The location of memory

by Eric on June 29, 2014

A quick gloss on John’s post below. American educators now and then decry the failure to remember World War I. Of course that’s only an American failure – World War I is etched into the civic landscape of even small villages throughout the British Empire (starting with Canada).

Meanwhile, at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, you will find this exhibit:

Forgotten by whom?

Which is laughable here in California – here that’s the only war we do remember.

It’s terribly easy to find an inadequate memory of one or another war – all you have to do is ask a child, or someone in the wrong region of the country, or of the world. Where would we look to find an adequate memory of the war? Where do we want it enshrined?

{ 52 comments }

1

Vladimir 06.29.14 at 6:48 pm

Regarding Canada, I would argue that the specific point of remembrance is the Battle of Vimy Ridge which is seen by many as the catalyst for a distinct Canadian identity – at least among anglophones. From the pictures I’ve seen and people I’m met who’ve visited , the Vimy Ridge monument in France: it is mammoth, a little kitsch and clearly intended to make a statement. As children in school we all memorized “In Flanders Fields” ; after all John McCrae was Canadian. The obvious point then is to ask what use WWI history – or whatever war you’re interested in – has for the country in question. In Canada , WWI is read like a coming up age novel. Korea is our forgotten war. Canada entered WWI because most anglophones considered themselves British whereas Americans saw it as someone else’s war. I’ve never heard a satisfactory justification of America’s participation in WWI. If I couldn’t explain around 100K dead I would try to forget it as well. Perhaps that is how it should be remember: America’s most costliest “war of choice”.

2

DCA 06.29.14 at 7:58 pm

Just finished reading David Edgerton’s “Britain’s War Machine”, which points out, amongst much else, that the Britain that went to war in 1940 was very different than the Britain that was fighting the war in 1942 and after, in large part both because it had to fight a two-front war, and because it no longer controlled a significant part of its empire in the Far East: losing access to the resources of Malaysia and (indirectly) the Dutch East Indies put the economy on a very different footing.

3

Ebenezer Scrooge 06.29.14 at 8:13 pm

I think that the only war that Americans remember is the Civil War. The Civil War is the great exception, Americans are otherwise gifted at forgetting their past. (This is a gift–contemplate places like the Balkans or Ireland.) Vietnam hit the memory hole by 1981; even WWII is fading away.

4

roy belmont 06.29.14 at 8:20 pm

Where would we look to find an adequate memory of the war?

Laughably enshrined in the past. Jesus.
-
Two profoundly different experiences are conflated, the social experience of the war(s), and the immediate personal experience of wartime military reality. For observers distant from both, which you would seem to be, it’s pretty much an extension of the social, the non-serving community, dry history.
What actual combat does to the human soul isn’t recordable, not even in the best writers who write from lived experience.

Hemingway’s ridiculed for his poetic elision, as if it’s a gimmick, but that’s about all you’re going to get, that’s about as accurate as it can be done, silent recognition of the unspeakable .
There isn’t a monument or memorial possible to us that could even begin to approach that hell directly.

5

Matt 06.29.14 at 8:29 pm

On the forgetting of war, I’ve never read anything better than Lee Sandlin’s Losing the War.

6

JML 06.29.14 at 8:40 pm

I’ve read several WWI books, including Tuchman’s The Guns of August, All Quiet on the Western Front, A Farewell to Arm, Terraine’s The Western Front 1914-1918, and probably a couple of more. I don’t remember much of them, except that it was a perfect showcase for human stupidity. Ludendorff, presaging Hitler and Tojo, was more than willing to destroy his country rather than admit to his own failures.

But then… echos of the past: how were Donald Rumsfeld able to remain in charge of the Iraq war after so many failures?

I think we’re suckers for people who are able to bluster and intimidate those more knowledgeable but less articulate. John Bolton comes to mind: an ignoramus and totally ineffective diplomat and manager. What is it about human nature that it takes us so long to see these types of people for what they are?

7

Ed 06.29.14 at 8:54 pm

Participation in World War I was unpopular in the US even at the time -the origins of the American Deep State can be traced to the effort to get the US involved anyway. In 1918-20 the public threw the Democrats out of office by overwhelming margins, and kept them out by overwhelming margins until the Great Depression.

World War I, if anything, became less popular in the US as the decades went on and historians started investigating the origins of the war, and then the collective decision was made to just forget that it happened.

