‘Photos of Mao’s archenemy Chiang Kai-shek adorn the walls of a Beijing restaurant, and his face looks up at diners from the menu. Online, the deposed Chinese leader’s image is used to sell the kinds of lamps and swords he might have used. A liquor brand has patterned its bottle on Chiang’s memorial in Taipei. Twenty years ago, Chiang was considered an enemy of the people on mainland China. Today, he has become part of mainstream culture — sort of.
There has been a grudging acceptance of Chiang’s historical role in fighting against Japan following its invasion in the lead-up to World War II. Chiang later lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists in the Chinese civil war and fled in 1949 to Taiwan, where he ruled until his death in 1975. His revival on the mainland points to how China’s Communist Party uses history to make points about present-day politics. Chiang is doubly useful in that sense because China’s relations with Taiwan have been warming, while those with Japan are in steep decline.’
Editor’s Note: You can also listen to a recent interview with the author of this piece here.
‘Of all the aspects of the current crisis over the NATO/Russia standoff in Ukraine, the determined intervention into Ukrainian political affairs by the United States has been the least reported, at least until recently. While new reports have appeared concerning CIA Director John Brennan’s mid-April trip to Kiev, and CIA/FBI sending “dozens” of advisers to the Ukrainian security services, very few reports mention that U.S. intervention in Ukraine affairs goes back to the end of World War II. It has hardly let up since then.
The fact of such intervention is not hard to find. Indeed, it’s hard to know where to start in documenting all this, there is so much out there if one is willing to look for it. But the mainstream U.S. press, and their blogger shadows, are ignoring this for the most part. Some exceptions at the larger alternative websites include Jeffrey St. Clair’s Counterpunch and Robert Parry’s Consortium News. Even these latter outlets have almost nothing to say about the approximately 70 year history of U.S. intervention in Ukraine.’
- Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Ukraine Secret
- The Return of the UkrainianFar Right: The Case of VO Svoboda
- To Catch A Nazi: 1986 Village Voice article on OUN leader Mykola Lebed
- Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence, and the Cold War (Book)
- U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis (Book)
- What Cold War CIA Interrogators Learned from the Nazis
- Just Stopping By: CIA Director John Brennan made a surprise visit to Kiev
- Dozens Of CIA, FBI Agents “Advising Ukraine Government”, German Press Reports
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine to fend off Putin-backed rebels
- NATO chief in Kiev discusses support for Ukraine’s defensive power
- Joe Biden tells Kiev US will support them
‘The rusting hulks of tanks and field artillery are a common sight in the jungles of Peleliu, but the fighting that scarred the Pacific island in WWII also left a more dangerous legacy — unexploded bombs. A Japanese airfield made the 10-kilometre (six-mile) long island a prized asset during the conflict, with the Americans determined to seize it at any cost.
The island — about an hour’s boat ride from the Palau capital Koror — underwent months of aerial and naval bombardment before US marines launched an amphibious invasion in September 1944 that was expected to take just three days. Instead, the assault dragged on for almost three months and became one of the bloodiest encounters in the Allied “island hopping” campaign, claiming about 13,000 Japanese and 3,000 American lives.’
‘If shame is the natural response to Hiroshima, how is one to respond to Nagasaki, especially in view of all the declassified government papers on the subject? According to Dr. Joseph Gerson’s With Hiroshima Eyes, some 74,000 were killed instantly at Nagasaki, another 75,000 were injured and 120,000 were poisoned.
If Hiroshima was unnecessary, how to justify Nagasaki?
The saving of thousands of US lives is held up as the official justification for the two atomic bombings. Leaving aside the ethical and legal question of slaughtering civilians to protect soldiers, what can be made of the Nagasaki bomb if Hiroshima’s incineration was not necessary?’
‘Sixty-nine years ago at 8:15 a.m., the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Destruction from the bomb was massive — shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people — nearly half of the town’s population. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese Nagasaki killing another 74,000. At Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, we hear from blast survivor Koji Hosokawa, who was 17 years old at the time. His 13-year-old sister, Yoko, died in the bombing. Hosokawa spoke to us next to the A-bomb Dome, one of the few structures in the city that survived the blast.’ (Democracy Now!)
