Friday, February 3, 2012

The Pacific

HBO: The Pacific

Just finished my movie marathon of The Pacific which first came out in 2010 and was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. This is an accompanying series to the 2001 released Band of Brothers. This is my second time to watch this as I first watched it when it came out in 2010. The series comprises of 10 episodes being about 50 minutes long.


HBO: The Pacific

The series focuses on the Pacific theatre and follows the 3 main protagonists as they fight in the 1st Marine Division in Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa. The 3 main characters are John Basilone, Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge.

HBO: The Pacific

John Basilone was a Medal of Honor winner for his heroic action in stopping a Japanese assault during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

HBO: The Pacific

Robert Leckie served as a machine gunner in the 1st Marine Division and wrote the book Helmet for My Pillow which was one of the basis for the series.

HBO: The Pacific

Eugene Sledge was a mortar man and stretcher bearer in the 1st Marine Division. His book, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa also served as a basis for the movie.

HBO: The Pacific

The movie portrays the brutality of the Pacific theatre with such accuracy. The allies were going up against the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. The Japanese soldier at that time was very much different from your common soldier, because he was ready to throw away his life so nonchalantly in order to serve his Emperor. You could say that he is no different from your modern day suicide bomber. To understand better this drive you have to know that at that time the Japanese people treated their Emperor as a god and serving him as their duty. Death for them was similar to martyrdom. Gen. MacArthur made the Emperor renounce his divinity during Japan's surrender.

HBO: The Pacific

The culture of the Japanese Army was also heavily into the Samurai Code of Bushido, where in it was better to face death than the dishonor of surrender. In a Christian sense, you could say that that is the sin of Pride. Because of those factors, it was not uncommon for entire battalions to fight to the last man rather than surrender. And the sad thing about this is that they were even so willing to impose this culture on civilians, as evidenced by the way civilians were used as human shields or suicide bombers during the Okinawa campaign. This is also one of the main reasons why the Atomic Bomb was dropped into Japan in order to force a complete surrender. US Military commanders estimated that losses would be very high if a conventional invasion was done.

HBO: The Pacific

Aside from the great scenes and cinematics, something that is really glaring and you should not fail to miss is out on is one of the central themes of this movie, which is that war is a terrible thing. And those who come out of the war alive will bear scars that they will have to cope with for the rest of their lives. At the first episode it was already foreshadowed in a narration of a letter that Bob Leckie was writing for somebody back home:

We have met the enemy and learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned somethings about myself. There are things that men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, another to square it with yourself.


As well as in the second episode, when Eugene Sledge's father was reluctantly allowing his son to sign up for the war.

The worst thing about treating those boys from the great war wasn't that they had their flesh torn, it was that they had their souls torn out... I don't want to look into your eyes one day and see no spark, no love, no life. That would break my heart.


Now this is something that leaders of governments should keep in mind before sending men to the frontlines and how important it is to be in a just war.