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August 14, 2005

Why VJ Day must be marked

"Victory in Japan" Day marks the real end of the hostilities in the Second World War. It is a source of some hurt to those who fought in that theatre - many who were there from the start and saw it all the way through - that the "folks at home" almost forgot that the war continued in the Far East for a further four months after victory was achieved in Europe. It has been a source of huge anger among ex-servicemen and women, and this government, with its "internationalist" and "anti-military" attitudes (except when it suits them to make use of the military!) have succeeded in causing even more hurt and anger this year by combining the two events into one day - which annoyed both sets of participants!

It should never be forgotten that it was the Labour Party who refused to wait until the war was won and finished before forcing an election. It was the same Labour Party who promptly diverted funds from the war effort that saw the British Pacific Fleet short of fuel and ammunition at a crucial moment. It was the same Labour Party who promptly, having gerrymandered their election win, set about appeasing and doing deals with Stalin - one of which saw 20,000 Georgian Cossacks returned to Stalin to be executed, something Attlee knew was going to happen! This is the same Party who now rule and who are still unable to acknowledge that they owe the men who fought in Burma and the Far East a huge debt of gratitude!

To compound the hurt on the part of the Burma Star and Pacific Star veterans, there is the little matter of record that the US military commanders had to be ordered to allow the British Forces Chief's to be at the signing of the surrender. In fact, Sir Bruce Fraser's flagship, HMS King George V, was the only British ship in Tokyo Bay for the signing, and she was only there as a direct result of an order to the US C-in-C to await her arrival.

While there is a general acknowledgement that the British fought a "holding" action against the Japanese in Burma and along the Indian and Chinese borders, and that the US Forces bore the brunt of the pursuit through the island chains, they were there, and they made a huge contribution to the ultimate victory. Thier restricted role was purely a matter of priorities and resources, as the British Fleets were first and foremost required in the Mediterranean and Atlantic battles, since, a victory for the Axis powers in Europe or Africa and the Middle East, would have meant that the Far East situation would have been infinitely worse. It must also be said that the deployment of the ANZAC forces in Africa and Southern Europe while the Japanese were threatening invasion of Northern Australia from New Guinea was certainly not a popular decision by the War Cabinet in Britain with the Australians!

That said, the British Forces who did bear the brunt of the fighting from 1941 to 1945 in Burma, the Indian Ocean, and the Java Sea area were always short of equipment, manpower, and, for the Naval forces, ships and air cover. Even so, they tied down a very large number of Japanese forces and fire power which, if released to fight and defend the Marshall Islands, the Philippines, or the rest of the islands the US Forces were liberating one by one, would have made that job ten times harder. Even so, the British and Empire forces deployed whatever they could in support - and lost heavily, frequently being committed to battles to defend landing beaches and troop support convoys against vastly superior forces. This resulted in the loss of many fine ships and men in the Pacific battles - but which also provided pivotal support for the US Forces at key stages of the island liberation. It was sad therefore that the then C-in-C Pacific of the US Navy did not like the British. He did his best, when Britain was finally able to send a proper fleet of modern battleships, aircraft carriers, and all the support train, to keep them on the sidelines and as far as possible from the action. Fortunately he was overruled by Presidential order, but it still does not sit well with the men of the Burma and Pacific Star associations. Nor does the annual reminder that theirs was a "forgotten" theatre as far as the British public and politicians are concerned.

Earlier this month we marked the dropping of the first atomic bomb - "Little Boy" - on Hiroshima. A few days later a second, "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki, and within a few days of that event, Japan surrendered unconditionally. The 15th of August 1945 saw the assembly in Tokyo Bay of the might of the US Navy - and one British Battleship - and the signing aboard the USS Missouri, of the instrument of surrender. It is only right, indeed it is important, that we mark this date as the ending of the second World War.

It was not the end of a "War to end all war", nor did it herald an era of peace - the terrorist war is proof of that - but it did mark the end of organised global conflict and the standing down of armies all around the world. All too soon the Communist Regimes of the newly "liberated" States would impose a new form of conflict, when they discovered that a determined "free" world would fight to remain free of their ideological poison. It is a sad reflection that the "War on Terror" is almost entirely a result of the "Cold War" which resulted from that stand off.

If nothing else, the marking of VJ Day should remind us that we can never relax our vigilance in our defence. There are still a large number of extremely evil and dangerous regimes who would like nothing more than to overthrow the free world and impose their evil on the world. We owe it to our veterans to resist that to the very last breath. This is something the Labour Party's ideologues still have trouble understanding.

"Si vis pacem; para bellum."

Posted by The Gray Monk at August 14, 2005 10:23 AM


Perhaps we should learn that negotiating with fascists does not work, and that the peace movement together with their friends in the BBC was able to drag Britain and the world into a war with Germany and Japan that should never have taken place.

The Peace movement of the 1930’s has been erased from history with the efficiency of a Kremlin censor. It makes the current SWP/Islamist alliance look small in comparison. The BBC’s reporting during the 1930’s was even more dishonest than today, though upper class Socialism has never gone out of fashion there.

The war would not have happened had two weak, accommodating, anti-war Prime Ministers not rejected the kind of military opposition to fascism favoured by Mr Churchill and Mr Bush.

Japan prospered as Britain withdrew, neglecting its military and its role as defender of Western ideals, freedom, liberty and democracy.

Posted by: tt at August 15, 2005 10:03 AM