Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid: one of the greatest aeronautical feats in military history.
On April 18, 1942, sixteen B-25 Mitchell medium bombers led by U.S. Army Air Corps Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle took off from the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet and dropped their bomb loads on the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokosuka, Yokohama, Kobe, and Osaka.
Although the tactical and strategic damage inflicted on the Japanese was negligible the raid reaped enormous psychological and symbolic benefits for the United States and its Allies during the early months of 1942—when the Allied war effort was reeling from a series of crushing blows.
The Japanese Empire had bombed the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor resulting in the loss of many of our nation’s battleships. American forces at Bataan in the Philippines had surrendered nine days before the raid and the sole American garrison at Corregidor would fall soon afterward. Most of the Southern and Central Pacific along Southeast Asia was under Japanese occupation.
In the Atlantic Allied shipping was being sunk at a horrific rate by German U-Boats. In Europe the Germans (although stymied at the gates of Moscow) still occupied significant amounts of Russian Territory and were also getting ready to threaten Libya and Egypt in North Africa once more.
The United States military despite being at war for four months was still woefully unprepared to undertake any major offensive operations against Germany, Italy, or Japan.
The situation was very bleak.
It was 18 minutes past nine o’clock on the Tokyo Bay morning of Sept. 2, 1945, when 55-yearold Canadian Col. Lawrence Moore Cosgrave leaned forward and signed Japan’s copy of the Article of Surrender that officially ended the war between Japan and the Western Allies.
Unfortunately, possibly overwhelmed by the historic event unfolding on the decks of the U.S. battleship Missouri, Cosgrave signed in the wrong place.
He had signed on the line clearly marked The Republic of France and one line below the space entitled The Dominion of Canada.
Read more of the article at A moment Canadians would prefer to forget.
Story by Jim Hume – Times Colonist; Photo from Wikimedia
I have always been fascinated with aircraft carriers with their ability to mobilize a large force of aircraft anywhere in the world. Barret Tillman’s new book “” focuses on the lower ranks of those who served on “The Big E” during the major battles of the Pacific in World War II. Cody Carlson of the Deseret News reviews Tillman’s book.
In 1941, the world entered a new age of naval warfare. Beginning with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , the aircraft carrier became the critical weapon of the Pacific War. With air superiority absolutely vital to modern operations, every major engagement in the Pacific during World War II included at least one carrier to guarantee that superiority. The Battle of the Coral Sea in early 1942 became the first battle in world history in which the combatants on surface ships never saw each other — the battle was fought entirely by American and Japanese planes striking the enemy.
Historian Barrett Tillman’s new book, “” is an amazing look at one carrier’s service in the Pacific cauldron. An expert in the history of carrier operations and naval aviation in World War II, Tillman expertly traces the life of this grand lady in what amounts to nothing short of a ship’s biography.
Read more of the review at Book review: The USS Enterprise sails again in fascinating new book | Deseret News.
As a leading World War II historian, Max Hastings has taken the monumental task of looking at World War II on a personal global scale. In Max Hastings new book, he uses personal eyewitness accounts of the horrors of the war. Vernon Bogdanor of the New Statesman reviewed Hastings new book (Originally titled All Hell Let Loose: The World at War (1939-45))
The Second World War was the most terrible event in human history, killing roughly 60 million people, most of them non-combatants, an average of about 27,000 for each day of the war. More people were slaughtered by their fellow human beings than ever before. A vast number of books has been written about the war. Is there anything new to say? Perhaps not, but this does not mean that the task of the historian has been completed. The challenge is to seek to understand this catastrophe. No doubt we will never fully understand some aspects of it, in particular the Holocaust. Nevertheless, the historian must do his best.
Max Hastings has studied the war for 35 years and has written eight previous books on specific episodes such as the Battle of Britain and D-Day, as well as a volume on Winston Churchill as war leader. Inferno is an attempt to describe not only the high politics of strategy, but also the experiences of ordinary people involved in the conflict, and what the war meant to those caught up in it. Henry James once described the Victorian novel as a large, loose and baggy monster. This book is also a large, loose and baggy monster, as it must be if it is to comprehend such vastly different experiences as those of the British housewife, the German Panzer officer in occupied territory, the Soviet peasant, the Japanese kamikaze pilot and the Polish soldier who, after fighting bravely on the Allied side, found himself an exile in his own country when it came under communist rule.
Read the rest of the review at New Statesman – All Hell Let Loose: the World at War (1939-45).
At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, there were 127,000 Japaneses Americans living in the United States, 110,000 of them were on the West Coast and fear was growing of a full-scale attack by Imperial Japan on the West Coast. This lead to the questioning of the loyalty of Japanese Americans and on February 19, 1942, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt sign Executive Order 9066, which allowed authorized military commanders to designate “military areas” at their discretion, “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” Creating internment camps for Japanese Americans. Robin Young of Here & Now interviewed actor George Takei on his time in a World War II internment camp.
Three months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the forced evacuation of some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.
Though the majority of them were American citizens, they were forced to leave most of their possessions behind and sent first to hastily assembled centers at places like the Santa Anita Race Track, and eventually to internment camps, where they lived in barracks behind barbed wire, guarded by armed sentries.
One of those who was sent there with his family was five-year-old George Takei, now known for his role as Hikaru Sulu of the television and film series “Star Trek.”
Read the rest of the story at Star Trek’s George Takei Recalls World War II Internment | Here & Now.
Photo by Gage Skidmore