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There'll Be a Little Smokio in Tokio
12018-07-28T16:29:58-04:00David Fedman49fb12a9dc049fa723aae9d52d00a1d69c5c61e724"There'll Be a Little Smokio in Tokio," Don Baker with the Polka Dots (written by Pat Kellogg and Jim Rice), 1942.plain2018-11-18T17:02:46-05:001942Archive.orgDon Baker and the Polka DotsArchive.orgPublic domain.David Fedman49fb12a9dc049fa723aae9d52d00a1d69c5c61e7
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12018-04-23T13:40:20-04:00Capital Punishment15The burning of Tokyo in American war planning and wartime popular culture.plain2018-11-28T08:27:47-05:001942David Fedman
No sooner had the smoke cleared over Pearl Harbor than Americans war planners began to systematically investigate how best to burn Tokyo and its environs to the ground. While some intelligence agencies began to plot out specific sites of industry and defense around the enemy capital for surgical bombardment, others quickly turned their attention to urban Tokyo’s well-known vulnerability to fire. That much of eastern Tokyo had burned to the ground following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 was of great interest to military planners, who began to investigate how they might spark a great conflagration of their own (Fedman and Karacas, 2012).
Such an abiding interest in Tokyo’s flammability was far from confined to the war room. Americans of all stripes were soon imagining the capital aflame, especially following news of the Doolittle Raiders' sensational 1942 assault on Tokyo. Perhaps the most popular expression of this sentiment can be found in the chorus of Don Baker’s 1942 hit There’ll be a little Smokio in Tokio:
There'll be a little smokio in Tokio Hooray, hooray, hooray And you can bet it will not be from Tokio Hooray, hooray, hooray Them saki yaki boy Will throw away his toys And Uncle Sam will frown When Yankee Doodle goes to town