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Battle of Iwo Jima 75 years on

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White phosphorus was used in the pre-invasion bombardment and U.S. troops wielded flame-throwers during the battle.

Do everyone a favor and remove this sentence! It's unnecessary and just provokes emotional responses about who did what and where!

2 ( +18 / -16 )

Do everyone a favor and remove this sentence! It's unnecessary and just provokes emotional responses about who did what and where!

Yeah, its pretty random and inflammatory for otherwise well written article. Almost like it was inserted after the fact.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

A somber side note... A co-worker/friend of mine, his father was one of those Marines on the top of Mount suribachi. Not one of those in the staged iconic photo, but he can be seen in other photos of them just hanging out there. He died suddenly alone at home.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The movie Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers comes into mind when I remember this part of WW2.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The US should of invaded Tokyo earlier, maybe this would of broke the will of the imperial Japanese army, and save many lives, the have haunting pictures of a US GI feeding a little Japanese girl,as she shivering

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

The US should of invaded Tokyo earlier, maybe this would of broke the will of the imperial Japanese army, and save many lives, the have haunting pictures of a US GI feeding a little Japanese girl,as she shivering

Invaded Tokyo earlier? This comment makes it sound as it you think they actually did!

It is unfathomable to even think about the MILLIONS of deaths that would have occurred here IF the US did in fact invade Tokyo. Nearly 30,000 people died on Iwo, and it is not a leap of the imagination to extrapolate the numbers for the millions here in Japan at the time who would have died defending the home land!

Tokyo SHOULD have surrendered following the bombing of Tokyo, but they didnt and IT happened only a couple of weeks after Iwo Jima!

. Operation Meetinghouse, which was conducted on the night of 9–10 March 1945, is regarded as the single most destructive bombing raid in human history. 16 square miles of central Tokyo were destroyed, leaving an estimated 100,000 civilians dead and over one million homeless.

Blame falls on many sides, INCLUDING the Japanese at this point!

13 ( +18 / -5 )

It was a different time, with different goals, by different leaders.

We should learn, never forget and never let our children forget neither the good nor the bad on both sides of this battle.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The first casualty of war is the truth which is why 28,000+ men died for a fake photo-op of a flag on a mountain top. The cheap symbolism of the bloody fighting depicted later on a stamp and a war monument and used as fodder for the Hollywood heroics of draft-dodging John Wayne was dearly paid for with the blood of American and Japanese lives. Iwo Jima was of no military value to the ultimate aim of ending the war as expeditiously as possible but only serves as yet another dispiriting example of the meaningless cold calculation shown by military strategists and commanders who care not a fig for the human cost of their "war games".

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

White phosphorus was used in the pre-invasion bombardment and U.S. troops wielded flame-throwers during the battle.

I dunno, Yubaru. War is always hell with atrocities committed by all sides - reminding this to subsequent generations is useful.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

YubaruToday  07:02 am JST

White phosphorus was used in the pre-invasion bombardment and U.S. troops wielded flame-throwers during the battle.

Do everyone a favor and remove this sentence! It's unnecessary and just provokes emotional responses about who did what and where!

Not sure if I can agree. I mean, it is simply a fact. And not imagined, fabricated or exaggerated. But on the other hand it does seem out of place in the article, especially since it leaves out most other precise details. I guess one should compain to Reuters.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Located halfway between Tokyo and Guam, it was regarded as a strategic outpost. 

Well yes, in the sense that crippled B-29s returning from air raids on the Japanese main islands could land there in case they couldn't make it back to their home fields on Saipan, Tinian and Guam. That was the main objective of taking the island. It is estimated that about the lives of 7,000 crew members were saved --- about the same number as US Marines who died taking Iwo.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

 Iwo Jima was of no military value to the ultimate aim of ending the war as expeditiously as possible but only serves as yet another dispiriting example of the meaningless cold calculation shown by military strategists and commanders who care not a fig for the human cost of their "war games".

Actually, I beg to differ. Its location was a strategic one and retaking it was necessary for the U.S.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

It is unfathomable to even think about the MILLIONS of deaths that would have occurred here IF the US did in fact invade Tokyo. Nearly 30,000 people died on Iwo, and it is not a leap of the imagination to extrapolate the numbers for the millions here in Japan at the time who would have died defending the home land!

The modern thinking is that the casualties would have been less than imagined at the time. The old belief in a "fanatically hostile population" really isn't compatible with the starving and war-weary Japanese people of 1945. A good propaganda campaign involving the handing out of massive amounts of food and stressing that the Japanese people were not the enemy might have gone a long way.

