington received a report from a well-informed diplomatic agent in Japan that a peace party was emerging, and gaining ground there.

Long before the end of the struggle in Okinawa, the issue was certain. It was also evident that once the island was captured, the Americans would soon be able to intensify their air bombardment of Japan itself, as the airfields there were within less than 400 miles of Japan – barely a quarter of the distance from the Marianas.

The hopelessness of the situation was plain to any strategical mind, and particularly to a naval mind such as Suzuki’s whose anti-war views had led to his life being threatened by the military extremists as far back as 1936. But he and his peace-seeking Cabinet were entangled in a knotty problem. Eager as they were for peace, the acceptance of the Allies’ demand for “unconditional surrender” would appear like a betrayal of the forces in the field, so willing to fight to the death; these forces, who still held the lives of thousands of near-starved Allied civilian and military prisoners in pawn, might refuse to obey a ‘cease fire” order if the terms were abjectly humiliating – above all, if there was any demand for removal of the Emperor, who in their eyes was not only their sovereign but also divine.

It was the Emperor himself who moved to cut the knot. On 20 June he summoned to a conference the six members of the inner Cabinet, the Supreme War Direction Council, and there told them: “You will considerer the question of ending the war as soon as possible.” All six members of the Council were in agreement on this score, but while the prime minister, the foreign minister and the navy minister were prepared to make unconditional surrender, the other three – the army minister and army and navy chiefs of staff – argued for continued resistance until some mitigating conditions were obtained. Eventually it was decided that Prince Konoye should be sent on a mission to Moscow to negotiate for peace – and the Emperor privately gave him instructions to secure peace at any price. As a preliminary, the Japanese Foreign Office officially notified Moscow on 13 July that “the Emperor is desirous of peace.”

The message reached Stalin just as he was setting off for Potsdam Conference. He sent a chilly reply that the proposal was not definite enough for him to take action, or agree to receive the mission. This time, however, he told Churchill of the approach, and it was this that Churchill told Truman, adding his own tentative suggestion that it might be wise to modify the rigid demand for “unconditional surrender.”

A fortnight later the Japanese Government sent a further message to Stalin, trying to make still clearer the purpose of the mission but received a similar negative reply. Meantime Churchill’s Government had been defeated at the General Election in Britain, so that Attlee and Bevin had replaced Churchill and Eden at Potsdam when, on 28 July, Stalin told the Conference of this further approach.

The Americans, however, were aware of Japan’s desire to end the war, for their intelligence service had intercepted the cipher messages from the Japanese Foreign Minister to the Japanese ambassador in Moscow.

But President Truman and most of his chief advisers- particularly Mr. Stimson and General Marshall, the US Army’s Chief of Staff – were now as intent on using the atomic bomb to accelerate Japan’s collapse as Stalin was on entering the war again Japan before it ended, in order to gain an advantageous position in the Far East.

There were some who felt more doubts than Churchill records. Among them was Admiral Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Roosevelt and President Truman successively who recoiled from the idea of employing such a weapon against the civilian population: “My own feeling was that, in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Age. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.” The year before, he had protested to Roosevelt against a proposal to use bacteriological weapons.

The atomic scientists themselves were divided in their views. Dr. Vannevar Bush had played a leading part in gaining Roosevelt’s and Stimson’s support for the atomic weapon, while Lord Cherwell (formerly Professor Lindemann), Churchill’s personal adviser on scientific matters was also a leading advocate of it. It was thus not surprising that when Stimson appointed a committee under Bush in the Spring of 1945 to consider the question of using the weapon against Japan, it strongly recommended that the bomb should be used as soon as possible and, without any advance warning of its nature – for fear that the bomb might prove “a dud,” as Stimson later explained.

