My understanding is that for the most part she was pretty ineffective at reducing American fighting resolve in the Pacific campaign, in effect rather the opposite. However, I’m wondering, is there any documented case(s) of her being effective? Any individual soldiers who surrender, deserted, asked to be sent home, etc. explicitly due to Tokyo Rose?
I have thought this about all WW2 propaganda. Lots of effort was expended by both sides, and historians love to analyse it. But has any of it be shown to have any affect?
I did see a discussion of Korean War propaganda where an American leaflet comparing the warm winter boots worn by korean generals arriving at peace talks to the falling apart ones warn by front line korean troops was effective (in that north Korean deserters would turn up carrying the leaflet).
Ken Wiley in his memoir “D-Days in the Pacific with the U. S. Coast Guard” says “Tokyo Rose’s words actually had the opposite effect of their intent, since most G.I,s got a big laugh from her antics”.
He says that one time listening to her on the radio in the ship’s galley, she announced his ship “Middleton” was sunk. big laughs. One person said she was funnier than Amos 'n Andy. She was despised, though, with speculation over whether she was Japanese, from San Francisco, someone broadcasting from Hawaii. One crewman, who said as near as his family knew, had a brother in the Bataan Death March, hoped she would be hung after the war for being on the side who did that. Speculation over whether all Japanese-Americans were fifth columnists or not.
Wiley says during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, they had accurate news reports from Armed Services Radio, so Tokyo Rose’s wild exaggerations or flat lies, had little effect on morale.
Considering that Tokyo Rose was a myth, I’d say no.
Tokyo Rose was not a myth. The name was a collective term (used by Americans) for female english-speaking propaganda broadcasters on Japanese radio. The real woman who was ultimately prosecutedfor being one of the broadcasters was probably prosectued unfairly. But the broadcasts were real.
Yes, the broadcasts were real, but Tokyo Rose herself was not and thus can be fairly described as mythical.
Oh, right, the way the Phantom of the Opera doesn’t exist?
Actually, “Tokyo Rose” did exist. “She” just didn’t call her collective selves “Tokyo Rose”. The US Forces called her that. She/they existed. Soldiers gave her/them a name. How can one say ‘she’ wasn’t real?
Now I heard that somehow Americans could make requests (unsure of thru what channels - shortwave radio maybe?) for songs and she would play them.
I could believe that the various iterations of Tokyo Rose had a marginal effect on some servicemen’s morale, far more than U.S. troops being fazed by Japanese shouts of “To hell with Babe Ruth!”.
My dad served in the South pacific (1942-44.) He said you could pick her up on AM radio, everybody in his unit had a good laugh about her. My question: Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had Tokyo Rose counterparts (“Axis sally”)-were they any more successful?
For what it’s worth, President Gerald Ford served in the Pacific with the U.S. Navy during WW2, and he said he and his comrades loved the Tokyo Rose broadcasts, and found them highly entertaining. Perhaps that’s why he gave a pardon to Iva Toguri, the best known of the women who used the alias Tokyo Rose.
Tokyo Rose was not her “alias”. See replies #5 and #8.
I stand corrected.
Even so, Ford gave Ms. Toguri a pardon, and said he and his fellow Navy personnel LIKED the broadcasts, which he said featured more music than propaganda, and were more fun to listen to than what the Navy was providing for their men’s amusement.
One of the best known, Lord Haw-Haw (a name associated with several broadcasters out of Germany, but chiefly William Joyce) is recorded as having effects on British morale, namely spreading rumours that caused absenteeism, as well as referencing a chocolate factory actually producing war material which *“has caused some local inconvenience”*. After the war he was hanged for high treason.
Interesting that is the most affect I have ever hear of WW2 propaganda having.
Incidentally its also considered Lord Haw Haw’s prosecution was illegitimate as he wasn’t really a british citizen, so should not have been charged with treason.
Altho the American news was *more *reliable than the Axis (or the British) it still was by no means reliable- stuff was exaggerated or not reported.
Still debatable. You don’t have to be a citizen to be a traitor, merely to “owe allegiance” because you’re under the protection of the country. It turned on when and if he renounced the British citizenship he had claimed when he applied for a passport in order to travel to Germany just before the outbreak of war.
Thanks Mr Kobyashi. Very interesting. I knew that propaganda efforts were very effective, but I’m a little surprised at just hot ineffective they were. I wonder if Allied propaganda efforts were helpful?