But even then it's hard to know what would have happened. The Japanese government wasn't especially concerned with civilian casualties or they would have surrendered after the fire-bombing of Tokyo or atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Even the horrors of Nagasaki had to be combined with the Soviet invasion of Manchuria to force a surrender. It's all completely unknowable.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Actually, I beg to differ. Its location was a strategic one and retaking it was necessary for the U.S.

zones@Iwo was not "retaken," since it was Japanese territory to begin with. So were Saipan and Tinian, in the sense that Japan administered them under a League of Nations Mandate after Germany lost them following WW1.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

One more thing that I believe deserves clarification. Joe Rosenthal's famous photo of the flag raising was certainly not "staged." There was a combat film cameraman standing just to Rosenthal's right who captured the exact same sequence (in color no less) and this can be viewed in YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEtukwfLX90

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yeah, its pretty random and inflammatory for otherwise well written article. Almost like it was inserted after the fact.

What's wrong? You don't like your country being called out on it's many war crimes?

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

@White phosphorus was used in the pre-invasion bombardment and U.S. troops wielded flame-throwers during the battle.

@What's wrong? You don't like your country being called out on it's many war crimes?

Well if Japan hadn't attacked Pearl Harbor that day and turned their ships around, guess what no WAR. Lucky the US didn't pound the rest of Japan and only limited itself to pounding Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Lucky that the Russians were fixing to invade Japan from the North and hence a call to end the war by Japan or else it saw itself broken in half. As for the other comment response, what war crimes that have not been committed even worse by other nations, give it rest and don't even go there.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Seems every historical event is worthy of an anniversary in the modern era.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"u_s__reamerToday 10:04 am JST

used as fodder for the Hollywood heroics of draft-dodging John Wayne was dearly"*

John Wayne was a master at marketing. His real name was Marion but he rebranded himself as the Duke and created a legend.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You don't like your country being called out on it's many war crimes?

Which "country"? The Japanese flamethrower was the Type 93. Japanese soldiers used them against Americans in the Battle of Wake Island, Corregidor, Guadalcana and Battle of Milne Bay.

Indeed all the major players in WW2 used them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Unpalatable facts are still important and relevant. They should not be airbrushed from history just because they don't sit well with some.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The US should of invaded Tokyo earlier, maybe this would of broke the will of the imperial Japanese army, and save many lives,

No, JAPAN should have surrendered earlier. Battle of Iwo Jima and Battle of Okinawa, not to mention the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been avoided and lives on both sides would have been saved.

But Imperial Japanese military refused to surrender. During the summer of 1945, a popular Japanese war slogan was "The sooner the Americans come, the better...One hundred million die proudly."

The Japanese Homeland Defense strategy "Operation Ketsu-Go anticipated a U.S. invasion of Kyushu. Although Japan was finished as a war-making machine, it still had some 4 million men (not to mention women and children and elderly) waiting to defend the homeland and fight to the very end.

https://fas.org/irp/eprint/arens/chap4.htm

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

White phosphorous was used in the pre-invasion bombardment....

Near the end of the war America used white phosphorous as an igniter and napalm to maximize civilian carnage when bombing Japanese cities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napalm

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a27689/world-war-2-white-phosphorus-explodes-in-germany/

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No, JAPAN should have surrendered earlier. Battle of Iwo Jima and Battle of Okinawa, not to mention the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been avoided and lives on both sides would have been saved.

Why should Japan have surrendered sooner? Why was the US justified in pushing for unconditional surrender? What is never considered is the Cairo declaration in December 1943. In that declaration, the US and allies laid out terms of surrender that essentially meant the end of japan as a power and the end of it having responsibility for its own security interest? I would say if the terms of the Cairo Declaration were not so pressing, then japan just might have surrendered earlier. And as a result of the Japanese empire being broken up, what was the result? Chiang Kai-shek losing to the communist in mainland China, all of China turning red, massacre in Taiwan carried out by the nationalists Chinese February 1947, and a Korea that cut in half. Media always talkk about brutal Japanese occupation of Korea, but it was the US that cut Korea in half and gave the northern side to the Soviet union and communists. Becuase of that very fateful decision, Korea is still cut in half today and a whole Korean War was fight in response to it. I would dare say that that fateful decision to cut Korea in half was more damaging to Korea than when Korea was a part of the Japanese empire.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since Japan was the aggressor in WWII, Iwo Jima was assaulted by American and allied forces as part of subduing Imperial Japanese forces and securing the eventual conditional Japanese surrender. To say it was invaded is a matter of perspective, but in no way should it convey or portray Japan as the victim.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Since Japan was the aggressor in WWII, Iwo Jima was assaulted by American and allied forces as part of subduing Imperial Japanese forces and securing the eventual conditional Japanese surrender. To say it was invaded is a matter of perspective, but in no way should it convey or portray Japan as the victim.

