Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Good War~ Peter Ota

Peter Ota is a Japanese-American who was a young teenager during World War Two. He lived in Santa Anita, California when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japense on December 7th, 1941. Immediately him and his family were "relocated" to a camp, the first of many to come. Ota was 15 at the time of entering the camp, along with his twelve year old sister, and ailing mother. His mother became very ill and was transfered to a hospital where she later died. Peter claims that his mother died from the shame of what was happening to her family. Peter's father, a well respected business man "lost everything that he worked for in one night" and humiliated and stripped from all his belongings. The family was separated and put in two different camps for a year and then were later reunited. Three years later Peter turned eighteen and enlisted in the army before he was drafted. He served along with the very men that took his family from their home and enprisoned them. Peter felt very awkward and angry and dealt with harrassment and depression in the army. He was called names like "dirty Jap" and had to be watched at all times by other officers. He was not even allowed to use the bathroom himself, there was always a guard there overseeing him.
After the war was over Peter married and moved back to Santa Anita and started a family. He felt that he could not show his Japanese heritage and did everything the "American Way." He lived in an all-white neighborhood, taught his children all about America, and even celebrated all the American Holidays. His daughter later asked him about the relocation camps, and all Peter could do was tear and choke up. The terrible conditions he suffered during World War Two left him with many scarrs. He lost his mother, was separated from his father and sister, had to serve with the very men who were taking them away, and dealt with harrassment ontop of that. Although the camps were not as severe as the concentration camps in Germany, many Japanese-American families were emotionally and mentally broken.

THe Boy in The Striped Pajamas.

Based on the novel by John Boyne, Young Bruno who lives a wealthy lifestyle in Pre-war Germany along with his mother, elder sister, and army Commandant father. The family re-locate to the countryside where his father is assigned to commandeer a prison camp.
A few days later, Bruno befriends another youth, strangely dressed in striped pyjamas, named Shmuel who lives behind an electrified fence. Bruno will soon find out that he is not permitted to befriend his new friend as he is a Jew, and that the neighboring yard is actually a prison camp for Jews awaiting extermination.
Bruno is lonely and confused by his new surroundings, and he doesn't understand why he can't wander the grounds or play at a nearby farm. The "farm," of course, is a concentration camp, though Bruno doesn't know this.
Shmuel is eight, the same age as Bruno, and the two form a timid, careful friendship, playing checkers and catch through the barbed wire fence. Bruno knows that his friendship with Shmuel is dangerous, but after witnessing brutal violence perpetrated against some very kind people, he has begun to question the Nazi doctrine of hate. He is no longer sure what to make of his soldier father, whom he once believed to be a hero. When he learns that Shmuel is in trouble, he vows to help him, and together the boys form an outrageous plan.
In this movie clip it will show you how the ending of the movie took place and how Bruno experienced the "life of a Jew", just within 5 minutes, and he was gone like the wind.
I posted this up bc it reminded me of the movie we saw in class "the night and fog"; a documentary film.

"The Good War": Alvin (Tommy) Bridges

As I was reading Studs Terkel's "The Good War", I enjoyed reading the chapter about crime and punishment. What really caught my eye was Alvin (Tommy) Bridges.

Bridges was a Bay City policemen for thirty-one years, and he was also a police chief. Bridges was an MP during World War II. He feels that the war was an useless war, he also feels that every war is. He also feels that this world won't last long if we have nuclear weapons around.

He goes into saying how he became an MP. He said that it wasn't because of his skills or knowledge he was just told he was going to be an MP. That kind of struck me as odd, wouldn't you place people in fields that they are strong, I felt by doing this they didn't care and it wasn't making the army strong.
Bridges talks about how dumb the officers were, and he couldn't believe thy actually made in through their assignment, and as he was talking about this he kept on laughing which was funny. Bridges describes his title as policemen "A lot of the GI's had respect for the MP and a lot of 'em hated our guts. Just like policemen. Worse, because we were the only ones who bothered 'em. The policemen in Paris didn't bother the GI's at all. If they were tearin' the place apart, they'd call us. We'd arrest 'em for anything from murder of another GI or civilian to sellin' one of those trucks."

