I can't think of a war more brutal than World War Two. The Germans in many ways were as brutal as the Japanese. The only difference was that the Germans treated Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Slavic and Russian people worse than they treated captured British and American POW's. This was because the Germans considered the British of purer Aryan stock. Also Americans, with the exception of blacks and Jews were considered higher racial stock. As a result British and American POW's generally received the best treatment as German POW's. The Japanese on the other hand viewed the Americans as an inferior race and culture. The Germans captured 93,941 Americans during the war but only 1,121 or 1.1% died in captivity. The Japanese on the other hand captured 36,260 American's and 13,851 or 38.2% died in captivity. The Japanese were and still are one of the most racist people in the world. They not only saw the white European and Americans as an inferior race but they felt superior to their Asian neighbors as well. Such as the Chinese, Koreans, Filipino and pretty much every other race on earth. The atrocities by the Japanese against these people are well documented. In the (Rape of Nanking) the Japanese killed upward of 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers. Over a six week period Japanese soldiers made a game of throwing babies into the air and catching them on their bayonets. Sons were forced to rape their mothers and fathers their daughters. People were burned and buried alive. They were also beheaded, and shot. Just to name a few of the ways that they killed people. In the Philippines young girls were interrogated with sticks of dynamite sticking out of their vagina's. When the Japanese were through with them they blew them up.
In 1941 America was also a racist country. Our racism was well documented in how we treated blacks and after Pearl Harbor, Americans of Japanese descent. On the west coast they were sent to concentration camps. Naturally when two racist cultures clash there are going to be atrocities. This does not excuse or condone American excesses but it somewhat explains them. Of course every American wasn't racist but a great percentage were. The Americans were furious over the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Stories were circulating through the ranks about Japanese treatment of American soldiers on the Bataan Death March.The following is from a recruiting poster in the U.S.
Japanese Hunting Season
Free Ammunition and Equipment!
Join the United States Marines!
On Guadalcanal and all subsequent battles against the Japanese their refusal to surrender enraged the Americans. They made a point of killing combat medics, which was a no no in the European Theater. Japanese would pretend to surrender and at the last minute pull the pin on a grenade killing Americans. Japanese would kill or torture wounded Americans. Both sides in many instances gave no quarter and asked for none. Many American soldiers began to make trophies out of Japanese body parts. They collected ears, noses, and skulls and made necklaces out of the ears.
The Japanese officers on the other hand were known to eat the body parts of American captives. On the island of Chi Chi Jima, which was near Iwo Jima Japanese officers were eating dinner and ran out of meat. An officer ordered a subordinate to dig up a grave of an American POW and bring back Kimo, or flesh. Especially the liver. At that time three American POW's had died and were buried on the island. Over time five more American airmen were captured. These same Japanese officers would kill them one at a time and eat their livers and hearts among other things. One particular American Navy flyer piloting a torpedo bomber, with a crew of three, was shot down trying to destroy a radio transmitter on the island. He ordered his crew to bail out after being struck by flak. Of the three crew members he was the only one to survive the crash. The young pilot luckily landed in the water off of Chi Chi Jima and not on the island. He inflated a life raft but the current was drawing him into range of Japanese soldiers waiting on shore to capture him. Just as it seemed all was lost an American submarine named the USS Finback surfaced near him. The moment of rescue was captured on black and white movie film. The young Navy pilot was future president George H. W. Bush. By the grace of God he escaped being the ninth American prisoner captured on Chi Chi Jima and becoming the meal of cannibalistic Japanese soldiers.
|A severed Japanese head hanging from a tree|
|Moment of rescue|
|George H. W. Bush|
|George H.W. Bush|