Bob Hope Show: Christmas 1945

Wednesday, December 30, AD 2015

Broadcast on December 18, 1945, the Bob Hope Christmas show for 1945 gives an interesting insight into America as it observed its first peacetime Christmas in five years.  Hope mentions product shortages in his jokes and in a skit the housing shortage comes up.  His guest star was actor Wayne Morris.  Morris had served as a Navy flier, shooting down seven Japanese planes and contributing to the sinking of five ships, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He earned four Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals.  A rising star before the War, Morris never recovered from putting his career on hiatus during the War.  He spent the rest of his career mostly in low budget Westerns.  He died of a heart attack in 1959 at age 45 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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One Response to Bob Hope Show: Christmas 1945

  • “A rising star before the War, Morris never recovered from putting his career on hiatus during the War.”

    It’s amazing to me how these brave young men were able to return home and try to fit right back into their respective careers. It must of been frustrating. How does one clear the mind of years of traumatic or near death experiences?

    God bless each of our Vet’s. As for Bob Hope.
    An icon. The lives he touched, especially the combat solider. The bar he set for future entertainer’s is an extremely high one.
    God bless Mr. Hope.

Christmas at Bastogne

Thursday, December 24, AD 2015

In 1944 at Christmas the American and German armies were slugging it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War.

Patton’s Third Army rammed its way through to relieve the Americans desperately fighting to defeat the attacking German forces.  The weather was atrocious and Allied air power was useless.  Patton had a prayer written for good weather.  Patton prayed the prayer, along with an extemporaneous one he prayed for good weather on December 23, 1944.  The skies cleared after Patton prayed, and Allied air power was unleashed on the attacking Germans.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101rst Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle.  On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101rst troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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December 23, 1945: Funeral of General Patton

Wednesday, December 23, AD 2015

And I see not in my blindness
What the objects were I wrought,
But as God rules o’er our bickerings
It was through His will I fought.

George S. Patton, Jr.




Fate denied General Patton the death he deserved:  in battle, at the head of his men.  His death was much more prosaic, the result of an automobile collision on December 8, 1945 caused by drunk joyriding GIs.  He spent most of the next 13 days in traction, paralyzed from the neck down.  His verdict on his situation was succinct and characteristically blunt:  “This is a hell of a way to die.”  He died on December 21, 1945 in his sleep.  It is perhaps superfluous to note that Patton met death with calm courage.  At West Point as a cadet he had already discerned the essential reality of death:  “What then of death?  Is not the taps of death but the first call to the reveille of eternal life?”  Per his request he was buried with other Third Army dead in the Luxembourg American Cemetery, the simple white cross above his grave precisely the same that marked the graves of the Christian GIs who had fallen in what Eisenhower had aptly called the Great Crusade.

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2 Responses to December 23, 1945: Funeral of General Patton

  • Arguably, Patton and MacArthur (forget Manchester’ crap) were the last pure soldiers.
    Schwartzkopf was able to fight the First Gulf War as war should be waged. However, Korea, Vietnam, Bush’s boondoggles in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hillary’s proxy wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. were not fought as wars because callow, yellow politicians, not soldiers, called the shots.
    In short, never underestimate the foe. Deploy maximum firepower, maximum maneuver. Never cede the initiative. Prepare for the most forceful response from the enemy. “If you find yourself in a fair fight, you did not properly plan the operation.” David Hackworth. After WWII, generally the US violated these maxims.
    In our Republic soldiers don’t pick the wars and objectives. They fight and die in them. That is where MacArthur stepped over the line.

  • To the liberal media, the abortion providers and supporters, the politicians and judges that disregard the Natural Law, God’s law. To them we whisper; “All glory is fleeting.”

    To uncle Joe Taylor, tank operator in the battle
    of the buldge, my god Father. To you dear uncle, God be with you.

The Master Sergeant Was a Modest Hero

Sunday, December 13, AD 2015

Roddie Edmonds


A nightmare for every Jewish GI serving in the European Theater of Operations was to be captured by the Nazis.  For a group of American Jewish POWs on January 27, 1945, their worst nightmares seemed about to come true.  The previous day Commandant of Stalag IXA, Major Siegmann, had ordered that the Jews among the thousand American POWs report outside their barracks the next morning.  Their probable grim fate could be imagined.  Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds of the 422nd Infantry Regiment, a resident of Tennessee, was the ranking NCO at the camp and he was not going to allow the Nazis to murder some of his men.  He ordered every American in the camp to show up outside the barracks, and informed the astonished Commandant that they were all Jews.  The Commandant exclaimed that they could not all be Jews and took out his pistol.  Edmonds remained calm:  “According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes.”   The Commandant turned around and stalked off.  No further attempts were made by him to get his hands on the Jewish GIs.

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3 Responses to The Master Sergeant Was a Modest Hero

  • Heroism is incredible, a supernatural outpouring of the divine from within our depths. An invisible sharing of the ultimate gift reflected from the sacrifice or Christ’s Holy Cross. I’m always in awe of these great moments and the men, women and children who cross these thresholds as though they are immortal. You can kill my body but you can’t harm my soul.

    The prisoners of war may have viewed their surroundings as a valley of death. They may have recalled the truth that Christ conquered death. Their moment of truth might be captured in this psalm; “For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 Douay-Rheams.

  • This story does not surprise me either. That kind of modesty seems to have been common among WWII veterans. My father earned two Bronze Stars and never told me, my brother, or our mom exactly what he did to earn them. I found out after his death that Bronze Stars were and still are sometimes awarded for overall extraordinary performance in combat and not necessarily for a particular act of heroism — so it’s quite possible that he didn’t know what he’d done to merit those medals other than simply “doing his job”.

  • WONDERFUL!! affirmation that we can all make a difference. Especially this time of year ….. What a man Mr. Edmonds must have been to have as a neighbor

One Response to December 11, 1941: Germany Declares War on the US

Pearl Harbor: 1945

Monday, December 7, AD 2015

Seventy years ago the nation remembered Pearl Harbor for the first time in peace time.  Japan was now conquered, our troops occupying it.  Pearl Harbor had been avenged many fold.  It would perhaps have seemed that it was time to relegate the Pearl Harbor attack to the pages of History, but such has not been the case.  Spurred on by the families of the men who were murdered that day in the sneak attack, Pearl Harbor has been remembered each year.  As the World War II generation began passing from the scene, Congress passed on August 23, 1994 an act designating each December 7th as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  Only a handful of Pearl Harbor survivors remain with us, but still news stories, blog posts and other events mark the day and it is fitting that this is done.  The heroism of the Americans who fought at Pearl Harbor should be remembered, along with the terrible price that a nation can pay when it puts its guard down in the face of an aggressive would be adversary.

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To Rouse a Sleeping Giant

Monday, December 7, AD 2015


At the end of the epic movie Tora, Tora, Tora, (1970), Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the head of the combined Japanese fleet, after the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, refuses to join in the elation of his staff, and makes this haunting observation: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”  The line is almost certainly apocryphal.  The director of the film, Elmo Williams, claimed that Larry Forester, the film’s screenwriter, had found the line in a 1943 letter written by Yamamoto.   However, he has been unable to produce the letter, and there is no other evidence that such a letter exists.

However, there is no doubt that Yamamoto would fully have endorsed the sentiment that the line contained.  He had studied at Harvard in 1919-1921, and served two tours as a naval attache at the Japanese embassy in Washington DC.  He spoke fluent English, and his stays in the US had convinced him of that nation’s vast wealth and industrial power.  He had also developed a fondness for both America and Americans.

In the 1930’s Yamamoto spoke out against Japan allying with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, fearing that such an alliance would lead inevitably to a war with the US that Japan would lose.  He received frequent death threats as a result from fanatical Japanese nationalists.  These were not idle threats, as such nationalists did assassinate a fair number of Japanese politicians and military men during the Thirties who were against war with the US.  Yamamoto ignored the threats with studied contempt, viewing it as his duty to the Emperor and Japan to speak out against a disastrous course.  Yamamoto wrote in a letter to one nationalist:

Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it would not be enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians (who speak so lightly of a Japanese-American war) have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.

