A 1942 Bowery Boys film reveals US attitude toward Asians in WW2

Discussion in 'History' started by Mojo2, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. Mojo2
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    Mojo2 Silver Member

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    A 1942 Bowery Boys film reveals US attitude toward Asians in WW2

    This 1942 Bowery Boys film, "Let's Get Tough," gives us an idea of what America's attitudes were toward Asians immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Any student of history or WWII or America during the war years or racial prejudice and stereotypes prompted by the attack will find this movie illustrative if not entertaining



    Let's Get Tough! (1942) - IMDb

    Note the inclusion of a Black member of their gang, who also hurls tomatoes at the Chinese shopkeeper's storefront when the boys thought he was Japanese.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2014
  2. MaryL
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    MaryL VIP Member

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    My father was wounded by a Japanese soldier in 1942. That generation really seemed to hate Japanese with a passion I couldn't understand. That is a generational thing. I wonder about my own ...dislikes. We lost more people on 9/11 than at Pearl harbor. And then, there are illegal Mexican immigrants (who have damaged me beyond words).I despise Muslims and illegals as much as my dad did the japanese. We all have our wounds. Speaking of fathers, happy fathers day all, vets especially.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  3. Picaro
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    Picaro Post-Modern Origami Fan

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  4. Mojo2
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    Mojo2 Silver Member

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    I remember as a little boy in the 2nd or 3rd grade, I had mixed feelings about cute little Nancy Kanugi or some kind of Japanese name. She had come over to where I was playing in the recess yard and made some kind of friendly advance.

    I was, however, a fan of WWII films and books and comic books and all I knew about Krauts and Japs was that they were the bad guys.

    I liked her, but she was a Jap (this was during the JFK era) so I stopped playing with her and never had much to do with her again after that.

    Later, during Lee Iacocca's takeover of the Chrysler Corporation in the 1980's I sold cars for them and met several WWII era vets who absolutely refused to even LOOK at our Mitsubishi models because of WWII.

    The movie I posted is an entertaining bit of pro America propaganda I hope everyone watches at least a few minutes of.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  5. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Gold Member Supporting Member

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    So, Mojo2? That's how America thinks about the traitorous far right today.

    In fact, my dad and step dad, who both fought the Japanese as infantry and marine riflemen in WWII, would tell you the military training films were far worse.

    Most people have a very difficult time in killing people.

    Some of us in the military later adapted without any problems, others not so much.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  6. Picaro
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    Picaro Post-Modern Origami Fan

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    A lot of Japanese cars got vandalized in the '80's, especially in the Midwest where the auto industry was taking a hit. A few here in Texas also, but not nearly as much as in the auto ind. states.
  7. whitehall
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    whitehall VIP Member Supporting Member

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    Common citizens only knew what the government told them after FDR took over the media during WW2. The government's racist attitude toward the Japanese bordered on criminal negligence prior to WW2. Maybe that's why we were so unprepared for war in the Pacific. The FDR administration actually thought the Japanese were little near sighted war like creatures who couldn't build a ship that would float or a plane that would fly. The people in charge actually thought that the Japanese had a balance problem that made it impossible to fly a plane.
  8. HenryBHough
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    HenryBHough Silver Member Supporting Member

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    Now Jake....or if you prefer, Pajama Boy, please do not equate your Democrat colleagues with actual Americans.
  9. regent
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    regent Senior Member

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    There was talk during WWII of letting GI's vote for the president. Republicans and Southerners fought the bill in Congress. Republicans because they knew the vote would be for FDR and Southerners because Blacks would be allowed to vote. I was in a rifle company at Sansapor New Guinea at the time and I was prepared to vote for the first time, but it was not to be. That most of us, if not all in my company, would have voted Democratic for FDR is a given. We heard that there was a Republican in K company but we were too lazy to see if it was true.
  10. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Henry, you are not American in the first place, haven't served in the second place, and don't understand adult conversation. Hush.
  11. Political Junky
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    Political Junky VIP Member

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    Not so different from the Right's feelings toward Muslims today.
  12. Mojo2
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    Mojo2 Silver Member

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    The film is a window into how Americans felt.

