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Title: Susumu Ito Interview
Narrator: Susumu Ito
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 3, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-isusumu-01-0022

<Begin Segment 22>

SF: I want to go back to one point here, you were describing just a tad bit earlier about this thing about in war there's a certain kind of shift in attitude where, for example, you're able to get things out of your system in a sense because this is war and you can somehow, say, you can do things that you normally couldn't do as it were.

SI: Absolutely.

SF: So did the guys, after being shot up in say a heavy battle, did they -- well, I should put it this way. Did they sort of lose their sense of, kind of, normal thinking in the sense that, I mean, when you're in heavy combat, it's like you're kind of in a different zone and you're kind of working automatically. And if you say, for example, saw some atrocity, you would sort of react purely by gut. I'm reminded of the story about where some 442 guys saw apparently some of their buddies who had been defecated on, and someone said they didn't take prisoners for two weeks or something like that. Is that kind of a normal sort of human reaction in those situations?

SI: I suppose it is.

SF: Did you see a lot of that?

SI: Did I see a lot of what?

SF: See a lot of that kind of stuff where some atrocity would cause people to have retribution.

SI: No, I have not seen this. I think I have seen rather cold, impersonal, acceptance of apparently cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians, not necessarily by our GIs, but by oh, renegades. They might have been East European or even Russian troops that came through into Germany. But under the conditions, I think that even though I didn't experience them, you can feel that if you put yourself in the shoes of those who committed these crimes or atrocities, that they had full reason to do so because of the way they were treated, and that they're just trying to equalize the deck. I think as far as -- I really don't know of any atrocities that our troops committed. There obviously must have been some, but I wasn't personally involved or experienced or exposed to any of those. I think for the most, most part that although we did a fair amount of combat, or a large amount depending on how you look at it, that it was pretty much on the up-and-up, that it was according to rules whether they were rules of war or rules of personal behavior, or personal interaction between people. I think that, as in all cases, some of the orders that come down are not... seem rationally improper at the time. But then again I guess you can understand what the commanders in such a situation needed or wanted to do; and, of course, they were in charge and they had the, not only the right and the authority, but the -- if it were not for their decisions, right or wrong, hopefully right, that we wouldn't have an effective fighting force.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.