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Life Path Of Louis Zamperini in Unbroken Novel

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Story Behind Unbroken

The plot of Unbroken, a biography by Laura Hillenbrand, happens to be very straightforward regarding the sequence from Louis’ birth until the post war time frame. In the introductory chapters, Laura Hillenbrand introduces Louis Zamperini, the character and the hero of this book. When everybody hated him as a child, the reason being happens to be that Louis wanted attention. It goes through his mischief as a child and into his high school years, where he becomes a track star. In that transition from becoming a mischief to a track star, Louis’ brother, Pete, helps him train for track and that changed Louis’ personality completely. Since Pete figured out that Louis wanted attention, he went to the principal and persuaded him to allow Louis can join the track team with him. After graduating from Torrance High School, Louis moves on to attending University of Southern California.

While he was attending University of Southern California, Louis joined the Army Air Corps. Since the war began in 1939, Louis was not called in until the US’ entrance in the war, which happened after the December 7th Pearl Harbor Bombings. After Pearl Harbor, Louis and his assigned team go and fight other nations. Up until 1943, his plane crashed near one of the islands he was supposed to bomb. Hillenbrand goes through Louis’ survival process while being stuck at an island and into the Japanese Camps.

In the camps, Louis was with Phil, his pilot, in a shelter that could each fit only one person, meaning that each shelter was roughly about the size of an average person. Later on, Louis goes through whips and abuse from the guards in the camps. Towards the end of the war, Louis transferred to another Japanese camp and gets abused even more. Finally, the bombs drop on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the war was over. After the bombings, Louis and other POWs were released and Louis begins his journey back home.

On the way home, Louis goes through treatment in a Hawaiian hospital to restore his physical condition. After a couple weeks, Louis decides to head back home. He gets on a plane and contacts Pete to pick him up. When Louis reaches the California base, Pete and Louis hug each other after not seeing each other for so long. Then, they both drive back Torrance, their hometown, and realizes that everybody is cheering and celebrating Louis’ survival in the War and Japanese camps. As Louis settles in, he mentions that he wants to go back to Japan to visit the generals in the POW camps that abused him. The reason he wants to go back is to forgive the people who abused him because now that the U.S. defeated Japan in the final days of the war, then the japanese thinks that Louis will do the same thing as they did to him. The story ends when he arrives in Japan and Louis searches around for Watanabe, the person who abused him the most out of any Japanese Soldier.

Since we did not learn about it in class due to the time we had to complete World War II, I decided to research this topic along with the bombings in mainland Japan. The camps were encircled with wired fences that prevented the prisoners from escaping the camps. Within the perimeter into the centre area, POWs were suffering beatings, starvation, disease, and punishments for performing the wrong task. While in the war, the proctors of the camps would abuse them and forced the laborers to work twelve hours a day until the war was over.

One example of the torture of the Japanese camps occurs when the generals assigned the workers to build the railroad. The POW work all day long under extreme conditions to build a 620 mile railroad by hand. This was very harsh demand from the Japanese since they were angry about not allowing the Japanese into the States because Japan joined Italy and Germany in the Axis Powers. Their hours were from sunrise until sunset with the task of “moving earth, building bridges, blasting through mountains and laying track” (POW Camps 1). With 10 days of work with one day off per 10 days, the POWs get a special diet to eat.

The food that the Japanese hands off to the POW is rice with vegetables. The food made conditions better and worse. Prisoners, on the good note, are eating something to continue working and to survive the torture of working. Also, they were gaining 600 calories, which only can help the prisoners some of the time. On the other side, they had suffered malnutrition, ulcers and cholera. All of this resulted in prisoners losing their body weight and lose muscle strength. At the time, 61,000 people were sent to build the 620 mile railroad, but only 13,000 passed away because of the conditions that they worked in.

On August 7th and August 9th, 1945, the US dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in mainland Japan. There was a reason behind the bombings. One reason was Truman did not want to lose any more of his own men if they were to battle in mainland Japan. Since Truman decided on using the A-Bomb, he hopes these bombs can quickly bring the war to an end. The first of the bombs was more than 9 thousand pounds and made of uranium-235 and was loaded into Enola Gay, a modified B-29. On August 7th, Enola dropped the first bomb and exploded 2,000 feet above Hiroshima. It destroyed 5 square miles of the city, which is why it got the name of “Little Boy” by the soldiers.

The second bomb was released two days after the “Little Boy” bomb. The second bomb got loaded into another B-29, Bockscar, and flew to its initial target, Kokura. Since clouds were covered over the target area, the plane flew to a nearby town, Nagasaki and the A-bomb, containing plutonium, drops down and explodes. This bomb, called “Fat Man,” was named because it created more damage than “Little Boy” and weighed nearly 10,000 pounds. Also, it said to “produce a 22-kiloton blast” (Bombing 1).

Six days after the double A-bomb, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender in the war. This broadcast scattered quickly, bringing news to around the world. The U.S. celebrates in victory of defeating Japan in a long and hard fought war. The official surrender transcript was held on September 2nd to be signed and the US aircraft, Missouri, finally lands in its base in Tokyo Bay. World War Two has come to its end with Allies- England, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America- being victorious.

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