Our Prequel About How Truman Fell into the Presidency
- The Staple Singers, "Masters of War" (1965)
Notes on Harry Truman
- David McCullough, Truman (1992)
The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb
- Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (1996)
- Generally considered the comprehensive history regarding the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan. Alperovitz's book is long and dense tome that covers as much of the debate around the issue as a historian can. Most of our narrative regarding this topic are taken from this book.
- If you don't want to read a 900 page book, Alperovitz gave a lecture in 1994 as he was finishing his book that lays out his basic thesis. A free transcript of that talk can be found here.
- John Hersey, Hiroshima (1946)
- Stanley Goldberg, "Racing to the Finish: The Decision to Bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki," The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, Vol. 4 No. 2 (Summer 1995)
- James Wengartner, "Trophies of War: US Troops and the Mutilation of Japanese War Dead, 1941-1945," The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 61 No. 1 (Feb. 1992)
- Japanese Hunting License in the New York Times, 4/1/1942
- Life Magazine picture of nurse with Japanese skull
- For a discussion of the public and media reaction to the collecting of human trophies, see: Walker Schneider, "Skull Questions: The Public Discussion of American Human Trophy Collection During World War II," Penn History Review, Vol. 25 No. 2, (April 2019)
- Charles Lindbergh, who served as a civilian observer and pilot in New Guinea in 1943, wrote of the US treatment of Japanese POWs in his diary: "It was freely admitted that some of our soldiers tortured Jap prisoners and were as cruel and barbaric at times as the Japs themselves. Our men think nothing of shooting a Japanese prisoner or a soldier attempting to surrender. They treat the Japs with less respect than they would give to an animal, and these acts are condoned by almost everyone." Quoted in John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race & Power in the Pacific War (1986)
IBM "punch cards" Joke
- Brian makes a joke about the war department using IBM punch cards "if the Germans had not bought them all up." IBM infamously sold and maintenanced a punch card system to Nazi Germany that was used specifically to coordinate the massive system of concentration camps. See Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation (2001) and Edwin Black, Nazi Nexus: America's Corporate Connections to Hitler's Holocaust (2009)
Soviet Union as "Asiatic"
- Patton quoted in Stanley Hirshson, General Patton: A Soldier's Life (2003)
- Kurt Wittfogel's 1957 book, Oriental Despotism, provided the academic cover for the transition from antisemitic attacks on the Soviet Union in the West to an Orientalist approach – a transition required as the facts of the Holocaust came to light in the West forcing a pivot away from the Jewish conspiracy line promoted in the 1920s and 30s. Now that such blatantly orientalist approaches are no longer considered socially acceptable, Western academics have decided that the Soviet Union is actually a "white settler-colonial" state. From Jewish conspiracy to Asiatic despotism to white settler colonial state, the historical dissonance never seems to bother Western academics.
Effects of the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- For an account of what a nuclear weapon does to a population, see the documentary White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007)
- Louvin Brothers, "The Great Atomic Power" (1962)
- David McCullough, Truman (1992)
- Nena - "99 Luftballons"
Displaced Persons Camps & the Nazi Pipeline to America
- New York Times, "Surviving the Nazis, Only to be Jailed by America," 2/7/2015
- John Loftus, The Belarus Secret (1982)
- There is very little written in the US about the Displaced Person Camps after the war. With the growing public knowledge of the Holocaust it became increasingly impossible to write about such things without making the US "look bad." Similarly, sticking your head out to point out the cozy post-war relationship that the US had with fascists in Europe or Asia had been made thoroughly taboo by anticommunist purges in academia and the media over decades. As such, commenting on these things became the purview of conservative wing-bats like John Loftus by the 1980s. And while Loftus comes to hilarious incorrect conclusions, the ultimate facts of this early work are correct. It would not be until Eric Lichtblau's The Nazis Next Door in 2014 that a similar book from an American liberal could be published.
- Eric Lichtblau, The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men (2014)
- Ronald Smelser & Edward Davies, The Myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture (2007)
- An excellent book that tells how the US military brought in Nazi generals to write the official history of the war against the Soviet Union. It both provided the an anti-communist justification for the start of the Cold War and whitewashed the crimes of the Nazi regime. Smelser & Davies compare it convincingly with the "lost cause" mythology created by former Confederates after the collapse of Reconstruction.
