Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hector Bywater’s Prescient Prediction

Clear back in the early 20s, a British journalist named Hector Bywater wrote a fictional account entitled The Great Pacific War which described a conflict between a conflict between the US and Japan set in the 1930s. Interestingly enough, Bywater imagined the war beginning with a sneak attack by Japanese on the US naval base in Pearl Harbor, and it featured the US marine corps suffering horrendous casualties trying to take the Bonin Islands in the later stages of the conflict (I can only wonder if any marine vet of Iwo Jima ever read Bywater’s account and thought, “Why didn’t we just listen to this guy and bypass the damn place?”) Bywater was not infallible as a prophet—the climactic battle of his war ended with a battleship versus battleship gunnery duel off the island of Yap. Ironically enough, I spent 9 months on Yap. Happily enough, the natives were spared the experience of being innocent bystanders in a Pacific Armageddon.

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