David Mattiske - Occupation of Japan - Effects of war on Japan

Running time
1 min 22 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I saw something there that I'll never forget. All the South Tokyo industrial area and housing area, the poor suburbs of Tokyo, I suppose-- there's no rubble, not like in Manila. There's no brick walls. It's just ash, ash, ash for acres and acres of ash. And all women and men, kids, pottering around with sticks, looking for things.

Even after the terrible, what we thought was a terrible war and going through all our operations, I thought to myself, "My God. What have we done to these people?" I found out later that the incendiary fire raids we used instead of ordinary bombardment, that wasn't going to knock out Japanese installations. The policy was we'll terrorize the people. And the night of that particular raid when all those suburbs were destroyed, I don't think the Japanese city council even knows today how many people died. It's probably between 110, 120,000.

Was this page helpful?
We can't respond to comments or queries via this form. Please contact us with your query instead.