Japanese aggression is an exaggeration. The US put an oil embargo on Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Konoye tried to meet with FDR in order to reduce tensions and restore oil trade. The US side did not allow such a meeting to take place. The created the conditions for Japan to attack. No oil embargo, no Japanese attack.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

“Lucky the US didn't pound the rest of Japan and only limited itself to pounding Nagasaki and Hiroshima.”

The rest of Japan WAS pounded and pretty hard, too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese aggression is an exaggeration. The US put an oil embargo on Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Konoye tried to meet with FDR in order to reduce tensions and restore oil trade. The US side did not allow such a meeting to take place. The created the conditions for Japan to attack. No oil embargo, no Japanese attack.

The US oil embargo was in support of China which was being subjected to an aggressive Japanese invasion.

Japan not only attacked the US for its oil embargo but invaded the Philippines, attacked Singapore, the Dutch east Indies and Australia was bombed repeatedly. Burma, Solomon Islands, New guinea and the list of Japans victims goes on. The term "Japanese aggression" is in no way an exaggeration.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The US oil embargo was in support of China which was being subjected to an aggressive Japanese invasion.

Japan not only attacked the US for its oil embargo but invaded the Philippines, attacked Singapore, the Dutch east Indies and Australia was bombed repeatedly. Burma, Solomon Islands, New guinea and the list of Japans victims goes on. The term "Japanese aggression" is in no way an exaggeration.

The Japanese invasion is also an exaggeration. Japan was partly responsible, but not fully. The war in China that started in July 1937 started at the Marco Polo bridge. And the Chinese shot first. Go back a few months to December 1936, Chiang Kai-shek was literally captured by Chinese communists side and forced into making the so-called "second united front". The was no kassive war but the Chinese side made agreement to stop fighting each other and to fight the Japanese when there was no war happening. And so the Chinese side started making preparations for expanding to a full all out war. So they are partly responsible for bringing the war upon themselves.

As for the Philippines, that was US territory, not an indepedent Philippines. If it was not US territory, then Japan wouldn't have needed to invade it for the purpose of securing Dutch Indies oil.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The war in China that started in July 1937 started at the Marco Polo bridge. And the Chinese shot first. 

Ohhh, they shot first! What an absurd argument! Who were the Chinese shooting at? The Japanese army, right? And what was the Japanese army doing at a bridge located several kilometers southwest of Beijing in the first place? Isn't that, for lack of a more descriptive term, an "invasion"?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Ohhh, they shot first! What an absurd argument! Who were the Chinese shooting at? The Japanese army, right? And what was the Japanese army doing at a bridge located several kilometers southwest of Beijing in the first place? Isn't that, for lack of a more descriptive term, an "invasion"?

Well, like I said, Japan has some responsibility. But the point is that Japan didn't just suddenly invade China in mass. It was escalation upon escalation going circle. And again, Chiang-Kai-shek was literally forced into making truce with the Chinese communists in December 1936. Before that, Chiang Kai-shek did make agreement with the Japanese on zones in the northern part of China. If Chiang Kai-shek had not been physically captured and brought to the Chinese communists, its quite possible that he wouldn't have embarkee on the path of greater antagonism with the Japanese.

One other point worth pointing out is that when the war started in July 1937, and continued onward into 1938, top rival of Chiang Kai-shek switched to the Japanese side. His name was Wang Jingwei. He take the top spot of the new Chinese reorganized government in the Japanese occupied areas. Wang Jingweihad wanted to end the war in 1938 but Chiang Kai-shek was against it. So Wang Jingwei switched to the Japanese side.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Chiang Kai-shek was literally captured by Chinese communists side and forced into making the so-called "second united front". 

melon@No, he wasn't. You are referring to the so-called Xian Incident in which Zhang Xueliang (aka Chang Hsueh-liang) --- a Nationalist general from Liaoning Province --- abducted Chiang Kai-shek because he believed Chinese factions should stop squabbling and present a united front against the Japanese invasion. Zhang is revered today as a patriot by both the Nationalists and Communists.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And, I would add, Wang Jingwei was executed for collaborating with the Japanese.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

melon@No, he wasn't. You are referring to the so-called Xian Incident in which Zhang Xueliang (aka Chang Hsueh-liang) --- a Nationalist general from Liaoning Province --- abducted Chiang Kai-shek because he believed Chinese factions should stop squabbling and present a united front against the Japanese invasion. Zhang is revered today as a patriot by both the Nationalists and Communists.

