reply to post by xpert11
Xpert 11 I am well aware that the Soviet Union
took there slice of Poland in 1939. Bringing the Soviet Union into the war against Japan also
proved to be a costly mistake. But who would have known at the time that the atomic bombs were going to end the war?
You have rebutted your own charge. After Okinawa we wanted to share the casualties we foresaw in taking Japan. We planned to land our forces on
Shikoku, the #3 island from N to S. One million men to go ashore, with 3 million backing them up. Then we would hit Honshu, the #2 and main island.
We ordered 1 million body bags. We talked of 500,000 casualties, not all KIA of course. The Soviets could have been of great aid should we have been
forced to invade Japan.
The only “costly mistake.” After the fact, I am aware vis a vis the Soviets joining the Pacific War against Japan would be the inevitable division
of Korea. But we were in a very much weaker position as respects Korea than in respects to Japan. The Chinese Communist were strongest in the north
and were sitting next to Manchuria waiting to spring. And, Korea shares a short border with the Soviet Union. Vladivostok, the Russian’s major city
out there, is a lot closer to Korea than Washington, DC. From an American’s perspective, I would not label the bringing in of the USSR as a mistake.
I wished we had not done so, but there was no other option. Another case where hindsight is better than foresight.
xpert 11 As for Truman he was the right man for the job
but I think that his handling of the Korean War lets down his legacy still it was Ike
who ended the war.
Truman continued the Roosevelt internationalist presidency which had replaced the isolationism of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. Looking outward
instead of looking inward. In fairness to those 3, the world had changed dramatically between the 1920s and the 1940s. But the anti Roosevelt Peace
at Any Price component strong in the 1930s was still alive and well. Truman handled the war exactly as he should. He choose to go to the United
Nations. They UN Security Council authorized armed force to repel aggression. The UN did not authorize armed force to effect regime change in
P’yongyang. Truman’s writ ran only to the 38th parallel.
MacArthur was a Republican presidential hopeful who was disappointed towards Truman for not going to war in China to preserve the Kuomintang of Chiang
Kai Chek. Who fled to Taiwan in 1949. Over here we called them “China First-ers.” Even the new Red government of China warned MacArthur not to
move his army closer to their border than 20 miles or 25 km. Which is unclear. We don't do well with km here. In any case, MacArthur wanted to begin
a war with the Chinese Communists. He took his troops right up to the Yalu River. Mac wanted permission to use nuclear weapons against China. Truman
said “no” Mac said “yes” so Harry fired him. That’s a real commander in chief acting properly.
The 1952 election pitted Eisenhower against Stevenson. In some ways it was a precursor of the 1968 election between Nixon and Humphrey. The Dems were
sharply criticized by the pro war Republicans. By late 1951, the Chinese had pushed us back to essentially the 38th parallel where the war had
stagnated. Still flush with the glory of World War Two, no good Republican was about to allow any “yellow color slope eyed” race to beat white
Americans. (Even if they ignored that Truman had desegregated the Armed Forces
Truman could have had the same terms in 1952 that Eisenhower accepted a year later, but Truman might have been impeached had he agreed then. With
Ike’s war hero status he could put his imprimatur on a truce, then everyone would be satisfied. I have no hesitancy defending Truman even in those
things he did wrong, like seizing the steel mills during a strike while the Korean Police Action was on-going.
Xpert 11 Ever notice those who sprouted the domino theory
have never said that if Korea had been unified there would have been no conflict in
Vietnam ? Of course such a notion is bogus but it is still worth thinking about.
I don’t know. I think our involvement in Vietnam was due to 1) sliding down a slippery slope, and 2) hubris. As to cause 1, it is an example of not
buying a round trip ticket. We had no exit strategy. Eisenhower gets credit for that miscue. He sent aid to the French as early as 1954. Before Dien
Bien Phu. It was Ike and the Dulles brothers who counseled non-compliance with the 1956 Geneva Accords which called for a country-wide election in
1958 to unify the country under one government. It became obvious the Diem brothers would lose badly to a real national hero, Ho Chi Minh. It was Ike
and his Secretary of Defense McElroy who put in the first MAAG. Military Advisory and Assistance Group, into what had become known as South Vietnam.
That label was an American label. I don’t think the world ever accepted it, at least diplomatically.
Hubris. Cause 2. Kennedy followed Eisenhower. The first thing Kennedy did was to adopt the Cuba Plan conjured by the Dulles brothers, John Foster the
Secretary of State and Allen W the director of the CIA, as his own. Both men were Wall Street international bankers by trade. Both were angry over
Fidel seizing American property in Cuba. About revolutions we don’t give a dam, you seize our property and we’ll never let go. Like a snapping
turtle, we won’t let go until it thunders. Aside: The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii
). It’s dangerous. That ‘Liberate
Cuba Plan’ was to become better known as the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
The next foreign problem left over by Ike for Kennedy was South Vietnam. It too was to be a fiasco but one that lasted much longer than the Bay of
Pigs. The side we backed had as much popularity in Vietnam as yellow fever or gonorrhea. A puppet government, we were propping it up after the French
departed and it never had more than 5% of the populace behind it. And even those were left over French colonial lackeys. Not a group you’d want your
children to emulate.
It is argued that JFK would not have escalated the war past the 5,000 or so troops he had there in 1963. Perhaps wishful thinking after November 22,
1953? Kennedy's successor LBJ, was not accustomed to losing nor to losing gracefully. But see note 1.
His military advisers underrated the
underlying strength of the Viet Cong revolution in the countryside and despite putting 550,000 soldiers and marines into the country, as you know we
lost. All of that was a stand-alone item, and not in any way related to Truman or Korea. IMO.
Note 1. Johnson was affectionately and somewhat jocularly known as “Landslide Lyndon."
In 1948, Texas Governor Coke Stevenson ran for a U.S.
Senate seat against Texas Congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson. Six days after the polls closed, Precinct 13 in the border town of Alice, Texas, showed
a very interesting result. Exactly 203 people had voted at the last minute in the order they were listed on the tax rolls and 202 of them had voted
That tight race went to the US Supreme Court where Associate Justice Hugo Black upheld the result, and Johnson squeaked by with an 87-vote victory.
For this feat, columnist Drew Pearson gave Johnson the sobriquet Landslide Lyndon
. Fact: Johnson had been the lone Texas congressman to back
FDR’s “court packing” plan in 1937. Payback? That's the 2 rules of politics. 1) Never forget your friends. 2) Never forget your enemies.
[edit on 10/15/2007 by donwhite]