Topic: Military history/Asian military history
A Fu-Go (ふ号[兵器], fugō [heiki], lit. "Code Fu [Weapon]"), or fire balloon (風船爆弾, fūsen bakudan, lit. "balloon bomb"), was a weapon launched by Japan during World War II. A hydrogen balloon with a load varying from a 33 lb (15 kg) antipersonnel bomb to one 26-pound (12 kg) incendiary bomb and four 11 lb (5.0 kg) incendiary devices attached, it was designed as a cheap weapon intended to make use of the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean and drop bombs on American cities, forests, and farmland. Canada and Mexico reported fire balloon sightings as well.
The Japanese fire balloon was the first ever weapon possessing intercontinental range (the second being the Convair B-36 Peacemaker and the third being the R-7 ICBM). The Japanese balloon attacks on North America were at that time the longest ranged attacks ever conducted in the history of warfare, a record which was not broken until the 1982 Operation Black Buck raids during the Falkland Islands War.
The balloons were intended to instill fear and terror in the U.S., though the bombs were relatively ineffective as weapons of destruction due to extreme weather conditions.
- "Fu-Go Balloon Bomb" | 2019-12-08 | 42 Upvotes 10 Comments
The Granai airstrike, sometimes called the Granai massacre, refers to the killing of approximately 86 to 147 Afghan civilians by an airstrike by a US Air Force B-1 Bomber on May 4, 2009, in the village of Granai (sometimes spelled Garani or Gerani) in Farah Province, south of Herat, Afghanistan.
The United States admitted significant errors were made in carrying out the airstrike, stating "the inability to discern the presence of civilians and avoid and/or minimize accompanying collateral damage resulted in the unintended consequence of civilian casualties".
The Afghan government has said that around 140 civilians were killed, of whom 22 were adult males and 93 were children. Afghanistan's top rights body has said 97 civilians were killed, most of them children. Other estimates range from 86 to 147 civilians killed. An earlier probe by the US military had said that 20–30 civilians were killed along with 60–65 insurgents. A partially released American inquiry stated "no one will ever be able conclusively to determine the number of civilian casualties that occurred". The Australian has said that the airstrike resulted in "one of the highest civilian death tolls from Western military action since foreign forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001".
- "Bradley Manning leaked Granai Airstrike "~86-147, mostly women and children"" | 2013-06-08 | 233 Upvotes 173 Comments
The Jewel Voice Broadcast (玉音放送, Gyokuon-hōsō) was the radio broadcast in which Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa 昭和天皇 Shōwa-tennō) read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the Greater East Asia War (大東亜戦争終結ノ詔書, Daitōa-sensō-shūketsu-no-shōsho), announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II. This speech was broadcast at noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945.
The speech was probably the first time that an Emperor of Japan had spoken (albeit via a phonograph record) to the common people. It was delivered in the formal, Classical Japanese that few ordinary people could easily understand. It made no direct reference to a surrender of Japan, instead stating that the government had been instructed to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration fully. This created confusion in the minds of many listeners who were not sure whether Japan had surrendered. The poor audio quality of the radio broadcast, as well as the formal courtly language in which the speech was composed, worsened the confusion. A digitally remastered version of the broadcast was released on 30 June 2015.
- "Jewel Voice Broadcast" | 2019-11-07 | 30 Upvotes 3 Comments
Kowloon Walled City was an ungoverned, densely populated settlement in Kowloon City, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to the UK by China in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. By 1990, the walled city contained 50,000 residents within its 2.6-hectare (6.4-acre) borders. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by local triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug abuse.
In January 1987, the Hong Kong municipal government announced plans to demolish the walled city. After an arduous eviction process, demolition began in March 1993 and was completed in April 1994. Kowloon Walled City Park opened in December 1995 and occupies the area of the former Walled City. Some historical artefacts from the walled city, including its yamen building and remnants of its southern gate, have been preserved there.
