January 25, 2018
  Harry S. Truman (1884 – 1972) was the 33rd President of the United States from 1945–1953. A WWI veteran, Truman assumed the presidency upon the death of Franklin Roosevelt in April 1945. Some of his accomplishments include implementing the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, integrating the armed forces, promoting establishment […]
January 18, 2018
This rapid-fire video is an excellent summary of Korean history since the 19th century. The division of Korea between North and South occurred after WWII, ending the Empire of Japan’s 35-year rule over Korea in 1945. The United States and the Soviet Union occupied two parts of the country, with the boundary between their zones of control along the 38th parallel.   With the onset of the Cold War, negotiations […]
January 11, 2018
Ho Chi Minh, born in 1880 into the family of a poor country scholar as Nguyen Sinh Cung (also called Nguyen Tat Thanh or Nguyen Ai Quoc) attended grammar school in Hue, taught school in Phan Thiet, and was apprenticed at a technical institute in Saigon.   In 1911 Ho became a cook on a French […]
December 28, 2017
We were the War Children 1945 When all the soldiers came marching home Love looks in their eye                -Van Morrison Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land,” as historian Landon Jones later described the trend. 3.4 […]
November 23, 2017
George Orwell, the author of Animal Farm, published in 1945, described his book as an allegorical account of events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. George Orwell was the nom de plum of Eric Blair, a British political novelist and essayist. As a young […]
November 16, 2017
After the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, most Americans viewed Communism as a threat to the Western democracies. Communist rhetoric envisioning the overthrow of capitalism was common in Depression-era America. Before WWII, both American and Soviet propaganda.viewed the other side’s system of government as evil.   However, joining forces with the USSR to defeat the Axis […]
November 13, 2017
Ancient Korea Gojoseon, Korea’s legendary first kingdom, was founded in 2333 B.C.E. After its collapse, several small kingdoms coalesced into the Three Kingdoms Period (Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla) around the year zero C.E. Gradually assuming power, Silla consolidated rule over the Korean peninsula in 668 C.E. In 935 C.E. Silla fell to Goryeo. In 1392 […]
November 9, 2017
French Indochina was formed in the late 19th century by combining three Vietnamese regions (Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina) with Cambodia, Laos and Guangzhouwan. With the fall of France in 1940, the control of the colony shifted to the Vichy French who allowed military occupation by Imperial Japan.     With a weakened French position in Indochina, Thailand […]
November 6, 2017
Just months after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, George Orwell published an essay entitled You and the Atomic Bomb in the London Tribune. The first one to use the term “cold war,” Orwell outlines in the prophetic excerpt below a rationale that would become a tenet of the mutual deterrence strategy employed by the […]
November 2, 2017
Image: Wikimedia Commons Dear valued reader – With posts about the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, we draw our Enemy in the Mirror website coverage of WWII to a close and embark on what would become known as the Cold War. I began this website as I dug deeply into the literature and travelled to Japan, […]
October 26, 2017
From 1945-46, judges from Great Britain, France, USSR and USA presided over the Nuremberg trials of 24 prominent Nazis charged with war crimes. Charges included: crimes against peace—defined as participation in the planning and waging of a war of aggression in violation of numerous international treaties war crimes—defined as violations of the internationally agreed upon […]
October 23, 2017
Our Job in Japan, a training film for American soldiers assigned to occupation forces in Japan, begins with a description of the Japanese brain that has been duped by military leaders. The film details Japanese barbarity during the war and advises taking no chances with “tricky” Japanese today while helping the “honest” ones to recover […]
October 19, 2017
September 1945 – the war is over! …You’ll never know how many dreams I’ve dreamed about you Or how empty they all seem without you So kiss me once…and kiss me twice And kiss me once again It’s been a long…long time It’s been a mighty, mighty long time   WWII caused >60 million deaths – […]
October 16, 2017
Your Job In Germany was a short film shown to US soldiers embarking on post-war occupation duty in Germany. Produced by the United States War Department in 1945, the film was made by a military film unit directed by Frank Capra and was written by Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The film exhorts occupying American troops to realize they are […]
October 12, 2017
Adapted from the novel by Michio Takeyama, this 1956 film directed by Ichikawa Kon, involves a company of Japanese Imperial Army troops who finally surrender in the last desperate stages of the Burma campaign. When their company commander begins to lead them in songs from their homeland, they discover renewed energy and the will to […]
October 9, 2017
Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd The concept of a nuclear chain reaction reportedly came to the physicist Leó Szilárd as an epiphany while waiting to cross a London street in 1933. “…It suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by neutrons and which would emit two neutrons when […]
October 5, 2017
A scene from Dreams directed by Akira Kurosawa in 1990.     The following graphic presentation of war deaths is worth watching until the end.        
