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Post Final Days of a Japanese Soldier: A Diary
Created by John Eipper on 01/05/18 6:59 AM

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Final Days of a Japanese Soldier: A Diary (Brian Blodgett, USA, 01/05/18 6:59 am)

I wanted to share the Diary of Taro Kawaguchi with everyone after a saw the WAIS posting with the links to Dr. Nora Volkow.  It's not the same topic at all, but I believe it will be of interest.

This document was found following the cessation of battle on Saipan in July, 1944. It is an English translation of a diary written in Japanese by a Japanese soldier. English spelling errors are transcribed as they were written. Most Army outfits with which I was familiar had a bilingual Japanese-American member, whose duties included translating documents which might be found or captured, and communicating with the natives when necessary.

This diary belonged to Taro Kawaguchi, of the Nakahara Unit which in turn belongs to the Homare Unit 11943 (43rd Div. Hospital Unit). The diary was found on July 19th, 1944 at target area 260G on the island of Saipan.

The document was given to me by Sergeant Major Winters of the 532d FA Bn who was serving on Saipan during the battle. I also have an interrogation of a Japanese Officer, the recollections of Winters (who passed some years back), and a few other items on Saipan, to include sketches that Winters did of the area while he was there.

June 11, 1944 Second air raid since I landed on Saipan Island. Same as before. The enemy's bombing was carried out in large pattern bombings and we received a terrific bombardment right after noon and towards the evening. The raid occurred while we N.C.O's were cooking and we didn't have a chance to take cover in the air raid shelters. Although our A.A. put up a terrific barrage, and our planes intercepted them it seems that the damage was considerable. Charan-Kanoa and Tinian areas were burning terrifically.

June 12, 1944 Same as yesterday, the enemy bombers appeared. Spent the whole day in the air raid shelter and it seems I have Dengue Fever.

Also today the enemy bombarded. Each squad dug air raid shelters by order of the commander. In the afternoon the enemy fleet appeared of(f) shore and commenced a furious naval bombardment. It seems as if the bombardment was concentrated around Charan-Kanoa and Garapan. The hospital was hit and burning. During the night our second company supplied material to the hospital. 1st Lt. Omura and 2nd Lt. Yamaguchi of the hospital units are in high spirits. We carried the patients and supplies to the air-raid shelters.

June 14, 1944 Toward the latter part of the day naval bombardment and bombing was prevalent. Today we transferred to the air-raid shelters on the left side of the valley. In the evening prepared to move medical supplies and tents. Commenced moving at 12 o'clock. However it was very far so it took us until dawn. On this day the enemy landed and the time has come at last.

June 15, 1944 During the evening the Unit Commander and a large amount of men departed for the Saipan Shrine for the treatment of patients. 1st Lt. Kunieda performed bravely and courageously treating the patients under a terrific naval barrage, and he should be considered an ideal mode(l) for the Medics Section. We administered aid to one patient and it was the first time we carried out medical aid since landing on Saipan Is. Under the terrific naval bombardment an impressive ceremony for our country was carried out at the Saipan Shrine. During the night we transferred the patients to the 3rd company on top of the hill. Upon returning immediately departed for the rocks.

June 16, 1944 Due to the movement of the previous day I was tired so rested in the air raid shelter.

June 17, 1944 I and other N.C.O.'s plus five men were ordered by the commander to secure medical supplies. Today the enemy planes are in their glory strafing and bombing at will.

June 18, 1944 The patients are coming in ever increasing numbers. During the evening transported some medical supplies to the Pharmacists Section. Today the strafing by enemy planes was terrific.

June 19, 1944] Today the order was given for the distribution of duty. I was placed in the Pharmacist's Section commanded by Lt. Yamaguchi.

June 20, 1944 The enemy strafing is getting heavier and because of naval gunfire, stayed in shelter all day.

June 21, 1944 Due to the approach of strafing, bombing and artillery fire near our positions we endeavored to dig shelters.

June 22, 1944 Today the enemy attach was more furious. While carrying out duty below the cliffs, the enemy artillery found its mark and caused seven casualties. During the evening we transferred the hospital unit to the top of the mountain.

June 23, 1944 Because of the terrific assault by the enemy, thorough treatment of the patients cannot be accomplished. We obtained water and food for the patients. It was appreciated by the patients.

June 24, 1944 Today the enemy barrage is increasingly terrific. They were overshooting the hospital but finally one landed 10 meters from our dug-out and regrettable though it was, we received a few casualties.

June 25, 1944 Because of unfavorable situation near the vicinity, the unit received orders to move near the vicinity of Tara-Hoko. During the night moved the patients to Tara Hoko. It is regrettable but we had to abandon some supplies.

June 26, 1944 Spent the night below the cliffs with the patients. Conditions are getting ever increasingly unfavorable and because of concentration of artillery, took cover among the trees. No casualties. During the evening the unit received orders to move to Donnay. Some of the patients were commiting suicide with hand grenades.

June 27, 1944 I slept good because of the Saki we took last night. Upon being awakened by Capt. Watanabe, immediately departed for Donnay. Proceeded to Donnay under terrific artillery file. We received heavy casualties due to heavy concentrated fire by land units and tanks and took refuge on top of mountain. Was ordered by hospital commander to be prepared to attack the enemy with rifles, hand grenades or bayonets attached to sticks. I was ordered by 2nd Lt. Yamaguchi to burn medical supplies. Because of the furious fire by our troops one enemy tank was knocked out and the enemy withdrew. It was decided that the severely wounded would be evacuated to Taro-Hoko by way of the mountain pass. On the way we were separated from 2nd Lt. Yamaguchi and lost our way and came out near the sea coast.

June 28, 1944 We found the main strength of the company and were relieved to hear that Lt. Yamaguchi was safe. Suddenly we received a terrific bombardment as we were resting near the "Y" junction. We immediately hit the dirt and were covered by dirt and sand. I received a slight wound across the forehead. When the barrage subsided there were cries of pain and help all around the area. Took to the forest, assembled and waited. During the night we received another barrage. Quenched our thirst with rain water.

June 29, 1944 Dug foxholes due to scare of previous night. Stayed in area until the afternoon and again received a terrific bombardment. When the firing was over everything was desolated. Took upon duty of treating the patients again. During the night orders were received to proceed to Taro-Hoko but the trip was hampered by a terrific squall (rain). Under the flare lightened road, continued to Taro-Hoko. When we reached the "Y" junction again, there was a feeling of sadness, pity and anger and we resolved to gain revenge for the dead.

