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Curtis Emmerson LeMay, who for the better part of 25 years dominated the greatest fighting force the world had ever known, had three nicknames Old Iron, Pants, The Demon and Bombs Away Lamé. He was not that category of leader who led by force of wit, charm and charisma. Nor was he some great thinker, the kind of leader whose appeal lies with carefully thought out manifestos and elaborate ideologies that may never took a cigar out of his mouth long enough to say anything.

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He belonged to a different category, the one that gets overlooked. Kurdish lamé.

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In my view, he was the greatest air commander in history.

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I'm talking to the military historian Conrad Crane. No historian writes about the Second World War without considering the legacy of lamé. Everything he touched.

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He transformed. He he was a dynamic leader. He shared the difficulties of his of his airmen. He was that he was the best navigator the Air Force had. It was a great pilot. You could do mechanic stuff. He was the Air Force's ultimate problem solver. But it was one of those guys that you would if you gave him a problem to fix. You didn't ask a whole lot of questions. I was going to do it.

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Bombs away. LeMay was known as someone to get the job done.

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My name is Malcolm Gladwell. You're listening to Revisionist History, my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood. This is part three of my four part series about Curtis LeMay and the events of March 1945. This episode is about the role of people like Curtis May in times of crisis, in the normal course of events. We are led by people of ideas and people of charisma. But when things start to go badly, those people get pushed aside. And the problem solver takes center stage.

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Only the problem solver doesn't play by the same rules. Let me give you an example of what it means to approach the world the way someone like Curtis Sliwa made it. It's not one of the signature stories in the Lamay legend. It happened long before he was famous. Years before the Second World War. He would mention it sometimes in passing in some of the interviews he gave in retirement. But it's one of those stories that made me stop and say, oh, I think I understand him now.

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In 1937, with the threat of war in Europe growing, the Army's Air Corps wanted a chance to practice their bombing technique. Real world practice only with dummy bombs, 50 pounders filled with water. Let me tell you the story of what I imagine that the Air Force has been battling a major contribution Fansler country ever since I've done around. Nobody paid much attention.

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This is an interview LeMay gave to the Air Force Academy in 1971.

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A few years after leaving his post as chief of staff of the Air Force when he was taking the post retirement victory lap that famous generals take away water and exercise where we could drop bombs on a battleship and a battleship for the practice run to work, the Air Corps needed the Navy to play along, hide a battleship out on the seas, give out its coordinates at the last minute and dare the bombers to find it.

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This was before sophisticated radar and navigation aids to find a battleship. You had to see it with your eyes, then hit its narrow decks with a bomb from thousands of feet up, all the while flying at hundreds of miles an hour.

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The Navy was not enthusiastic.

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Finally, they agreed that they would have an exercise and it would be in August. Off the West Coast and August off the West Coast is nothing but fog four thousand miles out there and they deliberately picked it. This time, I'm sure. How could you spot a battleship in a thousand miles of fog? To make matters worse, the Navy bent the rules. The agreement was to have the war game run for 24 hours from noon, the first day until noon the next.

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But the Navy didn't give out the coordinates of its ship, the USS Utah, until late the first afternoon. And the coordinates they gave were wrong. Off by 60 miles. A thousand miles of fog, late directions, fake directions, a needle in a haystack would have been easier. Ten minutes before noon, at the very last moment, they found the ship and dropped his bombs. Now, of course, he found a ship. There was nothing that they could not do.

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If he put his mind to it. That's not the point of the story. The point is what happened before he dropped his bombs. The Navy was certain they couldn't be found. So they took no precautions. The sailors were all over the decks going about their business. They were supposed to take cover in a bombing exercise. They didn't. So what did lamé do? He bombed to Utah anyway, raining 50 pound water bombs down on the sailors.

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And the Navy were so sure they weren't all to be found. I don't know at all. But the men were all over the decks. Everybody diving for the guy in black patches. We heard rumors that there were a few people, Bertil. Imagine how other types of leaders might have handled the decision to bomb after seeing sailors out on the deck. The Thinker would have understood the moral dimensions of willingly harming one of your own in the course of a routine training exercise.

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The charismatic leader would have wondered, what will my own men think of me if they see that I am capable of such a casual act of brutality? But the problem solver, the problem was to find the Utah and bomb it. And so he bombs it. I'd rather have somebody who is real strong, but then something. And David was wrong. He did something. Now somebody who advanced late do nothing. You cannot do nothing in the world view of the problem solver, even if what you end up doing is horrifying.

