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During WW2, Thailand declared war on England and US, collaborated with the Japanese in exchange for being able to invade Shan state westwards and north as far as China. Thai soldiers were ordered to fight alongside with Japanese in Malaya and Burma. Thailand was at least "allied with the axis".
After the war they just had to give back the territory and some bags of rice I think.
How come they were let off the hook so easily? Why didn't the allies go harder on their (former) enemy Thailand?
And also the leader Phibun just resigned. (To compare Quisling was shot.) (Personally I would just say that Buddhist mentality does not have death penalty as an easy option.)
My account of the history is highly simplified and may be wrong in some parts. I am a traveler and have seen these areas first hand and heard the stories, so therefore I am interested. I am no historian, I hope possible faults in my account will be corrected.
One country that wasn't forced to pay "a lot" for joining the Axis in World War II was Finland. Thailand was probably viewed in much the same way.
Putting Germany and Japan aside, the third country that was considered part of the "core" Axis was Italy. That's probably because Italy by itself started a lot of wars in other countries; it attacked Abysinnia (Ethiopia) in 1934; it conquered Albania and attacked Greece in 1939; it attacked Egypt from Libya in 1940; it "stabbed France in the back" in 1940. Basically, Italy acted much like the two larger Axis nations in initiating conflicts, including some that were unwelcome to its German ally.
Thailand, like Finland, was more like a "fellow traveler" with the Axis than a true ally. Like Finland, it won some favorable "border adjustments" in exchange for some "cooperation." But apart from that, Thailand didn't do much against third parties and kept pretty much to itself during the war. Also, Thailand (and Finland) had a record of "non-aggression," so its actions during World War II were considered to taken out of necessity; that is, "eat or be eaten."
Note that America dealt more leniently with Thailand and Finland than some other Allies, but America was the most powerful one. Unlike the case of Finland (and Balkan countries such as Romania and Bulgaria), the Soviet Union was not part of Allied dealings with Thailand.
Question can be trivially answered through Wikipedia.
"Thailand officially adopted a position of neutrality until it was invaded by Japan in December 1941."
"Moreover, the post-war accommodations with the Allies weakened the civilian government. As a result of the contributions made to the Allied war efforts by the Free Thai Movement, the United States, which unlike the other Allies had never officially been at war with Thailand, refrained from dealing with Thailand as an enemy country in post-war peace negotiations" Wikipedia
The referenced article contains more information and nuance.
The Impact of U.S. Participation in WW2
Historians say the United States’ entry into World War II was a turning point in U.S. economic history. Prior to the war, the country had been mired in a 12-year economic depression. The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, ushered in a boom in manufacturing and production for the war effort followed by a post-war period of economic prosperity and the emergence of the American middle class.
Causes of World War II
The Second World War was an extremely complicated event, which was triggered by multiple events from the end of World War I in 1918. Among these are:
1- Treaty of Versailles
At the end of World War I was signed the Treaty of Versailles proposed by the United States, where Germany had to assume responsibility for the war.
Colonies were abolished, the use of the air force and also had to pay an economic remuneration to the victorious countries.
This stripped Germany of its territory and destabilized its economy strongly, making its citizens not trust their rulers and their ability to lead the consequences.
2- Fascism and the National Socialist Party
In the early 1920s, the fascist party of Benito Mussolini ascended to power in Italy. This nation moved under the idea of nationalism, a form of government that imposed rigidity on the economy, industrial control and control of its citizens.
Hitler saluting officers
The empire of Japan was also strongly driven by nationalism and its promises of wealth and development.
This movement reached the north of Germany, where it was taken over by the union of workers and created the National Socialist party or Nazi Party, in which Adolf Hitler ascended to the power.
3- Failures in the Peace Treaty
The peace treaties seek to establish a just resolution, but the penalties imposed on Germany by the United States were seen as very severe Nations such as Britain and France saw just that Hitler had protested.
The new Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain, proposed new terms with Germany in the Treaty of Munich.