In contrast, another group of atomic scientists headed by Professor James Franck presented a report to Stimson soon afterwards, in the later part of June, expressing different conclusions: “The military advantages and the saving of American lives achieved by the sudden use of atomic bombs against japan may be outweighed by a wave of horror and repulsion spreading over the rest of the world . . . If the United States were to be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction on mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race for armaments and, prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons . . . We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for an early attack against Japan inadvisable.”

But the scientists who were closest to the statesmen’s ears had a better chance of gaining attention and their eager arguments prevailed in the decision – aided by the enthusiasm which they had already excited in statesmen about the atomic bomb, as a quick and easy way of finishing the war. Five possible targets were suggested by the military advisers for the two bombs that had been produced and, of these the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen, after consideration of the list by President Truman and Mr. Stimson, as combining military installations with “houses and other holdings most susceptible to damage.”

So on 6 August the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, destroying most of the city and killing some 80,000 people – a quarter of its inhabitants. Three days later the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The news of the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb reached President Truman as he was returning by sea from the Potsdam Conference. According to those present he exultantly exclaimed: “This is the greatest thing in history.”

The effect on the Japanese Government, however, was much less than what was imagined on the Western side at the time. It did not shake the three members of the Council of six who had been opposed to surrendering unconditionally, and they still insisted that some assurance about the future must first be obtained, particularly on the maintenance of the “Emperor’s sovereign position”. As for the people of Japan, they did not know until after the war what had happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Russia’s declaration of war on 8 August, and immediate drive into Manchuria next day, seems to have been almost as effective in hastening the issue, and the Emperor’s influence still more so. For at a meeting of the inner Cabinet in his presence, on the 9th, he pointed out the hopelessness of the situation so clearly, and declared himself so strongly in favour of immediate peace, that the three opponents of it became more inclined to yield and agreed to holding a Gozenkaigi-a meeting of “elder statesmen,” at which the Emperor himself could make the final decision. Meantime the government announced by radio its willingness to surrender provided that the Emperor’s sovereignty was respected -a point about which the Allies’ Potsdam Declaration of 26 July had been ominously silent. After some discussion President Truman agreed to this proviso, a notable modification of “unconditional surrender.”

Even then there was much division of opinion at the Gozenkajgi on 14 August, but the Emperor resolved the issue, saying decisively: “If nobody else has any opinion to express, we would express our own. We demand that you will agree to it. We see only one way left for Japan to save herself. That is the reason we have made this determination to endure the unendurable and suffer the insufferable.” Japan’s surrender was then announced by radio.

The use of the atomic bomb was not really needed to produce this result. With nine-tenths of Japan’s shipping sunk or disabled, her air and sea forces crippled, her industries wrecked, and her peoples’ food supplies shrinking fast, her collapse was already certain-as Churchill said.

The US Strategic Bombing Survey report emphasised this point, while adding: “The time lapse between military impotence and political acceptance of the inevitable might have been shorter had the political structure of Japan permitted a more rapid and decisive determination of national policies. Nevertheless, It seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.” Admiral King, the US Naval Commander-in-Chief, states that the naval blockade alone would have “starved the Japanese into submission” – through lack of oil, rice, and other essential materials – “had we been willing to wait.”

Admiral Leahy’s judgement is even more emphatic about the needlessness of the atomic bomb: “The use of this barbaric weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.”

Why, then, was the bomb used? Were there any impelling motives beyond the instinctive desire to cut short the loss of American and British lives at the earliest possible moment? Two reasons have emerged. One is revealed by Churchill himself in the account of his conference with President Truman on July 18, following the news of the successful trial of the atomic bomb, and the thoughts that immediately came into their minds, among these being:

. . . we should not need the Russians. The end of the Japanese war no longer depended upon the pouring of their armies . . . We had no need to ask favours of them. A few days later he minuted to Mr. Eden: “It is quite clear that the United States do not at the present time desire Russian participation in the war against Japan.”*

• Churchill: The Second World War, vol. VI, page 553.