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In his memoirs, the May says there were rumors for years that some sailors got killed in a bombing exercise of 1937 and then he says, quote, I remember watching the first bomb which smashed into the deck. It sent splintered pieces of wood flying in every direction. I hadn't realized that wood could frag like that. It was a learning opportunity. Who knew would reacted that way? He files that fact away and goes on to the next problem. In the first years of the Second World War, the American fight against the Japanese was defined by a single fact.

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Japan was beyond the reach of the U.S. Air Force. The American workhorse bomber was to be 17. It had a range of roughly 2000 miles. That's a thousand miles out and a thousand miles back. Now look at a map of the world from, say, January of 1944 and try and find an airbase controlled by the allies that is within a thousand miles of Tokyo. You can't and if you can't reach Japan, how on earth are you going to defeat them?

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The solution comes in two parts. This is where it began here in the exact geographic center of the United States. Grand Island, Nebraska. That voice sounds familiar, doesn't it? It's one of Bragan long before he became president, Reagan narrated newsreels during the Second World War.

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Men were brought here from every corner of the country. And a few corners outside the. They were a hand-picked American mixture of draftees and West Pointers butchers, teachers and bankers of your sons, husbands. And farmers in the newsreel. We see soldiers arriving in barracks and some crisp uniforms all gazing up at a magnificent, gleaming airplane.

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She was a B twenty nine. The Supersport designed to carry more destruction and carry it higher, faster, farther than any bomber ever built before. And to complete this mission. That's exactly what she was going to have to do.

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She the B twenty nine was one of the great achievements of the American war effort, an enormous bomber dedicated entirely to the fight against the Japanese in the war. A specific theater, the B twenty nines range fifty six hundred miles. Much better than its predecessor. So then came the second step in the summer of 1944. In some of the most brutal fighting of the war, the Marines captured three tiny specks in the middle of the western Pacific, the Mariana Islands, Guam, Saipan and Tinian.

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Why were they captured? Because the Marianna's were thirteen hundred and forty two miles from Tokyo, straight shot across the ocean. Put the B 29 together with the Marianna's, and overnight the odds of beating Japan shifted.

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June in 1944 as a arguably the most important month of the war, you have D-Day and where we go ashore in northwest Europe, you have the invasion of Marianna's in the Pacific. The the final break breaking of the internal defense line of the Japanese, the fall of the Tokyo government. Because of that. So it it all that stuff happens in that same month.

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Throughout the summer and fall of 1944, the Navy built massive bases on each of the captured islands of the Marianas, the biggest base contained the largest airport in the world. That was on Tinian, six runways, the equivalent of three Boulder dams worth of concrete. And when they were finished, the military began flying in brand new B. Twenty nine bombers. Hundreds of them.

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Their final base was no longer a mystery. 4000 miles farther west, with only one refueling stop on the way to the island of Saipan. Less than four months before, it had still been in the hands of the Japanese to head up the newly created B twenty nine strike force known as the 21st Bomber Command.

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The military brass brought in a high priest of the bomber mafia, a brilliant young general named Haywood Hansell. Heywood Hansell came from an aristocratic Southern military family. His great grandfather was a general in the Confederate Army. His grandfather, a Confederate officer, PENCIL's father, had been an Army surgeon who came to dinner in a white linen suit and a Panama hat. Hansell himself was a skilled dancer, a poet and an aficionados of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. His favorite book was Don Quixote.

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He felt a connection with a knight tilting at windmills. He put flying first, Polow second and family a distant third. Once the story goes early in his marriage, he heard a baby cry and turned to his wife.

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What's that sound? That's your son. She said he liked to carry a swagger stick like the English army officers did.

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As a child, he was nicknamed Possum because of the narrowness of his face. The name stuck. On his final mission as a pilot, a bombing run over Belgium, Hensel entertained his exhausted crew with a rendition of the popular musical song. The Man on the Flying Trapeze.

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This is the most famous version. Eddie Canter's.

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He followed the air with the greatest to be daring young man on the flying trappy. His action, graceful style. And my love was stolen.

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Of all the bombing fundamentalists to come out of the Air Corps Tactical School, Haywood Hansell was the truest believer. The idealist airpower intelligently and surgically deployed, could bring any enemy to its knees. Well. The first operation against Japan was called San Antonio one. It was coordinated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff strategy, which made the timing extremely important. As a matter of fact, we were gone. We were some danger of stand or fall on this operation.

