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Rising Sun*
02-05-2009, 05:17 AM
Although the following book review focuses on the subject's experiences as a post-war hold out, there is a lot more about Japan's deficiencies and especially on Guam, as well as aspects of Japanese post-war character and attitudes.


Japan's simple soldier of misfortune

Private Yokoi's War and Life on Guam by Omi Hatashin
Reviewed by David Wilson

Imagine being driven into hiding and feeling on edge for 28 years. That dreadful destiny befell poor Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese soldier and latter-day celebrity.

Conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941, Yokoi was eventually transferred to Guam. When American forces reconquered the western Pacific island in the 1944 Battle of Guam, Private Yokoi went on the run, dodging pursuers real and imagined.

Do not commit the easily made mistake of muddling this famous fugitive who modestly deemed himself “good at hide-and-seek” with two other high-profile imperial diehards who slightly outlasted him. One, Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, led a guerrilla task force on the Philippine island of Lubang near Manila, and was repatriated in March 1974. The other, Private Teruo Nakamura, from the Ami tribe of Taiwan, was found growing crops alone on the Indonesian island of Morotai in December of the same year.

Onoda refused to give up until he received the order from his commanding officer. Because Onoda perfectly jibed with the stereotype of the fervent no-surrender patriot, on his return to his home country he was thoroughly well received. In contrast, Nakamura and Yokoi faced accusations of cowardice. Yokoi even received a razor with a note, which charmingly said: "You are the shame of the Imperial Army. Die."

This book sets the record straight about the military minnow notable not for shamefulness but "great intelligence, extreme resilience and formidable self-composition", the introduction says. The first 17 chapters, which stretch from his early life to the end of his paranoid jungle vigil, represent the full English translation of his autobiography originally printed by Japanese publisher Bungei Shunju in 1974. The introduction and three sections entitled "Afterwards", which report how he adjusted to late 20th-century Japan, owe their existence to Omi Hatashin, Yokoi's nephew by marriage turned piecemeal biographer.

The comprehensive portrait of one of 20th-century Japan's most remarkable figures opens with disarming, fairytale simplicity. "I was born on 31 March 1915 to a tailor named Yamada in a village which was later annexed to Nagoya City in central Japan," Yokoi writes, then reveals that his parents divorced when he was three months old. He evolved into a lonely, introspective boy who would later paint his childhood as hard.

Following his real father's trade, he trained to be a tailor and stoically accepted having his career interrupted by the draft. His first army stint, which only lasted a year at the start of the war when Japan was on the rise, unfolded uneventfully at a Hong Kong provisions depot. His second, which began in 1941, took him to the 29th Transport Regiment in Liaoyang, Mukden province, "Manchuria". There, he served on guard duty as a "private superior", and later as a lance corporal.

Yokoi divulges little about this period. Apparently little happened. Clearly, he had little idea about the havoc that the Imperial Army was wreaking on the mainland and beyond. He would soon find out just what chaos his side could foment.

In 1944 at 26, redrafted, Yokoi wound up aboard the redoubtable Akimaru - one of the most luxurious semi-cargo cruisers in Japan then - on a starvation ration mystery voyage across the Pacific. Narrowly surviving a torpedo attack, the Akimaru limped to Guam, which struck Yokoi as "fantastically beautiful". But early one "disgracefully fine and clear" morning, the American forces unleashed hell, bombing paradise ferociously and ending the Japanese three-year occupation with brutal efficiency. Yokoi slipped into the jungle.

Bedeviled by diarrhea but determined to continue, Yokoi hunted mostly at night, wearing clothes woven from native plants, hiding in a cave. If he fell into the hands of the islanders, he might suffer reprisals, he feared - probably because of the cruelty that his side inflicted during their occupation. Not that Yokoi, who comes across as a good if brainwashed soldier prone to beating aberrant subordinates, talks about that.

Instead, Yokoi focuses on how he ingeniously carved out his survival while his comrades wandered off, were shot or succumbed to sickness - incidents described in heartbreakingly understated asides. Venturing ever deeper into the jungle, he racked up decades and refused to believe microphone broadcasts that the war had ended. In his mind, they were a trap.

In January 1972, however, Yokoi was finally found by two fishermen out checking their shrimp traps. The fishermen managed to surprise, subdue and extract the scrawny, prematurely aged Robinson Crusoe from the jungle after a brief tussle that inflicted minor bruising.

