Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA)


Liberal Arts

Document Type



This thesis is a biographical description of the lives of two men that fought in the Pacific War, 1941-1945. One was a member of the Third Marine Division, the other a member of the Imperial Japanese Army stationed on Lubang Island in the Philippines. They were connected by a very intense, almost Paleolithic conflict across the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Primary sources were drawn from the two privately published books by both. Clifton Cormier's A Postcard From Joseph (2002) and Onoda's No Surrender, My Thirty Year War (1974). In addition, Clifton Cormier graciously supplied self-written newspaper articles, private telephone conversations, and e-mail messages providing data not found in his book. The treatment of this thesis attempts to describe the experiences of these two gentlemen as seen through their eyes. It describes how the battlefield behavior of the Japanese soldier and the United States Marine were different yet strangely similar when fought on a stage of live combat were the will to survive is paramount to the will to win. Also find brief thematic descriptions of the military cultures that spawned the two along with eye witness descriptions of two of the largest banzai attacks in the Marianas (1944) along with a short treatment of the Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima campaigns. It concludes that the war itself is the real culprit as opposed to the political, racial, and social differences that existed in that era between these two armies and the cultural diversity under extreme stress that goes with it. This thesis explains how both gentlemen had no choice and did what they could to survive within the parameters allowed. Clifton Cormier rationalized that victory achieved revenge and Onoda sought isolation to circumvent the dishonor of defeat both of which brought to each the crowning glory of survival.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Charles Shindo