“Anytime!!” Preparations for invasion, propaganda postcard, 1945.



1940sHistoric EventsPatriotism/Military
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Preparations for invasion, propaganda postcard, 1945.
It is captioned “何時でも!!” [nandoki demo] in the upper right – “Anytime!!” – and shows civilians outside a dugout bomb shelter trench, prepared to defend their homeland from the anticipated Allied invasions (Operation Downfall), with ghostly figures of Allied killed-in-action marked by grave crosses. Seized and posted (with English-language commentary added) by the U.S. Navy after the first Occupation troops, of the U.S. 6th Army, entered “the bomber plant city of Nagoya”, Oct. 27-31, 1945, nearly two months after Japan’s official surrender on Sept. 2, 1945.


 

“We can no longer direct the war with any hope of success.
The only course left is for Japan’s one hundred million people to sacrifice their lives by charging the enemy to make them lose the will to fight.”

– War journal of the Imperial General Headquarters, July 1944

“On March 27 [1945], Public Law Number 30 mobilized all citizens in the coastal areas to perform fortification, transportation, construction, or other efforts to assist the decisive-battle strategy … [S]chool classes [were suspended] except grades one to six, from April 1, 1945, to March 31, 1946. All of these students and their teachers were to be mobilized for the production of food and military supplies, air-raid work, and other tasks to facilitate the decisive battle.

“On March 23 [1945], the cabinet order the formation of the Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps across the whole nation. This corps constituted a mechanism for inducting the whole body of citizens. The entire public, in effect, became subject to call-up under the Volunteer Enlistment Law, which applied to all men ages 15-60 and all women ages 17-40. They were ordered into Volunteer Fighting Units and subject to military discipline and control through the local area commands.

“… What this sea of civilians lacked besides training were arms and even uniforms. A mobilized high-school girl, Yukiko Kasai, found herself issued an awl and told: ‘Even killing just one American soldier will do. You must prepare to use the awls for self-defense. You must aim at the enemy’s abdomen.’ Many civilians found themselves drilling [only] with sharpened staves and spears.

“Japan lacked the cloth to put these civilians into uniforms – one senior general spoke of his hope to provide them with patches on their civilian clothes. This lack of distinguishing identification would undoubtedly have made it impossible at normal combat range for a soldier or Marine to identify which civilians represented the Japanese armed forces and which did not, a sure prescription for vast numbers of deaths.

“At least one [U.S.] Fifth Air Force intelligence officer took the Japanese at their publicly broadcast word of total mobilization and declared in a July 21 [1945] report, ‘The entire population of Japan is a proper Military Target … THERE ARE NO CIVILIANS IN JAPAN.'”

Operation Downfall, by Richard B. Frank, 1999

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