Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: War time- type casting

Saturday, March 11, 2006

War time- type casting

I found the type casting section of wartime to be very interesting. Stereotypes are necessary to put things into perspective in preparation for war. The enemy is no longer kindred or a fellow human being created by GOD, but an animal, sick mis-guided set of people, or cowards. The psychological effects of these categorization makes it easier to hate, and therefore kill them. The dehumaniztion of the enemy caused haneous acts to be committed that were similar to the atrocious acts commited against blacks in america. Blacks were considered sub-human....hence the same members of a civilized society in which great technology was developed, art etc., could perform the barbarious acts it did against black (lynchings, cutting out black fetuses etc.)

Some of the most barbarious acts were committed in the conflicts between the US and Japan. Fussell speaks of the limbs, and skulls, and teeth etc being saved a souvenirs and sent home. This didnt really happen with the Germans or Italians, america's racism didnt allow for it. The hatred for the Germans was based on their illness, diseased thought infecting all or Europe, and the Italians are "cowards" indeed, but also the makers of fabulous fashion and ice cream and pasta...The only coloreds in the equation had to be the animals. The Japanese were treated as such...much like members of the US elite go hunting and display the heads of the bears and elephant they killed, so they did with the Japanese.


Blogger CBarr said...

It has been evident throughout history, whether in wartime or peacetime, that dehumanization is necessary to be able view the "enemy" - whether slaves that need to be kept oppressed or enemies in wartime - as something other than human. Unfortunately, in wartime, when dehumanizing the enemy, soldiers aren't the only ones that are viewed as subhuman, but civilians as well (as evident in Vietnam). I think that this type of dehumanization adds to prolonged feelings of racism (for lack of a better word).

3/11/2006 11:39 AM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

I am not sure what you mean by the "US elite" going hunting for the japanese, The vast majority of U.S. soldiers were not members of an elite. The vast majority of soldiers, did not collect heads either. Clearly brutality is a part of war, and dehumanization of the enemy is a part of basic training and wartime propaganda.

Ms. Barr is correct this dehumanization process changes soldiers attitudes about civilians as well as soldiers and can result in atrocities, when soldiers stop thinking of a population as humans and start thinking of them as sub-humans or animals. The Vietnam war was an example of this and the Japanese treatment of the Chinese during WWII is another.

3/13/2006 10:11 PM  

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