fbpx
Connect with us

Features

Unconditional: The Japanese Surrender in World War II

Clayton Trutor reviews “Unconditional”, dealing with the American/Allied politics in how to deal with Japan after the war.

mm

Published

on

Book Review:
Oxford University Press. 288 pages. $27.95.
Marc Gallachio

As the Allied Powers approached victory in World War II, the foremost questions on their leaders’ minds centered on the particulars of the postwar settlement. These questions included the nature of surrender by the Axis powers, how would governments in these countries be constructed, and who would oversee their creation. This litany of concerns persisted well after the conclusion of hostilities. It was a source of intrigue both on the international front as well as inside the beltway in Washington. In Unconditional, Marc Gallachio describes in detail the intense debates within Washington’s corridors of power on how the United States ought to end its war with Japan. 

Unconditional is a particularly timely account, published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II—the response to this milestone anniversary has been decidedly muted in both the United States and Canada. It is also timely considering the shifting winds of foreign policy in Washington. The traditions of liberal internationalism (as embodied in this book by Truman and his allies) and conservative anti-interventionism (as embodied by his political opponents) have once again become the standard positions of the Democratic and Republican Parties, respectively. Gallachio, quite clearly, aligns himself with the interventionist tradition of Woodrow Wilson, which, at least until Election Day, will be the consensus view of foreign affairs among American progressives.  

Gallachio focuses on the final two years of the war in the Pacific, tracing a path from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s promise at the January 1943 Casablanca Conference to bring about the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers to Japan’s final surrender on the decks of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.  In this briskly-paced narrative, the author delves both into the debates within the White House as well as those on the editorial pages of the nation’s newspapers.  

Conservatives within Truman’s administration, in Congress, and in the American press corps discouraged the new president from occupying Japan, removing the Emperor from power, or dismantling his Empire. In Truman’s cabinet, Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, a veteran of several Republican administrations, argued that the preservation of the emperor and a semblance of empire would serve as a stabilizing force in Japanese society. Moreover, he argued that the acceptance of a conditional surrender would enable the remains of the Japanese Empire to serve America’s interests as a counter to the Soviet Union’s suddenly aggressive pursuit of territory in the far-east.       

New Dealers within the administration helped shape Truman’s approach to winning the peace with Japan. Then-assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson and U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall persuaded Truman to push for an unconditional Japanese surrender, which would serve as the starting point for full-on nation-building in the former empire. The author is clearly sympathetic to Truman’s decision. While empathizing with the gravity of the new president’s decisions to drop the atomic bombs, Gallachio endorses Truman’s choice to seek unconditional surrender, which kickstarted a process that remade Japan into a democratic county and durable American ally. Gallachio has little time for historians of the anti-interventionist left which arose in response to the Vietnam War, particularly those who have in retrospect called into question the wisdom of Truman’s approach to finishing off Japan. He even calls out Oliver Stone for having the gall in The Untold History of the United States (2012) to invoke Herbert Hoover’s assertion in May 1945 that Japan was ready to negotiate a settlement to the war, dismissing the former president as a mere “Roosevelt hater.” 

Gallachio, who won the prestigious Bancroft History Prize in 2018 for co-authoring Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945, is the perfect author for this account of the defeat of the Japanese Empire and its aftermath. He navigates the web of military and diplomatic maneuvering in this densely-packed historical moment with great know-how. Gallachio has a genuine knack for turning the secrets of the archives into a story.  

Unconditional also offers a window into the making of Canada’s postwar foreign policy.  Canada’s own nation-building, peacekeeping, and internationalist impulses are in large part a product of the historical moment described in Gallachio’s book. The decisions by the Liberal governments of Mackenzie King and Louis St. Laurent to ally strongly with the United States and play an active role in global affairs reflects their shared vision with Truman and his allies. Through active participation in pro-democracy international institutions, both America and Canada’s leadership class sought to bring to stability to the emerging Cold War world. It also makes more striking in retrospect the nerve shown by the subsequent Diefenbaker government in asserting Canadian sovereignty and independence from the United States in its foreign relations.

Clayton Trutor holds a PhD in US History from Boston College and teaches at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He’d love to hear from you on Twitter: @ClaytonTrutor

Features

A look at Austria — the harshest COVID lockdown measures in the world

After locking down the nation for the fourth time since the pandemic began, Austria announced it will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for every citizen effective February 2022.

mm

Published

on

New and heavy restrictions have been brought in across Austria, including a full national lockdown, while COVID-19 infection rates are on a sharp rise across Europe.

Austria has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in Western Europe — only sitting about 65% of the eligible population at the time of lockdowns in mid-November.

