Foreign Policy Digital

Book excerpt: On soldiers’ use of racist language in the Asia-Pacific wars

The Allies [in WWII] often used analogies involving animals or insects that lived underground to describe the Japanese, like “fanatical little rats.” Their ubiquity offers an opportunity to consider what work such analogies might do in soldiers’ narrations, how else they may be read than simply as evidence of racial hatred. General Slim was fond of an ant simile: “The Japanese were ruthless and bold as ants.” During

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