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Letter: WWII history lesson

Re “Grandpa a nearly famous B-17 crew chief” (Sunday Monitor Viewpoints,
Aug. 25):

Grant Bosse writes, “While the Soviets were our allies in World War II, they never went to war with Japan.” In fact, the Soviets declared war on Japan on Aug. 8, 1945, and attacked the Japanese in Manchuria at one minute after midnight on Aug. 9. Soviet forces in the attack numbered about 1.6 million (10 times the number of Allied forces in the D-Day invasion).

The Soviets promised to enter the Pacific Theater within three months from the end of hostilities in Europe and that’s what they did. Since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs had not yet caused an immediate Japanese surrender, the Soviet help was very welcome. And since the Soviets (under Gen. Georgi Zhukov) had badly beaten the Imperial Japanese Army at the Battle of Khalkin-Gol in the summer of 1939, the Japanese wanted no part of the Russians.

A goof this big makes me wonder – about other statements in the column of course but mostly about Bosse’s career at the Monitor. Do you keep him there just to make conservatives look like boobs? If so, fine, but at least give him a fighting chance. A better editor, maybe?

JOHN PARODI

Epsom

(Indeed, the column incorrectly stated that the Soviets never went to war with Japan. Bosse’s point was that the Soviet Union never granted the U.S. permission to use Siberia as a base for air attacks on Japan, nor directly participated in the American “island-hopping” campaign toward the Japanese home islands. Ed.)

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