October 2, 2017
After the bombing of Hiroshima, some members of Japan’s supreme war council favored acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, but the majority resisted unconditional surrender. Things grew worse when the USSR declared war against Japan. Then, a second atomic bomb was dropped on  Nagasaki. About midnight on August 9,  Emperor Hirohito convened the supreme war council. After a […]
September 28, 2017
President Harry Truman approved but did not specify the dates for use of atomic bombs.The Target Committee identified the targets and determined the best opportunities for attack based on logistics and weather. After the bombing of Hiroshima produced no Japanese response, the decision was made to proceed with plans to bomb Kokura. Nagasaki was a seaport in […]
September 25, 2017
On August 8, 1945, after refusing to mediate a Japanese surrender with the United States and its allies, the USSR declared war on Japan. On August 9, 1945, Russian troops invaded the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Operation August Storm. On August 14, 1945 a Soviet armored division and some Chinese troops massacred ~1500 Japanese civilians near Gegenmiao […]
September 21, 2017
In April-July 1945 Japanese forces inflicted Allied casualties totaling nearly half those suffered in three full years of war in the Pacific.  In late July, Japan’s militarist government rejected the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender or total destruction. For the new U.S. president Harry S. Truman, the Empire of Japan appeared ever more deadly when faced […]
September 18, 2017
Unfortunately, this clunky film doesn’t do justice to the fate of the USS Indianapolis crewmen and or its scapegoated captain. On July 30, 1945 the USS Indianapolis, after delivering A-Bomb components to Tinian Island for the atomic bomb used against Hiroshima, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea. The Indianapolis sank in 12 minutes. Three […]
September 14, 2017
Instead of battleships, fleet carriers became the primary striking force of the U.S. Navy in late 1944. The Fast Carrier Task Force operated in Pacific waters from January 1944 until the end of WWII in August 1945. After the conquest of Okinawa, the next invasion was scheduled to be in October 1945 with Operation Olympic, the invasion of Kyushu. […]
September 11, 2017
Unlike the treatment of German POWs in the USA, the Allied treatment of German military prisoners in Europe at the end of the war is quite controversial. With titles like Eisenhower’s Death Camps, The Real Holocaust, The Last Dirty Secret of WWII and Eisenhower Mass Murderer, many online posts and videos claim the Allies, under General […]
September 7, 2017
A U.S. Army Air Force  B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State Building on Saturday July 28, 1945.  Fourteen people were killed. Flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to LaGuardia Airport in New York City, with two pilots and a passenger aboard, the B-25 encountered heavy fog over the New York metropolitan area and was instructed […]
September 4, 2017
In July 1945, USSR Premier Joseph Stalin, the new American president Harry S. Truman, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain met in Potsdam Germany in the last Big Three meeting of WWII .   At Potsdam, the Big Three leaders demanded unconditional surrender from Japan, although privately they agreed to allow the emperor […]
August 31, 2017
From 1940-1943, the Danish government pursued a course of cautious cooperation with the occupying forces of Nazi Germany. However, in 1943, with increased turbulence and sabotage by the underground resistance movement, the Germans imposed a state of emergency and disbanded the government. Many arrests and executions followed. By 1945 Denmark was besieged by shortages of […]
August 28, 2017
  Operation Downfall, the proposed Allied plan for the invasion of Japan, would have been the largest amphibious operation in history. It was planned in two phases on the few beaches that were adequate for a massive landing force: Operation Olympic, to be launched from Okinawa in November 1945, would capture the southern third of the island Kyūshū, which could […]
August 24, 2017
23 May, 1945  — President of Germany Karl Dönitz and Chancellor of Germany Count Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk are arrested by British forces at Flensburg. They are respectively the last German Head of state and Head of government until 1949. 23 May- Heinrich Himmler, former head of the Nazi SS, commits suicide in British […]
August 17, 2017
For the Japanese, Okinawa was the last stepping stone before the invasion of the main islands of the Empire of Japan. The ferocious Battle of Okinawa  lasted 82 days. Many analysts believe that Japanese military leaders, realizing the war was lost, hoped to inflict such heavy casualties on Allied forces that a negotiated peace would […]
August 14, 2017
