Why Doesn't the US Observe the Anniversary of VJ Day?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ColoradoGuy, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. ColoradoGuy

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    The BBC reported today on the 65th anniversary of Victory over Japan day in the UK. As an American, I'm curious why the US tends to minimize this historic date (especially since the war with Japan ended because of America's decision to use atomic weapons). I scanned several US newspapers this morning and didn't find any front-page references to the anniversary.

    [Sidebar: if you've never used "Today's Front Page" on the Newseum site, it's awesome. Check it out here.]

    So why don't we commemorate VJ Day more openly?

    • Is it remorse over using atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    • Is it because we associate WWII more with the defeat of Hitler and Nazi Germany?
    • Is it because of the US's demographic mix of Asians?
    • Is it because of the painful memories of the US's incarceration of Asians during WWII?
    • Is it because we think we do "enough" on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day to commemorate our war dead?
    Your thoughts?
     
  2. SeeDickRun

    SeeDickRun New Member

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    It's because the US has become much too PC to gloat over military victories
     
  3. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Meanwhile we have one of the few National Anthems which is about war and kicking the ass of the enemy. Nah, "political correctness" isn't the answer.
     
  4. Pye

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    Rhode Island still recognizes the holiday...it did change the name a few years ago to Victory Day
     
  5. Bbucko

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    La Marseillaise is bloodier: it comes straight from the French revolution :wink:

    People of my parent's generation (born in the 1930s) and earlier had very different feelings regarding VJ day than those who came later and a sense of ambiguity set in. I think the OP definitely makes some legitimate points encapsulating this ambiguity.

    For whatever reason, the European theater of WW2 just seems favored by more historians. Maybe part of it is that we consider Europe as having been "liberated" from the fascists but don't think of obliterating Imperial Japan the same way. There's also the question of narrative (all interesting history is expressed through narrative), and the European theater is just a better, more coherent narrative than the Pacific theater, IMO.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that we "lost" China to Mao, which leaves a bitter taste of ashes in one's mouth. The pragmatism of Yalta was one thing, the Cultural Revolution was something else altogether different.
     
  6. midlifebear

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    . . . and adding to Bbucko's remarks, there's that North Korea thing that the USA never satisfactorily finished that keeps coming up and biting the USA in the ass whenever possible.
     
  7. Bbucko

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    Thanks for pointing this out. Unfortunately, because the Cold War has never intrigued me (it hung over our childhoods like a damp cloud), I was always under the impression (assumption) that the Korean debacle was Mao's doing. I did the Google thingy and discovered that NK was conceived as a Soviet puppet, which made the whole thing suddenly make a lot more sense :redface:

    The only thing I ever learned about the Korean War in HS came from watching MASH on TV: seriously.
     
  8. D_Sir Fitzwilly Wankheimer III

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    yeah, it's a shame. being proud isn't gloating. he'll we celebrate cinco d'mayo and it wasn't our war better yet mexico doesn't even celebrate it.
     
  9. scotchirish

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    I suppose I come from a generation that has heard almost nothing about this. When we were taught about WWII it was all about Europe, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Other than those three major incidents I don't recall Japan being mentioned. So that would support the theory that we associate WWII with the war with Germany more than anything else.

    I would also like to think, although I doubt that there is any truth to this, that we realize using those atomic weapons is nothing to celebrate.
     
  10. B_crackoff

    B_crackoff New Member

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    Now that was a good show.

    We had it without all the canned laughter, & no breaks.

    I'd say it's not celebrated the same because the Nazis were vanquished entirely, & the war is more remembered as against them than Germany, Italy etc, whereas Japan...well it shows we're willing to forget some people sins & atrocities more than others.

    The Koreans & Chinese however couldn't give a flying f8ck about Nazis or facists - they still hate the Japanese!
     
  11. houtx48

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    ve day was may of 1945 and vj day was august of 1945 maybe to much celebrating of wars in short amount of time.
     
  12. LambHair McNeil

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    One reason they are celebrated less and less is that the people who fought these wars are in their 80's & 90's and rapidly passing away. When you are no longer a 'major demographic', see how quickly 'they' forget about you and your accomplishments.

    Another is the declining state of the teaching and appreciation of history in some countries, especially ours and Britain's.

    A few years ago, it was said that Winston Churchill, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Martin L. King had been dropped from a list of impt historical figures of the 20th Century - this as guidance for teaching history in English secondary schools.

    In this country you often read that kids in school cannot place what half of what century the American Civil War happened, name the major countries in the power alliances of both world wars, or name even more than a bare smattering of past presidents (if you force them to go back past most recent presidents).

    With trends like that, give it another 35 years and when it hits the 100th anniversary, it'll be one big yawn in the news of the day, if we even have traditional news broadcasts.
     
  13. TomCat84

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    I dunno- both the French and Mexican anthems are about war
     
  14. TomCat84

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    Uh......
     
  15. LambHair McNeil

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    ScotchIrish,

    What year did you graduate HS or college? What history courses have you been exposed to? This is not a "pounce" on what you said, but considering what I just posted, I'm curious as to what you had offered at your HS/college and/or were able to take.
     
  16. TomCat84

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    I'm scratching my head- he brought Okinawa and Iwo Jima, AND Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but claims his school didnt bring up Japan.... :confused:
     
  17. vince

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    It's plausible that the teaching syllabus would go "Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, we had a war, we bombed Hiroshima and the war ended." With no background of the history leading up to the war and no context of the times. When I was in HS, that's all they taught and if I hadn't been interested in learning more on my own, that's all I would come away with.
     
  18. D_Gunther Snotpole

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    The European part of the Second World War killed roughly twice as many U.S. soldiers as the Pacific War did.
    The European part involved fighting with 'family,' in a sense ... the U.S. was very largely populated by European immigrants, so there was far more cultural awareness of Europe. Hearing about village-to-village fighting in Italy, say, could bring far more imagery to life than hearing about the taking of a series of Pacific islands that no one had ever heard of.
    And with VE Day, the ultimate outcome of the war suddenly seemed obvious. The roughly 14 weeks of the war that remained in the Pacific theater were just the working out of the inevitable.
    And two celebrations three months apart would tend to cancel each other out.

    I think all of these reasons may apply.

    I also have an impression ... and I could be completely mistaken ... that there were far more journalists covering the European theater than the Pacific theater
    .
     
  19. D_Gunther Snotpole

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    No, he knows that those three incidents are part of the story of war with Japan.
    (He didn't bring up Okinawa, but mentioned Pearl Harbor.)
     
    #19 D_Gunther Snotpole, Aug 17, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  20. TomCat84

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    I dont know. Besides the most famous VJ celebration- the one in New York, with the sailor kissing the nurse, there were HUGE VJ Day celebrations all over the country. I've seen pictures of Downtown San Diego's Broadway (the main drag then and now, basically our main street that is lined with most of the important buildings) just jampacked with people- in the street, on the trolleys, hanging out of windows- on light fixtures. I wasnt alive then, but it was a pretty big deal apparently.
     
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