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When Possum Hansell takes over in the Marianna's in 1944, he says to himself. What is the critical vulnerability of the Japanese war economy? What can my new be twenty nines attack? The answer to him is obvious. The Japanese aircraft manufacturing plants, which are almost entirely concentrated in a few factories in and around Tokyo, in particular the Nakajima aircraft company known as Subaru. Today, Nakajima made at least a third of all Japanese combat aircraft engines, Hensel said.

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Let's hit Nakajima and we'll cripple the Japanese fighting force.

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The newsreel Ronald Reagan narrated is all about that first attack by Hansel and Nakajima.

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Six hours later, through the clouds, they cite Fujiyama. Here comes a modern symbol's phosphorus bombs and FLAC. The beach 20 miles traveled fifteen hundred miles from the Marianna's, skimming over the ocean at several thousand feet as they approach Japan. They climbed to 25 or 30000 feet out of harm's way. They turned it Mount Fuji then came in from the west over Tokyo. Here, speaking over aerial shots of the city, Reagan lays it on thick within a radius of 15 miles of the Imperial Palace.

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Seven million Japanese people. We used to think of a small, dainty, polite concerning themselves only with floral arrangements and rock gardens and the cultivation of silkworms. But it isn't silkworms and it isn't imperial palaces. These men are looking for in the suburbs of Tokyo. Is the huge Nakajima aircraft plant. Well, Bud, what are you waiting for?

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Like I said, he laid it on thick. That first mission, San Antonio one, was hugely symbolic proof that Japan could finally be reached. But was it a success as a military operation? After the war, speaking to cadets at the Air Force Academy, Hansell tried to put a good face on things.

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The operation was a delight to have like, but a visual effort. It didn't show it could be done. And this was a very, very doubtful issue at the time. The operation wasn't as good as we would have liked, was to say the least. An understatement. None of the bombs dropped by Hensleigh be 20 lines actually hit the Nakajima plant. So Hansell tried again three days later. Same thing. Hansell sent mission after mission and one of his last attempts.

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He went back with 70 to be 20 nights. They missed the plant and hit a hospital. Heywood Hansell couldn't solve the problem because the problem was much bigger than anyone at the time. Understood.

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[00:19:54]

Long after the war, one of Haywood Hanslick B 29 pilots, Lieutenant Ed Hyatt, was interviewed for a documentary by the BBC.

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After flying six hours, we climbed up to bombing altitude. We climbed up to thirty seven thousand feet just as we broke out of the storm. There's Mount Fuji sitting right in front of us, and it's a gorgeous sight. It really is. Hiatt tried to describe what went wrong on those first be twenty nine precision attacks on Tokyo. His bombardier, a man named Glenn, starts to make his calculations on their bomb site lining up the Nakajima factory. But the telescope on the bomb site wouldn't line up.

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The turnaround, they said, is that I can't get this damn telescope on the target. And so we called a radar operator, check our ground speed and see what our ground speed is. He came back. He said, we got one hundred and twenty five not tail. He said, we're going about 480 miles an hour. It's impossible. It can't be. There's no winds like that. No Air Force pilots had ever experienced what was now happening to the B twenty nine bombers over Japan.

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They expected winds.

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A fraction of these speeds were going 480 miles an hour when we should be going. Three hundred and forty miles an hour. I said, well, Glenn dropped the damn bombs. He dropped the bombs. And we were already 12 miles past the target because of that wind when. They were bewildered and back at base. They couldn't explain what happened to their superiors. They debriefed us, they gave us the third degree. They said, no, there is no such thing.

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There can't be a win like that. You're lying. You didn't make it over the target. You're just making this up.

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But one crew after another arrived back at the Marianna's and told the exact same story to tell you how powerful these winds were.

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A reconnaissance plane went up on time to take some pictures after a mission to see how effective it band and the navigator. Call the pilot and told him they were going three miles an hour backwards. That was something you couldn't afford to do because if you went from east to west, you were going to be a sitting duck for Japanese fighters.

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Are there flak to solve that puzzle? Hensel turned to his team of meteorologists. They'd all been trained at the University of Chicago back then. In the days before sophisticated radar, meteorologists were crucial to the success of bombing campaigns. If you were doing a daylight bombing run over a city, you had to see the target in order to line up the bomb site. And if the skies were too cloudy, that was impossible. So going or not going on, a mission hinged on the weather forecast.

