tv Richard Frank Tower of Skulls CSPAN March 28, 2020 1:15pm-2:17pm EDT
an eating disorder, maybe an illness like cancer. i asked people if he had aids, nobody said -- none of us, not me, he had the symptoms of it and i thought it is the flu, he's working too hard, not getting enough sleep. all those things. >> "after words" or saturdays at 10:00 pm and sundays at 9:00 pm eastern and pacific on c-span2. previous "after words" programs available as podcasts and to watch online, c-span.org. >> good evening, every one. the study of war and democracy at the national world war ii
museum, thank you to the museum for hiring me. i am the senior historian at the museum. welcome to another installment of our meet the author series where we bring you the best world war ii literature and the men and women who write and create it. before i introduce tonight's offer, a man who needs no introduction, let me carry out the tradition of the national world war ii in museum. are there any world war ii veterans or homefront workers in the audience tonight? there we go. i knew there were two right on top. to say we thank you for your
services be understood that -- understand of the century. any other era, please stand and be recognized. that is wonderful. thanks to all of you for your support and service. we have incurred a group of friends with us in the museum and i would like to acknowledge each of them. c-span, the folks from c-span are filming tonight. i want you to be on your best behavior because c-span is forever. i want to acknowledge those watching on our live stream and the trustees in the audience. the chairman of the board, i will ask you to stand one more time. ted waggle and is here from california. robert pretty is in the audience, there he is. and my dear friends, we don't have an event without him,
doctor mike carey. good to see you as always which finally, alan millet and bobby dupont. i see alan here and body over there. welcome to you, dear friends and colleagues. i would like to thank ww florence and for making this event the official launch for the book under discussion tonight and covering the travel associated with it. tonight we are going to hear about a book dealing with the pacific war. when you analyze the huge library of world war ii books, first thing you notice is the pacific war has not received the attention the war in europe has an far less than it deserves. fortunately at the museum we always had the services and friendship of one of the leading scholars of the pacific
theater, rich frank, he is employed by the museum but you wouldn't know it. he worked on public programs and advise us of any number of areas of expertise and interest especially related to the pacific war. he is the author of the definitive account of the landmark battle, downfall, end of the imperial japanese other and other works. richard asked me to keep this short and i'm going to try. the list of accomplishments is worth noting. rich is the founding member of the president of counselors advisory board that guides our museum and all we do is the contents, he's annual presenter at the international conference, a fan favorite, when rich stand up to talk people listen. the keynote at the recent guadalcanal symposium, still
leads many educational travel programs, key historical advisor for the wonderful road to tokyo exhibit, involved with summer teacher institutes and our guide on the side for all things -- rich graduated from the university of missouri in 1969, serve four years in the u.s. army during the vietnam war and a platoon leader in the airborne division and in 1976 graduated from georgetown university law center. i met rich the way historians meet on history channel shoot and rich was pretty famous and well-established and i wasn't. i thought rich was nicer to me than he had to be during that shoot and that is what i learned. he's an expert in his field, he burns with desire to make sure you become an expert in his field. he is a compelling speaker but also one of the nicest people anyone has ever met and that is the best thing of all.
