In 1614 Japan had cut itself off from the West, resulting in centuries of relative peace and prosperity and the blossoming of Japanese art and culture. In 1853 the U.S. Navy had forced Japan open to U.S. merchants, missionaries, and militarism. The Japanese studied the Americans' racism and adopted a strategy to deal with it. They sought to westernize themselves and present themselves as a separate race superior to the rest of the Asians. They became honorary Aryans. Lacking a single god or a god of conquest, they invented a divine emperor borrowing heavily from Christian tradition. They dressed and dined like Americans and sent their students to study in the United States. The Japanese were often referred to in the United States as the "Yankees of the Far East." In 1872 the U.S. military began training the Japanese in how to conquer other nations, with an eye on Taiwan. Charles LeGendre proposed a Monroe Doctrine for Asia, that is a Japanese policy of dominating Asia in the way that the United States dominated its hemisphere. Japan established a Bureau of Savage Affairs and invented new words like koronii (colony). Talk in Japan began to focus on the responsibility of the Japanese to civilize the savages. In 1873, Japan invaded Taiwan with U.S. military "advisors." And Korea was next.
IT'S ALL KOREA'S FAULT
Korea and Japan had known nothing but peace for centuries. When the Japanese arrived with U.S. ships, wearing U.S. clothing, talking about their divine emperor, and proposing a treaty of "friendship," the Koreans thought the Japanese had lost their minds, and told them to get lost, knowing that China was there at Korea's back. But the Japanese talked China into allowing Korea to sign the treaty, without explaining to either the Chinese or Koreans what the treaty meant in its English translation. In 1894 Japan declared war on China, a war in which U.S. weapons carried the day. China gave up Taiwan and the Liaodong Peninsula, paid a large indemnity, declared Korea independent, and gave Japan the same commercial rights in China that the U.S. and European nations had. Japan was triumphant, until China persuaded Russia, France, and Germany to oppose Japanese ownership of Liaodong. Japan gave it up and Russia grabbed it. Japan felt betrayed by white Christians. In 1904, President Teddy Roosevelt was pleased with a Japanese surprise attack on Russian ships. As the Japanese again waged war on Asia as honorary Aryans, Roosevelt secretly and unconstitutionally cut deals with them, approving a Monroe Doctrine for Japan in Asia and handing Japan Korea as a koronii. Yet Roosevelt backed Russia's refusal to pay Japan a dime, and he refused to make his Monroe Doctrine for Japan public. Japan began to deeply resent its mentor. (Thank you to James Bradley for this story.)
A NONVIOLENT ARMY IN PAKISTAN
Abdul Ghaffar Khan, or Bacha Khan, was born in British-controlled India in 1890 to a wealthy landowning family. Bacha Khan forewent a life of luxury in order to create a nonviolent organization, named the "Red Shirt Movement," which was dedicated to Indian independence. Khan met Mohandas Gandhi, a champion of nonviolent civil disobedience, and Khan became one of his closest advisors, leading to a friendship that would last until Gandhi's assassination in 1948. Bacha Khan used nonviolent civil disobedience to gain rights for the Pashtuns in Pakistan, and he was arrested numerous times for his courageous actions. As a Muslim, Khan used his religion as an inspiration to promote a free and peaceful society, where the poorest citizens would be given assistance and allowed to rise economically. The British Empire feared the actions of Gandhi and Bacha Khan, as it showed when over 200 peaceful, unarmed protestors were brutally killed by the British police. The Massacre at Kissa Khani Bazaar showcased the brutality of the British colonists and demonstrated why Bacha Khan fought for independence. In an interview in 1985, Bacha Khan stated, "I am a believer in nonviolence and I say that no peace or tranquility will descend upon the world until nonviolence is practiced, because nonviolence is love and it stirs courage in people."
TO HELL WITH SPAIN
"Remember the Maine and to hell with Spain!" That was the cry of the yellow journalists of 1898 who blamed an explosion and sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor on the Spanish. Spain proposed that the dispute over what caused the explosion in or near the ship be sent to a third party for arbitration. Spain committed to abiding by any decision and to making any amends required. To hell with that! The U.S. government preferred to go to war -- a war on Cuba, the Philippines, and various Pacific islands. Today, the U.S.S. Maine is as widely dispersed as a medieval saint, with one mast on display as a monument in Arlington, Virginia, and another at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, plus anchors from the ship displayed in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts (2), and Maine, as well as guns, propellers, other parts, and plaques made from melting the ship down now on display in at least 84 other locations around the United States. It is not known whether touching these relics aids one in believing the marketing for the most recent wars.
FREEING THE PHILIPPINES
More Filipinos died in the first day of fighting off their U.S. benefactors than Americans would die storming the beaches at Normandy. In the days that followed, many Filipinos were discovered to be in need of waterboarding. U.S. troops in the Philippines sang a pleasant little song about providing the water torture to the Filipinos. Here's a verse:
"Oh pump it in him till he swells like a toy balloon.
The fool pretends that liberty is not a precious boon.
But we'll contrive to make him see the beauty of it soon.
Shouting the battle cry of freedom."
How could that fail to work?
SUNKEN SHIPS LOOSEN LIPS
Germany sank the Lusitania -- a horrible act of mass-murder. The Lusitania had been loaded up with weapons and troops for the British -- another horrible act of mass-murder. Most damaging, however, were the lies told about it all. Germany had published warnings in New York newspapers and newspapers around the United States. These warnings had been printed right next to ads for sailing on the Lusitania and had been signed by the German embassy. Newspapers had written articles about the warnings. The Cunard company had been asked about the warnings. The former captain of the Lusitania had already quit -- reportedly due to the stress of sailing through what Germany had publicly declared a war zone. Meanwhile Winston Churchill is quoted as having said "It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany." It was under his command that the usual British military protection was not provided to the Lusitania, despite Cunard having stated that it was counting on that protection. U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned over the U.S. failure to remain neutral. That the Lusitania was carrying weapons and troops to aid the British in the war against Germany was asserted by Germany and by other observers, and was true. Yet the U.S. government said then, and U.S. text books say now, that the innocent Lusitania was attacked without warning, an action alleged to justify entering a war.
WAIT JUST A MINUTE
Exactly at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918, people across Europe suddenly stopped shooting guns at each other. Up until that moment, they were killing and taking bullets, falling and screaming, moaning and dying. Then they stopped, on schedule. It wasn't that they'd gotten tired or come to their senses. Both before and after 11 o'clock they were simply following orders. The Armistice agreement that ended World War I had set 11 o'clock as quitting time. Henry Nicholas John Gunther had been born in Baltimore, Maryland, to parents who had immigrated from Germany. In September 1917 he had been drafted to help kill Germans. When he had written home from Europe to describe how horrible the war was and to encourage others to avoid being drafted, he had been demoted (and his letter censored). He had told his buddies he would prove himself. At 5:00 a.m. on 11/11/1918 the Armistice was signed. As the deadline of 11:00 a.m. approached, Henry got up, against orders, and bravely charged with his bayonet toward two German machine guns. The Germans were aware of the Armistice and tried to wave him off. He kept approaching and shooting. When he got close, a short burst of machine gun fire ended his life at 10:59 a.m. Henry was the last of the 11,000 men to be killed or wounded between the signing of the Armistice and its taking effect. Henry Gunther was given his rank back, but not his life.