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Online Library of Selected Images -- Picture Data

Photo #: 80-G-259446 (cropped)

Tulagi Harbor, Solomon Islands

Motivational sign at the Tulagi fleet landing, July 1943. Reportedly erected by Captain Oliver O. ("Scrappy") Kessing, USN, commander of the Tulagi Naval base.
This sign is best explained in the words of the historian (and participant in contemporary actions in the Solomons) Samuel Eliot Morison, writing in the later 1940s about war zone attitudes at the height of the Guadalcanal campaign:
"... thank God for Halsey, exuding strength and confidence; for his slogan, which 'Scrappy' Kessing painted up over the fleet landing at Tulagi in letters two feet tall: -- KILL JAPS, KILL JAPS, KILL MORE JAPS!"
"This may shock you, reader; but it is exactly how we felt. We were fighting no civilized, knightly war. We cheered when the Japs were dying. We were back to primitive days of Indian fighting on the American frontier; no holds barred and no quarter. The Japs wanted it that way, thought they could thus terrify an 'effete democracy'; and that is what they got, with all the additional horrors of war that modern science can produce."
Quoted from "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II", Volume V: "The Struggle for Guadalcanal", page 187.
This image is cropped from Photo # 80-G-259446.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 113KB; 740 x 620 pixels

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17 December 2001