Tom Hanks’ Anti-American History

Sunday marked the much-anticipated first episode of HBO’s The Pacific, the latest mini-series from the folks who brought you Band of Brothers. The production team includes, most notably, Hollywood icon Tom Hanks – and therein lies a still-simmering controversy that has cast a negative spotlight on the show just as it has begun its television run.

In a March 6 story at (subsequently corrected on March 11) Douglas Brinkley penned a gushing tribute to Hanks in anticipation of the debut of The Pacific, entitled “How Tom Hanks Became America’s Historian in Chief.” Sadly, Brinkley’s piece didn’t have much to do with history, much less with establishing Hanks as an expert on the subject.

For Brinkley, Hanks is not your typical left-coast progressive. Not only is Hanks supposedly knowledgeable about the events that shaped this nation, but the actor has put that journey of discovery to good use and, as a result, is really much more a moderate and a patriot than your usual run-of-the-mill Hollywood celebrity. Brinkley warmed to this theme early in his article:

“His view of American history is a mixture of idealism and realism, both of which have characterized all the work he has produced; he’s a Kennedy liberal with old-time values, the kind that embraces Main Street on the Fourth of July.”

But how to reconcile that view of Hanks with this utterance by the actor from the same article:

“Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”

That dual insult to everyone who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II and to everyone serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today is predictable when one considers where and how Hanks has filled his personal storehouse of historical knowledge. According to Brinkley:

“What differentiates Hanks from the academic past masters is his conviction that the historical experience should be a very personal one. He harbors a pugnacious indignation against history as data gathering, preferring the work of popular historians like McCullough, Ambrose, Barbara Tuchman and Doris Kearns Goodwin.”

And this:

“As Hanks’ star rose in the 1990s, he sought out new sources of what he calls ‘entertainable historical knowledge.’ Leon Uris’ fact-anchored novels — Mila 18, Armageddon and Exodus — taught Hanks to feel history in a way no high school teacher ever did, but the entertainment level had to be hyperkinetic to hold his attention. It was the same with most academic histories.”

Whatever “enteratainable historical knowledge” is supposed to be, it’s not history. It’s rather a fragment of history, taken out of context and placed against a dramatic backdrop that distorts the true picture. I love reading the late Stephen Ambrose as much as the next guy, but Ambrose told personal stories. He did not pen sweeping perspectives that document the forces and facts of history on the large scale. But, real history bores Hanks, so he’ll stick with the Saving Private Ryan formula when it comes to storytelling. And that’s great. Who doesn’t love Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers? Those works are invaluable tributes to the men who won World War II. When Hanks sticks to such personal stories, we are the richer for them. But when Brinkley’s new appointed “Historian in Chief” (perhaps “History Czar” is in Hanks’ future?) start commenting on historical, geo-political forces and social dynamics, he finds himself far out over his skis.

Even an armchair historian understands that the seeds of the Pacific war were planted when Japanese imperialistic aggression manifested itself in a brutal attack against China. America antagonized Japan because we applied diplomatic pressure to protect the Chinese from the Japanese. Our defense of China led directly to Pearl Harbor and everything that followed. The implication that race had anything to do with the war is nothing but nonsensical, unsupportable, neo-historical propaganda.

During World War II, Americans under Joe Stillwell fought alongside Chinese soldiers trying to drive the imperial armies of Japan from their land. Americans under Douglas MacArthur liberated the Philippines. Americans and Filipinos united under Lieutenant Colonel (self-appointed Brigadier General) Wendell Fertig, one of the unsung heroes of World War II, to conduct a heroic guerrilla war against Japanese rule on the Philippine island of Mindano. Our troops in the Pacific spent a great deal of their time and risked their lives to defend and liberate peoples whom Hanks calls “yellow, slant-eyed dogs.” A real “historian in chief” ought to be aware of that undeniable fact.

The same is true in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Anyone who has spent even a modicum of time talking with soldiers coming back from the front lines in those nations knows the truth. Our troops aren’t motivated by the need to kill alien “ragheads” (though that particular pejorative is regularly employed when it comes to jihadists); they are primarily motivated by two things: the desire to do right by their comrades-in-arms; and by the moral obligation to protect the peaceful, civilian populace in the nations they serve.