Stalin’s demand at Potsdam to share in the occupation of Japan was very embarrassing, and the US Government was anxious to avoid such a contingency. The atomic bomb might help to solve the problem. The Russians were due to enter the war on 6 August-two days later.

The second reason for its precipitate use, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was revealed by Admiral Leahy: “the scientists and others wanted to make this test because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project” – two billion dollars. One of the higher officers concerned in the atomic operation, the code name of which was the ‘Manhattan District Project,” put the point still more clearly:

The bomb simply had to be a success – so much money had been expended on it. Had it failed, how would we have explained the huge expenditure? Think of the public outcry there would have been . . . As time grew shorter, certain people in Washington, tried to persuade General Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, to get out before it was too late, for he knew he would be left holding the bag if we failed. The relief to everyone concerned when the bomb was finished and dropped was enormous.

A generation later, however, it is all too clear that the hasty dropping of the atomic bomb has not been a relief to the rest of mankind,

On 2 September 1945, the representatives of Japan signed the “instrument of surrender” on board the United States’ battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The Second World War was thus ended six years and one day after it had been started by Hitler’s attack on Poland-and four months after Germany’s surrender. It was a formal ending, a ceremony to seal the victors’ satisfaction. For the real ending had come on 14 August, when the Emperor had announced Japan’s surrender on the terms laid down by the Allies, and fighting had ceased-a week after the dropping of the first atomic bomb. But even that frightful stroke, wiping out the city of Hiroshima to demonstrate the overwhelming power of the new weapon, had done no more than hasten the moment of surrender. The surrender was already sure, and there was no real need to use such a weapon-u dear whose dark shadow the world has lived ever since.

Courtesy

Atomic Bomb

December 1938: Fritz Strassmann and Ottoman Hahn, two German physicists succeeded in splitting the uranium atom.

1939: Leo Szilard solicited the help of Albert Einstein

September 1942: Manhattan project was turned over to the military.

• Project’s military commander was Brigadier General Leslie Groves.

• Robert Oppenheimer, a leftist and communist chosen by Groves as Manhattan Project Coordinator; He created and coordinated the most destructive weapon. Assembled were Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard.

• First nuclear chain reaction achieved in an atomic pile.

9 March 1945 March: LeMay’s masterpiece, 300 planes sent over Tokyo. Incendiary and napalm used to kill 100,000 and 1,000,000 homeless. Stench caused vomiting in planes. American military bombed 100 cities, some with no military value taking more than an estimated 1/2 million lives; the atomic bomb can be viewed as a chilling and logical next step.

Leo Szilard and others understood that this bomb they were building was a primitive prototype of what was to follow, Szilard, Harold Urey (Nobel prize winner, chemistry), Astronomer Walter Bartky attempted to see Truman to caution him against the use of the bomb, but were re-routed to South Carolina to speak with Brynes, whose response appalled Szilard. Mr. Brynes knew at the time as the rest of the government, Japan was essentially defeated. He was much concerned about the spreading Russian influence in Europe and that possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more amenable to.

Leslie Groves also admitted that in his mind Russia was always the enemy and the project was conducted on that basis. A petition was signed by 155 project scientists for Truman, but Oppenheimer barred it and alerted Groves. Groves had recommended Szilard to be interned as an enemy alien for the duration of the war.

In May 1945 General Marshall supported Oppenheimer suggestion to share information with Soviet scientists but Brynes vetoed the idea. The Japanese war council decided to feel out the Soviets for peace terms to keep the USSR out of their war and to seek better surrender terms from the Americans. This was a delicate negotiation; the US intelligence had been intercepting Japanese cables since the start of the war. On 18 July, a cable was sent from Tokyo to Japanese ambassador in Moscow seeking surrender terms said: unconditional surrender is the only obstacle to peace.