‘Sirens let out a long and mournful wail and people and traffic stood still on the streets of Warsaw on Friday as Poland commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, a revolt against Nazi Germany that ended tragically for the Poles.
On Aug. 1, 1944, thousands of poorly-armed young city residents rose up against the German forces to try to take control of Warsaw ahead of the advancing Soviet army. They held on for 63 days in the cut-off city before being forced to surrender. Almost 200,000 fighters and civilians were killed in street fights and in German bombings. The Nazis expelled the survivors and set the city ablaze.
President Bronislaw Komorowski joined hundreds of the surviving insurgents for a series of ceremonies that honored the heroic struggle that remains a source of pride for the Poles.’
‘World War II ended 69 years ago, but shells are still exploding off the coast of Okinawa. Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians detonated two dozen U.S.-made munitions Wednesday morning about 800 yards from shore in Kadena town’s Mizugama district, an area known as the “sea wall,” close to Kadena Air Base.
Nineteen of the 24 rounds were 5-inch shells found near the mouth of Hija River in Kadena town along with an 81 mm mortar shell, according to Kadena Town official Nobukazu Kobashigawa. They were accompanied by four 5-inch shells found on the Yomitan Village side. “It is not surprising to find those shells because the beach is where the allied forces first landed during the Battle of Okinawa,” Kobashigawa said. “I am sure there are lots more.”’
‘Amid Adolf Hitler’s staggeringly horrific crimes against humanity, some pretty heavy-duty tax evasion appears to have been overlooked, a new British documentary set to air Friday finds. The Hunt for Hitler’s Missing Millions argues that the Fuhrer had plenty of money-making schemes, the Mirror reports: He copyrighted his own image, allowing him to rake in royalties from stamps sold bearing his image; was paid for public speeches; and made at least $1 million a year in royalties from Mein Kampf, thanks in part to the fact that a copy was given to all German couples on their wedding day. The documentary makers believe that Hitler owed at least $3 million in back taxes (in today’s dollars) by 1938—though tax authorities were presumably a little reluctant to launch an investigation.’
D-Day Set the Stage for the Rebirth and Reorganization of Global Capitalism: Interview with Leo Panitch
Editor’s Note: If you would like to learn more about the formation of the Atlantic capitalist elite after World War Two I would highly recommend two books. The first by Leo Panitch himself is “The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire“, and the other is by Kees van der Pijl, “The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class“. You can also download another of van der Pijl’s books for free here.
‘Today is the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, an event that is rightly celebrated as a key moment in the defeat of Nazism and the liberation of Europe from fascist tyranny. Last year I visited the beaches at Omaha and Arromanches for the first time, and went to the American and British and Commonweath cemeteries. It was a moving and impressive sight, and anyone who has read accounts of the landings and the vicious hedgerow fighting that preceded the Bocage ‘breakout’ cannot but be impressed by the courage and resilience shown by the soldiers who waded ashore on 6 June, 1945.
D-Day belongs firmly to the ‘good war’ narrative of World War II, partly because the battles that followed are remembered as clashes between armies. In fact the landings had a catastrophic impact on French civilians, as a result of Allied bombing raids and artillery bombardments of German positions that made no distinction between civilians and soldiers, whether in the bombing of Caen that followed the landings,or the firebombing of the seaside town of Royan with napalm by the US Eighth Air Force on 15 April 1945 that preceded them. Events like these should not be forgotten. And the ‘good war’ historical remembrance of military heroism should never be allowed to obscure the fact that the Allied victory in World War II was not merely due to the heroism and self-sacrifice of soldiers, but was also the result of a new form of ‘total war’ that was directed not only at armies and military targets, but against the enemy society.’
‘Audi has been forced to re-think everything it knew about one of its founding heroes, Dr Richard Bruhn, after the study it commissioned into the company’s past revealed he had close ties with leading Nazis.
