Thursday, December 30, 2010
The flower of the Japanese Thirty-second Army?
I was rereading a book I bought several years before. It was a chapter entitled: The Greatest Sea-air battle in History-Okinawa from the book by Hanson W. Baldwin (Battles Lost & Won: great campaign of world war II). Winston Churchill described it as one of "the most intense and famous of military history". Vast numbers of casualties were suffered on the Allied (mostly US but some British) and the Japs and it was a battle where swarms of "kamikazes" attacks were unleashed against the Allied forces. The USS Intrepid aircraft carrier which I visited in New York (It was turned into a museum) participated in this battle. What caught my eyes was this passage:
"By the end of May (1945) the flower of the Japanese Thirty-second Army, 50,000 men, lies dead in the rubble of shell-pocked debris of their fortifications..."
While history noted that majority of Japanese soldiers of that era were more often than not unnecessarily cruel and sadistic, yet the term flower of the Army was taken to meant that they were well regarded seasoned troops who were ready to fight to the bitter end. Humanity cries for the reluctant soldiers who went off to the battlefields in order to defend lives and liberty but she shed no tears for those soldiers that marched off to wars of aggression in which they committed horrific atrocities and mass murders. So while we understand what the author meant in describing the veteran Japanese troops as the flower of the Thirty-second Army; perhaps it may well be more appropriate to term them as weed instead...