One anomaly in US history is the lack of enthusiasm at the time for any of the conflicts American elites keep getting involved in. They all had substantial, organized opposition (if not outright support for the wrong side, as in the American War of Independence and the Civil War) that tended to command majority support if the wars dragged on. The big exception was World War II, and even then there was substantial sentiment that FDR should have been concentrating on defeating Japan, not Germany, or even that the US was better off siding with Germany against the Soviet Union.

8

Roy 06.29.14 at 9:31 pm

As to California and the Pacific War, I would argue the opposite. My Dad was at Cal for years in the 60s theough 80s, I lived in the Bay Area for almost a decade and I found the constant WWII monuments as completely ignored as the, rather grotesque, ones to the Philippine Insurection. The European Theater was far more in the minds of the vast majority of the anglo population. Other than the camps and Hiroshima, the only attention I saw paid to the Pacific War was Nanjing and among Koreans the 35 years of Japanese colonialism, which was strangely suborned by blaming European and American powers. I was in a Chinese literature program, so that may warp my perceptions but all my acquaintances who were native Californians were completely ignorant as to the war in the Pacific yet knowledge of the Holocaust, D-Day, Stalingrad, North Africa, anf the Blitz was general. Regularily at parties I would have to give background without being a bore to explain to educated audience the barest details, beyond Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, of the Pacific War to explain my own work on the literature and art of the Sino-Japanese struggle.

An excellent example is the USS San Francisco monument overlooking the Golden Gate, no one under the age of 30 had ever heard of Guadacanal, and I once attended a SF parks commission meeting related to this monument where only four people had any idea of the battle of Guadacanal, and only the Filipino-Americans could understand why it was a naval monument.

9

Roy 06.29.14 at 9:40 pm

#6 Ed is correct about this. The unpopularity of war in general in the middle part of the US, especially outside the historic south is striking, though some wars were vastly less popular than others. The war against Spain was not even popular in the deep south, and WWI was seen as a war to save the British Empire in the large parts of the US where British immigrants were not dominant. The Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians who dominated the midwest in general and the proletariat of the mining districts of the Far West did not think that America had any special relationship with the British Empire that they should die for. It is striking how the US intervention had to be cloaked in self determination and gratitude for France when it was really about saving Anglo-Saxon domination.

10

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 06.29.14 at 9:45 pm

@ Ebenezer

We’d probably forget the Civil War, too, if there weren’t so many who insist on re-fighting it.
~

11

bob mcmanus 06.29.14 at 10:11 pm

5: From the Sandlin, about war and memory:

“For instance, in China — to take one arbitrary starting point — a war had been going on since 1931.”

Somebody shoulda told Chiang and the Communists that war didn’t start until 1931. And the Shanghai Massacre of 1927 was smaller than Nanjing ten years later by a couple factor or two, but was still an important historical moment for the generation or two that kept in memory.

The Japanese call it the 15 year war; but I prefer to date hostilities from the Northern Expedition in 1926 to Chiang subjugating Taiwan in 1949-50. The addition of the Korean War is optional.

For the record, yeah, the Japanese were the worst guys among the bad guys.

12

Phil Koop 06.29.14 at 10:31 pm

Oh please. By “far east” is meant Singapore, Burma, China. How many Californians remember vinegar Joe, never mind a conflict that didn’t involve Americans?

13

Jim Harrison 06.29.14 at 11:54 pm

We tend to act as if memories of events that we were endlessly told about since we were children are somehow innate ideas and that young people are somehow stupid or ridiculous if they don’t know about wars and other happenings they’ve barely heard about and nobody in their world treats as important. I sympathize with the high school student who asked me a while back, “If you want us to know history, why don’t you bother to teach us about it?”

14

Joshua W. Burton 06.30.14 at 12:04 am

We have an English friend (here in the US, as a decades-long unreconciled expat) who has a sulk every time someone mentions 7 Dec 1941 as the starting date of WW2. Eventually I got tired of it and started preemptively cutting off his 1 Sept 1939 with the more correct, and certainly less racist, answer of 13 Sept 1931.

Eurocentrism also touches on the Holocaust, in that even the narrow case for German exceptionalism (a modern technological society applying advanced industrial arts to the systematic murder of an ethnic group on explicitly racist grounds, using the tools of a war machine supported in part by the political manipulation of that racist hatred itself, and scaled up to a crime of millions implicating an entire generational cohort of doctors, engineers and police) offers very little headroom for the Nazis to raise their heads above their Japanese allies.

