Racial And Cultural Stereotypes In War Without Mercy By John Dower

1000 Words4 Pages
Following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, both the American and Japanese propaganda machine spun into action, churning out dehumanizing propaganda materials about each other that instills fear and anger onto the civilians of the two respective countries. John Dower’s book, War Without Mercy, depicts the changing perceptions of the protagonists in the pacific theater. From the Japanese perspective, the Americans were the antagonist, while the American counterpart will view the Japanese as the antagonist. Therefore, the central premise was that racial fear and hatred, perpetuated by demonizing propagandas, was the determining factor on how both sides look at the “inferior” other. Dower asserted, “In this milieu of historical forgetfulness, selective reporting centralized propaganda, and a truly savage war, atrocities and war crimes played a major role in the propagation of racial and cultural stereotypes. The stereotypes preceded the atrocities,…show more content…
In one New York Times Magazine, under the heading of “Jap Bullies”, the author analyzed childhood neglect as the reason why the “Jap” soldier is a truculent and vengeful bully. From his birth, his mother pets him inordinately until the arrival of his little sister, after which she dismisses him as her chief interest and hands him over to the indifferent care of servants. An academic paper presented to the academic audience in America by Geoffrey Gorer, an English social anthropologist, argued, “In spite of having adopted many trappings of modern society, he went on, the country still retained a worldview more consonant with an isolated and primitive tribe than with a major industrial nation.” Gorer was especially concerned with the brutal, often sadistic aggressiveness of Japanese males at war, which he linked such behavior directly to ethics peculiar to the Japanese, reflected in their

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