Fame and bewilderment followed. "Sortie after sortie of press squadrons were flown from Japan to Guam for the sole purpose of interviewing me," Yokoi writes. "I found myself suddenly ambushed by battalions of journalists for the first time and a series of questions was fired at me like bursts of machine-gun bullets."

Following a media tour of Japan, Yokoi married and settled down to a quiet life of pottery and organic gardening in rural Aichi Prefecture - at least after a fashion. Because he had captured popular imagination, despite the cowardice accusations he remained in demand and blossomed into a TV personality.

In 1991, Yokoi received an audience with Emperor Akihito. The greatest honor of Yokoi's blighted life, the audience moved him so much that he could hardly speak beyond saying that he had survived. Six years later, the old soldier would die of a heart attack at 82.

Reminiscent of the true-life air crash survival thriller Alive, the core of this book is Yokoi's jungle phase, which makes riveting reading. Just look at his account of how he tackled cockroaches during a later underground stint.

"At night, about 150 cockroaches emerged, flew inside the hole and mated," he writes. "I had no pesticide. I had no alternative but to crush them by hand one by one. But there were simply too many in the hole to get rid of in this way. An idea of keeping toads inside the hole came to my mind some time later. Toads seemed to like eating cockroaches. When I caught a cockroach and showed it to a toad, it eventually approached my hand and ate the cockroach. I was unable to chat with toads, but toads were my only allies and friends."

This passage underscores Yokoi's confession that he metamorphosed into "a half-wild animal". Forever foraging, the future advocate of austere living had little time to daydream about women or stew in self-pity.

Some of the boldest observations the survivor makes illuminate the truth about Japanese might. Despite conquering Asia, the Japanese military machine needed work. Tell the line about supreme efficiency to the marines who invaded.

"I think that Japan's war plans were utterly reckless or too ignorant of the power of their opponent," Yokoi writes. He recounts how Japanese tanks hid behind foxtail grass, which grew tall on Guam but straight. Consequently, the tanks were perfectly visible from the sky - a simple fact that even small children could grasp, in Yokoi's view.

US airmen duly rumbled the deception and unleashed a rain of incendiary bombs. As a result, the grass ignited. The fire spread, destroying all the tanks and plentiful stored ammunition.

As if the tank charade was not absurd enough, on the roadside the Japanese erected palm trees pointing towards the sky like anti-aircraft guns, and ringed them with straw dolls dressed like soldiers. The mock-up meant to suggest imposing defenses owed their inspiration to the tactics of an archaic 14th-century battle, pathetically enough.

"Our enemies did not bother about such childish disguise as the reality was clearly visible from the air. Is there any explanation for this stupidity other than that the Japanese officers were suffering from a retarded or arrested development of imagination?" Yokoi asks.

His biographer drives home just how shoddy the Japanese war effort was, describing the nation's capabilities as "hopeless and miserable". Kamikaze aircraft were manufactured by malnourished teenage girls too weak to tighten-up the rivets, resulting in many aircraft and, for that matter submarines, falling apart.

Rising Sun*
02-05-2009, 05:18 AM
After Yokoi's marathon posting on Guam was abruptly aborted, back home he had a crack at politics and earned a reputation as a trenchant critic of wasteful living. Live frugally. Make things rather than buy and discard, he urged and campaigned for the environment. Pro electric trains rather than cars, he complained that Japan was no longer the green arcadia that he and his displaced imperial comrades dreamed about.

"Although many regarded Sho๏chi as a living fossil, it seems questionable who saw the present problems more clearly, Sho๏chi or those who mocked him and said he was anachronistic," his biographer writes.

Quite. Who is the fossil now?

For economic and environmental reasons, the outlook that Yokoi espoused has gained ground. Just look at the scores of websites that advocate delayed gratification, restraint and scrimping. Indeed, the gospel of frugality is so popular that some news aggregation sites file stories under that heading and treat it as a category like the environment, finance or fitness. Thrift is good.

At a pinch, Yokoi could be construed as a pioneer of the simple living movement. That take makes this inherently gripping and noble if wretched yarn timely too. May its semi-heroic protagonist rest in peace.

Private Yokoi's War and Life on Guam, 1944-72. The story of the Japanese Imperial Army's longest WWII survivor in the field and later life by Omi Hatashin. Global Oriental, February 2009. ISBN 978-1-905246-69-4. Price US$75, 144 pages.