The unvaccinated — roughly two million of the 8.9 million Austrians — have been banned from leaving their homes with the exception of work or to buy essential supplies and food. There are currently no restrictions on time or distance allowed for being outdoors.

All non-essential businesses have been closed, including restaurants, bars, hairdressers, theatres and other shops deemed non-essential. However, restaurants are permitted to offer take-out and non-essential shops can offer curbside pickup sales.

After locking down the nation for the fourth time since the pandemic began, Austria announced it will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for every citizen effective February 2022.

The original lockdown was to be put in place for only ten days, however, that was extended on November 30 by an Austrian parliamentary committee for an additional 10 days.

Tens of thousands of Austrians protested in Vienna within days of the original lockdown carrying signs with slogans “no to vaccination”, enough is enough” or “down with the fascist dictatorship”, The Guardian reported.

“We are unhappy with our government’s measures,” said one protester who declined to give his name, along with many of the others who spoke with the media.

“One would think we live in a democracy but now this is a coronavirus dictatorship,” said another woman amongst the protestors in passing.

The Local, an English news publication out of Austria, reported as of Monday, a total of 129,428 people are currently COVID-19 positive, while 2,465 are in hospital and an additional 664 are in intensive care (ICU).  

To date, vaccination rates among the population have increased to 72% with at least one dose and 67% are considered fully vaccinated.

Protesters have been clashing with authorities for weeks, opposing the harsh lockdowns and the government’s planned mandatory vaccinations for the country.

“This has been going on for two years and there’s no end in sight,” said a woman who attended a November 20 protest.

“Something new is announced every day and we don’t know what we can believe anymore.”

Many in Austria are skeptical of the vaccines and, according to the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BAGS), 1,360 Austrians have been treated in hospital for suspected side effects due to the corona vaccines. As well, 184 deaths have been reported “close in time” to a vaccination.

Compared to neighbouring countries, Austria sits in the middle of the pack for reported daily COVID-19 cases.

Johns Hopkins University CSSE COVID-19 Data

A draft of the coming vaccine mandate law will reportedly apply to those aged 14 and older with fines comparable to approximately $860 Canadian dollars (CDN). Fines can be issued every three months to a total of $3,450 CDN. Failure to pay the fines will result in a larger levy of $5,181 CDN. It’s believed money raised from the fines will go to fund hospitals.

Those with exemptions and who are pregnant will be excluded from the mandates, as will those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 but only for 180 days post-infection.

Although a number of newspapers have reported they’ve seen a copy of the draft law, Austria’s Ministry of Health said it will be releasing an official first draft later this week.

It’s been reported three doses will be required under the coming law — the second dose between 14 and 42 days after the first and a third dose between 120 and 270 days after the second. The country currently recognizes Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The country-wide vaccine mandate makes Austria the nation with the most strict COVID-19 measures to date.

Protesters have been clashing with authorities for weeks opposing the harsh lockdowns and the government’s planned mandatory vaccination for the country. Over the weekend, five arrests were made of the over 40,000 protestors who gathered in Vienna.

The World Health Organization (WHO) regional director Dr. Hans Kluge told the BBC if measures aren’t tightened across Europe, half a million more deaths could come by next spring.

In the meantime, until recently Australia was considered to have the strictest COVID-19 measures in place, but is now moving towards a reopening plan in the coming days and weeks after hard lockdowns were imposed in early July.

Although mainstream media has been fairly quiet with reports out of Australia, social media has been inundated with posts out of the locked-down nation over the past few weeks. Large protests have been held throughout the country in opposition to the heavy lockdowns and restrictions put in place over the summer.

According to 9News out of Australia, the Queensland domestic border will open December 13, four days earlier than planned for fully vaccinated interstate travellers with a negative COVID-19 test. Quarantine will not be required for those fully vaccinated.

“If you are not fully vaccinated, you must arrive by air only and hotel quarantine for 14 days,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

International travellers will need to be fully vaccinated to enter the country and will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

As part of Australia’s reopening plan, as of December 17 those unvaccinated will not be permitted to enter restaurants and bars.

According to the Australian government’s website, COVID-19 vaccines are considered voluntary at this time.

Germany, another nation considered to have harsh COVID-19 restrictions, announced last Thursday the country was introducing a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated.

Those who are not considered fully vaccinated are now banned from most businesses with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies.

Like Austria, leaders in Germany are looking at plans for mandatory vaccinations in the New Year.

Angela Merkel, who served as German chancellor for 16 years, along with her new successor, Olaf Scholz, are both in favour of mandatory vaccinations across the country and if voted in by parliament, could come into effect as early as February.

On December 2, Germany announced it is now mandatory to be fully vaccinated to get euthanized.

