Jon Wiener: Pearl Harbor and 9/11 ... A Fleeting Day of Infamy
Jon Wiener teaches history at UC Irvine and writes for the Nation magazine.
If you Google "Pearl Harbor and 9/11," you get more than 4 million hits. In George W. Bush's 9/11 interview on the National Geographic Channel last week, he said Sept. 11, 2001, eventually will be marked on calendars like Pearl Harbor Day: a day never to be forgotten by the people who lived through it. But on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it's instructive to consider the way Pearl Harbor Day was remembered on its 10th anniversary.
In fact, on Dec. 7, 1951, Pearl Harbor wasn't remembered, at least not prominently in the major newspapers and magazines. There was a reason why the Japanese attack in 1941 received so little commemoration on its 10th anniversary: In 1951, the U.S. was fighting a new war on the Korean peninsula, and had just signed a security treaty with Japan, which made it a crucial ally and staging base for the Korean War. Remembering Pearl Harbor could interfere with the nation's new mission.
The spirit of the 10th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was best expressed by the Washington Post in its lead editorial that day, which discussed the importance of Japan as an ally in the struggle against communism in Asia. Because of that struggle, "the Japanese American alliance ought to be maintained in harmony," the editorial concluded. "It is to this future rather than to the past that thoughts should be directed on this anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day."
In other words, don't remember Pearl Harbor. Think about the communists in Korea instead...
comments powered by Disqus
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- It happened in Idaho and was the largest massacre of Indians in US history, but where exactly did it take place?
- Junípero Serra’s Missions Destroyed Entire Native Cultures. And Now He’s Going to Be a Saint.
- Isis destruction of Palmyra's Temple of Bel revealed in satellite images
- McKinley's lost his mountain. Should we still remember his presidency?
- Japanese historian upends the familiar narrative of WW 2 by taking a bottom up approach, focusing on fascism from the grassroots
- Holocaust-denying historian David Irving organises 'disgusting' £2,000-a-head holiday tours of former concentration camps and Hitler's HQ so people can 'make up their own mind about the truth'
- 72 history professors sign letter urging removal of Jefferson Davis statue from Kentucky Capitol
- 10 Years After Katrina, the Enduring Value of the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank
- Historian author Antony Beevor says his new World War 2 book may anger Americans