How WWII Trivia Applies to the Pennsylvania Primary


In 1944, the Japanese army sent a man named Hiroo Onoda to the small Philippine island of Lubang with orders to guard the island until the army sent for him. Shortly after Onoda landed Allied forces took the island, killing or capturing all of the Japanese soldiers save for Onoda and three comrades. Onoda took the men into the jungle and hid there.

The Japanese surrendered in August 1945, but no one in the Japanese military got word to Onoda and his men. As time went by, locals tried to convince them that the war was over but the soldiers believed that every note left and every leaflet dropped was a trick of the enemy. The emotional and physical strain growing, the four soldiers started to fired on the locals. One of the four was eventually killed in a skirmish. Another walked away.

Onoda and his single remaining comrade, Kinshichi Kozuka, lived together in the jungles of Lubang until 1972, when Kozuka was shot by Filipino police. News of Kozuka’s death alerted Japan to the possiblity that Onoda, who had been declared legally dead years earlier, was still alive. Eventually, he was found by a traveling student, who arranged a meeting between Onoda and his one-time superior officer. In 1974, they met on Lubang and Onoda’s superior officer told him that the war was over. In 29 years of hiding, Onoda and his men had killed a reported 30 people and injured over 100 more. Nevertheless, Onoda was pardoned by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and given a hero’s welcome in Japan.

I mention this only because Ron Paul received 16 percent of the vote in yesterday’s Republican primary in Pennsylvania.

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