The Lion of Munster

Sunday, February 14, AD 2016

The Lion of Munster

Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.

Blessed Clemens von Galen

(I ran this series originally back in 2011.  I am rerunning it now, because the contemporary Church is greatly harmed by the unwillingness of so many clerics to confront evil forthrightly.  In this year of Mercy we must not forget the need to cry out for Justice, and that is precisely what the Lion of Munster did.)

The Nazis hated and feared Clemens August Graf von Galen in life and no doubt they still hate and fear him, at least those now enjoying the amenities of some of the less fashionable pits of Hell.  Going into Lent, I am strongly encouraged by the story of Blessed von Galen.  I guess one could come up with a worse situation than being a Roman Catholic bishop in Nazi Germany in 1941, and confronting a merciless anti-Christian dictatorship that was diametrically opposed to the Truth of Christ, but that would certainly do for enough of a challenge for one lifetime for anyone.  (Hitler privately denounced Christianity as a Jewish superstition and looked forward after the War to “settling accounts”, as he put it, with Christianity in general and Roman Catholicism in particular.)

Priests who spoke out against the Third Reich were being rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps.  What was a bishop to do in the face of such massive evil?  Well, for the Bishop of Munster, Clemens von Galen, there could be only one answer.

A German Count, von Galen was from one of the oldest aristocratic families in Westphalia.  Always a German patriot, the political views of von Galen would have made my own conservatism seem a pale shade of pink in comparison.  Prior to becoming a bishop, he was sometimes criticized for a haughty attitude and being unbending.  He was chosen Bishop of Munster in 1933 only after other candidates, no doubt recognizing what a dangerous position it would be with the Nazis now in power, had turned it down.  I am certain  it did not hurt that he was an old friend of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII.

Von Galen immediately demonstrated that he had not agreed to become Bishop of Munster in order to avoid danger.  He successfully led a fight against the Nazi attempt to take over Catholic schools, citing article 21 of the Concordat between the Vatican and Nazi Germany.  He then began a campaign, often using humor and ridicule, against the Aryan racial doctrines proposed by Alfred Rosenberg, chief Nazi race theorist, and a man even some high level Nazis thought was little better than a crank.  Von Galen argued that Christianity totally rejected racial differences as determining how groups should be treated, and that all men and women were children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.  The Bishop spoke out against Nazi attacks on the “Jewish Old Testament” stating that Holy Writ was Holy Writ and that the Bible could not be altered to suit current prejudices.

In early 1937 he was summoned by Pope Pius XI to confer with him on an encyclical in German, highly unusual for an encyclical not to be written in Latin as the primary language, that the Pope was in the process of drafting.  The encyclical was the blistering Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Heart) that the Pope ordered be read out in every parish in Germany on Palm Sunday 1937.  A head long assault on almost every aspect of National Socialism, it may be read here.

The language in the encyclical was blunt, direct and no doubt benefited from von Galen’s input and his experience from the battles he was waging with the Nazis.

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6 Responses to The Lion of Munster

  • This is a good history lesson.

  • Blessed von Galen shows an example far too many of us are unwilling to follow.

  • Agian, a timely piece of history from Mr. McClarey. Thanks.
    Number 42.
    A clarion call for all Catholics in America to engage in today’s conflict, the destruction of America through radical Socialist and Marxist ideologies which indoctrinate the young and silence the rationale of freedom of religion.

    The joy, triumph and hymn’s of gratitude must resound from coast to coast united in Truth.
    His Truth that all life is sacred. Perverse lifestyles are always going to be perverse. No amount of propaganda will change the Truth.
    He and His Word will never change.
    Our hearts must change. We must accept them, love them and pray with them, but never accept their concupiscence as a cherished choice of behavior.

    Our time is a critical time in history. The slope isn’t just slippery. It’s angle of decent is increasing dramatically and as it increases it will be extremely difficult to reclaim the pure air of the highlands. The stagnant repulsive air of the pit will become the new progressive National Socialist Amerika, an unrecognizable Nation of free people. A people serving and worshipping the State.

  • Gosh there are so many GREAT blessed of fairly recent history! I hope they will get the attention they apparently deserve. I also think of Cardinal Mindszenty.

  • Pingback: Von Galen Contra Gestapo – The American Catholic
  • Would that we had his like in some of our dioceses today.

January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor

Tuesday, January 26, AD 2016

The real heroes are dead.

Audie Murphy

When Audie Murphy starred in his aptly titled World War II biopic, To Hell and Back, his battlefield exploits were downplayed.  Partially this was due to Murphy’s modesty, he had not wanted to appear in the movie and did so only after he was promised that much of the focus of the film would be on his buddies who died during the War, and partially due to the fact that what he did during the War was so unbelievably courageous that film audiences might have refused to believe it.  Here is his Medal of Honor citation that he earned in truly hellish fighting near Holtzwihr, France on January 26, 1945:

By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved 9 July 1918 (WD Bul. 43, 1918), a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty was awarded by the War Department in the name of Congress to the following-named officer:

Second Lieutenant Audie L. Murphy, 01692509, 15th Infantry, Army of the United States, on 26 January 1945, near Holtzwihr, France, commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. Lieutenant Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him to his right one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. It’s crew withdrew to the woods. Lieutenant Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, Lieutenant Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer which was in danger of blowing up any instant and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to the German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. the enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminated Lieutenant Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he personally killed or wounded about 50. Lieutenant Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.

* * * * *
Major General
Acting the Adjutant General
Chief of Staff
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One Response to January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor

January 4, 1945: Isadore S. Jachman Dies Fighting

Monday, January 4, AD 2016


For some American soldiers in World War II, the War was not simply a matter of foreign affairs, but intensely personal.  That was certainly the case with Staff Sergeant Isadore S. Jachman  of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division.  His family had come from Germany to America when he was two.  The Nazis murdered several of his relatives, including six uncles and aunts.  Maybe that was part of his motivation when the chips were down for his unit seventy-one years ago.  His Medal of Honor citation tells us what happened:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at Flamierge, Belgium, on 4 January 1945, when his company was pinned down by enemy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, 2 hostile tanks attacked the unit, inflicting heavy casualties. S/Sgt. Jachman, seeing the desperate plight of his comrades, left his place of cover and with total disregard for his own safety dashed across open ground through a hail of fire and seizing a bazooka from a fallen comrade advanced on the tanks, which concentrated their fire on him. Firing the weapon alone, he damaged one and forced both to retire. S/Sgt. Jachman’s heroic action, in which he suffered fatal wounds, disrupted the entire enemy attack, reflecting the highest credit upon himself and the parachute infantry.

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2 Responses to January 4, 1945: Isadore S. Jachman Dies Fighting

  • Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

  • “…with men, this is impossible. But not with God; for all things are possible with God.” -Douay-Rheams Mark 10:27

    Would it be too presumptuous to guess S/Sgt. Jachman said a prayer before the dash into open range? Another great story of self sacrifice.

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