This chapter explores wartime perceptions of the geography and environment of the Pacific islands. It notes that most Pacific islands were little-known to their wartime invaders. In films and fiction, the South Seas had been fantasized paradoxically as both free from and in need of the constraints of “civilized” societies, not only socially, but also environmentally. The Pacific islands largely lacked the physical structures and transformed landscapes that the invaders believed were technological markers of their own civilizations, but they were little prepared for this. An alien environment and the exigencies of war forced the invaders to recalibrate their mental pictures of imagined landscapes.
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