[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/March2006PacificForum.html]
2 March 2006
(1) © [All Rights Reserved.] Placed on the World Wide Web on 2 March 2006, for a presentation (with visuals) this day at the Anthropology Forum, California State University, Chico.
As part of the "Scholarship@Sea Program" of Princess Cruise Lines I was a "Destination Lecturer" for twenty-five days on the Pacific Princess in May and June of 2005. My wife Sadie and I cruised from Honolulu (to Xingang, China) through World War II islands of the Pacific Theatre of Operations. Prior to that cruise, in December 2004 and January 2005, we were on the Tahitian Princess for twenty days where I provided lectures as we sailed through French Polynesia and to the Cook Islands. In April 2006 we fly to Australia where I will once again be providing lectures on the Pacific Princess on a twenty-one day cruise from Sydney to Osaka, Japan, through selected World War II islands. I joined the faculty of CSU, Chico in August 1973 and became a participant in FERP (Faculty Early Retirement Program) in 2005 and for the next several years I anticipate teaching in the fall semester and engaging in other activities the rest of the year!
"I wish I could tell you about the South Pacific. The way it actually was. The endless ocean. The infinite specks of coral we called islands. Coconut palms nodding gracefully toward the ocean. Reefs upon which waves broke into spray, and inner lagoons lovely beyond description [stress added]." James A. Michener [1907-1997], 1946, Tales of the South Pacific (Fawcett Crest Books), page 9.
The above words from Michener were used in a previous Anthropology Forum (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/TahitiAndEuropeansFa2004.html] and is a reason I added "and Again and Again and Again" to today's presentation: you will see some new visuals (and hear some new words) but there will be a repetition of previous Forums that have dealt with a Pacific topic. Indeed, consulting the references below, you will see that this is my eighth Anthropology Forum since 1989 on a Pacific topic (and my 34th Anthropology Forum since my first on November 7, 1973): time flies! (Incidentally, as I pointed out in May 2003 in http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/30YearsOfAnthroForums.html, Professor Turhon Murad made the first Anthropology Forum presentation in October 1973: time does fly!). As I wrote for my May 2005 Forum, I still believe in the non-ephemeral nature of these presentations:
"June Helm, who died February 4, 2004, was president of the AAA [American Anthropological Association] (1985-1987).... Following the list of her publications she apppended the comment: 'NB: I have never included 'papers read' and 'invited lectures' in my CV. If there are no published versions, I consider them ephemera [stress added]." Nancy Oestrich Lurie, Anthropology in the Liberal Arts. Anthropology Newsletter, January 2005, page 4.
I do not consider any presentations I make as "ephemeral" and that is why I "create" various web pages to go along with the visual presentation (see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Tahiti2005.html).
The Pacific Ocean (the largest geographical feature on this planet) is indeed a delight and the islands are gorgeous (although there are storms and activities out there that one would definitely want to avoid) but the word "pacific" is a bit of a misnomer! When looking at "cultures" of the Pacific, as the largest geographical feature on the planet, the ocean has traditionally been "divided" as follows:
"The terms Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia should also be used carefully. This three-way division was first used by Dumont D'Urville [1790-1842] in the 1820s, and the terms came into currency after the mid-nineteenth century. These remain useful to designate broad geographic regions but they should not be seen, as they once were, as denoting cultural regions, since to do so is to continue with a range of nineteenth-century racial assumptions and classifications [stress added]." K.R. Howe, 2003, The Quest For Origins: Who First Discovered And Settled The Pacific Islands? (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press), page 25.
I am a "Pacific Anthropologist" by training, having received my Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Oregon in 1972. My own expertise in the Pacific was developed as a result of graduate courses, combined with library research (California, Hawai'i, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand), and then fieldwork in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga (1970 and 1971) more than three decades ago! I have not returned to Tonga since 1971 but I have been to Hawai'i 27 times since 1970, the last time in 2005.
My wife Sadie and I made our first trip to Hawa'i'i in 1970 (en route to Tonga) and we were again in Hawai'i in 1971, en route back to North America. After joining the faculty of CSU, Chico in August 1973, I participated in two "travel-study" programs to Hawai'i in the late 1970s (meaning I took students to Hawai'i and provided academic content lectures). The first trip I took to Hawai'i in the travel-study program was with Professor Shigeo Kanda (from the Department of Religious Studies of CSU, Chico) and the second was with Professor George Williams (also of the same department). In July 1982 I was the sole faculty member for a "travel-study cruise" through the Island of Hawai'i sponsored by CSU, Chico. Sadie and I were l were last in Tahiti in January 2005 (and before that in 1980 when I was leading yet another CSU, Chico-sponsored "travel study" trip to Tahiti). We were first in Tahiti in 1971, en route to Hawai'i after fieldwork was completed in Tonga. Over the years we have been through many of the islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, and since first going into the Pacific, I have also conducted research into tourism in various Pacific islands (and have published about them). Modest research has been conducted in the Galápagos (2000) and Tasmania (2001), as well as New Zealand, Fiji, Western Samoa, American Samoa, Guam, Saipan, and the Marshall Islands. Looking at all of our travels across the Pacific, it is interesting to think about the following: I am now an overnight success, after 36 years
In 1986, on behalf of the CSU, Chico, I traveled to southeast Asia and analyzed the use of the technology of the times for distance education purposes. Over that period of time I flew from Honolulu to Hong Kong, then continued to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and then returned back to California after staying in Japan for a few days. (For information on this part of my Pacific travels, please see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991PacificScienceCongress.html.)
