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Rising Sun*
06-29-2009, 06:49 AM
Thanks to the marvels of the electric internet, this is most of the final chapter of a book I'm just finishing: The Pearl Harbor Papers, Daniel M Goldstein & Katherine V Dillon (eds), Brassey's, Washington, 1993

It reinforces the fatal problems caused by the separate wars fought by the IJA and IJN as well as various failures in Japan's war planning and its conduct of the war, while drawing comparisons with Britain and especially America which highlight Japan's many failings.

It's hard to escape the impression that Japan managed to combine the ability to adapt rapidly to the practical aspects of Western technology with an inability to adapt as rapidly to the global and intellectual aspects of contemporary grand strategy and strategic warfare, which pretty much doomed it to eventual defeat before it fired the first shot.

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=q2pFnALHfykC&pg=PA312&lpg=PA312&dq=masataka+chihaya+intimate+look+japanese+navy&source=bl&ots=0No6ZSt6hR&sig=ZZSnlthqWBXeNMF3E2U9ygMCNLI&hl=en&ei=gaVISqq5AaXa6gPGuKAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

Timbo in Oz
07-15-2009, 06:02 PM
Sorry I didn't see this post until now.

I have had a good look at the book on line, using a few different searches terms to access more of it. Google books is a great resource.

I also recall a book by a French journalist who was stuck in Japan throughout the war. His view, very simplified here by me, was that Japan as a society lacked the moral courage to think deeply about what it was up to.

Because it was so - obedient.

Japanese business and politics still shows features of this collective problem.

Rising Sun*
07-16-2009, 09:11 AM
I also recall a book by a French journalist who was stuck in Japan throughout the war. His view, very simplified here by me, was that Japan as a society lacked the moral courage to think deeply about what it was up to.

Because it was so - obedient.

Japanese business and politics still shows features of this collective problem.

True, but obedience wasn't unique to Japan.

Germany travelled a similar path, for different reasons and, somewhat surprisingly, from a cultural and intellectual background much more aligned with notions of individual liberty than the family/nation ideas embedded in Japanese culture at the time, and to a lesser or perhaps just less strident extent now.

The Allied nations were, for all their proclamations of individual liberty, a long way from modern Western notions of individual liberty, and that obtained in varying degrees until the second half of the 1960s and reduced steadily afterwards.

All that said, Japan in the lead up to WWII was still a society which had historical and cultural features which, while in many respects no different to other Asian cultures, enabled it to be controlled and exploited by its authoritarian military regime in ways which weren't possible in the Allied nations, and not least because of the importance of and loyalty to the Emperor manufactured by the militarists who, true to Japanese tradition, had in effect captured the Emperor for their own purposes, not that he was an unwilling participant despite the bullshit he and his "The Emperor knew nothing." supporters presented after the war.

Rising Sun*
07-16-2009, 09:58 AM
I also recall a book by a French journalist who was stuck in Japan throughout the war. His view, very simplified here by me, was that Japan as a society lacked the moral courage to think deeply about what it was up to.

That was perhaps true from about the late 1930s or 1940, in the same way that it was true once the Nazis got solidly into power in Germany, but there was a vigorous and largely public debate in Japan about Japan's destiny in various social, journalistic, academic, commercial and government circles during the 1920s and well into the 1930s.

I think it is selective to criticise Japan for lacking the moral courage to think deeply about what it was up to.

The same criticisms could more accurately be directed at America, Britain and the Netherlands which just assumed from their cultural arrogance, positions of power and colonial histories that right was on their side and, if it wasn't, then might was.

America and Britain in particular didn't bother to think deeply about what they were up to in contesting with Japan for interests in China, on moral or any other grounds beyond national commercial advantage.

Australia and America didn't bother to examine the moral or any other aspects in deciding to exclude Japanese from migrating to their countries. They just focused on narrow commercial interests affecting their own people, but then went on to impose trade sanctions on Japan which unfairly harmed Japan while trying to preserve the trade advantages of the Western nations.

While there is no justification for the appalling conduct of Japan in China and the Pacific 1933-45, its war was otherwise as justifiable as any of the wars which the Allies had fought to acquire colonies and exploit less powerful nations (notably China).

Any deficiency in Japanese thinking and any deficiency in Japanese moral courage in questioning its aggression was mirrored in much that had gone before and was still occurring under Allied control.