- "Kowloon Walled City" | 2017-12-21 | 90 Upvotes 25 Comments
The Lockheed bribery scandals encompassed a series of bribes and contributions made by officials of U.S. aerospace company Lockheed from the late 1950s to the 1970s in the process of negotiating the sale of aircraft.
The scandal caused considerable political controversy in West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan. In the U.S., the scandal nearly led to Lockheed's downfall, as it was already struggling due to the commercial failure of the L-1011 TriStar airliner.
- "Lockheed Bribery Scandals" | 2020-02-01 | 43 Upvotes 7 Comments
Unit 731 (Japanese: 731部隊, Hepburn: Nana-san-ichi Butai), also referred to as Detachment 731, the 731 Regiment, Manshu Detachment 731, The Kamo Detachment, Ishii Unit, Ishii Detachment or the Ishii Company, was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) of World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Imperial Japan. Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China), and had active branch offices throughout China and Southeast Asia.
Its parent program was officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (関東軍防疫給水部本部, Kantōgun Bōeki Kyūsuibu Honbu). Originally set up under the Kempeitai military police of the Empire of Japan, Unit 731 was taken over and commanded until the end of the war by General Shirō Ishii, a combat medic officer in the Kwantung Army. The facility itself was built in 1935 as a replacement for the Zhongma Fortress, and to expand the capabilities for Ishii and his team. The program received generous support from the Japanese government up to the end of the war in 1945.
Unit 731 and the other Units of the "Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department" were biological weapon production, testing, deployment and storage facilities. They routinely tested on human beings (who were referred to internally as "logs"). Additionally, the biological weapons were tested in the field on cities and towns in China. Estimates of those killed by Unit 731 and its related programs range up to half a million people.
The researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation. Other researchers that the Soviet forces managed to arrest first were tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949. The Americans did not try the researchers so that the information and experience gained in bio-weapons could be co-opted into the U.S. biological warfare program, much as they had done with German researchers in Operation Paperclip. On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii, can probably be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as 'War Crimes' evidence". Victim accounts were then largely ignored or dismissed in the West as communist propaganda.
- "Unit 731" | 2019-10-05 | 131 Upvotes 30 Comments
The Tiananmen Square protests or Tiananmen Square Incident, commonly known in mainland China as the June Fourth Incident (Chinese: 六四事件; pinyin: liùsì shìjiàn, literally six-four incident), were student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing during 1989. The popular national movement inspired by the Beijing protests is sometimes called the '89 Democracy Movement (Chinese: 八九民運; pinyin: bājiǔ mínyùn). The protests started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government declared martial law and sent the military to occupy central parts of Beijing. In what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre (Chinese: 天安門大屠殺; pinyin: tiān'ānmén dà túshā), troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military's advance into Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.
Set off by the death of pro-reform Communist general secretary Hu Yaobang in April 1989, amid the backdrop of rapid economic development and social changes in post-Mao China, the protests reflected anxieties about the country's future in the popular consciousness and among the political elite. The reforms of the 1980s had led to a nascent market economy which benefited some people but seriously disaffected others, and the one-party political system also faced a challenge of legitimacy. Common grievances at the time included inflation, corruption, limited preparedness of graduates for the new economy, and restrictions on political participation. The students called for greater accountability, constitutional due process, democracy, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech, although they were highly disorganized and their goals varied. At the height of the protests, about 1 million people assembled in the Square.
As the protests developed, the authorities responded with both conciliatory and hardline tactics, exposing deep divisions within the party leadership. By May, a student-led hunger strike galvanized support for the demonstrators around the country, and the protests spread to some 400 cities. Ultimately, China's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and other Communist Party elders believed the protests to be a political threat and resolved to use force. The State Council declared martial law on May 20 and mobilized as many as 300,000 troops to Beijing. The troops advanced into central parts of Beijing on the city's major thoroughfares in the early morning hours of June 4, killing both demonstrators and bystanders in the process.