  • Truman unambiguously categorized this: “the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace.”
  • Forestall noted an evident desire of the Japanese to get out of the war
  • Stimson describes this as Japanese manoeuvrings foe peace.
  • Brynes pointed to Japanese peace feelers

They all knew that the end was near, the Japanese were finished. Several of Truman’s close advisers urged him to modify the unconditional surrender to signal that Japan could keep its emperor and speed the end.

General Douglas MacArthur: the hanging of the emperor would be like the crucifixion of Christ to us. Jimmy Brynes told Truman that he would be crucified politically if the imperial system was retained. Once again, his advice prevailed.

Truman and Byrnes believed that they had a way to speed the Japanese surrender on American terms without Soviet help, thereby denying the USSR the territorial and economic concessions promised by Roosevelt.

MacArthur: considered the bomb completely unnecessary from the military point of view. He later said that the Japanese would have surrendered in May if the US had told them that they could keep the emperor.

Opposition was sufficiently known that Groves posted a requirement that US commanders in the field . . . clear all statements on the bomb with the War Department. “After three years of the highest tension we didn’t want MacArthur and others saying the war could’ve been won without the bomb.”

16 July 1945: At 0529:45 seconds: Alamogordo, New Mexico, the bomb turned the refuge of the founding fathers into a militarized state. War in Europe ended May 8. First atomic bomb dropped on Japan on August 6.

  • Iwo Jima: 7000 US Marines and sailors were killed, 18,000 wounded.
  • Okinawa: 12,000 Americans killed or missing and 36,000 wounded. 100,000 Japanese and 100,000 Okinawans were killed. Many of them committed suicide.
  • 1900 kamikaze attacks which sank 30 and damaged 360 naval vessels
  • Marshall told Truman that he expected no more than 31,000 casualties.
  • Estimated 1/2 million German, Italian and French civilians were killed because of British and US bombing.
  • 79,000 US and equal number of British aircrew members were killed
  • July 1945 Potsdam: Big three discussing the post war world. Truman had said that his primary reason for going to Potsdam was to ensure Soviet entry into the war, an assurance that Stalin was ready to give again. Truman in his diary: He will be in the Jap war on August 15.

Allied intelligence concurred: an entry of the Soviet Union into the war would finally convince the Japanese of the inevitability of complete defeat. Yet it was clear to most that the Japs were already finished. By the end of 1944, the Japanese navy had been decimated, the air force was badly weakened, railroad system was in tatters, food supply shrunk, public morale plummeting.

Truman had delayed the start of Potsdam for two weeks giving the scientists the time to ready the bomb test. It worked. Stimson gave him the news. The conference began the very next day. He later read the full report. The test was terrifying, almost beyond comprehension. Truman’s demeanour changed immediately, Churchill was stunned by the transformation.

24 July 1945 : Truman informs Stalin that the US possesses a new weapon of unusual destructive force.

Klaus E.J. Fuchs a man of ideological conviction, part of the British scientific mission at Alamogordo had delivered technical information relating to the bomb to his Soviet handlers. Stalin already knew that the test had succeeded. On return, Stalin remarked to Gromyko on return to his villa that the Americans would use the atomic monopoly now to dictate terms in Europe. But that he wouldn’t give in to that blackmail. Stalin concluded from Truman’s behaviour at Potsdam that the US wanted to end the war quickly and renege on its promised concessions in the Pacific.

25 July 1945: Truman approves directive signed by Marshall and Stimson ordering the use of the atomic bomb against Japan after August 3 asap weather permitting. He expected the Japanese government to reject the Potsdam declaration which failed to give any assurances about the Emperor.

The US even vetoed Stalin’s wish to sign the declaration adding that Stalin’s signature would have signaled Soviet entry in the Pacific war. It was an incredibly underhanded behaviour by the US both toward the Japanese and USSR.

Truman accepted responsibility for the decision, it was Groves who drafted the final order to drop the bomb. He contended Truman didn’t really decide: “As far as I was concerned his decision was one of non-interference. Basically, a decision not to upset existing plans. Truman did not so much say ‘yes’ as not say ‘no.’ He described Truman scornfully as ‘a little boy on a toboggan.’