My wife and I have flown from the West Coast of the United States to Australia (and back) twice since 1970 (and from Beijing to San Francisco in 2005). Our next flight across one-third of the planet will be in April 2006) for another World War II cruise (Please see Figure I) and back again, from Japan, in May 2006. Once more, another reason for "Again and Again and Again" in the title! The presentation today covers both old and new information. (Incidentally, if you are interested in some "reflections" about my anthropological career, you might wish to check out http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2005.html.)
As a "Pacific Anthropologist" I am not only interested in "Peoples and Cultures of the Pacific" but I am also interested in the various individuals who made contact with these intrepid explorers (and settlers) who came across one-third of the globe out of southeast asia (while European explorers were still "hugging" the shores of the Mediterranean Sea).
"To hail Europeans as discoverers of the Pacific Islands is ungracious as well as inaccurate. While they were still moving around in their small, landlocked Mediterranean Sea or hugging the Atlantic shores of Europe and Africa, Pacific Islanders were voyaging hundreds of open-sea miles in their canoes and populating most of the vast Pacific's far-flung islands [stress added]." Douglas L. Oliver, 1989, The Pacific Islands [Third Edition], page 19.
In his most delightful and readable 2002 book, Tony Horwitz has the following to say about Pacific explorers:
"Pacific adventurers also showed an unfortunate tendency toward abbreviated careers. Vasco Núñez de Balboa [1475-1519], the first European to sight the ocean, in 1513, was beheaded for treason. Magellan set off in 1519 with five ships and 237 men; only one ship and eighteen men made it home three years later, and Magellan was not present, having been speared in the Philippines. Francis Drake [~1540-1596] the first English circumnavigator, died at sea of dysentery. Vitus Bering [1681-1741], sailing for the czar, perished from exposure after shipwrecking near the frigid sea now named for him; at the last, Bering lay half-buried in sand, to keep warm, while Arctic foxes gnawed at his sick and dying men. Other explorers simply vanished. Or went mad [stress added]." Tony Horwitz, 2002, Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before (NY: Henry Holt And Company), page 14.
The earliest European explorers sought to find the mythical "southern continent" (needed to balance out the northern lands) and it is generally recognized that the most important explorer for the Pacific was Captain James Cook (1728-1779) of the British Royal Navy. Cook's three voyages of 1768-1771, 1772-1775, and 1776-1780, firmly placed various "Pacific Islands" (and Pacific Islanders) onto the European map of the world; this, in turn, led to the great "Evangelical Revival" which sent missionaries into the Pacific (the first being sent to the islands of Tahiti in 1797). Everyone should remember, however, that the original inhabitants of the islands had been on various islands for thousands of years before Europeans "discovered" them (and please see: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/TahitiAndEuropeansFa2004.html as well as http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/PacificWAMLApril2004.html )! As individuals migrated out of Southeast Asia many thousands of years ago, they not only moved into Australia but across the Ocean (please see Figure V). The islands of Tonga were contacted and settled by Pacific islanders by ~1140 B.C., and then the islanders sailed across the largest geographical feature on this planet. Pacific islanders reached the islands that we call New Zealand by ~1300 A .D., settled what we call Easter Island by ~300 A.D., and finally reached the islands we call Hawai'i by ~400 A.D. Along the way, other islands were discovered and settled, including the islands of Tahiti (part of what is called "French Polynesia" today). American activities in the Pacific, specifically Polynesia, "began with the opening of the China trade in 1789 [stress added]." (W. Patrick Strauss, 1963, Americans In Polynesia 1783-1842 [The Michigan State University Press], page 4.) As Strauss also pointed out:
"American mariners sailed into Polynesia soon after the European scientific expeditions of the late eighteenth century. At first the Yankee traders called at the larger islands of Hawaii and the Marquesas primarily to obtain provisions and 'refresh' their crews. Within a generation American sealers and whalers had also visited the area. Their influence in introducing aspects of western civilization to the Polynesians was so great that within twenty years it profoundly changed the lives of the natives [stress added]." W. Patrick Strauss, 1963, Americans In Polynesia 1783-1842 (The Michigan State University Press), page 4.
In 1989, David Stannard pointed out the following and asked the interesting question:
"Hawai'i was one of the last areas in Polynesia to have been settled by humans, and it is generally believed that there was litle or no in-migration between the time of the first settlements and possible in-migration from Tahiti around the 12th century A.D. Since it is often assumed that the first settlers numbered, at most, in only the low to mid-hundreds, is it possible for a population of 800,000 or 1,000,000--or even more--to have been attained by 1778? [stress added]." David Stannard, 1989, Before The Horror: The Population of Hawai'i On The Eve of Western Contact (University of Hawai'i: Social Science Research Institute), page 32.
