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1st Reply From: G Phillips <G.Phillips@mmu.ac.uk> Subject: Re: REPLY: The Pacific and Racism (3) Date: March 20, 2010 7:11:55 AM EDT To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> In a telling quote on 19th March Chandar Sundaram observed: "Other Allied powers also had an unwarranted low opinion of the Japanese, stemming from racism. For example Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, the CinC British forces in the Far East, visiting HongKong in October 1941, commenmted on some "shabby creatures, lacking spit and polish" on the other side of the fence separating that colony from Mainland China. The "creatures" he referred to were Japanese troops. He later commented that if these represented the typical Japanese soldier, then the Allies would have no trouble in thrashing them. I have seen the oroginal letter in the Liddell-Hart Centre for Military Archives at King's College, London. THis anecdote is also cited in Dower's War Without Mercy." I was always a little puzzled as to when such attitudes about the Japanese began to (re?)emerge. After the Russo-Japanese War, the European military literature, and especially, I suspect, the British (who were then their allies), seemed full of praise for their soldierly spririt, discipline and technical competence. Rather than assuming that 'racist' attitudes were an immutable constant of early 20th century western thought, has anyone charted how they were successively re-cast by the shifting diplomatic/political tides of world history? Cheers, Gervase Phillips G.Phillips@mmu.ac.uk Gervase Phillips, Principal Lecturer in History, Manchester Metropolitan University, G.Phillips@mmu.ac.uk 2nd Reply From: Waitman Beorn <email@example.com> Subject: Re: REPLY: The Pacific and Racism (3) Date: March 20, 2010 11:38:27 AM EDT To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@h-net.msu.edu> I am curious (regarding Mr. Williams' post) as to what relevance the coverage of Japanese atrocities has to that of American racism in the Pacific. The nature of this comment seems to indicate that because the Japanese committed atrocities (sometimes in the name of racism) that any charge of similar racism or barbarity on the American side is unworthy of investigation. This seems unnecessarily defensive. No one (to include John Dower) is arguing that the war in the Pacific was a racist quest to annihilate the Japanese. However, it takes a particularly narrow perspective to not see that the way the war was carried out had clearly racial elements. U.S. (and British) soldiers in Europe (or North Africa) did not cut off ears, mount skulls on trucks, or cut out human teeth. This cannot all be explained by the nature of the fighting. I am perplexed by the frequently powerful knee-jerk reactions against any implication that the U.S. in World War II behaved badly or held racist motivations. After all, the "Greatest Generation" was also the generation of Jim Crow and segregation. This is not in any way to detract from the exploits and sacrifices of that cohort. If articles on Japanese racism do not frequently appear, certainly discussions of their atrocities do. I see no reason not to explore how racism becomes operationalized on the battlefield and affects how men and women fight. Waitman W.Beorn PhD Candidate Department of History University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill Hamilton Hall, CB #3195 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3195 http://history.unc.edu/gradstudents/beorn.html http://history.unc.edu/ <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> …The reconstruction of worlds is one of the historian’s most important tasks. He undertakes it, not from some strange urge to dig up archives and sift through old paper, but because he wants to talk with the dead. By putting questions to documents and listening to replies, he can sound dead souls and take the measure of the societies they inhabited. If we lost all contact with the worlds we have lost, we would be condemned to live in a two-dimensional, time-bound present, and our own world would turn flat. -Robert Darnton <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> From: Kuehn, John T Dr CIV USA TRADOC <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: REPLY: The Pacific and Racism (3) Date: March 22, 2010 4:44:33 PM EDT To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> The same attitude reflected by the British Army was also reflected in the Navy.. Stephen Roskill is very honest and open about this in his discussions of defense planning for the far east in his book about British Naval Policy between the Wars. r, John T. Kuehn CDR USN (ret) Associate Professor of Military History CGSC Ft Leavenworth 913-684-3972 Original Message: > 1st Reply > > From: Chandar Sundaram <email@example.com> > Subject: RE: REPLY: The Pacific and Racism > Date: March 19, 2010 1:27:14 AM EDT > To: h-war h-net <firstname.lastname@example.org> > > Hi, > > Other Allied powers also had an unwarranted low opinion of the Japanese, > stemming from racism. For example Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, the CinC British > forces in the Far East, visiting HongKong in October 1941, commenmted on > some "shabby creatures, lacking spit and polish" on the other side of the > fence separating that colony from Mainland China. The "creatures" he > referred to were Japanese troops. He later commented that if these > represented the typical Japanese soldier, then the Allies would have no > trouble in thrashing them. I have seen the oroginal letter in the > Liddell-Hart Centre for Military Archives at King's College, London. THis > anecdote is also cited in Dower's War Without Mercy > > best > > > Chandar S. Sundaram, Ph.D. > Research Fellow, > Centre for Armed Forces Historical > Research, > United Services Institution of India, > Rao Tula Ram Marg, > Opp. Signals Enclave, > P.O. Bag No. 8, Vasant Vihar P.O. > New Delhi 110 057 > India > > > 2nd Reply > > From: Williams, Glenn F Mr CIV USA <email@example.com> > Subject: RE: REPLY: The Pacific and Racism > Date: March 19, 2010 1:17:38 PM EDT > To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU >> > > Dear Friends and Fellow Historians, > I don't know about anyone else, but I have grown weary of, take now > offense at this "post-modern," or whatever historiographical label you > put on it, interpretation that World War II in the Pacific is always > couched as a "race war," or the brutality a product of white American > racism against the Japanese enemy. > > Let's not forget the "Ehrenarier," or "Honorary Aryans" as Hitler dubbed > them, were guilty of their own ethnic-based brutality and atrocities > against indigenous peoples of the Asian mainland and Pacific Islands, > both soldiers and civilians, who were OUR ALLIES!!!!! > > Also remember the Japanese Ehrenarier committed atrocities against U.S., > Filipino, and Commonwealth troops in combat, and woe be the those who > became POWs and treated as "untermensche" just as sure as the inmates of > Bergen-Belsen or Dachau. > > There is enough to charge the Japanese with conducting the war along > their own racist prejudices as well. Funny how it never surfaces in the > scholarly journals. > > Best Regards, > > Glenn > > Glenn F. Williams > Historian > National Museum of the U.S. Army Project Office > 6020 Goethals Road, Bldg. T-1812 > Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6205 > Phone: 703-806-5994/ FAX: 703-806-6150 > E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org > Web Page: www.nmusa.army.mil > > "The fate of unborn miliions now depends, under God, on the Courage and > Conduct of the Army." - George Washington, August 1776 > > > 3rd Reply > > From: Abrigon Gusiq <email@example.com> > Subject: Pacific and Racism? > Date: March 18, 2010 7:22:02 PM EDT > To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-war@H-NET.MSU.EDU >> > > > But isn't racism one thing the Japanese played on when they > invaded/took over, to be the saviours of the locals from the evil Europeans? > Not that they stayed so nice.. Especially with the Japanese lack of > logisitical or limited logisitical train, ended up with Japanese soldiers > turning to looting/pillaging to keep active in the field. Japanese do have > an element of racism. But also the interservice conflict of Army vs Navy, > lead to serious issues with logistics/support. > > From what I have read much of the reasons Japan invaded, was due to needs > for minerals/materials and labor? As well as they had former colonies all > over the south pacific, but had abandoned them a century ago, but .. Back > when or after the Christianistion of Japan and forcing out of the Christians > from Japan, c.1700? Christianity was too popular for the Daimyo/Bufuku to > allow to take over, so they violently forced them out to Nagasaki/Hiroshima? > Where it was that way until Perry? > > I know one aspect of most wars, is to make your enemy seem to be less than > human, and Japanese abuse in places like Nanking and Changhai, did not help. > > Yes, Californians wanted the land the Japanese-Americans had, and worked.. > George Takai of Star Trek was a internment camp survivor. But Aleuts in > Alaska were also subjected to camp like conditions, while Axis POWs > (Germans/Nazi) down the road, were well treated. But the times was racist. > Alaska had the first race equality laws c.1945.. But the National Guard > based in Juneau was very white. So the shift to the "Tundra Army" of Muktuk > Marston was a major shift (Territorial Guard/Alaskan Scout) many of then > Aleuts/Eskimos/Indians/Mixed Blood/etc. Many Territorial Guard members are > now dead, but they did a lion service, training US Army soldiers how to > fight in a land where the weather will kill you as fast as an enemies > bullet. > > (added) > If I understand, to be a citizen in Japan, you have to have had a Japanese > citizen father, but if your father is not a Japanese citizen, you have to go > some 3 generations more of being a resident to become a citizen? Supposedly > there is persons of Korean decent in Japan, that have been residing in Japan > for 3-5 generations and they are still not seen as citizens? True or False? > > Mike Adams > Alaska, UAF Alumni > Former 11B/42A > Alaska Army Guard > > > > > > >> Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 18:59:53 -0400 >> From: hendsn1@GMAIL.COM >> Subject: REPLY: The Pacific and Racism >> To: H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU >> >> From: Mac McIntosh <firstname.lastname@example.org> >> Subject: The Pacific and Racism >> Date: March 17, 2010 4:36:42 PM EDT >> To: email@example.com >> Cc: H-NET Military History Discussion List <firstname.lastname@example.org> >> >> >> What has always bothered me the most about this issue is just how many > American and allied lives did institutional racism cost ? For example : > Japan had a war strategy that called for engaging enemy forces outside of > normal gunnery ranges. To this end by 1933 the Japanese had an operational > 24 inch long range torpedo with a range of 24 miles at 39 knots or 12 miles > at 49 knots. American torpedoes in 1941 were 21 inch models that had a range > of only 4,500 yards. Agents reporting to the Navy attaché's office reported > fully on the Japanese technological advantages of their torpedo. The Office > of Naval Intelligence passed on the reports to the Navy's Bureau of > Ordinance . They replied : " no torpedo could travel at such speed over that > range" . This judgment was primarily based on nationalistic technical > arrogance and presumed racial superiority. The same was true regarding the > ZERO fighter plane . The Zero (Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero ) was used in the > Japanese offensive in China which began in 1937 . U.S. Military officers > sent in many reports on Japans Air capabilities. The reports were rountinely > either ignored or ridiculed. In early 1941 a Tokyo based attache , Stephen > Jurika was able to climb into the covkpit of a Zero at a Japanese Air Show . > He sent into to ONI the data from the cockpit data plate -- which again was > dismissed as obviously inaccurate. These assessments were obviously > seriously affected by racial sterotypes. Not only as to the disbelief of the > technical data readily available on the Zero but there was an even more > damaging widely held sterotype mide set held that Japanese pilots being > physically incapable of rigorous combat flying. Claire Chennault sent in > detailed drawings and specifications for the Mitsubishi A5M in 1938 . > Shortly later he actually flew a Japanese Nakajima Ki-27b (Nate) fighter > that had been captured intact. Channault sent in reports to the War Office > saying that Japan had a fighter that " climbs like a sky-rocket and > maneuvers like a squirrel." >> These reports also fell victim to racial mindsets. >> >> I am sure there are many more examples. >> A good essay on this issue is Lieutenant Commander Ralph Lee > DeFalco.III's : Blind to the Sun : U.S. Intelligence Failures Before the War > with Japan . >> >> Walter James McIntosh >> Bluff, New Zealand ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----