American soldiers have not and do not battle enemy combatants because they might have an alien appearance. American soldiers fight those enemies because they serve alien, tyrannical ideologies. If Tom Hanks intends to chronicle the stories of the brave men and women who have risked everything in the name of liberty, he would do well to remember the nobility of the causes they serve.

  • Paul Michaels

    Biggest grudge I have against Hanks, Speilberg, et al. is they continue to glorify the
    greatest generation's "good war" and have never lifted a finger to pay tribute to their own generation's Vietnam war where 60,000 valiant young men died.

  • Ipso Facto

    "Our troops in the Pacific spent a great deal of their time and risked their lives to defend and liberate peoples whom Hanks calls “yellow, slant-eyed dogs.”

    Not so much time was spent liberating Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were liberated in a matter of seconds. But apart from the war crimes against the Japaneese Rich Trzupek is right. Color or race had nothing to do with the US policy to balance power in China and the Pacific.

    • krz2

      let's not forget the people foolish enough to surrender at Bataan. From the historical perspective, the japanese nation and it's people were treated more humanely than they deserved
      you don't have to look further than the soviet occupation of germany.

      • tarleton

        I agree …after what the Japs were involved in , in China and Korea…they got off RELATIVELY lightly

      • Rifleman

        My uncle didn't (he was on Mindanao, fighting practitioners of 'the religion of peace'), but by the time the US retook it, he wasn't in much better shape than the surviving POWs, and never really recovered. When the US found out about him and the band of Phillipino guerillas he was with, they dropped him a radio, ammo, a little food, and made him a coast watcher.

        Villages holding out any of their harvest to the Japanese or even suspected of giving rice to the guerillas were massacred and burned. They would do the same thing to the nearest village to any guerilla activity. The Japanese rationed to each villager barely enough of their own harvest to keep them from starving. Conquered subjects weak from near starvation cause less trouble. Needless to say, the guerillas lived off monkeys, birds, snakes, lizards, and finally bugs and grubs, for 3 years.

    • tarleton

      Hiroshima and Nagasaki were NOT occupied cities ,like Manilla and Shanghi….they didn't need to be liberated……you clueless twit !

    • Indioviejo

      You overlook, as all good anti-Americans do, the Japanese lives saved by bringing about Japan's surrender. By calling it a war crime you define yourself as an inmoral ignoramus. Nevertheless, we who have stepped- up in service to our country, in order to protect your 1st Amendment right, reaffirm your right. Enjoy our gift to you.

    • poetcomic1

      Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved MILLIONS of Japanese lives. The 80-something Japanese great grandmother of 2010 in the Chanel suit and exquisite climate controlled neo-Japanese house was once the starving girl eating bark off of trees and carrying a government issued knife with which she was supposed to do her duty and die killing at least one American.

      • Ipso Facto

        THE HIROSHIMA MYTH – almost as persistant as the myth of a peaceful and tolerant Islam.

        You should take a lesson from the historical facts!

        Every year during the first two weeks of August the mass news media and many politicians at the national level trot out the "patriotic" political myth that the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan in August of 1945 caused them to surrender, and thereby saved the lives of anywhere from five hundred thousand to one million American soldiers, who did not have to invade the islands. Opinion polls over the last fifty years show that American citizens overwhelmingly (between 80 and 90%) believe this false history which, of course, makes them feel better about killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians (mostly women and children) and saving American lives to accomplish the ending of the war.

        The best book, in my opinion, to explode this myth is The Decision to Use the Bomb by Gar Alperovitz, because it not only explains the real reasons the bombs were dropped, but also gives a detailed history of how and why the myth was created that this slaughter of innocent civilians was justified, and therefore morally acceptable. The essential problem starts with President Franklin Roosevelt’s policy of unconditional surrender, which was reluctantly adopted by Churchill and Stalin, and which President Truman decided to adopt when he succeeded Roosevelt in April of 1945. Hanson Baldwin was the principal writer for The New York Times who covered World War II and he wrote an important book immediately after the war entitled Great Mistakes of the War. Baldwin concludes that the unconditional surrender policy ". . . was perhaps the biggest political mistake of the war . . . . Unconditional surrender was an open invitation to unconditional resistance; it discouraged opposition to Hitler, probably lengthened the war, costs us lives, and helped to lead to the present aborted peace."