Stannard believes it was possible and from possibly a million indigenous occupants in 1778, there were less than 100,000 native Hawai'ian 100 years later! Many changes have taken place in Pacific Islands over time and not only am I interested in changes that took place when Europeans first contacted the indigenous peoples, but I am also interested in what happened when various "wars" took place in the Pacific islands, specifically World War II. As Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) once stated concerning the Second World War:
"We have to remember that in the future we will want to keep before our children what this war was really like. It is so easy to forget; and then, for the younger generation, the heroism and the glamour remain, while the dirt, the hardships, the horror of death and the sorrow fade somewhat from their consciousness." David Nichols [Editor], 1986, Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches (NY: Random House), no page number.
II. CURRENT INTERESTS
"The Pacific War began with the invasion of China in 1931. Widely condemned by the League of Nations and many other countries as a violation of the Kellog-Brand Non-Aggression Pact and the Nine Power Treaty on China, the attack made Japan more isolated and desperate and ultimately led to war with America and England [stress added]." Saburo Ienaga, 1968 [1978 translation], The Pacific War, 1931-1945: A Critical Perspective on Japan's Role in World War II (NY: Random House), page 3.
Although Americans may "date" the beginning of World War II to December 1941, Europeans use a date of September 1939 and individuals in Asia see the global conflict beginning in 1931: cultural perspective is important on how you interpret history and events in the world! My interest in World War II encouraged me to apply, and be accepted, to be a lecturer on the "Scholarship@Sea Program" of Princess Cruises and my first lecturing for them was on board the Tahitian Princess (in 2004-2005) as we cruised through French Polynesia for twenty days (please see Figures III and IV). In May and June of 2005 I was one of the lecturers on the Pacific Princess, which cruised for 25 days from Honolulu through Micronesia and Melanesia en route to Japan (Nagasaki) and which terminated in Xingang, China. The cruise of the Pacific Princess departed Honolulu on May 27, 2005 and ended in Xingang, China on June 24, 2005. We went to various locations (please see Figure II): Midway Island, Majuro (Micronesia), Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands, Melanesia), Rabaul (New Britain, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia), Guam, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, as well as Japan (Nagasaki). After seeing these islands, I am a firm believer in the following statement by Paul Fussell (who was in the infantry in Europe during World War II):
"The degree to which Americans register shock and extraordinary shame about the Hiroshima bomb [on August 6, 1945] correlates closely with lack of information about the Pacific war." Paul Fussell, 1988, Thank God For the Atomic Bomb And Other Essays (NY: Summit Books), page 25.
In April 2006 I will again be lecturing on the Pacific Princess as we sail for 21 days from Sydney, Australia, to Osaka, Japan. A word that frequently came to mind when reading about World War II in the Pacific, and which I discussed in September 2005 [http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/WorldWarIIEnds2005.html] was horrific and I appreciate the following of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870): "It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." Ernie Pyle (1900-1945) was a celebrated World War II correspondent who, after writing from the European battlefront, went to the Pacific in 1945 and was killed by a Japanese sniper during the battle for Okinawa in that year. The following poignant words provide an excellent (yet gruesome) statement:
"When they [American troops] found Ernie's body on [the island of] Ie, they came across a rough draft of a column. Fragments: 'Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous. Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them. These are the things that you at home need not even try to understand. To you at home they are columns of figures...[stress added]." David Nichols [Editor], 1986, Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches (NY: Random House), page xii.
Even though the following was written by Bill Mauldin (1921-2003), who was in the European Theater of Operations in World War II (and an excellent cartoonist), the sentiments also hold true for some of the malaria and disease-laden Pacific islands:
"To a soldier in a hole, nothing is bigger or more vital to him than the war which is going on in the immediate vicinity of his [fox]hole. If nothing is happening to him, and he is able to relax that day, then it is a good war, no matter what is going on elsewhere. But if things are rough, and he is sweating out a mortar barrage, and his best friend is killed on patrol, then it is a rough war for him, and he does not consider it 'comparatively quiet.' ...Dig a hole in your backyard while it is raining. Sit in the hole until the water climbs up around your ankles. Pour cold mud down your shirt collar. Sit there for forty-eight hours, and, so there is no danger of your dozing off, imagine that a guy is sneaking around waiting for a chance to club you on the head or set your house on fire [stress added]." Bill Mauldin, 1945, Up Front (NY: Henry Holt and Company), pages 19-20 and 143-144.
III. SOME BACKGROUND
"Over thirty thousand Australian servicemen were captured during the [second world] war, 22,376 of these becoming prisoners of the Japanese, two-thirds being captured early in 1942. Of these, 8,031 died, this figure representing half of Australian deaths in the Pacific war. Of the 8184 Australian held prisoner by the Germans, ninety-seven percent survived the experience [stress added]." Liz Reed, 2004, Bigger Than Gallipoli: War, History and Memory in Australia (University of Western Australia Press), page 83.
