Monday, January 24, 2011

World War II US Propaganda Cartoon: Tokyo Woes

Playing around at the Internet Archives, I found another wild propaganda film made by the US government. The Navy destroyed this film after the war and thought it was gone forever but it was recently rediscovered in a garage.

This episode shows how the US government tries to dehumanize our enemies so that is is easier to kill them and so the American public will find more acceptable our war crimes. But even more than that, it is a blatant attempt to fool the public and US troops to support the war machine and the military industry by buying War Bonds!

Of course, the US government wanted people to give them money in return for War Bonds... The government could get the money for cheaper and pay their own citizens back at a rate lower than market value.... 

What a bunch of nice folks.

These cartoons are a flimsy way to piss off Joe Blow (who doesn't know any better) to waste his money on bonds. It makes Average Joe American angry because of what these "Japanese" supposedly say (see this film too) and it dehumanizes the enemy to make war crimes acceptable.

From Big Cartoon Database:

"Tokyo Rose" broadcasts a message encouraging servicemen not to bother with war bonds. The Sad Sack, a fake U.S. POW with a Porky Pig voice, explains that life is so wonderful in Japan that he intends to move there permanently with his family. To the proposition "What good will bonds do?" Mr. Hook responds with a missile shell containing a reply from a "talking bond," along with a number of explosive devices. Post-war, another shell lands on Hook, this time containing the "talking bond" delivering all the benefits from his investment.

War crimes such as dropping an atomic bomb on a city of civilians - and not on a military base - is readily more acceptable to the public if they do see that these are humans, just like us. It was the same after the war with things like the fire bombing od Dresden; the US government tried to cover up the fact that the bombing ever occurred and that hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were killed by our terror bombing their cities.

I do not place this cartoon as an act of racism or to point fingers of blame. Its placement here is a reminder of how, especially when it comes to war, our government will lie to us to cover for their actions done in our name.

Internet Archive states:   

This cartoon (along with other "Hook" cartoons) was found by accident in the garage of a former soldier who had saved them, thinking they were "Private Snafu" shorts. The cartoon was finally discovered in the mid-1990s when an documentary on war cartoons began production. It turned out that Warners made these shorts for the US Navy and because they wanted to keep this a secret, all original negatives were destroyed shortly after release. The "Hook" shorts that were given to the cartoon researchers had "vinegar syndrome" and have deteriorated, but fortunately before that happened, they transferred them to video.

Actually, come to think of it... Most folks would consider that we, as a society and people in general, are smarter than our predecessors, but judging from how the USA demonizes and dehumanizes the Muslim world, I'd say we haven't learned anything.

Sad statement, isn't it? 

1 comment:

Andy "In Japan" said...

It's no surprise that the goons who run the government engage in this horrible sort of hate mongering. What is truly shocking, shameful, and disheartening is the fact that so many people allow themselves to be taken in by this sort of cruel, mindless nonsense.

Kudos to Mike for blogging something interesting and thoughtful.