January 24, 2005

A Japanese Versailles?

James Carroll extolls John Kenneth Galbraith over his vision and prescience. One of the vignettes left me cold

Most unconventionally, the agency's report on the effects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki concluded that "Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." In 1945, Galbraith was left with a lifelong skepticism about bombing, which, alas, his country would not share.

The surrender that JKG projects would be a surrender on the order of Germany's in WW I, a surrender with troops outside the nation's pre-war borders, a surrender that could be spun by revisionist nationalists as a betrayal by the conventional political class, a fertile ground for a Japanese Hitler to rise to power a few decades later. How, in the midst of correcting the error of Versailles somebody could advocate that we should have replicated them in the Pacific is beyond me but that's what happened and even more bizarrely such a monumental act of stupidity did not destroy JKG's reputation but, at least in the eyes of this liberal, enhanced it.

Posted by TMLutas at January 24, 2005 12:39 PM