Even though my wife and I lived in Sydney, Australia, in 1970 and 1971, I did not truly realize the impact of World War II had on that small nation until I began to prepare for the forthcoming lectures for 2006. Today, Australia has a population of approximately 20,090,437 but in 1940, the population of Australia was approximately 6,900,000. There had been fears of "Japanese expansion" into Australia since the 19th Century. As Hiery wrote in 1995: "The spectre of a Japanese attack on Australia existed from 1895 at least, when the Japanese occupation of Formosa sent shock waves as far as Sydney [stress added]." Hermann Joseph Hiery, 1995, The Neglected War: The German South Pacific and the Influence of World War I (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, page 14). Hiery then went on to add (page 15) that "When Japan annexed Korea in August 1910, the Australian public's fear of an imminent Japanese invasion escalated into hysteria [stress added]." The war in the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations) from 1941 to 1945 was brewing for many years, and in a chapter entitled "The Origins of War With Japan" the distinguished Professor of Military History at The Ohio State University, Allan R. Millet, has a very concise statement on the origin of the war:
"Having followed European models of industrialization and modernization since the 1870s, the political and military leaders of Imperial Japan decided that their nation's cultural and economic greatness depending upon creating an Asian empire. Many Japanese did not trust the Europeans to concede Japan's right to have an empire or to demand equitable trading relations. The first thrust of Japanese imperialism came against the two weakest targets, Imperial China and Czarist Russia, and in two wars (1895, 1904-1905) Japan annexed Formosa [now called Taiwan], made Korea a protectorate, and made itself the dominant foreign power in Manchuria. This phase of Japanese imperialism enjoyed the support of Great Britain by treaties in 1902 and 1905 and by the United States through executive agreements in 1905 and 1908. Great Britain judged Japan a firm ally against Russia and, less menacingly, Germany and the United States [stress added]. Allan R. Millett, 2004, The Origins of War With Japan. In Douglas Brinkley [Editor], The World War II Memorial: A Grateful Nation Remembers (Smithsonian Books), pages 133-167, page 133.
Situations do develop over time and today Japan has a population of approximately 127,417,244. In 1940, the entire Japanese Empire (including on the Asian mainland and the islands designated as "Micronesia") had a population of 97,697,555 and the islands of Japan proper only had a population of 72,222,200. In comparing Japan to Australia, Australia was definitely considered an under-populated continent. (Incidentally, the population of the United States of America in 1940 was 132,164,569 and sometime in October of 2006 the population of the USA will reach the 300,000,000 mark!)
In 2005, we cruised from Honolulu and for the 2006 cruise we depart from Sydney and sail up to the Solomon Islands again (Guadalcanal), then to Papua New Guinea (and re-visit Rabaul on New Britain), then to Chuuk (once known as Truk), and a new destination for me. From Chuuk we continue to Guam and Saipan (again), Iwo Jima (only cruising by this island), and Okinawa (also a location we visited in 2005), and then we stop at Hiroshima. The cruise terminates in Osaka, Japan. Back to the Pacific Again (and Again and Again and Again)! I know first-hand that the Pacific Ocean is the largest geographical feature on planet earth! An interesting statement, to serve as a companion item to the words of Michener (1907-1997) that began this paper come from a web page dealing with the various battles for Rabaul and serve as a good description for the Solomon Islands (including the island of New Guinea):
"All the islands have much in common, and much that is common is unpleasant. All have hot, wet, tropical climates. All are mountainous. Are are heavily jungles. All are pest-ridden and full of tropical diseases, especially malaria. Non has motor roads longer than a few miles. There are almost no ports with piers and quays to accommodate large ships." [From: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Rabaul/index.html]
Over the course of the twenty-one day cruise I will not only provide basic anthropological information concerning the "Peopling and Prehistory" of the islanders and "Peoples and Cultures of the Pacific" but I will present information about World War II in the various Pacific Islands that we stop at. The war was horrific and let me make an lengthy quote from my September 2005 paper;
"The powers of the world were gradually moving towards a war in the Pacific and my opinion, a major mistake of the Japanese aggressors in the Pacific Theatre of Operations was their inability to grasp the immense nature of the Pacific Ocean, one-third of planet Earth. (The Pacific Ocean is some 64,186,300 square miles, compared to 33,420,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, and 28,350,500 square miles in the Indian Ocean.) It was difficult, if not impossible, for various Imperial Japanese forces to lend mutual support to one another. The Japanese forces in the Pacific also suffered from a long-standing, and bitter, rivalry that existed between the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Combined Fleet. This rivalry contributed to major problems in strategy and tactics throughout the war in the Pacific. The war in the Pacific Theatre of Operations was a totally different war than was fought in Europe and the various environments of the Pacific were truly different from the European Theatre of Operations. One can analyze warfare in the Pacific Theater of Operations as encompassing the following variables on air, sea, and land battles (described by Sir Winston Churchill [1874-1965], as triphibious): AIR (carrier planes as well as land-based planes, including bombers and fighter planes), SEA (submarines, surface ships, and aircraft carrier planes), and LAND (large islands as well as small islands, including continental, volcanic, and coral islands). In considering the war waged by all nations, one must also keep in mind the following "M" variables: the Allied powers that fought Japan (and Germany) clearly had an advantage when it came to men (meaning women and men), materials, and money. The population of the United States of America in 1940 was 132,164,569 whereas the Japanese Empire had a population of 97,697,555. Numbers, and eventually science and technology, were on the side of the United States of America."