June 30, 1944 Towards the morning we reached the Taro-Hako area. Immediately started on construction of air-raid shelter and received a rain of enemy bombs while constructing. Stayed in shelter all afternoon. Toward the evening did my duty as a medic. Ate rice for the first time since the 25th and regained strength. Felt like stamping the ground and tears came to my eyes. On this day the hospital received concentrated fire and numerous casualties occurred. I received a slight wound on my left thigh.

July 1, 1944 While working everyone seemed to regain their strength and upon seeing this I became greatly relieved. Stayed in air-raid shelter all morning due to concentrated fire. During the letup rice was cooked with the lid sealed with parafin. The taste was undescribable. After eating, fixed the dug-out and attended to medical supplies.

July 2, 1944 At dawn visited the place where my friend lay dead with a bayonet wound in his head. Covered him with grass and leaves. Upon returning ate a meal of hartack and pickeled prunes for breakfast. Suddenly while eating, heard gunfire, and orders were issued for security disposition. However no attack was received so returned to shelter. During the evening took care of medical supplies and fixed shelter.

July 3, 1944 At daybreak the sound of enemy artillery and rifle fire echoed throughout the valley. Immediately took up battle security disposition. The rifle reports seemed nearer and more terrific than yesterday, however the situation cannot be comprehended. If the enemy approaches the whole unit will repulse them with every weapon at hand. Toward the end of the day, took refuge in the dugout with lt. Yamaguchi due to attack and fire of land units. Later tried to transport rations under command of Lt. Yamaguchi but failed due to enemy fire and action. Today the casualties were three men in the pharmacists section.

July 4, 1944 Different from yesterday. Today was extremely quiet. Near terrific artillery barrage and rifle fire came nearer so immediately took up battle disposition. After this rifle fire subsided and nothing happened. At 2100 started moving toward the top of the mountain but was greatly hampered by flares. I was bothered by the wounded leg. Orders were given by the unit commander to fight to the last in the bivouac area. "My foxhole is my grave." Heard that orders were issued by the Commander-in-Chief for all men to take part in the last assault. Went down to the valley, washed and quenched my thirst. Suddenly rifle reports were heard and immediately battle disposition was taken but nothing happened.

July 5, 1944 1st Lt. Matsumai came to our dugout and saying "As long as I'm going to die, I want to die with the pharmacist's section," he joined us. Also, "If this is going to be our grave, let's make it clean." So after reveille, we attended to cleaning up the area. While waiting in the hole after breakfast the furious assault of the enemy commenced. The second company under the command of Lt. Matsumai formed into three squads and took up positions on top of the mountain. Seeing that we were surrounded in the front and rear, we approached the enemy with the determination of anihilating them. We fired at the enemy in the rear but there was no effect. The enemy was advancing rapidly along the road. We drank mile (milk) and coffee and saki while awaiting further orders. The order was issued that each company will carry out night attacks. 2nd Lt. Yamaguchi went to work with Lt. Col. Takeda. 1st Lt. Omura and the pharmacist's section bid farewell among themselves and awaited the commencement of the movement. Two men committed pathetic suicide due to severe wounds. The Lt. And the pharmacist's section bid farewell and promised to meet at the Yasukumi Shrine after death. I with 2nd Lt. Yamaguchi was absorbed into the command section and was very happy. At last under the command of Capt. Watanabe the weaponless units commenced movement, communication between the units could not be taken.

July 6, 1944 Received artillery barrage during the morning and took cover among the rocks. As each round approached nearer and nearer, I closed my eyes and awaited it. Rifle reports and tanks seemed nearer and everyone took cover within the forrest and waited for the enemy to approach. Soon the voice of the enemy could be heard and machine gun fire could be heard over our heads. I thought this was the end and was ready to charge out with a hand grenade when ordered to take cover by the Capt. When I looked from the side of the rock I could see the hateful bearded face of the enemy shining in the sunlight. With a terrific report the rock in front of my eyes exploded, and the Sgt. that joined us last night was killed. Also the Cpl received severe wounds in his left thigh. However, I could not treat the wounds even if I wanted to. Everyone hugged the grounds and kept quiet, waiting for an opening in the enemy. As I stood up to get the rifle from one of the dead a bullet hit between my legs and I thought sure I was hit, but after glancing down, to my happiness, nothing was wrong. A report was heard and as I looked back I saw my friend Cpl Ito lying on his back with a rifle in his hand. Oh! Cpl. Ito who has been in my section ever since Nagoya had died. After fierce counterfire, the enemy was repulsed so I approached the body of Ito who had a bullet hole through his left temple, with his eyes half open and lips tightly clenched. "I'll take Ito's revenge." Taking Ito's rifle which was clenched in his hands even after death, I waited for the enemy to attack. Cpl Yasukiro also had wounds in both legs. Pathetically he was saying, "Please kill me," so 1st Lt. Matsumai beautifully cut his head off. The Cpl pleaded before being cut to the Lt. "Please cut skillfully." The Lt. With sweat pouring down his hand, took one stroke, two strokes, and on the third stroke he cut his head off. The rifle reports subsided. Soon however, reports commenced roaring in the frontal area. I pocketed the scroll written by Cp. Ito as a farewell gift and bid farewell to his spirit. I grabbed Cpl Ono's hand and he stated pathetically that he will commit suicide tomorrow morning. Son, by utilizing the squall, commenced movement to join the friendly troops by opening a bloody path. However, because of firm enemy security measures this could not be carried out. This friendly force was the Vehicle Unit we were supposed to meet near Mt. Tapotchau. Soon a terrific squall started and everyone got drenched.

