Invasion of Saipan: American Reaction to Japanese Civilian Suicides (June-July 1944)

marines Saipan
Figure 1.--There are many images like thisx of grizzeled Marines treating Japanese civilians with kindness. We have noted efforts of reviisionist historians to equate America with the Japanese and Axis countries. World War II was the most photographed war in history. Yet there is nothing in the photographic record showing the Japanese or other Axis soldiers treating enemy civilians in this manner. And Marines like the ones here wouldhave witnessed examples of Japanese barbarity.

The American soldiers who witnessed thr Japanese civilians on Saipan committing suicide were agast. They had never seen anything like it. It was one thing for Japanese soldiers to fight to the death. By this point in the War, the American soldiers expected this. But these were civilians. Many wondered if the enire Japanese nation was prepared to commit suicide. Not only were the Marines and Soldiers agast, but they did what they could to prevent the civilians from committing suiside. And they attempted to comfort the civiklians even while the fighting was still going on. The Pacific War is correctly portrayed as a bitterly fought war. The Japanese from when they first encountered American troops, treated them barbarically. And the American Marines when they first met the Japanese on Guadacanal repaid savegry with savegry. There was, however, a major difference. The Japanese were not only barbaric with soldiers they captured, but also civilians. Their conduct in China belies belief. And the many accounts of Western civilian internees testify to the cruelty of the Japanese military. On Saipan, American marines and soldiers behaved very differently toward the civilans. While they fought the Japanese soldiers to the death. The emotion of hatred was not transferred to the Japanese civiklians they encountered.


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Created: 4:38 AM 7/14/2010
Last updated: 4:38 AM 7/14/2010