Numbers, science, and technology were on the side of the United States (and its allies) and nowhere was this clearer than in the naval, air, and land battles that eventually took place in the Pacific (including submarine warfare), as well as aircaraft bombings throughout the Pacific Theatre of Operations: these include the fire-bombing of Tokyo (and other Japanese cities) as well as Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). Numbers, science, and technology were on the side of the various Allies and the United States of America. Consider, if you will, the production of the marvelous "Liberty Ships" that conveyed supplies to troops all over the world; the first Liberty ships (the Patrick Henry) was launched on September 27, 1941, and "The record for building one ship was just seven days, 14 hours and 23 minutes on the building ways and another two weeks for fitting out." (Mike Wright, 1998, What They Didn't Teach You About World War II [NY: Ballantine Books], page 66). Things could move along when it was necessary and everyone was involved: at its peak, the celebrated Willow Run airplane factory in Michigan, the largest plant in the world, "turned out one bomber every sixty three minutes." (William M. Tuttle, Jr., 1993, "Daddy's Gone To War" - The Second World War in the Lives of American Children [Oxford University Press], page 49.) William Tuttle also pointed out that after the first plane was completed on September 10, 1942, Willow Run had produced an additional 8,684 airplanes over the course of World War II!
IV. TERROR AND TECHNOLOGY AND TERROR
"Killing Japanese didn't bother me very much at that time. It was getting the war over that bothered me. So I wasn't worried particularly about how many people we killed in getting the job done. I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. Fortunately, we were on the winning side [stress added]."The words of General Curtis E. Lemay, in Richard Rhodes,1995, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb (NY: Simon & Schuster), page 21.
Acts of war, by Japanese and American combatants, were horrific. Japanese troops subjected American (and British and other) Prisoners of War to inhumane acts, including forced labor, imprisonment, decapitation, and the infamous "Bataan Death March" in April 1942. On the other hand, after the American victory on Guadalcanal, Japanese graves were opened and skulls (and other items) were taken as souvenirs: Gavan Daws pointed this out in his authoritative 1994 Prisoners of the Japanese, writing about a picture in Life magazine:
"Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you note for the Jap skull he sent her. To the Japanese, who were scrupulous about the bones of their dead, that was the ultimate barbarism." Gavan Daws, 1994, Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II In The Pacific [NY: William Morrow], page 277.
From Banzai suicide charges across various Pacific locations (from the islands of Alaska to Guadalcanal and Okinawa) to the dropping of the "Little Boy" Uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and the dropping of the "Fat Man" plutonium atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the war was brutal and horrific! As an example of the resources that were available to both the Japanese and the Americans, please consider the following for the fateful year of 1942 which not only saw the Battle of Midway (June) and the campaign on Guadalcanal (beginning in August) but also the April bombing of Tokyo by Doolittle's bombers (a psychological victory for America):
"To date, the Guadalcanal campaign had cost the Japanese a small carrier, two elderly battleships, two heavy cruisers, a light cruiser, and eleven destroyers [and thousands of individuals wounded or killed]. Allied losses had been heavier--two fleet carriers, five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and thirteen fleet destroyers [and thousands of individuals wounded or killed]. But American shipyards were shifting into high gear. Surface warships of destroyer size and up launched in 1942 included: six fleet carriers, fifteen escort carriers, three battleships, nine cruisers, and 105 destroyers. In comparison, Japanese output of these types in 1942 was miniscule--three light cruisers and eleven destroyers. Japanese losses had also been very heavy and even more damaging was the loss of trained pilots....American pilots were quick to note the sharp decline in the quality of Japanese airmen as the war progressed and as the superbly trained first-line pilots were killed off [stress added]. Jack Coggins, 1972, The Campaign For Guadalcanal: A Battle That Made History (NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.), pages 169-170.
And as another has written of the fateful Battle of "Bloody Ridge" on the island of Guadalcanal over the nights of September 12 and 13, 1942:
"The Battle of Bloody Ridge was a relatively small affair compared to the campaigns and battles being fought in Russia and North Africa, but the positive effects on American morale were enormous. It was at Bloody Ridge, against a numerically superior foe, that the Americans proved they could beat the Japanese 'superman.' The marines would experience many more triumphs on Guadalcanal and during the rest of the war--at Tarawa, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima--but the Battle of Bloody Ridge during the Guadalcanal campaign will live on as one of the Marine Corps's finest hours [stress added]. Michael S. Smith, 2000, Bloody Ridge: The Battle that Saved Guadalcanal (NY: Simon & Schuster), page 252.