tonight which will be speaking about the first volume of his intended trilogy on the asia pacific theater, a history of the asia pacific war, "tower of skulls: a histoy of the asia-pacific war". did i keep it short? my pleasure to call my friends to the podium, richard frank. [applause] >> thank you very much. i want to thank the museum for having me for this event. this is a fabulous institution, perfect harmony of mission, vision, execution, in terms of history. we like to tell stories. leon graduated from the naval
academy, survivor of the uss arizona and was awarded the navy cross for his heroism of okinawa in 1945. leon was going to say until us about the days of the academy. i did very well at the academy. i did well in math and science but my downfall was english. you see, my parents were jewish. i was born in france, first three years i spoke i spoke french. moved to the us, next two years i spoke you dish, then moved to new jersey. they don't speak english a. in a way, the tie-in is this is about something we don't speak about and that is this trilogy i have been preparing for what
i call the asia pacific war. in world war ii, the greatest story in human history. it touched almost all of the 2.3 million human beings who lived at that time, cascaded through the generations right to today. we have developed the standard narrative, world war ii began in september of 1939 when adolf hitler rated poland and the other part which we refer to as the pacific war, that began in 1941 with japan's attack on pearl harbor. what i'm doing with this
trilogy is to rewrite the second parts of world war ii, to call in asia pacific war not simply the pacific war, specifically intended to write into the history, the ark of asia and 1937 that arc which basically ran in the west from india which was also pakistan and bangladesh, east across china to japan and southeast to what is now called indonesia and in that region there are 1 billion people close to half the population of the globe if not half, yet among that region most of those people live in colonialism and only four nationstates with any claim of sovereignty, siam surely became
thailand and japan had sovereignty and mongolia which was a soviet satellite and had no real sovereignty in china which had highly compromised sovereignty. everywhere else was a colonial institution. the one notable special case is in the philippines they were effectively a colony but promised independence in 1944, acting as commonwealth managing their own domestic affairs. in the exact same region we have 19 major nations including india, china, and all have sovereignty and the story of how they got where they are today is fundamentally connected to what happened 1937-1945, that is the long-term arc, not just 47-45 but how those events, with this
enormous area of asia which is instrumental to where we live today. the other thing is this. we don't know how many human beings in world war ii, we usually use 60 million is a suitable figure. i attempted to put together a number from academic sources, the total death toll in the asia-pacific phase is 25 million. only 6 million work on battens, soldiers, sailors, airmen. of that number the number of americans who combat, 1000 or so counting and that immediately tells you there are 19 million noncombatant deaths.
the number of japanese noncombatants, approximately 813,000 but for purposes of this discussion i call it 1 million or 1.2 million. what that tells you is for every japanese noncombatant who died in the asia-pacific war, 17 or 18 noncombatants died, 12 were chinese. if you take the total number of chinese deaths and do a linear projection, 4000 chinese noncombatants are dying every single day of the war for eight years. if you take the other part of asia, japan occupies in december of 1941, not half as many half the time but also works out to 4000 deaths per day. by 1945, the summer, there are 8000 non-japanese noncombatants dying every day.
and who knows, 15, 16 million have already died at that point. what i'm doing with this trilogy is attempting 1 billion people, 85% of the asia-pacific war, 20 million people which is the total number of deaths, and where we are in the 21st century. i would be gracious in answering questions, queries and challenges to my work but one thing i will not respond to quietly is the charge that i lack ambition. there are four features of the trilogy present in the book. most essentially a work of synthesis putting together the best scholarship from all over the world being guided by
wonderful group of colleagues i met over the years who frequently are the top leaders in their field and their guidance in other sources and they vetted the manuscript. i drilled down wherever i can in certain areas of interest to me like radio intelligence and diplomacy of 1941, to present my own work but fundamentally i would describe this as synthesis. as i indicated this is an attempt to put together in a single narrative with all situations what we used to call the pacific war between the us and japan and the war across the ark of asia. the third thing that characterizes this work is wonderful quote from franklin roosevelt i use as an epigraph, he was asked by his ambassador to japan in december of 1940 for guidance for how relationships should be conducted and president
