Making Sense of Suicide Missions

By Diego Gambetta | Go to book overview

NOTES

Chapter 1
I would like to thank my fellow contributors, especially Diego Gambetta, for their enormously useful feedback. I have learned a great deal from all of them. I would also like to thank the British Academy for inancially supporting this research.
1. Ramming of B-29 bombers did later become oicial policy.
2. Special attack, tokubetsu kogeki, or in its abbreviated form tokko, was the standard military euphemism for missions in which the death of the protagonist was a prerequisite for the mission's success.
3. These correspond closely to the figures in the General Dictionary of the Army and Navy (Rikukaigun no sogo Jiten) and Asahi Chronicle (Shirai 2002: 22).
4. It should be noted that not all of these irebrands were able to make good on this commitment. On 26 February 1936, twenty-one extreme young officers took over central Tokyo, killing several leading politicians in the process, stating they would kill themselves if only their demands were met. Eventually, after the emperor had publicly dissociated himself from their aims, they surrendered (two of the twentyone killed themselves). When the remaining mutineers were invited to kill themselves, they accepted this ofer and were left with their weapons. They changed their minds, arguing that their cause would be better served by a public trial which would give a platform for their views (Pinguet 1993: 216–19).
5. Available in Japanese at http://archive.hp.infoseek.co.jp/senjinkun.html.
6. The prestige and exclusivity of this establishment was enormous. Yokota, for example, having passed the academic entrance exams, was failed because he had lost three teeth due to a sports-related injury. The families of applicants were also subjected to vetting by the secret police for signs of insanity or unsound political views. Training included a lengthy annual swim in open sea, in which it was expected that a couple of students would drown each year.
7. In fact, burning fuel frequently caused more damage than the impact itself.
8. Front-line pilot Yasunaga is particularly scornful of such records. 'The war memoirs of the staff officers are all the same… [pilots selected as Kamikaze] delightedly saying “Ah! I'm going too!” It wasn't like that … in various respects those brass hats don't disclose inconvenient facts in their memoirs' (interview, June 2003).
9. A similar obsession with being irst can also be seen in Kanno, who, according to Inoguchi's account, would have taken Seki's place as the first leader of an official Kamikaze sortie had he not been in Japan picking up new planes. He complained to his superiors on returning to the Philippines (Inoguchi et al. 1961: 41).

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Making Sense of Suicide Missions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents xi
  • List of Tables xii
  • List of Figures xiii
  • List of Contributors xiv
  • 1: Kamikaze, 1943–5 1
  • Appendix Poems and Songs 33
  • Last Testimonies 35
  • Names of Special Attack Units 40
  • Non-Japanese Suicide Missions of the Second World War 42
  • 2: Tamil Tigers, 1987–2002 43
  • 3: Palestinians, 1981–2003 77
  • Appendix: Data Quality and Sources 117
  • 4: Al-Qaeda, September 11, 2001 131
  • 5: Dying without Killing 173
  • 6: Killing without Dying 209
  • 7: Motivations and Beliefs in Suicide Missions 233
  • 8: Can We Make Sense of Suicide Missions? 259
  • Notes 301
  • References 337
  • Index 357
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