Restrictions in Germany continue to tighten as COVID-19 cases surge throughout Europe.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

Features

Royal Canadian Legion ‘saddened’ over vaccine-related protests

Several vaccine related incidents unfolded on Remembrance Day, including the desecration of a war memorial.

mm

Published

on

The BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion released a statement regarding vaccine related disruptions that took place during Remembrance Day ceremonies, as well as the desecration of a war memorial.

“We are the keepers of remembrance in Canada. As long as we exist we will uphold the tradition of remembrance to ensure Canada’s fallen will not be forgotten,” said Val MacGregor, President of BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.

“We are saddened that anyone would feel it necessary to distract from the sacrifice of our veterans and their families with political agendas. Especially, on Remembrance Day.”

In Cranbrook, RCMP were notified that someone defaced the cities Cenotaph mere hours before the Remembrance Day ceremony was set to take place. Spray-painted across the memorial were the words “the real heroes are the vaccinated.”

dmac88/twitter

In Kelowna, police were called to an unofficial Remembrance Day event at City Park where hundreds of people gathered to pay respect to fallen Canadians. Amid the gathering, a small handful of people protesting COVID-19 vaccine related measures set up a microphone and began speaking over attendees.

Kelowna Now

“Have you forgotten? You have forgotten,” the woman interrupting the ceremony says.

Standing to her left was Bruce Orydzuk, a well known protester in the Kelowna area who went viral in July after berating a security guard at a vaccine clinic.

“I was there with my wife. Veterans were quite upset and a lot of people were screaming at each other. Never thought a remembrance day ceremony would be controversial but here we are. Really sad,” tweeted Matt Glen.

“Not the right time, not the right place,” one man can be heard shouting.

About 166 km away, a similar incident unfolded in Kamloops at the Riverside Park Cenotaph where people had organized their own unofficial ceremony before it was sidelined by anti-mandate protesters.

After going viral, the two latter incidents prompted wide-scale dispute on social media among individuals who would have been fundamentally aligned not so long ago.

Following the provincial declaration of a state of emergency in March 2020, British Columbians have been subjected to 19 months of lock-downs, vaccine passports, and forced business closures. Many live in a state of frustration and rage as a result — thus leading to more forceful behaviour such as what was displayed on Remembrance Day.

“Government breaks soldiers after extracting everything it can out of them. They then leave them with a single day of the year to be acknowledged,” Kip Warner, Executive Director of the Canadian Society for the Advancement of Science in Public Policy (CSASPP) told the Western Standard.

“Protesters have 364 days of the year to protest and be heard. Whether they are protesting COVID-19 related measures, or advocating for them in recently spray painting over a war memorial that the real heroes are the injected, stop doing it. We are Canadians and we should all expect better of ourselves.”

Warner served as an infantry officer in a light infantry regiment part-time for four years while working in tech. He now spearheads CSASPP, a non-profit organization that seeks to reverse COVID-19 related measures in BC. So far CSASPP has raised nearly $150,000 — all of which is regularly audited and available for donors to monitor. No members receive any profit.

The organization’s progress — which has seen three days in court thus far — can be followed here.

While there are a multitude of like-minded individuals across the province working meticulously to combat what they perceive as blatant tyranny on behalf of the state, their endeavour is not simple, and it is frequently sidelined by hot-heads seemingly incapable of reading the room.

“Emotions are one of the main things that derail communication. Once people get upset at one another, rational thinking goes out of the window,” writes former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss in his book Never Split the Difference.

Voss has explained how human beings are influenced by the level of respect they feel they’re given — complying in response to perceived fairness, whilst lashing out at what they feel is unfair.

As for unfairness, veterans living in BC are not allowed to enter fitness facilities, attend sporting events, or even grab a drink at a restaurant if they are unvaccinated — and the Royal Canadian Legion has not condemned the policy. This treatment of not only those who have served, but British Columbians as a whole, provides causal explanation for the lashing out of protesters as of recently — it is human nature, after all.

Capuchin monkeys behave the same way when treated unfairly.

However, what separates human beings from monkeys is the ability feel emotion well up from the carnal abyss, and subsequently detach from it. An understanding that lashing out — although feeling like the right move — may serve no benefit in a specific context.

This can be be observed in the Kelowna example. The outcome of which not only lacked benefit towards the cause protesters claim to be fighting for, but sent potential fence-sitters running the other direction. The scene resembled little difference from a bunch of capuchin monkeys screeching over who gets the banana — all the while those in power swirl their scotch glasses, laughing opportunistically at how they will further exploit the chaos.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn said “a state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”

The narrative peddled from the top down is that Canadians are locked in a deadly war with a virus and therefore sweeping mandates must be implemented for “our safety.” This narrative has driven people into not only accepting, but encouraging the states’ ever tightening grasp. The policies are masked under compassion, but beneath the sheepskin resides an opportunistic snake — and to assume human beings have evolved beyond our proclivity towards consented despotism is detrimentally naive.

