Tom Hanks on WWII: We wanted to annihilate the Japanese because they were “different”

posted at 9:58 pm on March 9, 2010 by Allahpundit

Well, true enough. They were different, all right. In fact, some lucky GIs got to experience the difference firsthand.

If you were expecting an island-hopping reprise of “Band of Brothers” in this new miniseries, expect otherwise.

But the context for Hanks’ history lessons has changed. Band of Brothers, HBO’s best-selling DVD to date, began airing two days before 9/11; The Pacific, his new 10-hour epic about the Pacific theater in World War II, plays out against a very different backdrop, when the country is weary of war and American exceptionalism is a much tougher sell. World War II in the European theater was a case of massive armies arrayed against an unambiguous evil. The Pacific war was mainly fought by isolated groups of men and was overlaid by a sense that our foes were fundamentally different from us. In that sense, the war in the Pacific bears a closer relation to the complex war on terrorism the U.S. is waging now, making the new series a trickier prospect but one with potential for more depth and resonance. “Certainly, we wanted to honor U.S. bravery in The Pacific,” Hanks says. “But we also wanted to have people say, ‘We didn’t know our troops did that to Japanese people.’”

And he is pleased that The Pacific has fulfilled an obligation to our World War II vets. He doesn’t see the series as simply eye-opening history. He hopes it offers Americans a chance to ponder the sacrifices of our current soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. “From the outset, we wanted to make people wonder how our troops can re-enter society in the first place,” Hanks says. “How could they just pick up their lives and get on with the rest of us? Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”

Quoth Big Hollywood editor John Nolte: “No matter how many times you read this passage the context is clear. By ‘different’ Hanks is clearly referring to race, culture and religion, not ideology.” Indeed. Is that what was driving FDR all those years — fear and loathing of the “brown people” or whatever? I thought it was the fact that they bombed us and then fought us relentlessly across the Pacific rather than surrender, but maybe I should tune in for The Truth. So screwy is his read, in fact, that I’m not sure it’s even fair to the Japanese: As I understand it, they hit Pearl Harbor not because “our way of living was different” but because they wanted the oil in the south Pacific and needed to neutralize the American fleet before they made their move. I’m also surprised to learn that whereas the Nazis were unambiguous evil, their strategic ally in the far east — whose imperial army utterly terrorized the civilian population of mainland Asia — was merely “different,” much as jihadists are now. That sure does help me get a handle on that Iraq election held a few days ago.

I assume prominent attention will be given in this thing to the bombings of Hiroshima and Tokyo, irrespective of whether they saved lives in the aggregate by shortening the war. Neo-Nazis like to play the same moral equivalence game by crying crocodile tears over the bombing of Dresden; there’s some extra historical context for you in case you choose to watch. Wish I had a clip of Hanks to offer, but this was a print interview, it seems. Is this bit from Bill Maher’s show of Spicoli apologizing for Hugo Chavez a decent substitute? I’ll bet he and Bill will find plenty to like in Hanks’s series.

Update: Here’s a nice related story: Evidently Matt Damon’s new Iraq flick is “one of the most egregiously anti-American movies ever released by a major studio.”


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Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM
——

Obviously the allied propaganda certainly had the message against Japanese aggression but it most certainly was racist. And the people ate it up.

Nips, Japs, exaggerated slant eyes, buck teeth, etc etc etc

Go look at some of the posters and stop wetting your pants.

Dave Rywall on March 10, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Your father may not have, but many others did.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Go look at some of the posters and stop wetting your pants.

Dave Rywall on March 10, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Dave, there’s a difference between propaganda posters against a foreign enemy, and epithets hurled at our own citizens.

If you look at the posters depicting the Germans and Italians, you see similar “enhancements”.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Go look at some of the posters and stop wetting your pants.

Dave Rywall on March 10, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Product of public school are you?

My father was raised in a Catholic Orphanage by Nuns and Priest. He was Raised to be respectful. To bad your parents, and Tom Hanks parents didn’t do as good a job.

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 3:08 PM

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM

The link didn’t work.

I didn’t say there wasn’t any racism.

I stated, to make a blanket “generalized statement” the WE were fighting the Japanese, because they were different is incorrect. It’s sloppy, and it’s what many people who have no back ground in historical research do…they make generalized blanket statements. Did Tom Hanks go to every person who fought in the war and their families? Did they all respond YES we fought the Japanese because they were different? That’s a Blanket Generalized Statement. A one size fits all – shaping people’s perspective of history from Tom Hank’s point of view did he mention all the folks who didn’t fight the Japanese because they were different? Again what does Tom Hanks mean by WE does he have a mouse in his pocket?

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 3:13 PM

First, basing revisionism on accepted fabrication doesn’t make it so.

The Pacific war was mainly fought by isolated groups of men and was overlaid by a sense that our foes were fundamentally different from us. In that sense, the war in the Pacific bears a closer relation to the complex war on terrorism the U.S. is waging now

Isolated as in battleships or island nations in the Pacific Ocean separated by vast miles of water? Isolated as in US Army abandoned by MacArthur? That hardly equates with the Taliban whom Hanks references inaccurately as “isolated groups of men”. The Taliban actually are NOT isolated but live within the populations of the Middle East because they are PART of the region that is filled with their network. But if Hanks references Afghanistan as “isolated” so it is.

Being “different” is not reason enough for war unless the opponent requires your death and destruction. That our foes are fundamentally different than we are is almost a relief, that we no longer battle “foes” who are the same as we are. Unless, of course, we are recognizing that in domestic political battles, parties and ideologues vilify opponents with the same American history.