July 7, 1944 While shivering from wetness, orders to move were issued. Facing the dawn, the north, bowing reverently to the Imperial Palace and bidding farewell to the parents, aunt and wife I solemly pledged to do my utmost. With Sgt. Hasegawa and Capt. Watanabe departed from the rocks and came out of the forrest. It is regretful that we depart from Lt. Yamaguchi because we promised that the place of death would be the same. Between the enemy artillery bombardment, approached the cliffs of day before yesterday where we received the artillery bombardment. We tried to reach the shore but could not because of the cliffs. The enemy is surrounding us in all directions. Helplessly we took cover in the jungle. At the crack of dawn, enemy activity commenced below on the road with vehicles, tanks and walking soldiers. At last the end has come. We have separated from the Unit Staff and the members of the second company consisted of Lt. Hasegawa, transport unit. Our group consisted of less than ten men. Even though we wanted to attack we have no weapons, so with the determination of dying for the Emperor we spent our time by preparing for our remembrance. Looking back through the years. I am only 26 years old. Thanks to the Emperor, both my parents, and my aunt I have lived to this day and am deeply gratified. At the same time it is deeply regrettable that I have nothing to report at this time when my life is fluttering away like a flower petal to become a part of the soil. Since the enemy landing, to have fought against the enemy endeavoring my utmost power in carrying out my duty and thus becoming a war lord, I am very happy. It is only regrettable that we have not fought enough and that the American devil is stomping on the Imperial soil. I, with my sacrificed body will become the white caps of the Pacific and will stay on this island until the friendly forces come to reclaim the soil of the Emperor.

The last page of this diary is a transcription of messages to his family.

Dear Keiko: Please live with courage. My sincerest regards to Mother and Brother.

Dear Brother: Take care of the family and the aunt. Please take my revenge. Sincerest regards to my sister Sumiko. Even though I am ending on this southern isle, continue in my place.

Dear Aunt and Uncle: Thanks for your hospitality. I regret that I cannot repay you. Please take care of Sumiko.


I am happy that I can die on the anniversary of the Sino-Jap Incident. I believe the enemy will be annhilated and will pray for certain victory for the Imperial Land.

JE comments:  What a moving testimony of bravery and commitment.  Brian, you've uncovered a very significant document.  Tell us more about Sgt Major Winters.  Can you send me some of his sketches?  I can publish them on WAIS.

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  • Lt General Saito's Final Message to Japanese Troops Defending Saipan (Brian Blodgett, USA 01/06/18 5:46 AM)
    Lieutenant General Saito's last message to Japanese officers and men defending Saipan

    An intelligence officer of the Japanese 434 Division, stated that this message was delivered by Saito at approximately 0800 the morning of 6 July, just prior to the General's death at 1000 that day. The officer was captured on 9 July 1944.


    "Message to Officers and Men defending Saipan"

    I am addressing the officers and men of the Imperial Army on Saipan.

    For more than twenty days since the American Devils attacked, the officers, men, and civilian employees of the Imperial Army and Navy on this island have fought well and bravely. Everywhere they have demonstrated the honor and glory of the Imperial Forces. I expected that every man would do his duty.

    Heaven has not given us an opportunity. We have not been able to utilize fully the terrain. We have fought in unison up to the present time, but now we have no materials with which to fight and our artillery for attack has been completely destroyed. Our comrades have fallen one after another. Despite the bitterness of defeat, we pledge "Seven lives to repay our country."

    The barbarous attack of the enemy is being continued. Even though the enemy has occupied only a corner of Saipan we are dying without avail under the violent shelling and bombing. Whether we attack or whether we stay where we are, there is only death. However, in death there is life. We must utilized this opportunity to exalt true Japanese manhood. I will advance with those who remain to deliver still another blow to the American Devils, and leave my bones on Saipan as a bulwark of the Pacific.

    As it says in the "Senjinkun" (Battle Ethics), "I will never suffer the disgrace of being taken alive," and "I will offer up the courage of my soul and calmly rejoice in living by the eternal principle."

    Here I pray with you for the eternal life of the Emperor and the welfare of the country and I advance to seek out the enemy.

    Follow me!!

    NOTE: Seven lives to repay our country was the password designated by the Bn. Order (26 June) setting the attack that resulted in a breakthrough from Nafutan Point.

    JE comments:  Brian Blodgett forwarded a number of primary documents, both Japanese and US, from the bloody Saipan campaign.  In the coming days I'll post a fascinating account (with sketches) from Lloyd C Hall, one of the "American Devils."

    The Imperial Japanese war ethic, based on the Bushido code, has become synonymous with supreme commitment and devotion to duty.  Let's call it honor.  How exactly did this image evolve from the savage, bucktooth Japanese fanatic we Americans knew in WWII?  Perhaps because the Japanese have "behaved" and excelled since 1945?  I have to ask:  will the reputation of today's suicide bombers in the Middle East also change a half-century down the road?

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    • Honor in Warfare: Japan and Elsewhere (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 01/07/18 6:18 AM)
      I was delighted to read the two posts from Brian Blodgett about Japan's heroic defense of Saipan.

      What satisfaction to read about the Japanese fighters, not the usual "yellow monkey criminals" of Hollywood BS, notwithstanding the good, if propagandistic Marine documentary. General Saito called the enemies "American Devils," but that can even be a sort of praise.

      Just a few notes on Saipan, the largest of the Marianas Islands. It was discovered by the Spaniards in 1600 and ruled by them until 1898, when following the Spanish-American war it was sold to Germany. After WWI it became Japanese and now it is American-ruled. Saipan has a population of 48,000: 51% Asians, 34% locals Chamorros, plus Americans. It has a surface o f115 square Km, with Mount Tapechau 475 mt height.

      The battle lasted from 15 June until 9 July 1944, and it was the beginning of the end of the Japanese Empire. The Japaneses lost practically their entire garrison of 30,000 men (only 921 prisoners were left, nearly all of whom were wounded), plus 20,000 civilians, including 1000 who committed suicide by jumping from Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff.

      From that point onward the landings were always a success for the Allies.

      The Allies needed such a victory after the ridiculous reconquest of Attu (Aleutian Islands) under the Japanese from 3 June 1942 through 15 August 1943 when finally, after ten days of bombing the void, the US landed to find it unoccupied. Even so, the US forces lost 313 soldiers due to friendly fire, illness, etc.

      But other two major attempts at landings had previously failed badly.

      At Dieppe on 19 August 1942, 6100 Canadians tried unsuccessfully to land, losing 4100 men, one destroyer, several landing crafts and 99 planes while the Germans had 345 casualties and 48 planes lost.

      On 13-14 September 1942 came Operation Daffodil. The Britons tried to occupy Tobruk (Libya) from land and sea. The British used a trick (against the International Conventions) from land when sending a group of 90 commandos disguised as prisoners escorted by a group of British soldiers speaking German and in Wehrmacht uniforms to pass through the Italian lines, killing the Italians taken prisoner underway, so they would not hinder the operation.

