Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Zero Hour

Iva Toguri was an American stranded in Japan at the outbreak of World War II. She was forced to broadcast propaganda to the Allied troops for Japan. In these radio programs, she taunted the troops and played music from home. She took the name Orphan Ann on the program, Zero Hour.

"Tokyo Rose" is a myth: Iva Toguri, like other women who also broadcast Japanese propaganda to Allied troops, was never referred to as Rose or Tokyo Rose. It was a name given by the Allies to the various female Japanese broadcasters. But it has been used since the war primarily to refer to Iva Toguri D'Aquino.

After the war, Iva Toguri was convicted of treason and imprisoned, released early for good behavior. She maintained her innocence, asserting that she had not said the words used to convict her, and that she had remained a loyal American. Though forced to broadcast to the troops, she claimed that she, with the help of American POWs assigned to the radio broadcasts, made herself and her words purposefully ridiculous. She had refused to give up her American citizenship, despite pressure and even punishment from the Japanese who forced her into the broadcasting role.

In the 1970s a public campaign brought to light the testimony of the POWs who worked with her and supported her story. The testimony of the witnesses against her was questioned, and some admitted lying. Eventually (1977) she was pardoned by President Gerald Ford, and early in 2006, the same year she died, she was given the Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award by the World War II Veterans

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