The memories of Japanese soldiers help people understand the gravity of war and how it affects lives of ordinary human beings. Their memories show what they felt at the time and how their actions affected their character. Japanese soldiers were indoctrinated initiated through violence because their government had a strong intent to conquer other nations by applying brute force.
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Japanese recruits were forced to torture and maim their victims by their seniors to display their commitment and loyalty. This shows that many wars are waged to satisfy interests of a few selfish people in government. Torture, violence and murder are weapons of war which have been used in the past to make the oppressed populations submit to the wishes of their conquerors.
This is evident in the way Japanese recruits were prepared for their roles as soldiers. They decapitated, butchered and killed Chinese prisoners of war without any feelings of remorse, after being pushed by their seniors.1 This proves that some collective national goals can be used to harm other nations which are thought to be weak.
The massacres carried out by Japanese soldiers against Chinese prisoners of war were barbaric and traumatizing. Japan used advanced military equipment to carry out atrocities against her neighbors in Asia. This shows that a country with aggressive imperialistic policies is easily tempted to attack other nations which are weaker.
Japanese soldiers were affected psychologically after the conditioning process used by their seniors made them brutalize defenseless innocent civilians.2 This explains why they did not restrain themselves from attacking innocent civilians in China. They had been indoctrinated to believe that their actions would help their country become stronger and more powerful.
This justified their use of full scale violence against civilians of other countries. During that time, Japanese soldiers were heavily influenced by imperialistic attitudes which drove them to attack other nations.
Japanese soldiers knew what they were doing was wrong and this affected their conscience. However, military propaganda broadcasts on radio made them believe that their country was making good progress in the war. They believed they had the license to do whatever they wished against soldiers and citizens of states they had occupied. This made them become more aggressive.
They thought that by unleashing terror on defenseless prisoners of war and civilians, they were performing their patriotic duties. Japanese soldiers felt that victory in the war was going to make their country become more powerful.3 They knew that their country would have benefited heavily by exploiting natural resources of other states in the region, which were already vanquished.
Japanese soldiers thought they were highly respected by other Japanese civilians because of their willingness to defend their country. They were encouraged to use their authority to ensure citizens of conquered territories easily conformed to wishes of the Japanese government. Japanese soldiers knew they had to act strong to make citizens of conquered nations conquered nations more obedient to their Japanese masters.4
They made their prisoners perform difficult labor tasks in farms to produce food which helped sustain them in foreign lands. They failed to realize that they were being used by senior government officials to achieve their own interests.
Senior government officials were only interested in using state power to attack other neighboring countries which had a lot of natural resources. Japanese junior military officers had been manipulated to think that their participation in war would offer them positive rewards.
Berger, Thomas U. War, Guilt and World Politics After World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Cook, Haruko Taya and Theodore F. Cook. Japan At War: An Oral History. New York: The New Press, 1992.
1 Haruko Taya Cook & Theodore F. Cook, Japan At War: An Oral History (New York: The New Press, 1992), 41-42.
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2 Ibid., 43-44.
3 Ibid., 47.
4 Thomas U, Berger, War, Guilt and World Politics After World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 126-128.