Why was it alright for Britain to have India, Burma, Malaya, Ceylon, and bits of China, but wrong for Japan to grab them?

Deaf Smith
07-17-2009, 11:33 PM
Why was it alright for Britain to have India, Burma, Malaya, Ceylon, and bits of China, but wrong for Japan to grab them?

Because might makes right in THIS world. And at the time Japan was not, despite what they thought, a world power capable of taking what they wanted.

Their ships and air power was not backed up by the industrial power needed to sustain them in a serious battle of attrition. Their incessant focus on 'the decisive battle', which harked back to the Russo-Japanese war, was myopic and left them vunerable to the very type of war the Allies excelled in.

Japan knew their great dependency on oil, from so few sources, was bound to keep them on a short leash, yet even Admiral Yamamoto’s advice that he could only hold America back for a year was not enough to spur them to increase the capability of production for either oil or weapons before the war.

As Vince Lombardi said, "It's not the will to win that counts, it's the will to prepare to win that matters".

Japan had the will to win, but they did not have the will to prepare to win. That preperation would have taken far more time.

And always keep in mind that might does make right in this world. Never think it doesn't.

Deaf

Rising Sun*
07-18-2009, 05:58 AM
And always keep in mind that might does make right in this world. Never think it doesn't.

Deaf

Perhaps, but nations have never bothered about right when they have the might.

However, my point about Japan taking India etc was based on the fact that at the time it was acceptable for European powers to retain colonies taken by force, so why shouldn't Japan be entitled to the same 'right'?

Deaf Smith
07-18-2009, 07:36 PM
Perhaps, but nations have never bothered about right when they have the might.

However, my point about Japan taking India etc was based on the fact that at the time it was acceptable for European powers to retain colonies taken by force, so why shouldn't Japan be entitled to the same 'right'?

Sure Japan did have the same 'right', IF they could take it by force! But to try to take India would bring alot of force against Japan, thus Japan had no 'right'.

Only now and then countries talk about taking the 'high road'. Usually they say that when they can't politicly take the 'low road'.

And speaking of the 'high road'.... as Leo Durocher said, "nice guys come in last". Most of the time that is the way it is.

Deaf

royal744
10-25-2009, 05:57 PM
Looked at with the benefit of hindsight - always much easier - it's clear that WW2 was among the very last of the nakedly imperialist wars. The Germans & the Japanese didn't realize that it was the end of an era instead of the beginning of a new one with them in charge. They mistook the initial weakness of those they sought to capture or enslave as a golden opportunity instead of the fatal trap that it really was. They miscalculated in both Europe and Asia that their "military superiority" was a permanent condition instead of a fleeting moment in time. If you're going to bash a hornets nest with a stick, you better be prepared to kill all of them and neither Germany nor Japan were factually capable of doing that.

Firefly
10-27-2009, 05:06 PM
Im not so sure that it was the end of an era more than the catalyst for it becoming so. WW2 probably brought about this change rather like WW1 was the precursor to ending an imperialist building era.

On to Japan then. I think the very reason that they concentrated on a swift decisive victory is that they definitely knew that they couldn't match the US especially in a protracted war. And so they developed a doctrine that reflected their belief in an offensive 'killing blow'. Of course this lead directly to Peal harbour with the belief that the US would come to terms after this killing blow by somehow realising that Japan had won.

I find it pretty ironic that the Japanese contrived the very circumstance in which the US would enter an all out war to the finish rather than simply grab the resources that they wanted and ignore the US by NOT attacking them in the first place. If they hadnt attacked the US but instead the British and Dutch possessions alone I dont think the US would have been justified in entering the war (the US public probably wouldnt have wanted to go to war for colonialist forces).

This reflects the Japanese navies emphasis on the decisive battle, which time after time caused them more problems. On reflection, Pearl harbour was their biggest mistake, instead a more decisive battle would probably have happened if they had just attacked the Philippines and let the US navy sortie to their defence.

The Japanese could then have attacked the US Navy in mid ocean with their full six carrier 'Kido Butai' which in 1941 was the most formidable naval striking force in the world. However, no matter what Japan would have done, the end state would have been the same as US industrial power would still have prevailed.

The Japanese simply didnt have the persistence to fight a protracted war. In fact an amazing fact I recently read about the Japanese is that in the whole of 1942 they actually made less than 50 navy aircraft.

As a footnote, and getting back on track to the original post, the Japanse Navy and Army practically hated each other, this probably caused them more problems than the enemy did for a long time.

