This episode of "The American Experience" is about the last year or so of the war in the Pacific during WWII. It picks up at the point where the inevitability of an American victory seems certain--it's only a matter of time. It then discusses the ferocity of the Japanese defense, the American bombing campaign, the kamikaze, the Emperor and his resistance to surrender and the American feelings towards a negotiated peace.
As a history teacher, I really appreciate this episode of "The American Experience". That's because in recent years, there has been a revisionist view of WWII--one that says the Americans really, really wanted to use the atomic bomb and used it even when the Japanese wanted to surrender. However, this show never even entertains this notion. The show instead shows how incredibly insane civilians and soldiers were--as they were more than willing and ready to fight to the death or commit suicide. And, what was most shocking and sad, is how their beloved Emperor was a horribly selfish jerk whose only desire in the waning days of the way seemed to be holding on to power! Even when the Russians entered the war and the US dropped two atom bombs, it was STILL a far from certain thing that the Japanese would surrender.
All in all, a very well done show that paints a very vivid picture of the time. However, be forewarned that the film is VERY explicit. Scenes of people incinerated and the like are tough to watch--though they are appropriate for the show. Very well done--and one of the better episodes of an already exceptional series. Well worth seeing.
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