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January 21, 2012

“Red Tails” — or How African-Americans singlehandedly won WWII

Filed under: Germany, movies, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:22 am

If you are planning to see the new George Lucas film Red Tails, you better hurry, because I don’t think this flick will be in theaters very long.  I predict that it will very quickly be shot down like the Me 262 jet airplane that is shot down by Joe “Lighting” Little, a Negro pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen, who is the hero of the movie.

Black pilot shooting down a jet airplane

Before you get all upset by my use of the word “Negro,” it was pointed out in the movie that African-Americans preferred the term Negro over the term “colored” which was used by whites.  This is news to me.  I was 11 years old when this story was happening in 1944 and it is my opinion that both blacks and whites used the term “colored” which was pronounced “cull-ed.”  The word Negro was only used in a sentence which also had the word Caucasian.

The reason that I think that Red Tails will not be a big hit is because it will appeal to a very limited audience.  This is not a “date movie.”  Women will stay away from it in droves.

The basic premiss of the movie is that black people are superior to whites, but white racists in America would not allow them to fight in World War II until 1944 when black pilots were needed to win the war against the German racists.  There were other black soldiers who fought in World War II, but unlike the Tuskegee Airmen, they were commanded by white officers.  The movie is set in 1944, but filmed though a 2012 lens which shows that the African-Americans back then were no different from white people.

The movie has an all-male cast, except for one Italian girl who is the love interest in the movie.  “Lighting” spots her on a rooftop as he is flying over the pristine Italian countryside which shows no war damage.  She waves at him and he comes back later and knocks on her door.  He speaks no Italian and she speaks no English, but they manage to fall in love and get married.  Her Italian dialogue is not translated.  Only the German words in the movie have sub-titles.  What’s up with that?

The movie begins with a quote from a study done in 1925 which claimed that “blacks are inferior to whites.”  This is quickly followed by a disclaimer:  “Inspired by a true story.”  In other words, what you are about to see is not totally true, but we’re not going to tell you which part is not true. The title of the movie comes from the fact that the Tuskegee Airmen painted the tails of their planes bright red. The Me 262 jet planes are decorated with yellow paint.

Red Tails is about the all-black 332nd Fighter Squadron which was assigned to protect U.S. bombers on a bombing mission to Berlin in 1944.  Nothing is mentioned about Berlin already being bombed into a pile of rubble before 1944.  However, in 1944 Germany had Me 262 jet fighter planes in the air, so this bombing mission was different.  The Tuskegee Airmen were flying P51 planes.

Me 262 jet airplane

This movie is not about history; it is about the African-American heroes of World War II.  If this were a history movie, it would have been pointed out that the Germans delayed getting their jet planes into the air because Hitler disagreed with his generals about the best use of the jet planes.  Hitler wanted the Me 262 to be a bomber plane, not a fighter plane.  If the Germans had used the Me 262 as a fighter plane sooner, all the American planes would have been shot out of the sky and Germany would have had a better chance of winning the war.

The movie does not mention Herman Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe, the German air force.  According to this website,  “In the early part of the war, he remarked, “If Allied planes ever bomb Berlin, you can call me Meyer.” Later on [when] they did, escorted by P-51 Mustangs, he observed, “When I saw Mustangs over Berlin, I knew the jig was up.”   It was the Tuskegee Airmen who were flying those Mustangs.   (more…)