Rising Sun*
10-28-2009, 06:24 AM
The Japanese could then have attacked the US Navy in mid ocean with their full six carrier 'Kido Butai' which in 1941 was the most formidable naval striking force in the world.

In battle, yes. Otherwise, no.

The 'decisive battle' mentality resulted in Japan building most its capital and many other ships in the expectation of the decisive battle in the ocean not too far east of Japan.

Consequently the Pearl Harbor fleet lacked the range to reach Pearl and had to be refuelled several times on the way there and on the way back, which was an issue of considerable concern to the planners and operational commanders in (a) meeting the rendevous points (b) being exposed while refuelling (c) having the tankers to do the job and (d) even if successful actually getting home again.

The power of the striking force was determined as much by the capacity of merchant tankers as any inherent mobility in the striking force ships, although that was true to varying degrees of all navies.

Firefly
10-29-2009, 04:42 PM
I cant agree with your assessment there, all fleets refuelled at sea and the US had to do the same to fly the doolittle raid etc around the same time.

From Pearl to Midway the Japanese cariers steamed in excess of 50000 miles ranging from Australia to Ceylon.

I do agree though that they were obsessed by the 'decisive' battle and it was this that continually got them into trouble time after time. Again though, their assessment that they had to bring about a decisive battle was probably right, its simply the manner they went about it was wrong.

Rising Sun*
10-29-2009, 08:29 PM
I cant agree with your assessment there, all fleets refuelled at sea and the US had to do the same to fly the doolittle raid etc around the same time.

The need for all fleets to refuel isn't disputed, but the Japanese needed to refuel more often than other fleets because their ships weren't designed for long distance voyages as a result of the obsession with the decisive battle which was intended to occur close to Japan. The refuelling aspect was critical to the Pearl Harbor planning.

The source for this view is the chief of staff of the IJN First Air Fleet at the time of Pearl Harbor, Vice Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka quoted in Goldstein & Dillon's book The Pearl Harbor Papers mentioned in my first post and which, thanks to Googlebooks, has the relevant section here: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=q2pFnALHfykC&lpg=PA138&ots=0Np63Rt6fR&dq=the%20pearl%20harbor%20papers&pg=PA141#v=onepage&q=&f=false and relevant biographical details of the vice admiral here: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=q2pFnALHfykC&lpg=PA138&ots=0Np63Rt6fR&dq=the%20pearl%20harbor%20papers&pg=PA137#v=onepage&q=&f=false

See also the comments at the end of p.151 onto p. 152 here http://books.google.com.au/books?id=q2pFnALHfykC&lpg=PA138&ots=0Np63Rt6fR&dq=the%20pearl%20harbor%20papers&pg=PA151#v=onepage&q=&f=false regarding concerns about attacks while refuelling and how the refuelling aspect bore on the decision not to land troops on Hawaii.

Firefly
10-30-2009, 08:30 AM
Yup. Point very much taken, but all militaries should conform to their chosen doctrine and I suppose the Japanese suffered more from theirs than the US.

Rising Sun*
10-30-2009, 09:46 AM
Yup. Point very much taken, but all militaries should conform to their chosen doctrine and I suppose the Japanese suffered more from theirs than the US.

One of Japan's problems was that in comparison with the Allies it didn't have a cohesive or particularly coherent military or, more importantly, strategic doctrine so far as taking on much of the rest of the industrialised world and holding Japan's gains was concerned.

That comes back in large part to the IJA nationalist elements' political dominance in running the nation and war, compounded by a lack of experience and understanding of the West in the IJA and hubris created by silly beliefs in 'spirit' over, say, field hygiene and medical services; and victories in China against a disorganised enemy with none of the West's organisation or industrial capacity which did not begin to extend Japan's army, navy and logistical capacity as did the thrusts southwards and westwards.

At one level Japanese military, notably IJA, doctrine focused on personal 'spirit' which supposedly could overcome all. The absurdity and deficiency in this was that the excellent military medical services which the Japanese had at the time of the Russo-Japanese war no longer existed by WWII because the idiots running the show proclaimed that 'spirit' would overcome illness and injury. Meanwhile the Allies knew that field hygiene and medical services which kept soldiers in the field were a great return on investment in those services.

