They love the U.S. now

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Dunlap had strong opinions about Japan and the American occupation:

Japs always talked, once they were resigned to capture, for in their army, no man was ever supposed to be captured or surrender, hence no instructions regarding security of information could be issued. Our Counter-Intelligence Corps men, the Japanese-Americans, could find out everything the Nips knew — even to persuading them to draw maps for us! Incidentally, those men did a job, and no white American soldier ever said anything against them, or against the magnificent 100th Infantry, who made such a great record against the Germans in Italy, all members of that unit being of Japanese ancestry.


They love the U.S. now. Sure, they are a hypocritical batch of little monkeys and can bow without straining their honor, but I do not believe they are being so insincere. After all, we went into Tokyo wide open for anything, and met not even mental resistance. The Emperor was head man and his wish was law but even his personal instructions could not have restrained every single individual Japanese who had suffered at our hands had they been disposed to start trouble. Hundreds of thousands of the people of Tokyo had died under our fire bombs — probably the majority of those still alive had lost relatives and friends. In spite of this, they seemed to wash out their feelings and start clean. They wanted our sympathy for damage done to them by ourselves, but leaned over backward assuring us that they did not really blame us and held no hard feelings about it! They could not lick us so they want to join us, and want very much to have the U.S. on their side, in any role we want to play.

I think General MacArthur has been a wonderful administrator for Japan and that he has left little to be desired as a governor. His very name symbolizes American power and determination to the Japs and his aloof, impersonal decisions are just the thing for the Japanese mind to accept. So far as Japan is concerned, he is Mr. United States, in person.

Compared with the German government by the Allied commissions, our Japanese set-up has been 99.44% perfect. Of course, the Nips are easier to deal with — their basic government was not changed — they do as they are told, etc. Ito would like to be honorary American, please.


  1. Grasspunk says:

    Man, I went to buy a copy of this, and it was like €100. All the Isegoriate have bought them out.

  2. Bruce says:

    MacArthur was great in Japan, but “compared with the German government by allied commissions” might not be a high bar. There were a lot of scandals about the US colonels who ran our share alone. Better than Iraq obviously.

    Grasspunk, just get Kindle. It’s not just Isegoria; lots of people who read gun magazines notice Dunlap’s name coming up over and over.

  3. Lu An Li says:

    The occupations of Japan and Germany are models of how an occupation must be done, to prevent the children of your former adversary from waging war against you in a generation.

  4. Kirk says:

    Lu An Li,

    I’m going to disagree with you, and suggest that the total destruction and unconditional surrender demanded of both Germany and Japan did more than the occupation to prevent either nation from waging war within a generation or two of the war.

    You want to put an end to something like what Imperial Germany was up to, circa 1914, then you need to do what WWII did to Germany, not what WWI did. At the end of WWI, Germans could still look around and talk themselves into believing that they’d been stabbed in the back, and all that crap. End of WWII? Yeah… All they had to do was go outside, look around, and decide for themselves whether going to war had been a good idea. The piles of rubble, and all the dead spoke for themselves, and what they were saying was “Figure out another way to make a living, bub… War ain’t it.”.

  5. TRX says:

    “just get Kindle”

    Even if it was free, it costs too much.

    It’s a portable spy device that not only keeps track of what you read, but reports on when and where you turned each page.

  6. Paul from Canada says:

    “Germans could still look around and talk themselves into believing that they’d been stabbed in the back, and all that crap. End of WWII? Yeah… All they had to do was go outside, look around, and decide for themselves whether going to war had been a good idea…”

    Interestingly, if you look at the Operations Research and “Lessons Learned” stuff coming out of the early post WWI German Army under Von Seekt, the Army at least, was well aware that they had been beaten, had lost.

    The greatest hypocrite was Hindenburg. It was the Army, him and Ludendorf, that demanded armistice talks be opened and that the Kaiser abdicate, NOT the civilian legislature (which was mostly a rubber stamp anyway, other than some minor power of the purse).

  7. Graham says:

    I always thought Ludendorff the worst hypocrite. It was his personal failure of nerve bordering on what sounds like a panic attack that triggered the German government to panic, and his insistence that caused the opening request for armistice, and the leakage of that [which could hardly be avoided from the allies — leaking it was a primo strategic move that probably gained more than any other single decision] that set collapse in motion. He should never have spoken a word again in public and left others to defend the army.

    On the other hand, the army did manage to stabilize the western front again in such a way that the 1919 campaign would have hurt the allies hard. Yes, the ever-increasing American presence, to the point they would have dominated 1919, would probably mean a German defeat far more serious than in 1918. But the Germans were in a far better position than they were in later on in 1944–45, so I can only think that the 1919 campaign could have looked far worse than the battle for Germany in the second war.

