What is the Tunnel Wall?

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Monday, April 17, 2017

30 Seconds Over Tokyo: How the Doolittle Raid Doomed the Japanese Empire

On this date in 1942, three captured American airmen who had bombed Japan in the Doolittle Raid were shot in Tokyo.

National Interest

"At noon on April 18, 1942, the citizens of Tokyo looked up into the sky and saw the impossible.
"Zooming low over the imperial capital was a flight of twin-engined bombers. Nothing surprising about that in wartime Japan. Except that these aircraft were painted olive-drab, with red-white-and-blue stars on their wings and fuselage.
"They were American planes dropping bombs on the sacred soil of Japan. As the crump of explosions and the drone of aircraft motors faded, and the air raid sirens belatedly wailed, Tokyoites asked themselves a fateful question:
"What just happened?
"The Doolittle Raid seventy-five years ago was more than one of history’s most momentous air attacks. It was also one of the most economical. The Allies dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs on Germany, and the United States dropped seven million tons on Vietnam. And still the Nazis and the Communists continued to fight. Yet sixteen B-25 bombers carrying perhaps sixteen tons of bombs managed to change the course of history.
"It was a stunning reversal. In war, momentum is everything, and Japan was the one that had it in the early spring of 1942. Within four months, they had decimated the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, conquered Southeast Asia, the oil-rich Dutch East Indies and the islands of the Central Pacific, and were about to compel the last battered U.S. defenders in the Philippines to surrender.
"America needed to reverse the momentum with a victory—any kind of victory—to bolster morale and take back the initiative. President Roosevelt had the right idea: days after Pearl Harbor, he called for the Japanese homeland to be bombed in retaliation. But how? " . . .

Doolittle Raiders crew from left: Lt. Henry Potter, navigator; Lt. Col. James Doolittle, pilot; Staff Sgt. Fred Braemer, Bombardier; Lt. Richard Cole, copilot; Staff Sgt. Paul Leonard, engineer-gunner. Cole, the last standing Doolittle Raider left standing, is set to attend a 7th anniversary event in Ohio in April 2017.

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