Americans and their allies were improving their fighting skills and as I wrote in September 2005:
"Looking at the following helps me to interpret and understand World War II in the Pacific Theatre of Operations: Intelligence, attrition, production, and propaganda. Intelligence meant espionage and the Americans cracked the Japanese code for the Battle of Midway (June 1942), resulting in a major victory for the United States which was a turning point six months after Pearl Harbor. There were also numerous other successful military actions which were based on intercepted messages. Attrition included deaths: the Japanese were losing troops (especially skilled pilots) at an extremely high rate while the Allies (primarily the Americans) were increasing their number of troops. Production meant exactly what the word entails. America was able to obtain the raw materials to turn into an "Arsenal for Democracy" and had the logistic skills necessary to transport the vital supplies across the globe: first to the European Theatre of Operations and then simultaneously to Europe and the Pacific. Finally, propaganda played an important role for all combatants: the Japanese people were deceived by their leaders and deception was a part of the war on all fronts during World War II. It was a complex war but it can, to some extent, be understood (And please see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/WorldWarIIEnds2005.html).
The war in the Pacific moved from Guadalcanal and Midway in 1942 to various battles in 1943 and beyond:
"At Midway, the scoring punch of the Japanese Navy had been blunted [during the Battle of Midway, June 3-6, 1942]: four carriers and one cruiser were sunk, 5,000 Japanese had lost their lives, and 322 planes were lost. Worse, the pilots who were lost--many of whom had a thousand hours in combat experience over the skies of China, not to mention experience gained since then--were irreplaceable. American losses comprised ninety-nine carried-based aircraft, thirty-eight Midway-based planes, and the [Aircraft Carrier] Yorktown [stress added]." William A. Renzi and Mark D. Roehrs, 1991, Never Look Back: A History of World War II In The Pacific, page 76.
Much has been made of the ability of the United States to "intercept" the various Japanese codes during the war in the Pacific but this came after a great deal of work and only a small portion of the Japanese Navy code was ever decoded:
"Only a fraction of the 45,000 meanings that the JN [Japanese Navy] code groups represented was ever brought to light by cryptanalysis. The code-breakers, after weeks of attacking a new version of the code, were lucky to recover 15 percent of any message text. This much, however, then combined with the results of traffic analysis and related to previously recorded message fragments, was usually enough to yield useful information [stress added]. E. B. Potter, 1976, Nimitz (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press), page 64.
That small amount, however, was vital for the Battle of Midway. The Imperial Japanese Army code was a different thing in the Pacific and it wasn't "until September 1943 did American codebreakers read their first [Imperial] Japanese Army message. By February 1944, however, U.S. analysts were deciphering more than twenty thousand Japanese army messages per month [stress added]." Edward J. Drea, 1992, MacArthur's Ultra: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945 (University of Kansas Press), page x i). Hard work, as Drea points out, was an important variable and so was luck:
"On 15 January 1944, an Australian patrol pushing through Sio [Papua New Guinea] after the fleeing enemy discovered a half-buried trunk in a stream bed. It held the complete cipher library of the Imperial Japanese Army's 20th Division. The find was immediately returned to Central Bureau, MacArthur's Allied cryptanalytic agency in Brisbane, Australia. Central Bureau used the captured code books to solve the Japanese Army's main cipher system. This intelligence windfall arrived exactly when MacArthur was most prepared to take advantage of it [stress added]." From: http://au.geocities.com/thefortysecondinww2/level1/line4/png-campaign.htm.
The Americans and their allies used the codes to their best advantage throughout the War in the Pacific as Potter wrote, concerning the use of decoded messages for the Battle of Midway in June 1942 (page 107), some "prophetic" words were recorded in Honolulu in the CinCPac [Commander-in-Chief-Pacific] Command Summary on June 3, 1942: "The whole course of the war in the Pacific may hinge on the developments of the next two or three days." Americans were successful at Midway and as Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966) wrote in a communiqué on June 6, 1942: "Pearl Harbor has now been partially avenged. Vengeance will not be complete until Japanese sea power is reduced to impotence. We have made substantial progress in that direction. Perhaps we will be forgiven if we claim that we are about midway to that objective." E. B. Potter, 1976, Nimitz [Annapolis: Naval Institute Press] page 107. Unfortunately, they were not "midway" and the war in the Pacific continued on to its official termination on September 2, 1945. In addition to their messages being intercepted and read, the Japanese also suffered from what has been termed "victory disease" in the Pacific as the following points out:
"The event that more than any other caused the Japanese to alter their plans to secure Port Moresby [on the island of New guinea] was the battle of the Coral Sea [May 4-8, 1942, before the June 1942 Battle of Midway], the first major naval engagement of the Pacific war. The early, stunning Japanese victories had given them what one of their commanders later called the 'Victory Disease' [stress added]." Harry Gailey, 2000, MacArthur Strikes Back: Decision at Buna: New Guinea 1942-1943 (Novato, CA: Presidio), page 29.
Even though both the Japanese and Americans lost ships and planes (and men) were lost in the Battle of the Coral Sea, it was very important for the Allied forces in the Pacific:
"Both sides lost ships and planes, making the battle a tactical draw. Strategically, it was an Allied victory, because the Japanese force returned to its base on Rabaul...without accomplishing its mission, making the first time in the war that a Japanese advance had been halted [stress added]." Anne Sharp Wells, 1999, Historical Dictionary of World War II: The War Against Japan (Lanham, MD & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.), page 82.
