Shocking to those steeped in bushido tradition struck

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shocking to those steeped in bushido tradition struck them after Iwo Jima, or Okinawa, or when the first American fighter planes appeared over Tokyo. An American might argue that defeat for the resource-poor Japanese could clearly be seen when they failed to dislodge the Marines on Guadalcanal or when they expended most of their best pilots in a failed effort to stem the American tide in the Solomons. Or was it the battle of Midway? Even before Japanese aircraft failed to find and destroy the US Pacific Fleet’s carriers at Pearl Harbour, Admiral Yamamoto famously remarked, ‘I shall run wild for six months or a year, but I have utterly no confidence for the second or third year…. I hope you will endeavour to avoid a Japanese- American war.’” There were some very high estimates of Japanese civilian casualties in the event of an American invasion: The American Shockley-Wright report theorized that five to ten million Japanese could die if America invaded the Home Islands. Similarly, Admiral Tikijiro (vice chief Naval General Staff) remarked, ‘If we are prepared to sacrifice 20,000,000 Japanese lives in a special attack effort, victory shall be ours!’” American military planners flirted with the idea of biological weapons that could wipe out Japanese crops, but this idea was abandoned as they realized the amount of food they would need to ship to captured areas to prevent the civilian population from starving. Military planners considered civilian casualties in the event of an American invasion of Kyushu. Many Japanese civilians committed suicide or were killed by Japanese soldiers in places like Saipan and Okinawa. Despite high civilian casualties in Okinawa, there was evidence that civilians were receptive to American peace leaflets urging them to wear white and seek medical assistance with specially-trained Army and Navy personnel. They were not as confident that Japanese civilians on the Home Islands would react the same way.
o The Japanese Army used a variety of means to attempt to mobilize the civilian population against possible American invaders. One was the creation of a Home Guard, which was designed to assist the Japanese military by providing information, suppressing dissent, and fighting the invaders using guerilla tactics. o “The practical reality of these activities and unceasing drumbeat of noxious propaganda was that the Japanese militarists were well on their way to succeeding in their final effort to erase the line between civilians and soldiers among the population. Toland, John. The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 (1970). LeMay begins firebombing campaigns: Japanese production was largely dispersed into small factories of less than 30 workers. In March 1945 General Curtis LeMay decided to increase effectiveness by scattering incendiary bombs over wide areas. March 9, 1945 was the first such attack, with 333 b ombers. LeMay knew “the slaughter of civilians would be unprecedented.”

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