Bruhn, long celebrated as the “Father of the Auto Union”, which in the 1980s evolved into the modern Audi brand, exploited slave labour under the Nazi dictatorship on a massive scale, a newly-released historical investigation revealed on Monday.
Although the firm told Spiegel it would be changing online profiles of Bruhn, he is still credited on a number of Audi’s English-language websites worldwide as having “guided the company with great competence” before the war and securing a “high reputation” post-war which “made it possible to obtain the credit needed to re-establish the Auto Union”.’
‘In Europe, dark clouds are gathering on the horizon once more. Yesterday marked the conclusion of the European Parliamentary elections, and the extreme-right had a number of terrifyingly strong showings in France, Austria, Denmark, Hungary and Greece, among other countries. But as disillusioned citizens across the continent send their ultra-nationalist, proto-fascist and even openly neo-Nazi deputies to Brussels and Strasbourg, the one candidate who actually managed to secure an overwhelming victory here in Greece is Manolis Glezos, the legendary 91-year-old WWII resistance hero, who, on May 30, 1941 — at the age of 19, just weeks after the Nazi invasion and occupation of his country — scaled the Acropolis in the dead of night and, together with his friend Apostolos Santas, tore down the Swastika.’
‘A beach shut by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) two weeks ago after World War Two explosives and ammunition were found will now not reopen until June. Disposal teams cleared ordnance from sections of East and West beaches in Shoeburyness, Essex, but the Royal Navy is carrying out a further survey.
The MoD said it recognised the concerns of visitors, residents and businesses. It would take two weeks to analyse the survey before the council could decide to reopen the beach, the MoD said. The beach area is owned by the MoD but has public access and is popular with visitors and residents.’
‘For nearly six decades, the 321-page file lay unnoticed in the archives of the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency — but now its contents have revealed a new chapter of German postwar history that is as spectacular as it is mysterious.
The previously secret documents reveal the existence of a coalition of approximately 2,000 former officers — veterans of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS — who decided to put together an army in postwar Germany in 1949. They made their preparations without a mandate from the German government, without the knowledge of the parliament and, the documents show, by circumventing Allied occupation forces.
The goal of the retired officers: to defend nascent West Germany against Eastern aggression in the early stages of the Cold War and, on the domestic front, deploy against the Communists in the event of a civil war.’
During an interview on Monday with anti-LGBT Indiana pastor Jeff Allen, TruNews host Rick Wiles said that LGBT activists are literal Nazis and their true objective was not world domination by the Aryan race, but a global homosexual society.
Right Wing Watch reported that Wiles said, “Hitler was trying to create a race of super gay male soldiers.”
“It’s not an exaggeration to say ‘homofascist,’” Wiles insisted, “because the German Nazi Party was homosexual. Hitler was a homosexual. The top Nazi leadership, all of them were homosexuals.”
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler might have married a woman of Jewish descent, according to DNA analysis. A new TV documentary will claim that Eva Braun, the lover whom the anti-Semitic fuhrer married shortly before they both killed themselves in 1945, was possibly of Jewish ancestry.
The Dead Famous DNA film – to be screened on Channel 4 Wednesday – tested hair samples which are said to have come from a hairbrush used by Braun and discovered at Hitler’s mountain retreat.
The German leader, behind the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War, was 23 years older than his lover – who fell in love with him when she was a teenager – and worried the relationship would affect his image, he kept her largely hidden away at his Alpine residence, the Berghof.
In the New York Times, Ben Macintyre reviews the new book by Richard Overy The Bombers and the Bombed. Macintyre gives a summary of Overy’s myth-busting about the Allied bombing of Germany. Indiscriminate bombing of civilians, instead of sticking to military targets, is usually defended as (1) a response to similarly indiscriminate bombing campaigns by the Germans, like in the Blitz, and (2) the only way to completely bring down the Nazi regime.