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But the tools available to meteorologists of that era were crude. The easiest thing to forget about the Second World War is that it was another technological era. It's half 20th century and half 19th century. The chief tool of the meteorologist's of that time were balloons, weather balloons that would float up into the atmosphere carrying little instrument kits that could record the wind, the temperature and the humidity and transmit that information back to Earth.

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I asked John Lewis about those days. He's a scientist at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada. He knew a number of the meteorologists who work with the Air Force during the war.

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These balloons, they can forgive me as a very naive question. Are they connected by a rope or are they just free floating?

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Oh, no, they're released. They'll eventually as that pressure gets lower, as the balloon goes higher in the atmosphere, they expand, expand, expand, kaboom. They explode and they fall to the ground with the instrument attached. And at that time, they had a message on all the instrument packages. Could you please return this to the University of Chicago in the Pacific field of war?

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That technique wasn't gonna work. So there they were, the meteorologists in the middle of the Pacific with one of the most important jobs in the whole outfit, figuring out when to send the bombers. And they're baffled. What's with these winds? On a theoretical level, do they have a suspicion that there may be very, very high winds at high altitudes at the Air Force, or is it that they don't reach that conclusion until the pilots come back with their.

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They did not reach the conclusions until the pilots came back.

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What slowly became clear is that the pilots had stumbled on a previously unknown phenomenon in the upper atmosphere.

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What came to be known as the jet stream, a river of fast flowing air that circles the globe starting at around 20000 feet. Some scientists had theorized about the jet stream, but until the B twenty nine was built, almost no one had ever flown at altitudes high enough to experience those winds firsthand.

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This fast stream of air, very narrow moves from north to south in both hemispheres, basically is dividing the very cold air of the polar regions from the more warm middle latitude and equatorial air.

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Yeah, when you say very narrow, how narrow? I would say typically 200 kilometers across something on that order. So that's the narrowness of it.

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And does it entirely in circle earth. It does.

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So what is the problem facing the pilots gathered on the Marianna's that in the winter of 1944 and the early spring of 1945, forty, this narrow hurricane force band of air known as the jet stream happens to be directly over Japan.

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And that makes it impossible for Hansell to do any of the precision bombing that he had planned to do. If they fly across it, the plane will get blown sideways. If they fly into it, they'll be fighting to stay aloft and be easy targets for the Japanese. And if they fly with it, they'll be racing too fast to take proper aim. In the service of a conviction that bombing could bring Japan to its knees. Thousands of Marines had been killed in a fight to capture the Marianna's.

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The construction of the three island air bases had been one of the most intensive engineering feats of the war. The B twenty nine was a three billion dollar project. That's 43 billion in today's money. All of that investment in the air war against the Japanese by December of 1944 had come up empty. Hansel and all the other brass in the Marianna's were bewildered. When a true believer discovers that his God cannot save him, what's left? Nothing. Hey, would.

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Hansell was finished in January of 1945. Hensel was relieved of his post as head of the 21st bomber command. In his place was put the man you bring in when all else has failed. Curtis LeMay. Even decades later, Possum Hanser would bristle when asked about the circumstances of his departure. And the person who replaced him in the Pacific, he had talked to me at the airport tactical school and was his commanding officer in Europe. Here's Hansell again at the Air Force Academy in 1967.

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He's just been asked to name who he felt were the finest officers of his generation among the people who fly.

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You and my little her career. I would say the three outstanding ones. General Marshall Landers and Joan Fragile. And they were they were striving for pretty much the same reason. They were one of great character. They were obviously intelligent. Okay. Well, I have enormous personal integrity and character. General May was one of your group commanders. I noticed you didn't get an interest last group.

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Well, exactly. LeMay was not a patrician with a swagger stick. He did not read 70s and sing musical theater to his crew at the end of long missions. He had no time for demonstrations of personal integrity and character. He had a problem to solve.

[00:28:45]

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[00:29:41]

Listen to on the media. Wherever you get your podcasts. When he takes over the 21st bomber command, when he first arrives in a Marianna's, he does not have his eventual strategy worked out.

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His mind is still open. Yes, sir. Yes, that is correct.

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I'm talking again with the military historian Conrad Crane about Curtis the May after he takes over command from General Heyward Hansell in January of 1945.

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I'm really curious to sort of reconstruct his thought process, how he all the reasons why he arrives at that strategy finally arrives at. So he begins by. Does he begin by doing exactly what Hansell had done?

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Well, he he walks in and he looks around and sees the primitive nature of this facility that said this won't do.