15

Anarcissie 06.30.14 at 12:12 am

I recall a cartoon, I think by Saul Steinberg but I’m not sure, showing two enormous statues facing each other which depict two soldiers successfully and mortally bayoneting one another. Its title was ‘We Only Need One More War Memorial’.

I tried to look it up on Google, but no luck. However, my various search terms did turn up quite a few memorials of various kinds. Of the American political cartoons, the dominant theme seemed to be that because of their sacrifice, we have ‘freedom’. So the beat goes on, ’cause everybody wants to be free, don’t they?

16

Joshua W. Burton 06.30.14 at 12:18 am

Reconsidering the Duxford sign, it’s hard even in hard Anglocentric terms to forget Singapore, 15 Feb 1942, which is arguably the worst defeat in British history. Worst is of course a value judgment, and there are many values to weigh. Hastings cost the English a language, Bordeaux a foothold, Yorktown a continent, and Medway (*) and the Blitz each almost cost them the island. England’s bloodiest day was either 1 July 1916 (the Somme) or 29 March 1461 (Towton), and handicapping for technological edge the most humiliating was perhaps Isandlwana. But the percentage of POWs who ever made it home alive after the fall of Singapore was shockingly, even unprecedentedly low. See genocide, @13.

(*) Ruyter in 1667, not Vespasian. But that, too.

17

Meredith 06.30.14 at 12:41 am

Saw “Pacific 1941-1945″ and thought, yes largely forgotten. But then Peleliu looms large in my family because my uncle fought there (Marine), but all we ever hear about in remembrance is D-Day and Normandy. Sometimes, Okinawa or Iwo Jima, but rarely.

Three or four days ago, as I was getting out of the car in the local co-op parking lot, I saw an old man happening toward me. He was wearing a baseball cap inscribed, “US Veteran,” or something close to that. I asked him, “Excuse me, did you see combat?” “Yes,” he said. (WWII seemed to be taken for granted by us both as the war in question.) I said, “Peleliu?” I just had a feeling — my husband had local a veteran of that battle, and somehow I sensed this might be the same guy.
He was stunned. “No one’s heard of Peleliu!” We had a good long talk.

18

Joshua W. Burton 06.30.14 at 12:53 am

“No one’s heard of Peleliu!”

That’s because the island has changed names. Tell someone you went diving in Palau, or even more so Truk (Chuuk), and the suppressed reply on many tongues will be “cool! — did you bring back any Japanese skulls?”

19

bob mcmanus 06.30.14 at 1:06 am

13.2 started out well, but ended in the historical practice detailed by John Dower in War Without Mercy of comparing the “Nazis” with the “Japanese.”

20

bob mcmanus 06.30.14 at 1:12 am

And if you don’t understand how that works, in only one detail of many, the Nazis are gone and now they are Germans.

But the Japanese were and still are and will be Japanese.

21

Joshua W. Burton 06.30.14 at 1:39 am

Bob @18: I think I said “their Japanese allies,” meaning the Empire of Japan — not, as you have it, “the ‘Japanese’.” But, to be explicit, in both the German and the Japanese cases, I am explicitly including hundreds of thousands of civilians, many with no party affiliation and no salient political opinions, among the murderers and knowing accomplices to murder. So “the Nazis” was a narrower formulation than I strictly intended on the European side.

22

Joshua W. Burton 06.30.14 at 2:04 am

Ed @6: In 1918-20 the public threw the Democrats out of office by overwhelming margins, and kept them out by overwhelming margins until the Great Depression.

In 2009, I suggested (here, I think?) that Mr. Obama’s Nobel prize could be most charitably understood as a belated attempt to exhume Woodrow Wilson, the last sitting president so honored, and take a piss in his racist skull.

23

Rakesh 06.30.14 at 5:48 am

On the internment of the Japanese, I highly recommend Steve Okazaki’s Academy Award-winning short documentary “Days of Waiting: The Life and Art of Estelle Ishigo”.

24

Roy 06.30.14 at 6:42 am

If you are going to pick a date like September 1931 as the start of WWII you might as well pick June 28, 1914, or may 10, 1871. The key fact of the Manchurian Incident is that it did not lead to war between China and Japan, the peace held through the brutalization of Shanghai the next year, 1/28 incident, through numerous provocations, until after the United Front and 7/7 when the war actually began.