At another level IJA doctrine focused on infiltration and envelopment from section level upwards, which was stunningly successful in the advance phase 1941-42 by creating confusion and provoking retreats by the Allies. But there was an inability to adapt to changed circumstances, as shown by Slim's successful 'stand and fight' response to those IJA tactics in Burma.

Japan was brilliant at winning land, sea and air battles in its advance phase but due to a failure to appreciate what was required to hold what it gained in those advances (in every aspect from supplying its troops to defending against enemy advances) it was bound to lose the war before it started. Unless the US was taken out of the war against Japan, which was most unlikely after Pearl Harbor. And not something, as Japan knew, that Japan could ever achieve on it own.

Nickdfresh
10-30-2009, 12:12 PM
...the IJA nationalist elements' political dominance in running the nation and war, compounded by a lack of experience and understanding of the West in the IJA and hubris created by silly beliefs in 'spirit' over, say, field hygiene and medical services....


Not too mention machine guns, submachine guns, tanks, self-loading rifles, trained pilot replacements, dug in enemy infantry supported by artillery, et cetera...

Deaf Smith
10-30-2009, 07:55 PM
Not too mention machine guns, submachine guns, tanks, self-loading rifles, trained pilot replacements, dug in enemy infantry supported by artillery, et cetera...

And right up to the Atomic Bomb they were still in 'Banzai' mode. A large portion of their home defense organzation were armed with bambo spears.

Yea, like that would do it.

Deaf

Rising Sun*
10-30-2009, 09:35 PM
Not too mention machine guns, submachine guns, tanks, self-loading rifles, trained pilot replacements, dug in enemy infantry supported by artillery, et cetera...

It doesn't matter how good those things were if the troops were too ill and or too starved to use them properly, as many were on the Kokoda Track retreat and at Gona - Buna - Sanananda by the end of 1942, a bare ten months on from their triumphant victory in Malaya.

The following note illustrates both the belief in spirit over medical treatment, and from a medical officer, and the breakdown in field hygiene.


Gastroenteritis afflicted most of the Japanese soldiers in New Guinea, causing diarrhoea and dysentery. While rarely fatal, it could be a debilitating condition, causing dehydration and complicating other illnesses. Medical 2nd Lieutenant SAVATARI Zengoro "...did not think this was a very serious menace". He stated there were numerous cases "PW stated that soldiers with strong constitutions carried on when they were suffering from dysentery." [1]

Cause: Gastroenteritis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection transmitted through contaminated water and food. In the 1940’s, native New Guineans did not use latrines, their houses were built on stilts and they defecated on the ground through holes in the floor, counting on the rain to wash away the waste. The runoff contaminated available fresh water. Flies would land on the excrement and then transfer the micro-organisms by landing on food. Since Japanese (as well as Australian and American) soldiers were not immune to the local diseases, they would get infected if they drank the water or ate the contaminated food. [2]

Prevention: The Japanese No. 55 Epidemic Prevention and Water Supply Unit was sent to New Guinea to identify disease pathogens in the combat zone and ensure a clean water supply for the soldiers. However, the unit’s effectiveness decreased the further inland the troops went as noted by Savatari, "special units were responsible for filtering, but whilst this was practical when in billets away from the front, it was impossible to expect such units to cope with the situation on active operations. All water was supposed to boiled before use, but river water was more often than not drunk straight from the streams." [3]

Sanitation efforts broke down in the field, further compounding Japanese soldiers’ exposure to pathogens. While, as Savatari reported, "all ranks were lectured on the need for hygiene, but on active service it was practically impossible to enforce any set rule or regulation." [4] Even in garrison, sanitary rules were not always enforced. An American internee described one base in 1943–44, "Although it was announced that Amele was to remain a Japanese Army base, the latrine which the officers used was soon filthy and the whole compound became polluted with Japanese faeces. The American internee put in more effort at sanitary policing than the Japanese officer-in-charge." [5]

Epidemiology: Although there are no known reliable statistics, most Japanese soldiers suffered from diarrhoea and dysentery. Those suffering from dysentery usually stayed with their unit, frequently walking naked with leaves hanging from their buttocks to prevent them from soiling their uniform. The cases that were hospitalised, since they were the most serious cases, had a high mortality rate. In 1943, the case mortality rate of gastroenteritis patients from the 21st Independent Mixed Brigade was 69 per cent. [6]

Treatment: The medical treatment was a traditional Japanese charcoal preparation Arushirin taken three times daily after meals. [7] http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/AJRP/remember.nsf/Web-Printer/01B4C9564FB0DAE2CA256B5A0011A971?OpenDocument

Medical services can make a winning contribution to the success of long campaigns, especially in jungle or other high disease areas.