On 20 April 1945, as the Nazi regime collapsed around him, Hitler appointed Grössadmiral Karl Dönitz as his successor, President of the Reich, Minister of War and Supreme Commander of the armed forces. After Hitler’s suicide on 30 April, Dönitz began negotiations for surrender with the Allies. Grössadmiral Karl Dönitz As Nazi troops were being […]
August 10, 2017
Ezra Weston Loomis Pond (1885 – 1972) was one of the most controversial, major literary figures in the 20th century. Early in his career, Pound promoted Imagism, a modernist movement, derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, that emphasized clarity, precision and economy of language. The tree has entered my hands, The sap has ascended my arms, […]
August 7, 2017
For ~12 years, Adolf Hitler tried to keep his relationship with his mistress Eva Braun a secret. His personal valet Heinz Linge reported that Hitler once said: “Fräulein Braun is … too young to be the wife of one in my position. But she is the only girl for me. So we live as we do. […]
August 3, 2017
In Nordic Mythology Ragnarök  refers to a prophesied war among various beings and gods that ultimately results in the destruction and renewal of the world. In Richard Wagner’s four opera adaptation of Nordic myth Ring des Nibelungen, the final opera was entitled Götterdämmerung (twilight of the Gods). Wagner was one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite composers and his music […]
July 31, 2017
    In April 1945, the Awa Maru was a Japanese ocean liner requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese navy, sailing under the protection of the Red Cross with 2004 passengers and crew. After delivering Red Cross supplies to Singapore, the Awa Maru took on stranded merchant marine officers, military personnel, diplomats and civilians and departed […]
July 27, 2017
On April 25, 1945, with great jubilation, American and Soviet armies met southwest of Berlin  at Torgau on the Elbe River. Torgau is on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany.  
July 20, 2017
Radiolab  just broadcast an excellent, detailed account of the Japanese balloon bomb incident at Bly, Oregon LISTEN: http://www.radiolab.org/story/war-our-shore/     My history-inspired novel Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War includes a fictionalized account of the event that killed a minister’s wife and five adolescents on a church group outing in May 1945.  
July 17, 2017
WARNING: This post contains many graphic images. The motto “Jedem das Seine“  displayed over the entrance to the Buchenwald concentration camp, is an old German proverb derived from the Latin phrase “suum cuique“  meaning “to each his own” or  “to each what he deserves.” Built in the woods of Thuringia, above the municipality of Ettersberg, Buchenwald […]
July 13, 2017
This propaganda film was produced by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1945 in an effort to promote War Bond sales. My Japan might be described as a heavy-handed attempt to elicit angry responses from American citizens regarding Japan’s audacity as well as contempt for their own materialistic values. Although it now seems ludicrous with a […]
July 10, 2017
In 1936 participation of boys and girls in Nazi youth groups became mandatory. At the onset of WWII older Hitler Jugend (HJ) boys were conscripted into the armed forces while younger boys functioned as air raid wardens and anti-aircraft gun assistants. Also you… Girls in the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) offered refreshments to departing troops […]
July 6, 2017
After being freed from an Italian prison by German special forces in 1943, Benito Mussolini established the Italian Social Republic in northern Italy.   Although he claimed autonomy, the republic Mussolini ruled for 1 1/2 years as Head of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was essentially a puppet state of Nazi Germany. During his rule […]
July 3, 2017
In the spring of 1945, with much of Europe and the Pacific in ruins, the end of the war was in sight for Americans. While total U.S. military deaths exceeded 400,000 in the European, North African and Pacific theaters, mainland USA never became a significant site of battle during WWII. By mid-1945, the United States had produced 80,000 […]
June 26, 2017
In April 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato, the pride of the Imperial Japanese Navy and heaviest battleship in the world, was dispatched from Japan with nine other warships on a suicide mission against Allied forces attacking Okinawa. Before reaching Okinawa, the task force was heavily damaged by American carrier-borne aircraft. The Yamato and five other […]
June 22, 2017
        The Battle of Okinawa (April 1-June 22,1945) was the last and largest of the Pacific War. Intending to establish bases for the invasion of mainland Japan, 287,000 troops of the U.S. 10th Army attacked 130,000 soldiers of the Imperial Japanese 32nd Army on April 1, 1945. The Japanese devised a defensive […]