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The mayor is not happy with the military's infrastructure on the Marianna's. It was all built by the Navy's construction battalion, the Seabees. LeMay has lost none of his disdain for the Navy. The people who cheated in the bombing exercise years before. He gets invited to to have dinner with Admiral Nimitz, who also is headquartered in Marianna's, and he goes over to a neighbor's place and he's in his ornate, almost a palace, and he gets fed on the very formal naval style dinner with the table class and being served and everything.

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So he invites the Admiral Nimitz to visit him for dinner in the next couple days.

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And Admiral Nimitz shows up for his dinner and they're sitting in a Quonset hut on a couple of crates, eating sea rations and it and at the end of the end of the meal, Nimitz looks at Lamay and says, I get your point.

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And and then he started sending more construction material, Selimi, to help finish up the rest of the facilities.

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By the early spring of 1945, LeMay was ready. He starts out by trying his own version of the strategy taken by his predecessor. He decides to take out the Nakajima aircraft plant in Tokyo.

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His perception is, is that he's still expected to do high altitude precision bombing. So he's going to do everything he can to make sure I have to. Precision bombing is going to be more effective.

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The Masons, two missions against Nakajima in January, one in February, another in early March. Hundreds of B twenty nine making the long trek to Japan and in the end, the plant is still standing.

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He's run up against the same obstacle as Hansell did. How can I force a Japanese surrender from the air if I can't hit anything?

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When he realizes he's fixed all those problems, there's nothing else he can tweak. Now he says Wellcamp gotta try something different. LeMay's first realization is that the jet stream is a powerful force. It can't be wished away. And it's making everything else impossible. The first principle of precision bombing doctrine is that the bombers should come in high, well above the range of enemy fire and antiaircraft guns. May throws it out the window. He decides to be twenty nines.

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We'll have to fly at lower altitudes under the jet stream.

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And once he realizes his, you're going to have to go to lower altitude. Then that leads to a whole set of other conclusions from that. Next logical step. Precision bombing was supposed to be daylight bombing. You needed to see the target before you could line up the bomb site. But if LeMay's bombers came in low during the day, they would be sitting ducks for the Japanese air defenses. So he decides they have to come under cover of night.

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Once you realize you can't go to a high altitude anymore, it drives kind of the rest of us decision process.

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Jetstream means low, low means night. And the decision to switch to night raids means you can't do precision bombing anymore because there's no way with the technology of the time that a bombing crew would be able to focus on any precise target. If they couldn't see it. So just like that. Curtis, the man does an about face. The man who came of age in a high church precision bombing decides at the most crucial juncture of his career to abandon his faith, to bomb indiscriminantly, to become an area bomber.

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And what weapon would he use for that task? He knew as well as anyone the reports from the Army testing grounds back in America were perfect. Replicas of Japanese towns had been incinerated by Harvard's New Wonder Weapon.

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The whole plan is so radical that when the maze sends a copy of it to Washington for the approval of his boss, General Hap Arnold, he makes sure it arrives on a day when Arnold isn't in his office so he can get that initial rate off before Arnold Roy has a chance to look at it very much because he realizes he's taken a risk by 20 lines are very valuable.

[00:34:47]

It's very risky. You're talking about going in at night, low altitude. He leaves most of the ammunition and gunners behind.

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Crucial fact. The only thing Lamay lets his pilots have to defend themselves is a tailgunner gunner. All other guns are removed. He wants to save as much weight as possible for bombs.

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In the Airforce Archives, it is possible to find interviews from long ago with pilots who remember the day when LeMay told them what was going to happen that night. And they were just a gash in the audience. You never thought about doing Aleisha high altitude flying. This is a B twenty nine navigator named David Braiden.

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And you went out and the bottom of your aircraft had been painted black. She'll show you to the you go and read a different thing. Most of the guys showed it was a suicide mission.

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And did Braden's commander, Curtis LeMay. No, this is gonna work. Of course he didn't. But remember his words, the credo of the man who gets things done. I'd rather have someone who was real stupid but did something then have someone who would vacillate and do nothing. Curtis LeMay was going to do something. He was going to area Bob Tokyo under cover of Night with Napalm. I woke up one day and I'd been up there for about two months.

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I hadn't done anything yet. I better go shopping.