        • davarino

          Uh huh, these genocidal regimes were supposed to be treated respectfully and given conditional surrender. The people of a nation have to be held to account for what their leaders do and fight to oppose those evil leaders. If they dont, someone else will have to do the job.

          Inocent civilians get caught in the middle but does that mean we have to sacrifice more of our people to get the job done? You know its guys like you with your twisted sense of right and wrong and no gray that get people killed. Just like during WWII, if we had jumped into the war earlier instead of listening to all the pasifists there would have been fewer lives lost.

        • Rifleman

          Nonsense, hindsight doesn't refute their judgement, it validates it. Neither country has tried to conquest for 60 years now. Not giving them the opportunity to come back at us in 10 or 20 years with nukes was no mistake.

          You seem to have as little understanding of history and the Japanese as they (with a few notable exceptions, like Yamamoto) did of us. Perhaps you should expand your history reading beyond commie professors of "Political Economy ." Where or when wasn't the Japanese resistance "unconditional?" Where and when wasn't their offense "unconditional," for that matter?

  • therealend

    From TH's quote: “Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”

    From me: The part that reads 'They were out to kill us' sounds familiar.

    • eerieSteve

      And on the other side of the Pacific, citizens of Imperial Japan looked upon all other Japanese as less than "yellow, slant-eyed dogs" that believed in different gods. In effect, the Shintoists looked upon you and me as inanimate objects. Essentially prey, and in many cases the rampant cannibalism of Imperial Japan was worst than what the US did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    • Rifleman

      Gee, someone wanted to kill and subjugate us before? That never happens in history, so it must be our fault somehow.

  • Sam Deakins

    Can't Obama just apologize for WWII and placate Hanks and his Band Of Brotuhs?

  • Ed Stillwell

    The saddest thing of all is that there are people who actually care about what people like Hanks have to say.

  • swathdiver

    Hanks and Speilberg glorify WW2 because American citizens were used to further the cause of world Communism. Most assuredly Hanks knows how we betrayed the Chinese to Stalin (with vermin like Stillwell) and is muddying the waters to keep the secret.

    In the case of Vietnam, they wanted America to lose because we were fighting Communists which are Hollywood's heroes. They're despicable, immoral and evil people.

    • eyes wide open

      WHAT ? What are they putting in your drinking watewr ? You need a phsyic pal .

      • swathdiver

        Open your eyes and read some real history books pal.

        You may reply to me directly if you wish, just google my name.

    • coyote3

      You have a point. The enemy of my enemy may be my ally, but that doesn't mean they are my friend. I am not saying WWII, against the axis, shouldn't have been fought. I am only saying that in doing so we turned a blind eye to another evil and traded one evil for one just as bad. As far as the bomb goes, I believe it is safe to say that "we" would have lost a lot more people in an invasion than "we" lost because we used the bomb. That is all that really mattters to me. Certainly, a lot of Japanese civilians died, but they were worth, even if one grunt's life was saved.

    • Rifleman

      You're right, and eyes sewn shut would probably be surprised that the kennedy's were also involved in the betrayal of China to stalin and mao.

  • A Bit Profound

    What a demented Idiot. These Leftists — It's hard to grasp the amount of insanity around

  • Susan Salisbury

    And we fought the Germans because……….? They kind of looked like us. Not to mention they didn't bomb us like the Japanese did. Hanks really has no excuse for his ignorant statements. Hanks statements confirm my suspicions that the failure of public schools to teach any amount of history at all is deliberate not accidental. Anyone who has even the most passing familiarity with the events that lead to the declaration of war and who the combatants were would see the holes in Hanks' logic. The sad truth is that the Hollywood enamored generations cannot even tell you who the combatants were in WWII

    • tarleton

      We fought the nazi's because they declared war on us…five days after Pearl

    • Indioviejo

      Ms. Salisbury, you are absolutely right about our public schools doing deliberate brain washing on at least 3 generations. Universities have done the same thing by undermining American values. We need to engage on all fronts if we are to save our country.

