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1940s / Japanese Skull Controversy
This odd photograph was published in the May 22, 1944 issue of Life magazine. It shows the girlfriend of an American soldier writing her beau a thank-you note for sending her part of the skull from a dead Japanese soldier. The photo inspired overwhelmingly negative reposnses from Life readers. Furthermore, it was a propaganda bonanza for the Japanese who used it to portray Allied servicemen as barbaric. Indeed, the mistreatment of enemy corpses was outlawed by the Geneva Convention in 1929. The soldier who mailed the partial skull stateside was reprimanded.