But this was just one war, the war in Europe was another war barely related that happened simultaneously. There was no united war like in 1914-18 or the Cold War, it was two separate wars that just happened to both be against fascist states, though those were found on both sides. So we could all pretend it was a grand war against Fascism. Brits are right to say the War began September 3, 1939, just as Chinese can say, rightly, it began on 7/7, and Americans that it began on Dec 7, 1941.

I am curious when do Russians say it began? September 17, 1939 when they invaded Poland or the much more politically convenient June 22, 1941, somehow I suspect it is the latter.

25

Roy 06.30.14 at 6:47 am

15
Anarcissie

I think you are thinking of the 1939 “Peace on Earth” Turner Classic Movies likes to show it at Christmas

26

Meredith 06.30.14 at 7:16 am

Joshua@18
A few years ago, my daughter corrected me when I referred to Peleliu. Palau! she said. How’d she even know about Palau? Probably through some such route as you suggest.

She’ll be interested one day (as she gets old) in the correspondence between my father and his brother’s Peleliu buddy, which started when my father contacted my uncle’s surviving Peleliu buddies about his brother’s death. Amazing stuff. Memory. An army sgt. who worked alongside my marine lieutenant uncle (the military ain’t always completely dumb — someone with real experience to help out the hyper-educated but inexperienced lieutenant) — said army sgt. (at the time, an 80-something retired Ohio state trooper, I think) drew diagrams of the landing, “Japs” and all. And the 36 hours it took to move their radio-gear (K Co.) laterally, maybe a hundred yards. Not pretty.

My uncle NEVER talked about any of this. He’d always deflect proud family talk of his Purple Heart to jokes about shrapnel in his ass as he slept. (He was only on Peleliu a few days, but I doubt he ever slept there.)

Memory, a game of indirection.

27

Meredith 06.30.14 at 7:26 am

I should add. Though said arm sgt. did not attend, he lovingly provided all the info about a kind of reunion of Japanese, Americans, and people of Peleliu/Pilau on the island some years later. All good cheer and love — truly, I think. Only them’s that’s been there know. I think this is the part of war’s memory that is both sublime and dangerous: the survivors share in their losses. They do it together.

28

Joshua W. Burton 06.30.14 at 1:36 pm

Sept 1931 begins a story arc that runs from the Mukden incident directly to Abyssinia and the Sudetenland: the reason the domino theory so haunted the cold warriors of the 1950s is that they had lived through the 1930s.

29

MPAVictoria 06.30.14 at 1:52 pm

“I think this is the part of war’s memory that is both sublime and dangerous: the survivors share in their losses. They do it together.”

Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this.

30

anon 06.30.14 at 4:17 pm

Well … of course.

The generation that said “We ain’t gonna study war no more!” has been fully in charge of American education at all levels since the late 1980’s. 25 years and everything is going down the memory hole.

31

Anarcissie 06.30.14 at 5:14 pm

Roy 06.30.14 at 6:47 am @ 25 — No, but same general idea.

Now, I wonder if the awfulness-of-war thing is connected to the goodness-of-war thing though memorialization. What price glory? Im Westen nicht neues? For whom the bell tolls?

Homer says ‘hateful war’ in the Iliad.

32

The Temporary Name 06.30.14 at 6:23 pm

There were so many stupid ideas during the Iraq build-up floating around that it seemed impossible that anyone could say “We are doing this because that.” I guess you can say any stupid thing if you think that military force is going to purify/justify your aims.

I am curious when do Russians say it began? September 17, 1939 when they invaded Poland or the much more politically convenient June 22, 1941, somehow I suspect it is the latter.

Russians get two dates: one for WWII with the Eurocentric date and the other for The Great Patriotic War. Shipping political prisoners east was to nowhere after all…

33

bob mcmanus 06.30.14 at 7:51 pm

Or l’essence d’une nation est que tons les individus aient beaucoup de choses en commun, et aussi que tous aient oublié bien des choses.

Benedict Anderson quotes Renan

34

Matt McKeon 06.30.14 at 9:44 pm

For Britain, the Forgotten War is specifically the CIB theatre China-Burma-India. Its was lowest on the lists of priorities and the main Allied force, the 14th Army, called themselves “The Forgotten Army.”