      From the sea, the landing began after intense aerial bombing, but it was completely repulsed. At the end the British forces lost 774 men, 576 prisoners plus the loss of the cruiser Coventry (sunk by the Luftwaffe) and the destroyer Zulu (sunk by Italian Macchi airplanes), plus various landing craft and minor vessels: The Italian losses were 70 casualties plus 1 German.

      It was a clear Italian victory, even if according to the political correctness and the sinking of the Coventry by the Germans many historians prefer to call it a German victory. To be beaten by the good enemies of Hitler and Rommel is one thing, beaten by the Italians is a no-no.

      By the way, in this action my father got his promotion from lieutenant to captain and became commander of a battery.

      For the 2018 WAIS conference, please forget sad Belgium and consider somewhere in Italy.  Siena, a small town but a large jewel of history and art could be considered, there is even the legend that it was founded by the nephew of Romulus, but it was Etruscan from the beginning.

      Yesterday I finally finished the olive harvest. I am now resetting nets, pruning, cleaning and so on.

      JE comments:  Re:  the Aleutians.  If I had to participate in an amphibious assault, I would gladly forego glory in exchange for an empty beach!

      Brian Blodgett sent a memoir of the Saipan campaign from one of the American Devils.  Stay tuned.  And congratulations, Eugenio, on finishing up this year's harvest.

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      • Two Gentlemen Farmers: Battaglia and Guimaraes (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/08/18 4:34 AM)
        I envy Eugenio Battaglia's family set-up based on his olive groves. I have bought a small farm for my kids and my son-in-law manages it. He has about 40 head of beef cattle, honey bees, chickens, and a few pigs. It is a lot of fun for the next-generation kids, who think they are at Disney World.

        I grew up in a farm (that explains a lot about me, eh?) and had a fantastic time helping my dad with cattle and crops (corn, rice, beans, soy beans, etc.). I am half Portuguese and at least one-fourth Italian, but my Italian genes have taken over, and I love it.

        Before I get too old I would love to visit Eugenio for a few days to help with the farm, if he would have me. Based on past experience, I bet it is a lot of hard but emotionally rewarding work. Of course, also I would be tickled to death if Eugenio would come to visit me for a few days to practice my Italian. One way or the other, I imagine it would be great fun.

        JE comments:  Absolutely.  The joys of the gentleman (and gentlewoman) farming go back at least to Jefferson.  Or to Horace and his Beatus ille?  I'm very bourgeois and travel too much to take on the responsibility, although I'd also appreciate a few days of fresh Savona air with Eugenio Battaglia.  Roy Domenico is the only colleague I'm aware of who has spent time Eugenio's groves, and he reminded us that olive farming is very hard work.

        Is your farm near your house, Tor?  And if I may pry, does your enterprise make money, or at least break even?  Please don't take offense at the question, but you are an economist and your answer will be of interest to WAISers.

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    • Japan's Changing National Image, WWII-Present; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 01/08/18 3:42 AM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      When commenting on Brian Blodgett’s
      important documents from Japanese forces on Saipan in World War II, JE raised an understandable question:
      How could Japan morph so quickly from the devil-hating fanatics of
      World War II into the enlightened civilization of today—and does this mean,
      in another part of the world, the suicide bombers of today may become
      peaceful a half-century from now?

      Others will know more about this, but it seems modern Japan has always shown
      an almost incandescent flexibility and adaptability from the time it emerged from
      feudalism in the mid-nineteenth century. On the other hand, Islam has been perhaps
      too successfully the religion of stasis, which is always going to mean an axe to grind
      with the more adaptive. Almost since its inception, Islam has been generating violent
      splinter movements—which may stop tomorrow, for all anyone can say, but then
      who will defend the stasis?

      JE comments:  These questions of national character are as unanswerable as they are endlessly fascinating.  Perhaps unlike any other nation, Japan managed to put a humiliating defeat in its past, without the rise of revanchism.  One possible explanation:  the Emperor was not martyred, but simply "de-deified."  I can think of no other example in history of such a thing.  Imagine the official secularization of Jesus or Muhammad.

      Our dear departed colleague Les Robinson was assigned to Saipan shortly after the invasion.  One of my favorite war stories is the time a Japanese prisoner asked Les to give him his watch, "because he [Les] is rich."  Typically, watch transfers go in the other direction, from prisoner to jailer.  See this post from January 2008:


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      • Have the Japanese *Really* Changed since WWII? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 01/09/18 4:46 AM)
        Gary Moore (8 January) makes some very good points. I totally agree that modern Japan has always shown an extraordinary flexibility and adaptability.

        But have the Japanese really changed considerably?

        Of course it is impossible to completely understand a foreign country, but I traveled a lot and I almost married a woman from Nagasaki. Talking with many Japanese, I had the impression that they are always the same great nation with the same basic feelings.

        From them I understood that they are extremely resentful of the US occupation troops. Just see the continuous protests on Okinawa.  But I understood also that they are forced to put up with this situation for the present.

        As an Italian, I was generally always welcomed very warmly in Japan, in contrast to the above. But once I was in a Yokohama bar, and a tough-looking local fellow approached me and asked if I was an American. I answered that I was Italian expecting the usual change of humor and smiles, but instead he looked at me with contempt, saying to me in Italian, "Traditore di Mussolini."  I was so surprised that I could not tell him his mistake, as he had already left.

        In Nagasaki there is a huge statue with a man who has one arm pointing to the sky and the other pointing East. They explained that the meaning was: the bomb fell from the sky but then it will go East too.

        Finally about the de-deification of the Japanese Emperor, they told me that on 1 January 1946 Hirohito had to make the "Ningen-sengen" (declaration of humanity) just to satisfy an arrogant and ignorant occupier, as no Japanese believed that the emperor was a god or that he was the offspring of the goddess Amaretasu. This was akin to the nice legend of the she-wolf of Rome.

        By the way there is nothing comparable between the Japanese kamikaze and the present suicide terrorist from the Middle East. This is an insult to the gallant Japanese aviators, even if today's suicide terrorists are better than many partisans of WWII who conducted terrorist attacks and then escaped.

        JE comments:  To my mind, suicide fighters are all cut from the same fanatical cloth.  Is Eugenio Battaglia making this distinction because the Japanese kamikazes were serving a traditional nation-state?  Or because they targeted only enemy combatants?

        Eugenio:  tell us more about Mussolini vis-à-vis Japan.  What did Il Duce have to say about his distant allies?