In this, he promised to yield to Hitler's demands to prevent a new war, but his actions were not enough.
4- Failed Intervention of the League of Nations
In 1919 the League of Nations was created. The plan was for all nations to unite, and if a problem arose, they would settle their differences with diplomacy and not with the use of military force.
But with the crisis of the decade of 1930 many countries stopped to trust in her. Nations like Japan and the USSR strengthened their military forces, because they did not trust in diplomacy, since the League did not have the support of all the countries, had no army at their disposal and did not act immediately.
5- Militarization of Germany and the invasion of Poland
From 1935, Hitler began to violate the Treaty of Versailles with the militarization of Germany and the annex of territories like Austria.
This was easy because the economic crisis further encouraged its citizens, who saw the treaty unfair from the beginning.
Just after signing the Munich Agreement with Neville Chamberlain, Hitler decides to invade Poland, thus violating any peace treaty and starting the armed conflict.
Below are important moments during World War II that were crucial to African American contributions in the Armed Forces.
The first peacetime draft in United States' history was instituted on September 16, 1940. The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 required all men between the ages of 21 and 35 to register for the draft. An amendment by Senator Robert Wagner and Representative Hamilton Fish of New York stated:
Section 3 (a) "Within the limits of the quota determined. any person, regardless of race or color. shall be afforded opportunity to volunteer for induction. " And in Section 4 (a) "In the selection and training of men under this Act, and in the interpretation and execution of the provisions of this Act, there shall be no discrimination against any person on account of race and color."
EXECUTIVE ORDER 8802
Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 8802 banning discrimination in the defense industry on June 25, 1941. This order banned discrimination in the defense industry, and set up the Fair Employment Practice Committee in response to the March on Washington Movement threatening to protest. The march was suspended after Executive Order 8802 was issued.
FIRST NATIONAL HERO OF WORLD WAR II
Doris "Dorie" Miller emerged as the first national hero of World War II and became the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. He was a crewman aboard the West Virginia in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Read more about Dorie Miller here, and listen to him featured in Minisode 134 on the Museum's Service On Celluloid podcast.
Dorie Miller Navy Cross Citation: "While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge."
DOUBLE V CAMPAIGN
African American newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier launched the Double V campaign with a letter by 26-year-old James G. Thompson, stating:
"Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?’ Will things be better for the next generation in the peace to follow? ‘Would it be de- manding too much to demand full citizenship rights in ex- change for the sacrificing of my life? Is the kind of America I know worth defending? Will America be a true and pure democracy after this war? Will Colored Americans suffer still the indignities that have been heaped upon them in the past? These and other questions need answering I want to know, and I believe every colored American, who is thinking, wants to know." January, 1942
Read more about the Double V campaign here.
FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN IN WOMEN'S ARMY AUXILIARY CORPS
Major Charity Adams was the first African American women to be commissioned into the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps after graduating from the first WAAC officer candidate class in 1942. Mary McLeod Bethune, member of President Roosevelt's "Black Cabinet," along with the First Lady, established a 10 percent quota for the WAAC.
In April 1943, the Tuskegee-trained 99th Pursuit Squadron became the first African American flying squadron to see combat.
How George Patton became the Army’s Master of Swords
Posted On November 19, 2020 05:51:20
We’ve all heard of General George S. Patton. Maybe you’ve seen the movie. Maybe you did a report on him in school. Maybe you even have a grandfather who served under him in World War II. Maybe you’re a Cav or Armor troop. (Scouts out!) All of these and more are good reasons to know who this man was.
First, let’s cover some basics. Then we’ll jump right into stuff you may not know about this well-known — and sometimes notorious — United States Army General…
George Patton, Jr. (also known as George Smith Patton III) was born on November 11, 1885, in San Gabriel, California. He died following a car accident on December 21, 1945, in Heidelberg, Germany. He is buried at the American Memorial Cemetery in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. In between those two bookends, he was a United States Army soldier and officer from 1909, until his death. As an officer, he commanded the U.S. Seventh Army and the U.S. Third Army during World War II — in the Mediterranean theater, in France and Germany, respectively. He was nicknamed “Bandito” and “Old Blood and Guts.”
Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., US Army, commanded Third Army in the breakout from Normandy, across France and into Germany in 1944-1945. (US Army)
Now, that’s enough with what you probably already knew. Let’s dive into the obscure like what led to Patton being the Army’s master sword instructor.
As a junior officer, Patton was chosen to represent the United States at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. He was selected to compete in the first modern pentathlon, a sport invented by the man who revived the Olympics and founded the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Patton was chosen based on his history with fencing at both the Virginia Military Institute and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Fencing is one of the five sports found within the modern pentathlon, along with 200m freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, pistol shooting, and 3200m cross country running. Patton finished fifth overall, and first among the non-Swedes in the event.
Coubertin considered the Pentathlon to be the core of the Olympic spirit. He was inspired by the ancient pentathlon from the original Olympics, which required the skills of an “ideal” Greek soldier. Coubertin created the modern pentathlon based around the skills of a 19th-century cavalry soldier behind enemy lines: “He must ride an unfamiliar horse, fight enemies with pistol and sword, swim, and run to return to his own soldiers.”
Even Gen. George Patton himself noted the difference(s) between his event at the 1912 Olympics, and other “non-military” events:
“The high spirit of sportsmanship and generosity manifested throughout speaks volumes for the character of the officers of the present day. There was not a single incident of a protest or any unsportsmanlike quibbling or fighting for points which I may say, marred some of the other civilian competitions at the Olympic Games.”
“Each man did his best and took what fortune sent them like a true soldier, and at the end we all felt more like good friends and comrades than rivals in a severe competition, yet this spirit of friendship in no manner detracted from the zeal with which all strove for success.”
Army Lt. George C. Patton jumping an obstacle during the equestrian segment of the Modern Pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. (U.S. Army)
Once he wrapped up the 1912 Olympics in Sweden, after some work and travel in Germany, Patton traveled to France in order to train directly with the French swordsman and Master of Arms, Adjutant Charles Cléry, at their Cavalry School in Saumur. Cléry was known throughout Europe, at the time, as being the greatest military swordsman. There, Patton picked up several tactics that were specific to French cavalry swordsmanship: stabbing, rather the slashing, for the most part.
The French penchant for piercing over slashing dated back to their heavy cavalry units during the Napoleonic Wars. The French determined/rediscovered that piercing wounds figured into a far larger percentage of fatalities than simple surface cuts — something Roman Legions understood all too well 20 centuries prior.
Upon completion of his training commitments with the French swordmaster, Patton returned to the United States. Once back, he was temporarily assigned to the Office of the Army Chief of Staff. After a flurry of assignment changes, more advanced training back at Saumur, and some publications on his tactical and technical fencing insights, Patton finally unpacked his bags at the United States Army’s Mounted Service School in Fort Riley, KS, and began his new post as both Cavalry student and the Army’s first Master of the Sword (sword instructor).
This culmination found Patton penning his 1914 Saber Exercise and his Diary of the Instructor in Swordsmanship. It also found the Army Ordnance Corps pumping out 20,000 new M1913 Cavalry Sabers (or “Patton Sabers”) based on his new designs, thus replacing the old hack & slash sabers.
In the middle of all of this, Patton was once again chosen to represent the United States as a Pentathlete at the 1916 Olympics… though those games were canceled due to World War I.
As revolutionary as Patton’s sword tactics (both mounted and dismounted) and sword design were, by the time they reached the line units preparing for combat, they were already obsolete.
So, to recap, one of America’s most famous/infamous generals — who led millions of tons of tanks into the heart of Nazi Germany, and who was both feared and respected by his enemies on the field of battle — dug his roots deep into the soil of swordsmanship and understood that the microcosm of combat is just two dudes or dudettes with weapons in-hand trying to bring their opponent down.
