Sunday, January 3, 2010

The best possible training...

A delightful little pamphlet that was found while reducing the vast amount of miscellaneous antiques, heirlooms and other victims of Great Depression era pack-rattery of my grandfather's basement. This was given to my grandfather, I believe, at his graduation from bombardier/flight school. My grandfather was part of the 8th bomb wing in the Pacific theater of WWII. The document was once restricted, the lowest form of classification.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know this is from around 1943 and you have to take everything in historical context. Nonetheless, I find it fun to look back at when blatant, blind hatred of our enemy was fairly accepted. Until I turn on Faux News, throw my arms in the air, and then bury my face in my palms. This is not meant in disrespect to those who served, but rather an exploration of the discourse of hate engendered by wartime and military culture.

The cover refers to atrocities against America and its WWII allies by Japanese and German soldiers: Luftwaffe bombings of Coventry, England, execution of downed American pilots in Japanese-held Chinese territory, massacre of citizens of Lidice, and Pearl Harbor. As we can see, the G.I. flier is sufficiently psychologically prepared, symbolized by his defiantly raised clinched-fist and grimacing expression.

The majority of the pamphlet is part of a chapter from a larger document that is, as far as I can tell, not obscure and as mentioned by Lt. Col. Howard Watkins the article was recognized at various levels of the military. Most of this page is innocuous until the last paragraph where the Lt. Col. lauds the graduate's newly acquired precision skills of "raining destruction". With that, I'll just leave the rest of it for your reading without commentary, most of the dubious statements stand out on their own and need little teasing out.

The document is ripe with talking points, but my purpose in putting it up is mainly to share and provoke thought.

If anyone finds this interesting, it is far from new knowledge and I would recommend reading
War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War by John W. Dower to get a greater grounding, at least in the Pacific theater.

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