Sunday, June 03, 2012

More than Midway

Tomorrow (which is almost here as I write this) will be the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.  It will not receive enough attention.  Midway was the American Trafalgar--our greatest naval victory.  As Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, said, before Midway he did not know whether the sun on the Japanese flag was rising or setting; after Midway he knew that it was going down.  

A post like this cannot do justice to what happened in those days in 1942--the valor (on both sides), the moral courage, the determination that characterized the battle.  

I was tempted to try to summarize what happened at Midway, but I cannot do it in one post, or even a few.  Instead, I recommend--indeed, implore--that you read more about it.  You can find the bare bones in sources such as Wikipedia.  Better are a number of books about the battle.  My favorite, although it qualifies as "popular" history, is Walter Lord's great Incredible Victory; some of the individual stories recounted there will inspire you.  A magnificent recent one-volume history of the first six months of the naval war is Ian Toll's Pacific Crucible, which includes superb portraits of many of the key figures in the battle.  The volume on The Coral Sea and Midway in Samuel Eliot Morison's History of United States Naval Operations in World War II can easily be read alone by someone interested in that slice of the war.  (Morison includes a comprehensive order of battle, down to the American squadron leaders.)  For online information, see The Battle of Midway Roundtable.  

Oh, and one more thing:  please take a few moments to stop and think about the men who fought and died to change the course of history.  They deserve to be mentioned in the same breath with those who were at the other of history's greatest battles. 

1 comment:

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

I watched, again,The Battle of Midway, the movie. Even Charleton Heston couldn't ruin it. In fact his experience playing that part might have anchored somewhere in his psyche or soul a strong belief in the need for all kinds of armaments, including those intended for mass destruction.

People of our generation grew up during WW II. Now we come to the setting suns of our own lives,(do you get the irony?)whence again war is a part of life and a way of life for those who take up arms and those who provide them.

Those who believe that humans can learn to not war are naive and delusional. Those who believe that
God is on the right side are not only naive and delusional, but dangerous.

As far back as recorded history can take us human beings have fought to kill other human beings,a rather unique instinct of our species, wanting, not just willing,to kill others of their own species, their own kind.

Wanting or willing? It depends on
the propaganda spread by those whose motivation is to get and retain power over the people who make up the societies in their own lives.

It has always been that way, and, likely, it will always be that way.

My temptation is to try to make a case for why that is. But that's a challenge requiring more space than a comment to a blog.