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2 Responses to A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

  • And so many now in citing this speech purposefully delete his words “so help us God.” These words are not part of the plaque remembering Peral Harbor at the National World War II Memorial. So help us God! Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • Yesterday was 7 December. TCM aired “They Were Expendable” and Air” Force.” Being retired (useless), I watched most of both outstanding movies. John Wayne recited the last stanza of R. L. Stephensons’ “Requiem.”
    “This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
    Here he lies where he long’d to be;
    Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.”

    Otherwise, I thought media outlets failed to appropriately note or remember the date.

    It’s 8 Dec, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.”

Patton’s Weather Prayer

Friday, December 4, AD 2015



“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”

The famous “weather prayer” of General Patton was written by a Catholic Chaplain, Colonel James H. O’Neill.  Here is his article on the incident written in 1950.

Patton was an interesting mixture of contradictions in his spiritual life.  Foul mouthed even by the standards of an army known for profanity, and much too fond of war for a Christian, he also read the Bible and prayed each day.  A firm Episcopalian, yet he also firmly believed in reincarnation.    While in command in Sicily he began attending mass, initially largely for political reasons to build a bridge to the Catholic population, but then found that he enjoyed worshipping at mass.  He believed firmly in God and did not think that He stood aloof when men were fighting against one of the most evil regimes ever devised by Fallen Man.

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November 20, 1945: Nuremberg Trials Get Underway

Friday, November 20, AD 2015

“But the most interesting — although horrible — sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda’.”

General Eisenhower letter to General George Marshall 4/15/45

The Nuremberg Trials got under way seventy years ago today.  One may cavil at some of the procedures used during the trials and the presence of Soviet judges and prosecutors at the trial, but no decent human being can ever claim that the crimes committed by the leaders of the Third Reich, in Eisenhower’s phrase, beggar description.  The video at the beginning of this post consists of film shot by the Army Signal Corps, at Eisenhower’s order, of the Nazi death camps and was admitted into evidence at the Nuremberg trial.  It makes for grim viewing, but the reality it reflected must never be forgotten.

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In re Yamashita

Thursday, November 19, AD 2015

As I said in the Manila Supreme Court that I have done with my all capacity, so I don’t ashame in front of the gods for what I have done when I have died. But if you say to me ‘you do not have any ability to command the Japanese Army’ I should say nothing for it, because it is my own nature. Now, our war criminal trial going under your kindness and right. I know that all your American and American military affairs always has tolerant and rightful judgment. When I have been investigated in Manila court I have had a good treatment, kindful attitude from your good natured officers who protected me all the time. I never forget for what they have done for me even if I had died. I don’t blame my executioner. I’ll pray the gods bless them. Please send my thankful word to Col. Clarke and Lt. Col. Feldhaus, Lt. Col. Hendrix, Maj. Guy, Capt. Sandburg, Capt. Reel, at Manila court, and Col. Arnard. I thank you.

Yamashita’ s last statement, through a translator, on the gallows.  February 23, 1946

General Tomoyuki Yamashita won early fame in World War II by leading the conquest of Malaya.  With inferior forces he decisively defeated the British and earned the popular title of Tiger of Malaya.  Troops under his command did engage in massacres and looting, but Yamashita, unlike most Japanese commanders, severely punished the troops involved, up to and including execution of the guilty.  His humane attitude towards prisoners placed him at odds with the Japanese government, and he spent much of the war in virtual exile in Manchukuo commanding the First Area Army.  Worsening Japanese military fortunes caused him to be placed in command of the Philippines, ten days before MacArthur and his army returned.  Yamashita conducted a skillful defense of the Philippines, marred by massive atrocities against civilians in Manila.  It must be noted that Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi commanded the forces defending in Manila.  Yamashita had ordered the evacuation of Manila which Iwabuchi disobeyed, just as his men disobeyed Yamashita’s standing orders against ill treatment of civilians.

Yamashita was put on trial for war crimes in Manila from October 29, 1945-December 7, 1945 by an American military tribunal.  The principal accusation was that he had failed to keep his troops in the Philippines under control and that as a result he was responsible for their crimes.  This was a novel theory of criminal responsibility either under American military or civilian jurisprudence as his military defense counsel pointed out time and again.  Yamashita was impressed by the dedication and zeal of his defense counsel and stated several times that his respect for the United States had been reaffirmed by their efforts.

Behind the scenes MacArthur expressed impatience at the length of the trial, clearly wanting a quick guilty verdict.  When Yamashita was found guilty and sentenced to death, he swiftly affirmed the verdict and sentence when it was appealed to him.  Yamashita’s defense team then appealed to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, In re Yamashita, 327 US 1, rejected the petitions for habeas corpus and writ of prohibition ruling:

It thus appears that the order convening the commission was a lawful order, that the commission was lawfully constituted, that petitioner was charged with violation of the law of war, and that the commission had authority to proceed with the trial, and, in doing so, did not violate any military, statutory, or constitutional command. We have considered, but find it unnecessary to discuss, other contentions which we find to be without merit. We therefore conclude that the detention of petitioner for trial and his detention upon his conviction, subject to the prescribed review by the military authorities, were lawful, and that the petition for certiorari, and leave to file in this Court petitions for writs of habeas corpus and prohibition should be, and they are


Justices Murphy and Rutledge wrote memorable dissents:

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5 Responses to In re Yamashita

  • So when push comes to shove, SCOTUS will decide wrongly.

  • What makes America unique in history; what made Her great in our time of advance leading the world, is the Rule of Law we embodied and cherished, based on our Constitutional system and our Bill of Rights.

    What is causing her downfall, (hopefully not Her dissolution), is the breakdown in that Rule of Law.

    When Law disconnects from the Lawgiver and attaches itself to the random vicissitudes of the will of the powerful, it is rendered meaningless. Lack of respect surely follows along with reduced willful participation and shared citizenship. All that is then left are the jackboots and the guns of the will-to-power and the fearful mind driving it all.

    This is an interesting example of the seeds of our future destruction; an icon of a growing cancer in our midst.

  • No nation is perfect. Ours has had numerous failures to abide by our Constitutional framework, from unjust treatment of Indians in the 18th century, to the initiation and conduct of war against states, abuse of military tribunals to railroad and execute Indians and people caught up in Lincoln’s assassination, and compelled, undemocratic Constitutional amendments in the 19th century, to interment of Japanese citizens and “war crime” tribunals in the 20th century, as documented in this post, up to and including the present lawlessness we see on the part of our government.

    And yet, we have the freedom and capacity to self-analyze, self-criticize, and (sometimes) self-correct that truly sets us apart from most countries in the history of the world.

  • In many countries, a transcript such as this would not see the light of day. From the remaining vestige of our founding principles, hope springs eternal. The rule of law is on its sickbed in America today but it is not dead. We must nourish it back to health with the medicine of truth. As to General Yamashita, he will fare better than his persecutors on judgment day.

  • An interesting fact from this post is that Justice Murphy is obviously unaware of Admiral Iwabuchi’s de facto mutiny against General Yamashita. His dissent would have been even more forceful had he acknowledged this fact, but he did not. One would guess that the defense team did not get an opportunity to make full use of this, perhaps due to a lack of a paper trail. Does anyone know if the trial transcripts are available online?

Thank You

Wednesday, November 11, AD 2015

(I originally ran this post back on Veteran’s Day 2010.  I have updated it and am running it again since the passage of time renders it more urgent.)

Time is doing what the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese could not do:  vanquishing our World War II generation.  The youngest American veteran of that conflict would now be 88, and in the next fifteen years or so they will all be in eternity.  Time now to express our heartfelt gratitude for what they accomplished for the country.  They have been called the greatest generation.  I am sure that most of them would reject that title, maybe putting in a vote for the generation that won the American Revolution or the generation that fought the Civil War.  Modesty has been a hallmark of their generation.  When I was growing up in the Sixties, most of them were relatively young men in their late thirties or forties.  If you asked them about the war they would talk about it but they would rarely bring it up.  They took their service for granted as a part of their lives and nothing special.   So those of us who knew them often took it for granted too.  Uncle Chuck, he works at the Cereal Mills, and, oh yeah, he fought in the Pacific as a Marine.  Uncle Bill, he has a great sense of humor and I think he was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered to MacArthur.  When they talked about the war it was usually some humorous anecdote, often with some self-deprecating point.  They’d talk about some of the sad stuff too, but you could tell that a lot of that was pretty painful for them, so you didn’t press them.  They were just husbands and fathers, uncles and cousins.  The fact that the janitor at the school won a silver star on Saipan, or  the mayor of the town still walked with a limp from being shot on D-Day, was just a normal part of life, like going to school or delivering papers.

