The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries Tagged as 'The Second World War'

The balance and the point of it

September 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

“Every good quality has its bad side, and nothing good can come into the world without at once producing a corresponding evil. This painful fact renders illusory the feeling of elation that so often goes with consciousness of the present—the feeling that we are the culmination of the whole history of mankind, the fulfilment and […]

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Tags: Carl Gustav Jung · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Forever War · The Great War · The Second World War

The silence of the lambs

June 19th, 2017 · No Comments

“A number of gravestones lie fallen; the grass is rank. This is the burial-site of Russian infantry who died at the approaches to Weimar when the war was virtually over. No more, I reckon, than thirty or forty graves. A fair number are those of boy-soldiers, aged sixteen or seventeen, out of the Asian steppe, […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Second World War

Same as it ever is

January 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“Probably as good a date as any for the beginning of World War II is July 1937, when Chinese troops clashed with Japanese invaders near Beijing, close to the Chinese-Manchurian border. If nothing else, it surely ended any hope of the rise of a modern, semi-democratic China under Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist or Guomindang Party, the […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Economics · Politics & Law · The Korean War · The Second World War

The incineration of the vanities

December 26th, 2016 · No Comments

“In the wake of Japan’s surrender, Hirohito’s soldiers, sailors and airmen were shocked to find themselves objects of obloquy among their own people. Public animosity embraced the humblest as well as the loftiest warriors. After years of suffering, all the pent-up frustration and misery of the Japanese people was made manifest in the wake of […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

A new white man’s burden

December 24th, 2016 · No Comments

“Nowhere was relief at the dropping of the bomb more intense and heartfelt than in prison camps throughout the Japanese empire. Yet even among those for whom Hiroshima promised deliverance, a few displayed more complex emotions. Lt. Stephen Abbott’s closest friend, Paul, a devout Christian, entered their bleak barrack room in Japan and said: ‘Stephen—a […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

We can all have one of these

December 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

“ ‘Little Boy,’ ‘an elongated trash can with fins’ . . . exploded 1,900 feet above Hiroshima’s Shima Hospital, 550 feet from its aiming point. . . . The 8,900-pound device created temperatures at ground level which reached 5,400 degrees and generated the explosive power of 12,500 tons of TNT. All but 6,000 of the […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War · Verandah

You have to have people killed

December 22nd, 2016 · No Comments

“Many people of later generations and all nationalities have viewed the dropping of atomic weapons on Japan as events which, in their unique horror, towered over the war as a dark mountain bestrides the plain. In one sense this perception is correct, because the initiation of the nuclear age provided mankind with unprecedented power to […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War

The motivator

December 21st, 2016 · No Comments

“On 24 April [1945] Truman received from [Secretary of War] Stimson a letter requesting a meeting to discuss ‘a highly secret matter.’ . . . The Manhattan Project represented the most stupendous scientific effort in history. In three years, at a cost of $2 billion [$26-and-a-third billion in 2015 dollars], the U.S.—with some perfunctorily acknowledged […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Divorced from reality, married to perdition

December 20th, 2016 · No Comments

“From the winter of 1944 onwards, a significant party in Tokyo was seeking a route by which to end the war, and to overcome the army’s resolve to fight to the last. Even the most dovish, however, wanted terms that were not remotely negotiable, including the preservation of Japanese hegemony in Korea and Manchuria, freedom […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Once was enough

December 19th, 2016 · No Comments

“Some historians, armed with knowledge of subsequent events, argue that the capture of Okinawa was unnecessary. It did not bring Japan’s surrender a day closer. Yet to those directing the operation at the time, it was perceived as an indispensable preliminary to invasion of the Japanese home islands. [The Battle of] Okinawa exercised an important […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Cool Hand Luke draws the ace

December 18th, 2016 · No Comments

“At 1005 on 11 May [1945], the first of two Zeroes plowed into the flight deck of [Admiral Marc] Mitscher’s flagship, Bunker Hill, starting devastating fires which raged through the ship. . . . In a succession of skillful manoeuvres, Captain George Seitz saved Bunker Hill from absolute destruction by swinging her broadside to the […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

You don’t miss what you never had

December 17th, 2016 · No Comments

“What enabled some men to survive the unspeakable experiences of captivity, while others perished? [Captain] Mel Rosen attributed 5 percent to self-discipline, 5 percent to optimism—‘If you didn’t think you were going to make it, you didn’t’—and 90 percent to ‘pure luck.’ Milton Young, a carpenter’s son from Rhode Island who spent an orphan childhood […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Not all bad

December 16th, 2016 · No Comments

“An enormous amount has been written about Japanese cruelty to prisoners. It should be noticed, nonetheless, that conditions varied widely in different camps. For instance, 2,000 British POWs in Saigon lived not intolerably until late 1944, sometimes even able to slip under the wire to visit local shops and brothels. It seems important also to […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Very dry martinis, with a twist

December 14th, 2016 · No Comments

“Western civilians who fell into the hands of the Japanese in China, the Philippines and South-East Asia were technically interned rather than imprisoned, often crowded into clusters of former colonial homes. In a few places, notably Shanghai, such communities came through the war worn, strained and wretched, yet almost all alive. In Shanghai’s Chapei camp, […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