And, as to that, Gen. George Patton’s ability to adapt horseback-mounted, bladed combat into his then-modern, lethal counter-Blitzkrieg armored tank warfare is certainly a testament to the lengths a dyed-in-the-wool troop will go to win a war.
So just remember: The dude who helped defeat Nazi Germany on the back of a tank was once the United States Army’s Master of Swords, and he literally wrote the book on the subject (several of them, actually).
Feature image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.
Social consequences of the war
Despite the vast number of men and women in uniform, civilian employment rose from 46,000,000 in 1940 to more than 53,000,000 in 1945. The pool of unemployed men dried up in 1943, and further employment increases consisted of women, minorities, and over- or underage males. These were not enough to meet all needs, and by the end of the year a manpower shortage had developed.
One result of this shortage was that Blacks made significant social and economic progress. Although the armed forces continued to practice segregation, as did Red Cross blood banks, Roosevelt, under pressure from Blacks, who were outraged by the refusal of defense industries to integrate their labour forces, signed Executive Order 8802 on June 25, 1941. It prohibited racial discrimination in job training programs and by defense contractors and established a Fair Employment Practices Committee to insure compliance. By the end of 1944 nearly 2,000,000 Blacks were at work in defense industries. As Black contributions to the military and industry increased, so did their demands for equality. This sometimes led to racial hostilities, as on June 20, 1943, when mobs of whites invaded the Black section of Detroit. Nevertheless, the gains offset the losses. Lynching virtually died out, several states outlawed discriminatory voting practices, and others adopted fair employment laws.
Full employment also resulted in raised income levels, which, through a mixture of price and wage controls, were kept ahead of inflation. Despite both this increase in income and a no-strike pledge given by trade union leaders after Pearl Harbor, there were numerous labour actions. Workers resented wage ceilings because much of their increased income went to pay taxes and was earned by working overtime rather than through higher hourly rates. In consequence, there were almost 15,000 labour stoppages during the war at a cost of some 36,000,000 man-days. Strikes were greatly resented, particularly by the armed forces, but their effects were more symbolic than harmful. The time lost amounted to only one-ninth of 1 percent of all hours worked.
Because Pearl Harbor had united the nation, few people were prosecuted for disloyalty or sedition, unlike during World War I. The one glaring exception to this policy was the scandalous treatment of Japanese and Americans of Japanese descent. In 1942, on the basis of groundless racial fears and suspicions, virtually the entire Japanese-American population of the West Coast, amounting to 110,000 persons, was rounded up and imprisoned in “relocation” centres, which the inmates regarded as concentration camps. The Japanese-Americans lost their liberty, and in most cases their property as well, despite the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had already arrested those individuals it considered security risks, had verified their loyalty.
The Devils Brigade, First Special Service Force
The Devils Brigade was a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit trained at Fort Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. The volunteers for the 1600 man force consisted primarily of enlisted men recruited by advertising at Army posts, stating that preference was to be given to men previously employed as lumberjacks, forest rangers, hunters, game wardens, and the like. The 1st Special Service Force was officially activated on July 20, 1942 under the command of Lt. Colonel Robert T. Frederick. Force members received rigorous and intensive training in stealth tactics, hand-to-hand combat, the use of explosives for demolition, amphibious warfare, rock climbing and mountain fighting, and as ski troops. Their formation patch was a red arrowhead with the words CANADA and USA. They even had a specially designed fighting knife made for them called the V-42.
First Special Service Force – Devils Brigade
Their first scheduled operation was code-named “Project Plough,” a mission to parachute into German-held Norway to knock out strategic targets such as hydroelectric power plants. This operation had to be abandoned but in October of 1943 the commander of the US Fifth Army, Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, brought the 1st Special Service Force to Italy where its members demonstrated the value of their unique skills and training. At Monte la Difensa they immediately earned a reputation for being able to take impenetrable objectives when no one else could. Here, in the dead of winter, the Special Force wiped out a strategic enemy defensive position sitting high atop a mountain surrounded by steep cliffs. Previously, American forces had suffered many casualties in futile attempts to take the important target. This incident was the basis for the 1968 motion picture titled “The Devils Brigade.”