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5 Responses to Thank You

  • My Great Uncle Mike fought in D Day and the Battle of the Bulge. He died in 1981. My dad told stories of the things he sent home, like German medals and marks.

    Today is also Polish Independence Day, the 97th anniversary of the resounding of the Republic. Sto Lat!

  • Greet them ever with grateful hearts.
    All my WWII men have passed to glory.
    I grew up with these men. When I was young, I only knew they were strong, good men who dandled their children. They didn’t speak of the war Uncle John was with the Big Red One from North Africa to the end in Germany or Czechoslovakia. Uncle Tom was with the tanks/Patton, etc. in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy up to the Po Valley. They saw way too much. The only thing I ever heard (late in life) from John was that the men wanted to get into Berlin at the end. Tom said very little. He was very kind and sort of a recluse, except with his nephews and nieces. He helped me a ton, especially with school work. He would send me letters when I was in. Of course, we didn’t know about post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Had a brake job done this morning, and the guy next to me in the waiting room was 90 – he looked 20 years younger. Turned out he was on the USS Niblack DD-424 during WW2. We had quite a nice chat. Wonderful man. Yes, thank you all.

  • My favorite picture of my paternal grandparents is of them sitting on a sofa with the portraits of their four sons and a daughter-in-law, all in uniform, on the wall behind them. Uncle Dick, my dad Larry, Uncle Bill, Uncle Howell and his wife Aunt Florence were all Army/Army Air Corps and served in the European and North African theaters. When we were in Europe my dad made sure my brother and I visited the British air bases, Normandy beaches, Anzio, Monte Cassino, etc. and the US cemeteries from WWI and II. At family get togethers they never spoke in front of the kids of their war time experiences. That generation is gone now and I wish that I had asked more questions. Something must have sunk in because my brother and I and three cousins served in the navy. Most of Veteran’s Day we had the TV turned to Victory At Sea. We’ve seen every espisode many times, but are still in awe of the bravery and sacrifices made by that generation. This week a friend and his son stayed with us on their annual deer hunting trip. Over beer and tacos on the 10th the USMCR sgt son recounted his experiences on the Horn of Africa as part of an international force against Boko Haram and other Islamic terrorists. God bless and protect our servicemen in harms way.

Hero Priest of Guam

Wednesday, September 2, AD 2015

Father Jesus

Eighth of December 1941
People went crazy
Right here in Guam.
Oh, Mr. Sam, Sam
My dear Uncle Sam,
Won’t you please
Come back to Guam.

Resistance song sung by the people of Guam during World War II

Acquired by the US pursuant to the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War in 1898, by the time of the Japanese invasion of Guam in 1941, the people of Guam, Chamorros, were largely pro-American, enjoying prosperity under American rule.  Thus they were hostile to the Japanese invasion of Guam which occurred in December 1941.  The Japanese occupation was brutal, murdering 1000 of the 20,000 people of Guam.

Devout Catholics, the people of Guam looked to the Church in this dark hour, and they did not look in vain.  The head of the Church in Guam was a young priest, Father Jesus Baza Duenas, the second Chamorro to be ordained a priest.  He became the head of the Church when Bishop Miguel Olano was taken away as a prisoner of war by the Japanese.  The Bishop’s parting instruction to Father Duenas was that he defend the Chamorros from the Japanese.  He was an untiring advocate of his people with the Japanese military, fearlessly demanding food and shelter for the many people displaced by the Japanese invasion.  At the same time he instructed his people not to cooperate with the Japanese, telling them that the Americans would be back some day and drive the Japanese out.  He knew about the six Americans who had initially escaped Japanese capture, including sailor George Tweed who would be the only one of the six to survive and evade capture successfully until the liberation of Guam, and who radioed information about the Japanese defenses to the Navy, and that members of his flock were risking their lives, and always paid with their lives when caught by the Japanese, to help the Americans.  Father Duenas refused to give any information about any of this to the Japanese although often questioned by Japanese officers.

Father Duenas was looked upon by the people of Guam as a hero, riding upon his white horse around the island to say mass in remote areas, and to conduct marriages, baptisms and funerals.  To attempt to lessen his influence, the Japanese imported two Japanese Catholic priests, which had absolutely no impact on the esteem in which the people of Guam held their priest.  In frustration, the Japanese would often literally hold a gun to the head of Father Duenas as he said mass, and beat him periodically in public.  This only certified his hero status  and increased his influence among his people, to the rage of the Japanese.

On July 8, 1944, with the liberation of Guam coming close, Father Duenas and his nephew, Attorney Eduardo Duenas, were arrested by the Japanese.  Tortured, they refused to give up information about the whereabouts of George Tweed.  Father Duenas when questioned said that he answered only to God and that the Japanese were not God.  Father Duenas was offered a chance to escape by some of his people who got a message to him.  He refused, saying:  “You must know what would happen to our families if we escape. I’m positive the Japanese will retaliate against them. Go look after you families. God will look after me. I have done no wrong.”

As the sun rose on July 12, 1944, just nine days before the American marines and soldiers stormed ashore on Guam, a date known as the holiday Liberation Day ever since on Guam, Father Duenas and his nephew were beheaded.  Father Duenas was thirty years old.

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10 Responses to Hero Priest of Guam

  • Those many Western Pacific territories (including the Philippines) won in the Spanish-American War were blessed, having been first gifted by Spain the faith of the Catholic Church.
    It is a faith that to this day stands tall against those who loathe Christianity. In fact, it is a faith that shines more purer and stronger than that in many far more wealthy places in America and even Rome.

  • Question: How many Americans know Guam is part of the United States?
    Answer: Not nearly as many Americans as those who slavishly follow the Kardashians or Bruce Jenner or read celebrity magazines.

    I never knew of this holy priest. He died the death of a martyr at the hands of a most cruel and barbaric empire. This post should be repeated next August 6th and 9th.

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  • As I type with misty eyes, thank you.

  • Donald, I served with the US Air Force on Guam from 84-87. Was familiar with the story of Father Duenas, but had not thought about him in the last 30 years. Thanks for sharing this story and reminding me again of the sacrifices he went through caring for his flock under the brutal Japanese occupation. Indeed paying the ultimate sacrifice.

  • I was a marine during the Vietnam war and knew some Guamanians. A friend of mine was GySgt Sing, a true patriot. I learned later that more Guamanians, who served in the United States Military, during the Vietnam War and were killed per capita than any state in the United States. Håfa adai! meaning hello and Si Yu’us ma’ase meaning thank you, is about my extent of the language I learned there. I was lucky enough to have visited the Island and see some of it’s beautiful sights, such as Talofofo Falls.

  • I just want to say that the Chamorro people may have been pro-American, but they kind of disliked their rule, but preferred it over the Spanish. We were essentially a colony to the US. We had no rights and most of our land was taken from us by the military. At one point in time the military controlled around 2/3 of the land. It wasn’t until years after WWII for the people of Guam to have an Organic Act that granted some rights. We are still on a quest to gain more rights. Look up John Oliver’a US territories video on YouTube to see how bad it is for the territories. There are many that belive that Guam is “America’s last colony.”

  • The Organic Act CJ was in 1950. With American citizenship, also granted in 1950, Chamorros had the right to come to the United States, a right many of them have utilized. With the small population of Guam there is no way Guam is ever going to be a state. Independence for Guam has never had much support in Guam. I assume that commonwealth status like that of Puerto Rico might eventually be an option over Guam’s current territorial status, but that has pluses and minuses.

  • Sometime ago I read that, before the Japanese invasion, the American military authority stationed on Guam asked for about $5 million worth of assistance to counter the expected invasion. Had they received it, the marines stationed there might have held on until much greater help arrived.

  • Guam should be thankful it is not like Puerto Rico. Administration is in the hand of the locals who retained the worst of Spanish customs and adopted the even worse of the mainland. I would also note that CJ is a distinct minority. I worked in the Philippines and Guam was part of our operational area. Most Chamorros were quite satisfied with the arrangement given the employment opportunities and US citizenship. When they were offered status change at the end of the 20th Century, they opted to remain with the US. Strangely enough, even after the brutal Japanese occupation, they are welcomed as tourists today and are responsible for much of the development on the island.