So that was Christmas

December 12th, 2016 · No Comments

“American prisoners in the Philippines suffered grievously from the fact that, after enduring the siege of Bataan, most were half-starved when they entered captivity. ‘The ones who wouldn’t eat died pretty early on,’ said Paul Reuter of the USAAF, a twenty-four-year-old miner’s son from Shamokin, Pennsylvania. ‘I buried people who looked much better than me. […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

The fall of the West

December 7th, 2016 · No Comments

“It is hard to overstate the trauma suffered by more than 100,000 American, British, Australian and Indian servicemen taken prisoner during the early Allied defeats. They had been conditioned by their culture to suppose that surrender was a misfortune which might befall any fighting man, especially those as poorly led as had been the Allies […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Fates worse than death

December 6th, 2016 · No Comments

“When the war ended, it became possible to compare the fates of Allied servicemen under the Nazis and the Japanese. Just 4 percent of British and American POWs had died in German hands. Yet 27 percent—35,756 out of 132,134—of Western Allied prisoners lost their lives in Japanese captivity. The Chinese suffered in similar measure. Of […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Slaughter in context

December 5th, 2016 · No Comments

“The U.S. in 1945 was a prisoner of great industrial decisions taken years earlier, in quite different strategic circumstances. In 1942, the commitment to build the B-29 long-range bomber was entirely rational. The programme reached technological maturity and large-scale production too late to make a decisive impact on the war. Yet it was asking far […]

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Tags: Economics · Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Kindling

December 4th, 2016 · No Comments

“The 9 March 1945 American bomber attack on Tokyo killed around 100,000 people, and rendered a million homeless. Over 10,000 acres of buildings were destroyed—16 square miles, a quarter of the city. A hundred of the capital’s 287 fire stations and a similar number of its 250 medical facilities were wiped out. Over the weeks […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

The end was never in doubt

December 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

“Popular perceptions of the Second World War identify the August 1945 atomic bomb attacks on Japan as a unique horror. Yet the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can only properly be understood against the background of the air campaign which preceded the nuclear explosions, killing substantially larger numbers of people before the grotesque nicknames of […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Silent service

December 2nd, 2016 · No Comments

“By early 1945, Japan’s ability to provide raw materials for its industries, and even to feed itself, was fatally crippled. The nation could import by sea no more than a fraction of its requirements. An invisible ring of steel extended around the waters of the home islands, created by the submarines of the U.S. Navy. […]

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Tags: Economics · Max Hastings · The Second World War

What’s in a name

November 26th, 2016 · No Comments

“Place-names which pass into history often identify locations so unrewarding that only war could have rendered them memorable: Dunkirk and Alamein, Corregidor and Imphal, Anzio and Bastogne. Yet even in such company, Iwo Jima was striking in its wretchedness. The tiny island lay 3,000 miles west of Pearl Harbor and less than seven hundred south […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

‘Tis a fierce affection

November 25th, 2016 · No Comments

“One post-war estimate suggests that for every six Malineros murdered by the Japanese defenders, another four died beneath the gunfire of their American liberators. Some historians would even reverse that ratio. ‘Those who had survived Japanese hate did not survive American love,’ wrote Carmen Guerrero.” – Max Hastings, Retribution

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

For the suppression of evil

November 24th, 2016 · No Comments

“In considering the later U.S. firebombing of Japan and decision to bomb Hiroshima, it is useful to recall that by the spring of 1945 the American nation knew what the Japanese had done in Manila. The killing of innocents clearly represented not the chance of war, nor unauthorised actions by wanton enemy soldiers, but an […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Liberation

November 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

“A pregnant woman, Carmen Guerrero, walked into the American lines, clutching a child in her arms. She had seen her husband tortured before her eyes, then removed to be shot. She neither eaten nor slept for a week. She wrote later, ‘I had seen the head of an aunt who had taught me to read […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

The things they did

November 14th, 2016 · No Comments

“Some civilians found themselves herded out of their homes by Japanese who asserted that shellfire made them unsafe. They were taken to an assembly area on Plaza Ferguson, where there were soon 2,000 under guard. Young girls were then separated and removed first to the Coffee Pot Café, then to the Bay View Hotel, where […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

This happened

November 13th, 2016 · No Comments

“The most repellant aspect of the Japanese defence of Manila was their systematic slaughter of the city’s civilians. The Japanese justified this policy by asserting that everyone found in the battle area was a guerrilla. Over a hundred men, women and children were herded into Paco Lumber Yard along Moriones and Juan Luna Avenue, where […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Not something that has changed much

November 12th, 2016 · No Comments

“At the November 1943 Cairo Conference, President Roosevelt insisted upon anointing China as one of the four great Allied powers, assisted by Stalin’s acquiescence and in the face of Churchill’s contempt. Yet Roosevelt’s crusade to make China a modern power languished in the face of poverty, corruption, cruelty, incompetence, ignorance on a scale beyond even […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Be careful what you wish for

November 11th, 2016 · No Comments

“Bandits come and go. Soldiers come and stay.” – Chinese peasants’ saying (quoted by Max Hastings in Retribution)

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Tags: Economics · Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War

As per the usual

November 10th, 2016 · No Comments

“After Pearl Harbor, Chiang [Kai-Shek]’s armies began to receive massive American support in kind and in cash, much of which the generalissimo and his supporters pocketed. Since there was no overland link between British-ruled India and Chiang’s territories between 1942 and early 1945, all supplies had to be flown five hundred miles ‘over the Hump’ […]

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Tags: Economics · Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War