roosevelt said the fundamental thing to remember in europe, africa and asia are all part of one global war. what i tried to do throughout this narrative is look back and forth at what is going on in europe and the asia-pacific region, where they do or do not affect one another. the final thing is although chronology and military events provide the basic skeleton of this whole thing this narrative branch is well out from that, political and economic social effect, those are so critical how to get to the story of how we ended up in the 21st century in this region. i would like to take two instances, two examples to show how these features linked together. i want to talk about china in
1937-38, how this branches out. the first thing to bear in mind is china in 1937, i call the fractured state. japan occupied mention area in 1931 and dominated provinces leading to the northeast of china. beyond that it was not simply as commonly given the notion that china has been divided between the nationalists under shanghai check and communists under mouse a tongue -- mao see tongue. it is a mosaic of regional and local powerbrokers, the most dominant of those is the nationalist party under shanghai check, these are the most prosperous in china. they contain 170 million people
which is over a third the total estimate which is 450 million chinese of the time. once you get beyond what nationalists hold, it is a crazy quilt of reasonable and local powerbrokers. the chinese communist party is very near its nadir. they were driven out of the original base area, and at that point the area controlled by mao and the chinese, which is not 3% of china's population, it is 3 tenths of one% of china's population. the chinese forces were likewise fractured. chang and the nationalists had 1000 men under arms, the best trained and best equipped in
china, one of 7 of the total of the 2.1 million chinese underarms. chinese communists have 50,000 men on role in the red army and 31,000 of them have one.5%. looking at china not only fragmented in all these different leaders at regional and local level but the armed forces are fragmented and chiang kai-shek should be viewed not as the commander in chief of one great chinese army but the preside are over this loose confederation which will take on japan and that brings us to chiang kai-shek himself. his reputation has gone through a roller coaster and the opinion of the public and historians. what is particularly valuable to me was in the last 15 or 20
years there's been a great outpouring of fresh archival based history about china and one of the most important aspect of that is the diaries were published in 2007 and it is difficult to understate how dramatic were the attitudes and understanding of what chiang kai-shek was about. he was never interested in fighting the japanese, he was only interested in having a showdown ballot with the chinese communists. what you get from the diaries and other documents is after japan seized manchuria, chiang kai-shek new that for china to ultimately gain its sovereignty there was going to have to be a showdown battle with japan but what a formidable task it would be to take on in. japan and he
believed china must seek unity which is part of the policy pursued and launched a great number of planning initiatives to prepare china for the moment they would take on japan. we have documentation that that is what he was doing. 1000 days left, he was off by 43 days with that statement. he projected when this war broke out between china and japan there would be a world war, china would be able to subdue japan beyond the basic capabilities so that is a different slant on chiang kai-shek. what happened in july of 1937, the marco polo bridge incident, a skirmish between chinese and
japanese forces which through a chain of events will eventually lead to sustained combat for the next eight years and when this breaks out, chiang kai-shek society must ask forbearance in the policy of preparing, now he must make war. he looks at where the fighting broke out in northern china which has terrain he believes favors the japanese and disfavors the chinese. he believes the place for the chinese to make their first stand is in shanghai with crowded urban areas maximizing strength of small arms and minimize japanese strength in firepower and capability. there is going to be a tremendous battle in shanghai which goes on from august to
november of 1937. before it is over, 3 quarters of 1 million chinese troops fight in and around shanghai. this is by far the biggest battle in a city, stalingrad in 1932. what you have to understand when this breaks out is the chinese central government has for exactly a century been unable to sustain a war for more than at best a year, usually less. most of these clashes have ended in chinese defeat. when the fighting goes on in shanghai in days and weeks and months as the chinese slip away, it is establishing effective sustained resistance
that have been wanting china for almost a century. this a delicious moment in this black humor. new york times reporter talking to japanese imperial spokesperson, we call now a spin doctor and the new york times reporter saying this battle has been going on a long time. why haven't you routed the chinese? the japanese spokesman says the chinese know so little of tactics they don't know when to retreat. the chinese eventually do have to retreat. they are defeated and are shredded by the end of the battle but notwithstanding the fact they lose from the chinese perspective. the fact they held out sustained resistance against the japanese. like the american battle of boot hill, we lose the hill but we are sustained in the notion we demonstrated we are ready to stand and fight so to tell with