June 19, 2017
Before he became a WWII correspondent, Indianan Ernie Pyle wrote a popular syndicated column for the Scripps-Howard newspapers about the lives and hopes of typical American citizens in the 1930s. In 1942, Pyle went overseas as a war correspondent where he covered the North Africa campaign and the invasions of Sicily, Italy and Normandy. Rather than […]
June 15, 2017
Together with theologians Karl Barth and Martin Niemöller, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer was a founding member of the German Bekennende Kirche ( Confessing Church), a Protestant movement that opposed Nazi attempts to unify all Protestant churches into a single pro-Nazi Deutsche Evangelische Kirche (Protestant Reich Church) Writing about Christianity’s role in the secular world, Bonhöffer was […]
June 12, 2017
  First deployed in 1944, the B-29 was a new generation bomber that carried more bombs, and flew higher, faster and farther than any other WWII bomber. It also introduced remote controlled turrets for defense and pressurized crew compartments that allowed them to forgo heavy cold weather clothing. B-29 SPECIFICATIONS Wingspan: 141 ft 3 in Length: 99 ft Height: 29 ft […]
June 8, 2017
Health and Medical History of FDR President Roosevelt’s medical records were closely guarded during his lifetime and surviving documentation is incomplete. But it’s clear he had persistently severe high blood pressure in the 1940s. In late 1943 he apparently had congestive heart failure (CHF) and his health declined significantly. In April 1944 his blood pressure was recorded as […]
June 5, 2017
On March 9, 1945, with the code name “Operation Meetinghouse,” 334 B-29 bombers under the command of Colonel Curtis LeMay, took off from USAAF bases in the Mariana Islands. Shortly after midnight on March 10, the B-29s flew over densely-populated areas of Tokyo at the relatively low altitude of 7,000 feet. Prior to the raid, U.S. Army engineers at […]
June 1, 2017
Anne Frank was a teenage writer who hid in Amsterdam with her family for two years during the Nazi occupation of Holland. She chronicled her feelings and experiences in a diary that became renowned after the war. She was 15 years old when the location of the family was betrayed and they were sent to the camps, where she died. […]
May 29, 2017
In May 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had recently died and the war in Europe was winding down. ___________________ The origin of Memorial Day is attributed by most scholars to the ladies of Columbus, Mississippi  who decided to decorate both Union and Confederate graves with flowers on April 25, 1866. Francis Miles Finch commemorated the occasion with […]
May 25, 2017
  Iwo Jima is a rocky island in the volcano islands archipelago of Japan,~760 miles south of Tokyo. It is only 5 miles long and from 800 yards to 2.5 miles wide. Located mid-way between the Marianas and the Japanese mainland, Iwo Jima provided a base for Japanese fighters to intercept  U.S. bombers attacking the home island.  Japanese […]
May 22, 2017
The month-long  Battle of Manila (February-March 1945), pitted American and Philippine forces against Imperial   Japanese occupiers in the most brutal urban fighting of the Pacific War. In addition to massive loss of civilian and military lives, much of the city’s architectural and cultural heritage was destroyed. Casualties from the Battle of Manila Allies:1,010 killed. 5,565 wounded Japanese: 16,000+ killed […]
May 18, 2017
Starring: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed While the 1945 cinema in Nazi Germany re-lived historical victories and the Imperial Japanese turned toward animation to inspire their citizens, American films touted valor and victory. Nominated for two Oscars, They Were Expendable was named one of the top films of 1945 by the New York Times. A dramatized account of the […]
May 15, 2017
THE PEOPLE STAND UP In January 1945, as the Allies were closing in on the fatherland from the east and west, the director Veit Harlan released the historical film Kolberg to motivate Germans not to give in to the Allies. The film, based on the autobiography of Joachim Nettelbeck, mayor of Kolberg in western Pomerania, depicts the successful defense of the […]
May 11, 2017
This scene from Momotaro the Sea God Soldier (桃太郎 海の神兵), the first Japanese feature-length animated film, was directed by Mitsuyo Seo. Commissioned by the Japanese Naval Ministry, the film, released in 1945 by the Shochiku Moving Picture Laboratory, was a sequel to Momotarō no Umiwashi, a film released in 1943 by the same director. Plot Summary paraphrased […]
May 8, 2017
  In February 1945, the “Big Three” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in the Crimea to: demand the unconditional surrender of Germany discuss the security and self-determination of liberated countries in post-Nazi Europe discuss the conditions under which the USSR would enter the war against Japan   […]