“Overy demonstrates, however, that the tactic of bombing urban areas had been put into action by the British before the Blitz,” Macintyre reports. And as for the second justification…
‘Abby Martin speaks with Breaking the Set producer Manuel Rapalo about the top five strangest ways human beings have turned animals into weapons, going over everything from strapping napalm on bats to having sea lions handcuff people.’ (Breaking the Set)
The frontrunner to become the next president of the United States is playing an old and dangerous political game — comparing a foreign leader to Adolf Hitler. At a private charity event on Tuesday, in comments preserved on audio, Hillary Clinton talked about actions by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the Crimea. “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” she said.
The next day, Clinton gave the inflammatory story more oxygen when speaking at UCLA. She “largely stood by the remarks,” the Washington Post reported. Clinton “said she was merely noting parallels between Putin’s claim that he was protecting Russian-speaking minorities in Crimea and Hitler’s moves into Poland, Czechoslovakia and other parts of Europe to protect German minorities.”
Clinton denied that she was comparing Putin with Hitler even while she persisted in comparing Putin with Hitler. “I just want people to have a little historic perspective,” she said. “I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.” Yes indeed. Let’s learn from this tactic that has been used before — the tactic of comparing overseas adversaries to Hitler. Such comparisons by U.S. political leaders have a long history of fueling momentum for war.
‘Legendary actor, author and activist, George Takei, best known for playing Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, appears on Democracy Now! for an extended interview. In this excerpt, he talks about his role as World War II veteran Sam Kimura in “Allegiance: A New American Musical.” The musical tells the story of a Japanese-American family who is relocated from their farm after the attack on Pearl Harbor and placed in an internment camp in Wyoming. This parallels part of Takei’s own family history. At the age of five, his family was shipped to a Japanese-American internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas.’ (Democracy Now!)
All of contemporary bioethics springs from the Nuremberg Doctors Trial in 1947. Seven Nazi doctors and officials were hanged and nine received severe prison sentences for performing experiments on an estimated 25,000 prisoners in concentration camps without their consent. Only about 1,200 died but many were maimed and psychologically scarred.
So did the US do to the hundreds of Japanese medical personnel who experimented on Chinese civilians and prisoners of war of many nationalities, including Chinese, Koreans, Russians, Australians, and Americans? They killed an estimated 3,000 people in the infamous Unit 731 in Harbin, in northeastern China before and during World War II – plus tens of thousands of civilians when they field-tested germ warfare. Many of the doctors were academics from Japan’s leading medical schools.
Well, almost nothing. Twelve doctors were tried and found guilty by the Soviets in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949, but they were all repatriated in 1956. American authorities dismissed the trials as Soviet propaganda. Many of the doctors in Unit 731 went on to successful careers in Japan after the War. The commander of the unit, Shirō Ishii, lived in relative obscurity but his successor late in the war, Kitano Masaji, became head of one of Japan’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
How did the Japanese doctors escape justice?
A fascinating answer appears in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. The broad outline of the story has been well documented, even if it is not widely known. To cut a long story short, the Americans struck a deal with the doctors. They traded immunity from prosecution for access to scientific information from the ghastly Japanese experiments – many of which are too grim to detail here. (If you have the stomach for it, a remorseful doctor describes, at the age of 90, some of his vivisection experiments in an article in the Japan Times.)
Abby Martin highlights the top five companies that aided Nazi Germany during the height of WWII, calling out companies such as Hugo Boss, IBM and Ford. (Breaking the Set)
Japanese-Americans are holding a Day of Remembrance this week for community elders who were unlawfully locked in internment camps during World War II. But for many people — including U.S. judicial authorities — the specter of the camps is hardly a thing of the past. “You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told University of Hawaii law students earlier this month. “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”
For many former detainees who will tell their stories during remembrance events Wednesday [Feb 19th], Scalia’s words are a sobering reminder that national security at times trumps constitutional rights. They think of the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of private communications or the indefinite detentions of alleged terrorism suspects — mostly Arab and Muslim men — under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The Day of Remembrance marks not only the day in 1942 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order allowing the internment of 120,000 people of Japanese origin after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor; it also serves as “a reminder to our communities — our civil rights are still not protected,” said Karen Korematsu, whose father, Fred Korematsu, famously challenged his detention in the landmark Supreme Court case Korematsu v. United States in 1944.