the british, the chinese and japanese. china will go through one enormous period of pain and suffering and that begins when the japanese army's lead from shanghai and march to the nationalist capital where they commit what is referred to as -- i have a chapter on that. i won't touch on that except to say the japanese get there and the chinese are not given in. they continue up the yangtze river heading towards the wuhan cities where chiang kai-shek
evacuated his military headquarters battle that takes most of 1938. when this battle begins the chinese achieve a notable victory which is like recharging their battery. they are senior leaders believe if we hang on and tough it out we will prevail. the japanese one of their fronts breakthrough in june of 1938 cents for a moment knockout and get to wuhan and knockout military headquarters was in one of the most devastating decisions chiang kai-shek will make in his lifetime he's convinced by his subordinates the only thing to stop the japanese advance is to breach the yellow river dikes. he gets the order and in june of 1938 these dikes are breached and unleashes an
incredible torrent and kills somewhere between half 1,000,900,000 chinese by various counts, the greatest environmental disaster of world war ii by a large margin. can you imagine an event of this magnitude of this nature occurring in europe and you never heard of it? one of the most striking examples of how little we have recorded the history of the asia-pacific war. this halts that particular breakthrough in the fighting continues through the summer. the japanese are superior in firepower, military craft, air support they also use poison gas. they are the only major combatant who uses poison gas on the battlefield as far as we
know and they use that as their trump card when they are in a difficult situation. the chinese are recipients of poison gas was in october of 1938 the japanese close and capture wuhan. rather than regarding this is a disaster for the chinese, the chinese side, a reinforcement of the notion that if we just tough it out and hang on eventually we can prevail and we found out many years later that in tokyo, imperial general headquarters, the most senior operations officer, they record at that point that basically it looks as though it is impossible for japan to prevail by military means alone.
they purchased a quagmire, not a victory for success. i talked about 37-38, highlighted the military affects and what i want to get into is what is happening internally, domestically, politically and economically as a result of these campaigns. the first thing we notice is in the summer of 1938 is an event, identified by historians as the most open period, the freest expression period on mainland china that is going to occur in the twentieth century. there is a united front that is more than a slogan at that time, free expression, publications across the political spectrum, no editor of any publication is killed in
wuhan, as a result of the japanese advances there has been tremendous mingling of chinese intellectuals and this is the biggest mingling that had taken place in chinese history after that so this is a seminal moment although it is a wistful one. what might have been. the second thing that is significant that comes into play is there is a stupendous generation of refugees as a result of japan's war on china. a wide range investment which i use 45 million, 10% of the total chinese population is being entered into a refugee state as one time or another. there are estimates above this, no one knows for sure. the reasons are not hard to discern. the japanese are living off the
land as they advance, taking food wherever they want to go and that will stimulate refugees. the japanese are in the habit, not only of military prisoners they take but at the end of the entire war the japanese are asked to hand over -- they present 56 individuals as their pow take over eight years of war and make it a practice of looking at any mail from teenagers on up that could have been or was a soldier might be a soldier and executing them as well as the actual pows. there's a tremendous level of sexual violence, all of this generates an incredible tidal wave of refugees flowing in land and away from the japanese and this tidal wave of refugees does something, an important moment in chinese history.
up to this deck of the central government of china in terms of what we call social welfare had only two responsibilities, one was the maintenance of the dikes, the second was in some instances maintaining grain reserves against famine. otherwise everything we would regard as social welfare, safety net, is done by local benefactors, local associations. there was no responsibility in the central government. in response to this refugee crisis the nationalists launch an enormous effort from the top to provide housing, clothing, medical care, education for the refugees and give them a title. people of righteousness. identifying them as as much participants in the war against japan as the armed forces. this leads to something else. when the war breaks out the national identification of most chinese is very weak.