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        • Relations between Mussolini and Imperial Japan (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 01/16/18 5:01 AM)
          John E (9 January) asked me about the relations between Mussolini and Imperial Japan.

          As far back as 1919, Mussolini spoke of an Asian century under Japanese leadership. The future Duce in the spring of 1920 wanted to participate as a pilot/newsman in the air expedition from Rome to Tokyo organized by Gabriele D'Annunzio and Harucuchi Shimoi but was refused. The flight over Europe and Asia and was carried out by Arturo Ferrari from 14 February through 31 May 1920, with 122 hours of actual flight time.

          After WWI, Italy at first looked to China, but then there was a shift in policy towards Japan. The cinema industry founded by Mussolini started exalting Japan with its ability to absorb Western technology without renouncing its history. It also praised the productivity of Japan's industries and its rich bucolic countryside, its martial soul, the health of its people and above all the the spirituality of its traditions. This goal of a new world order within traditions was a similarity between the two nations.

          At that time many Japanese delegations visited Italy and Puccini's opera Madame Butterly was a must.

          During the years 1941/43, Italy published a monthly cultural magazine Yamato, in order for the Italians to know the characteristics of Japan, together with its achievements, history, and culture. Japan had a similar magazine titled Italia. It is very worthwhile to read these magazines; unfortunately I have only reprints.

          In the same years Germany published the magazines Signal and La Svastika.  The latter was the equivalent of the Yamato.  Again I have only the reprint.

          On 14 July 1945 the new Italy, a defeated nation but cooperating with the Allies and pressured by them, "very heroically" declared war on Japan, but for such a ridiculous act no peace treaty has ever been signed.  Similarly, the declaration of war on Germany one and half years earlier never resulted in a treaty.

          A curiosity about Italy: its national anthem has a reference to Poland, while Poland in its anthem has a reference to Italy. This is the only such case in the world and shows the great relations between the two countries.  They were also the only two nations in WWII that did not declare war on each other, even if theoretically they were on opposite sides.

          JE comments: I believe Finland and the US never declared war on each other.

          Regarding D'Annunzio's 1920 flight from Rome to Toyko, Eugenio Battaglia originally described this as a "raid."  Spanish also uses the word to refer to an expedition in aviation's early days.  In English, an "air raid" is very different and far less peaceful.  Who can walk us through the history of the term?

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  • War Memoirs of J William Winter, Saipan (Brian Blodgett, USA 01/07/18 12:40 PM)

    When I was working on an website for the Battle of Saipan, William Winter, who I had never met, contacted me--I am not sure how he found the site as this was in the 1990s and not the internet that we have today. He sent me a copy of the diary text, some sketches he made, an interrogation of Major Kiyoshi Yoshida, the Intelligence Officer of the 43rd Division, and when I asked him for his memories of Saipan, he provided me with the following:


    Remembrances of J. William Winter, ASN 13054928 of the Battle of Saipan along with his experiences after the battle.

    What you propose is very interesting to me, since it represented a very important part of my life. And while it certainly presented a lot of concern, I've never regretted having enlisted, as opposed to being drafted. In the early months of 1942, friends and classmates kept disappearing, and I wasn't getting called. So, one day at lunch time, I walked from my office to the Custom House in Philadelphia, and enlisted in the Army. A week later I was on a train for Camp Lee where I spent what, at the time, became the worst three days of my military career: processing, the paper work, the tests, clothes that didn't fit, the shots followed by fire duty beside a monstrous coal-fired boiler, etc. I felt being shot at would be preferable. Eventually, that attitude changed.

    The war was definitely on the defensive at that time. Those who tested as the best or brightest were sent to either the Air Force or the Coast Artillery. I wound up at Fort Monroe, home of the Coast Artillery. I spent 15 months at Monroe, during which time I trained to be a plotting sergeant in the fire direction center of a battery of 12" disappearing guns, as a jawbone corporal helped train the first 1-B recruits, applied to Master Gunner School where I finished at the top of the class, and then accepted a transfer to a CA regiment scheduled for overseas, where I could get promoted from Sgt to T/Sgt as a Master Gunner. Our weapons were 155mm guns affectionately known as "Long Toms."

    The outfit never went overseas as a regiment. We were broken up into three separate battalions, our battalion being shipped to Kaneohe Bay on Oahu for Coast Defense. However, the first time we fired our guns for record, they had so much trouble keeping targets out there, the powers decided we were too good for Coast Defense, and we were moved up near Schofield Barracks for a 6-weeks crash course conversion to Field Artillery so we could be used in combat. Since FA battalions are made up of three batteries (CA only has 2 batteries), a third CA battery was brought up from Christmas Island to bring us up to strength.

    In Field Artillery, the position of Master Gunner has never existed for several reasons. However, my Colonel was loath to lose someone with my training, and he happened to be looking for a new Sgt Major. So, I was promoted to Sgt Major with the rank of M/Sgt. The Colonel and I had a nice working agreement. During combat I'd function primarily as a Master Gunner, and between combats I'd perform primarily as a Sgt Major. The Colonel was happy, and so was I.

    Which brings us to the end of May l944, when we boarded two LSTs as a part of the invasion force headed for Saipan. On Jun 17 (D plus 2), I was part of a recon party from the now 532d FA Bn (under the umbrella of XXIV Corps Artillery) that went ashore to see about setting up our guns. On the beach, I saw a battery of Marines firing 75mm artillery pieces. I walked up to a gun commander and asked him why they were firing from the beach, to which he rather profanely replied that the front line was less than 100 yards from the beach. I observed that it would be stupid, if not impossible to bring our weapons in now: they weighed around 15 tons and needed more room than the beach provided.

    It soon became academic because within a day or two the Navy put out to sea to do battle with an approaching Jap fleet; and every supply vessel offshore disappeared. For two or three days our small group of six or seven men, with no weapons to support the offensive, stuck together and lived off dead men's canteens and K-rations, and waited for our ships to reappear.

    By the time the fleet did return, our S-2, who'd been in oilfield construction in better times, had found out where we were to set up our guns, stole a Marine bulldozer and took off to prepare gun emplacements. I guess it was about then that the enormity of what was going began to sink in because, with very little else to do, all we could do was watch. In one afternoon, I saw the dead and the wounded, the civilians and natives not knowing which way to turn, was sniped at, saw their sniper get shot out of a tree, saw one of our own dazed soldiers get run over on the beach by one of our tanks. The first person killed in our outfit was lying in his foxhole when a dud Jap artillery shell went right through his chest.