No that is incorrect, the primary aim of the capture was to get Chiang Kai-shek to stop fighting the Chinese communists and to change attention to the Japanese. And again, in December 1936, there was not really an invasion unless one is referring to Manchuria. But if one is going to talk about Manchuria, one has to wonder why nothing was done when the Soviet Union made a puppet state in Mongolia in the 1920s. Both Mongolia and Manchuria were once part of the Qing dynasty. Or what about the rest of the Manchuria area that is currently Russian territory? So the arguments that base the beginning of the Japanese "invasion of China" from Manchuria really seem light. All the meantime, Hong Kong was still British. So if excluding Manchuria, there wasn't really any invasion in December 1936.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And, I would add, Wang Jingwei was executed for collaborating with the Japanese.

He was executed because Japan lost. An interesting what-if would be if the Wang Jingwei regime had won instead of Mao's Chinese communism. Surely Wang Jingwei couldn't have been worse than Mao :)

And let's not pretend that Chiang Kai-shek was good at the job or noble, flooding a river that killed 500,000 Chinese in order to try slowing down the advance of the Japanese in a war that he partly got China into...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And again, in December 1936, there was not really an invasion unless one is referring to Manchuria. 

I suggest you look up the "Jinan Incident," in May 1928, in which the Japanese army's 6th Division, commanded by Lt. General Hikosuke Fukuda, killed 6,123 Chinese civilians and soldiers and wounded thousands. Jinan is the capital city of Shandong Province, which is not in Manchuria. Japan took it from the Germans after WW1.

Likewise for the Shanghai incident (January 28 – March 3, 1932) in which the Japanese army killed about 4,000 Chinese in Shanghai's International Settlement. Again, a long way from Manchuria, and several years before 1937.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I suggest you look up the "Jinan Incident," in May 1928, in which the Japanese army's 6th Division, commanded by Lt. General Hikosuke Fukuda, killed 6,123 Chinese civilians and soldiers and wounded thousands. Jinan is the capital city of Shandong Province, which is not in Manchuria. Japan took it from the Germans after WW1.

Likewise for the Shanghai incident (January 28 – March 3, 1932) in which the Japanese army killed about 4,000 Chinese in Shanghai's International Settlement. Again, a long way from Manchuria, and several years before 1937.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not shifting full blame on the Chinese. There were plenty of incidents that involved Japanese and Chinese fighting. Fair to point out the Jinan and Shanghai incident. But remember the original argument... "The US put the oil embargo on Japan to stop the invasion". These incidents were hardly "invasion". The Shanghai incident resulted from increase Japanese influence in the Shanghai International Settlement. But the Japanese did not establish that. The other Europeans did. And before the Japanese, it was the British and Americans with their own military protection units in there. But their presences subsided to Japanese. So it really wasn't an invasion by Japan, but primary influence of the area just passed from one foreign power to another. Saying so does not put fault on the Chinese to want to get violent. Although.. Japan did have its own similar unequal treaties in the 1800s but japan modernized and was able to simply negotiate away those unequal treaties. So alternative approaches to some Chinese initial response to beat and kill some Japanese people maybe could have been taken. When considering all the other empires throughout the world at that time, Japanese activities were nothing so unusual, such as the British in India and the Middle East, or the French in Vietnam or North Africa. That doesn't mean we have to like what Japan was doing with those incidents. But those were the days. So it is totally uncalled for to have Japan singled out with "Japanese aggression" about those incidents while the other powers were doing the same stuff. And whatever those incidents were, they were not an all out blatant invasion.

When people say "Japanese invasion" what comes to mind is something like how Germany blitzkrieg on Poland. That just simply was not the case. The real Japanese invasion did not start until mid 1937 and that was a response to escalation steps taken from the Chinese side. Germany was getting blitzed no matter what. But the Nationalists Chinese did not have to go on the path of complete and total war with Japan. So it is incorrect for the US argument to say that they had to stop Japanese aggression in China on the basis of morality. The US didn't live in the region. They were not even a member of the League of nations. So such role to play judge with the oil embargo was not on the US. The US acted for different reasons.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

White phosphorus was used in the pre-invasion bombardment and U.S. troops wielded flame-throwers during the battle.

I'm not sure the purpose of this sentence. As mentioned previously, flame-throwers were used by all major combatants and weren't considered violations of the rules of war. As for white phosphorus, it was used for two things. First, it could be used for its incendiary effects to burn out hidden Japanese bunkers or spider holes. Not exactly a great way to die, but hardly an illegal use. The main use of WP was as a smokescreen. White phosphorus munitions produce huge gouts of thick, white smoke, which can be used to cover troop movements or blind enemy positions. There is some debate in international law about its use as an ersatz chemical weapon, but that is more of a 'useful' side-effect of its more banal uses.

The addition of that sentence really does seem like it's there to stir up controversy where none exists. It's equivalent to having a sentence like "The Japanese used heavy artillery and Arisaka rifles in the defense of the island."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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