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November 21, 2003 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-21

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to memory care 24 hours a day, every day.

Please call


A Lost Letter From 1945


letter to
the editor
that might
have been
published in June,

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enemy like that? These suicide pilots
prove that the Japanese have a dif-
ferent value system than we do and
can never be converted into a demo-
cratic society.
"As for me and many other
Americans, enough is enough. We
are fighting a racist war against a
culture that despises us and will
never surrender. Sue for peace,
declare victory, bring the boys back
home and let's move on."
(signed) A reader, Detroit, Mich.

"Dear Sir:
is obvious by
now that the war
with Japan cannot be
Reality Check
won. Even the
lunkhead in the
White House, Harry Truman, .
should be able to see that.
I made up this entire letter, of
"Our terrible losses from suicide
course, but there were probably a
bombers and fanatical ground troops good many Americans who felt
during the recent battle of Okinawa
exactly this way as the summer of
1945 began.
prove that any invasion of the
Japanese home islands would be a
There have been many compar-
huge mistake.
isons made between the kamikazes
"In fact, it is begin-
of World War II and
ning to look as if this
what they represented,
whole war was a mis-
and the suicide
take. Thousands of our
bombers of today in
boys are dead and what
Iraq and Israel.
do we have to show for
But the most impor-
it? Many of the top
tant part of the equa-
Nazi leaders have not
tion is usually omit-
been captured and
ted. The kamikazes
probably never will be.
failed. The men who
We don't even know for
sent them did not suc-
sure that Hitler is dead.
ceed in their aim of
"The Germans hate
destroying morale on
us and other Europeans
the American home
look on us as an occu-
While they
pying force, not libera-
inflicted damage on
tors. Many of them
U.S. naval vessels it
undoubtedly will choose to join
was not enough to change the out-
with the Soviet Union in opposing
come of the battle or the war.
everything we stand for.
Instead, according to military his-
"Our losses have been terrible in
torian Victor David Hanson, in his
new book Ripples of Battle: How
the Pacific war, too. If we had
declared a truce after Pearl Harbor
Wars of the Past Still Determine How
and just negotiated an equitable set-
We Fight, How We Live and How We
Think, the horrific experience with
tlement, all of this could have been
kamikazes at Okinawa led inex-
"After all, there had been warnings orably to the decision to use atomic
that such an attack was coming. Our weapons two months later at
foreign policy in regard to Indo-
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By using
China and the Dutch East Indies
this strategy, Japan ended up visiting
made it inevitable that the Japanese
an even worse calamity upon itself.
would hate us. I hate to say it but
But the invasion of the Japanese
maybe we deserved a Pearl Harbor.
home islands would have gone forth,
"But the kamikaze attacks at
atomic bombs or not. Because in
Okinawa should have convinced
1945, Americans had a better under-
everyone. The Japanese are willing
standing of what was at stake and
what risks were worth running.
to give up their own lives to defeat
us. How can we prevail over an
There is a price to be paid, howev-
er, for teaching history badly. If you
George Cantor, a West Bloomfield
doubt that, just read the letters to
resident, is a native Detroiter and
editor that run in the papers
longtime Detroit journalist. His e-mail
address is gcantor@thejewishnews.corn

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