    With that in mind, and considering that for a time few soldiers would have known Ludendorff’s nerves had set events in motion, I can’t blame soldiers for looking at the German home front — strikes, beginnings of revolution — and the particular conduct of their comrades, the sailors of the navy, and thinking the interior had let down the front.

    If I’d been in their navy, I wouldn’t have wanted to sail out in 1918 either. But I can’t imagine that would cut much ice with the soldiers in the west who hadn’t been sitting around in German ports most of the 4 years. Not all, but most of them most of the time.

  8. Paul from Canada says:

    The thing with the Navy was that they never could have beaten the British. Something the British had tried repeatedly to explain to them before the war. Britain as an island and colonial power needed a superior navy as a necessity. No matter how much the Germans spent, the British would have to counter it, to the benefit of nobody.

    The navy mutinies at the end of the war are quite understandable. Given the horrific loss of life at Jutland, and the simple numerical disadvantage of the German High Seas Fleet, the only strategy that made sense was the “Fleet in Being”, which is why the Germans kept their fleet in harbour, notwithstanding the corrosive effects of this on morale and fighting efficiency.

    The plan of the naval high command for a last glorious death-or-glory, but mostly death “death ride”, was purely a cultural artifact of the Prussian military officer class, and would have had no actual effect on the outcome of the war. That the sailors had no desire to facilitate what was essentially Sepuku for the officer class, but that would also kill them, totally unnecessarily is totally understandable.

  9. Graham says:


    I haven’t had time to read it yet but this paper, which I just found googling the class origins of the German naval officer class without otherwise general and immediate success, might prove of mutual interest.

    It’s a downloadable pdf.

    I was curious because I hadn’t assumed much about how much overlap there was between the naval officer class and the army officer class. My German military and general history is a couple of decades ago now so anything that came up is partially recalled.

    In the UK, at least up to WW1, the army officer class had the more aristocratic character, even although less so after the end of purchase. The navy seems largely to have been more heavily dominated by the relatively distressed descendants of gentry [sons of clergy disproportionate], seafaring dynasties, sons or nephews of naval officers or merchant families, and so on. Not that a service so important lacked for aristocratic and royal ties, just that it maintained a reputation for being much less so that was largely substantiated.

    With the Germans, the imperial navy was directly an imperial department, not an augmented Prussian and allied service the way the army always was. And the naval traditions it had to draw on were those of the German northern cities, supplemented by the class and regional interests that favoured trade and colonial power. I would tentatively expect it to be less aristocratic and less Prussian as well, and well before the army started to broader its officer pool.

    An initial look at bios seems to tentatively suggest that this was true at least to a degree. Tirpitz the son of a provincial lawyer and the daughter of a doctor. He was personally elevated to Prussian nobility much later. Hipper was son of a Bavarian {!} shopkeeper. Behncke a Lubeck man. Class unknown but that implies mercantile patrician or lower is likely. Eduard Capelle the son of a Hanoverian industrialist. Adolf von Trotha may have been a real nobleman but he was Rhenish Prussian, not real Prussian. Michaelis the son of an engineer. Von Ingenohl the son of a “tradesman” [unknown to me]. Scheer was middle class Lower Saxon. Souchon was a Huguenot descendant, though his nobility or not status is unknown to me and they did have representatives in the Prussian nobility. Not entirely the same as the junker caste though.

    Henning von Holtzendorff was from a noble family. Von Pohl was Silesian, Prussian long enough, and maybe a real nobleman. The vons can be deceptive, more than they are often remembered to be.

    That’s not an exhaustive survey of course. Even wikipedia has more bio pages on imperial German admirals.

    Another caveat is that, as the article on Scheer notes, the navy was dominated by wealthy families and that hindered his career at first.

    Still, it seems to be much less dominated by the landed and Prussian aristocracy than the army was at that time, and to have attracted and promoted non-Prussian nobles, wealthy bourgeois, Hanseatic patricians, and middle and working class men much more commonly even at the height of the peacetime empire.

    Of course, the army also found just before and during the war that it needed to induct new men to the officer corps, but the navy seemed out in front among younger men. Raeder was the son of a teacher and entered the navy in 1894, Doenitz the son of an engineer and entered in 1910.

