Book Report (War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War)

1912 words 8 pages
Maria Lendor Book Report (War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War)

Throughout the course of history it is apparent that racism is present in most societies. During times of war people of a certain race may choose to segregate themselves in order to become the leading power in their society. In his book, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War published in New York by Pantheon books and copyrighted in 1986, John W. Dower presents arguments for both the United States and Japan which constitute similarities in the belief of a superior race as well as illustrates contradictions on how each side viewed the war.
The book begins with “Part I: Enemies” which is made up of the first 3 chapters. Part I starts off
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(Page 234) Dower explains that to the Japanese “outsiders” could possess certain skills that can be helpful to the community, or they can possess skills that can seem harmful or bear evil. Dower explains that during the “Tokugawa period (1600-1868) Christianity had been known as the Barbarian sect.”(Page 239) He argues that in this time period the Japanese thought of the Western civilization as “Barbarian” in nature. Interestingly enough John Dower alludes to the fact that the United States is portrayed as an “Oni,” which in the Japanese culture is a demon-like character. Dower argues that Japan used these characters to say that “the mission of the Yamato race was to prevent the human race from becoming devilish.” The last chapter of Part III, chapter 10, proceeds to go over the document that acted as a stepping stone for policy makers in Japan, the Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus. This chapter can be summarized as this, all the races in the world are completely different and it is Japans Job to out these races in their place.
The Final part of the book, Part IV is made up of only 1 chapter. In this chapter Dower reflects on the death tolls of the war as well as question how all this hatred between the 2 races could just disappear relatively quickly. He believes that it may be because all in all most of the stereotypes were not true. He also stressed that maybe some of the stereotypes have been


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