During Operation Shingle at Anzio, Italy, 1944, the Special Force were brought ashore on February 1st, after the decimation of the U.S. Rangers, to hold and raid from the right-hand flank of the beachhead marked by the Mussolini Canal/Pontine Marshes, which they did quite effectively.
It was at Anzio that the enemy dubbed the 1st Special Service Force as the “Devils Brigade.” The diary of a dead German soldier contained a passage that said, “The black devils (Die schwarze Teufeln) are all around us every time we come into the line.” The soldier was referring to them as “black” because the brigade’s members smeared their faces with black boot polish for their covert operations in the dark of the night. Canadian and American members of the Special Force who lost their lives are buried near the beach in the Commonwealth Anzio War Cemetery and the American Cemetery in Nettuno, just east of Anzio.
The first unit sent into Rome, the Devils Brigade were given the assignment of capturing seven essential bridges in the city to prevent the Germans from blowing them up. During the night of June 4th, members of the Devil’s Brigade entered Rome. After they secured the bridges, they quickly moved north in pursuit of the retreating Germans. The following morning, throngs of grateful Romans lined the streets to give the long columns of American soldiers passing through the city a tumultuous reception. War photographers captured the scenes of joy on film to be seen back home, but the soldiers who actually liberated the city had passed through Rome during the early morning hours in darkness and near silence and were again in fierce combat with the Germans along a twenty-mile front on the Tiber River.
Following the taking of Italy, on August 14, 1944 the Brigade was shipped to Iles d’Hyères in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Southern France. As part of the U.S. 7th Army, they fought again with distinction in many battles. On September 7th, they moved to the Franco-Italian border in what is called the “Rhineland Campaign.” Members of the Brigade, usually traveling by foot at night, made their way behind enemy lines to give intelligence on German positions. This operation not only contributed to the liberation of Europe, but the information Brigade members were able to pass back to headquarters saved many Allied soldier’s lives.
The Devils Brigade, a one-of-a-kind military unit that never failed to meet its goal, was disbanded by the end of the War. However, in 1952 Col. Aaron Bank would create another elite unit using the training, the strategies, and the lessons learned from the Devil’s Brigade’s missions. This force would evolve into specialized forces such as the Green Berets, Delta Force, and the Navy SEAL. In Canada, today’s elite and highly secretive JTF2 military unit is also modeled on the Devil’s Brigade. Like World War II, Canadian JTF2 members and American Deta Force members were united again into a special assignment force for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.
In September of 1999, the main highway between the city of Lethbridge, Alberta Canada and Helena, Montana in the United States was renamed the “First Special Service Force Memorial Highway.” This highway was chosen because it was the route taken in 1942 by the Canadian volunteers to join their American counterparts for training at Fort Harrison.
A large number of the Devils Brigade members were honored for their acts of valour, including Tommy Prince (on right in the image at left), Canada’s most decorated aboriginal soldier of WW II.
Battles of the First Special Service Force :
Aleutians Campaign, 1943 :
Kiska & Little Kiska – August 15-August 19, 1943
Segula Island – August 17, 1943
Italian (Naples-Foggia-Rome) Campaign 1943-1944
Monte la Difensa – December 3-December 6, 1943
Monte la Remetanea – December 6-December 9, 1943
Monte Sammucro – December 25 (Christmas Day), 1943
Radicosa – January 4, 1944
Monte Majo – January 6, 1944
Monte Vischiataro – January 8, 1944
Anzio – February 2-May 10, 1944
Monte Arrestino – May 25, 1944
Rocca Massima – May 27, 1944
Colle Ferro – June 2, 1944
Rome – June 4, 1944
Southern France, (Alpes-Maritimes) Campaign, 1944
Iles d’Hyères – August 14-August 17, 1944
Grasse – August 27, 1944
Villeneuve-Loubet – August 30, 1944
Vence – September 1, 1944
Drap – September 3, 1944
L’Escarène – September 5, 1944
La Turbie – September 6, 1944
Menton – September 7, 1944
Rhineland Campaign, 1944
Franco-Italian border – September 7 – November 30, 1944
Here is another article on the 1st Special Service Force:
One of the most unique combat units in Italy was the First Special Service Force, a bi-national group consisting of elite Canadian and American fighters. The Canadian part was originally the 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion, then renamed the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion. In June 1942, when it joined with US Army troops and became the First Special Service Force, Canadians comprised 1/4 of its strength, 47 officers and 650 other ranks.