    All of which is mainly a sideline. The social history of the Kaiserreich is replete with examples of every other class and region aping Prussian noble and bureaucratic values to one extent or another, with the small-town middle class reserve officer both a considered threat to peace and liberty among some of the historiography, and a figure of parody in period comedy. So the influence was there, and the navy officer corps did have a warrior cult of its own going on.

    So all that said by way of introduction, I otherwise agree. All your points about the strategic challenges of the navy, its breakdown through the war, and the social problems it faced in 1918, are well attested.

    That’s why I said I wouldn’t have wanted to sail either. We have to be careful always in projecting our modern selves into past situations. I try to do it with many caveats. There’s what I would do if otherwise the same as I am now, and what I would do depending on who I was then and who my family and friends were. I could have been Government or Jacobite or neither in the 45. I don’t know which side any of my kin were on, if either. Put me in the right place in Germany in 1918 I could be Freikorps or Spartacist or anything in between. Our current values, interests and identities don’t necessarily transcend time. Though I enjoy assuming they will.

    So I’m not unsympathetic to those sailors, or workers and their families starving under the blockade. If I was a returning private from the trenches I might also side with them because I’d be sick of the war. But I doubt I’d have much sympathy for any hard luck stories from those sailors, either. That’s mostly what I was earlier getting at.

    On a tangent, you raised the whole strategic problem of the German navy. I did War Studies at King’s College London in the mid 90s. At that time, and possibly still, their naval historian was Andrew Lambert. Quite an engaging lecturer. On more than one occasion he would compare the German naval problem to the earlier French one, with the question, “what do you DO with the world’s second largest navy?”

    Well, now I’d say it would depend on geography and geopolitics, but both France and Germany were in direct proximity to Britain which must be their opponent, so those issues were already set. The French went for guerre du course, the avant garde theory that probably was never going to be decisive and has been widely criticized. And yet it foreshadowed the power of commercial interdiction strategy that the U boats later attempted. So perhaps that was the wisest course.

    Or you could go for the idea of decisive battle, assuming you had interests such that you could concentrate superior force over the larger rival’s diffuse ones. Plus the Germans invented risk theory, the famous notion that the British needed their navy more and so wouldn’t risk it, which is the cop out way of adopting a decisive battle theory without committing to attempt a decisive battle.

    The British so outbuilt the Germans and were willing to ally with Japan, France and Russia and so concentrate all their serious combat power in home waters, so they still had local superiority. And the Germans proved less willing to risk their ships than the British, after all.

    It all made perfect, mechanical sense, even to the logic of the Germans knowing their ships were less replaceable, slower to build in peace and even harder in war than the British pace. And yet they had an enormous asset whose use could have brought Britain near to collapse if they won, and whose loss would not have had the same effect on Germany, and they still wouldn’t use it.

    Probably should still have just build 500 U-boats by 1914 and given up on dreadnoughts.

  10. Kirk says:

    The ideal German strategy would have been to eschew the navy, ally with the English, and concentrate on being the continental land power par excellance.

    Attempting to supplant the British was a fool’s game that led to the downfall of both Empires, and had Willy had the wit and wisdom of Bismark, Germany and England would both still be world powers. Instead, he had to play at the game of “navy”, and destroyed both.

    You can lay a lot of the destruction of the old order at the feet of one man–Wilhelm, Kaiser of Germany. His ineptitude fed into the tension that directly turned a diplomatic issue into the destruction of a generation, and possibly even the eventual death of the civilization that made Europe what it was. Instead of naval ambitions, it would have been better had he done what the King of Bavaria did, and built a bunch of fairy-tale castles…

  11. Graham says:

    A poor supreme war lord, indeed. There are varying accounts as to whether he made the diplomatic situation worse in 1914 or tried to pull out of it in the last days. If the latter was true, then he is at once a villain, a comic figure, and a tragic one.

    And not just because of his obsession with the British- he also cost Germany Bismarck’s one true diplomatic linchpin- good relations with Russia.

    The ultimate problem of Germany- it really was encircled in a sense. Either deciding to supplant England or marginalize Russia was not likely in the cards militarily, demographically or economically, and either strategy was probably a foolish one by itself. Lunacy, attempted together and with the US added. Twice.

    Bismarck’s system wouldn’t have lasted much longer, though. he had plates really spinning at full speed. GErmany rapidly became the industrial and technological leader, and in those areas and in population it far outstripped France, but Russia was developing rapidly and on the whole the structure of competing interests that kept Russia on good terms with Germany and Austria, the basis of keeping France marginalized, was probably never going to hold.

    That had been Bismarck’s genius- he had the set of circumstances in which he could make GErmany united and dominant from the Vistula to the channel, without challenging or even threatening Britain, and to keep an alliance with Russia and Austria at the same time and keep them from clashing, and he kept those conditions alive for a generation.