David Wilson is an Anglo-Australian recovering print journalist with a special interest in Asia. His work has previously appeared everywhere from the Malaysia Star to the Times Literary Supplement and International Herald Tribune.
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Nickdfresh
02-05-2009, 07:26 AM
Excellent find RS*. I think many of the comments feed into the belief that the Japanese military was a paradox caught between fanatic courage and dangerous amateurism...

Rising Sun*
02-05-2009, 08:05 AM
Excellent find RS*. I think many of the comments feed into the belief that the Japanese military was a paradox caught between fanatic courage and dangerous amateurism...

Yes, and I think it illustrates that despite Japan being quite 'high tech' in many respects, and even beyond the Allies at the start of the war in some respects, the medieval thinking which underpinned the Samurai code (corrupted as it was by militarists who were not of the Samurai class) and the belief in 'spirit' overcoming all obstacles, unnecessarily exposed the average Japanese soldier to death at the hands of an enemy focused on less mystical military practices such as overwhelming firepower.

The references to being on active service, then not, then recalled and so on are new to me. I didn't realise that the IJA operated that way.

The amateurish / medieval aspect as illustrated by the tanks hiding behind high grass is consistent with the amateurish / medieval lack of a clear strategy which underpinned Japan's whole war, which was essentially a 'Let's advance southwards and grab what we want and hope that Germany defeats the USSR and we defeat the US in the great decisive naval battle and then they'll let us keep what we've grabbed, there being no acrimony in the US about our sneak attack on Pearl Harbor which could possibly impel the US to defeat us, no matter what.'

Japan's problem was in part that at anything up to divisional or corps level it fought very well, but beyond those levels it tended to lack the necessary breadth of strategic vision and associated operational control and support, which was further compounded by the separate principalities of the IJA and IJN and lack of inter-service co-operation.

The failures at higher levels is hardly surprising when one considers how fragmented the control over the IJA was at military and political levels after years of the IJA doing whatever it felt like at times in China with no concept of or concern for national or international strategic considerations.

While this is a huge oversimplification, in the IJA during the war there are elements of the separate warlords prominent in Japanese history, and in Chinese military conduct in the 1930s and 1940s, which suggest that Japan's organisation lacked the structure necessary to resist the better organised Allied forces pitted against it after Japan's early victories.

Schuultz
02-05-2009, 09:19 AM
That's a pretty impressive story. The Japanese obviously underestimated the US, though you'd expect there to be at least some higher-ups who knew what the Americans were capable of?!
Their tactic of just invading whatever they want without a real plan might have worked for the underdeveloped southeast-Asian countries, but not for Industrial nations such as the US, one would think that, brainwash aside, they would still realize that...:neutral:

Major Walter Schmidt
02-05-2009, 09:30 AM
Well, Admiral Isoroku knew that japan would not have a chance against the US unless they reached some kind of ceasefire in 1/2~1 years after pearl harbor.

Schuultz
02-05-2009, 09:47 AM
And what happened to the fellow? Probably ignored?

Rising Sun*
02-05-2009, 02:45 PM
And what happened to the fellow? Probably ignored?

Yes. He was killed by the Yanks in the Solomon Islands when they ambushed his plane. He's better known in the West as Yamamoto.

He was one of a number of influential Japanese who realised that they were biting off more than they could chew by taking on the US, but they were overruled by the militarists / rabid nationalists, most of whom lacked the experience and understanding of the West which Yamamoto and others had.

Japan didn't go to war without any clear plans or strategy. The problem was that the plans and strategy didn't go beyond grabbing what they wanted and exploiting it. There was no plan or strategy for terminating the war beyond hoping that somehow by holding what they took they'd be allowed to keep it. This belief is more understandable when one notes that it was formed at a time when it looked like Germany was going to defeat the USSR; Britain was on the ropes; and America remained isolationist.

This miscalculation, combined with a failure to anticipate the strength and determination of the Allied, primarily American, response and over-extending themselves by pushing past the NEI and New Britain under the influence of 'the victory disease' was one of the main causes of what in retrospect can be seen as Japan's inevitable defeat, although it certainly didn't look like that in 1942 to anyone.

Schuultz
02-05-2009, 03:52 PM
Did anybody see "Letters from Iwo Jima"? Was the Japanese General portrayed in the movie real? If yes, he seems like another one of those who were familiar with the American culture, but overruled by the rest.

Rising Sun*
02-07-2009, 03:04 AM
Did anybody see "Letters from Iwo Jima"? Was the Japanese General portrayed in the movie real? If yes, he seems like another one of those who were familiar with the American culture, but overruled by the rest.

