Bloody Pacific: American Soldiers at War with Japan by P. Schrijvers

By P. Schrijvers

In keeping with numerous diaries and letters, Schrijvers recounts American GIs' reviews in Asia and the Pacific. From the daunting areas of the China-India theatre to the castle islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, he brings to lifestyles their fight with suffocating barren region, devastating illnesses, and jap infantrymen who most popular loss of life over existence.

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Moreover, as these publications tried to target the ‘average’ soldier, they almost inevitably resorted to colorful vignettes and facile generalizations, leaving many blank spaces for the reader to fill in. Yet as a US War Department survey showed, these were the very booklets on which the overwhelming majority of troops relied for a better understanding of the foreign countries and peoples they were about to encounter. Aboard a ship on its way to India in 1944, a soldier in less than an evening browsed through three military booklets that covered most of the Asian mainland.

American soldiers had already experienced a strong resonance of the Wild West while putting down the Filipino rebellion in the first years of the twentieth century. On Samar, for instance, the Pulahanes with their uncut hair, magic rituals, and belief in the reincarnation of warriors who died in battle, might as well have been Sioux continuing their Ghost Dance uprising. Half a century later, Asia was still pregnant with such resonance for American soldiers. ” The Kachins of northern Burma behaved like Indians in their own way, regularly relocating their villages and rebuilding them almost overnight.

Oil was given special attention. What made the Dutch East Indies “the treasure house of Asia,” remarked one military guide, was without a doubt Land of Myths 23 the islands’ rich oil deposits. And so much more of the black gold could be hidden elsewhere in the unexplored region. ” It was enough to make some Americans dream of viscous El Dorados. As the USS Montpelier skirted the southeastern coasts of mysterious Borneo in June 1945, wild stories spread among its crew about a place called Balikpapan.

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