August 15, 1945: The Voice of the Crane

Saturday, August 15, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  Kimigayo, the Japanese national anthem.

And so World War II ended with the people of Japan standing at attention or bowing as they heard their Emperor tell them, in a classical Japanese that most of them probably found hard to follow, that it was time to endure the unendurable:


After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which lies close to Our heart.

Indeed, We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone – the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people – the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to Our Allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire towards the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains Our heart night and day.

The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood, are the objects of Our profound solicitude.

The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.

Having been able to safeguard and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, We are always with you, Our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention and strife which may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishability of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibility, and of the long road before it.

Unite your total strength, to be devoted to construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution – so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

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6 Responses to August 15, 1945: The Voice of the Crane

  • Let’s pray the “bloodiest war in human history,” will indeed come to an end.

    The 22nd of August, Queenship of Mary, is a day that those who can not fight for themselves will have prayer warriors standing in for them at the front lines.
    Over two hundred cities.
    Over two thousand American taxpayers pleading to Heaven to help us de-fund Worse than Murder Inc.

    Join in for an hour or two next Saturday, and help to end this ongoing war, the bloodiest in our Nation’s history.

  • Thanks for posting this Donald.
    When I first read this a few years ago, I was struck by the arrogance of the concession speech, as if it was their altruistic decision that terminated the war because of concern for the greater good.

    Iin researching for a book I wrote on the war years back, I concluded that God did draw good from all this evil, since it terminated a centuries old warrior mentality that might well have taken many more lives than those lost in the war had it been victorious.
    Two concepts of man, I realized, were at play—the dignity of man is found in humility not honor that comes from abusing other people. They killed their own dishonored and captured prisoners, we risked death to save our prisoners.

    War, nukes included, is a heck of a way to bring about peace. Let’s hope that the Judeo-Christian world’s present enemies don’t take us to the brink of disaster over their “destruction of other human life is good” mentality.

  • Don Mc- is this your writing? ‘As a piece of political mendacity, replete with lie after lie, it has few equals, but it served its purpose: Japan would surrender and the bloodiest war in human history was finally at an end.

    makes me think of jn8:44

  • There was a saying I picked up from someone who used to work in DC, as I used to – “Close enough for government work”.

    The statement was certainly arrogant, but it was close enough to get the job done.

  • “As a piece of political mendacity, replete with lie after lie, it has few equals, but it served its purpose: Japan would surrender and the bloodiest war in human history was finally at an end.”
    After reading the ignorance of “good and loyal subjects and servants of the Imperial State”, “subjects and servants of the state”? Free will, sovereign personhood? and he talked about human civilization. Japan had coveted Hawaii as a steppingstone to invade the U.S.A forever. I was upset when I read the speech until I read you response; “replete with lie after lie” Thank you. Donald McClarey

August 14, 1945: Surrender and a Coup Attempt

Friday, August 14, AD 2015



Allied bombers had been used on August 13, 1945 dropping leaflets over Japan which described, in Japanese, the surrender offer and the Allied response.  On August 14, 1945 met with his military leaders, several of whom spoke in favor of continuing the War.  Hirohito urged them to help him bring the War to an end.  Meeting then with the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War and heard out those who recommended a rejection of the Allied offer unless there was a guarantee that the Emperor would continue to reign.  Hirohito then spoke:

I have listened carefully to each of the arguments presented in opposition to the view that Japan should accept the Allied reply as it stands and without further clarification or modification, but my own thoughts have not undergone any change. … In order that the people may know my decision, I request you to prepare at once an imperial rescript so that I may broadcast to the nation. Finally, I call upon each and every one of you to exert himself to the utmost so that we may meet the trying days which lie ahead.

In normal times in Japan that would have been that.  It was quite rare for the Emperor to so overtly intervene in a decision of the government, indeed it was forbidden under the then current Japanese constitution, but when he did, it would have literally been unthinkable for any Japanese not to instantly obey.  However, these were far from normal times.

The rest of the day was taken up with Hirohito preparing an address to his people and having a recording played to be broadcast on August 15, 1945.  Washington was advised that Japan had surrendered via the Japanese embassies in Switzerland and Sweden and the Allied world went wild with joy.

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14 Responses to August 14, 1945: Surrender and a Coup Attempt

  • And all along I thought they settled all this in Tokyo by playing the Japanese version of paper, rock, scissors…..

    Seriously though, I had heard that the Emperor did not speak much because he had a high falsetto voice. Anyone know about this?

  • Hirohito was an extremely shy man, but it was not the tradition in Japan for the Emperor to play an overt role in Japanese politics, since as a “living god” he was considered to be far above earthly affairs. Behind the scenes was another matter, and Hirohito was a consummate behind the scenes operator.

  • Which might explain why our WWII posters of the Axis powers seemed to feature Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo.

  • Hirohito approved (or so I read) the pearl Harbor attack. He was as guilty of that exercise ans any Japanese who actually committed the attack.

  • yep!! and G. HERBERT WALKER Bush led the american delegation to honor this war criminal. He should have put on his old pilots leather cap and flown the Enola Gay into
    tokyo rather than honoring this criminal.

    E.G. at the end of june 44, after the battle of saipan, Showa issued his first communication
    encouraging Japanese to committ suicide! the famous Banzaii cliffs…. And we as a people honored him ……..? or is it that Bush paid homage to the #1 growing economy in the world at the time.

  • Please. Hirohito received the diplomatic courtesies due the head of state of a friendly power. MacArthur made the call long ago on that point, and it was a good call. Hirohito’s execution was not worth a Japan constantly in revolt during the American occupation, and everlasting enmity thereafter.

  • please back – – MacArthurs decision is not the question – diplomatic courtesies do not necessarily extend to ‘friendly’ heads of state – especially the POTUS attending ….Thatcher ? -Franco
    that man was a homicidal criminal mass murderer and should have been dealt with as such. I’m quite sure MAc put him in his place where he belonged more than a few times, as MAC did the russians.
    We should have sent Dan Quayle to show our tTRUE level of appreciation for the Showa …

  • “Diplomatic courtesies do not necessarily extend to ‘friendly’ heads of state – especially the POTUS attending”

    Usually they do. For example, Ike visited Franco in Spain. I am not sure why you tossed Thatcher into the mix.

  • ike did not attend his memorial service – nelson rockefeller did- i chose thatcher cause
    the U.S. presidential delegation to her send off was led by former secretaries of state George Schultz and James Baker had kissinger and cheney along. NO OBAMA….

    my memory was telling me it is a high[er] diplomatic honor to have the POTUS physically at one of these type memorial events. that was the thinking…. but that was when we had real men in US politics- Dirksen, Johnson, Reagan …….and the POTUS was a dignified office of some moral suasaion. then there is Will. Jeffereson clinton and Presidue……

  • “NO OBAMA….”

    That tasteless bit of theater was due to his pose to hate the Brits because of his father and particularly Thatcher who he viewed as not only a Brit but an ideological foe. As usual with Obama’s actions, a wise President will do otherwise.

  • without saying, my comment was predicated on cultured,at least externally moral humans occupying the top office. That excludes Barry, William Jefferson and perhaps both bush’s……see Herbert Walker.

    But the point stands- to have the POTUS attend personally add’s a level of significance and dignity to the event…..previous comment NOT withstanding. No POTUS should have ever attended the burial of a war criminal,[ recall Reagan and the SS cemetery] especially one as vulgar and base as the SHOWA . Who went to UNCLE JOE”S [ the ex seminarian’s ] internment? … oh, that’s right…he was a head of state but by that time RECOGNIZED as not a friendly. FDR would have gone- IKE did not.

  • Mr. Coffey,

    Hirohito wasn’t the only WWII villain to escape justice. The US government ran Operation Paper Clip, the plan to get German scientists out of Germany and working for the USA, even if they belonged to the SS, a condition that ordinarily barred entry to the US. Von Braun wasn’t a nice man working for the Nazi dictatorship but the US took him in because he could not be allowed to work for Stalin. As I remember it, von Braun was in the SS. There was the Japanese head of chemical and biological warfare who plea bargained his way to freedom in exchange for what he knew.

