Bloody Pacific: American Soldiers at War with Japan by Peter Schrijvers

By Peter Schrijvers

Bloody Pacific tells the true tale of the attitudes and behavior of yankee struggling with males within the conflict opposed to Japan, revealing a lot concerning the nature of this terrifying clash that has earlier remained unknown. in response to years of analysis and utilizing numerous unpublished diaries and letters, Schrijvers sweeps around the battlefields, from the determined stand at Guadalcanal to the tragic sinking of the USS Indianapolis, and from the daunting areas of the China-Burma-India theatre to the citadel islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In a way that's frequently unsettling, Bloody Pacific brings to lifestyles the GIs’ epic fight with suffocating desert, debilitating ailments, and eastern infantrymen picking demise over existence.

Amid the disappointment and depression of this warfare, American infantrymen deserted themselves to an escalating rage opposed to nature and guy – and prayed for the bombs that will wipe away Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Each time, their familiarity with local terrain and enemy troop deployments proved to be of inestimable value. From Papua New Guinea to Burma, legions of natives thus served as indispensable scouts, rangers, and guides – like so many Sacagaweas. To build and hold the goodwill of indigenous allies, American troops resorted to an elaborate trinket trade, not unlike that developed by the European and American explorers of yore. When Meriwether Lewis spent the winter of 1807 with Thomas Jefferson after his heralded expedition in the Pacific Northwest, he told the president that future explorers should make sure to take with them as trade goods “blue beads,” as he had learned that the Indians attached great value to them.

The huge swimming pool of the New Amsterdam had been converted into a mess hall for enlisted men. Granted, many soldiers never got to see the inside of a luxury liner. Instead, they crossed the ocean on anything from carriers and destroyers to banana boats and old tubs. Some 35 percent of those traveling aboard troopships claimed that the conditions were poor, citing meager meals, severe crowding, and lack of ventilation. Yet, despite all this, on many a ship plying the bright Pacific, an almost festive mood could be found that would have been hard to detect on vessels sailing the gray Atlantic to the Old World of dashed hopes.

On the last day of 1941, a pilot, on a long journey from Burma to the American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force, arrived in the city of Tali, hidden in the Yunnan hills. Here he ran into a group of pilgrims from Tibet. They were quite an unusual sight, with their woolen clothing and fur-lined boots, their heavy packs and long staffs. The men were small, with broad shoulders, and long black hair that covered their eyes. Acutely intrigued by these people from what he called “the land of mystery,” the aviator let himself be carried away in his diary.

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