War Gaming Operation Downfall: What If We Invaded Japan? And other listener questions

In this special episode of the Victor Davis Hanson Show, Victor and host Jack Fowler delve into listener questions. The episode kicks off with an in-depth discussion on Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of Japan during World War II, and the alternatives considered, including the use of atomic bombs. Victor provides a detailed analysis of the military strategies, potential casualties, and the geopolitical implications of involving the Soviets. The conversation then shifts to a historical examination of Adolf Hitler’s political alignment and the roots of National Socialism. Finally, they explore the lack of reformation in Islam and its impact on modern politics, and conclude with a discussion on the Shah of Iran’s fall from power and its lasting effects.

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4 thoughts on “War Gaming Operation Downfall: What If We Invaded Japan? And other listener questions”

  1. thebaron@enter.net

    “SA” stood for “Sturmabteilung”-“assault detachment”. The term came out of the First World War, for the specialty troops trained to assault entrenched positions. Many of the men who joined the paramilitary body of the Nazi party were veterans. The term was appropriate to their view of politics as warfare against the old guard, the Establishment.

    As far as whether Nazism is of the political left or right is concerned, it is absolutely a left-wing ideology. Calling it right-wing or conservative is a tactic the Communists used in the 20s and 30s, when they and the Nazis fought for the same voters, especially in Germany. Stalin directed Communist parties to refer to Nazis, and Fascists, as right-wing, to try to discourage working-class voters from supporting them.

    Nazis and fascists are right-wing only compared to Marxists. For an American conservative, for a classic Western liberal, they are left-wing.

    I find it easier to call them Statists. Nazis, fascists, all the Marxist clan, place the State above the individual. They are totalitarian, in that they believe in a State that penetrates every sphere of our lives. They hate liberty.

    But the Left is better at defining the argument terms than we are. So the label has stuck.

  2. Charles Carroll

    Very small point: the Okinawan natives are not Japanese. They are Ryukyuans. Generally shorter, more squat, and with thicker skeletons. It was not unusual to see little “Mama-sans” going down the road backpacking weights that would hospitalize most Americans.
    And they didn’t like the Japanese.
    After Okinawa reverted back to Japan in May 1972, the Japanese made an effort to spotlight their new province – The Okinawa Exposition of 1975. The Okinawa Pavilion, within the exposition, contained both historic/cultural exhibits and the history of Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands. It was in this area that I was surprised to encounter negative exhibits and narratives concerning the Japanese conquest and administration of the islands; especially during the World War II years. It spoke very well for the Japanese Government that they allowed such free expression of Ryukyuan feelings.

  3. William Terry

    Dr. Hanson – I responded to the podcast content on The Blade of Perseus site, which did not mention the Okinawa experience of the marines. I mentioned the recently published recounting of the Okinawa experience from both the American and Japanese combatants.WW2 Stories is the YouTube site. In episode eight “The Americans broke through our Okinawa defense lines“ it describes the horrendous experience of the Marines assaulting Sugarloaf Hill.
    Prior to the Americans landing on Okinawa the Japanese had used that particular hill for target practice so they knew exactly where to train their artillery on the Marines as they assaulted. One of the Japanese generals had personally organized the defense of the Hill and focused their big 150 mm artillery to devastating effect. The Marines tried 11 frontal assaults before finally capturing the summit. The Japanese would pop up out of nowhere and inflicted as many casualties during the marines retreat as they experienced during the assault. The bravery and tenacity of those young men is beyond description. I found myself tearing up when listening to the description of their experiences. You should be extremely proud of your namesake for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his buddies, his country and future generations.Although you do not wear the uniform, you are to be commended for the battle you wage daily on the purveyors of leftism propaganda and misinformation. Your common sense bolstered by historical perspective is much appreciated.

  4. William Terry

    Dr. Hanson – In another episode of WW2 Stories concerning the battle for Okinawa, it was mentioned that this was the only campaign during World War II when the commanding three star generals from each side died before the conclusion. The Japanese general took his own life through ritual suicide and general Buckner died because of his own bravado. The Japanese artillery was extremely accurate and they would target anyone they perceived as being a high ranking officer. The general was warned by his staff that he should not visit a forward position but he exposed himself unnecessarily, and the Japanese dropped an artillery round close enough for him to be killed by shrapnel. He had ordered the marines to take Sugarloaf no matter what the cost, resulting in unimaginable casualty rates of the brave marines, and unfortunately, your namesake.

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