Navigation Links
Dogs of war: Historian shows the role of canines in World War II

Seventy years since the United States entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a BYU historian has a new look at an often overlooked breed of soldier.

In his book "Empire of Dogs," Professor Aaron Skabelund goes beyond the battlefield duties of these four-legged soldiers and captures how dogs like New York City's "Skippy" and Tokyo's "Aren" mobilized their people to their nations' causes.

"It may be surprising to some that dogs were used in a similar manner by all combatant countries, both Axis and Allies," Skabelund said. "They ran messages, carried ammunition, guarded prisoners and flushed out enemy soldiers that remained in the aftermath of certain battles."

In America, an organization called "Dogs for Defense" encouraged people to enlist their dogs in military service. The recruitment included school assemblies where the military could appeal directly to children. At Public School No. 66 in New York City, one 10-year-old girl enlisted Skippy, a shepherd-collie mix, while the rest of the student body sang "The K9 Corps" march.

For families that owned dogs too small for military specifications, Dogs for Defense provided an alternative: Sponsor another dog's training in your pet's name.

"In exchange for a financial donation, their dog was awarded a military rank, so Rover could become a general at the right price," Skabelund said.

In Tokyo, a teenage girl named Teshima Tamie was similarly honored for enlisting her German shepherd puppy. A newspaper quoted her as saying, "As a woman, I cannot stand on the frontline, so I asked Aren to go fight for me."

In his research for the book which has a Japanese focus Skabelund located Teshima's own scrapbook. In it she had pasted several advertisements for the movie Sensen ni hoeyu (Barks at the battlefront). Contemporary critics of the 1936 film praised it for "moving, tear-jerking scenes" of dogs wounded after they captured an enemy spy without human help.

"Both film and literature at the time are full of stories about children who love their dogs and in the end part with them and give their dogs to the military," Skabelund said. "Ultimately this prepared children to part with their other loved ones: their father, their brother, their son, or even to prepare themselves to go off to war."

While the United States emerged from the war as a world superpower, Skabelund presents in another chapter how Japan became a "pet superpower," in part through the popularity of "pure Japanese breeds," such as the Akita and the Shiba. "Empire of Dogs" is published by Cornell University Press.


Contact: Joe Hadfield
Brigham Young University

Related biology news :

1. Noted science historian Elof Carlson traces how the idea of mutation has changed in 6 generations
2. Historian says history of nuclear power needs to be addressed
3. Educational historian looks at origins of the culture wars
4. Montana State University historian wins prize for book on Montana, Utah copper mines
5. Environmental historian now tackles industrial disease in Japan
6. FSU Historians Arctic research has him sitting on top of the world
7. L-arginine: Supplement tested on fit, athletic men shows no advantage
8. New Study Shows Impact of Employee Wellness Efforts
9. New projection shows global food demand doubling by 2050
10. Study of flower petals shows evolution at the cellular level
11. Long-term study shows acid pollution in rain decreased with emissions
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Paris Police Prefecture ... to ensure the safety of people and operations in several ... tournament Teleste, an international technology group specialised in ... that its video security solution will be utilised by ... safety across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled for ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... NEW YORK , June 2, 2016   The ... (Weather), is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which ... advertising, by being able to ask questions via voice or ... Marketers have long ... with the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" or "the Company") ... shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP and Clean Technology ... based venture capital funds which together hold approximately 59% ... diluted, as converted basis), that they have entered into ... holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings Co. Ltd. ("TUS") ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... solutions for clinical trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter ... their care circle with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016  Liquid Biotech USA ... a Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of ... from cancer patients.  The funding will be used ... with clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a ... be employed to support the design of a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences ... detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting ... cells (CTCs). The new test has already been ... in multiple cancer types. Over 230 ... damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK ...
Breaking Biology Technology: