Review Of War Without Mercy: Race And Power In The Pacific War By Dower

2002 Words9 Pages

Dower’s book, “War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War”, is an intelligently crafted review of the racial aspects that were integral to the incredible violence of the Pacific theater. Dower explains that the often overlooked component of racial hatred and propaganda was a driving force in the “kill or be killed” atmosphere of “no surrender”, in the Pacific compared to the European theater (Dower 12). Dower crafts his argument using a variety of scholarly sources. I believe Dower used these sources to present a shocking and accurate assessment of why battles in the Pacific were often ones of extermination between the US and Japanese forces. His sources supplement his arguments, none more so than John Toland’s “The Rising Sun: the …show more content…

Yes, the Japanese established a more honorable idea behind a “cult of death” but Americans considered those men who fought bitterly in Corregidor as heroes. The American people would become completely enraged at the atrocity of the Bataan Death March after these troops surrendered. One point where Dower differed here was, whereas Costello did not, Dower elaborated on atrocities committed by both sides during the war. The Japanese did do terrible things but that was not unique. US forces were responsible for heinous acts towards the Japanese in war as well, which further drove the deep hatred of racial conflict (Dower 11-12). This source helped to outline the idea that Japanese and US forces did share some similarities during the war, maybe not good ones, but the commitment to fight to the death and the committing of atrocities by both sides marked the entirety of the Pacific …show more content…

The supremely embarrassing reversals in China for the British and in the Philippines for the US reflected just how unprepared for war in the East the Allies were and just how much the Allies underestimated Japan. Toland explains that the US citizens were responding to the apparently unstoppable tide of Japan by supporting the President to remove 127,000 Japanese-Americans from the west coast in racial based hysteria. Nazi’s and Japanese had a propaganda field day with that information and throughout the war, as the US grappled with its domestic racism (Toland 285-292 & Dower 4-6). Toland also includes something Dower does not; the build-up to Germany's declaration of war on the United States. He shows that the Nazi's had similar racial superiority complexes to the Japanese and saw the US along racial lines as well. Hitler said the US was, "built by the dollar… half Judaized and half Negro" and that "there is no way the country could work together," (Toland 278). Germans thought the Americans were incapable of winning the war. Dower did not include the German side as his effort was to focus on the brutality of the Pacific war which was at a much higher intensity than in Europe. Something that they both agreed on, however, was the US and Japan did have similar ideas about sacrifice and fighting until the end. Dower points out that, culturally, Americans are very

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