Han erroneously claims Taiwan not bombed by US in WWII

KMT presidential candidate mistakenly claims Taiwan was not attacked by US forces in WWII

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Bombing of Taihoku. (United States Army Air Forces)

Bombing of Taihoku. (United States Army Air Forces)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While campaigning in Taoyuan City on Friday (Nov. 1), Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) erroneously claimed that the U.S. had never attacked Taiwan during WWII.

As part of his ongoing "Listening Tour," Han stopped over in Puxin Park in Taoyuan's Yangmei District on Friday. He told a crowd of supporters that many people are facing hardships today and cannot predict future predicaments.

Han said that people must depend on themselves to realize peace and prosperity. He stated that "Only God decides how many typhoons, earthquakes, storms, and floods the country sees each year. We have no say," reported Newtalk.


Bombs falling on Taihoku (Taipei). (Center for GIS, RCHSS, Academia Sinica photo)

Han said that Taiwan is a beautiful place and that the "brutal American military counter-attack during WWII unexpectedly did not reach Taiwan," according to the report. He claimed that it "only struck Japan's Ryuku Islands" and that Taiwan is a "treasure land."

However, Han's statements were far from accurate. In fact, because Taiwan was still a Japanese colony during WWII and the site of various military facilities, the U.S. and its allies carried out a number of bombing raids starting as early as 1943.

On May 31, 1945, the U.S. launched the Taihoku Air Raid, the largest allied air raid on Japanese-occupied Taipei (then known as Taihoku) of WWII. The raid consisted of 117 Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers from the U.S. Fifth Air Force and lasted from 10 a.m. until around 1 p.m.


Governor-General's Office after bombing. (Photo from FB page @oldtwcolor)

During the air raid, American bombers dropped approximately 3,800 bombs on military units and government facilities. Despite efforts to avoid civilian casualties, such as using aerial photography to single out military targets, some civilian facilities were mistakenly struck.

Over 3,000 died as a result of the massive bombing raid, more than all the casualties from previous raids in Taiwan combined. Tens of thousands were also displaced or became homeless.

In spite of being camouflaged, the Governor-General's Office, now known as the Presidential Office, suffered a direct hit, was rendered inoperable, and was not repaired until Nationalist forces came to Taiwan after the end of WWII. Unexploded bombs from the WWII raids continue to be found in greater Taipei as recently as July of this year.