Karen Korematsu cited the NDAA’s indefinite detentions as one attack on civil rights now faced primarily by American Muslims. Among the other issues they say they face are the mass infiltration of mosque communities by law enforcement and harassment by Transportation Security Administration staff at U.S. borders. “Even (Scalia) said this could happen again. That’s why education (on Japanese-American internment and civil rights) is so important,” Korematsu said.
One hundred feet beneath the bustling city of London, in air raid shelters used during World War II, a company is growing leafy greens. Welcome to Growing Underground. Using a hydroponics system — a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water — and LED lighting, the company grows nine kinds of veggie and three herbs year long in the 2.5 acres underneath the London Underground’s Northern line.
As a part of the larger company Zero Carbon Food, cofounded by Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, Growing Underground prides itself on being a carbon neutral operation. The underground farm estimates that its hydroponics system uses 70 percent less water than the traditional open-field farming. Besides providing eco-friendly food, Growing Underground’s system seeks to reduce “food miles” — or the distance it takes for produce to reach your plate. Because the company grows in, around and under London for London residents, the time between harvest and sale could be as little as four hours.
At the end of World War II, the world understood the viciousness of Japanese militarism. Japan had left a bloody trail from Korea to China to Southeast Asia and well beyond. Under the guidance of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, postwar occupation authorities drafted a constitution for Japan, which includedArticle 9 renouncing warfare and offensive military capabilities.
Tribunals across Asia led to thousands of war criminals being jailed and as many as 900 executed. But U.S. authorities pardoned some war prisoners, believing they would be useful to fight against communism. Among those pardoned was Nobusuke Kishi, who became prime minister. A defense pact Kishi struck with the U.S. was so unpopular, he was driven from office.
Today, Kishi’s grandson, Shinzo Abe, is prime minister and is doing to Japan what Attorney General John Mitchell predicted Richard Nixon would do to the U.S. — drive the country “so far to the right you’re not even going to recognize it.”
It’s almost never discussed in the political mainstream. But thousands of foreign troops have now been stationed in Britain for more than 70 years. There’s been nothing like it since the Norman invasion. With the 15-month Dutch occupation of London in 1688-9 a distant competitor, there has been no precedent since 1066 for the presence of American forces in a string of military bases for the better part of a century. They arrived in 1942 to fight Nazi Germany. But they didn’t head home in 1945; instead, they stayed on for the 40-odd years of the cold war, supposedly to repel invasion from the Soviet Union. Nor did they leave when the cold war ended and the Soviet Union collapsed, but were invited to remain as the pivot of the anti-Soviet Nato alliance.
A generation later, there are still nearly 10,000 US military personnel stationed in Britain, based in dozens of secretive facilities. Most of them are in half a dozen major military bases – misleadingly named RAF this or that, but effectively under full American control: Lakenheath, Croughton, Mildenhall and Molesworth among others – along with the National Security Agency and missile defence bases such as Menwith Hill in Yorkshire. British troops are now finally being pulled out of Germany. There is not the slightest suggestion, however, that US forces will be withdrawn from Britain in the forseeable future. But what are they doing here? Who are they supposed to be defending us from?
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation’s highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn’t be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict. Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.
“Well, of course, Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session. Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning “In times of war, the laws fall silent.” “That’s what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification but it is the reality,” he said.
During World War Two, conscientious objectors in the US and the UK were asked to volunteer for medical research. In one project in the US, young men were starved for six months to help experts decide how to treat victims of mass starvation in Europe.
In 1944, 26-year-old Marshall Sutton was a young idealist who wanted to change the world for the better. As a conscientious objector and Quaker, he refused to fight in the war but he still craved the chance to help his country.
“I wanted to identify with the suffering in the world at that time,” he says. “I wanted to do something for society. I wanted to put myself in a little danger.”
That danger came, unexpectedly, in the shape of a small brochure with a picture of children on the front.
“Will you starve that they be better fed?” it asked. It was a call for volunteers to act as human guinea pigs in a medical experiment at the University of Minnesota.