    Of course, his defeat of Austria and exclusion of the Habsburgs from the German regional system in 1866 not only made them eventually dependent on the new Germany, but ever more inclined to push southwards into the Balkans at the expense of the Ottomans and the South Slavs. The eventual breach between Austria and Russia had been foreshadowed before Austria’s loss to Prussia in 1866 [Russia had propped up the Habsburgs in 1848, and was then peeved that Austria refused to guarantee its neutrality in the Crimean War, although it did stay neutral it created a problem for the Russians by not committing to it at a crucial moment] it was guaranteed by Austria having no other direction to go but south. In that sense, even Bismarck’s strategy had its built in self-destruct button from its very beginnings.

    Though I doubt anyone could have seen that in the 1860s. It’s amazing how much changed in that couple of generations.

  12. Paul from Canada says:

    Thanks Graham, I will check that out.

    “..The social history of the Kaiserreich is replete with examples of every other class and region aping Prussian noble and bureaucratic values to one extent or another, with the small-town middle class reserve officer both a considered threat to peace and liberty among some of the historiography, and a figure of parody in period comedy. So the influence was there, and the navy officer corps did have a warrior cult of its own going on….”

    I think this is true elsewhere as well. I recall getting etiquette lessons during by basic officer training, based on a VERY outdated British manual which included such gems as not carrying a parcel or anything other than an umbrella in public.

    The concept of the “officer and gentleman”, that even a middle class son of “kaufleute”, became a sort of aristocrat by osmosis, whether official policy or not, infected the officer classes of all the combatants. Junior officers tend to ape the attitudes and culture of their seniors, so if you have a few genuine aristocrats in a mess, the middle class officers will ape at least some of the mannerism and attitudes.

    In John Biggin’s excellent books about a WWI Austrian naval officer, he mentions that officers of the time were still expected to be ready to duel, and the protagonist is the son of a Czech municipal official.

    (As an aside, if you haven’t read them, I highly recommend the series, especially since it segues nicely into this topic, being about a WWI naval officer. They are a sort of Anti-Flashman Papers, in that the hero is actually something of a real hero, unlike Flashy. The books are structured in a similar way, an old man near the end of his life tells his story. A character that manages to be involved in almost all of the seminal events of the period, and participate plausibly in aviation and as a u-boat captain.)

    “…Probably should still have just build 500 U-boats by 1914 and given up on dreadnoughts.”

    The really bizarre thing about the Germans is that they went about making exactly the same mistakes the second time as well.

    If they had held their nerve the first time they tried unrestricted U-Boat warfare, they could possibly have won, yet between the wars, once they started building again, they built Bismarck, Sharnhorst, Gneissenau and so on.

    The ships were technically marvelous and deadly, and the British rightly feared them, which is why they were ruthlessly hunted down by shear weight of numbers, and either sunk, or bottled up, just as in WWI.

    Churchill famously said that the only thing that really scarred him in the beginning of WWII were the U-Boats. How many type XXI U-Boats could you have built and manned for the cost, steel, time and personnel of one pocket battleship like Bismarck?

    I think that goes back to Kirk’s points about the German Army being technically and tactically excellent, better than everyone else, but blind to strategic reality. Seems to apply to their military in general.

    They were also cursed with autocratic, vain, and possibly insane, leadership, the Kaiser the first time, and Hitler the second.

  13. Kirk says:

    In the end, Graham, you get the leadership you deserve. The German people loved what Wilhelm and Hitler were selling, and never seemed to consider the ramifications and implications of their programs past the heady initial promises.

    I made acquaintance with a German woman who was a teenager at the beginning of Hitler’s rise, and who lived through the entire period in Germany. Her comment about the whole thing was that there were no “innocent Germans”, and that they’d all known exactly what the hell was going on. Some of them didn’t like it, but what the hell are you going to do when you’re the one sane man in the room…?

    She’d felt a lot of guilt about it all, when she realized after the war just where all the nice butter and Danish hams had come from, and how the Dutch and others had starved so that the Germans could live it up during the war. Even during the war, she’d had her suspicions about where all that largesse was coming from, that her brothers-in-law were shipping back home…

  14. Graham says:

    Well, if that was the worst thing they had been doing it would have been par for the course.

    Anecdote- When I was studying in London all those years ago I knew an interesting guy who was studying Chinese and Chinese studies as SOAS [School of Oriental and African Studies; I think it has a slightly more PC name now, despite being an academic legend under its old name]. He was Hong Kong Chinese [sub-Chinese ethnicity unknown to me] on his father’s side and German on his mother’s. He had a wicked, dark sense of humour about both of his heritages.

