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History IV: Ruin & Reconstruction

2008 (90:00 mins) Island Topics #59 History

The first part of this video documents the preparations for war in Japanese-governed Micronesia and the assault by the Allies on the islands–from the Marshalls, past Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk, to Palau and the Marianas. This segment shows the battles for the islands not just as they affected the outcome of the war but as they touched the lives of Micronesians. Many islanders could echo the words of one survivor who described it all by saying “We drank our tears.

The video traces the outlines of the reconstruction of the islands under the US Navy and the development of early post-war education and health services systems. Some of Micronesia’s later political leaders were among the early teachers and medical officers. But even as the US was exposing islanders to new political ideals and shielding them from rapid development that might take future control out of their hands, it was finding new military uses for islands in the Marianas and the Marshalls as nuclear testing sites and bases.

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