The battles the Americans fought in the south and central Pacific are much more well known: Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guadacanal, Leyte Gulf, Midway, not counting Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. As long as there is a Marine Corps, the Pacific campaigns will be remembered. Because they’ll remind us.

35

The Temporary Name 06.30.14 at 9:51 pm

I’m sure something’s been left off this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgotten_war

36

LFC 07.01.14 at 1:46 am

Eric in OP:
World War I is etched into the civic landscape of even small villages throughout the British Empire (starting with Canada).

1) I guess in the broad sense of Empire and Dominions (not that I’m altogether clear on the details here), incl. of course Australia.

2) WW1 is also etched into the civic landscape of small towns (and prob. even villages) all over France. And given that Serbia, iirc, lost more soldiers proportionate to population in WW1 than any other country (France I believe was second in casualties-as-percent-of-pop.), I wdn’t be surprised if there were a fair # of WW1 memorials in Serbia, though I don’t know, and given the country’s history, and that of the former Yugoslavia generally, maybe not.

37

Matt 07.01.14 at 2:05 am

I am curious when do Russians say it began? September 17, 1939 when they invaded Poland or the much more politically convenient June 22, 1941, somehow I suspect it is the latter.

They pretty much all say ’41. When I was living in Russia I read a nice school history text book (probably for middle-school aged kids, though I can’t remember for sure) that talked about ’39 by saying something like “Germany invaded and subjugated Western Poland, and the Soviet Union expanded its sphere of influence into Eastern Poland.” This wasn’t some Soviet Era hold-over, but something written in the late 90’s.

In general, though, if you want to make a Russian made, cast any doubts on their purity of motive or behavior in the Great Patriotic War.

38

donquijoterocket 07.01.14 at 3:49 pm

I’d think one’s degree of remembrance might depend on whether there was a veteran of that theater in the family.My late Father an Army combat engineer veteran of the southwest Pacific campaign talked only about the negatives of military life. Douglas MacArthur was Dougout Doug until the day my Father died and the Japanese were always Japs. He intensely disliked the Philippines and Filipinos, described New Guinea as straight up and down and knee deep in mud. He became, in his retirement, a woodworker and thought the worst war crime he’d witnessed was when some random Jap Zero pilot unable to find a more suitable target had strafed a barge load of Philippine Mahogany logs.

39

Bill Murray 07.02.14 at 4:29 am

“Where would we look to find an adequate memory of the war? Where do we want it enshrined?”

Well, there’s always the National WW1 Museum in Kansas City

http://theworldwar.org/

40

Meredith 07.02.14 at 5:56 am

So, I’ve been thinking the Great War (a strangely ambiguous name, no?), too. Memory (to me) means stories.
I probably wouldn’t be here but for the Armistice’s timing: my grandfather, who had been developing radio equipment in the Army Air Corps in New York (thank you, Cooper Union in the good old days! when a poor boy who finished his public education in 8th grade could get an electrical engineering degree for free), was going to actually be on one of those deadly planes (deadly not least to the fliers) — he’d been taken to D.C. for deployment when the bells rang. (My grandmother was already pregnant with my mother, but my grandmother’s and mother’s lives would have been so different if my grandfather had gone to Europe — a butterfly’s wing flap, and I am not here. There’s a flu part to this narrative that I will omit, even though that flu killed more people than the war did….)

I know this is terribly micro. But I think WWI especially gives opportunities for the fine-grained memory of many people from a good portion of the world.

41

Vanya 07.02.14 at 8:22 am

@Matt, ““Germany invaded and subjugated Western Poland, and the Soviet Union expanded its sphere of influence into Eastern Poland.”

Even that formulation is surprisingly progressive, and would have been considered beyond the pale in the USSR. The way I always read or heard the war described by Russians is that “In 1939 Germany invaded and subjugated Poland, while the peoples of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus took advantage of the chaos to liberate themselves from the oppression of corrupt Polish landlords and capitalist opressors and rejoin their ancestral homelands.” The Baltic states of course also “voluntarily” joined the USSR in 1939 after throwing off their shackles.

42

Vanya 07.02.14 at 10:52 am

(France I believe was second in casualties-as-percent-of-pop.)