[00:36:21]

I wonder if this is why Lamay fascinated so many people in his day because of his ability to make that sudden turn to turn his back on who he was in the service of solving the problem. Curtis LeMay was a member of the bombing mafia, a graduate of the Air Corps Tactical School, a proponent of precision bombing progress unhindered by custom. Later in his career, he would champion something called the B 70 bomber, an airplane so absurdly complicated, so ridiculously advanced, so preposterous, the expensive and so deliciously and fantastically tricked out that the Air Force only built two prototypes, one of which crashed.

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The other has spent his entire life in a museum.

[00:37:09]

LeMay was in his heart, always the little boy who ran after airplanes in the sky. And yet when he needed to, he could take all that, his entire identity. The modern progressive, skilled watchmaker, and throw it out the window.

[00:37:27]

Jeremy, where did the idea for the low level fire attacks originate?

[00:37:35]

We had ideas flying back and forth. Water was my basic decision, but nobody said anything about my Sundari by my Riada. As a result, I had to produce them. I didn't produce a major long gas. Get another commander out there. That's what happened to. Got no results at all. That's the reason for. On the night of March 9th, 1945, Curtis the Mae launched Operation Meetinghouse. He sent 334 B twenty nines from the Marianna's to Tokyo, loaded with as much napalm as they could carry.

[00:38:18]

The target was not the Nakajima aircraft plant. That plan was over. The new target was a densely populated region of Tokyo straddling the Sumita River a few miles east of the Imperial Palace Zone one. The first few bombers dropped flares marking the target area for those that followed. LeMay was sending in his bombers at 5000 feet. Incredibly low. That was so crazy that the Japanese were completely unprepared. The bombs fell from the B, 20 nines in clusters.

[00:38:57]

They were small steel pipes, 20 inches long, weighing six pounds packed with TNT and napalm. Little baby bombs, each with a long silver gauze streamer at one end so that if you looked in the sky that night in Tokyo, there would have been a moment of extraordinary beauty.

[00:39:15]

Thousands of these little silver daggers falling down to earth and then boom. On impact, thousands of small explosions burning, globs of napalm thrown in every direction. All told, by morning, one thousand six hundred and sixty five tons of napalm dropped on Tokyo in one night. Circling high above Tokyo is the master bomber, the maze. Deputy Tommy Power choreographing the attack. Conrad Crane says that Powers sat in his cockpit drawing pictures of everything he saw.

[00:39:58]

He remarked, You know, the air is so full of incendiaries, you could not have walked through them by 237. The largest visible fire is about was about 40 blocks long and 15 wide. The smoke was up to twenty five thousand feet. When he draws his last sketch, which is about an hour after the initial his first one, there's basically a score of separate areas from 50 to 1000 city blocks, boring at the same time. And his last part of last report says that the glow from the fires is visible 150 miles away.

[00:40:34]

The napalm creates a firestorm, a conflagration hundreds of blocks long. A fire of such intensity and duration that it creates and sustains its own wind system. Everything burns 16 square miles. Buildings burst into flame before the fire even reaches them. After the war, the US strategic bombing survey concluded the following probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a six hour period than any time in the history of man. More than 100000 people died that night.

[00:41:16]

Frankly, those cities were on fire. It looked like you're looking into the mouth of hell. I mean, you cannot not imagine a fire that big. Over the course of the spring and summer of 1945, Lamay went on to firebomb another sixty six Japanese cities in the chaos of war. The dead were never counted. The final toll may be as high as half a million. They're about 5000 feet. They are pretty low.

[00:41:43]

They're low enough that the smell of burning flesh permeates the aircraft. They actually have to fumigate the aircraft when they land back in the Marianna's because the smell of burning flesh remains within the aircraft.

[00:41:58]

Two cities were spared Nagasaki and Hiroshima. They were left for another day and another Air Force command with a different idea of how to win a war. On August 15th, 1945, 12 noon, the emperor of Japan surrendered.

[00:42:27]

The Air Force was asked to bring Japan to its knees from the air so that a ground invasion could be avoided. They succeeded. Next week, the reckoning. When you burn alive hundreds of thousands of civilians in the course of a military objective.

[00:42:47]

What happens next? Revisionist history is produced by Miller Bell and Leming is to with Jacob Smith, Ellery's Linton. And on a nine hour editor is Julia Barton, original scoring by Louis Scarer. Mastering by Flon Williams. Fact checking by Beth Johnson. Special thanks to the Pushkin crew. Had a Fain. Carly Migliore, Maya Kane caning Maggie Taylor, Jason Gambril and of course, Jacob Weisberg. I'm Malcolm Black.