Essay on Review of Dower's War Without Mercy

2070 Words May 12th, 2006 9 Pages
Dower, John W. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. Pantheon Books, New York, 1986. In this seminal work on the Pacific war John Dower, Professor of History at the Michigan Institute of Technology and Pulitzer Prize winning author, discusses the effect had in the Allied war with Japan. It is the author's opinion that racism and prejudiced attitudes played a role in the development of atrocious behaviors seen in the Pacific Theater. Dower supports his thesis by effectively and exhaustively researching his topic. Dower creatively integrates and combines sources from almost every are of period life. In his studies he includes war diaries, political speeches, journal articles from both sides, and perhaps most effectively, …show more content…
Capra uses the national religion of Shinto, organized with the Emperor at its head, to relay the message that the people of Japan are brainwashed dupes ruled by elite class of devious individuals whose goal is nothing less than world domination. These images of a treacherous and devious foe play a larger part in the second section of the book, The War in Western Eyes. In this section it is shown through period propaganda how the west saw the Japanese as devious apes or vermin. In one period cartoon the Japanese are depicted as insects labeled Louseous Japanicus and lists the only cure for an infestation is the ample use of hand grenades and flame-throwers until the root of infestation is totally annihilated, i.e. Japan. The Japanese themselves were not unversed in the realm of propaganda. Tsuji Masanobu, a Colonel in the Imperial Army, authored a pamphlet titled Read This and the War is Won, which was issued to all Japanese troops. In the pamphlet the Western powers are described as power hungry imperialists who had been striving for world domination for centuries as evidenced by their bloody past. The current war is shown as just another symptom of Westerners beastly nature and that they are intending to strengthen their grasp on the East as their ultimate prize. It is on this basis that Japan, at first successfully, makes the rallying cry to the Asiatic nations to fight back against the Western Imperialists. Out of a similar

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