  • Old Witness

    It is to bad that Hanks and his group could not be returned to the time of the 1930's and 1940's to actually witness the action. If he could see first had the brutal actions of the Japanese in China, the mass murder of the Chinese, the rape of Nanking and other acts. The pitching of babies into the air to use for bayonet practice. The burning of whole villeges and the killing of all found there he might know that the Japanese looked down on and considered any other Asian peoples as inferior and deserving of death. Look at their policies as they spread the war through out SE Asia.

    • swathdiver

      The horror doesn't end their. He would also bear witness to the Roosevelt Administrations lack of support to the Chinese Nationalists and support for the Chinese/Soviet Communists. He would learn that the Democrat Party carried out Stalin's wishes and betrayed Chiang Kai Shek and the Chinese people to the slavery, misery and death of communism. If people knew the full story there would be no Democrat Party, at least not as big as it is today.

  • Luis Perez

    Ask any Army person who fought in Gudalcanal, and they will tell you how the Japanese treated the natives. Some veterans still hate the Japanese for what they did . This actor is proof that the liberal education we have been getting in our school tends to defeat America , not praise it for all the good we have done all over the world.

  • JeffroBodine

    Something the Left can’t possibly understand because of their “conflict management” training and “anger management” silliness is that, in order to engage in the horrors that are war, “objectifying” the enemy is necessary for most warriors. It’s a lot more mentally manageable to kill someone if you can massage your mind to see them as less than human. Their inability to understand things like that is largely why they are unqualified to deal with terrorist competently.

  • jinjar

    Oh but it were that I had the wisdom of the progressives. All these many years I believed the decimation of our Navy on December 7th 1941 was a huge factor bringing us into the war in the Pacific.

  • JeffT

    Hanks, et al, just can't help themselves. With the usual smugness that all Lefties wear like a badge of honor, they just can't accept the fact that we have real enemies in the world. Enemies that have been, and are today, intent on destroying the West and what we stand for. There is always an underlying motive for our actions. It must be our arrogance, our racism or our fault, somehow, that Japan did what they did.

  • johncarens

    Ho, hum… whatever.
    The first movie Spielberg ever made was an 8-mm home flick of him and his buddies flitting around the beaches near his home in southern California, in a mock World War Two navy battle staged with the help of his dad, who fought in the Pacific. Now Steven has the cash to re-live his youth, nothing more. Zzzzzz…

    As for Tom Hanks. He's a stand-up comic–, and also a gifted actor. But, so what? I've enjoyed many of his movies (but not all– "Turner and Hooch" comes to mind, along with the recent "Terminal" which was unwatchable). Unlike most Hollywood types, at least he's AWARE there was a Second World War, that men died fighting it, and can summon up some sense of gratitude that they did.

    The real villains of this story, thought, are the Hollywood reporters that plaster more slobbering faux thoughtfulness on Hanks than he deserves. He's not an historian (if he were, he would have insisted on telling one of the thousands of real stories of heroism in Normandy, rather than the made-up one of "Private Ryan"), and, to my knowledge, has never claimed to be one. The hard and grueling work, though, is left up to us, the viewing public, to be able to discriminate between "enteratainable historical knowledge" and the real thing.

    • Jim C.

      Hanks and Spielberg made Band of Brothers and the Pacific. Both real stories, both massive undertakings. Band of Brothers is the finest war film/series ever made and has educated millions on the sacrifices of those men.

      So yeah…"Zzzzzzzzz"

      • johncarens

        I own the boxed DVD set of "Band of Brothers", and I share your sentiments regarding it. Were it not for Steven Ambrose (not, I note, Spielberg or Hanks– for they certainly didn't do the research Ambrose did) Richard Winters would not have received the honor he (and hundreds like him) deserve, now so late in life. The scenes about Bastogne and Foy are especially moving and poignant.