Professor Humphreys says that during the Battle of Kokoda in 1942, when Japanese troops came within 55km of Port Moresby, more than 2000 Australian soldiers were stricken with bacillary dysentery and were admitted to medical holding units, after forcing a Japanese retreat.

The soldiers were treated with the first 37kg of sulphaguanidine ever to be produced from a manufacturing process developed by Professor Trikojus, and the epidemic was rapidly checked.

Wartime medical expert Colonel Sir Alan Newton wrote at the time that “had the drug not been available the course of the new Guinea campaign might have been unfavourable to our cause...Happily the drug was there to give, owing to the efforts of an Australian scientist, Professor Trikojus. http://voice.unimelb.edu.au/view.php?articleID=699

The Japanese did not have sulphaguanidine and suffered a much greater reduction than the Australians in combat efficiency because of it.

As a result of sickness and the failure to supply troops with adequate rations because of the Japanese preference for living off the land, the Japanese became pathetically ill and weak on the retreat on the Kokoda Track.


In September 1942, HORII ordered serious ration restrictions. Rice rations were reduced to two-thirds of a pint for the physically active and half a pint for others. Commanders were urged to capture food supplies and live off the land. Foraging parties were organised. A few parachute drops of supplies were made but there was no real attempt to use aircraft to solve the supply problem. By October, requisitioning food from Papuans was failing as a strategy and even dried roots were being eaten. Discipline was breaking down – bags of rice were being stolen and supply units were consuming food intended for front-line units. Grass, roots and fruits that Papuans and Australians knew were inedible were being eaten by the Japanese. In mid-October a 41st Regiment document stated "officers and men realise the present condition of the formation cannot be helped. However, the men are gradually weakening in their physical condition due to lack of food and the continuous rain with no chance of recovery." The Japanese captured tainted rations along the Kokoda Trail and ate them quickly resulting in stomach pains, internal problems and widespread dysentery.

The Japanese retreat back down the Kokoda Track was pitiful. They were famished, ill and weary. Unable to carry much, they left a trail of discarded equipment and comrades who were too badly wounded or sick to carry on. The Japanese were so short of rations that some had resorted to cannibalism. On the overland retreat from Sio to Wewak, tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers perished, mostly as a result of sickness and malnutrition. New Guinea was the place, "where soldiers are sent into the jungle without supplies." This seems to have proven the Japanese saying that, "Java is heaven, Burma is hell, but you never come back alive from New Guinea." http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.nsf/pages/NT00005106

This could easily have been avoided by greater attention to the practicalities of medical services, field hygiene and rations rather than believing that 'spirit' could overcome all obstacles.

royal744
12-08-2009, 06:02 PM
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=q2pFnALHfykC&pg=PA312&lpg=PA312&dq=masataka+chihaya+intimate+look+japanese+navy&source=bl&ots=0No6ZSt6hR&sig=ZZSnlthqWBXeNMF3E2U9ygMCNLI&hl=en&ei=gaVISqq5AaXa6gPGuKAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1[/url]

All too true RS

royal744
12-08-2009, 06:06 PM
"not that he was an unwilling participant despite the bullshit he and his "The Emperor knew nothing." supporters presented after the war."

It was bullshit. Not only was he a willing participant, he was also an instigator of the deepest dye.

Timbo in Oz
12-29-2009, 05:13 PM
I feel quite strongly on the evidence - most of it unsuppressed unlike much of that on Japan - that the British Empire was the least exploitative empire, and had the most positive impact. Still with us too most of that.

Much of what has been posted on these lines here in this thread is relativistic and way too pc. WWII had to have imperial causes, but to suggest that Britain engaged in it cynically is bathetic or ignorant or worse. Shallow!?

To suggest that the brief period of debate Japan had in the 1920's - following its first round of brutal and racist expansion - somehow makes it a comparable society or imperial head, to Britain, is just plain weird.

Viz. After the Amritsar massacre, General Dyer might not have been punished with an actual sentence, but he never worked in the army again. Please find me any similar events where the general was bowler hatted or similar - in Japan's history in Manchuria / Korea before, during, or after the 1920's. Pls find me such an example in German East Africa, or say the Belgian Congo!? eh?