    At this point, since by now you probably realize I was on Saipan for the whole operation, I must express my opinion on the Marine Corps. Please notice that I say Marine Corps--not Marines. The Corps recruits kids, young, dumb and enthusiastic. The Esprit is all! We'll make supermen out of you! And the kids believe all that crap. I talked to a lot of young Marines who, by the time combat was over for them, knew they'd been had. The glory is all for the Corps. For the generals. They don't give a damn how many bodies pile up, as long as they're on schedule. I've taken the position for many years that the Army could do anything the Marine Corps could do, with a lot less loss of life, and just a little more time. I will give the Marine Corps one thing: They have the most powerful and smoothest running propaganda machine of any branch of the service.

    As you know, Saipan was a Navy operation. And that included the Marines; on land, they were in charge. The Marines tried three times to take Aslito Airfield, and were driven back. So, they called in the Army 27th Division, which went on to take the airfield. This probably stuck in "Howlin' Mad's" craw. So, on the move north, he put his two Marine divisions on the flanks, which essentially means the relatively flat terrain on the East and West coasts. And he assigned the Army's 27th Div to the center third of the island, which was the mountainous spine of the island. I was there after the battle, and there was no way anyone could move as swiftly in that area as the men down near the coast. And "Howlin' Mad" knew it. He was just a contemptible bastard, anxious to get one more battle star, and one more chance to make the Army look bad compared to his beloved Corps.

    Our XXIV Corps Artillery Long Toms could reach farther than any Marine artillery on the island. So, we were frequently called on for front line support, especially if they ran into a machine gun nest or an artillery piece in a cave. And we were, of course, glad to help. Then, suddenly, we started getting accused of our rounds falling short, even when we knew we weren't firing in the area. So, one morning we were asked for some supporting fire. Our gun bores were getting pretty worn and, at long range, that can give you dispersion you don't really want. So, our Colonel decided we weren't going to fire. Sure enough, an hour or two later, a jeep showed up with a couple of Marine brass in it. They approached our Colonel and started to berate him for firing short into the front lines. The Colonel took it for a couple minutes, and then said very quietly, "Gentlemen, I suggest you look at our records here--we didn't fire this morning. It must have been some other artillery outfit." Which told the Marine brass it had to be their own artillery. And we didn't get accused of any short rounds after that. It appeared to be just one more Marine effort to discredit the Army.

    Another thing: when the Marines say the island is "secure," you better keep your head down and not wander far from your outfit. We lost considerably more men after the Marines declared the island "secure" than we did during the operation. And while on that subject, I accepted that our artillery was killing hundreds of the enemy; that was our job. And it was kind of an abstract thing; it was all out there somewhere. The only enemy death that really bothered me was when I killed a Japanese soldier after the island was secure. One night, just after darkness had fallen, I was walking alone toward the mess tent, and in the dim light I realized that someone was walking quietly toward the mess tent about 30-50 feet ahead of me. There was enough light for me to recognize the Japanese uniform. I pulled out my pistol, but realizing that if I fired standing up I might hit someone in the mess tent, I went down on one knee so I was firing up at the target. I put one bullet right through his head, and he died in a short time. I got no sleep that night, and it comes back to bother me now and again: he had pictures in his pocket of a small boy.

    Saipan was only about 14 miles long, as I remember. With our guns emplaced several hundred yards from the Southern end of the island, we were able to reach almost the whole island without moving the guns. Which meant that, in the operation for Tinian, we had only to turn our guns around to support the invasion of Tinian. That was the big prize: Tinian was much flatter, and ideal for the airstrip to be built for the B-29s, which delivered the A-bomb that ultimately ended the war.

    The 532d Field Artillery Battalion went on to Leyte where we helped to wipe out the enemy cornered in the Ormoc pocket, as it was referred to. Leyte was an interesting experience compared to Saipan because the natives were friendly and glad to see us, and determined to show off the fact they'd been taught English in school.

    After Leyte, we went to Okinawa. D-day was April lst, 1945. However, the 532d was shelled the night of March 31st, because we had emplaced that Saturday on a tiny, barren island of sand called Keise Shima, just off the landing beaches. Our mission: to support the invading troops the following morning. Fortunately, in spite of the fact we learned later that Keise Shima was a firing range for Jap artillery, they put on a pretty lousy show that night, most of their shells going over the island and exploding on the reef just beyond. Our biggest enemy problem was that every Saturday night they tried to put a landing party on our island. However, our machine gunners and the Navy gunboats took care of them for the most part. But every Sunday morning Tokyo Rose reported that we'd been wiped out. After 3 or 4 weeks on Keise Shima, we moved onto Okinawa to better support our slowly advancing troops.

    It was a great day on Okinawa when the bomb was dropped and Japan finally capitulated. For all those bleeding-heart idiots who think we should not have dropped the bomb, it was a small price to pay for millions of lives saved. I speak as one who knew our outfit was scheduled to go into Tokyo Bay. Based on previous experiences in the Pacific War, it was estimated that the US would suffer one-and-a-half million casualties, and Japan would probably suffer three million or more. So the 75,000 or so casualties incurred at Hiroshima was worth it to end the war. And all the casualties at Nagasaki can be blamed on Imperial Japan for delaying the obvious. I for one will never apologize for the bomb--I figure my luck would have run out at Tokyo Bay.


    Having written down my observations and thoughts on the battle for Saipan, I would appear to be somewhat harsh on the Marine Corps. But while Marj (J. William Winter's wife) keeps saying, "You must separate facts from opinions," I remind her that my opinions were formed by the facts. As Sgt Major of the 532d FA Bn, I was privy and witness to a lot more interplay than the soldiers down the line. So, I don't apologize for my opinions.

    I believed that the gauntlet was thrown down at Pearl Harbor, that ours was a just cause. I certainly saw it as a patriotic duty to enlist, to not even wait for the draft. I lost many friends from a relatively small high school class, all of whom had enlisted. My family has been here for over 300 years, and, when I salute The Flag, there's a lump in my throat. I don't need a Marine Corps TV commercial to remind me what this country means to me.

    JE comments:  Brian, you said Sgt Winter died some years ago.  He must have been a fascinating man to raise a glass with.  (I shudder to think of the reaction of WAISworld's several Marine veterans, but please accept this document as a valuable historical artifact.)

