Friday, June 5, 2015

We did some awful things in the war, too

"It is in the things not mentioned," Steinbeck later reflected, "that the untruth lies." "What kind of war do civilians suppose we fought, anyway?" asked one correspondent after the war. "We shot prisoners in cold blood, wiped out hospitals, strafed lifeboats, killed or mistreated enemy civilians, finished off the enemy wounded, tossed the dying into a hole with the dead, and in the Pacific boiled the flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts, or carved their bones into letter openers."
David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999), ch. 21 (citing John Steinbeck, Once There Was a War (New York: Viking, 1958), xiii, and Edgar Jones, “One War Is Enough,” Atlantic Monthly, February 1946, 49)

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