Understanding America and Her Enemies in Wartime

“And since you know you cannot see yourself, so well as by reflection, I, your glass, will modestly discover to yourself, that of which you yet not know of.”      

-William Shakespeare; Julius Caesar, Act One, Scene Two

About this website

In wartime, we often depersonalize our enemy and see him entirely as the “other.” Fear, resentment, racism, outraged vengeance and the belief by each side that its cause is righteous often result in vicious fighting and terrible atrocities.

• What events and social currents lead up to war?

• How are the conscious experiences of ordinary citizens shaped during wartime?

• How do the citizens of each country differ and what are the similarities?

• How might we better understand the lessons of war so as not to repeat them?

About Mark Scott Smith

I was born in New England in the winter of 1942 during some of the darkest days for World War II America. I grew up through the Cold War and the Korean War. The Vietnam War began when I was a young adult. Including numerous military interventions (from Grenada to Syria) my country has been at war most of my life.

My eyes were first opened to the world as an American Field Service summer exchange student to Germany. In college, I spent my junior year in Munich. During the Vietnam War, I served as a U.S. Army pediatrician in Frankfurt. Throughout my 30-year career as chief of adolescent services at Seattle Children’s Hospital/University of Washington, I developed extensive relationships with academic colleagues in Latin America. For ten years, my wife and I spent each February working in a rural hospital for Mayans in the state of Chiapas.

Now I live with my wife and our dog Pablo on the windswept Oregon coast. As a retired physician, I try to stay on board with the emergency medical skills I might need for the tsunami they say’s coming not if but when. Living on the edge of the mighty ocean, endless thoughts roll in. And the urge to understand the wartime events occurring in my lifetime has lead me to employ my academic research and writing skills in a new direction.

When I first moved to the ocean, I learned of long-range Japanese submarine attacks along the Oregon coast in 1942 and the Japanese balloon-bomb victims of 1945 that included a minister’s wife and five teenagers on a Sunday picnic. Moved and intrigued by these events, I decided to write a history-inspired novel. After extensive research, I fictionalized characters on both sides of the conflict and visited various locations in Oregon and Japan. In 2012, Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War was published on Amazon.

Currently I am completing my second novel The Osprey and the Sea Wolf ~ The Battle of the Atlantic 1942 about events that brought WWII to America’s eastern shore. At Christmas time in 1941, five long-range U-Boats set sail from occupied France with orders to sink any merchant vessel sailing off the Atlantic Seaboard of North America. Over the next nine months, an unprepared and ill-equipped American military struggled to counter this skilled offensive that sent nearly 300 ships and 5000 men to a watery grave before the tide finally began to turn in favor of the Allies. My story is told from the points of view of two protagonists: Rainer, a 32 year-old U-Boat commander from the Hanseatic city of Lübeck Germany and Ramón, a 24 year-old Mexican-American B-25 pilot from SW Texas. Extensively researched on the home front and in battle, this novel is based on the series of events that unfolded during 1942 off the East Coast USA, Gulf of Mexico, Yucatán, Cuba, France and Germany.

Over the past few years researching these topics, I have encountered many fascinating facts, images and viewpoints. These web pages are an attempt to share them with a wider public and generate discussion.

The header for this website was painted by Henry Carr while he was an official artist for the British War Artists Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Information. The work is intended to be a universal representation of war and is available to share and reuse under the terms of the IWM Non Commercial Licence.