    So Hirohito stayed. The man is dead and has faced God’s judgment.

  • I am failing to communicate [ the Captain to Luke] I never broached that others have escaped justice. what a slippery slope that is for our beloved church.

    the issue i raised a long way back was with the POTUS attending the funeral albeit a state function of a WAR CRIMINAL [with the further clarification that the occupier of the office attempts to maintain the dignity of same via his actions and demeanor] . G.W. [the great ]would only slightly bow , more a nod, toward other state officials, he felt it beneath the dignity of the Office to shake hands with them.

    e.g. there is more to the sedia gestatoria than just a free ride. Dignity of office. And yes , let Showa rest in peace. but not too soon.

Father Barron and the Bomb

Thursday, August 13, AD 2015

Here is a guest post by Greg Mockeridge:


It should go without saying that readers of TAC are familiar with the work of Fr. (soon to be bishop) Barron. His presence on You Tube is ubiquitous. He has also produced the Catholicism series, featured not only on Catholic media outlets like EWTN, but also on secular outlets like Pbs. In and of themselves, using outlets such as these to get the message of the Church out are commendable. And certainly Fr. Barron has done some good work along these lines and has earned a rather immense popularity as a result. Again, in and of itself, being popular is not a bad thing. But popularity can be just as dangerous in Catholic circles as in secular circles. In fact, I would say it is even more dangerous in Catholic circles than secular, given that it is done under the aegis of Catholic orthodoxy.

Any honest Catholic who has paid attention to what has gone on in popular orthodox Catholic circles cannot deny that there are serious problems with the way many Catholics, clergy and lay alike, prominent in orthodox circles have conducted themselves over at least the last decade. For example, we have seen the mean spirited and calumnious treatment by Mark Shea of those, Catholic and non-Catholic, who take views on geopolitical matters that conflict with his. It doesn’t matter to Shea that such views are both consistent with Catholic teaching and factually compelling. Even worse is the manner with which bishops like Archbishops Chaput and Cordileone speak on matters such as capital punishment, going to the extreme of falsely asserting that the death penalty system is administered in a racist manner against minorities. We have also seen Cardinal Timothy Dolan engage in race baiting calumny against the state of Arizona over SB 1070, which allows, pursuant to what has been federal law since 1940, for local law enforcement to inquire about the immigration status of those they have reason to believe are in the country illegally. We also have the scandal of the USCCB, in their annual Fortnight for Freedom campaign, listing certain state immigration laws as violations of religious liberty equal to that of the Obama Goonsquad (err Administration) forcing employers to provide coverage for contraception in their health insurance plans, despite conscience objections baed on religious conviction. Equating these two things cannot by justified by any stretch of the Catholic imagination.
Although I wouldn’t say Fr. Barron has gone to the lengths of the examples listed above, he is not without his serious problems. I first saw problems with Fr Barron when he gave a glowing review of Ross Douthat’s book Bad Religion. This book was bad in its own right, bad research methodology and some bad religion of its own. Douthat nakedly  misrepresents Catholic teaching with regard to socio-economics as well as misrepresenting Michael Novak. Douthat’s portrayal of the torture issue is no different in substance than that of Mark Shea, sans the snark. How any respectable orthodox Catholic, much less one who is an influential cleric, can give a glowing review of such a dishonest piece of work is beyond baffling.
Then Fr. Barron, in this article for the National Review of all publications, draws parallels between the anti-Catholic sentiment of many of the American Founding Fathers and the pro-abortion movement of today. To be sure, many of our founders did harbor anti-Catholic sentiment, but to draw the parallels Fr. Barron did is not only without merit, but downright appalling. No such parallels are anywhere close to existent. I would say that the pro-abortion movement is not anti-Catholic as an end in itself, but sees Catholic opposition to abortion as a threat. In fact, these very same people are very favorable to the elements of Catholicism they think comports with their “social justice” worldview and often invoke it in an attempt to buttress their views.
So, it should be of no surprise that when Fr. Barron deals with an issue like the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (the 70th Anniversary of which passed a few days ago), his analysis would be woefully devoid of Catholic moral principles and a real good faith attempt to accurately present the circumstances within which President Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bombs.
Recently, I came across a video he did last year where he deals with the subject. In it, he confirms that hunch. And in the same manner he juxtaposes the anti-Catholic sentiment of our Founders with the pro-abortion movement of today, he does the same with drawing parallels with support for the bomb drops with rejecting Catholic sexual teaching. First of all, his assertion that “very few” wars in human history were just vis-a-vis Catholic moral teaching is a matter of opinion, namely his, not of fact. He repeatedly says “clearly” that things like carpet bombings as well as the atomic bombings did not comport with the principle of proportionality. Well, clearly, he is either ignorant of the circumstances within which these actions were taken or he is counting on the ignorance of his viewers. And, unfortunately, counting on the ignorance of many orthodox Catholics on issues like this is a well-founded assumption. Proportionality has do with the bad effect being avoided being greater than the bad effect inflicted. And in the cases he discusses, especially with regard to the atomic bombings, the case for the principle of proportionality being met is compelling. I would say it is incontrovertible. He says nothing about the principle of double effect and how it may apply to this situation.

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37 Responses to Father Barron and the Bomb

  • Great article. Fortunately for me, I have such an abrasive personality that the problem of the world liking me is very remote.

  • What a terrible analysis. I gather it makes you feel good to think that the American experiment has been a Catholic project since the beginning. You are suffering from a bad case of Americanism– a heresy diagnosed by Pope Leo XIII in 1899 –and today is more virulent than ever. , The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not a close moral case. The problem is consequentialism –a moral heresy that since that day has become the most popular moral heresy in the postmodern world. It has been condemned by every pope since it happened and ever major Catholic theologian including Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen who, along with many others, believed that Hiroshima was far more than just a military /political operation (as you wish to analyze it) but a singular event that resulted in the moral chaos which gave rise to the Sexual Revolution and the Culture of Death.

  • “You are suffering from a bad case of Americanism”

    Ah, Americanism, the phantom heresy!

    Gibbons was on good terms with both Pope Leo, who gave him his cardinal’s cap, and Pope Pius of whom he wrote a biography. Americanism was an imaginary heresy, largely the result of Pope Leo XIII being ill-informed about conditions in America and paying too much heed to idiots among American clerics who delighted in attempting to stir up trouble over nothing. Modernism was a real enough heresy, although Pope Pius tended to throw the baby out with the bath water and completely orthodox Catholic scholars suffered along with complete heretics.

    Cardinal Gibbons and the rest of the American heirarchy responded that no one among them taught these propositions that were condemned:

    1.undue insistence on interior initiative in the spiritual life, as leading to disobedience
    2.attacks on religious vows, and disparagement of the value of religious orders in the modern world
    3.minimizing Catholic doctrine
    4.minimizing the importance of spiritual direction

    They were really scratching their heads on this one and had a hard time figuring out why the Pope was concerned with a non-problem in this country.

    This tempest in a papal tea pot had more to do with the French Church. A biography of Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists and now a Servant of God, was mistranslated into French and portrayed Father Hecker as some sort of flaming radical which he was not. This book became popular among liberal Catholics in France. As usual the relationship
    between the French Church and the Vatican was turbulent at this time. Pope Leo XIII’s concern about “Americanism” could have better been labeled a concern about “Frenchism”. Purportedly Leo XIII was reluctant to attack the Church in America, which he had often praised, and made his rebuke of “Americanism” as soft as possible.

    “We having thought it fitting, beloved son, in view of your high office, that this letter should be addressed specially to you. It will also be our care to see that copies are sent to the bishops of the United States, testifying again that love by which we embrace your whole country, a country which in past times has done so much for the cause of religion, and which will by the Divine assistance continue to do still greater things. To you, and to all the faithful of America, we grant most lovingly, as a pledge of Divine assistance, our apostolic benediction.”

    The statements of loyalty from the American heirarchy were sufficient for the Pope and “Americanism” vanished from history as quickly as it appeared.

  • “The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not a close moral case.”

    Agreed. It was clearly the best of the bad options Truman confronted.

    “It has been condemned by every pope since it happened and ever major Catholic theologian”

    Incorrect on both counts.

    “but a singular event that resulted in the moral chaos which gave rise to the Sexual Revolution and the Culture of Death.”