        But, again, keep in mind: The heroes of these films are the 82nd and 101st Airborne, not Spielberg, and not Tom Hanks. I'm sure they, if you asked them, would share these sentiments. My point is this: When Steven Spielberg first approached Tom Hanks about a World War Two drama ("Private Ryan"), he wanted to "make a real kick-ass war movie" (-an actual quote), not necessarily honor the heroes of World War Two, although that was a nice add-in. Spielberg is an entertainer, one step up from vaudeville, as is Hanks, and we should be very careful about mistaking the actors art with the heroes valor. And we should be vigilant to recall this from time to time, and take whatever Tom Hanks might (or might not) say with a grain or two of salt.

        And do our own historical research and analysis.

      • Abraham83

        Yes, you are right that your added note contradicts johncarens. Yes, indeed "Band of Brothers" was an exceptional film that was somehow made despite the mindset Hanks displays today. Certainly curious, but apparently his view did not domiinate the directorial emphasis in "Band…"

        However, the fact still stands that Hanks lacks an integrated personality if he can represent both an hostility to American self-defense as well as a sympathetic understanding of military sacrifice during WWII. This is supported by recent studies on Moslems in Germany who exhibit compasion for individual human suffering when it is not that of an "infidel", although showing egregious alienation from non-Muslim–e.g. Jewish–suffering. The analogy here is to the "liberal" bias of Hanks' and the Koranic indoctrination of German (European) Muslims. As I write this, it is a painful realization that so many otherwise blameless and innocent liberals who think as Hanks' does, could otherwise be capable of enormous harm to their own country and countrymen….


    That's what I like: actors who are experts in foreign policy and/or history. Sounds like something out of "The Simpsons".

  • DOn

    I would suggest that Mr Hanks read "prisoners of the japanese" by Gavan Dawes or "Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang to get a 'feel' for what the soldiers of that era were fighting against and to understand what shaped their fighting atitude towards the japanese. If you saw fellow soldiers imprisoned, forced into slave labor on the Burma RR, treated to the worst medical conditions imaginable in those camps, beheaded or bayoneted by the japenese, maybe he would have a more realistic perspective on the WW2 pacific theatres soldiers mindset.

  • USMCSniper

    Tom Hanks, Historian in Chief? Great steaming piles of horseshit. I think of Tom Hanks as the hemoroid sucking turd pirate in the pity party film "Philidephia" or as the retard stupid is as stupid does life is like a box of chocolates that's what momma says anti hero "Forest Gump"! These hollywood actors play a role and they actually think they are a combat soldier, an astronaut, and their inflated opinions of themselves make me laugh.

    • therealend

      I do believe Mr Hanks is making full use of his medical marijuana prescription.

    • Jim C.

      Kind of like Reagan, right?

      • USMCSniper

        Reagan is established as a great leader who won the Cold War period. Candy ass Tom Hanks and omega hollywood males like him only sleep peacefully at night in their comfortable beds in their hollywoods mansion because thousands of better and rougher young men than them did unspeaklable violence and died face down on the beaches of those islands (Guadal Canal, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, etc.,..) he refers to snottily as specs in the Pacific.

  • cochavi1

    Why does Hanks appear in movies glorifying or commemorating US soldiers' deeds if he now opposes WWII, or thinks it a function of racism on the Allies' part?

    • flyingtiger

      For the money, of course!

    • mikidiki

      Because he is still in Forrest Gump mode!

  • Trus

    Yet another "Hollywood Idol" misinterprets that designated "Idol" tag by taking it seriously.

    Of course, we, of the peon public, have made him and his cronies mega millionaires and VIPs. They, and sports stars, are the one acceptable (by the public) category worthy of wealth, and their every thought worthy of worshipful contmeplation. After all, the talent of speaking lines in a believable, likable manner qualifies one as a divine determiner.

    "Professor" Hanks has now deemed (Hmmm…"deem-ed?" On yes…he's a democrat…he can do that.) himself, along with his elite fellows, a superior being capable of verifying the Obama classification of America as "Mean" and "arrogant."

    Themselves being the exception…of course.

  • Indioviejo

    Is there any money out there that can be channeled to producing real stories? We have been in an existential war against Islamo-fascism since 9/11. A lot of heroism has been documented. Movie scripts are begin to be written, and true Americans are expecting a great divide in the movie industry. A move towards the patriotic reflection of American values during WWII is in order. Enough brain washing treason from Hollywood.