the identification is primarily to the family, four generations under one roof and the war begins to percolate through the chinese population, a sustained notion of national identity. that will have an enormous impact as china goes forward throughout this war. the other thing that takes place in this 37-38 period is the japanese implement a blockade of china. i've described this as the most important effort you have ever heard about. what happens is the japanese imperial navy begins to produce a blockade around the pacific coast. in the inland waterways, this leads to four from endlessly
dramatic effects on china which have an important effect on the outcome of the war. the first is they effectively cut out the outside flowing after the chinese go through the stockpile they put together to sustain the war in view of low productivity and lack of resources in the interior, after several years of intense fighting, there is a separate issue, the chinese get extremely little outside support. i will get into subsequent volumes how little that amounts to but this will strain the chinese armed forces for the rest of the war. the second thing, as a professor from cambridge points out the chinese were not self-sufficient in food at this time, they imported 10 percent-20% of the total food supply by importing the chinese
-- the japanese cut off the imports. the japanese army is feeding off the chinese population, taking food out of the population to the japanese army, the chinese army, i meant the japanese army. this is going to have a dramatic affect throughout china after 1941 when the food situation which was quite satisfactory to the crisis level. the third thing the blockade serves to do is together with land operations, it boots the nationalists out of the base area. instead of holding 7 provinces they can appoint local officials, or recruit or raise food supplies for the army they are pushed into the hinterland. there army has been damaged by the intimidation effect on other leaders, consequently the nationalists are forced to the compromised position where they
get along with local powerbrokers in terms of survivor. they carry the imprint and get blamed for everything that goes on but it is a diffuse problem including a great deal of corruption which is not necessarily the nationalists but throughout china. most dramatically with the blockade does, the chinese central government for more than a century depended upon custom duties as the primary source of revenue. the chinese government came from customs but what happens when you lose your water line? there goes your -- the japanese
operations also occupy the richest land in china cutting into the taxpayer. it is estimated after 1938 the revenue the central government of china has collapsed by 3 quarters, how do you make war without money? what you do is what the nationalists did. they print money. it is over the course of the war, inflation is the most corrosive of all, it directly affects everyone's livelihood if you're a government employee, your purchasing power has plummeted by 2 thirds or 3 quarters, how do you make ends meet if you have a family? it is a tremendous incentive towards corruption. now, i tried to show how we go from military operations to what happens politically, socially and economically in china and this tremendous
effect on the outcome of china in the asia-pacific war. let me take a shorter period and talk about one other feature and that is the place where i think the asia-pacific and european merge together and that is december of 1941 with pearl harbor and the declarations of war. my view where it really becomes a fused fusion between the asia-pacific and european war is in july of 1941 and this comes about because hitler's attack on the soviet union in june of 1941, the initial assessment in london and washington is the soviets call's 1 to 3 months. so it seems for the next several weeks as the best information incidentally i found out was the new york times published communiqués from all the combatants every
day of the war with maps and the only thing outsiders could tell about what was going on in the soviet union are from these communiqués was they have arisen. to one another as to what is going on but what they do coincide in is where the fighting is taking place. you see the enormous penetration of the soviet union and in july of 1941 it stops and for the first time looks like the soviets might survive. the strategic implications for the war against hitler are impossible to overstate. what happens in the western allies? the question is what can they do to help the soviet union? the british are extended, the americans are not ready, the logistics to the soviet union are difficult. the one thing identified in
washington and london is they think and sincerely believe if the japanese were to join the soviets in the attack, that might be the knockout blow so they decide what is the most important thing to do is keep china in the war, keep japan tied down. they receive important information from harry hopkins who had been on a mission for president roosevelt, was his principal advisor, a combination of national security adviser and chief of staff, he had an interview with stalin himself and in the interview stalin had said what are the most immediate things you need and stalin said i need antiaircraft guns and aluminum and he comes back with the message that you can't use aluminum on the battlefield.
