Is the “Pacific” Japanese contemporary Taliban?

from dn.se

Wednesday, December 29th starting SVT broadcast hit series “Pacific, ” which depicts American soldiers in battles with the Japanese during World War II. But why is it now? Henrik Arnstad expect a historical political debate.

In all hipsters media mecca, Papercut store in Stockholm, the staff charged by Christmas. The TV series “Pacific, ” a drama about U.S. Marine Corps soldiers in battles against the Japanese during World War II, has landed in Sweden in the form of a larger DVD box. Sales are excellent. Unlike many war movies, this television series salongsfähig(What meaning?) even among the educated middle class.  Behind the “Pacific” is common on HBO drama kings (“The Sopranos, ” “Mad Men, ” “True Blood”, et cetera) and the producers named Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The series is thus a heavy example of what the academic language called for the use of history: an attempt to shape our collective historical consciousness.

“The official Japan is the second world war didn’t has never taken place and this is precisely why its existence even sixty years later as significant.”

Yukiko Duke writes author who only last year published an excellent book about the battle of Iwo Jima. Oddly enough, diminished the memory of the battles in the Pacific in the U.S. after the peace in 1945, though for completely different reasons. The American historical culture instead focused on the battle against Nazism. The Second World War was a story about democracy ödeskamp against Hitler’s barbarism. This story was – and still has – big problems, from a dry, factual perspective. The Second World War was primarily a war between Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Of that there is consensus in the science of history. “All the other theaters of war were secondary or determined by the end of the German-Russian struggle, ” writes historian Alf W. Johansson.

But after peace was on the U.S. so idolized Stalin (“Uncle Joe”) rather than an enemy in the Cold War. Historiography became a battleground. To delete the Soviet soldier from the historical consciousness was hammered into the picture instead of the American fighter and the significance of his work on the Normandy beaches in June 1944. This ideologically driven vision – that appeared in Spielberg and Hanks film “Saving Private Ryan” and their follow-up TV series “Band of Brothers” – have had an unintended side effect. It also affected the U.S. soldiers who defeated Japan 1941-1945.

This is depicted in the “Pacific’s” most poignant scene, when veterans of the Pacific war comes home early 1946th. It has been more than half a year since the defeat of Hitler was celebrated. The returnees face not to parades, but may take a taxi from the train station. The taxi driver – who is a veteran of the fighting in Europe – offer them on the trip.
“We got at least partying in Paris, “
he says
“And what did you get? Malaria and swamp fever. “

A feature of the struggle against Nazi Germany is that, already in the contemporary world, switched from being a classic great power conflict that is charged with moralism. A feature of the Struggle Against Nazi Germany Is that, Already in the contemporary world, switched from Being a classic great power conflict That Is Charged with moralism. But the fight against the Axis powers Japan lacked this dimension. In fact, the background to two regional great powers spheres of interest grew and collided in the middle of the Pacific. With war as a result. For Japan’s part was the battle against the United States an outgrowth of the war of conquest in China, which started early in the 1930s. That’s where the big Japanese resources were deployed. This made the Japanese war of aggression against the United States, which started with the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, a strategic mistake. The Japanese idea was that the Americans were intimidated into peace negotiations, but instead was arrested by the U.S. bellicose anger. Japan could wage war against and overcome, to what price at any time.

Against his will, the Americans were then allied with Britain and the Soviet Union, when Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States a few days after Pearl Harbor (the isolationist American public opinion was subject initially a separate war against Japan). However escaped Thus Americans at large to participate in European land battles. At the time of the landing in Normandy in 1944 remained only demoralized remnants of the German armed forces. Instead, it was the U.S. role to 1941-1945 laboriously fighting Japanese troops in the Pacific.

Director Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed film about World War II, “Inglourious Basterds”, runs commendably with the concept that in English is called “based on a true story”. Target is the producer pair Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who throughout his war production (from “Saving Private Ryan”, through “Band of Brothers” to the question “Pacific” hold high the banner on the claim to historical authenticity.

“Pacific” we get the final confirmation of this in the last section, when it is revealed that the marines who were depicted existed in reality. The sense of reality is reinforced by the modern war movie saga storytelling. The battles are endless vile, including decaying body parts of sleeping on the battlefield, food supplies are short, people are dying like flies (including one of the main characters) and tiredness in the conflict are enormous. All this is historically accurate. The U.S. armed forces were relatively weak in 1941 (which explains that Adolf Hitler – with some justification – not worried about declaring war against the United States). But for those who want to study the “Pacific” as ideologically-driven uses of history in it rather trying to see what is not depicted. What is excluded. And above all – why will this television series just 2010?

First, the image of Japan in the Pacific “a cliché. The enemy is wildly screaming figures (“banzai!”) that pulls his samurai sword. Compare with Clint Eastwood’s brilliant double film “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (both 2006), in which he effectively set the American and Japanese perspectives against each other.

The second depicts the “Pacific” war without large-scale historical context, making it almost impossible for ordinary viewers to problematize the TV series.

Thirdly, the hero of the story one exclude the U.S. doubts that the war meant. Till exempel framhävs att marinkårssoldaterna inte tog krigsfångar, vilket de är stolta över i ”Pacific”. “Marines take no prisoners”, they hiss. But what happened in reality with the Japanese soldiers who were rounded up? “Pacific” depicts how, with rolling eyes, do stupid bayonet attack or blow themselves up in the air with a hand grenade. Studies in recent years shows that they had good reason. Captured Japanese often tortured by American soldiers. And some of these war criminals were thus – by implication – the real protagonists of “Pacific” provides the hero halo. It is not without problems, although this effect should not overshadow the Japanese crimes during the war (as the massacre in Nanjing in 1937).

But the really interesting question is why the “Pacific” will come out. What has been radar pair Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks to abandon the story of Private Ryan and his fraternity in Europe – and instead go to the Pacific? We can notice that “Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers” both hold back the years around 2000, when tensions rose between the U.S. and its European allies from the Cold War (Britain, France and Germany). In the U.S. there was a sense that these nations showed ingratitude, in view of the American effort in World War II.

“If it wasn’t for us, you guys Would ask speaking Germantown village now.”was a U.S. argument that was used when the irritation reached boiling point, before the attack on Iraq in 2003. Above all, the TV series “Band of Brothers” served as the political objective to convince Americans and Europeans about America’s historic role as a warrior goodness. Bush regime compared Saddam to Hitler. But in the “Pacific” 2010 conflict the Americans in a fading beige-gray sterile landscape, which is supposed to be volcanic islands in the Pacific in the 1940s. Similar to the environment isn’t Afghanistan?

Some features highlights of the Japanese soldiers. The battles without honor, shooting civilians and seem to lack professionalism. The Japanese weapons are rather religious fanaticism (“their Emperor, their God – the fight for his God, “said an American soldier bitterly). This means that the Japanese in the Pacific “continues fight even in 1945, although they are essentially already lost the war. They refuse to give up, to the American soldiers’ frustration. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan will lose any kind – while the war against them still seems impossible to win (without the atomic bombs that ends the fighting in the Pacific “- the characters’ incredible joy and relief).

Is therefore the Japanese in the Pacific “, in fact, contemporary Taliban? And Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks aware that this issue is possible to ask? Or have they just intuitively made his TV series, but given the production a contemporary political history op-ed? There, we will probably never know.

Yet the “Pacific” a good example of the use of history. This represents the Swedes consumers – both as buyers of the DVD box, and as combat soldiers in Afghanistan.

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2 Responses to Is the “Pacific” Japanese contemporary Taliban?

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