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Truman Trump, and that reminds me, Maude Rumsfeld

[ by Charles Cameron — humming along as the world sings ]

It’s not as though I’m the one who noticed the Trump Truman correspondence — it’s laid out, with some other worthwhile quotes, in the New Yorker piece, Donald Trump’s Nuclear War Threat:

And it does have something of an apocalyptic ring to it, as does Truman’s remark, which he slipped in like a knife between Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


All of which reminds me of two invasions of Iraq, a century apart:

Nothing apocalyptic there — unless you think of Baghdad in the same breath as Babylon — which Saddam likely did.

One Response to “Truman Trump, and that reminds me, Maude Rumsfeld”

  1. Grurray Says:

    One of the big arguments against dropping the bomb was that it was unnecessary because Japan was about to surrender. Truman supposedly still wanted to go through with it in order to scare Stalin, or something like that. This ignores the fact the terms of unconditional surrender were proposed to appease Stalin and buy time for Churchill’s hope of an indirect strategy to avoid mass World War I type casualties.
    Unconditional surrender in the Far East theater meant different things than we’re typically led to believe today. It meant that the British didn’t have to abide by the Geneva Convention. Instead of sending Japanese troops home, they ended up pressing them into combat to regain colonial possessions in Indochina and the East Indies. There’s a good summary of it here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24425639?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
    The situation was particularly serious in Indonesia because the Japanese had been seen as liberators by the locals. As the war turned against Japan, they encouraged an independence movement to help muster local support against the allies. It worked too well when the Indonesian Nationalists declared independence right after Japan surrendered. Mountbatten, the British commander in SE Asia, was tasked with re-establishing control even while he had few troops at his disposal aside from a few Gurkhas and an Indian infantry brigade.
    Despite the fresh memories of their recent atrocities, Mountbatten had little choice but to use surrendered Japanese soldiers. The Japanese for their part diligently followed the terms presented to them. They fought the insurgents mercilessly. Thousands of rebels and civilians were killed in the fall and winter of 1945 by Japanese troops.
    Churchill had also devised a scheme in 1945 to use surrendered German soldiers in Europe as part of Operation Unthinkable, his plan to stop the Soviets if they advanced too far west. I’m not aware of any documented post-war plans by Stalin for Axis POW’s, except for executing those too weak to march or forced labor for those strong enough to work in the Gulag.

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