Which was worse, the European or Pacific theater?

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Men were always asking Dunlap which was worse, the European or Pacific theater:

I usually gave a diplomatic answer to the tune that the Germans were better soldiers than Japs but that the country in the Pacific was harder to fight and live in. Which was about the truth. No part of the war was pleasant, but while you stood a better chance of getting killed on the German side, you were sure to suffer some sickness or disease in the South and Southwest Pacific.


  1. Lu An Li says:

    Jungle disease accounting for twelve times the number of soldiers incapacitated than from battlefield death or wounding.

    Japanese total fanatics and hardened American hearts as a German would not have.

  2. Kirk says:

    With Japan, there was also the racial thing, which I regret having to highlight. Germany could have been seen as misguided fellows who’d fallen under the thrall of a bad political system, and were. Mostly due to the huge number of Germans in the US. I mean, look at it–How bad was it going to get, with a guy named Eisenhower at the head of things?

    Japan, on the other hand? Funny language, little contact, funny-looking people to most Americans, and extremely exotic. Plus, you had all those decades of hearing about Japanese atrocities in China and Korea from the missionaries who came back from there, and, well… It wasn’t too hard to convince the average American that Japanese were vermin to exterminate.

    Especially when you consider Pearl Harbor, and the actual experiences of fighting the Japanese soldier in the field. The American mentality coming into contact with the hell-for-bent “Let’s die for the Emperor!!” thing was that well, OK, let’s help make that happen…

    I’ve often commented that while it’s entirely possible to persuade an American to get himself killed for some reason, doing so for the “Glory of the President” is just going to evince incredulity and laughter. Americans will give their lives for the cause, but it ain’t going to be for any such thing as an Emperor, no way, no how. And, when they encounter such a thing, that’s insanity, to their minds, so the adherents of such a philosophy are basically screwed insomuch as being treated as fellow sane human beings. Coupled with the treatment our prisoners got, well… Yeah. The war with Japan rapidly devolved into what amounted to a campaign of extermination, at least in regards to their soldiery. The invasion of Japan that never happened would have probably turnt the dial up to at least a 12 or a 15, after encountering all those school kids and housewives armed with bamboo spears attacking them. Had Olympic gone off, I strongly believe that Japan to this day would likely still be an irradiated hellhole, serving as an example of “What not to do when fighting Americans”. I can’t see an iota of mercy happening. The Japanese, at a minimum, would have been starved into submission and the effective damage from blockade and destruction of their transportation and agriculture would have resulted in the entire archipelago being returned to the stone age.

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