Everybody Knows

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Song Of The Day:  Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich

It’s funny (to me) sometimes, to listen to folks speak of “truth,” as if “well, everybody just knows this is the way it happened, you know??  You must be an idiot to not accept the what ‘everybody knows’.”

Yup, I’ve come across this in so many different circles; circles of Evangelical Christianity when discussing Calvinism v. Arminianism, politics when discussing “right” from “left,” and of course, in matters of love and desire.  No matter what, there is something that just “everybody knows” and you’re stupid if you don’t accept whatever it is that “everybody knows.”

And of course, “everybody knows” that America just had to drop the BOMBS on Japan in World War 2.

The argument goes something like this:

“Yes, I agree, that dropping the bombs killed massive amounts of life, but America really had to be courageous in doing so – just imagine the loss of life if the bombs were not dropped, and the war with Japan went on and on and on, and all the life – American life – that would have been lost if those bombs were not dropped, forcing the Japanese to surrender.”

Of course, everybody knows this, right?

The facts however, go against what “everybody knows.”  The argument that “everybody knows” seems so clean, so simple, and so easy to accept, so easy to justify the hundreds of thousands of lives that were destroyed, perhaps millions if counting those after the official death tolls of the immediate bomb(s) devastation are officially numbered.

What is conveniently left out of the facts that “everybody knows” include the fact that Japan had, through both Sweden and Moscow, put out “feelers” for peace prior to the dropping of the bombs.

It is a fact, that because the American military had been able to break the Japanese cyphers at the time, that American government and military were fully aware of the desparate situation of Japan prior to the dropping of the bombs.  It is an outright myth, that “everybody knows” as fact that Japan could have continued war against America, Great Britain, and the USSR  and could have caused the same numbers of casualities that were suffered by the dropping of the bombs.

It is a fact that the Americans, both militarily and politically knew that Japan had put out “feelers” for a peaceful end to the war.  It is also a fact that America, represented by the man Trueman, wanted nothing but an “unconditional surrender” on the part of Japan.  There was to be no negotiation.

No negotiation meant the massive killing of hundreds of thousands.  Children. Mommies.  Daddies.  Grannies.  Grandpas.  For political reasons.  For reasons of who knows, exactly?  A demand for “unconditional surrender.”

But everybody knows.

And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu

And everybody knows, patriotism is good.  It is good to know and accept that which everybody knows.

14 thoughts on “Everybody Knows”

    1. I’ll locate some references for you. But not tonight. It’s been a long day, and now it is time to sit back with a bottle of Supertuscan.

      Did you know that when considering dropping THE BOMB, Trueman commented that it would make the Soviets wake up a bit in regard to American interests and power? Part of his ‘reasoning” for going ahead with the atomic bombing of Japan had to do with political reasons that were far from military purposes.

      He wanted to “wow” the Soviets. You could say that Trueman was the cause of the arms race.

      1. That’s interesting to know and now I have to rethink my views on Trueman – I’ve always been a bit of a WWII buff, but mainly focused on the European theatre & kind of ignored the Pacific. I’ll check back for the refs tomorrow, thx.

        1. I’ll try to have some references for you tomorrow. No promises. I have a wonderful long weekend planned for this weekend, which also means I have to ensure I get my work done before I leave 🙂

          But here is something else for you to chew on, if you like. Did you know that towards the end of the war with Japan, the US had gained so much air superiority that they would give advance notice of bombings to allow Japance civilians to run/hide/save themselves… but they gave NO advance warning with regard to the atomic bombs they dropped?

          Candace, politics is politics, even when it appears to the masses, that all was done to be done for the “good of all.”

          Whether it is right wing, left wing, centrist, or religious. It’s all about power, and winning. Winning by taking from others.

  1. You should also remember that the Soviets were due to enter the war in the Pacific by the end of the summer… fun times no?

    1. Pete, that appears to be correct. The Soviets were planning on attacking Japan. Japan was making inquiries about peace.

      The argument that the atomic bomb saved lives is just nonsense. Japan had already lost the battle for the skies before the atomic bombs were dropped. It is unrealistic that Japan could have waged war for much longer.

      Trueman wanted to “impress” the Soviets with America’s fire power. Instead, he started the arms race.

  2. Candace, I’ve been incredibly busy, and haven’t had a chance to find anything for you regarding references.

    However, you might want to take a look at this: http://www.dannen.com/decision/hst-ag09.html

    Truman liked. Hiroshima was a city, not a military base. No more a “military base” then Toronto was a military base because Toronto was the home of Downsview military base – a very small part of Toronto.

  3. March 1st, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Obviously prior to dropping the bombs the US did not know the outcome any more than it knew the result of the OLYMPIC (invasion) outcome. The decision can only be evaluated in terms of what was known and estimated prior.

    As to what was “known” about Japanese surrender intentions, you should incorporate this information into your view:


    Subsidiary motivations (eg. impressing the Russians) do not detract from the primary decision.

  4. Thanks for the links. Of course, now I’m just more confused; I’ll have to do some digging around for myself.

    Balb, for God’s sake, learn some stalker etiquette. Once I’ve commented on a post, you are not allowed to! Jeez. Are you trying to make me hysterical or something?

  5. Yeah, conventional wisdom quite often is no wisdom at all.

    I knew that the bombs themselves weren’t the reason Japan surrendered. I knew that the Emperor had already decided to surrender on the realization that, within a year, every city with a population of 10,000 or more would have been heavily bombed, and the plan from Japan’s Generals to defend the country from invasion involved women and children with pitchforks. I also knew that the Generals had resolved to fight on even after Nagasaki, arguing that the Americans only had three or four more bombs (and they were right).

    But I had always thought that this knowledge was hindsight, and that the American military weren’t privy to this power struggle within Japan. If it is the case that Japan was putting out peace feelers, I’ll have to reassess this

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