    During WWII the problem of soldiers being emotionally unable to kill the enemy in combat was addressed by having marksmanship training be conducted against man sized and man shaped targets rather than the stereotypical black and white rings and circular bulls eyes which had previously been employed for battle rifle training.

    Once the recruit and infantry training made the soldiers realize they are going to be aiming and pulling the trigger on what looked like real men, the issue was at least somewhat resolved.
  13. Mojo2
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    Mojo2 Silver Member

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    Muslims will bring the kind of baggage we see in France...



    In the UK...



    In Russia and Chechnya...

    In Iraq...

    In Pakistan...

    In Gaza and the West Bank...

    to America.

    Aside from dutiful Muslims, who the hell wants THAT stuff here?
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  14. Mojo2
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    Mojo2 Silver Member

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    Some, but by no means all were so dismissive of the Japanese.

    Those who were at Pearl Harbor probably would have been the best witnesses to dispel that last myth.
  15. Picaro
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    Picaro Post-Modern Origami Fan

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    Most adults at the time were aware of the Japanese capabilities, their various wars in Asia having been covered in the papers, from the war with Russia in 1905 to the Rape of Nanking. They were also aware of the patriotism and support the Nisei and Issei had for the Japanese conquests in Asia.

    Comparing the manifestations of American racism to the manifestations of Japanese racism is like comparing the Holocaust to a couple of school girls having a slap fight in a schoolyard over a boyfriend. There is no equivalence.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  16. Unkotare
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    Unkotare Gold Member

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    Only true fools believed that level of propaganda. Japan had been building modern battleships for decades by then. They used them to kick the Russians asses in the Russo-Japanese War.
  17. namvet
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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVliFfSexWs]You're a Sap Mr. Jap SONG - YouTube[/ame]
    :D
  18. regent
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    regent Senior Member

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    A student did a study one time of music during WWII and how the music was like a history of the war. From the early ridicule of the enemy to our make-believe heroes and what we were going to do to the stupid enemy. Then to the loneliness of the GI and the girl and family he had left and would she be true. And on to the real heroes and finally what would life be like after the war.
  19. Unkotare
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    It makes a certain psychological sense to dehumanize your enemy during wartime, but it doesn't make any sense to dehumanize your own citizens. And, of course, the weak-minded sometimes have a very hard time letting go of this dehumanization long after the war has ended.
  20. longknife
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    Okay, I know this is a waste of time, but I'll post it anyhow.

    I lived during WWII. I was very young but have clear memories.

    I lived in a mixed neighborhood in Los Angeles and some of my friends were Japanese. I remember the house on our block that were the neatest and cleanest belong to Japanese.

    They were as stunned and upset as anyone upon hearing of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Thgeir patriotism is what made their being sent to interment camps so horrible. My mom and dad took me to one as we delivered a basket of foods and things they thought were needed. I took a couple of comic books I knew my friend enjoyed.

    I don't think anyone in our entire neighborhood "hated" the Japanese. Who we DID hate were the Nips and Japs OVER THERE!

    There was, of course, a huge amount of propaganda put out by the government through Hollywood. Not just against the Japs, but the Krauts and Spaghetti Benders. It was all designed to get people on the bandwagon of supporting the war. Canned food drives. War Bond Rallies. And more. My mom worked in a Douglas plant riveting on war planes. My dad, an LA cop, stayed on the job as so many of other cops were either drafted or volunteered. I was sent to Page Military Academy where I learned to be a soldier - marching and all the rest of it - wooden rifles of course.

    Was the USA bigoted? You bet!
    Was the USA hateful of the Nazis, Fascists, and Samurais? You bet!
    Was this wrong? Hell no! It's what it took to mobilize a nation AND WIN TWO WARS!!!

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