These would be many more battles (and deaths) as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months and the months into years.
"The US Fifth Fleet began the main offensive drive in the Pacific on 20 November 1943 with the invasion of the Gilbert islands. The landing at Tarawa became synonymous with heavy casualties, with US Marines losing 1,056 men in 76 hours; the US Navy lost only one ship, with very heavy loss of life [stress added]." David Brown, 1990, Warship Losses Of World War Two (London: Villiers House), page 101.
Japanese and Americans were dying in record numbers and this strongly influenced plans in the Pacific (and the eventual use of the two Atomic Bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945). General Curtis E. LeMay, architect of the strategic bombing of Japan, once stated that the defeat of Japan cost 485 B-29s and approximately 3,000 combat crew personnel (in Richard Rhodes,1995, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, NY: Simon & Schuster, page 21). Thousands of American and allied forces died on the ground, in the air, and under the sea in the Pacific War and there were problems all across the Pacific that had to be dealt with (and which were eventually dealt with): problems of logistics, supplies, and morale. Consider, if you will, one description from the Guadalcanal Campaign of 1942-1943:
"The lack of information on what we were doing, or were supposed to do, from Bloody Ridge to Tenaro. The failure of logistics to provide enough water to the troops...The lack of maps or aerial photos. No jungle boots or uniforms. The lack of hot meals and fruit juices (they were there in the rear). The side effects of atabrine (malaria medicine--yellow eyeballs)." Floyd W. Radike, 2003, Across The Dark Islands: The War In The Pacific (NY: Ballantine Books), page 90.
All of these problems, and more, were dealt with and the war continued. To repeat some information from September 2005:
"The distinction of being the first Japanese territory to be taken by the U.S. forces in the Pacific, or anywhere else, fell to Majuro Atoll [in February 1944], lying approximately seven degrees north of the Equator in the Micronesia group known as the Marshall Islands. Its capture constituted only a single phase, and a not-very-spectacular one, on an important and somewhat complicated operation [stress added]." Frank O. Hough, 1947, The Island War: the United States Marine Corps In The Pacific (J.B. Lippincott Company), page 184.
[Saipan was] "...captured by U.S. forces, June 15-July 9, 1944, after which the Japanese government of Hideki Tojo [1884-1948]... fell. Saipan, the first of the Mariana Islands targets by the offensive of the Central Pacific Area (CENPAC)..., had been administered as a mandate... since World War I by Japan, which considered it Japanese home territory.... The invasion of Saipan began on June 15 under the overall direction of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance's... Fifth Fleet.... An amphibious invasion of the nearby island of Tinian...was launched from Saipan on July 24. Bombing raids originating in Saipan formed an important part of the strategic air campaign...against Japan [stress added]." Anne Sharp Well, 1999, Historical Dictionary of World War II: The War Against Japan (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.), pages 236-237..
"Declared secure on November 27, 1944, Peleliu [Palau Islands, Micronesia] went down in history as one of the worst, and most needless, battles of the war. It got scant press in the United States during the first five weeks, for the dramatic advances in the European theater overshadowed events in the pacific. But the devastation in terms of human loses eventually drew attention to Peleliu, as did its dubious worth. Life magazine artist Tom Lea's haunting paintings dramatized the terror. Total marine and army casualties numbered 9,615 for Peleliu, Angaur and Ngesebus, including 1,656 dead. The Japanese lost 10,900, almost all killed (of some 202 prisoners taken, all but 19 were laborers). For each defender killed, the Americans used 1,589 rounds of ammunition [stress added]." Thomas W. Zeiler, 2004, Unconditional Defeat: Japan, America, And The End of World War II (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, Inc.), page 105.
"Of the 21,000 Japanese defending the island [of Iwo Jima in February 1945], only 216 were taken prisoner. If this was the cost of taking an island of only eight square miles and which had been Japanese only since 1891, what would be the cost of the conquest of Japan?" E. Bauer, 1979, The History of World War II (NY: The Military Press), page 639.
"The casualties [on Okinawa, April-July 1945] were the heaviest that any single island had cost the American forces. About 7,400 American died outright on the island, but the navy had lost perhaps 5,000 more men who were killed while offshore, mostly from Kamikazes. Japanese losses can only be estimated. About 107,000 were killed outright, while an additional 20,000 were sealed in caves to die of starvation, suffocation, or cremation if gasoline had been poured in after them. About 4,000 Japanese planes were lost, while the number of U.S. naval aircraft lost was 763, with no fewer than 458 falling in combat with Japanese aircraft [stress added]. William A. Renzi and Mark D. Roehrs, 1991, Never Look Back: A History of World War II In The Pacific, page 174.
"World War II has been labeled 'the good war'; it may have been a just war, but no war is ever good. Still, good things emerge from bad situations, and a lot of positive changes for women came out of World War II. For one thing, they found they could do things they had never imagined doing." Nancy Caldwell Sorel, 1999, The Women Who Wrote the War (NY: Arcade publishing), page 397.