    I learned from our much-missed colleague Col. Bob Gibbs that the Army's best and brightest are sent to artillery school.  Sgt Winter is one example.  Of course, Bob was an artilleryman, too!

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    • Obituary of J William Winter, Saipan Memoirist (Edward Jajko, USA 01/09/18 4:05 AM)

      See below for the obituary of J. William Winter, author of the account of the Battle of Saipan (see Brian Blodgett, 7 January):


      JE comments:  Excellent archival work, Ed!  Winter passed away in 2010, at the age of 91.  He spent a career in advertising, which explains his talent for writing.  Too bad we never had the chance to invite him to WAIS!

      Winter was a Pennsylvanian, but at the time of his death he lived in New Bern, North Carolina.  This is Marines country.  (New Bern is near the USMC Air Station, Cherry Point.  Our colleague Michael Sullivan lives in adjacent Havelock.)  I wonder if Winter, an Army man, ever got into trouble with his criticism of the Corps.

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    • My Father in the Burma Campaign (John Heelan, UK 01/11/18 1:27 PM)
      My father, who took part in the Burma campaign, used to tell me that after the Imphal-Kohima battle, many (he claimed 2000) of the Japanese Army committed seppuku because of their defeat. "The Japanese defeat at Imphal and Kohima represented the largest defeat in Japanese military history. Of the 65,000 front-line troops, 30,000 were killed, 23,000 were wounded, and 600 were captured; among the 50,000 support troops, there were 15,000 casualties. The Allies only suffered 17,500 casualties in comparison."

      A good account of the battle can be read at https://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=188

      JE comments:  That the victors could speak of "only" 17,500 casualties gives an idea of the horrors.  Two thousand suicides must be a grim record.  Jonestown was "only" in the 900s.

      What specific stories from the Burma campaign do you remember from your father, John?

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      • My Father's Stories of the Burma Campaign (John Heelan, UK 01/13/18 5:01 AM)
        John E asked on January 12th about my father's stories from the Burma campaign in WWII.

        I remember many. I was reared on such stories, as my father had been a long-term professional soldier serving in Silesia in WWI, Dunkirk, North African desert, Iraq, India in WWII and ending up in the Burma Campaign as part of General Bill Slim's 14th Army (aka the "Forgotten Army").

        The last war left him with respect for most of his opponents but a deep hatred of the Japanese Army for the cruel ways they treated people (e.g. captured nurses, civilians and prisoners). As an example, at one reunion of 14th Army veterans, one of the attendees dressed as a Japanese soldier as a joke. He got beaten up by the other attendees.

        JE comments: Prince Harry should have spoken with John Heelan before going to that costume party as a Nazi.


        John, have you written your father's stories down?  Please, please do.  If you wish, WAIS can give them a permanent e-home.  And what about his serving in Silesia?  Was this after the Great War, as part of the Versailles arrangement?  I had never heard of British combatants on the Eastern Front(s) of WWI.

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        • Allied Occupation Troops in Post-WWI Silesia (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 01/14/18 5:38 AM)
          On 11 February 1920 the Inter-Allied Commission decided to send French, British and Italian troops to North Silesia, which was contested between Germany (Freikorps) and Poland.

          There were 3325 Italians in this force. They were attacked by rebellious nationalist Poles on 4 May 1921. The Italians suffered 25 casualties.

          The contingent remained there until 9 July 1922. The local problem was solved with a plebiscite, but Germany was punished heavily and lost vast ethnic German areas all along the new borders.

          The Western forces, including Italians, Americans, Czechoslovakians, and others, were sent to North Russia (Murmansk), at first to fight against the Germans and then the Bolsheviks from August 1918 through October 1919.

          Troops were also sent to Vladivostok to fight the Bolsheviks: 28,000 Japanese (later reaching 75,000), 7500 Americans, 4000 Canadians, 2000 Italians, 1500 British and 1000 French.

          Something completely unknown: In January 1916 a Russian contingent arrived in France via the Transiberian railroad and then from China by sea. In September 1917, however, the Russians did not want to fight anymore and were arrested. Only about 100 agreed to continue the fighting. They joined the French Foreign Legion and at the end of the war most of them remained in France.

          In my last WAIS post about the members of the Trimarium, I wrote Serbia but should have said Slovenia.  Sorry.

          JE comments: I was aware of the Russian Legion that fought in France after 1916. See Jamie Cockfield's excellent book, With Snow on Their Boots (1997).

          John Heelan's father must have been part of this occupation force in Silesia.  John (next) clarifies.

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          • Polar Bear Battalion in Arkhangelsk (Patrick Mears, Germany 01/14/18 5:51 PM)
            I just read Eugenio Battaglia's post (14 January) with interest.

            A friend of mine, Gordon Olson, was for years the Grand Rapids (Michigan) official City Historian and also was a member of the Board of Trustees with me for The Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

            Godfrey Anderson was a resident of Grand Rapids and had been a member of the Polar Bear Battalion that was sent to fight the Bolsheviks near the city of Archangel in the aftermath of World War I. Anderson transcribed his recollections of that experience, which Gordon edited for publication. The book was published in 2010 while I was still living in Grand Rapids, and it was introduced in town with some fanfare. It is a very interesting read that still may be purchased online.


            JE comments:  Many of the Polar Bears were Michiganders.  Uncle Sam must have assumed we thrive in the cold. There is a monument to the Battalion in the White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, next door to Royal Oak.  See below--the monument has more gravitas in black and white.

            I'm going to pick up a copy of Anderson's book.

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        • British Troops in Post-WWI Silesia (John Heelan, UK 01/14/18 6:00 AM)
          John E (13 January) asked how it was possible for my father, a British soldier, to have served in Silesia during WWI.

          This always puzzled me as well, as I knew nothing about Versailles and WWI at that time. So my later conclusion was the two were linked. "The Upper Silesia Plebiscite was an arrangement made as part of the Versailles Peace Treaty and implemented in March 1921. It was intended that the plebiscite would determine part of the border between Poland and Germany. An Inter-Allied force of British, French and Italian troops was sent to this hostile and turbulent area for peace keeping operations." (See http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/other-aspects-of-order-of-battle/order-battle-british-silesia-force/ )

          The photograph in this article of the Royal Munster Fusiliers--my father's first enlistment--makes me wonder is he was in it. A later family photograph, now lost, shows him and his companions with "snow on their boots."

