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History Myths Buzzkilled

WWII in the Pacific: the Defeat of Japan, 1944-45

Japan’s defensive perimeter kept shrinking during 1944 and 1945, yet the war dragged on. The battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa were as bloody and horrific as any others during the Pacific war. Strategic bombing of Japan increased, both from the Asian mainland, and from the Pacific side. Japan eventually surrendered in 1945, but we discuss why that was so complicated and difficult. And we bust the many myths surrounding the “unconditional surrender” of Japan. Listen and learn! --- Imperial Surrender The Imperial Rescript of Surrender (玉音放送 gyokuon-hōsō) was the speech delivered by Emperor Shōwa on 15 August 1945, effectively announcing that Japan would surrender, ending World War II. To be precise, Emperor informed the Japanese people that Japan would accept the terms of the [...]

Quote or No Quote? Harry Truman “Socialism” is a Republican “Scare Word”

Politics in the United States is rife with rhetorical excess these days, and Americans are being treated to falsehoods, wild exaggerations, and anachronisms galore. Just recently, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham accused four young Democratic Congresswomen of being “communists.” “Communists”! Not only is this untrue, the way that Graham used it as an attack and a slur was laugh-ably out-of-date. It’s as if he stepped out of a time machine from the Joseph McCarthy communist witch-hunt days of the 1950s. One of the social media responses to this, and to the general demonisation of “socialism” (in whatever form), has been to create a meme of a quote, supposedly by Harry Truman, President of the US from in the late 1940s and early 1950s. According to this [...]

WWII in the Pacific: Guadalcanal to the Philippines, 1942-44

 The brutality of World War II in the Pacific continued from Guadalcanal to the Aleutians, from China to the Solomon Islands, and was also a propaganda war at home in Japan and in Allied countries. Professor Nash comes back to tell us about these middle years in the Pacific War, and explain how the power balance shifted to the Allies, and yet why the fighting still took so long and why it was so bloody. Listen and learn! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf E. B. Sledge, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th [...]

WWII in the Pacific: Pearl Harbor to Midway, 1941-42

 Superstar historian, Professor Nash, joins us to talk about the opening years of American involvement in Pacific during World War II. From Pearl Harbor to Midway, it’s a brutal chess match across the Pacific - a chess match that includes massive battles, massive casualties, and massive war crimes. And that’d only through 1942! So this is Part 1 of our WWII in the Pacific series. Listen and learn. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf John Costello, The Pacific War: 1941-1945 The definitive one-volume history of World War II in the Pacific theater, The Pacific War was the first book to weave together the separate stories of the fighting in China, Malaya, Burma, the East Indies, the Philippines, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Aleutians. Now available [...]

Quote or No Quote: “Let Them Eat Cake”

You know how we are about quotes, Buzzkillers. The vast majority of the famous quotes and quips from historical figures have no basis in evidence. Most of them come from hearsay, were actually said by other people, or invented and written by biographers, playwrights, and screenwriters 100 years after the original events or lifetime. Sometimes, it was originally part of a story written long before the person to whom it’s attributed was born. Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France at the time of the 1789 Revolution, is the victim of such a misattributed quote. In fact, it may be the most famous thing “about” her. The story is that she cared very little for the welfare of the common people. When she was told, just [...]

The Many Myths about the Declaration of Independence

Every July, American Buzzkillers get inundated with chain emails, Facebook posts, and Tweets that spread more myths about the Declaration of Independence. No matter how many times they’ve been disproved, the seem to crop up every year. John Hancock signing his name so large that “King George can read it without his spectacles.” And “The Price They Paid” -- the undying email myth about what happened to the signers of the Declaration. We explain these, and a lot more! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation In this landmark work of history, Joseph Ellis explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course [...]

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American History, British History, and World History Myths Busted by Professor Buzzkill
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