- For a good history of the war on the Eastern Front see: Alexander Werth, Russia at War, 1941-1945 (1964). Written by a British journalist who was covering the war on the Eastern Front, it is at once compelling, heartbreaking, and an excellent accounting.
Creation of Israel
- For a history of the US/Israeli relationship, see: Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (1983)
- For a look at the role of international institutions and international law in the creation of Israel, see: Noura Erakat, Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine (2019). Erakat also gave a pair of good interviews on The Dig about the creation of Israel.
- For a discussion of the Lehi's efforts to broker a deal with Nazi Germany, see: Lenni Brenner, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis (2002)
- The Israeli/British/French team-up to seize the Suez Canal in 1956 that Brian mentions is what is known as the Suez Crisis.
US Covert Operations in Western Europe
- William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and Soviet Interventions Since WWII (2004)
- Daniele Gasner, NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe (2005)
- The Radio War Nerd podcast also did several episodes on the "Years of Lead" in Italy that are very good, but unfortunately, they are behind a paywall. Radio War Nerd, Ep 135, Ep 136, Ep 139.
US Relationship with Saudi Arabia
- Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power (1991)
- The Adam Curtis documentary that is mentioned is Bitter Lake (2015) which is usually available on youtube.
History of the GDR
- John Green Bruni de la Motte, Stasi State or Socialist Paradise? The German Democratic Republic and What Became of It (2015)
- For a political history of the war crimes trials in Europe see: Ronald Smelser & Edward Davies, The Myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture (2007)
- The movieJudgement at Nuremberg(1961) also has a very good portrayal of the Nuremberg trials and the US interest in disbanding them.
- Joyce Kolko and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1945 – 1954 (1972)
- This is one of the first great revisionist works looking at post-war US foreign policy.
- For more on the construction of a global anticommunist crusade see: Vincent Bevins, The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program that Shaped our World (2020)
- Sorry, I didn't realize how I mad I was at The Reader still – a movie that was made as Oscar bait in 2008 and no one actually saw.
- Rammstein, "Amerika"
- David McCullough, Truman (1992)
- Men at Work, "It's a Mistake"
US Occupation of Japan
US Involvement with Vietnam
- Marilyn Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (1991)
Assassinated Asian Leaders
- CORRECTION: Brian mistakenly says that Syngman Rhee was assassinated. Syngman Rhee was deposed by mass protest in 1960 and flown out of the country with his family by the CIA. He died of a stroke while in exile in Hawaii.
- In 1963, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem was assassinated in a military coup instigated and backed by the US occupation.
- In 1979, South Korean President Park Chung-Hee was kidnapped and assassinated by a member of his security team. The assassin was quickly executed, leaving the exact motive behind Park's death murky at best.
The Korean War
- Bruce Cumings, The Korean War(2011)
- Bruce Cumings, North Korea, Another Country (2004)
- The journalism of Tim Shorrock
CIA Profile of Syngman Rhee
- From a classified 1948 CIA profile of Rhee: "Rhee has devoted his whole life to the cause of an independent Korea with the ultimate objective of personally controlling that country. In pursuing this end he has shown few scruples about the elements which he has been willing to utilize for his personal advancement, with the important exception that he has always refused to deal with Communists… Rhee's vanity has made him highly susceptible to the contrived flattery of self-seeking interests in the US and Korea. His intellect is a shallow one, and his behavior is often irrational and even childish. Yet, Rhee in the final analysis, has proved himself to be a remarkably astute politician." The report then concludes: "The danger exists that Rhee's inflated ego may lead him into action disastrous or at least highly embarrassing to the new Korean government and to the interests of the US."
Carter's "Mutual Destruction" Comment viz-a-viz Vietnam
- Carter's "mutual destruction" comment was made in a 1977 press conference where he was asked whether the US would aid rebuilding in Vietnam – something the US had agreed to do in the Paris Accords which ended the war.
MacArthur's Opinion on the bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki
- From journalist Norman Cousin's book, The Pathology of Power:"When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."
- After having "a long discussion" with the general about the bomb, MacArthur's pilot during WWII, Weldon Rhodes, recorded in his diary that "General MacArthur definitely is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster."
