1943: Leonard Siffleet, beach beheading

On this date in 1943, Australian World War II commando Leonard Siffleet was beheaded on Aitape Beach in Papua New Guinea, along with two Ambonese, H. Pattiwal and M. Reharing

A photograph of the Japanese soldier Yasuno Chikao an instant before he strikes off Siffleet’s head was taken from the body of a Japanese casualty later in the war. Published in Life magazine, it became one of the war’s most iconic photos.

On this day..

17 thoughts on “1943: Leonard Siffleet, beach beheading

  1. I have been reading ENENEWS dispatches about the global poisoning emmitted big-time 247 by Fukushima, and in the comments section US cultural provincials, some quite savvy about nuclear energy and it’s tech, occasionally wax hatefully in blame for “the Japanese culture”, when all along it’s the US ruling class which has called the shots there since 1945, not the least concerning Japan’s nuclear reactors. Cultural squabbling among ourselves only strengthens the 1%’ers and corporadoes. I myself blog, and note that information on Depleted Uranium and it’s effects on human beings, with accompanying tragic photos of deformities, is finally proliferating. Even the Brits are now pointing fingers at the US for this horrible weapon. US education, in ever more nazi style has increasingly promo’d nationalistic hubris and it’s oft accompanying racism as patriotic “good civics, ” which includes making history dull, irrelevant and disinteresting, so that our students only know that “we won that war”, or that “we would have won, except….”, or that ” we will always win.” It is left up to them to discern that the only “winners” are the bankers, the arms dealers and other corporate interests, while the lumpen mindlessly cheer for “our side,” sports team style. Both in Germany and Japan the US government/military found reasons to save heinous criminals from the scaffold, as in the Japanese Harbin, Manchuria death lab director of whom ultra-right militaroid Abe is a proud descendent. When refusing to acknowlege his nation’s war crimes he cites the US version of the history of WW II as “only a victor’s version”, he is absolutely right. He ought to know, his antecedents were literally allowed to get away with large scale murder, as was Hirohito. Which country “did worse” is politically childish.

  2. This is one of the iconic photographs of World War II. The Japanese leaders in charge of the Rape of Nanking went onto political office years later for their “service”. No apologies. 28% of POW’s in Japanese hands died in captivity, compared to 4-7% in German hands. Do not, anyone, attempt to tell me that America did worse. I had no relatives in POW camps during World War II, but out of respect to Leonard and all those in Japanese captivity, I will never spend one dime as a tourist to Japan or buy a Japanese car until we get all these years later a meaningful apology.

  3. Mark–

    I just want to touch upon your comments about the war with Japan: You are wrong about the Japanese will to fight in 1945. Time and space will not permit me to elaborate long, but the Japanese still had 4 million troops bearing arms waiting to receive the US invasion. They had 5000 planes to use as Kamikaze; 2500 of which would be used against the fleet out at sea, and 2500 for the Higgins landing boats as our men came to shore. One of those men was my father, attached to the 5th Marine Division. My father’s brother was killed in the Pacific in 1942 fighting the Japanese. This is a subject I’ve studied for years.

    The bloodbath for both the United States and the Japanese would have been horrendous, and the Japanese agree with how horrible it would have been. it would have far surpassed the Normandy Invasion many, many, many times.

    War is horrible, but its abrupt end in the pacific in August of 1945 (papers signed in September, saved hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides.

    • When we dropped the atomic bomb, various political leaders in the United States insisted that it was unnecessary as the Japanese were breaking down and ready to surrender. That shithead Roosevelt wanted to show our power. As if the countless firebombs that wiped out the Japanese infrastructure wasn’t enough, we had to make one final show of our power – and it wasnt even for the Japanese. It was for everyone else. ‘Look who is the first to use this atrocious weapon. We aren’t afraid. We have power’
      Our nation has historically been operated by a bunch of warmongers. We have backed countless atrocities. If every nation were judged by the horrible shit they did in war, the United States would be right up there with old Nazi Germany, Russia, or Japan. War leads people to do horrible things. Its just unfortunate that out country is ALWAYS pushing for a new war

      • With all due respect, Jakers, you do not know your history. Japan had a massive force of millions of soldiers waiting for our invasion, and they had 5000 planes for combat; half of these were going to meet the US fleet out at sea (Kamikaze), and the other half would be doing a Kamikaze against the Higgins boats bringing our troops ashore. Remember Pvt. Ryan? Well. there it was machine guns and mortars going after the Higgins, and in Japan it was going to be the Jap planes as well as everything else. It would have made the Normandy Invasion look mild in comparison, and we were expecting as many as one million causalities before we defeated them. These are indisputable facts, not theory or hearsay. Facts. Do a little study on the subject and you can find out for yourself. Btpw: my father was due to land in this invasion in the first wave with the 5th Marine Division.

  4. Yes, the Japanese war of aggression was evil beyond language. That’s obvious.

    What’s less obvious is that the US Army hired some of the top Japanese war criminals who worked on biological warfare to help the US prepare for the so-called Cold War (unit 731, if I recall correctly). And there was also Operation Paperclip, the US program to hide and shelter thousands of Nazis criminals who were deemed useful for the US war machine.