stalin says we will survive -- also the soviet foreign ministry tells hopkins they want the us to make a declaration. japan would into the war against the soviet union, the us would enter the war against japan. hopkins can't make a pledge but it reinforces the notion that in moscow they see it the same way, keeping the chinese, keeping the japanese from attacking the soviet union is critical. what is going to happen is the us is in negotiations with japan and what are the japanese looking for? they want out of the china quagmire. they have two basic proposals which if you read their proposals and whether diplomats are saying boil down to this. they want the us to agree to oppose the settlement on the chinese which effectively acknowledges japan has won, the chinese are defeated or the us would agree to force the chinese into negotiations and abandon the chinese on the assumption the chinese would have to submit. when you look at the two
approaches you see on the one hand the japanese once china defeated on our side, we want china to survive. obviously there is no room for compromise between those two proposals. what roosevelt is going to do is partly in response to japanese advantages southern indochina but after he has gone through these collaborations with churchill or hopkins he realizes that one of the most important things he can do is cut off the supply of oil to japan, providing japan from 75 percent-80% of petroleum. there is a moral dilemma here. providing the japanese war machine with petroleum to wage war against china. imagine what they would say if we provided 75% or 80% of petroleum to hitler from 1937-1941? the problem roosevelt faced with a strategic dilemma, he
knows if we cut off japanese oil they would simply advance and sees the oil reserves, they would not only have their oil but they would be in a stronger position. at this point he decides a flexible restriction of oil production to japan is going to be a total embargo because ultimately are you going to provide the japanese with oil to attack the soviet union? that is a decision he makes at that time and that is the moment we see the unification of the asia-pacific war and the european war. let me go on rapidly. in view of the time. i found two other pieces of evidence, canadian prime minister mackenzie king as a close relationship with fdr and after a meeting with fdr in
november of 1941 mackenzie king comes back and writes in his diary they believe a break in chinese resistance will lead to a break in russian resistance showing the close connection between the survival of china and the survival of the soviet union. the same happens when churchill advises roosevelt anxieties about china and it enormously increased and it was generated at that time, you will see the issue of keeping china in the war to sustain the soviets is very much in mind. that is the moment as i indicated when i think the wars become truly fused together even before the attack on pearl harbor. i end the trilogy with the japanese empire, the run after december of 1941, this enormous empire covering seven time zones. within that empire they now
have 516 million human beings or just under, just over a fifth of the total population of the world and they are dug in and preparing to defend it. the narrative of the first volume ends with the surrender of american forces on may 6th, 1942. the second volume picks up literally the next day when the battle of the corals the occurs, the japanese empire is at its zenith in the great slide begins. volume 2 will continue through to august of 1944 with the end of the marianna's campaign. volume 3 will pick up in september of 1944. volume 3 will go into a discussion what happens in the postwar period as i get to the theme of what happens in 37-45
influences where we are today. we do have been very patient and i appreciate your attention and i think we are going to throw it over to some questions. thank you. [applause] .. >> improve the u.s. position or -- >> the question is, you know, what decisions could fdr have made that might have shortened the war. and my short answer would be i'm not sure there were many that could have shortened the world. there were a whole lot that could have lengthened the war without any trouble.
i gave a talk here about guadalcanal back earlier, and one of the things i emphasized in that is it's very difficult now to recapture just how grim things looked in the summer of 1942. the axis had been triumphant to that moment, and we were in a very, very deep hole. and at that point in time, as historian -- historian, i'm sorry, having a senior moment here, said if you asked someone in the sprung of 1942 how the war would come out, they would not have been able to say. it's not like there was some easy, quick way to end the war much faster, in my view. >> rich, we have a question in the back with dr. jason dossey. >> uh-uh wanted to ask you -- i wanted to ask you about soviet awed to chiang kai-shek and how
important do you see that. >> yeah. a couple of comments. first of all, stalin, i think, played his cards in the far east better than anyone else did through most of the first couple years of the war. and he clearly recognized the value of china in keeping japan tied down much the way i talked about what happened in 1941. the soviet union became a principal supplier, such as it was, of chinese arms and equipment, aircraft. they also sent pilots, and i have the numbers. you can -- trust me, you can find them in a book right over here. finish -- the problem was that the supply line for the soviet union was over land. they actually used camels to deliver some of the supplies, and after june 1941 when the soviets were this their own supreme -- in their own supreme peril, they cut off the
supplies. when you really crunch the number it is on what the chinese were getting versus what they needed, it's really appalling throughout the war. but the soviets were the great supplier there for a while particularly in '38, '39, '40. >> rich, we have a question here, the ballot of shanghai -- battle of shanghai, what were the similarities? >> well, i think it's clear that it's this enormous urban fought, very nasty urban environment. some pretty vivid descriptions of what it was like to try to fight in shanghai. and shanghai is not like a european city. the roads, the alleys are very narrow. there are no clear fields of fire. buildings are very close together. once again, this was part of what was identified as making shanghai desirable as a battlefield.