  • darkmorrow

    Too bad that the Japanese didn't drop the Atom/dirty bomb on San Francisco like they had planned. Oh yeah, that little tidbit is lost on the neo-Historians. The fact that the Japanese, aided by their REAL racist allies, the Nazi's where actively working on their own bomb to drop on the west coast of the U.S. The Emperor allowed his own people to starve. Even in the face of total defeat, Bushido would not let them surrender. What were we as Americans supposed to do, just keep sending our troops into the jaws of a suicidal war machine? Lest we forget, it was the Progressives great and nobel leader FDR that guided the Ship of State, interning Japanese, Germans and Italians. After the war ended, his hand picked succesor, Truman, refused to return the land to those they locked up. Screw Hanks and all of the Progressive liars that are destroying our Republic. They are the true traitors. When their work is done, and our Republic lays in ruin, they deserve nothing less than treasons noose.

    • Ipso Facto


      The historical facts are as follows:

      In 1939 Nishina recognized the military potential of nuclear fission, and was worried that the Americans were working on a nuclear weapon which might be used against Japan. Indeed, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started the first investigations into fission weapons in the United States, which eventually evolved into the massive Manhattan Project, and the laboratory from which Japan purchased its own cyclotron would become one of the major sites for weapons research.

      In the early summer of 1940 Nishina met Lieutenant-General Takeo Yasuda on a train. Yasuda was at the time director of the Army Aeronautical Department's Technical Research Institute. Nishina told Yasuda about the possibility of building nuclear weapons. However, the Japanese fission project did not formally begin until April 1941 when Yasuda acted on Prime Minister Hideki Tojo's order to investigate the possibilities of nuclear weapons. Yasuda passed the order down the chain of command to Okochi Masatoshi, director of the Riken Institute, who in turn passed it to Nishina, whose Nuclear Research Laboratory by 1941 had over 100 researchers.
      Meanwhile, the Imperial Japanese Navy's Technology Research Institute had been pursuing its own separate investigations, and had engaged professors from the Imperial University, Tokyo, for advice on nuclear weapons. This resulted in the formation of the Committee on Research in the Application of Nuclear Physics, chaired by Nishina, that met ten times between July 1942 and March 1943. It concluded in a report that while an atomic bomb was, in principle, feasible, "it would probably be difficult even for the United States to realize the application of atomic power during the war". This caused the Navy to lose interest and to concentrate instead on research into radar.

      The treath of a Japaneese nuclear weapon was non existing, actually less likely than WMD in Iraq, and the US gorvemnent knew it

      • darkmorrow

        so the capture of the German sub with Uranium and dead Japanese scientists was just a coincidence

    • mikidiki

      Where is the detail about Truman refusing to give the land back, and what kind of land and where was it situated?

      • darkmorrow

        Look up 'Land Grab post WWII from Japanese internee's in California'. And remember, "THE BUCK STOPPED" with Truman.

  • cochavi1

    I worked once with a Taiwanese from Nanking. She had a statue of Chiang Kai-Shek on her desk and a deep hatred for the Japanese. The question is what motivated Roosevelt or the Generals – or was it Truman – to support the Communists? It ridicules the sacrifices of all those soldiers.

  • Paul

    Speilberg and Hanks both are fulsome in their praise for Castro's Cuba. The anti-Americanism and their shallow understanding of totalitarianism is at least consistant.

  • Char

    Tom's father, Amos Hanks, would turn over in his grave. Amos, or Bud, as we called him, was a gentle, loving soul, and at least he passed before Tom became the progressive/agitating guy he is today. And Tom, if you are reading this, Japanese are mostly Buddhists, and that religion does not speak about God.

  • TG Browning

    Hanks can be very funny and he did some wonderful work on the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon. About the only defense I can come up with for what he said, is sloppy construction. He could have meant the popular opinion at the time, which is less inaccurate at least.