The international community, human rights organizations, and political analysts condemned the Chinese government for the massacre. Western countries imposed arms embargoes on China. The Chinese government made widespread arrests of protesters and their supporters, suppressed other protests around China, expelled foreign journalists, strictly controlled coverage of the events in the domestic press, strengthened the police and internal security forces, and demoted or purged officials it deemed sympathetic to the protests. More broadly, the suppression halted the policies of liberalization in the 1980s. Considered a watershed event, the protests set the limits on political expression in China up to the present day. Its memory is widely associated with questioning the legitimacy of Communist Party rule and remains one of the most sensitive and most widely censored topics in China.
- "1989 Tiananmen Square Protests" | 2020-04-20 | 202 Upvotes 45 Comments
Operation Popeye (Project Controlled Weather Popeye / Motorpool / Intermediary-Compatriot) was a highly classified weather modification program in Southeast Asia during 1967–1972. The cloud seeding operation during the Vietnam War ran from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972 in an attempt to extend the monsoon season, specifically over areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation was used to induce rain and extend the East Asian Monsoon season in support of U.S. government efforts related to the War in Southeast Asia.
The former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, was aware that there might be objections raised by the international scientific community but said in a memo to the president that such objections had not in the past been a basis for prevention of military activities considered to be in the interests of U.S. national security.
The chemical weather modification program was conducted from Thailand over Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam and allegedly sponsored by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and CIA without the authorization of then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird who had categorically denied to Congress that a program for modification of the weather for use as a tactical weapon even existed.
- "Operation Popeye" | 2020-04-28 | 69 Upvotes 17 Comments
During and following the Korean War, the United States military used regulated prostitution services in South Korean military camptowns. Despite prostitution being illegal since 1948, women in South Korea were the fundamental source of sex services for the U.S. military as well as a component of American and Korean relations. The women in South Korea who served as prostitutes are known as kijichon (기지촌) women, also called as "Korean Military Comfort Women", and were visited by the U.S. military, Korean soldiers and Korean civilians. Kijich'on women were from Korea, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, specifically Russia and Kazakhstan.
- "United States military and prostitution in South Korea" | 2021-01-19 | 76 Upvotes 28 Comments
Japanese invasion money, officially known as Southern Development Bank Notes (Japanese: 大東亜戦争軍票 Dai Tō-A Sensō gunpyō, "Greater East Asia War military scrip"), was currency issued by the Japanese Military Authority, as a replacement for local currency after the conquest of colonies and other states in World War II. In February 1942 in Japan, laws were passed establishing the Wartime Finance Bank and the Southern Development Bank. Both institutions issued bonds to raise funds. The former loaned money primarily to military industries, but also to a wide range of other ventures, including hydroelectric generators, electric power companies, shipbuilding and petroleum. The latter provided financial services in areas occupied by the Japanese military, and Southern Development Bank notes were in fact used as de facto military scrip. In December 1942, the outstanding balance of Southern Development Bank notes stood at more than 470 million; in March 1945, more than 13 billion.
Already engaged in war with China, in 1940 the Japanese expanded the scope of their military operations in Asia and finally entered the Second World War in late 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan invaded various Asian countries, occupying vast territories and setting up military administrations.
Beginning with the capture of the Philippines, the Japanese military confiscated all hard currency, both on a federal and individual level, replacing it with locally printed notes bearing a proclamation of military issue. All notes bore the name of the Imperial Japanese government, and some notes proclaimed the "promises to pay the bearer on demand". Called “Mickey Mouse Money" by local Filipinos, it was valueless after the overthrow of the Japanese, and tons of it were burned. Japanese troops were ordered to destroy bank records and any remaining currency prior to capitulation.
With the end of World War II, the currency circulated bearing the Japanese name immediately lost any value it once possessed and was discarded en masse. Money that was issued included the Philippines, Burma (now Myanmar), Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak (now Malaysia), Singapore, Brunei, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and some areas of Oceania (New Guinea and the Solomon and Gilbert islands). Large amounts of the currency were obtained by Allied forces and civilians at the end of the war; many were kept as wartime souvenirs, and are now in both private and museum collections.
- "Japanese Invasion Money" | 2021-05-29 | 12 Upvotes 1 Comments