    One of the sillier things that Bishop Sheen said, for which there is bupkis evidence. By the way Becky, did you know that both Bishop Sheen and the Popes supported nuclear deterrence during the Cold War? Nuclear deterrence only worked because of the certainty that if we were attacked by the Soviet Union or China with nuclear weapons, we would unleash nuclear weapons on their cities that would make the atom bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like firecrackers. This is a much more complicated area than you conceive of, and deserves far more thought than your cut and paste diatribe that you have used several times on this blog.

  • Thank you for posting this article. It contains thoughts I’ve had for quite some time. I am continually amazed how so-called orthodox Catholics periodically leave logic and reason behind, and frequently the truth, then tell me my contrary view is not Catholic. It’s almost as though they are trying to maintain their credibility/popularity with the left. Mr. Mockeridge lists several of the usual suspects, but sadly, there are quite a few more.

  • Chances are, 99.99% of the time those questioning the merits and positions of Fr. Barron had best re-calibrate themselves.

  • Fr.Barron, in spite of his perceived conservative orthodoxy, is a liberal. He has publically taught Adam and Eve aren’t historical figures. He’s also against the death penalty. So, his stand on the Bomb shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has taken the time to understand what he really believes.

  • “Chances are, 99.99% of the time those questioning the merits and positions of Fr. Barron had best re-calibrate themselves.”

    I remember visiting a center of Opus Dei once. They were debating the morality of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most felt it immoral but there were two who offered very cogent arguments on why they were. These individuals weren’t equated with those rejecting the sexual teaching of the Church. The group held that the Church had not definitively judged the bombings and that there was legitimate freedom in disagreeing.

    Perhaps Opus Dei is now a heretical sect. Or perhaps there is room to licitly disagree.

  • Wow, this article is a mish-mash. Ad hominem attacks against Fr. Barron (with whom I disagree about much, including my strong area of interest, capital punishment). Misapplication of the principle of double effect, the first requirement of which is that the act to be done must be good in itself or at least morally indifferent– dropping atomic bombs on civilians is not “good” or “morally indifferent” so double effect does not even apply. And throwing up counterfactual historical theories such as the laughable army of women, old men, and children that would supposedly have faced American troops. The Japanese could not even clothe these “troops” much less train or arm them. In any event, if they would have engaged our military, their deaths would not be morally attributable to our actions, but to their own and their government’s.

    This is yet another weak attempt to evade the clear teaching of Veritatis Splendor and Pope Saint John Paul II’s condemnation of the primary error in moral reasoning in our time, that of consequentialism, the idea that avoiding some perceived evil or attaining some great good justifies the direct commission of an immoral act.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not populated by the laughable militia we’ve now seen several references to… they were civilian populations with minimal military significance. Their destruction was not intended to advance a military goal, but simply to terrorize the Japanese government into surrender by the threat of further mass killing of civilians.

    That this direct, deliberate killing of tens of thousands of civilians, including women, children, the elderly, might have averted the need for an invasion of Japan, does not justify it according to traditional Catholic moral principles.

    I have seen no argument yet that does not run afoul of either Veritatis Splendor’s condemnation of consequentialism, or of the clear magisterial condemnation of the use of nuclear weapons:

    Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons—especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons—to commit such crimes. (CCC 2314; cf. Gaudium et Spes 80)

  • What a terrible analysis. I gather it makes you feel good to think that the American experiment has been a Catholic project since the beginning.
    The modern method [of argumentation] is to assume without discussion that [your opponent] is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it Bulverism. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father — who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third — ‘Oh you say that because you are a man.’ ‘At that moment’, E. Bulver assures us, ‘there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.’ That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth [and Twenty-First] Century.

    –C. S. Lewis, “Bulverism,” in God in the Dock, p. 273

  • Fr. Jone’s conclusion, by the way, is not a vindication of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is theoretically possible that the use of the bombs on a purely military target, for instance, an island like Iwo Jima which had been totally occupied by enemy troops, would be justified.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not significant military targets, but even if they had been, the presence of tens of thousands of civilians would violate Fr. Jone’s restriction of use of these weapons to military targets only.

    At any rate, the bombings were not a military necessity, but a perceived political one. Don’t take my word for it, if you’re interested in the views of actual military experts (not merely bloggers), check out what George Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, William Leahy, Chester Nimitz, and Curtis LeMay said about the bombings, here:

    No group of suspicious Catholic libruls there. But alas, even when military experts who were there and had far more intimate knowledge than any one in a combox could possibly have, it will not convince those who do not wish to be convinced, since maybe they’d have to admit that Truman made a poor choice.

  • Never thought to much of Father Barron since he said he didn’t know if hell really existed. I don’t guess he’s read the Bible.

  • , doesn’t sound like the Fr. Barron others are seeing. Comments like that are much the problem here. You mistake the “existence” of a place with the knowledge that it’s “populated”. The church has always said “yes” and “don’t know”.

  • Tom: On capital punishment, the death penalty, ordained and consecrated men and women are to serve God through the Catholic Church. Ordained priests, all priests are above the secular world of the state. Read John Henry Cardinal Newman on capital punishment and the duty and power of the state. It is among the most beautiful language, I have ever read. This is for Father Barron too. Being completely computer ignorant, I cannot supply a link.
    On the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. First, I was alive at the time, being 73 years old now, People were exhausted, Rosie the Riveter, Uncle Sam, there was no more left in the American people fighting the war on two fronts. There was no more left. (Lisa Mitner who had discovered nuclear fission refused to help build the bomb, her nephew did, Oppenhiemer was revealed to be a double agent for the USSR, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were gassed for treason and bloodguilt during war.) There was no more left. No one really knew much about the BOMB. The scientists themselves believed that the nuclear fission started would consume the atmosphere and all the earth with its inhabitants would perish. The Enola Gay was to drop the bomb on Tokyo, but Tokyo was too far away. The twin cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war production. After the war, many of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki toured the globe with their skin hanging off as though it was melted, as it was, and on TV, pretty much accused the USA of being an aggressor and a monster.
    The bomb brought the Japanese war back to Japan. No apologies necessary. If Japan had won the war and global dominance, Fr. Barron would probably not even be here. What would Hitler and Hirohito face off bring?
    Let me tell you about how Czar Nicholas II waged war. 9 to 15 soldiers were sent out onto the battlefield with one rifle. When the first soldier fell, the second soldier picked up the rifle, down the line. That is how war was fought without proper armaments. I have no doubt that the Japanese, who believed that their emperor was a god, would have fought to the death. The threat was real. The enemy was not to be trusted. If the bomb saved one American soldier it was moral and licit. Would that he be John Basilone of Raritan, N.J.

  • Father Barron did not say that hell is empty of souls. Father Barron said that we, as people, cannot know if a person has gone to hell, which is true, but let me add that souls in hell are never remembered, so, if anyone is wondering if a certain person is in hell, he probably is not, if he is in your memory. The torments of hell are unimaginable. To experience hell, even through another person’s experience of hell is unsustainable. The children at Fatima would have died upon seeing hell but for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s hand. The children saw the souls of the damned falling like snow into hell and asked for First Saturday Penitence. Father Barron is correct when he says that the fires of hell are the love and mercy of God as rejected by the sinner, as death fixes our relationship with God as unchangeable. Heaven is the Beatific Vision forever and forever and forever.

  • Every time the issue of the atomic bombs (and other issues like it) come up within the Catholic Media Complex, the term “consequentialism” gets passed around like a joint in a hippie commune.

    With regard to Gaudium et Spes, it doesn’t say anything like “even though the line between combatant and non-combatant has been erased”. And that is an essential element in any moral analysis of the bombings.

    Mr. Check’s analysis is some of the same tripe his predecessor at Catholic Answers, Karl Keating, put out a decade ago. In the words of Pete Townsend, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    Apparently, Chris Check has no problems with the death penalty, seeing as how he executes a whole slew of straw men.

    Anyone who understands the nature of the enemies we faced in WWII (Japan even more so than Germany) knows why the Allies were insistent on the unconditional surrender. It prevented WWIII, which would have occurred within about a decade after WWII if not sooner.

    I find Mr. Check’s article all the more painful because he was an artillery officer in the Marine Corps. And he has to know much of what he says is not true.

