Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
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- Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48
I will check out War Without Mercy.
Just an aside. "War without mercy" is a badly written piece of ahistorical blather by Dower, an left-wing ex-communist. He tries to establish that America was really, really, Racist. And that Japan was racist - a little bit. And that's why the war was so nasty. That the Sino-Japanese war was even more nasty is never mentioned. Or that the Indians in Burma and the Filipinos fought a nasty war against the Japanese too. All that is ignored, because it was all racism per Dower. A childish way of looking at history, but a popular one for the last 30 years.
- Host - Allied sections
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Saw this thread is still active & reread it. It occurred to me another factor contributed to this. That is very few US, or other nations soldiers had any useful command of the Japanese language. One of the post war criticisms is that US translators were trained in formal 'upper class' Japanese. This was in practical terms unintelligible to working class Japanese soldiers raised in the factory districts of Osaka or on the rice farms. When i worked with the Japanese SDF officers 1984-85 they made the same point. The US printed books on learning Japanese I acquired included some that did not teach 'Japanese' but a sort of literary language for ultra formal conversation & writing poetry. The very small number of American soldiers who were fluent in common Japanese did have some success in taking prisoners & persuading groups to give up. Sgt Gabladon is the common example cited.
Most Yanks were from European immigrants & it was not uncommon in 1944 for every rifle company to have several men with a working knowledge of Polish, German, French, Italian, Russian, ect. My fathers German was derived from 1860s Swabian, but he was able to persuade a handful of Germans their strong point was isolated & they were going to die very soon if they did not give up. This possibility was so rare in the Pacific it practically did not exist. While not the whole story this language factor did push the numbers in one direction or the other in each case.