F rom beginning to end the Japanese-American war in the Pacific was waged with a barbarism and race hatred that was staggering in scope, savage almost beyond belief, and catastrophic in consequence. Each side regarded the other as subhuman vermin. They called each other beasts, roaches, rats, monkeys and worse. Atrocities abounded, committed by individuals, by units, by entire armies, by governments. Quarter was neither asked nor given. It was a descent into hell.
Yet literally within days of the end of the war the two sides shook hands and became partners. All had not been forgotten, much less forgiven, but Japanese and Americans alike came to the realization that the other side was human and that cooperation in construction was infinitely superior to demonic destruction.
By contrast, the race hatred that characterized the Pacific war was absent in the German-American war. How could there be racism in a war that pitted German soldiers who had American cousins against American soldiers who had German parents? Fully one-third of the U.S. Army was German in origin. Nevertheless the reconciliation between Germany and the United States took longer than the reconciliation between Japan and the United States.
One reason for this phenomenon was that the wartime stereotypes held by Japanese and Americans broke down immediately upon contact. Americans were not apes, Japanese were not monkeys; Americans were not raping Japanese