Pulling back from the brink requires a methodical approach. Attempting to change one’s beliefs by interrupting and scolding them is like trying to push water uphill, and those who do so fail to recognize how they themselves are contributors to the problem they claim to fight.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

Continue Reading

Features

WATCH: Calgary psychologist says lockdowns, mandates creating serious mental crisis

From people fearing the collapse of our healthcare system to government mandates, Dr. Angela Grace said it’s an “incredibly stressful time for people” who need to make “very tough decisions.”

mm

Published

on

A prominent Calgary psychologist said she’s seen an increase in clients coming to her in crisis — especially frontline and healthcare workers — over the last 20 months.

Registered psychologist Dr. Angela Grace shared her perspective on supporting her clients through the COVID-19 pandemic in an exclusive interview with the Western Standard.

Along with providing “trauma work” for first responders in her private practice at Heart Centered Counselling, Grace also offers professional counselling and school assessments for children.

“What I found immediately [when the pandemic began] was an increase in crisis in clients,” said Grace, who explained she was also navigating the complexity of pivoting from in-person to online counselling, while also dealing with the impacts of the pandemic on her children and family.

“What was a seven-out-of-10 crisis before is now a 12 out of 10. What was a client who was doing really really well and hadn’t been to counselling in a while was all of the sudden back in the chair in distress.”

Grace said her clients went from worrying about the pandemic and how life was going to change for them and their families to worrying about decisions around getting the COVID-19 vaccine or not and the bullying and isolation people faced with that “tough decision.”

She said she has also seen an increase in first responders and healthcare workers coming to see her in distress over the fear of losing their careers and livelihoods due to mandatory vaccination policies.

“It’s moving beyond a sense of stress and trauma from the pandemic to now moving into moral injuries,” said Grace.

Medical workers have gone from “being a praised hero” to being “vilified because they don’t want to get the vaccine,” said Grace adding that normal job stressors for these workers have been exaggerated so much more because of these moral injuries.

Grace said the situation created “confusion and mistrust” among healthcare workers and first responders who navigated through the first, second and third waves of the pandemic without being vaccinated but have now been told they can no longer work unless they get the jab.

“Not only is there this divisiveness, but there’s this increasing lack of trust they (medical workers) are going to be taken care of,” said Grace.

According to Grace, children are also being impacted by the pandemic, especially those from divorced homes where parents have differing opinions on issues around how to best protect their children.

Teens “have really been struggling,” said Grace.

“Since the beginning of COVID, there has been a tremendous increase in eating disorders,” said Grace, who explained it’s often a result of an inability to cope and social isolation.

Grace said much of the social anxiety for teens is centred around returning to school after gaps of time when normal socialization was absent.

For younger children, especially those in the formative years, Grace said those learning gaps are leading to children missing out on normal development without the foundation of normal schooling.

From people fearing the collapse of the healthcare system to lockdowns and mandatory vaccination and masking, Grace said it’s an “incredibly stressful time for people” who need to make “very tough decisions.”

Grace said she is also concerned post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be a “massive burden” on society in the coming months.

“We are in traumatic stress right now. We have to survive the trauma then the healing can happen,” said Grace.

When asked for her advice to those dealing with heightened anxiety and stress, Grace said the first step is to “acknowledge the stressors and reach out for help.”

“As much as possible, shut off the news, shut off social media and focus on what do I need to do today to look after myself and my family,” said Grace.

Turning to exercise, hobbies, art, games, colouring, pets and mindfulness activities are some other ways Grace suggests people handle feelings of stress, isolation and depression. She also highlighted the importance of “continuing to build connections”, whether by phone or video chats.

“I call it pockets of peace; what are the things you do in your everyday life — every day, every week, every month — routines that give you a sense of peace and calm,” said Grace.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can also be an issue for people through the dark winter months, Grace explained admitting she suffers from the disorder.

According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. SAD begins in the fall and continues through the winter months leaving those affected feeling tired and moody.

To ward off the effects of SAD, Grace suggests taking Vitamin C, D and Omega fatty acids and eating nutrient-rich foods as well as investing in a SAD lamp and spending 15-20 minutes in front of it daily.

Grace also pointed to the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta website as a referral source for seeking a professional psychologist and recommended their free resources, webinars and tip sheets.

Albertans can access help from the Mental Health Foundation Alberta, the Distress Centre and the Calgary Counselling Centre while the Kids Help Phone and the Canadian Mental Health Association are national support providers.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Share

Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

835 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

**your signature**



The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

Share this with your friends:

Trending

Copyright © Western Standard New Media Corp.