I didn't see it, but by the time the Yanks were invading Iwo Jima it didn't make any difference to Japan's fate whether a local Japanese commander had no, some, or a lot of understanding of American culture or anything else to do with America.

The Japanese were ruled by their own class of militarists and nationalists who directed that Japanese forces would fight to the last soldier, and when they were exhausted then to the last man, woman and child.

Thank Christ that the Soviets attacked and America dropped the A bombs or that would have been implemented by Japan.

Not a popular view I know, particularly in Japan among those who like to present it as a victim of the Allies, but if they'd been left to their own devices they'd have been a victim of the militarists and nationalists and there'd have been a bloody sight fewer of them alive at the end of the war, when Japan was inevitably defeated.

Schuultz
02-07-2009, 08:37 AM
Well, I'll have to say that I disagree with the Allies decision where they dropped the A-Bomb. Obviously they wanted to test their new toy, and at the same time scare the shit out of the Japanese, but why drop it on a major city?
Wouldn't it have been enough to drop it on a removed military base?

I think just showing them what your new weapon is capable of by blowing up one of their military bases or something would have been enough to convince the already losing Japanese Empire to surrender - without killing the amount of people they did.

Chevan
02-07-2009, 01:21 PM
Well, I'll have to say that I disagree with the Allies decision where they dropped the A-Bomb. Obviously they wanted to test their new toy, and at the same time scare the shit out of the Japanese, but why drop it on a major city?
Wouldn't it have been enough to drop it on a removed military base?

As i heard ,no it wouldn't.
The special "aim" of a-bombing, as it was pointed by the special commisson of US politicans, and president Trumen personaly - was to impress the Japane , killing as much peoples as it was possible.
The case of bombing of Military base was denied - in august 1945 the Japane has no any more serious military base, besides the Political mass-media censorship didn't allowed to learn the Japane population about the "new american wearpon" enough 'well".
BTW did you know - you are lucky German.
The first and primary aim that American manhattan Project has been developed for was the apply the Bomb against Germany.
But Germany has capitulated in may of 1945.
So you are pretty lucky.

Schuultz
02-07-2009, 01:54 PM
As i heard ,no it wouldn't.
The special "aim" of a-bombing, as it was pointed by the special commisson of US politicans, and president Trumen personaly - was to impress the Japane , killing as much peoples as it was possible.
The case of bombing of Military base was denied - in august 1945 the Japane has no any more serious military base, besides the Political mass-media censorship didn't allowed to learn the Japane population about the "new american wearpon" enough 'well".

I'm not denying that it was important for the entire point of the A-Bomb that the people realized the horror that the weapon was capable of. But this could have been achieved by bombing any area on the main Japanese islands. The bomb would have been big and horrifying enough to force the capitulation of Japan, without actually killing and crippling the amount of people it ended up doing.


BTW did you know - you are lucky German.
The first and primary aim that American manhattan Project has been developed for was the apply the Bomb against Germany.
But Germany has capitulated in may of 1945.
So you are pretty lucky.

This sounds like a threat ;)

And I am aware that the Manhattan Project was all about developing the bomb against Germany, before the Germans developed it themselves. But if IIRC (could be wrong here), the Project would have needed a good bit longer if the US weren't able to US knowledge from captured German scientists who, despite being further away than the Americans from creating one themselves, had solved someproblems the US hadn't yet.
Also, even if Germany hadn't surrendered when it did, there wouldn't have been any real targets in Germany anymore - the war was pretty much already won, whereas in Japan, there was still a major danger involved in landing on the mainland.

Byron
03-25-2009, 02:18 PM
I'm not denying that it was important for the entire point of the A-Bomb that the people realized the horror that the weapon was capable of. But this could have been achieved by bombing any area on the main Japanese islands. The bomb would have been big and horrifying enough to force the capitulation of Japan, without actually killing and crippling the amount of people it ended up doing.

A couple of points to make here.

1. We know much better than the people in 1945 the horrors that atomic bombs are capable of. They were dealing with a known escalation in the destructive capability of bombing, but did not know the full destructive magnitude of what they were about to unleash. That knowledge would be gleaned after they saw the results.