    HOWEVER: The war in the Pacific was begun years before 1941 and anyone who thinks differently simply doesn't know their history. A very astute scholar by the name of Iris Chang wrote extensively about Nanking ("The Rape of Nanking"–1997) and a very powerful documentary was done about it, based mostly on Chang's work (Nanking – 2007). There's also a very good history of the fate of civilians in the Philippines By Dr. Frances Cogan (Captured — 2000) which documents civil and military conditions at the beginning of the war. Clearly, geopolitics, economics (especially control of oil reserves, iron and copper sources) were the cause of the war — augmented by a classically defined fascist military dictatorship.

    Damn. Nobody's perfect. Hanks has at least his toes in his mouth and perhaps some of this discussion will filter back to him and make a difference in the future. Maybe not.


  • Jay Kanter

    Maybe the Japanese were racist by attacking the U.S.A.

  • happy infidel

    Tom Hanks makes mostly good movies, Tom Hanks makes utterly stupid political comments all the time, Tom Hanks needs to stick to what he can actually do, making movies.

    My Grandfather was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore and spent the rest of WW2 on the burma railway, where he watched the brutality of the Japanese first hand. The Japanese were brutal during the war, they didnt want to kill us because we were different, they wanted to kill us to take the land and expand the Japanese empire to encompace the pacific.

    The Japanese people today in my experience are one of the most wonderful and peaceful people you would want to meet. My take on Tom Hanks is he is basing his assertion of Japan in the 1940's on the Japan of today, this is so wrong it beggers belief.

    • Oldman

      Interesting point, Happy Infidel, but I think Hanks is just ignorant; otherwise how does he reconcile in his mind that Americans flyers volunteered to form the Flying Tigers to protect the Chinese before the US entered the war. The Chinese after all were more like the Japanese then Americans … and as we all know, we all look alike to racists. My parents still hates the Japanese – of that time – for what they did to China. They get agitated when ever they told stories about life during the occupation. But they are wise enough to know that Japan of WWII is not the Japan of today. Apparently, Hanks does not know. He probably believes that Native Americans – Indians – were peace loving people, living in harmony with each other and nature, until the Whiteman came along. I won’t be watching his latest film.

  • supertex

    I can see several reasons for why he is saying some of the things he is. First of all, he works often with Ron Howard who has become a quite the progressive. Howard Zinn's history also seems to be all the rage in Hollywood, which may be influencing his thinking. As far as the commenter who wondered why they always do WWII movies and never Vietnam…is it possible that the fact that FDR was in charge might have something to do with that? Let's see…FDR's winning war vs. a Johnson/Nixon losing war….what to choose, what to choose. That may be way off base, but just a thought.
    Too bad. This will affect his career.

  • JosephWiess

    As much as I enjoy watching Tom Hanks directing movies such as Band of Brothers, his education in no way grants him the title historian in chief of anything. This great director dropped out of college to act. He only has a high school diploma.

    If you really want to know sweeping stories, talk to the world war II vets and Iraq and Afghanistan vets that are alive. They'll tell you why we fought, and how hard we fought to stay out of world war ii.

  • supertex

    I can see several reasons for why he is saying some of the things he is. First of all, he works often with Ron Howard who has become a quite the progressive. Howard Zinn's history also seems to be all the rage in Hollywood, which may be influencing his thinking. As far as the commenter who wondered why they always do WWII movies and never Vietnam…is it possible that the fact that FDR was in charge might have something to do with that? Let's see…FDR's winning war vs. a Johnson/Nixon losing war….what to choose, what to choose. That may be way off base, but just a thought.
    Too bad. This will affect his career.

  • supertex

    I can see several reasons for why he is saying some of the things he is. First of all, he works often with Ron Howard who has become a quite the progressive. Howard Zinn's history also seems to be all the rage in Hollywood, which may be influencing his thinking. As far as the commenter who wondered why they always do WWII movies and never Vietnam…is it possible that the fact that FDR was in charge might have something to do with that? Let's see…FDR's winning war vs. a Johnson/Nixon losing war….what to choose, what to choose. That may be way off base, but just a thought.
    Too bad. This will affect his career.

