The Corner

When The Fighting Stopped

Comparing the end of the Second World War with our occupation of Iraq, I asserted in a posting over the weekend that when the fighting stopped in Germany, Italy, and Japan, it stopped. Several readers have pointed out that this wasn’t quite so.

From one reader:

It’s my understanding that Werewolf guerilla attacks– sabotage, mining roads, poisoning food and water, setting often-lethal traps for allied soldiers– continued in Germany on a regular basis for months after V-E Day, and that the last incident may have been as late as 1947.

And from another:

[A]lthough major hostilities ended when the war ended, significant hostile incidents occured in Germany for many months after the surrender. Nothing like the current fighting in Iraq, though.

All this is true, as also that the odd Japanese holdout was being picked up on this or that Pacific island throughout the 1950s—I seem to recall that one Japanese soldier was found holed up in a cave somewhere or other in the mid-1960s. I thank our readers–what readers!–for insisting on accuracy. But of course my point remains. In Germany, Japan, and Italy alike, the society itself surrendered, accepted the allied victory as valid—remember that famous photo of Hirohito paying a visit on MacArthur?—and got on with the work of reconstruction. Where opposition to the allies continued, it did so, so to speak, only on the fringes.

The situation in Iraq is different.

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