Training was arduous — parachuting, skiing, and mountain climbing. Everything was done “at the double” and their physical conditioning was aided by calisthenics, obstacle courses, and long marches with hundred-pound packs. Each man learned how to handle explosives and to use every weapon in the Force’s extensive arsenal. Hand-to-hand combat, night fighting, and use of captured weapons rounded out the training program. These specialized skills were necessary, for the Force members were to become shock troops, frequently raiding strategic positions and often parachuting behind enemy lines. Their effectiveness would earn them the nickname, “the Devil’s Brigade”.
The First Special Service Force arrived in Italy in November 1943, as the 5th U.S. Army was preparing to capture the mountains that guarded Cassino to the south. Its first task was to throw the Germans off two of the highest peaks, Monte la Difensa and Monte la Remetanea. Climbing ropes in the dense fog, the Force took the Germans by surprise on Difensa. Following a bloody, six-day battle, Monte la Remetanea was captured. Its first involvement in the Italian campaign cost the First Special Service Force 511 casualties, including 73 fatalities.
A month later, the Force equaled its earlier accomplishment by taking Monte Majo and several other ridges controlling the Via Caslina, the main Naples-Rome road. In terrible weather and even harsher conditions, the Germans were forced back across the Rapido River valley to their main defences, the Gustav Line. Sixty-seven Canadian members of the Force were either killed or wounded on Monte Majo.
By the time the First Special Service Force was pulled out of the line in the middle of January, it had an impressive record. After securing Majo, it drove the enemy from Hills 1109 and 1270, and other Fifth Army formations cleared the Germans from east of Cassino. Due in large part to this elite Canadian-American unit, the Fifth Army was finally ready to launch its long-awaited offensive on Rome. The Force was now sent to Anzio.
The First Special Service Force arrived at the beachhead on February 1. A few reinforcements left it with a combat strength of 1,233, all ranks. Only one of its regiments was intact, the other two were at half-strength. The Force promptly took over one-quarter of Anzio’s thirty-mile-long front, and in a week forced the Germans to withdraw more than a mile from the Mussolini Canal, which was situated at the right flank of the bridgehead.
Performing night raids, scouting and reconnaissance, one of the most successful Force soldiers was 28-year-old Canadian Tommy Prince from Manitoba, who became one of Canada’s most-decorated Aboriginal soldiers, with the Military Medal and the U.S. Silver Star for bravery in action. One of his most famous exploits, earning him the Military Medal, occurred near Anzio, where he calmly placed himself in great danger to report enemy artillery positions. Despite outstanding performances like this, the Force’s casualties at Anzio, while not heavy, mounted steadily. By the time it came out of the line on May 9, it had lost 384 men, killed, wounded, or missing, 117 of which were Canadian.
While the Canadian army was not directly involved in the liberation of Rome, there was a Canadian presence. Members of the First Special Service Force were the first liberators to enter the city. The Force had spent nearly a hundred days in continuous action and so when it came out of the line at Anzio, was given an opportunity to rest and reorganize. Reinforcements strengthened the unit, including 15 Canadian officers and 240 other Canadian ranks.
