Another fine mess by Madacy
ZRRIFLE | Washington, D.C. | 03/19/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Typical Madacy mish-mash, made up of old documentaries thrown together to make a multi-DVD set, complete with a colorful, attrative box to appeal to the average consumer who wouldn't know otherwise. If you occassionally like watching old documentaries/propaganda films, fine....but the outside of the contents (the box) need to state honestly what's inside, and not hype it up to appear like it's a big-budget production (like a History Channel or National Geographic product - now THOSE are worth buying). Madacy has a problem with that, because they know most people won't buy it....or at least pay the asking price. This stuff needs to be on the bargain rack ($10 max)."
One of America's last WWII propaganda films
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Know Your Enemy: Japan is a fascinating propaganda film put out in 1944 by the U.S. Department of War; directed by Frank Capra, this film combined newsreel footage, captured Japanese film, images from Japanese movies of the 1930s, and several recreated scenes to show young American soldiers just what the Japanese soldier was like and why it was so important that he be killed in large numbers. This, the last of Capra's "Why We Fight" videos, is probably one of the least familiar of America's World War II propaganda films because the war ended right on the heels of its release. I do not believe it was ever released to the American public during the final stages of the war, at least in part due to the graphic nature of its presentation. Horrible pictures of slain soldiers as well as innocent civilians are strewn throughout the sixty-four minute production; this includes many a shot of babies and children. The propaganda value of this video was very high indeed, as it presented the Japanese in a fashion more than capable of rekindling the national commitment to the fight in the Pacific in light of Germany's imminent collapse. The Japanese soldier is described as smart, tough, brutal, capable of great endurance, and more than ready to die for his country, seeing death in battle as the most worthy thing a man can achieve in this life. He would not hesitate to shoot you in the back or resort to the most savage of attacks. Plenty of evidence is offered showing the brutality of Japanese soldiers; beheadings in particular draw heavy emphasis. Having been educated and trained for many years in preparation for an eventual war of conquest, the Japanese soldier comes across as an automaton controlled almost completely by the emperor. As to why such a state of human condition could exist, the video takes a look at the entire history and development of Japan. The nation's first emperor, we are told, declared that Japan should control all eight points of the globe. Since the first emperor and his successors were supposedly gods, the Japanese people never questioned Hirohito's every whim. On the home front, Japanese civilians are portrayed as little more than slaves working not to better their own lives but to feed the coffers of the growing Japanese war machine. This film tells us of Japan's thought police who can and do arrest civilians for merely (and supposedly) thinking anything bad about the government. Daughters, we are told, can be and often are sold by their fathers to factories or Geisha houses. The people are united in worshipping the country's countless number of gods and seeking what they deem to be their destiny: global conquest. Children, it is said, have the national dogma drilled into them from a very early age, and it is the education system of the country that truly places the will of the people solely in the hands of one man. Clearly, this video screams, Japan must be defeated by America. One particularly interesting point comes at the very beginning of the film, as loyal Japanese-Americans supporting the United States war effort are clearly excluded from the scope of the propaganda. Officially, "this film tells the story of the Japs in Japan to whom the words liberty and freedom are still without meaning." Know Your Enemy is very interesting from a historical standpoint, as it shows us the image the American government wished to convey to its fighting men of the enemy in the Pacific. Know Your Enemy: Japan is a stellar example of the American propaganda machine hard at work in 1944."