    By way of example, he introduced me to Australian journalist Sterling Seagrave’s book, Lords of the Rim, about the history of Chinese migration and overseas Chinese cultures. It was a bit of a potboiler, but well written and informative. It was focused on the modern era, but by way of emphasizing the deep roots and usually Southern cast of Chinese outmigration, he went back to the iron age flows. At one point, discussing Chinese colonization of the South, the effect on local peoples before and during Sinicization, and the rise of a colonial, Southern Han people and ways of life. Intriguing ideas then new to me. At any rate he discussed some early emperor, perhaps even the infamous first one, deciding it would be wasteful to massacre all his enemies when they could be worked to death on national projects.

    Now, you probably had to be there and have our respective personalities, and I can’t quote from memory Seagrave’s exact, droll way of writing this, but at the time we both thought this the funniest piece of writing imaginable.

    So with that in mind-

    A couple of year’s later I attended his wedding in Hamburg, a place I had not been before nor since. I arrived a two weeks early and had plenty of tourist time. So my friend is showing me around Hamburg’s lovely centre and we walk along the Alster. This is the river flowing through downtown shopping areas into the Elbe at Hamburg’s vast docks. At that point it is so heavily bridged it appears as two small lakes. Lovely. He points to an older apartment building and mentions his late German grandmother had lived there in the war as a young woman. A bomb had landed in the roof and not exploded, and was subsequently tossed in the Alster to explode by UXO teams.

    So far so good. As my friend told this story, he also related how his grandmother would tell it to him many times. According to him, his grandmother would dreamily comment that “Goebbels asked us, ‘Do you want the Total War?!?’ We said yes….It was nice…”

    I cannot in this medium reproduce the dry tone my friend used, presumably imitating the tone his old granny had used.

    I think I would have liked the old lady.

  15. Graham says:

    I should add that my school was just down the Strand from St Clement Danes, a Christopher Wren church damaged in the war and then in the 50s restored and used as the mother church of the Royal Air Force. It retained visible damage to its exterior.

    It already had a statue of Sir Hugh Dowding outside, and at that time there was much controversy about adding one of Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris. It was interesting to see the sides. The Germans, perhaps figuring that their modern “ewwww, militarism!” values would be a good reason to object to such a statue and allow them to self-present as victims as well, officially and among their public objected to this statue. Perhaps it also allowed them to indulge their older sense of being hard done-by with a modern gloss. The British, similarly divided, split into similar “ewww militarism!” and “screw Germany” camps.

    I largely fell into the latter. My country also flew bomber squadrons and I had had a great-uncle in a British one.

    At any rate, amidst all this I knew one German student who was doing a PhD in Holocaust studies and having a nervous breakdown. I mean that. Sometimes I wonder what became of him. He was both riddled with guilt and felt the bombing was some sort of justice, and yet horrified that Harris would be commemorated. And then there was my friend, entirely blase and in favour of Harris being remembered on more or less the grounds that why would a major commander not get a statue outside his service’s church, and it was not as if aerial bombing was an unusual thing at the time.

    I conclude, at the distance of 24 years, that the Germans need massive admixture of Chinese DNA if they are to have the psychological robustness to face the next century. How fortunate that they might yet get that.

  16. Paul from Canada says:

    Bomber Harris is a fascinating character. I well remember the video of him expressing his philosophy.

    “There are a lot of people who say that bombing cannot win the war. My reply to that is that it has never been tried. . . and we shall see.”

    The other anecdote I recall (probably apocryphal)is that he was pulled over and lectured because his staff car was speeding during the blackout.

    The policeman remonstrated with him to the effect that an innocent civilian might have been struck and killed, to which his reply was something to the effect that he ordered and supervised the killing of several thousand innocent civilians every day.

  17. Kirk says:

    Harris was one of the original hard cases. Imagine if he and Curtis LeMay were in the same Air Force, and put in charge of strategic bombing…!

  18. Paul from Canada says:

    I have some ambivalence towards the bombing. I am an alumnus of 426 Squadron. Currently the Transport Command’s training squadron, but back in the day a storied bomber squadron.

    I have had several heated arguments over the subject.

    I celebrate my for bearers, and honour their memory, and share their heritage with pride. I also believe that they were brave men doing a necessary thing, but I have lost friends expressing that, under the laws of war at the time, semantics about total war and de-housing munitions workers notwithstanding, area bombing was not actually legal.

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