Price for Peace

Synopsis: This powerful and thought provoking film chronicles the compelling events in the Pacific Theater of WWII, from the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 to the American occupation of Japan in 1945. It depicts the strength and courage of America's youth, while examining how these men and women dealt with being thrust into this brutal war. The film includes interviews with war veterans, both American and Japanese, from all branches of the military. It features testimony from medics, nurses, dog handlers, as well as Japanese-Americans who were imprisoned at internment camps in the United States. The film also includes a first hand account of the tragic impact of the atomic bomb on Japanese citizens. Among the veterans who appear is Zenji Abe, a Japanese veteran who flew the mission to bomb Pearl Harbor, and retired General Paul Tibbets who flew the mission to bomb Hiroshima. Steven Spielberg and historian/author Stephen E. Ambrose are executive producers of this feature-length documentary direc
Director(s): James Moll
Production: National D-Day Museum Foundation
90 min

When people think about war,

they quite often think

about D-Day as being Normandy,

and Utah Beach, 'cause they got

the most play in the media,

but there were at least 40 in the Pacific,

some just as bad, if not worse, than

the casualties on D-Day in Normandy.

The beaches were calm,

and there were palm trees.

I remember looking down

at the palm trees and wondering

if I was about to die

in this peaceful place.

At Pearl Harbor on the morning

of December 7, it was Sunday morning,

a lot of men had had liberty

the night before.

Some were having breakfast,

some going to church, some asleep.

The Zeros coming off the Japanese

carriers began to appear in Hawaii.

They found us completely unprepared.

We couldn't believe

what was happening. It was so fast.

I was getting mad because they were

knocking not only our ships out,

but they were knocking out

a major part of our air power.

We were looking towards the USS

Arizona and there was a huge explosion.

I'd never seen anything like it.

It was just one big ball of fire.

I never thought about dying

or anything like that.

I was only focused on my target.

Everything was on fire.

Everything looked like it was exploding.

I knew I was supposed to knock

this plane down in front of me,

to get on his tail and shoot him down,

and I managed to do that.

You see all of that,

then this hate starts to come in.

And, damn it, this is war, this is war.

The Imperial army and navy,

before daybreak on December 8th,

went into battle against the US

and British forces in the West Pacific.

The precision of the attack

was perfect in every way.

We lost 2400 people in Pearl

Harbor, December 7th 1941.

Everybody wanted revenge,

total revenge. I know I did.

I wanted to destroy the whole nation

of Japan. I hated 'em. Everybody did.

They made the American people so mad,

there would never be

any compromise in this war.

We're going for

unconditional surrender.

The American people

in their righteous might

will win through to absolute victory.

We just knew that we were the enemy.

We were considered the enemy because

Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.

I didn't even know

where Pearl Harbor was.

My father was born on 4 July,

and he made sure we put the flag out

and everything.

We were brought up to be Americans.

There was a feeling in Pearl Harbor

that the Japanese Americans in Hawaii

had been giving information

to the Japanese forces in Tokyo.

We were afraid they'd do this

on the West Coast.

But there had been not a single incident

of sabotage or spying.

None of that happened.

Japanese Americans

from the West Coast were interned

into ten internment camps

across the US.

We were told we could only bring

what we could carry.

And so most of our things

we had to leave behind.

They were rounded up and put

into camps that they were guarded in.

When we arrived and saw the buildings,

it was very, very depressing.

How would you like to be taken away,

to know that people

are watching you all the time,

that your letters are being read,

that you can't communicate with people?

My brother used to put it this way:

It's like you've been raped

by somebody you trusted.

And so you can't talk about it.

It was your country that did this to you.

And you couldn't talk about it for years.

Young Japanese Americans

volunteered for the US Armed Services,

even as their families were held

in these camps.

My uppermost thought was,

they've stripped me of my citizenship,

which was most valuable to me.

Therefore, when they gave me

a chance to join the military,

that was my liberation,

that restored my citizenship.

It was one of the happiest moments

of my life.

The little town I was in,

they went en masse to sign up.

The guys who hung around the filling

station were now in the service.

There was no problem getting

volunteers. Everybody was willing to go.

They had recruiting lines

three blocks long.

All of the services were taking in

thousands of recruits a day.

Most people who volunteered

could choose navy, marines, army.

I liked the army.

I didn't feel like a sailor,

didn't feel like a flyer.

Even the marines didn't appeal to me,

too much PR.

The marines had great public relations.

Every time somebody said,

"You in the Pacific?" "Yeah."

"Marine?" "No." "Navy?"

"No. Army."

"Oh, were you in the Pacific?"

"Yeah. Damn right I was in the Pacific!"

I went into the US navy.

The navy was segregated.

At that time, blacks could only be

stewards' mates.

You waited on the officers and cleaned

their rooms. Things of that nature.

I cannot think of anybody

that did not have just one objective.

"Let's pay them back for this little job

and get it over with."

There was no question

what we had to do.

We'd seen signs saying,

"Uncle Sam needs you."

America was 16th in the world

in the size of its armed forces,

right behind Romania.

Now we were in the war.

And within a couple of years,

the American armed forces

were number one in the world.

All the services were going full tilt.

The coastguard

had expanded tremendously

because they had to guard

the whole US coast and the rivers.

The navy had to worry about two wars.

Well, the war in Europe

had been going on for several years,

but things were happening

in the Pacific with the Japanese

saying they didn't have any resources,

and had to enlarge their empire

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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