2. The Allies had been bombing cities in Germany back into the stone age for a couple of years now. The destruction of cities such as Hamburg and Dresden (to name only two) was not seen as the wrong thing to do (in the Allied leader's eyes or in the Allied civilian's eyes)--so why would the bombing and destruction of another Japanese city be considered wrong? "The Allied leaders recognized the revolutionary nature of the atom bomb but they did not regard its use against a city as being qualitatively different than the firebombing that they had visited on cities such as Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo since 1943." (this is from the book "Choice Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of WWII"--quite an interesting book IMHO).

Here's another quote that I find very insightful:


...to speak of an Allied "decision" to drop the atomic bomb in 1945 can be somewhat misleading. If it implies that the leaders were agonizing over whether or not to use the bomb, and were anxiously seeking alternatives to such , then we are dramatically out of touch with the realities of wartime decision-making in London and Washington. It is more accurate to say that the leaders hoped that the bomb would work, and were earnestly trying to figure out the most effective way to put it to use as part of a broad, multipronged strategy for ending the war.... Overall, what the historians of the atomic bomb have shown us is a story in which the powerful momentum of the Manhattan Project, coupled with the extraordinary pressures of wartime, overwhelmingly stacked the deck in favor of a combat use of this radical new weapon. Emphasis mine.

3. The Japanese leadership, even after both atomic bombs had been dropped and the Russians had overrun Manchuria, were still split on surrendering. More telling, one of the doctors in Hiroshima recorded this reaction among the wounded there after they heard the emperor's announcement of surrender (again, from Choices Under Fire):


Like others in the room, I had come to attention at the mention of the Emperor's voice, and for a while we all remained silent and at attention. Darkness clouded my eyes, my teeth chattered, and I felt cold sweat running down my back....By degrees people began to whisper and then to talk in low voices until, out of the blue sky, someone shouted: "How can we lose the war!"

Following this outburst, expressions of anger were unleashed. "Only a coward would go back now!". "There is a limit to deceiving us!". "I would rather die than be defeated!" "Those who died can't go to heaven in peace now!". The hospital suddenly turned into an uproar, and there was nothing one could do. Many who had been strong advocates of peace and others who had lost their taste for war following the pika [atomic blast] were now shouting for the war to continue.... The one word--surrender--had produced a greater shock than the bombing of our city.

Digger
03-26-2009, 06:45 AM
I didn't see it, but by the time the Yanks were invading Iwo Jima it didn't make any difference to Japan's fate whether a local Japanese commander had no, some, or a lot of understanding of American culture or anything else to do with America.

The Japanese were ruled by their own class of militarists and nationalists who directed that Japanese forces would fight to the last soldier, and when they were exhausted then to the last man, woman and child.

Thank Christ that the Soviets attacked and America dropped the A bombs or that would have been implemented by Japan.

Not a popular view I know, particularly in Japan among those who like to present it as a victim of the Allies, but if they'd been left to their own devices they'd have been a victim of the militarists and nationalists and there'd have been a bloody sight fewer of them alive at the end of the war, when Japan was inevitably defeated.

The problem was many of the high ranking militrists suffered from the fatal arrogance of believing they were a superior race to the nations they attacked. They could just not believe anyone could better weapons or be superior strategists and fighters.

digger.

Rising Sun*
03-26-2009, 06:51 AM
The problem was many of the high ranking militrists suffered from the fatal arrogance of believing they were a superior race to the nations they attacked. They could just not believe anyone could better weapons or be superior strategists and fighters.

Are you talking about Axis or Allied nations? ;) :D

The arrogance in elements of the British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya helped to lose Malaya, although a more realistic attitude to the Japanese wasn't likely to have avoided that fate eventually.

Digger
03-26-2009, 02:54 PM
Are you talking about Axis or Allied nations? ;) :D

The arrogance in elements of the British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya helped to lose Malaya, although a more realistic attitude to the Japanese wasn't likely to have avoided that fate eventually.

Yes of course it worked both ways. Certainly there were politicians, planners and the military who still believed the Japanese were blind yellow men who could only build cheap imitations, thereby underestimating the threat facing them.

The Japanese attacks ended all that. But whether the same attitudesin the Japanese military government changed over time is open to question.

digger

Rising Sun*
03-26-2009, 04:04 PM
But whether the same attitudesin the Japanese military government changed over time is open to question.

digger

My impression is that as the war progressed the Japanese militarists tended to harden those attitudes rather than learn from experience.

Chevan
03-27-2009, 03:03 AM
My impression is that as the war progressed the Japanese militarists tended to harden those attitudes rather than learn from experience.
And WHich diehard militarists have learned the lesson of ww2 , mate?