  • Bud

    Before we entered WW II the Japanese had all ready invaded China and with the help of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA we defended China along side the Chinese. The Japanese then invaded Nanking..commonly called 'The Rape of Nanking'…for those that don't know..more than 1,000,000 Chinese were killed there within several weeks…with bayonet, rifle and rape. THEN…the Japanese attacked Peral Harbor…to say we attacked them because they were simply 'different' is something I had not expected from Tom Hanks. Being a retired US Marine I think I will NOT watch this movie for a long time to come.

  • Thomas Stead

    Probably the best book on the subject of Japanese Atrocities is "Knights of the Bushido" by Lord Russell of Liverpool. It was written shortly after the war when the memories were fresh. Some of these included:
    1) Unprovoked attack on the US ship Panay (BEFORE PEARL HARBOR!!)
    2) The Rape of Nanking
    3) Mistreatment of Prisoners
    4) Unit 731 (a biowar outfit that tested bacteria on human subjects and dropped plague bombs on cities)
    4) Death ships used to ship POW's
    5) Acts of Cannabilism
    6) Atrocities by submarine commanders
    7) Murder of captured airmen

    The list goes on, but, surprisingly there were few prosecutions for these war crimes, certainly fewer than the Nuremburg trials. I guess we were so racist that we decided not to prosecute the "Yellow, buck-tooth bastards" rather than the white Germans.

    I wish Mr. Hanks could've talked to my dad when he was alive. He served in New Guinea and the Phillipines and weighed 90 pounds when he came home. And he was not a prisoner.

  • Micah

    I saw the Pacific first episode last night. . it was technically wonderful, the battle scenes were great but outside that it was weak . . the characters seemed very modern as did their repeated use of the F word obscenity over and over, giving the Pacific much more of a Oliver Stone feel than a John Ford epic treatment that it deserves. I'll watch more of it . . it wasn't bad, just could have been better and more true to the time period. (I am not saying marines didn't cuss, I just could have done without the obscene profanity F word over and over.) .. . also , they didn't use Springfield 03A3 rifles until 1942. . .the Marines were still using the WW1 model 03 in Guadalcanal.

  • pg 2010

    —Were half of these 'comments' scripted by studio hackers?

    FACT IS —having made BILLIONS upon BILLIONS these past
    decades outsourcing, and unflinchingly catering to the franchise-slum
    denial needs of historys's —MOST— awesomely genocidal regime EVER
    —-in their 'fave' captive mass market —ACROSS the Pacific
    -Hollywood is continuing to hide from the gagrgantuan moral implications
    of it all behind ad nauseum, anachronistic PC WWII retreads
    —even on this! –the once again 'mysteriously overlooked'
    60th Anniversary of the truly epic, genuinely relevant —indeed
    —STILL unfolding ————–KOREAN WAR!

    —STOP being such EASY set-ups folks! —it's getting dangerous!


  • dieta dukan

    �Tu sabe de que va eso? Aun Asi de que la informacion sea un referente para mi.

  • Stephen_Brady

    And the key to what you say is "quickly terminated the war".

    Had there been an actual invasion of Japan, the Japanese government's official motto was "100 Million Die Together". To this end, old men, women, and children were being taught how to attack US troops with bamboo spears. There would have been a massacre of incredible proportions, had the two bombs NOT been used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The death toll would have been far beyond what happened in those two cities.

  • johncarens

    As Paul Harvey might have said, here's the rest of the story…

    When Douglas MacArthur heard that the Japanese had surrendered, he muttered something along the lines of "thank God, I won't have to use the gas".

    He was alluding to the tens of thousands of pounds of serrin-type gas we had stored (and which remained stored for many, many years) near Tacoma, Washington– and that we had planned to use as a "softening" agent against civilians on the Japanese home islands. We felt it was morally "okay" to use poison gas, in that the Japanese had used the same gas against Nanking civilians in the late 1930's. MacArthur knew it would mean the slaughter of many times the number killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki if he had to prepare the Japanese mainland for eventual invasion by the use of this gas.

    Dropping the atom bomb was a great relief to him, in that he wasn't sure he could morally countenance the number of civilian deaths an invasion would require. So, in that sense, the Bomb was humanitarian.