Six of America’s seven five-star officers who received their final star in WWII declared the bomb morally reprehensible, militarily unnecessary, or both.

  1. General Douglas MacArthur
  1. General Dwight Eisenhower
  1. General Henry Arnold
  1. Admiral William Leahy
  1. Admiral Earnest King
  1. Admiral Chester Nimitz

Eisenhower: the Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing. I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.

After the war was over, General Curtis LeMay said, “Even without the atomic bomb and the Russian entry into the war, Japan would have surrendered in two weeks. The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war.

6 August 1945: At 0245, three B-29s took off from the island of Tinian for Japan. Six and a half hours later the Enola Gay came into sight of its target (300,00 civilians, 45,000 Korean slave labourers). From 31,000 feet at 330 mph, the uranium bomb fell miles to two thousand feet and then detonated. An estimated 140,000 were dead by the end of the year, 200,000 by 1950. Officially the US reported 3243 Japanese troops killed. Japanese did not surrender

9 August 1945: Stalin honouring his pledge to Churchill now moved I 1/2 million men to the eastern front and attacked Japan on three fronts in Manchuria. 700,000 Japanese killed, wounded or captured. Also attacked in Korea, the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin Island. Later that morning on 9 August before Japan had time to react to the Soviet invasion, the US dropped a second atomic bomb (Plutonium) on Nagasaki. 40,000 died immediately.

General Masakazu Kawabe: in comparison, the Soviet entry into the war was a great shock. Because we had been in constant fear of it with a vivid imagination that the vast Red Army forces in Europe were now being turned against us.

Suzuki: Japan must surrender immediately. “There was little mention in the Japanese cabinet of the use of the atomic bomb by the US.”

  • The dropping of the bomb was the pretext seized upon . . . As a reason for ending the war. But it is almost a certainty that the Japanese would have capitulated upon the entry of Russia into the war.”
  • On 14 August five days after the second bomb was dropped at Nagasaki and with desperate fighting still raging against the Soviets, Emperor Hirohito exerted his personal power. Hirohito speaking to the Japanese people directly ordered surrender over the radio.
  • Truman’s estimate of the anticipated American casualties kept climbing as the years went by. In 1991 President George H. Bush praised Truman’s tough calculating decision which spared millions of American lives.
  • Attributing victory to the bomb insults the memory of the many men and women who gave their lives to defeat the Japanese year by year.

October 1945: Truman met Oppenheimer to inquire when the Soviets would have the bomb. Oppenheimer replied he didn’t know. Truman responded that he knew the answer never giving Oppenheimer an insight into his ignorance. He told Dean Acheson, “I don’t want that SOB in this office ever again”.

Later Oppenheimer was attacked by right wing conservatives as an agent of the Soviet Union and subjected to numerous interrogation by the FBI. Oppenheimer’s security clearance was revoked in 1954. His crime was opposing the building of the hydrogen bomb which he considered a weapon of genocide. The dropping of the atomic bombs did not make the Soviet forces any pliable. They occupied the Northern portion of Korea Peninsula face to face with US forces in the south.

  • The Japanese could keep the emperor for stability of Japan.
  • Condoleezza Rice named Truman her man of the century to Time Magazine.
  • It was a warning to the Soviet Union.

Henry Wallace: “it is obvious that the attitude of Truman, Brynes and both the war and navy department will make for war eventually.”