Rising Sun*
03-27-2009, 04:16 AM
And WHich diehard militarists have learned the lesson of ww2 , mate?

Not the dead ones. ;) :D

royal744
12-13-2009, 10:03 PM
Thank Christ that the Soviets attacked and America dropped the A bombs or that would have been implemented by Japan.

Not a popular view I know, particularly in Japan among those who like to present it as a victim of the Allies, but if they'd been left to their own devices they'd have been a victim of the militarists and nationalists and there'd have been a bloody sight fewer of them alive at the end of the war, when Japan was inevitably defeated.

Let's put this to rest. The Japanese were working towards their own A-bomb. It doesn't matter that they hadn't gotten very far; what matters is that they too were interested in it and working on it. I suppose most people on this site know that one of the very last submarines sent out by the Kriegsmarine before Germany surrendered, was on a long-range mission to Japan. It was filled to the gills with U-235 intended to aid the Japanese in their bomb research. The reason we know this is that the submarine surfaced mid-Atlantic after the captain had decided he didn't want to do this anymore. There was at least one Japanese officer aboard and he committed suicide by jumping into the ocean. The captain surrendered to the US Navy and the sub was towed to Virginia and its cargo impounded. Now if there is anyone here who believes for a nano-second that the Japanese would not have used this if they had achieved such a bomb, I have a good deal on a bridge in Brooklyn for you. Oh, the hypocrisy!

Unstopable
07-07-2010, 04:26 PM
excellent story

Wizard
07-23-2010, 02:21 PM
I'm not denying that it was important for the entire point of the A-Bomb that the people realized the horror that the weapon was capable of. But this could have been achieved by bombing any area on the main Japanese islands. The bomb would have been big and horrifying enough to force the capitulation of Japan, without actually killing and crippling the amount of people it ended up doing.

Unfortunately, you are wrong.

A demonstration of the atomic bomb was seriously considered by the Manhattan Project scientists, but they correctly concluded that it would not work without attendant damage and casualties. Destruction of a remote military base would have been useless because the Japanese militarists would simply have closed off the area and denied that anything had happened, or at best they would have claimed that an accidental explosion had obliterated the facility. As it was, the militarists tried to downplay the extent of destruction at Hiroshima. They claimed the effects of the atomic bomb could easily be countered by moving important facilities underground. They also argued that the United States couldn't have more than one atomic bomb. That is why it was important to drop a second bomb on Nagasaki soon after the first one.

Incidentally, testing of the atomic bombs wasn't a factor in their use. The gun-type bomb dropped on Hiroshima didn't need to be tested; all the scientists knew it would work. The implosion type bomb was tested at Alamogordo in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, thus the need for a test was satisfied.


This sounds like a threat ;)

And I am aware that the Manhattan Project was all about developing the bomb against Germany, before the Germans developed it themselves. But if IIRC (could be wrong here), the Project would have needed a good bit longer if the US weren't able to US knowledge from captured German scientists who, despite being further away than the Americans from creating one themselves, had solved someproblems the US hadn't yet.
Also, even if Germany hadn't surrendered when it did, there wouldn't have been any real targets in Germany anymore - the war was pretty much already won, whereas in Japan, there was still a major danger involved in landing on the mainland.

The atomic bomb project certainly was a threat to Nazi Germany. Had German managed to stave off defeat until the summer of 1945, the atomic bomb almost certainly would have been dropped on Germany as well as Japan. Col. Tibbets' original orders specified that one half of the bomber group he trained to drop the bombs would be sent to Europe to operate against Germany. It was only Germany's early capitulation that saved it from Japan's fate.

And no, no "captured German scientists" had any input to the US atomic bomb project. Germany was in the forefront of nuclear physics research until 1934, and it was German scientists who first split the atom, although they didn't realize until afterwards that they had. After 1934, the center of nuclear physics research had moved to Britain and the US because that is where Jewish physicists, exiled by Hitler, sought refuge. The Manhattan project started in 1941, and relied mainly on American, British, and Hungarian scientists to solve the theoretical problems of producing an atomic weapon. Most of these problems had been solved by early 1943, and the project had moved on to the engineering and production problems; German scientists never got beyond the theoretical stage and never even managed to produce a working reactor. Fermi, an Italian scientist working on the Manhattan project, had done that at the end of 1942 in Chicago. It was, ironically, the engineering and production phase that proved most troublesome and costly, and the German scientists had no insight or experience with these problems.