This is the 23rd anniversary of Tiananmen Square whichcontinues to be denied by the government. In Taiwan and Hong Kong people openly engaged in commemorations away from the Chinese Communist government. On a more absurd level, the mainland government blocked all attempts to search the Shanghai stock exchange today as the numbers changed from 64 to 89 perhaps fearing people would find a way to register protest. I have written about this in the past and would once again urge those interested to read Jan Wong’s Red China Blues for what I see as the definitive account of the events up to the massacre.
This is also the 70th anniveraryof the Battle of Midway that raged June 4 to 7. Six months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese tried to take this atoll of strategic significance. The Japanese army and navy outmatched the Americans in every way but one: US cryptographers had broken Japanese codes and had foreknowledge of Japanese actions. The result was unexpected success for the Americans who suffered 1/10 the casualties of the Japanese and retained control of Midway Island. As a result of this battle, the seemingly inexorable expansion of the Japanese was halted and the tide was turned. From this point forward, the US engaged in its strategy of island-hopping – grim, bloody but successful in retaking Pacific islands from the Japanese. It was a long march to Okinawa but one of continuous success for the US. The epoymous film is long but a good rendition of how things transpired on that day.
I have been trying to determine if there is any way to link these two events and at the moment I cannot. One is a tragedy still denied by the government and full of misjudgements and miscalculations on the part of opposition protestors. The other is a military victory grounded in the newly-developing field of computer intelligence. But they are both worth remembering and teaching.