    Father of Seven, I agree with you. The list of bad actors is much longer than the list I provided. I didn’t want to get too far afield in my article. To give a thorough treatment of the problem would require a book.

  • This about the battle of Okinawa. While this is from Wikipedia and thus subject to error, one can see that there was already a fairly robust conscription of civilians including “middle school seniors.” The number conscripted represents about 10% of the estimated civilian population of Okinawa at the time. Ultimately almost 100,000 civilians died in the invasion.

    “The Japanese land campaign (mainly defensive) was conducted by the 67,000-strong (77,000 according to some sources) regular 32nd Army and some 9,000 Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) troops at Oroku naval base (only a few hundred of whom had been trained and equipped for ground combat), supported by 39,000 drafted local Ryukyuan people (including 24,000 hastily drafted rear militia called Boeitai and 15,000 non-uniformed laborers). In addition, 1,500 middle school senior boys organized into front-line-service ‘Iron and Blood Volunteer Units…'”

    More on the Boeitai:

    “The Boeitai was a Japanese “home guard” force of World War II. It was established by the War Ministry in June 1944 in response to the worsening war situation facing Japan, and initially comprised all reservists in the 20-40 age group including those who would not normally be liable for military service under the Japanese conscription system. The Imperial Japanese Army’s area armies had responsibility for raising and administering Boeitai units, and there was considerable variation in how these formations were structured and used. Boeitai units were established in the Japanese home islands, Okinawa, Korea and Formosa. Unlike regular Japanese Army soldiers, Boeitai personnel were not indoctrinated to fight to the death or consider themselves to be imperial subjects.

    “Around 20,000 local Boeitai conscripts were involved in the Battle of Okinawa during 1945, with most initially serving as labourers or in support roles but some augmenting frontline Army units. Most of the Okinawan Boeitai were teenagers or aged in their 30s and 40s. As the fighting continued, many of the support personnel were assigned to combat duties despite not being provided with any training for this role or effective weapons; some Boeitai personnel were ordered to conduct suicide missions in which they attempted to blow up tanks with satchel charges. In addition, several Okinawan Boeitai groups fought as partisans armed mainly with spears and grenades.”

    For those who were planning the invasion of Japan and considering the use of the bomb, the thought of a militarized Japanese population was a realistic expectation.

  • Tom:

    The mass conscription that turned the entire country of Japan into a military base was the very military objective (which was the word actually used) described by Fr. Jone. And there is nothing “laughable” about the massive bloodbath, made more bloody by the chaotic civilian involvement, that would have resulted from an invasion of mainland Japan.

  • Truman was a democrat. Enough said.
    “. . . At any rate, the bombings were not a military necessity . . .” Not sure about that.
    My opinion, to the extent that (fallen, fallible) civilian and military authorities were convinced that the bombs would quickly induce surrender, there would be both military necessity and purpose.
    Hiroshima, I believe, was the location of an army corps HQ. Hit the snake in the head. However, my target preferences would have been first Imperial Army HQ and then (if it was not a heap of radioactive ashes) Hirohito’s palace. That’d show millions of murderous fanatics that the Emperor is not god.
    Herein I’m channeling Curtis Lemay. If the shia mullahs both want the end of the world and the bomb, I suggest someone (Israel maybe ) detonate a demo model over the next mass meeting. Now, Obama and the rest of the western losers are acting like Chamberlain and Quisling on steroids.

  • I think its time to rename this blog, “The Americanist Dissenting Catholic.”

  • wj,

    I missed the arguments for the opinions you are disputing.

  • Why tamper with the title? To simply cast aspersions?
    Location identified.
    Religion identified.
    As to assent and dissent, there are reflections of morals guided by the faith taught carefully by our Lord, thanks be to God.

  • a dose of moral sanity from ed feser, philosopher and orthodox Catholic:

  • jpk,

    Ed Feser is a great philosopher. So he knows that killing the innocent, no matter what the reason, is wrong. He, contra many Catholics of disordered thinking, also defends the death penalty:

    I juxtapose these issues because he knows of double effect, he knows one can use lethal means to stop an aggressor and he would know to engage the arguments posted above rather than provide a bland comment.

  • Philip,

    IProf. Feser does reference the PDE in the combo box thread of the post I referenced above. He writes (August 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM) in response to another commentor:


    Yes, naturally (as a natural law theorist) I subscribe to PDE. But PDE doesn’t justify Nagasaki. It would do so only if the bombers were not trying to kill people who they knew to be innocent, but were instead trying to destroy munitions factories or some such thing, and the civilian deaths were a foreseen but unintended byproduct. But that is not what they were doing. They were, again, trying to kill the civilians.

    You might respond “But they were doing so only for the sake of ending the war sooner.” True, but irrelevant, and to think it is relevant evinces a misunderstanding of PDE. PDE doesn’t say “As long as your ultimate goal is OK, you can justify whatever means you need in order to achieve it.” The act of intentionally bombing thousands of innocent people is itself intrinsically immoral, and the reason you are doing it doesn’t change that. The act of intentionally bombing a city for the sake of destroying munitions factories is (according to PDE) a different act, even if you know civilians will die as a result, because killing the civilians is not part of the intention behind the action.

    Feser also agrees in another thread how bad the Japanese were, and how it is in consequence extremely difficult to stick to moral principles in the face of grave evil. The link to that thread is here:, and here is a relevant quote but the whole article and comment discussion is worth the read:

    Third, for that reason it is probably true that the atomic bombings saved many lives, both Allied and Japanese, that would have been lost in an invasion. It is also probably true that it saved the lives of POWs like Zamperini. Given Japan’s wicked “kill-all” policy of massacring POWs before they could be liberated – which had been carried out already many times in other parts of Japan’s empire – it is likely that only the abrupt end to the war the shock of the bombings made possible could have prevented the implementation of that policy in the home islands. Critics of the bombings should not pretend otherwise: If they hold (as they should) that we should never do what is intrinsically evil, regardless of the consequences, then they should admit that Hiroshima and Nagasaki force them to put their money where their mouths are, if any real-world example does.

    I agree that Prof. Feser is a great philosopher and a Catholic gentleman. That is why I’m thankful that he is out there providing sound reasoning consonant with the Catholic faith on such weighty issues. I certainly need all the help I can get.

  • But that does not address the question if a large part of the civilian population had been militarized.

  • As I said above, the term “consequentialism” gets passed around the Catholic Media Complex like a joint in a hippie commune. And Feser takes a nice long toke. Nowhere does he address the the issue of mass conscription that erased the line between combatant and non-combatant. Neither does Jimmy Akin. To do so would lay bare just how ridiculous their argument are.

  • Please give a principled response to Feser below:

    What matters is that any consequentialist must allow that it is at least in principle legitimate intentionally to kill the innocent for the sake of a “greater good.” And from the point of view of us reactionary, bigoted, unprogressive natural law theorists and Catholics, that is enough to make consequentialism a depraved doctrine. For it is never, never permissible to do what is intrinsically evil that good may come – not even if you’d feel much happier if you did it, not even if you’ve got some deeply ingrained tendency to want to do it, not even if it will shorten a war and save thousands of lives. Never.

  • “at least in principle legitimate intentionally to kill the innocent for the sake of a “greater good.””

    Actually the Church has allowed the killing of the innocent in War to serve a “greater good”. The Crusades would have been impossible if the innocent had an all embracing exemption from harm that critics of Mr. Truman think they should possess. What is being argued here, among other issues, are questions of intentionality, foreseeability and just how much of a target needs to have military applications before it is licit to bomb the target. All this of course is being debated in an atmosphere of the neo-Pacifism embraced by the Church since World War II, a new stance for the Church, probably the product of the very simple fact that contemporary popes no longer wage wars, unlike the vast majority of their predecessors. However, even with this neo-Pacifism the popes of the Cold War did endorse nuclear deterrence that rested on obliterating entire civilian populations in retaliation for a nuclear attack. I think this poses a problem for the Hiroshima critics that I have never seen them address.

  • The principled response is that I agree. There is no reason to commit evil so that good may come of it. However, you continue to miss the point.

    But yet we are allowed to go to war. The reason is (as with the death penalty) is that the state can use lethal force to defend itself and others. This has been consistent Church teaching. The discussion is, if the Japanese had de facto conscripted the majority of their population, then in fact the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were not bombings directly aimed at civilians but at regular and irregular (conscripted) military.