    When you total up the number of corpses created by the US since 1945, or indirectly through death squads the US supported, the numbers rival the casualties from the Japanese invasion of China or the Nazi Holocaust.

    Three million in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos (with more killed every week due to left over cluster bombs).

    The worst war in the world today is eastern Congo, a conflict that got much worse after the US and Belgium toppled Patrice Lumumba. Four to five million is probably close to the number of bodies over the past decade.

    At least a quarter million in Central America in the 1970s and 1980s. Our tax dollars at work.

    Somewhere between a half million and a million in Indonesia in 1965. And another quarter million, perhaps, due to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which President Ford and Henry Kissinger gave the green light to.

    Operation Condor in South America – many thousands killed by dictatorships propped up by the US. Chile. Argentina. Brazil. Uruguay.

    Perhaps worst of all were the indirect murders inflicted by the nuclear weapons testing program, which poisoned countless millions around the world and will continue to irradiate people in the centuries to come.

    It’s also worth remembering that the Roosevelt White House had the decrypted Japanese communications that revealed the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor, intelligence that was kept away from the local Army and Navy commanders in Hawai’i. Pearl Harbor may have been preventable, but as much of a crime as that was, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the single biggest simultaneous slaughters in history, especially ugly given how Japan was in social collapse and already making diplomatic feelers about how to surrender. It’s a myth that the nuclear attacks were needed to end the war, instead, they were the first attacks of the Cold War, aimed at Stalin as much as Tojo.

  5. Well, When recalling all those Beastlike brutality & Evil Activities Of The Japanese Soldiers, it stil can Ignite an Anger…Great Anger , deep deep Inside . Which is a l Gift Of God to Human-being…..”Atleast I Dedicated my tears to all those innocent Folks killed by the Japanese Devils”..Hope we’ll meet them in Heaven…

    Paul C.Lalchungnunga
    Zarkawt Valley
    Aizawl 796007
    +91 9892928724

  6. Jason may be some type of puppet, but I assure you, Kevin and Fiz are real people and iconoclasts.

  7. @John —

    I can assure you that they didn’t. Both Kevin and Fiz have left many a comment on this site. Right or wrong, they’re neither of them sock puppets.

  8. No Dave, you couldn’t be more wrong and uninformed.

    First, there are occasional mistakes by any country. That’s a given. But a systematic and organized destruction of a people and countries, such as we saw with the Germans and the Japanese, is an entirely different thing.

    Learn history a bit better, Dave, before you speak.

  9. Hi there,

    Do you think its just other country’s army’s that Murder/Rape?
    USA has been meddling in Death Squads all over the world.

    Everyone is the same.. we are no better or worse than anybody else.



  10. So true, Fiz! And this is indicative of how the Japanese not only conducted the war, but how they treated anyone who wasn’t Japanese. I will refrain from judging them today, but during WW2, they were an exceedingly wicked and evil nation, and I truly think they received better than they deserved. After all, had we copied them in their treatment of innocent civilians once they conquered a country, I suppose it would have been okay to enslave their women for sex, beat and humiliate the population at will, and execute anyone and everyone who got in our way.

    They should thank God we were not like them, for I assure you, had we been so, they would have suffered a terrible fate at our hands.

  11. That’s so true, Kevin.
    They executed my brother-in-law’s father in Changi for the supreme crime of listening to the BBC. He never knew anything about it until one weekend we went to see them and there wasn’t much room, and somebody (I can’t remember who it was) banged the desk at a funny angle and a secret compartment opened up. There was a very tanned envelope. Mike opened it and read the following, ” They are coming for me now. Kiss the boy for me and always remember I love you”. My sister in law and I started crying. Mike had never known anything about the letter, or the compartment went a greenish white and started to tremble. We all started crying. It was a nasty surprise and a bitter reminder of Japanese indifference to human beings.

  12. Look at the asshole smiling in the background!

    Okay, let me take a moment to illuminate people who might not be informed or familiar about Japanese culture (military and otherwise): The Japanese started WW2, and we finished it. Wherever the Japanese flag was unfurled, a brutal subjugation of the population followed. Indeed, women from the conquered countries were taken from their families, and forced into sex work with Japanese soldiers. Here’s how it worked: A woman would be supplied to say, a platoon of soldiers. When that platoon wasn’t fighting and at rest, she wasn’t. She would have to perform sex whenever they wanted it, and it didn’t matter how much they wanted, she had no say in the matter.

    The Japanese felt it was justifiable to execute and otherwise brutalize prisoners of war, and as such, many died in their care.

    Now, this is the nation which cannot bring itself to apologize (really sincerely) for the many horrible things they did during the war THEY STARTED. And then they have the ultimate nerve to act like THEY ARE THE VICTIMS! What a bunch of BULL!

    These folks were every bit as evil as the Germans. But at least the Germans never miss an opportunity to say how sorry they are for their actions during the war. But not the Japanese! They like to say (concerning the bombers that dropped the A bombs) that from this direction “a great evil came”.. I like to say our bombers were delivering something well deserved “on a great evil nation”. That’s what I say.

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