Austria-Hungary is up there with France, if not even worse. There are certainly WWI memorials in most small towns in Austria, sometimes with shockingly long lists of names relative to the size of the town. I can’t say I’ve seen any memorials in the Czech Republic, Slovenia or Slovakia even though presumably large numbers of casualties came from those areas. I would guess that has something to do with the very mixed feelings (or just negative) the local populations had about fighting and dying for the Habsburgs after the war was over, or maybe the Communists erased them. I have seen a few memorials in Southern Poland, what used to be Galicia. The Polish dead have the nationalist seal of approval, even if they fought for the Habsburgs, since the Polish troops were commanded by Pilsudski and were fighting Russians.

43

Main Street Muse 07.02.14 at 2:43 pm

My father was on the front lines of the Korean War. He rarely discussed it. I didn’t even know about his participation until I went off to college, and he gave me a photo album with some pix of him IN A WAR – it was odd to learn this man, my father, had actually served in a war zone, handled guns, shot at the enemy.

He didn’t really talk about his war experience at all until he was dying. And his memories were strong – he told me stories of the Chinese racing down a mountain toward battle, blaring horns, wearing light fabric clothes unsuitable for the bitter winter. He told of a friend who died after suffering terribly from a gut wound. But still, I believe that most of his war memories remained untold.

History does not seem to be taught in schools. My students have a hard time placing presidents in history, let alone understand the details about the various wars. They’ve grown up in a world where war looks a lot like a video game.

I’m re-reading Tuchman’s Guns of August now (which my father recommended to me when I was in HS). Tuchman refers to a number 19th century wars and treaties as if the reader should know about them. The trouble with wars is the sheer number of them.

44

LFC 07.02.14 at 3:52 pm

Vanya @42
Interesting, thanks.

45

Matt 07.02.14 at 5:35 pm

Vanya- thanks for 41. The Baltic issue is an interesting one. I visited the former “museum of the red riflemen” in Riga, which is now a museum of the Soviet Occupation, or some such. Philosophers often like to use the Baltic states as examples in discussion of self-determination, but a look at the actual history turns from the nice, clean examples into rather messy ones quite quickly.

46

Meredith 07.03.14 at 4:27 am

Main Street Muse @43, re history not taught in schools. You’ve inspired me! The local Peleliu vet I recently connected with, well, I had been thinking about getting the local newsrag to interview him. I confess, I was thinking most about him, his mortal longings for remembrance, and only secondarily that some “larger public” might learn something from him. But why not try to link him up with our middle/high school’s history teachers? Zeal-of-the-land-busy here will get on it.

47

SykesFive 07.03.14 at 3:34 pm

17, 18, 26: Peleliu is not Palau and there is no “battle of Palau.” You should keep saying “battle of Peleliu.”

Palau or the Palaus is the name of a group of islands in the central Pacific. Since 1994, Palau is also the name of the independent country containing those islands.

Peleliu is the name of an island in the Palaus where a famous battle was fought in 1944. A less-famous battle was fought at about the same time on another of the Palaus, Angaur. Both of these islands are now in Palau.

None of these names have “changed” (with the exception of “Palau” now referring to a political as well as geographical entity). There are variations in spelling but these mainly involved replacing “p” with “b” and using different vowels.

48

Main Street Muse 07.04.14 at 12:34 am

Meredith “But why not try to link him up with our middle/high school’s history teachers? Zeal-of-the-land-busy here will get on it.”

I LOVE this idea!!!! And get the reporter to report on this story – the vet sharing history with the school children!

49

Meredith 07.04.14 at 6:05 am

Following up on Eric’s links more duly and sincerely…. I will also involve a Japanese-American in town, whose parents were “segregated.” It is hard to keep up with all the angles, but the endless tri (why tri? it’s truly multi)-angulating is what it’s probably all about. I’m beginning to get this post….

50

LFC 07.04.14 at 4:32 pm

@SykesFive
Thanks for this clarification, b/c the comments identifying Peleliu w Palau seemed a bit odd to me (I had never heard the identification before, which is not, admittedly, nec. a sign that it’s odd). Anyway, Peleliu as one of the Palaus does clear up the matter. Btw, Eugene Sledge’s memoir With the Old Breed is a fairly well-known account (though I really haven’t read it) of the battle of Peleliu.

51

Meredith 07.05.14 at 5:46 am

With the Old Breed, yes. Also, for a skimming but some visceral sense of things, the film, The Fury of Battle, available online (just google).

52

LFC 07.05.14 at 6:57 am

@Meredith
thanks, I hadn’t heard of the film.

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