- One of MacArthur's first moves as the senior military commander in Japan was to make southern Japan off-limits to reporters, worried that they might report back on the horror and devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
ROK Execution of Civilians
- The discussion of the execution of civilians by ROK forces has long been considered taboo in South Korea (and the United States). This taboo was only broken in the late 1990s with South Korea's first attempts at democratic governance. A discussion of this process of truth and reconciliation and the current state of knowledge regarding these massacres can be found in Bruce Cumings, The Korean War.
- During the war, the ROK leadership was surprisingly open about its genocidal intentions. As US and ROK forces marched into Pyongyang in late 1950, Rhee told a reporter, "I can handle the Communists. The Reds can bury their guns and burn their uniforms, but we know how to find them. With bulldozers we will dig huge excavations and trenches, and fill them with communists. Then cover them over. And they will really be underground." (The Korean War, 192)
US Massacres of Civilians in Vietnam
- Much like in the Korean War, it has long been considered taboo to discuss the deaths of civilians in the Vietnam War as anything other than accidental or an aberration. In the late aughts, a graduate student found documents that had been misfiled in the defense department's archives that revealed that violence against civilians in Vietnam was commonplace, widespread, and a systemic part of how the US maintained its occupation. See Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (2013)
The Global Cold War
- CORRECTION: In the show, Brian attributes the idea of a global cold war targeted at civilian populations rather than governments per se to Daniel Bessner, when he meant Vincent Bevins. See Vincent Bevins, The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World (2020)
US Wars in Latin America During the Cold War
- Greg Grandin, Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism (2007)
- For an unflinching account of what the US does to the civilian population in Latin America when they resist empire, see chapters 4&5 from Michael Parenti's The Sword and the Dollar: Imperialism, Revolution, and the Arms Race (1988)
US War in Iraq
- Research Unit on Political Economy, Behind the Invasion of Iraq (2003)
- For the effects of the sanctions in Iraq, see "A Backgrounder on Inspections and Sanctions" in The Iraq War Reader (2003)
Comfort Women and US Military Bases
- JoongAng Daily, "Former Sex Workers in Fight for Compensation," 10/30/2008
- New York Times, "Ex-Prostitutes Say South Korea and US Enabled Sex Trade Near Bases," 1/7/2009
- For a discussion of sexual violence being a part of US imperialism, see Counterpunch, "Sexual Violence is a Trademark of Imperialism," 4/13/2015
1980 Gwangju Uprising and Massacre
- It has not been until the last few years that the South Korean government has even begun to come clean regarding the Gwangju Massacre. In 1980, students in Gwangju took to the streets to protest the martial law order Koreans had been living under since the final days of the Park Chung-hee government. The ROK military was sent in to crush the uprising, killing thousands of people, disappearing people to be tortured and raped, beating people in the streets. The US still will not admit to its role in the massacre. For more see:
- The Japan Times, "Dying for Democracy: 1980 Gwangju Uprising Transformed South Korea," 5/17/2014
- BBC, "South Korea Apologises for Rapes During 1980 Gwangju Protest Crackdown," 11/7/2018
- The Nation, "The Gwangju Uprising and American Hypocrisy: One Reporter's Quest for Truth and Justice in Korea," 6/5/2015
Anti-Nuclear movement painted as directed by the Kremlin
- In 1982, when a mass public campaign for a freeze on all nuclear weapon development threatened the Reagan Administration's defense spending, Reagan told reporters that the anti-nuclear movement was being orchestrated by foreign agitators taking orders from Moscow. When asked what evidence he had for this claim, Reagan pointed to an article in Reader's Digest. All of which was credulously reported by the press. For example, see: New York Times, "President Says Freeze Proponents May Unwittingly Aid the Russians," 12/11/1982; Washington Post, "Reagan Again Says Soviet Union Influences Anti-Nuclear Groups," 12/11/1982; New York Times, "Sources are Cited for Charge of Soviet Tie to Arms Freeze," 11/13/1982.
South Africa's Nuclear Weapon
- Sasha Polakow-Suransky, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa (2010)
- The Guardian, "Revealed: How Israel Offered to Sell South Africa Nuclear Weapons," 5/24/2010
The Sunbelt Turn
- Rick Perlstein has spent most of his career documenting this Sunbelt turn to the right:
Saved by the Bell
- The episode that I mention is the first episode of Season 2, "The Prom"
- -Seun Kuti, "Last Revolutionary"