We Need Another World War II Documentary About the U.S.

If I have to suffer through one more PBS/Channel 13 WWII documentary…. While PBS should be required viewing and Ken Burns’ War is a quality (if sentimental) film, please call me when the station runs a WWII documentary from the point of view of the Philippines or Poland. America’s Perilous Fight: Iwo Jima, with new color footage, is neat. But airing it not more than two weeks since the last installment of War serves only to drive home its redundancy.

We need to see Iwo Jima again like we need another History Channel program about Hitler. But at least the shows about Hitler aren’t naval-gazing generation worship. What more can possibly be gleaned by rehashing our most victorious victories? Maybe we should seek to create and air war documentaries that tell us why people hate in this country instead of constantly re-congratulating ourselves for saving the world. We had almost 600,000 dead and wounded in WWII, and that sucks; the rest of the world, 54.5 million.

World War II was not an equal opportunity destroyer. Was the U.S. the only combatant nation that can’t claim a civilian casualty? Maybe (China lost more than 5 million; Poland saw 2.5 million citizens die). Was the U.S. the country that gained the most while suffering the least in WWII? Without a doubt. Fuck our romantic view of the Great Generation’s War. It continues to color our vision of war as noble and just.

One Response to We Need Another World War II Documentary About the U.S.

  1. Wade says:

    Impressive hissy-fit, there, with more than a little self-satisfaction thrown in for good measure. An overly cynical or jaded view of the war is no better than an overly romantic view of it. War may never truly be noble, just, or altruistic, but genuine good can result from it. Suffering isn’t a contest; that we suffered less as a nation there is no doubt (at least 10 million Chinese civilians died, by the way), but we suffered still and it was our fathers and grandfathers and uncles and brothers who suffered. There is more to that focus than chauvinism.

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