The War in Europe had ended on May 8, 1945 and after Hiroshima and Nagasaki it was merely a matter of time until the battles in the Pacific were over. The official ending of the war, V-J day (as proclaimed by United States President Harry S Truman (1884-1972) was September 2, 1945 (Tokyo time). Various representatives of the Allied powers assembled in Tokyo Bay, including General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), and Adrmiral Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966), Admiral William F. Halsey (1882-1959) and Admiral John S. McCain (1884-1945). The United States Marine Corps commandant, General Alexander Vandegraft (1887-1973) chose General Roy S. Geiger to represent the Corps.
In conclusion, I once again repeat my words from the September 2005 Anthropology Forum:
"On September 2, 1945, on the United States battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, American General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), the Supreme Commander for all the Allied Forces in the Pacific, signed the instrument of surrender as the representative for the following nations: Australia, Canada, China, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, and the United States. At that same ceremony, the United States Fleet Admiral, Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966), accepted the formal surrender of Japan on behalf of the United States of America. The War in the Pacific had ended. It has been calculated that there were 1,364 days between the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan) and the instrument of surrender signing on September 2, 1945. Over those 1,364 days, 902,596 Imperial Japanese Army and Navy personnel were killed: Japanese military personnel died at the rate of 662 per day! It is reported that 105,563 American military personnel were killed over the same period of time: individuals from the United States Army, Navy (and Marine Corps) died at the rate of 77 per day in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. The only word which truly describes the War in the Pacific is horrific. The agony, pain, and suffering on all sides (by military personnel and civilians at their home locations) was tremendous and the repercussions are still being felt to this day! (See Anne Sharp Wells, 1999, Historical Dictionary of World War II: The War Against Japan [Lanham, MD & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.], Appendix 2: pages 309-316.)" [And please see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2005.html for the complete context of this statement.]
Please consider those numbers carefully: in 1,364 days, almost a million Imperial Japanese Army and Navy personnel were killed (as well as thousands amd thousands of Japanese civilians) and 105,563 Americans lost their lives in World War II in the Pacific. To end again with the words of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870): "It is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it."
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SOME SELECTED REFERENCES (in addition to the ones cited above):
in progress http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/PacificReferences.html [Various Pacific References]
2005a http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2005.html [Reflections. For CSU, Chico ANTH 600, October 12.]
2005b http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/WorldWarIIEnds2005.html [World War II Ends! For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum at CSU, Chico, September 1.]
2005c http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/PacificPrincessMay2005.html [Pacific Princess Itinerary K515} 25-Day Islands of the Pacific Theater, Honolulu to Beijing, May 29->June 24.]
2005d http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Tahiti2005.html [Tahiti: From 1971 to 2004/2005. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, May 5.]
2004a http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/TahitiAndEuropeansFa2004.html [Europeans in Tahiti: From Cook to Gauguin. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, November 4.]
2004b http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/PacificWAMLApril2004.html [Mapping the Islands of the Pacific: Islanders And Others (Including Cook and Darwin. For a presentation at the WAML (Western Association of Map Libraries) Conference, April 29-30, at CSU, Chico.]
2003a http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/DestinationPolynesia.html [Destination Polynesia: Tahiti And The Neighbor Islands. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, November 6.]
2003b http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/30YearsOfAnthroForums.html [The Anthropology Forum: 1973->2003! For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum at CSU, Chico, May 15.]
2000a http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/SoAmGIslands.html [Charlie & Sadie Urbanowicz: Perú (Machu Picchu) and Galápagos Islands Visuals. November 3.]
2000b http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/AAUW2000.html [Sadie & Charlie Urbanowicz: "What We Did Last Summer (But It Really Was 'Winter" South-Of-The-Equator!") For a presentation at the AAUW [American Association of University Women] Meeting in Chico, California, October 6.]
1993a http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/FSep-30-93.html [Peoples & Cultures of the Pacific: Okeania est omnis divisa in partes tres. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, September 30.]
1991a http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Forum/Dec1991.html [Abstract of: Prelude to Pearl Harbor: Operation Hawai'i. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, December 5.]
1991b http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/OperationHawaii.pdf. [Complete paper of "Prelude to Pearl Harbor: Operation Hawai'i" for the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, December 5.]
1991c http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991PacificScienceCongress.html [Information Technology For the Pacific Basin. Presented at the 17th Quadrennial Meeting of the Pacific Science Congress at the session entitled "Technologies for Development: Prospects for the 21st Century" held in Honolulu, Hawai'i, 27 May-2 June 1991.]
1989 http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Forum/Hawaii1989.html [The Island of Hawai'i: 750 A.D. to 1989. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, September 21.]
SOME SELECTED VISUALS:
NOTE: For visuals of the 2005 Honolulu-Beijing cruise, please see 2005b above. For other Pacific visuals, please consult the various web pages above.
to the Department of Anthropology;
to California State University, Chico.
© Copyright 2006; All Rights Reserved Charles F. Urbanowicz
2 March 2006 by CFU