Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Balloon Bombs

Look at my title.

Balloon.

Bomb.

Separated each word means something very different and the concepts they represent are on opposite ends of the desirable and undesirable spectrum depending on the situation.

Of course, when you place the words together the concept they represent (water balloons) can also reside on opposite ends of the desirable and undesirable spectrum. Having a balloon bomb fall on you when you least expect it is not a desirable situation. Watching a water ballon drench someone you are upset with can be a great thing. Playing with water balloons on a hot summer day is a very desirable situation for many, however, believe me when I state being appointed as the adult who gets the honor of filling 200 water balloons for a field day event is not a desirable situation

Today’s 13 list doesn’t deal with just bombs, or just balloons, or even balloon bombs filled with water. The balloon bombs that are my subject today were meant to be weapons of war.

1. Balloon bombs were also known as fire bombs and were weapons used by the Japanese during World War II.

2. The balloons were filled with hydrogen and launched from the east coast of the Japanese island of Honshu. Some records indicate over 9,000 balloons were launched.

3. It was hoped that air currents would carry the balloon bombs across the Pacific to North America.

4. The Japanese were not the only country to use balloon bombs. The British used them against Germany for a time.

5. The bombs were found all over the western United States including Arizona, Idaho, and Iowa. Some even found their way to Mexico.

6. A balloon bomb was located as late as 1955 and it was still combustible. In 1992, a balloon was located, but it was no longer able to explode.

7. America had no prior warning that balloon bombs had been launched against them. Citizens did begin to notice the balloons and explosions were heard from California to Alaska.

8. Eventually more and more evidence mounted that proved something was going on. People witnessed something strange sailing to the ground in Wyoming. When it exploded shrapnel was left behind.

9. Scraps of “Washi” paper (made from mulberry bushes) were found in Los Angeles and in other places. The paper was used to construct the balloons.

10. The U.S. Navy found a balloon floating in the ocean. Later, an Army fighter plane managed to push a balloon towards the ground where it landed intact. Finally, officials could examine what had been launched against us more closely.

11. The American public finally learned about the balloons. The Newsweek issue dated January 1, 1945 contained an article regarding the balloons which the Office of Censorship asked to be removed from public view. The government’s strategy was if there was no information in the press the Japanese would have no information regarding how successful their balloon launch had been.

12. Authorities were really concerned, however, and feared that more balloons might eventually reach American soil. There was some thought that the Japanese had been working on a biological weapon and officials were afraid the balloon bombs might be a first step towards a biological launch.

13. The event which resulted in the balloon bombs being launched against the United States was the Jimmy Doolittle raid against Tokyo. Doolittle’s raid, of course, was in reaction to Pearl Harbor.

Sadly, a balloon bomb did kill four people. You can find the story here.

A great informational article can be found here.

You can participate in Thursday Thirteen and read other 13 lists here.

20 comments:

Journeywoman said...

Great list.

I didn't now about any of this. Thanks for being such a great T-shirt.

yh said...

Very informative! Thanks for sharing!

Nicholas said...

I didn't know any of that. Thank you.

bernie said...

Full of hot air, yet filling and interesting. Good list, I linked to you from mine: 13 Things Egyptian your grandchildren will never see

Robin said...

I always learn so much from your lists. *wondering why my own teachers never covered half of this stuff*

Sandy Carlson said...

Your blog always offers worthwhile information. Thanks for this post. Very interesting and frightening. Troublesome, too, that the lingo of kids' toys becomes military lingo, too.

Julia said...

Extremly interesting TT! Very informative, I didn't know about ballon bombs a t all.

Happy TT!

Julia

Alasandra said...

Thank you for a very informative and educational TT.

Mine is on the History of Halloween.

Kathy said...

Your TT's are always so informative and educational (I guess you're living up to your blogname!!). I had no idea that Japan had used these. Thanks for sharing some great information.
Have a good weekend!

Frumteacher said...

Thanks for the great list, and the great carnival (missed the deadline again...). Your list made me think of quite the opposite: the raisin bombers of 1948, that supplied West-Berlin with food and threw out parachutes with candy for the children. We live in such a crazy world in which bombers drop candy and balloons drop bombs.

I am totally in love with your template! It looks SO professional and historical. I enjoy your blog more and more, because I am finding out more every day that the realy key to being a great teacher is knowledge. Your blog provides tons of it.

nikki the red said...

i just watched a movie called "chalk" last night about history teachers. it's a mockumentary. it's a new release at blockbuster.

my tt: http://www.shebecameabutterfly.net/?p=209

ellen b said...

Never heard about this before. Thanks for the information! happy tt

Wesley Jeanne said...

It is so cool that your wrote this post. My 85-year-old father-in-law remembers seeing these during WWII and he has said for a long time that he thnks we should use similar baloons to protect our cities from attacks like those on 9/11.

Starrlight said...

What a cool list!

Morgan St. John said...

GREAT! List.
I love history.
I'm glad I found you.
Morgan

EHT said...

Thanks for visiting everyone. I'm glad that you found this post interesting and entertaining. My main goal is always to teach something or to provide something for you to use prior knowledge to connect to whether I'm in the classroom, having a conversation with you, or through this blog.

Sandy, I agree with you about word play and the connection between a child's toy and military lingo.

Thanks for coming by Frumteacher. I appreciate the information regarding the raisin bombers of '48. It gives readers another prospective . I agree with your realization concerning knowledge. It does provide power---power to control your classroom and power to motivate your students. These are very important aspects of teaching that you don't learn in a textbook. Building my own knowledge makes things flow easier in the classroom because I'm not stressing out.

Wesley Jeanne, that's interesting about your father-in-law. Thanks for adding that to the conversation.

Morgan, I'm glad you found me too! I hope you come back by sometime.

Denise Patrick said...

Wow, I'd never heard about balloon bombs. Thanks for that information. I may have to read up some more on them.

Happy TT!

M-Dawg said...

It's been forever since I've posted and read your blog. I'm going to try and play catch up over the weekend.

The new school year is overwhelming thus far!

I LOVE YOUR NEW HEADER!!! Amazing!

EHT said...

M-Dawg, I've been very busy this year as well. I've managed to post regularly, but I've been unable to read and feel I've neglected many of my blog friends. Maybe things will slow down for us soon.

DrillerAA said...

Of all the stuff I've seen and read regarding WWII, this is the first I have seen regarding Baloon bombs! I watch the history and military channels on a regular basis and have never seen anything on this subject. Thank you for sharing this.