    Yes, there would still be civilians in those cities, but the Church has always accepted that there may be casualties among civilians if the intentions was to target the army (or militarily related targets) and not civilians, there was proportionate reason to do so and that the act did not proceed through the killing of civilians (the argument from PDE.) Thus, for example, the Church allowed besieging cities, knowing that there would be harm and death among civilians, in order to defeat an aggressor army.

    Here, now I will help you. The argument will now turn on two points. That the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had in fact been conscripted (at least in principle) and that their numbers were proportionate reason to use the bomb given the effects of the bomb that could be foreseen (the deaths of civilians.)

  • Gentlemen, thank you for your responses. I will think more on the issue.

  • First: Japan is guilty for the deaths of all the innocent people who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in the war Japan started.
    Second: Reparations being demanded and paid to the people interned in Arizona by the government, interned because they were Japanese is nonsense. These people were in protective custody. The kids across the street were “the germans”. In a Polish neighborhood, a hail of stones greeted them every time they came around. They were “the germans.” Mussolini and Mrs. Mussolini were dragged through the streets by their feet, tied upside down in the public square and beaten with sticks.

  • Consequentialism is a term used by Pope Saint JPII to describe just the type of moral reasoning occurring in these discussions.

    I suppose the late Pope might be viewed as a hippie passing a joint around, but I prefer to see his teaching in VS a mere reiteration of the Church’s timeless moral reasoning, which was in effect even during the Crusades, during which any direct killing of innocents would never have been viewed as morally justified. The Crusades were carried out by lay armies, not by moral philosophers. Abuses happened, and they were just that: abuses, not examples of moral behavior.

  • “The Crusades were carried out by lay armies, not by moral philosophers. Abuses happened, and they were just that: abuses, not examples of moral behavior.”

    If there was any condemnation by the Church at the time of the massacre of almost all the Muslim and Jewish population of Jerusalem after its fall to the First Crusade, I am unaware of it. The attitude of the Church towards War today has not always been the attitude of the Church towards War.

    Citations by authority are weak arguments Tom, as I am sure you would agree since you were certainly unconvinced by John Paul II’s statements against the death penalty.

  • Consequentialism is a term used by Pope Saint JPII to describe just the type of moral reasoning occurring in these discussions.

    Quote and source, please, if not an actual link to the entire context.
    You have shown a consistent pattern of interpreting statements in ways that are not supported by their actual content, and ignoring that which cannot be interpreted away.

  • Now, Veritatis Splendor did have a condemnation of consequentialism.
    Problem being, it’s got nothing to do with the form of an argument, it’s a matter of foundation claim.
    The condemnation is of those who go by that name who maintain that it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition of particular kinds of behaviour which would be in conflict, in every circumstance and in every culture, with those values.
    In other words, denial of inherently wrong actions being possible.
    About the only way this could reasonably get dragged into this discussion would be via an unexamined assumption that an action is inherently immoral coupled with a projection on to the other side that they agree and are arguing that an inherently immoral action is OK in this case.
    For example, someone who believed that cutting a living human is inherently wrong would have to come up with some sort of a system that worked that way to deal with surgery, even the very ancient sorts.

  • The Judicial system. Justice is predicated on intent. Surgery to save a life; and any law may be broken to save human life as in the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as self defense against an aggressor, or the Court ordering a blood transfusion for Jehovah Witnesses, not to intervene in their religion but to save a life, even an unborn child who becomes an aggressor against his own mother may be aborted justly. This last case scenario has never happened. The child would be removing himself from life-support, but it is the case of self-preservation and self -defense inscribed in our natures and in the Preamble.
    The intent to take a life is homicide and a sin and crime. The informed consent to commit homicide (attempted murder) and the intent to commit a grave mortal sin in informed consent, self-excommunicates a person from the church and makes an outlaw of a citizen, a persona non grata, and exile.
    This informed consent is the free will exercise of the will and a proof that man has a soul, a sovereign soul, from the very first moment of his existence, who directs his life and growth.
    America dropped warning leaflets on Hiroshima and Nagasaki warning the inhabitants of the bomb and instructing them to leave for two weeks prior to the bombing. America did not intend to kill any inhabitants. America intended to disable the cities and scare a surrender out the Emperor god. The Emperor god knew that the bomb was coming, yet Hirohito did nothing to save his people. Hirohito’s “subjects and loyal servants to the imperial state” perished. Are “subjects” and “loyal servants to the imperial state” waging a war of aggression innocent? Ought these” subjects and loyal servants to the imperial state” supposed to be in surrendered non-combatant state of being?

Japan’s Atom Bomb Program

Thursday, August 13, AD 2015


Most Americans are unaware that during World War II Japan had two programs seeking to build an atomic bomb.

In 1939 Dr. Yoshio Nishina,  a Japanese nuclear physicist, recognized the potential of the then theoretical atomic bomb.  ( In 1934 Professor  Hikosaka Tadayoshi theorized about such a bomb.)  In 1940 he spoke with Lieutenant-General Takeo Yasuda, director of the Army Aeronautical Department’s Technical Research Institute, about the potential of an atomic bomb.  The Japanese Army began its program to develop an atomic bomb in April 1941.

Meantime, the Japanese Navy began its own program creating the Committee on Research in the Application of Nuclear Physics chaired by Dr. Nishina in 1942.  The Navy’s project ended in 1943 when the Committee reported that while such a bomb was feasible it predicted that it would be difficult for even the United States, with all its resources, to harness the power of the Atom in time to have an impact on the War.

However, the Navy dropping out had no effect on the Army’s program which continued on to the end of the War, hampered both by lack of materials and by ever heavier US bombing.  How far the Japanese got is open to speculation as the project was veiled in the deepest secrecy during the War, and most documents pertaining to it were destroyed by the Japanese prior to the Surrender.

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4 Responses to Japan’s Atom Bomb Program

  • This doesn’t mean anything. Only heterosexual, tax-paying, white men are capable of doing evil.

  • One of the many, many interesting things about Takashi Nagai’s “The Bells of Nagasaki” is that he and some of his surviving physicist colleagues correctly speculated that the attack was atomic in nature on August 9. Apparently, nuclear weaponry was considered plausible by a large number of scientists.

  • This extract from the Tonizo Dossier may be of interest..

    Meeting on Uranium research at the Nishina laboratory. 6th July 1943.

    Attendance: Dr. Nishina, Gen. Nobu-uji, Ishida ( gishi / engineer ?)
    From page 4 of 5.

    Dr. Nishina; The minimum mass of uranium 235 is about 10Kg and is determined by the balance between the neutrons generated by fission and those lost though the surface. If too many are lost then there will be no sustained chain reaction. Though this critical mass is about 10 Kg, it will not make a bomb, there needs to be extra, assume an extra 10 Kg (1).
    Gen. Nobu-uji asks if this extra will also under go fission. Nishina says, no, only a portion will undergo fission, the rest will be lost in the explosion (2). At present it is not within our capability to implement such a device.
    There are other reasons why a bomb is not practical and therefore not recommended ( fu-tokusaku. In order to achieve the largest possible explosion, the bomb needs to be held ( hoji ) together for 1/30 to 1/20 [micro]* second and to achieve this it requires a large and heavy tamper or reflector (3). The weight would be enormous ( jindai ), therefore it is considered impractical and as a bomb not suitable ( tekito narazaru ).
    (1) Modern nuclear parameters yield a critical mass for U235 of about 17 Kg with a substantial reflector. The Hiroshima bomb used 80% U235 and was about 2.8 critical masses.
    (2) Only about 700 grams of U235 out of 64 Kg underwent fission at Hiroshima., the rest being lost in the explosion.
    (3) Due to the exponential increase of the fission process, 99.5% of the energy is released in the last 4.6 fission periods. At about 10 nano-seconds per period this is 46 nano-seconds or approx. 1/25 micro-second. During this period the energy released must overcome the inertia of the tamper holding ( hoji suru ) the device together.
    * The word micro is missing from the text, micro-second = haku man bun no ichi byo.

  • In Germany at about the same time, Heisenberg talked of the critical mass of U235 as having a radius 54 cm and weighing 10 tons.
    The dividing line between success and failure is perhaps not as obvious as it may appear.