If we are going to be relativistic let's at least use a properly scaled ruler.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

The decisive battle thing goes even deeper. The IJN did not have any serious damage control systems or policy. Fuel tanks on the hangar deck where aircraft were bombed up. It runs through their entire structure and tactical doctrine. No self sealing tanks and no armour in both services aircraft. ...........

The aristocratic authoritarian bully with a katana who just knows that he MUST get his blow in first, and WILL!

Japan is not a society I find easy to admire - even now. I do love some aspects, like their gardens, some of their literature, and their high-end audio gear and the actual hi-fi hobby in Japan which is way into valves, vinyl off MC cartridges and high efficiency spkrs. But, it all fits, for me at least.

I like Teryaki food. But it's hardly haute cuisine, or old!


Timbo

Schuultz
01-01-2010, 11:31 PM
I feel quite strongly on the evidence - most of it unsuppressed unlike much of that on Japan - that the British Empire was the least exploitative empire, and had the most positive impact. Still with us too most of that.


I'm sorry, but this, in my eyes, is a ludicrous statement.

How was the British Empire anything but extremely exploitative? I'm sure when you ask either Indians, or Chinese, Africans, they well tell you something quite different. Let alone the Native Americans or Native Australians.

The moment an Empire needs an entire island at the other end of the world just to store its criminals, I would call it extremely repressive - and that's only its own country, not even its colonies!

Let's face it: The vast majority of what we today accept as official history is what has been written by all the British Lords, officers, colonial landlords, etc, painting the picture of the harmonious lord/servant. Of course they wouldn't see anything wrong with the Empire.

Your statement seems to be largely based on the fact that there has been no other Empire that managed to expand as far as those of the Britons and keep it for the period of time the Redcoats did.

You can hardly compare the situation in a country that has been occupied for maybe a couple of years with one that has been occupied for several generations!

Also, regarding positive impact:

I don't see that - especially not the most. You could argue that even the Romans outdid the Britons in this regard, bringing advanced mathematics and architecture, such as Aqueducts to the conquered nations. What good, by comparison, did India learn from its British conquerors, other than the rules for Cricket?

Even today, take a stroll through Buckingham Palace - anybody should get sickened by the continued proud display of the cultural and historical treasures stolen from dozens - if not hundreds - of peoples over the centuries and denied from their rightful owners. This is, of course, not only a British occurrence but can be found in almost all European and American museums.

This is not meant as a complete riff on the British Empire - but rather a (slightly overreacting) counterargument to your little claim.

Rising Sun*
01-02-2010, 04:12 AM
You could argue that even the Romans outdid the Britons in this regard, bringing advanced mathematics and architecture, such as Aqueducts to the conquered nations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExWfh6sGyso

Timbo in Oz
02-15-2010, 09:17 PM
Firstly, I too am angered by the distance between what humans en masse end up creating, and our shared ideals globally. And, by the smugness of those in power and the deep unwillingness to think about redesign. but I ahve enough sense to face that history is the past and can't be changed.

Given the tone of your post, I think you might still have missed the point inherent in the Monty Python sketch from "the Life of Brian".

the BE brought with it, implicitly and explicitly the market capitalism system and exploitation of those without market power, but it also brought with it the benefits of that system, and

the rule of law,
roads,
railways,
science,
medicine,
and relative peace after about 1810 in India. leaving aside the 1857 war of independence
the population grew
incomes grew

They did not succeed in converting them to Christianity. Swings and round-abouts, eh? ;-)

To suggest as you have done that my post implied that I thought the BE wasn't backed up by arms and force, or that people weren't exploited, or killed. Reflects more about your own biases than it actually debates what I wrote - which IMO survives your points - because I was not unaware of imperialism's major faults in any case.

A balanced and quite critical view of the British Empire is available to you right now in the orange Penguin's series. ''Empire" by Niall Ferguson, and while he IS a TV Historian he's also a real academic one as well.

At a global level, the BE stood up to Hitler, for just long enough on its own. The second war basically ate up any of the wealth left from WWI. Not a bad ending for the 'least bad' of empire.

Least bad is what we mostly get with large human activity systems, like the global economy, and democratic government. No?!

Human history is like that.

I am currently working my way through a history of Scotland (and in passing of England and Ireland), soaked with blood and lies and spin, just like Germany's is I'd be betting, no?

As a student of history, are you aware that 'frightfulness' was German Army policy for the wheel through Belgium in 1914?