Bridges also talks about when they got colored soldiers to their outfit, he said this was a first for the MP to have blacks and whites together.

Bridges talks about how they would shoot people violating the code of conduct. Bridges says "They shoot you in wartime for nothing...the Articles of War book looks like a bible..." Bridges never liked to stay and watch the shootings as some other MP's did. "I never liked to see anybody executed or anybody shot."

In closing Bridges talks about his feelings towards this war and war in general. He says this war was foolish, he also said that there is no war worth fighting for. Bridges feels the reason for war is money. I will end with a another quote from Bridges "But the airplane has come in its own, nuclear weapons...We don't be in this world for long."

Studs Terkel "The Good War": Grigori Baklavnov

These are some pictures of Mr. Terkel just in case we did't know what he looked liked.

One of the stories I read from "The Good War" was from a Mr. Girgori Baklanov who was a Russian war hero and author who wrote novels dealing with the subject of war. In the piece from Terkel's book Baklanov tells of how his children and grandchildren would ask him to tell them stories about the war. He says he does not like to talk or reminisce about the war. He goes on to tell how just by chance his family happens to exsist, because "only centimeters decided whether they should be here on this earth or not. Whether the bullet went that way or this way." He says they didn't understand that they are here by accident. I think this is a great point when we have to look at the effects of a war and how we can be blind to certain things like the fact one bullet can change the exsistence of somebody. I think Mr. Baklanov says it best, "The bullet that killed us today goes into the death of centuries and generations, killing life which din't come to exsist yet." If we think about now and relate it to the wars of today the same thing is happening, men and women are being killed and their families will never come to be, they will never have the chance to have their name carried on through time and history. Think about it..... one bullet, one bomb, one missle can change everything.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Good War- John Kenneth Galbraith

John Kenneth Galbraith is an economist, memoirist and former ambassador to India. American war strategy was simply this: "We have airplanes, therefore they must be effective." Much of the reading is about the bombings that took place during WWII and the difference between the effects in Germany and Japan. There were 2 strategies taken towards bombing during the war. The British bombed at night and went for central cities. This was mainly because that was all they could find. this would most likely damage the working class because the poor usually resided in the center of there country, whereon the other hand the rich lived on the outskirts. American strategy involved daylight raids. Plants were aimed for but there was consistent problem with targeting.
A plant, which produced synthetic fuels, was successfully hit by the U.S. multiple times in central Germany. Truth is, The bombing on Germany by the U.S. and British had far less of an effect than they thought at the time. According to Galbraith there were three reasons for this; machine tools were relatively invulnerable and easily recovered, it was easy to decentralize production and move machinery to schools and churches as well as used substitutes to redesign equipment, and they were able to reorganize managements.
But what about the bombings in Japan? Japan did not have the same recovery as Germany. If Japanese plants were hit they would most likely stay out of production. This was mainly because during this time Japan was a small country with a small industrial base.
Galbraith states that the bomb did not end the Japanese war. There was already a decision for a peace treaty to get out of the war. The Japanese government at that time was very bureaucratic and the decision for negotiation took time to go into action. This decision was not known to Washington.
Galbraith goes on to discuss his personal view on what he has seen and how it has affected him. Galbraith grew up in Canada where his father was a major influence in the community(who eventually took a position on the draft board to be able to exempt anyone who didn't want to go) Many in this community had doubts about the justification of WWI. Because of this background Galbraith's approach to war was less enthusiastic. He knew that war was necessary for WWII for many reasons despite his background. Galbraith concluded by saying that "the visual impact of the air attacks and the horror of it is something I've lived with to this day."

Monday, November 9, 2009

"The Good War"- Dennis Keegan

Dennis Keegan had been listening to the radio when he got the news Peal Harbor was attacked. He recalls that at first the bombing didn't mean much to him. He thought it was impossible for America to get attacked.

He states that as it got later in the day he saw the mass hysteria form. He tells a story of getting stopped by a guard going over the Golden Gate Bridge. He later found out that night that a woman was killed for not stopping.

Well he was driving down town he explains how the city was in chaos. People were all over the city were smasing all the lights. The streets were packed and cars and the tolies couln't move. Rumors were flying like the Golden State Bridge was bombed and the city was being invaded.