May 4, 2017
  From February 13-15 1945, British RAF and American USAAF heavy bombers dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive detonation bombs and incendiary devices on the city of Dresden. The bombing and resulting firestorm destroyed most of the city center and killed ~22,700 to 25,000 people (although inflated casualty figures have often been cited). Nazi […]
May 1, 2017
In January 1945, 511 emaciated Allied soldiers (mostly survivors from the fall of Bataan and Corregidor) and a few civilians were held at a Japanese prison camp, near Cabanatuan on the Philippine island of Luzon. After 33 months of brutal captivity, the majority of these POWs were severely emaciated. After receiving reports that the Japanese […]
April 27, 2017
The January 1945 massacre of ~60 German POWs near the Belgian village of Chenogne by American troops was one of the war crimes committed by both sides during the bitter Battle of the Bulge.  Carried out shortly after the German SS massacre of U.S. troops at Malmedy, the events were initially covered up and none of the […]
April 24, 2017
  From January-August 1945 the Allies fought a land battle against Japanese forces on the island of Luzon. Although the Allies had  control of all strategically and economically important locations of the island by March, pockets of Japanese resistance held out in the mountains until the unconditional surrender of Japan in September 1945. The Battle of Luzon resulted […]
April 20, 2017
This haunting  scene from the 1963 film The Victors depicts the Christmas Eve execution of a GI deserter modeled after Private Eddie Slovik. Private Eddie Slovik was the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion. A draftee, Slovik was originally classified 4-F because of a prison record (car theft), but later reclassified 1-A when draft standards were […]
April 17, 2017
Colonel Curtis Emerson LeMay  designed and implemented an effective, but highly controversial incendiary bombing campaign against Japanese civilians in the final stages of the Pacific War. In December 1944, LeMay was transferred from China to assume command of the USAAF XXI Bomber Command. Given frequent cloudy weather and the powerful jet stream over the Japanese islands that often blew bombs […]
November 10, 2016
  This film, about a conscientious objector who actually saved 75 lives as a medic in the midst of a terrible battle on Okinawa, was directed by Mel Gibson. As might be expected, it’s a little corny and extremely violent. But the WWII verisimilitude, both on the home front and in the Pacific War, is outstanding. Caution: the battle scenes are […]
February 22, 2016
Dietrich Bonhöffer (1906 –1945) was a German Lutheran theologian and founding member of the Confessing Church that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to permeate German Protestant churches with Nazi doctrine. An outstanding academic theologian, Bonhöffer obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Tübingen, a Doctor of Theology and an additional Doctorate of Habilitation (the highest degree available) at the University […]
August 20, 2015
Watch the video:  Animated Data Visualization Of World War II  This animated video of total fatalities in WWII by Neil Halloran is mind boggling. But the period of “Long Peace” we are currently in, with no major conflicts between the Great Powers since WWII, allows cautious optimism.
August 17, 2015
Did the nuclear attack on Nagasaki in August 1945 truly end the Pacific War? Or was it a million Russian troops invading Manchuria? Read this provocative August 7, 2015  New York Times Op Ed by Susan Southardaug : Nagasaki , the forgotten city.
March 19, 2015
On March 10, 1945 more than 100,000 people were killed, a million made homeless, and 16 square miles of Tokyo were burned to the ground by a single American firebombing raid. Why do most people today know about the horrors of  Hiroshima and Dresden, but are surprised to learn the appalling statistics of the Tokyo raid? On March 10, 2015, in […]
February 21, 2014
The motion picture 永遠のゼロ。(The eternal Zero) released in December 2013, was adapted from a novel about a young man searching for information about his grandfather’s WWII special forces duty. The ultraconservative author of the novel,  Naoki Hyakuta was recently appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the governing board of the public broadcasting network NHK. Recent nationalistic remarks by the Japanese government […]
July 2, 2013
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the […]
May 28, 2012
THE STATISTICS 54,770,000 — total deaths in WWII 38,573,000 — civilians died in WWII 292,131 — Americans died in WWII 3,393 — Americans died on D-Day 6,603 — casualties (including deaths, wounded and prisoners) on D-Day 7,000 — Americans died on Iwo Jima 12,000 — Americans died on Okinawa 51,983 — Americans died in the […]

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