Robert Oppenheimer met Henry Wallace shortly after the war: he proposed international control of atomic technology to assuage Soviet fears over US intentions. In September, Stimson sent a memo to Truman saying that the Soviets should be treated as allies, saying that they should be trusted. He proposed that America should dismantle its bomb if the Soviets accepted a ban on atomic research and thus submit to an international system of control. Wallace allied himself to Stimson indicating the absurdity of trying to keep an atomic monopoly. ” I then went in some length into the scientific background describing how foreign Jewish scientists had in the first place sold the President in the fall of 1939. I indicated the degree to which the whole approach had originated in Europe and that it was impossible to bottle the thing up no matter how much we tried.” Navy Secretary Forestall argued that the Soviets could not be trusted, the Russians like the Japanese are essentially oriental in their thinking. Truman vacillated and ultimately yielded to the Byrnes/ Forestall hardline faction.

Some have spoken of the American century, I say that the century on which we are entering, century which will come out of this war can be and must be the century of the common man. If we really believe we are fighting for a people peace, all the rest becomes easy. “–Henry Wallace

In 1946 ran for president. Accused of being a Soviet sympathizer, he compromised himself during the pressures of the Korean War and the McCarthy period loudly condemning the Soviets but decried support for Vietnam. He died in 1965. He remains the unsung hero of the Second World War showing the world a kinder vision of America. Though his vision was opposed at every step it did not die.

Roosevelt: No man was more of the American soil than Wallace. In July 1944 Roosevelt acceding to the party bosses’ choice of Harry Truman committed his greatest blunder. He could have resisted and had Wallace at his back as his VP, but he was tired of defending his vision for world peace, near death. His sad moment point most clearly to the fallibility of all human history.

To fail is not tragic, to be human is.

What might this country be if Wallace had succeeded Roosevelt in April 1945 instead of Truman.

