Posts Tagged ‘Japan’
I greatly enjoyed James Bradley’s first book, Flag of our Fathers, as he traced the story behind the famous (or infamous) picture from Iwo Jima that his own father, James Bradley, had helped raised. Bradley did a great job of showing how the flag raising was not a big event to the Marines fighting on Iwo Jima, that his own father didn’t comment on the subject but a few times following WWII, and that the flag raisers had a hard time being called “heroes” by the American public. The story was later turned into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood under the same title.
This book, Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, tells the story of six American flyboys captured during WWII by Japanese soldiers in a remote island called Chichi Jima. Along the way Bradley tells the story of many other flyboys including future American President, George H.W. Bush, who was shot down in the harbor of Chichi Jima. Bradley tells the story of the flyboys because it was the flyboys who won the war over Japan. Following the Battle of Midway, the Americans turned their sights on the Japanese homeland. American bombers rained down fire from the heavens over cities such as Tokyo. It was the flyboys who delivered the first atomic bombs over Japan and helped seal the deal for the Japanese to accept their unconditional surrender. However, along the way the United States lost thousands of planes and thousands of men over the Pacific. While Chichi Jima is but a speck on the world map, during WWII, it was a pivotal place for American planes to bomb.
Bradley does a good job in presenting the stories of the six flyboys. He does as he did in Flag of our Fathers and tells some of their back stories. He also tells what happens to many of the flyboys following the War. He also tells what happens to the Japanese on Chichi Jima following the War. Two points about this book. First, Bradley, at times, can come across as painting the Americans as hypocritical in their dealings with Japan and Germany. For example, Bradley points out that President Roosevelt condemned the Japanese for their bombing of citizens in China or in the Philippines yet the Americans had no trouble bombing the cities of Japan or Germany. He points out that the Americans condemned the Germans for their bombing of London but had no problems with bombing Berlin. Roosevelt condemned the Japanese for targeting citizens while fighting but had no trouble with his own pilots dropping fire bombs over hospitals or schools in Japan that clearly were not military targets. Secondly, Bradley builds a strong case for the use of the atomic bomb against Japan. He points out that the Japanese themselves praised the Americans for using the bomb despite the heavy losses of life because in the end it ended the war and brought Japan to her knees. Untold millions would have been killed on both sides had the War continued in Japan. Plus the Japanese military leaders had no plan to surrender until Emperor Hirohito announced his decision to end the war by accepting the Potsdam Agreement as laid out by the Allies near the end of Germany’s war.
Overall this is a solid book. Well written and well told. It will make you sick at times to read of the atrocities done by the Japanese who were all but abandoned by their leaders on their islands throughout the Pacific. They turned inhuman in their own struggles to survive. The flyboys often found themselves the victims not of men fighting a war for Japan but men fighting to survive. The story of the flyboys truly is a story of courage in the face of much danger.
On this day 70 years ago, the United States was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. I rejoice that 70 years later, the United States and Japan are great allies. The Japanese are true friends to Americans and we Christians rejoice that God is moving in Japan. My wife and I support a missionary to Japan and I read often how the Holy Spirit is moving upon the hearts of the Japanese as they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many are hearing the gospel for the first time! It is amazing to me that 70 years ago, the United States went into a four-year war with the Japanese that in the end would cost millions of lives especially on the Japanese side. If you have never read accounts of the battles of Iwo Jima or the battles of Okinawa, I would encourage you to read them. A great book to read is Flag of our Fathers which chronicles the famous flag raising that took place on Iwo Jima during the war.
I want to say thank you to our veterans here in the United States for our freedom that you helped give us. Were it not for our fighting men and women, our nation today would either be speaking German or Japanese. On both sides of the ocean, many thousands of Americans laid down their lives at the altar of freedom in order to help preserve our freedom so that we can worship God and live as free people. 70 years later many of those who fought in World War II are gone. Few today remember with their own eyes the horrors of war with Germany and Japan. We know freedom because of what they witnessed personally.
Again, thank you to all who fought to protect us and to preserve this nation from the wills of tyrants.