          JE comments:  Note the durable "snow on their boots" metaphor, which was also used to refer to the Russian troops sent to the Western Front in 1916.  (See Eugenio Battaglia from earlier today.)  I stress the metaphor part:  snow doesn't stay very long on the boots once you warm up.

          Too bad that photo was lost, John.

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          • Memories of a Child in WWII Britain (John Heelan, UK 01/18/18 4:38 AM)
            I have written elsewhere in WAIS about my memories as a child during the Blitz.

            In 1941, aged three or four, in common with some 800,000 other children, I was "evacuated" from London to a place of relative safety in the country, in my case a small mining village on the South Yorkshire Moors and lodged in the house of a miner with two daughters of my age.

            I often wondered "why South Yorkshire Moors?"  It is strange the hidden influences that affect on our lives. Later research suggested that the reason was that the surviving regiments from Dunkirk (my father belonged to one of them) were stationed in a camp on the Moors created to house them for recovery and retraining. Mining was a reserved occupation in those days that avoided conscription, and I clearly recall the man of the house being bathed by his wife in front of the fire--pithead showers were well in the future at that time.

            I also recall the journey to South Yorkshire, a 4-5 hour journey in those times. My impression now is that the train was a troop train as it was crowded with men in Army uniform. blocking the corridors by lying down wherever they could find a space--Dunkirk survivors maybe? Somewhere in the Midlands, the train came to a halt for an hour or so and all the lights were turned off. "Air Raid on" was muttered, so the lights were turned off to avoid the train itself becoming a target, I suppose.

            As to "hidden influences," I enjoyed my evacuation, acquiring a South Yorkshire local accent--which my Londoner cousins would imitate for a couple of years in jest, as well as a love of the countryside that eventually led me to choosing to live always in rural surroundings and even becoming a farmer.

            As a teenager I later met my hosts and their daughters when they were visiting London.  It was a strange feeling.

            As to being a "place of safety," one day a lone German aircraft (I can recall seeing the Iron Cross on its side) shot at a group of us children who dived into bushes surrounding a pond from which we used to retrieve frog spawn. I can still hear the shells whistling through those bushes. Even nastier, we children were told never to pick up any toys or footballs found on the road. Apparently they were anti-personnel devices aimed at troops from the local camp.

            JE comments:  Fascinating, John.  Did the government provide a stipend for your hosts?  Feeding an extra mouth in wartime is a sacrifice.  And if your father was stationed nearby, do you recall him visiting you during your "exile"?

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            • Memories of a Child in WWII Britain: A Follow-Up (John Heelan, UK 01/20/18 8:37 AM)
              JE asked whether the host families of UK WWII-era child evacuees (I was one) received payment. Yes, the hosts received weekly money via the local Post Office.

              John also asked whether my father, who was encamped nearby, ever visited me.

              I have no direct memory of a visit, as his regiment was soon shipped to the next theatre of operations. In his case I think it was North Africa ("The Desert Rats") fighting Irwin Rommel's AfrikaCorp in the battles of El Alamein and Tobruk. Then he was sent to the Middle East (Palestine I think) and eventually India and Burma.

              As kids we always marched alongside platoons of soldiers as they passed our house.

              JE comments:  What became of your South Yorkshire host family, John?  You mentioned their visit to London when you were a teenager.  Did you stay in touch afterwards?

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  • Bushido and the Cult of Death (Istvan Simon, USA 01/09/18 3:45 AM)
    The diary of the Japanese soldier who died on Saipan at age 26 (see Brian Blodgett, 5 January) is on the one hand a moving document of one man's dedication to the culture he was raised in, and on the other it illustrates the insane fanaticism of that culture. It led to a dead end, and to a certain extent that culture also died with Japan's defeat in World War II. I believe that in modern Japan, after the Japanese defeat, this culture was transformed into a less fanatical version, less militaristic and in my opinion more humane.

    The soldier's point of view is that of the Samurai code of honor, in which "duty" and loyalty to the fiefdom war lord the Samurai was serving takes precedence over anything else. In the Samurai code of honor life is unimportant, unless lived with "honor," and so we have the insanity of ritual suicide, a means to end life when to continue living would be possible only if the loyalty bond were broken. It is unfortunate that it did not occur to the Japanese soldier that there was an alternative to ending his life at age 26, that he could have surrendered to the "American devils" and survived and that there would be no dishonor in that at all, because clearly his death did not serve any meaningful purpose under the circumstances.

    The Samurai code of honor emphasized a "good death" over a life. It is a culture of death over life, and so from my point of view it is a form of insanity.

    JE comments:  Oh Honor, the horrors commit in thy name!  But every culture develops is own sense of honor.  In the US it's the "professional reputation," while for others it's the necessity, say, of controlling the women in your family.

    Can anyone give us a sense of how Japanese POWs were treated in their homelands after their return?  Had Japan won the war, it's safe to say they would have lived under permanent shame and ostracism.

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  • "South from Saipan": a 1945 National Geographic Article (Patrick Mears, Germany 01/10/18 12:51 PM)
    We have returned home from Mexico City. A long, 10+ hour flight, two train rides and a taxi ride.

    On Saipan-Tinian in WWII, when we were in the bookshops of Calle Donceles, Mexico City, Connie found and bought for me the April 1945 issue of the National Geographic, which I read on the flight home. I was surprised and happy to see in it an article with many photos entitled "South from Saipan," authored by a certain W. Robert Moore, who is identified as the "Editorial Staff Correspondent in the Pacific." If anyone is WAISdom is interested, I can scan the piece in and send it to you for further distribution, as you see fit. It is a well-done piece with very interesting photos.

    JE comments: Welcome home, Pat! W Robert Moore was a veteran National Geographic correspondent; I found references to his articles from as early as 1931.

    Does anyone remember the Reagan quip when he inaugurated a new building for the National Geographic society?  He said something along the lines of "Well, finally they've found a place to store their old National Geographics." I Googled the quote, but came up empty.  Nobody, of course, throws away the National Geographic.

    I'd love to see the Saipan piece.  The NG has a full online archive, but you must subscribe.  On a less copyright-sensitive topic, Pat Mears has sent a gallery of Connie's photos of the Trotsky house in Coyoacán.  I'll get them up on WAIS in the coming days.

    Thanks to you both!

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