Thursday, September 28, 2006

Traitors In Every War

Tokyo Rose died yeseterday, at age 90. She was born Iva Ikuko Toguri, a first generation American, who went to Japan to care for a sick relative and was captured and made to broadcast propaganda to American listeners during World War II. There were several women who were dubbed "Tokyo Rose", but she was different. At first she tried to refuse to do the broadcasts, but finally she and other POW's decided to make hash of them. She wasn't what the Japanese wanted - she had a gravelly voice and a lisp, and apparently was campy with her broadcasts.

When she got back to the U.S., she was tried for treason, due largely to the lobbying of smarmy newsman Walter Winchell, and the American Legion. The judge in the case pressured a deadlocked jury to bring in a verdict.

Years later, testimony against her was discredited and she was pardoned by President Gerald Ford just before he left office.

There were other broadcasters imprisoned: American born Mildred Gillar was called "Axis Sally", and she was sentenced to 10-30 years for her pro-Nazi broadcasts from Berlin. She was released in 1962.

An American named William Joyce was known as "Lord Haw-Haw", and his radio propaganda was beamed to England from Germany. He was tried and hanged in London. He was not yet 40.

The Korean war brought "Seoul City Sue", American born Anna Wallace Suhr, wife of a Korean newsman. She read the names of slain American soldiers off their dog tags, to a musical accompaniment.

Vietnam produced "Hanoi Hannah". She was a Vietnamese woman who read messages and propaganda designed to make American Soldiers go AWOL. She read lists of newly killed or imprisoned Americans.

"Baghdad Bob" with his lies, fantasies, and colorful descriptions of his enemies he reached meteoric heights in the First Gulf War.

American-born Adam Gadahn, sone of musician Phil Pearlman, of Southern California, became known asthe English language spokesman for al-Qaeda, and appeared as "Azzam the American".

Notice anything about these people? All but two of them were Americans.


patsy said...

Daddy was on Iwo Jima and he said G I's liked toka rose. said she was interening and she played american music.

Alan G said...

I happen to catch that on the news the other night and have to admit I had no idea she was a US citizen, much less a resident of Chicago. As familiar a name as she was to our generation, I guess I slept right through that history lesson in school.

patsy said...

should read tokyo rose

Annie said...

What an interesting story. Thanks for telling it, Betty. Like Alan G. I learned somethings I should have already known.

Betty said...

Alan: I had no idea ANY of them were American citizens, except the al Qaeda one. Just one of those little factoids left out of the history books, maybe? :-)

gawilli said...

This seems like a sad commentary to me. I did not know this either. It is interesting what the history books choose to leave out or expound on.

John said...

As a child I can well remember hearing Joyce's voice on the radio. He was treated as a joke by most people with his strange "Jairmany calling" accent. As an American citizen and naturalised German, Joyce could not have been convicted of treason against the British Crown, except that the prosecution successfully argued on a technicality that having lied about his nationality to obtain a British passport. Joyce thus owed allegiance to the King.

Dogwalkmusings said...

If I read you blog long enough I'm going to have one fine education!