Well here we go again! Part two of the three part trilogy WWII in the Pacific…
In the earlier episode, WWII in the Pacific – Waking the Beast, we saw the beginning of the war in the Pacific. The battle of Midway and Pearl Harbor etc.
This episode covers the largest part of the war in the Pacific. We see from 1942 up to 1944:
- The invasion of the Gilbert, Marshall, and Marianas islands
- The first offensive against Guadalcanal by MacArthur
- The encirclement of Rabaul in 1944
- The invasion of Saipan
- The Invasion of the Philippines, starting with Leyte and Luzon
Now, to get some things I’ve mentioned before out of the way.
WWII in the Pacific uses a lot of footage from WWII in Color.
And despite their claims, WWII in the Pacific does not make much use of new, striking, color footage. For one thing the color footage is mostly in the very beginning and end of the sections near the commercial breaks. My assumption is they wanted to save some money and lure in viewers, so that’d be the place to put your color footage. Like I said, the footage isn’t really new either. It comes from WWII in Color. Some of the black and white footage I had never seen before now though, so that was interesting.
It is worth mentioning that this documentary takes a very firm “American” view of the war in the Pacific. That is, everything is told from an “American” perspective and takes a somewhat older view of the world.
This skewed perspective is striking in two ways.
One, in the show they minimize any poor decision making or US loses while simultaneously treating everything as a US victory or just a US victory that hasn’t been won yet (to be fair there were a lot of them). This is particularly noticeable when they talk about MacArthur’s campaign in the Pacific. The documentary treats everything he does as the right decision, which simply wasn’t the case. People are still arguing over whether or not invading the Philippines (MacArthur’s idea) was even close to being necessary.
Two, the show is absolutely obsessed with portraying Japanese troops and citizens as fanatics. All you hear is fanatics this, fanatics that. The problem is, they were not fanatics. The documentary talks of Banzai charges and Kamikaze pilots as if they were so incredibly insane that the entirety of Japan was filled with fanatics. This is a complete misunderstanding, or lack of understanding, of Japanese culture and history. To fully explain this, I’d need to write y’all entire books on the subject. Maybe later, eh.
Anyways, WWII in the Pacific is not safe for young children and as previously mentioned is not the most educational documentary on the subject to ever be made. The facts, the truths, of WWII in the Pacific and the war in the Pacific in general are a little skewed. Not bad for anybody who already knows their stuff though!
Other episodes in this series:
WWII in the Pacific – Island Warfare Article by Jordan Wunderlich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.