if you had a lot of guys and small arms, this was a good place to fight as opposed to out in the open plains where the japanese could smother them with firepower. at that standpoint the sort of house to house, nasty fighting where houses exchanged hands five or suggestion times. it's very similar to -- five or six times. very similar to stalingrad. ultimately, the soviets have the power to win at stalingrad. the chinese don't have the power to totally defeat the japanese at any point here, and the battle in shanghai serves to stoke up chinese resistance for the duration of the war. >> rich, in the front to your right with dr. kerry. >> thank you for a wonderful talk. can you comment on the stillwell and -- [inaudible] how effective that was with supplying the chinese, or was it more of a symbolic effort?
>> well, that sort of leaps ahead, but let me touch on that. the chinese had opened what was called the burma road because it was a road that ran from the port of rangoon in burma and then by road over to china. and it was a very crude road. it was not very effective. you consumed an awful lot of gasoline just to navigate it. at one powbt they were estimate -- point they were estimating you'd have to put 15,000 tons in a vehicle the get somewhere between 5, 6, 7,000 tons total into china. eventually, stillwell is going to wage a campaign in burr a ma in -- during ma in 1944 into 1945. they're -- and for the first couple months, out passes significant tonnage. then the monsoon huts. there's a tremendous can -- hit.
there's a tremendous book call "the hump," it's the best single account i've seen that gives you all the stats and today tax basically, what plating says is after this burst in early 1945, the road basically collapses as a major supply line, and they send assessors from washington to look at the road versus the airlift, and in those day they called them the green eye shade guys. they come back and say, basically, the airlift is more effective than the road is, which was quite a revelation to me. but once again, i'll get into this in the later volumes. plating points out when the max tonnage is beginning to hut in the latter part of '44, early '45, that most of the tonnage goes to supportoffuation abtivities -- aviation activities. and by plating's count, the
actual amount of supplies go directly to chang kai-shek and his forces, it's about three pounds out of every 1003. ing. >> rich -- 100. >> the next question comes from online from rusty, did the japanese waste their submarine force by not attacking allied merchants? >> that's an interesting -- the japanese viewed their submarine forces primarily a part of a war-fighting force to attack the enemy's main fleet, their main fleet units. they did not engage in the commerce war that we eventually shifted to in high gear and had devastating effects on the japanese merchant marine, against the whole japanese economy. clearly, they could have done more in that area, but one of the problems with the retrospective switch of, notion of the switch of the japanese to attacking commerce with their submarines, we had the tremendous advantage of code breaking which told us where the ships were going to be.
the pacific is a very, very big ocean. you can concentrate your submarines around the obvious terminuses, the bolters at one end -- ports at one end or the other, but it's not so obvious that the japanese were going to have, even if they'd switched, enormous success against our commerce. they would have probably protracted the war. >> next question is here in the audience to your right. >> first of all, thank you very much. it's an excellent talk, very interesting presentation. what i think is a pretty simple question. do you have a tentative date for volumes two and three to be plushed? [laughter] >> you're not -- to be published. >> you're not cleared for that information. [laughter] i hope to turn out the next one expeditiously. and what i will say, mindful of who might be listening to this, what i will say is that this
first volume took me a lot longer because i had not done a lot of work in the '37 to mid '41 period. now when we get to may '42, we're in my wheelhouse. this is the thing i've done for decades. so i've already done a lot of 1942 and some 1943, and it goes a heck of a lot faster than this earlier perioded did. i'm -- period did. i'm hoping to have this out in a reasonably quick time. i'm reluctant to give you an exact date, and if i did, i'd have to kill you, so -- [laughter] >> rich, we're going to go with walter here the your right. >> i'm going to try to ask you a slightly easier question. if memory serves, didn't -- i believe the german government or the german army provided arms and training to the nationalists for a period in the '20s and '30s? and did they assume -- sometime in 1937 they probably abandoned the chinese in. >> right. you're base clue correct. the comment is about --
