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  • Bataan Death March

    In 1992, I sat down with two Bataan Death March survivors in a VFW hall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. What I remember more than anything else was how they could describe the most incredible cruelty with no apparent emotion. Many World War II veterans -- for whom much of the war was boredom and fatigue and drudgery -- struggled to speak about carnage, burying the worst moments into recesses of their memory they never revisited. But, for Death March survivors and others who landed in Japanese prison camps, the horror was such a daily part of their lives that they could speak of such things.

    http://ww2thebigone.com/2016/04/07/bataan-death-march/

  • #2
    Worth remembering what kind of people the Japanese really are deep down inside their psyches. There is a very good reason why they allied themselves with the Nazis - kindred spirits who considered the rest of worlds population subhuman.

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    • #3
      And yet in the Ruso Japanese war and WW1 Japan had an exemplary record in the treatment of prisoners and civilians. Its more a reflection of what happens when a fascist style elite takes over a government. The Japanese people appear to have been too prone to following the lead of their "superiors".
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
        And yet in the Ruso Japanese war and WW1 Japan had an exemplary record in the treatment of prisoners and civilians. Its more a reflection of what happens when a fascist style elite takes over a government. The Japanese people appear to have been too prone to following the lead of their "superiors".
        I think what hurts Japan most is their inability to find really good leadership. All through the modern era they go from one mis-steo to another and their culture never seems to permit them to overthrow or even question the mean old fools at the top.
        They need to be more skeptical of their own system and the motivations of their leaders.... but then I could say that about any nation in Asia.
        North Korea, China and Vietnam were all more abusive towards POWs any European foe we have faced.


        Now, as for the men themselves, who seem to be the focus of the OP -
        Were they able to re-adjust and carry on with successful lives when they got home?
        I suppose it is a matter of "Some did/some didn't", but I think that having overcome that experience they might have been better off for it, overall.
        There are always exeptions, I heard that one man that was captured at Wake late committed suicide because he didn't think that the US was being harsh enough on Japan after the war.

        But then, there is the other side of the coin;



        If you have never seen it, I really think you should.... whoever you are.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
          And yet in the Ruso Japanese war and WW1 Japan had an exemplary record in the treatment of prisoners and civilians. Its more a reflection of what happens when a fascist style elite takes over a government.
          There was a lot of 'hate' indoctrination by the Japanese Army leaders. When you read the accounts by Japanese soldiers it clear this went beyond that usually found in most other armies. It also placed a premium on individuals already prone to psychopathic behavior, whos thinking and behavior had become the desirable mode towards the enemy, or anyone not Japanese.

          The Japanese people appear to have been too prone to following the lead of their "superiors".
          I only lived there two years & am not a expert, but it looked to me the concensus driven and conformist nature of Japanese society made it difficult for anyone to stand up and say the official policy was wrong. As in Germany taking the moral course could easily get you imprisoned or killed. Just wearing the wrong color shirt could get you ostracised to a degree that is difficult for a American to comprehend.

          The US has had some extended episodes of brutrality. The extermination of the native population, the revival of the Klan in the first half of the 20th Century are two examples. Dig deep & doubt you can find any cultures with a large population that dont have several episodes of serious brutrality.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
            ...

            Now, as for the men themselves, who seem to be the focus of the OP -
            Were they able to re-adjust and carry on with successful lives when they got home?
            I suppose it is a matter of "Some did/some didn't"

            ...
            Yeah, some did some did not. Self medication with alcohol was not uncommon among veterans when I was young in the 1950s, 60s & beyond.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
              Now, as for the men themselves, who seem to be the focus of the OP - Were they able to re-adjust and carry on with successful lives when they got home?
              I suppose it is a matter of "Some did/some didn't", but I think that having overcome that experience they might have been better off for it, overall.
              I became friends with J.S. Gray, and he was able to live a successful, productive life.

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              • #8
                Just wanted to point out a fact that is seldom mentioned. On the death march it is estimated there were about 12,000 americans. there were 63,000 Filipinos............they suffered just as much...........and the United states threw them under the bus after the war. We have tried to hide some shameful acts ourselves........http://priceonomics.com/how-filipino...en-out-of-the/

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                • #9
                  Ever notice you don't get re-enactors for this kind of thing.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                    There was a lot of 'hate' indoctrination by the Japanese Army leaders. When you read the accounts by Japanese soldiers it clear this went beyond that usually found in most other armies. It also placed a premium on individuals already prone to psychopathic behavior, whos thinking and behavior had become the desirable mode towards the enemy, or anyone not Japanese.



                    I only lived there two years & am not a expert, but it looked to me the concensus driven and conformist nature of Japanese society made it difficult for anyone to stand up and say the official policy was wrong. As in Germany taking the moral course could easily get you imprisoned or killed. Just wearing the wrong color shirt could get you ostracised to a degree that is difficult for a American to comprehend.

                    The US has had some extended episodes of brutrality. The extermination of the native population, the revival of the Klan in the first half of the 20th Century are two examples. Dig deep & doubt you can find any cultures with a large population that don't have several episodes of serious brutrality.
                    Having carried out major projects in India, Indonesia and Japan I would say that there appears to be a general tendency towards deference to those at the top and a reluctance to disagree with them in all three cultures. When holding meetings in which managers of varying grades were present I found it almost impossible to get any meaningful discussion going. Everybody just waited to see what the most senior person said and then agreed with them even when it was obvious that they were talking out of the wrong orifice. Mind you I have come across a few large organisations in Europe and the USA where the corporate culture was not dissimilar

                    In terms of US brutality one should read some of Mark Twain's fulminations on military operations in the Philippines.
                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                      Having carried out major projects in India, Indonesia and Japan I would say that there appears to be a general tendency towards deference to those at the top and a reluctance to disagree with them in all three cultures. When holding meetings in which managers of varying grades were present I found it almost impossible to get any meaningful discussion going. Everybody just waited to see what the most senior person said and then agreed with them even when it was obvious that they were talking out of the wrong orifice. Mind you I have come across a few large organisations in Europe and the USA where the corporate culture was not dissimilar
                      This is how the Afghan Army works even after almost 15 years of NATO training. It is so bad that during combat operations all reports are always good news for the brigade and corps commander, but after the report is given the Afghans always come crying to their NATO counterparts asking for every kind of emergency support you can think of. Its not hard to imagine how this will play out when NATO fully withdraws...
                      "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                      -Omar Bradley
                      "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                      -Anonymous US Army logistician

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                        As in Germany taking the moral course could easily get you imprisoned or killed. Just wearing the wrong color shirt could get you ostracised to a degree that is difficult for a American to comprehend.
                        I think the neighbourhoods infested by the Crips/Bloods would comprehend.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post
                          I think the neighbourhoods infested by the Crips/Bloods would comprehend.
                          And in Glasgow
                          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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