In late May, the Force headed toward Appian Way, one of the two highways to Rome from the south. Once again the members found themselves in the mountainous terrain in which they excelled and soon seized Monte Arrestino at the entrance to the valley leading northwards to Valmontone, then took Artena, near Valmontone. The approach to Rome began early morning on June 3 and by midnight, the Force had reached Rome’s suburbs. An hour later the Force commander was ordered to seize the Tiber bridges into the capital. The next day, they entered Rome, fanning out across the capital to seize key locations in Rome’s center.
Soon after, before the end of the Italian campaign, the First Special Service Force left Italy to fight in southern France and was disbanded in December that year.
By the time the “Devils Brigade” secured Rome, Canadian casualties alone totalled 185, or about one-third of the Force’s Canadian contingent. Sixty-two of them lie among the 2,313 war dead at Beach Head War Cemetery in Anzio on Italy’s west coast.
There has been a “controversy” raging in the media of late. Apparently, CND will not let out any information, under the Access law, about the FSSF, a joint Canadian-US special force from WWII. Here is the FSSF’s story including their campaign stops.
A new warhorse
No. 77 Squadron, RAAF, flew their last operations in Mustangs in early April, after which they returned to Japan to begin conversion to the Gloster Meteor F8. Four RAF pilots had been sent to Japan to train the Australians and were taken on strength of the squadron. In all, 37 RAF pilots would fly on operations with the squadron, six of whom were killed and another of whom was shot down and taken prisoner. The squadron returned to combat operations in July and after some disastrous air-to-air battles with MiGs the squadron reverted to its former role of ground attack, carrying out many successful operations during the next two years.
VP Day facts you likely never knew
Japan's surrender to Allied forces on August 15, 1945, spelled the end of World War II and put to bed the looming threat of a Japanese invasion of Australia.
But what was Australia's particular role in the war effort leading up to the Victory in the Pacific?
According to Lachlan Grant, a historian from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia — whilst only a junior international partner in terms of military force — played a pivotal role as a geographically strategic ally.
"Even though Australia was quite a small nation, it played a significant role for a nation of its size," Dr Grant said.
Nearly 1 million Australians — one seventh of Australia's 1945 population — helped with the war effort, with about 500,000 serving overseas.
Forty-thousand Australians were killed, with thousands more wounded and injured.
Australia became a key strategic partner to the United States, which entered the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941.
But with many Australian troops caught up assisting the British in North Africa and Europe, the country was vulnerable when Japan began its offensive in South-East Asia in 1941, leading to now-infamous discussions between British prime minister Winston Churchill and Australian prime minister John Curtin about where Australia's forces should be positioned.
Very little was heard of those early Australian prisoners of war for years . until the end of the war
Two-thirds of Australia's prisoners were captured during the first seven weeks of Japan's rapid advance.
"Very little news was heard of those early Australian prisoners of war for years . until the end of the war," Dr Grant said.
In those early days, the possibility of a full-scale Japanese invasion of Australia was a serious possibility and a major national fear.
But over the next few years, Australia played a major role fighting Japan throughout various Pacific nations.
While Australian troops did not spearhead the attacks into the Philippines or Japan, they engaged the Japanese in the Pacific including in Papua New Guinea, Malaya, Bougainville and New Britain.
Australia also provided a safe staging ground for the US Navy close to the Pacific battlelines.
In the days before VP Day, Royal Australian Navy warships were deployed throughout the Pacific and Australian troops were ready to invade Japan had it not surrendered following the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Australian troops were still fighting the Japanese in Borneo in the days following the bombings.
But on August 15, Japan surrendered, and Australia erupted in celebrations on the streets as news broke that the long-gone troops would return home.
At the end of the War, about $44 million in German assetts were held in Turkey. An additional $5 million in looted Belgiab gold was located in Turkey. Allied representatives attempted to gain control of those assetts to little avail (1946-52). The Allies finally greed to drop their claims to German assets in return for settling the Belgian gold issue. And they agreed to a figure of $1 million. Turkey never turned over any gold to the Tripartite Gold Commssion.