Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
History is never the way we were taught it
I have been watching something called "The Untold History of the U.S." on Showtime. It's history as told by Oliver Stone and co-author Peter Kuznick (professor of History and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University), based on their book of the same name. The series is also directed and narrated by Mr. Stone.
Great quotes about history: The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice. [MARK TWAIN]
History can be well written only in a free country. [VOLTAIRE]
History is written by the winners. [ALEX HALEY]
I disagree vehemently with Oliver Stone's politics. And, it may come as no surprise, I disagree with his view of history. Especially as portrayed in this series. However, if you can overlook his bias and ignore his prejudices, it is a good series so far.
Let me explain one of the things I take issue with. Stone (and, I assume, Professor Kuznick) feel the atomic bombs dropped on Japan were unnecessary and (I get the feeling) possibly war crimes. The reason I was taught (and what was given at the time and throughout most of the 50's and 60's) we dropped those bombs on Hiroshima (8/6/1945) and Nagasasaki (8/9/1945) was to push Japan into surrendering without having to invade the island nation.
The revisionists paint it differently, they believe that Japan might have surrendered anyway before any invasion out of fear of the Soviets and that the U.S. could have ended the war earlier by agreeing to leave the emperor in place (which we eventually did anyway).
Why and how do I disagree with the revisionists? I think they ignore some facts. First, Japan was mobilizing the civilian population to defend the nation, as Hitler did to defend Berlin, or die in the attempt. We already knew the Japanese Army and Navy viewed surrender as dishonorable and unconscionable, preferring death to that dishonor. We had seen that happen on various islands as we fought our way toward the main island of Japan. It was not fantasy or propaganda. Second, I think the revisionists are ignoring the facts on the ground after the initial A-bomb was dropped.
To illustrate, let's imagine that Hitler's scientists had developed the atomic bomb before he was defeated. Would he have used it? I certainly think so. But where would he have used it and what would have been the Allies reaction to its use?
I think it is unlikely that he would have dropped it on London... for the same reason we did not drop ours on Tokyo. If you wipe out the government of a nation you are at war with, there is no one to do the surrendering. After all, you are not actually at war with the people of a nation, you are at war with its government. So you would likely destroy a less important city. Pick a random city in England with a population of a 100,000 or more and pretend Hitler dropped his A-bomb on it, wiping it off the map. And then he sends an ultimatum to the Allies threatening more A-bombs on more cities if we do not withdraw from Europe.
What do you think we would have done? Remember that we, in my scenario, did not yet have our own A-bomb.