Friday, April 2, 2010
Hanks' is right, he didn't say racism started the war. He said that we viewed the Japanese in a racist manner.
The racism in regards to the Okinawan people was in them being seen as second class citizens that were Japanese in the eyes of the US Government at the time. Their exploitation for their land and labor was a primary concern of the occupying forces.
Once again Hanks' didn't say racism started the war.
In Okinawa however most of the vegetation was wiped from the earth by the heavy indiscriminant bombardment to the island from thousands of ships anchored off its shores.
Or that in the combat required shooting flamethrowers into caves full of civilians because the occupants could not be identified as friend or foe.
It's a good thing we had those atomic bombs that we could drop on the military bases of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as president Truman told the American people. After all we saved lives.
The war in the Pacific was not about racism or because Japanese "were different," much less because two nations had equally justifiable grievances against each other.
Okay, Mr. Hanson’s point is that the war was not driven by racism but rather that it came about as a result of an unprovoked attack on the United States. I will agree with this fact. I don't believe however that Hanks' comments were taken in context. He simply stated a fact that in the 40's america was racist. In the forties racism was prevalent throughout the United States whether speaking of Blacks, Asians, Italians, Irish, or a whole myriad of others. We hated each other at the time and American neighborhoods were segregated by ethnic background. Open minded people were hard to come by in those times and racist depictions helped people gel their hatred for the “Japs.” So, Racism did play a factor in the escalation of the war as it was used to build a hatred for a race of people that the American people were not familiar with at the time. Many films and cartoons were produced during the war portraying the Japanese in a manner that could be described as nothing less than racist. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.
Racism effected the lives of many back then. Even African Americans who fought for their country in the pacific experienced the rasism of the times as many of them were lynched in the southern states simply for wearing their uniforms in public. Here is a example.