basically correct. actually, chiang kai-shek sought german advisers, brought in high ranking, retired german officers in 1937 when chiang is wondering about what to do, the german advises him to attack to the east. the germans always tell you to attack to the east. [laughter] he also acquired a lot of german arms and equipment. they had trade, they gave the germans tungsten, and the germans sent supplies. and then, of course, the whole eshoo of hitler's allies -- issue of hitler's allies with japan kicked in, and at that point hitler ordered the german advisers to be pulled out, and they were. many of them reluctantly. chiang then turn today soviet advisers, including some very distinguished officer of the red army are going to become prominent in world war ii. but, yes, there is a time when the german add advisers are very
prominent and important to china. >> rich are, the next question is on line. it might be the last question, but it comes from a text from my buddy, dave walker. i'd like to let the crowd here know, but more importantly the crowd watching online, dave has been in charge of our social media here at the museum for over four years, and this week is his final week here, and tonight is his final week texting me in the middle of these talks, and i'd like everybody to give a round of applause for dave walker for husband great service service and great -- his great service and great work here at the museum. [laughter] the question is the battle of nomong hong, could you explain the overall strategic significance of that. >> briefly, it goes like this. for the japanese imperial army, the supreme enemy was always russia or later the soviet union. they worked overtime on how they
were going to deal with the situation, because they knew they'd be outgunned and outnumbered. they developed a strategic and operational, tactical doctrine all around how to fight and prevail against the soviets. from our perspective -- not only our per spectoff, but everyone else's -- they followed that doctrine throughout the asia-pacific war, and one with of the most important tenets the solution to any problem is to attack. in 1939 the japanese become entangled in a border dispute with the soviets around this nondescript. place in manchuria. to make a long story short, the japanese attempt to attack to reestablish what they think is the border. the soviets mount this huge counterattack and pulverize the scoop news division that was -- japanese division that was engaged in this. it's a tremendous shock and
cited as instilling tremendous caution into the japanese army, imperial army about attacking the soviet union thereafter. although it's quite clear that in 1941 there is a significant opinion within the imperial army that they should join the germans in attacking the soviet union. they just can't get their act together. and also because of more than action, particularly oil embargo, they don't have the means to sustain a war against the soviet union while they don't have any oil. so it's very important. but, and it's very little known outside of a few specialists, but it's just one part. i have a whole long chapter about that. it also ties into not only the japanese doctrine, but also the whole battle ethics that the imperial army follows. there's a private who's captured, a japanese private. his unit was being overrun. they had no bullets left, and
his officer had he and another guy line up facing each other with their bay yo innocents and run each other through the throat. this guy wakes up in a soviet hospital, he survives, he goes back, and because he's been captured, he's interrogated and even though his story is clearly vindicated by his wounds, he's still guilty of having been captured. so there is a penalty for that. that's the imperial japanese army. i want to thank you all very much. [applause] >> well, we want to thank you, rich, for a wonderful presentation. and before you leave the stage, you have one more obligation. [applause] those members who are here with us tonight who signed in, two keys, you are about to possibly have your name drawn. >> i have the name john wilson. >> there we go. [applause] he's one of our regulars, so that's what you get for being
here regularly. john, or you get a copy of rich's book, and he'll personalize it for you. and then we're going to is can rush to draw one more name for a membership goody bag, as it's been described to me. >> i have ted pritzker. >> there we go. >> okay. >> great. well, we want to thank you all for being here. we want to invite you to go over to tilroy's for the bar or café normandy for dinner tonight, and please be sure to come back thursday night for our brand new special exwe discussion on the ghost army which is opening thursday, march 5th. and also march 25th is our next meet the author featuring mary lane on hitler's last hostages which is on the artwork that hitler had stolen during the war. but most importantly, let's thank rich frank for a wonderful presentation on a wonderful book. have a great evening, good