JAPAN: Scorched Earth

This time it was not U.S. bombers that made the earth tremble in Tokyo and Yokohama and set up far-glaring fires. More ancient was the enemy: Asamayama ("Mountain Without Bottom"), most fretful and dangerous of Japan's 50 active volcanoes. Seismologists had predicted that an ominously growing crust inside the cone threatened an eruption as violent as that of 1783, when 48 villages were buried deep beneath a scoriaceous lava stream. The word "catastrophe" in Axis news broadcasts indicated that what the seismologists feared may have occurred. But Allied nations were given no word of the damage's extent. This time—unlike...