Many Purple Hearts issued even today were manufactured in 1945, because the DOD expected so many casualties from the invasion of Japan.
As late as 1985, the Defense Logistics Agency still had about 120,000 refurbished Purple Heart sets dating back to World War II, said DLA spokeswoman Mimi Schirmacher.

“There could be a small number of WWII-era medal sets still in the hands of military service customers and it is possible that recent and current issues of medals were made from stock produced in previous time periods,” Schirmacher said in an e-mail.

The DLA has ordered about 34,000 Purple Hearts since 1976, of which 21,000 were ordered in 2008, she said.

But Giangreco, who wrote a book about the planned invasion of Japan, maintains that the bulk of Purple Hearts in stock date back to World War II. His research found that most of the refurbished Purple Hearts were sent to military depots, units and hospitals between 1985 and 1999.


Eric Blair said...

They were planning for a million casualties.

Grim said...

I've always heard that, but it's amazing to see that expectation has physical consequences that are still with us today.

raven said...

Both my father and FIL were training for the invasion of Japan in the Philippines when the bomb was dropped. They were both in combat infantry positions, , my father a draftee with three kids, and my FIL fresh from the War in Europe. Very good chance the bomb saved their lives and resulted in the lives of my wife and myself.
So every time some commie jerk goes off on the "war crime" of dropping the bomb, it raises my hackles something fierce. It's all so wonderfully abstract and humanitarian to them. It was not abstract, not in the least , to our families.

Lars Walker said...

I may have told this story here before. But a few years back I was with three old friends at the funeral of one of their fathers. In conversation we discovered that all four of us were born to men who had been headed for the invasion, and so might not have survived except for the bomb.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that revisionist historians can only get support for their "fresh" outlook after a few decades have obscured some memories.

I lived in Germany in the '70s, when the German population was still missing its adult men. It was a huge subtext to everything around us. The sheer cost of an extra year's war after the German high command knew it was defeated was staggering, for us and for the Germans, too.

By that time, our leaders knew that the Japanese planned to do the same thing as the Germans, and they decided to put a stop to it. I refuse to second-guess a decision like that.


douglas said...

If I could afford it, I'd pay for an exhibit at the National WWII Museum of a collection of a million purple heart medals. That would sure make for a visceral experience of what the bombs spared both us and the Japanese. Keep in mind too that we were a country of about 140 million at the time. Today it would be like expecting a battle with casualties around 2.4 million.