Tom Hanks’ premise for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was the biggest revisionist hoax of an acclaimed ‘real’ WWII movie depiction. After Lincoln’s correspondence, the military made a point after the Civil War to never assign enlisted or drafted members from one family (or one county) in the same unit or even the same battalion. Furthermore, during WWII, everyone in the military was consigned to stay until wounded and unable to return to action, or the war ended. And no single person, excepting sons of Presidents or Congressmen or Military Brass, was EVER offered ANY special treatment. Even when these enlisted sons of powerful Americans chose to engage in combat with their units, they were no longer given special treatment but became simply their role in the united effort to win the war (Roosevelt and Kennedy families WWII, McCain Vietnam). Those movie characters ordered to go find Ryan (to go home early) reflect what EVERYONE in the military and at home understood during WWII and after: NO WAY would that plot ever reflect WWII Allied Command. The entire movie was meant to implant unrealistic expectations in the young audience, to think that as an individual inside of the military, they could be considered more special than the other enlisted troops. After all, “the greatest generation” believed and acted that way–NOT. Tom Hanks, you lie.

maverick muse on March 10, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Dave Rywall on March 10, 2010 at 1:55 PM

CHRONOLOGY proves that you need to reconsider your premise within the time line of events.

War poster FOLLOWED our entry into WWII.

Why we entered WWII is detailed in this link originally published 27 years after the Japanese declared war on the US (following FDR’s prevention of peaceful negotiations). Morons, don’t react without reading the link making evident all details and references.

maverick muse on March 10, 2010 at 3:25 PM

If America wanted to annihilate the Japanese, we would not have occupied and rebuilt Japan and become allies.

maverick muse on March 10, 2010 at 4:21 PM

How Big A Fan Of Tom Hanks Was I? My Husband, And I Named Our Bulldog Hooch.

How Big A Fan Am I Of Tom Hanks Now? I’m Not A Fan Of His At All Anymore.

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 4:37 PM

That hardly equates with the Taliban whom Hanks references inaccurately as “isolated groups of men”. The Taliban actually are NOT isolated but live within the populations of the Middle East because they are PART of the region that is filled with their network. But if Hanks references Afghanistan as “isolated” so it is.

They are everywhere in downtown Kabul….so how is it that -they are Isolated? Kabul is the capitol. How are they being taken into custody in Pakistan if they are isolated in Afghanistan? The large make up of the Taliban comes from the Pashtun Tribe and they would very much like a Pashtunistan autonomous from AF/PAK region.

Tom Hanks isn’t really very good at Geography either.

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 4:45 PM

First: I am sure you all know Nip is short for Nippon the island empire of the depraved beasts that attacked China, Viet Nam, Philippines, Hawaii and what else
Second the Chinese have a saying about the origin of the Naps, some Chinese sailors were ship wrecked and mated with monkeys.
I guess the Chinese and Philippines and the Vietnamese wanted to annihilate them because they were different as well. As I and others have often said the Left are euro-centric racist idiots..

Observation on March 10, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Sorry — forgot to remove the junk HotAir puts in front.

Try this.

And, so we get the full Monty:
try this, or try this, or this.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2010 at 5:05 PM

If America wanted to annihilate the Japanese, we would not have occupied and rebuilt Japan and become allies.

maverick muse on March 10, 2010 at 4:21 PM

+100
Something we never get credit for.
I, for one, am getting tired of our country being torn down bcs we are trying to police the world & make it a better place.
So our work in Kosovo is all for nothing?
We were occupiers in Haiti after the earthquake?
The Japanese, who wanted to kill us all, even if it meant that their every last man, woman & child were sacrificed, should have been just left alone bcs they were different?
The Nazis were different.
Should we have not fought against them?
Rywall spews such gibberish to get attention.
Get out of the basement!

Badger40 on March 10, 2010 at 5:14 PM

First: I am sure you all know Nip is short for Nippon the island empire of the depraved beasts that attacked China, Viet Nam, Philippines, Hawaii and what else

Observation on March 10, 2010 at 4:59 PM

My dad, who was in Vietnam, called them Vips.
It wasn’t a racist term when it started out.

Badger40 on March 10, 2010 at 5:15 PM

When is Hanks gonna do a movie about the Japanese rape of Nanking?

Seriously … when?

And what’s gonna be his justification for that? That the Japanese were out to kill Chinese because they were hugely different?

Hanks is boy.

HondaV65 on March 10, 2010 at 5:34 PM

My dad, who was in Vietnam, called them Vips.
It wasn’t a racist term when it started out.

Badger40 on March 10, 2010 at 5:15 PM

My father in law served in Vietnam, and he is of Korean descent…he said, they called the Viet Kong- Gooks, John McCain used this word to refer to the Viet Kong, when he ran in the primary against George W Bush in 2000 Presidential Campaign….which was a leftover from the last police action- The Korean War. The word for Korea in Korean. Hanguk

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 5:47 PM

If Tom Hanks thinks the Americans, didn’t like the Japanese, he should hear what the Koreans think of their history with the Japanese.

Dr Evil on March 10, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Hanks has been Zinned.

davod on March 12, 2010 at 7:58 AM

PS: It is one thing to talk crap to an inteviewer but Hanks used the same logic in his appearance yesterday at the WWII Memorial.

davod on March 12, 2010 at 8:00 AM

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