Courtesy: YouTube video

Index 18 June 2019

  1. Migration (Pakistan, A Modern History by Ian Talbot)
  2. Divided Families (Great Partition by Yasmin Khan)
  3. Pakistan after Partition
  4. Pakistan Navy
  5. Vice Admiral Siddiq Choudhri
  6. A Life Well Spent on all counts
  7. The Legacy of Mr. Jinnah 1876-1948
  8. The Misunderstood Premier
  9. The Kashmir Dispute (We’ve Learnt Nothing from History by M. Asghar Khan)
  10. Kashmir 1947-48 (The Untold Story of India’s Partition by Narindra Singh Sarila)
  11. The Pursuit of Kashmir by Zaib un Nisa
  12. Pakistan’s First Military Ruler (Ayub Khan by Altaf Gauhar)
  13. Pakistan’s Constitutional Past and Political Legacy (Ayub Khan by Altaf Gauhar)
  14. US Pakistan Relations 1958-63 (Crossed Swords by Shuja Nawaz)
  15. The Godfather of Pakistan (Tinderbox by M.J. Akbar)
  16. The Himalayan Border Dispute (On China by Henry Kissinger)
  17. The September War and the Tashkent Declaration (The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones)
  18. Operation Gibraltar in Kashmir 1965 (Crossed Swords by Shuja Nawaz
  19. Pakistan Language, Population, Migration
  20. Pakistan Social Structure and Organization
  21. Pakistan: The Geopolitical Context
  22. Is Democracy in Retreat?
  23. The Pakistan Paradox
  24. Nationalism without a Nation or even without a People 17/4/2018
  25. Towards the Watershed of 1971
  26. Losing East Pakistan
  27. War Inquiry Commission 1971
  28. Pakistan and the Bangladesh War by Krishna Bhatia
  29. Dead Reckoning by Sarmila Bose
  30. Indira Gandhi by Usha Bhagat
  31. The Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship by Krishan Bhatia
  32. US and Indira By Krishna Bhatia
  33. Elections and Massacre
  34. Bangladesh Demographics
  35. Bengal Culture
  36. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
  37. No Afghan Policy Worth the Name (Pakistan—A Dream Gone Sour by Roedad Khan)
  38. General Yahya Khan
  39. In Fairness to Yahya (Pakistan—A Dream Gone Sour by Roedad Khan)
  40. The Promise of Democracy
  41. Rise to National Prominence (The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones)
  42. The Making of a National Leader (The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones)
  43. An Overview, The PPP Years in Power (The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones)
  44. The PPP and Pakistan’s Year of Crisis (The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones)
  45. Authoritarianism and Downfall
  46. General Muhammad Zia-uL Haq
  47. Despotic Islamization
  48. General Mirza Aslam Beg
  49. Benazir Bhutto
  50. Reconciliation (Reconciliation by Benazir Bhutto)
  51. Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination
  52. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
  53. Living out the legacy of his mentor
  54. General Pervez Musharraf
  55. General Musharraf’s Five Years in Power (We’ve Learnt Nothing From History by M. Asghar Khan
  56. Lessons we have learnt in the last 70 years
  57. Haqqani and Abbotabad
  58. US Pakistan Relations
  59. Findings made by the Abbotabad Commission
  60. The Past and the Future of Pakistan (Tinderbox by M.J. Akbar
  61. Weak State Strong Societies (Pakistan by Anatol Lieven)
  62. Pakistan State and the Islamic Challenge (Pakistan—A Dream Gone Sour by Roedad Khan)
  63. The Army’s Pakistan (The Idea of Pakistan by Stephen Philip Cohen)
  64. Constructing a Portrait of Pakistan through the Stories of its People by Pamela Constable
  65. The Pakistan Paradox
  66. The Summer of Crisis (Pakistan, A New History by Ian Talbot 2014)
  67. Islam Changes Everything (Pakistan, A Modern History by Ian Talbot)
  68. The Challenges Today, the Islamic World
  69. Muawiya the Umayyad, Imam Hasan, Imam Husain
  70. Key Characters in the Life of Prophet Muhammad
  71. The Heirs of Prophet Muhammad
  72. Battle for Afghanistan
  73. Strategy (On War-Carl Von Clausewitz)
  74. Purpose and Means of War (On War-Carl Von Clausewitz)
  75. Battle of Bannockburn
  76. Erich Ludendorff
  77. Miracle at Dunkirk
  78. Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery
  79. Stalin and the Allies
  80. E. Lawrence on his role with the Arabs
  81. Voyager of Discovery
  82. Breakup of Yugoslavia
  83. Decision Points
  84. Origin of Colonial Indian Navy
  85. How war was precipitated?
  86. The Military Genius (On War by Claus Von Clausewitz)
  87. The Atom bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war
  88. Indian Navy
  89. Mohiuddin Muhammad
  90. Battle of Waterloo
  91. Mirza Nooruddin Muhammad Khan Salim
  92. The Great War 1914-18,
  93. Slavery under a different name
  94. Defending John Alexander McDonald Erases history twice 3/9/2017
  95. A Military Debacle by James Donovan
  96. Prelude to June 25, 1876 by James Donovan
  97. Henry Kissinger
  98. Battle of Gettysburg July 1863 by James Donovan
  99. Fugitives in the Land of their Fathers
  100. Chronology of the Battle of Britain July 10, 1940 to October 31, 1940
  101. The Causes of the English Civil Wars
  102. Voyager 1610
  103. Paul Revere
  104. Epilogue Paris (Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson, McClelland and Stewart)
  105. The Decision (De Gaulle, The Rebel) by Jean Lacoutre
  106. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill 1874-1965 (Blood, Tears and Folly)
  107. The Age of Napoleon (The Age of Napoleon by J. Christopher Herold)
  108. The Liberation of France (The History of the Second World War by B.H. Liddel Hart)
  109. Tribute to a Great Seaman
  110. Does History Repeat Itself (On China by Henry Kissinger)
  111. Success Upon Success-Post Pearl Harbour (Yamamoto by Edwin P. Hoyt)
  112. Crossroads (Yamamoto by Edwin P. Hoyt)
  113. The Wars of the Roses (KULTUR International Films, NJ)
  114. Sacred Contracts (Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss)
  115. Majid Khan
  116. Mercedes Benz Model 280