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Editorial Note on the War Department’s Handling of the Doolittle Raid
Controversy over the War Department’s handling of information regarding the April 1942 raid on Japan by James H. Doolittle and his flyers had surfaced during October 1942. (See Marshall to Cutchins, October 29, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-386 [3: 416].) On April 20, 1943, the War Department issued a statement giving details of the raid; one aircraft and its crew had been interned in the Soviet Union, and the other aircraft had been wrecked in “forced or crash landings in China—some in Japanese occupied territory—or in water off the Chinese coast.” Of the eighty participants, the War Department reported that five individuals were interned in the Soviet Union, two were missing, one was known dead, and eight were prisoners of the Japanese. (New York Times, April 21, 1943, pp. 1, 4.) “With a feeling of deepest horror,” President Roosevelt announced on April 21 that the Japanese government had executed some, the exact number not known, of the American prisoners on the grounds that they had intentionally bombed nonmilitary targets and had deliberately fired on civilians. (Ibid., April 22, 1943, p. 1.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 657.