Monday, December 12, 2005

May 21, 1945 archives

Excerpted from "The God-Emperor"

Crucial Question.
Clearly, the Japanese mind does not want a change. Rumors of peace bids by Tokyo have been flooding Allied capitals. One, emanating last week from London, reported the Suzuki Government willing to disgorge all Japanese conquests except Korea; in return, there must be no Allied occupation of the main Japanese islands, and presumably no interference with the Shinto system.

The rumors found no public echo in Japan. Radio Tokyo, as defiant as ever, took full responsibility for starting the war in the East, pledged a battle alone "to smash the enemy, to avenge fallen Germany." An emergency Cabinet meeting drafted an emergency statement: the collapse of the Nazi Reich "will not bring the slightest change" in Japan's determination to fight to the finish. Emperor Hirohito gave the statement his divine approval.

But though the will of the Shinto mind was strong for a finish fight, time and inevitable history were stronger still. Ancient Egypt, said Elie Faure, died of her desire for immortality. In the 20th Century world, two of whose greatest powers were leagued in overwhelming military force against him, the crucial question facing Hirohito, as the divine symbol of an immortal dynasty, was: how long can an anachronism last?

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