JF Ptak Science Books Post 1687
America has almost never been invaded. I should clean that statement up a bit: the United States has almost never been invaded. America–which included North/Central/South once upon a time long in the dim past–was constantly invaded until the invasions no longer counted themselves as such, which I guess means that the “invasion” forces became “resupply”. (Perhaps an invasion is over once you surpass a certain ratio of houses : forts.)
“Invasion” does not include “attacks”. A few guys getting off a Nazi sub and wandering around until they got picked up (with some (all?) being executed) does not an invasion make. 9/11 was not an invasion, though the subsequent invention of impending and pervading fear was–that’s why we have “storm centers” rather than “weather reports” on broadcast news–but even that fear business was more home-grown than anything else.
The Japanese Army were on two small islands in the Aleutian chain (which may have been closer to Tokyo than NYC) for a bit in WWII–also does not make for an invasion, even if they were there for a long time. Or even if they were still there. Nor does sending hundreds or thousands of paper incendiary balloons across the Pacific an invasion make.
UFOs don’t count, either. (I still find it remarkable that such a large percentage of the hundreds of thousands of “sightings” has the UFO with landing or whatever lights on it. I figured out at one point that there has been a report on one of these critters every ____ minutes since Roswell. And in all of those hundreds of thousands or reports, if you took them all and stacked them one on top of the other, they would reach perhaps the height of a grain of sand.) The Beatles don’t count, either.
What also doesn’t count (but probably should) but which is not military–not really, though it may have the impact of a military force at some time in the future–are Chinese-made imports of, well, everything. At Thanksgiving I wondered how much of a dinner could be composed of foods that were shipped from China and to no great amazement an almost-complete table of food could be set, plus napkins, flatware, plates, candles, tablecloths, tables, chairs, paper turkey decorations, carpet, flooring, wallpaper, paint for the walls and ceiling, screws for the Chinese-made door hinges, lighbulbs, tubes for the McIntosh preamps, all of the clothing worn by the guests, and so on. The electricity is still American-made. The fact that Mott’s Apple Juice is coming from Chinese apples is a bad sniff of the future. The country of origin is usually on juice bottle necks-check it out.)
Certainly something that does count is the invasion by Great Britain of the United States in the War of 1812--they invaded long and deep enough to burn the White House and cause general havoc. We won that one. But of course the Brits were otherwise involved on the Continent.
Perhaps this non-invaded bit explains why the most-viewed post on this blog (with at last 500,000 views, 340k alone coming from the post being carried by IO9.com) was a LIFE magazine article from 1942 on the possible invasion routes to the U.S. Maybe the volume was driven by war-gamers, though I suspect it was made up largely of the curious who weren’t used to seeing “Invasion of” and “America” together in a military sense.
(An another set of maps from Fortune magazine for September 1935, a predecessor to the above, and from my post here):
But now for the real stuff: a map of the 54 invasions of Great Britain (and "the places at which foreign troops have landed on British soil since 1066 (and all that), seen in the Illustrated London News for 27 March 1909):
And then this, where the WWII invasion routes were turned around:
This map pretty well tells the story of the perilous situation of Europe and England at the beginning of June, 1940. It appeared in the Illustrated London News on the heals of Churchill's "Blood, Soil, Sweat and Tears" speech, and was a very frank presentation of the wearing of the war. By this point in the war Nazi Germany had successfully invaded Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, sweeping across Europe in a broad westward movement, backing up British and French troops all the way to the sea at Dunkerque, where a monumental rescue operation ("Operation Dynamo") saved them. (There was an enormous amount of materiel left there on the beach, a devastating loss for the British Expeditionary Force, nearly crippling it.) This was a bad time for the Allies, this part of the war coined by Winston Churchill in 18 June 1940 in the House of Commons by: "The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin". There was very little good that came of these few months for the U.K and the Allies, though four things do stand out: (1) as I just mentioned, the saving of 300,000+ troops at Dunkerque; (2) the resignation of Neville Chamberlain, (3) the coming of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of the U.K., and (4) the first deciphering of the Enigma at Bletchley. Other than that, the situation was dim, and these invasion routes (published at t he very time that Germany was studying such a feat in its "Operation Sea Lion", or "Unternehmen Seelöwe"). The endgame at Dunkerque took place almost four years to the day of the invasion of Europe, when the intent (though not placement) all of these arrows were turned around for the Allied operation at the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944..
And so, there it is--a presentation of several maps showing invasions, real and imagined