By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin --(Ammoland.com)- Millions of Chinese in the eastern part of that country lived and died under forced occupation by the Japanese Empire in the 1930s and during WWII.
The book, China Diaries, is a historical-fiction, “must—read” on this forgotten subject. I could not put this book down! In fact my daughter kept telling me to stop reading and talk to her, this from a teenager.
I have personally known American and Allied military members who were POWs of the Japanese, so I went looking for this book to read. The Holocaust in Europe continues to be well documented in both the press and Hollywood, but not the barbaric atrocities that the Japanese inflicted on China. For the most part the Japanese got a get-out-of-jail-free pass from General MacArthur.
He told the occupational forces that controlled Japan after the war, to be nice to the Japanese and do not make them feel bad about things like war crimes.
To this day Japan still makes a major effort to ignore their past. There is next to nothing about their war crimes taught in the Japanese educational system. Japan is winning with their efforts to hide their dirty large secret. Most of the world does not know or care about the horrors that this small island nation delivered onto millions of their fellow Asians but reminding the world of Japans crimes of death and destruction is the underlying theme of the China Diaries.
China Diaries is a fast paced book with a great story that holds the reader’s attention, but more importantly it is a necessary history lesson. China Diaries is historical-fiction, but the events surrounding the story, unfortunately, are very true.
As I read the book I found myself doing internet web searches on different points of history in the book, and the author Louis Stannard, got it right. After speaking at length with the author I learned he was an Air Force pilot for eight years, and then flew for Pan Am Airlines for 26 years, his book China Diaries is about a naval aviator turned Pan Am pilot. That naval aviator, Alex, meets and marries Anna, a White Russian woman, who lives in Hong Kong and also works for Pan Am, just prior to Pearl Harbor. Anna’s Russian parents are living in Japanese occupied Shanghai, and she is trying to secure their safety. She is the central figure of the book and I have no doubt her story will appeal to female readers. This is not to scare off the male, military-enthusiast readers; there is more than enough in this book for all readers, especially WW II veterans who fought in the Pacific.
There are great detailed descriptions of the Pan Am “Clippers” and that machines contribution to 1930s world travel by air. These giant flying boats that connected the US and China in a matter of a few days travel where before it had taken weeks by ship. The story brings out the efforts that Pan Am made to support the US military in the early days of WWII. The mission of the US Marine Corps in China prior to Pearl Harbor is an active part of this story, a point in history that is not well known.
I write this with two purposes in mind. First as a review of a well researched and written book that is great entertainment, there is enough “boy-meets-girl,” action, suspense and love to hold almost any readers attention. It is however the political side of the book that holds my attention even after finishing the enjoyment of a good read.
Japan has been allowed to ignore what they did to China. They were in there killing, destroying, and subjugating millions of people for almost ten years prior to the US entering WW II. Their hate directed violence toward all things non Japanese did not stop until the second atomic bomb was dropped on that nation.
The failure of the Allies (read General MacArthur) to try the Emperor of Japan for war crimes and hold that island nation accountable for their atrocities has allowed them to go unpunished for the millions that nation killed. But the US Marine Corp has not forgotten and that memory of Japans brutality is a primary reason that on any given day approximately one third of the world’s finest infantry organization is posted on Japanese soil.
Read Louis Stannard’s China Diaries ( http://tiny.cc/wigt1w ), it is very entertaining, but more importantly, it is our history. 15 Aug 2013 is the 68th anniversary of the Emperor of Japan broadcasting to the Japanese people the surrender of Japan in WWII.
The hard line pro-military build-up people in Japan are making a lot of noise these days. Beware of a strong Japanese military and worst yet an easy to obtain future nuclear armed Japans military.
Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” email@example.com