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US occupation of Japan failure

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by scipio, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. scipio

    scipio Member

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    This topic has arisen out of a comment I made on the subject of the use by America of the Nuclear Bomb\s to obtain Japan's unconditional surrender.

    Whether this action was a demonstration and warning to the Soviets or not (and I personally doubt if this was the case), it had two immediate effects


    • the War with Japan was ended and considerable number of Allied lives were saved

    • by ending so swiftly, America excluded all of its allies especially Britain, Australia and the Netherlands (and China) from any involvement in the prosecution of war criminals or administration of Japan.

    So unlike Germany, the rehabilitation of Japan was an exclusively American affair.

    Superficially, this re-rehabilitation was achieved quicker than in the case of Germany.

    However with one essential difference, Japan was never forced to face up to the fact that it had committed war crimes which equalled if not surpassed those committed by Germany. With few exceptions Japanese bureaucracy, structures, culture and personnel were untouched by American occupation.

    The result today could not be more different. Germany (especially young Germans) has fully accepted and atoned for its past.

    Japan has not

    It is busy re-writing history with itself as a liberator of Asian peoples, honouring it war criminals, painting itself the victim, denying massacre after massacre, denying experimenting on humans beings, claiming that comfort women were prostitutes and paying not a cent in compensation to its victims (and why should it - in Japanese eyes it has done no wrong, only lost a War to a superior power) .

    Sadly, this denial of responsibility is becoming more and more hardened as text-books are re-written, Japanese Prime Ministers now regularly pay abeyance the Shinto War Memorial and the current PM denies the Rape of Nan-king and claims that comfort women were simple prostitutes.

    In my view the reason why his has happened is that Hirohito did not stand trial as a War Criminal. Britain, Australia and the Netherlands wanted this (and the USSR but as they had no victims of Japanese atrocities they don't count in my book).

    It follows that if Hirohito was not prosecuted, he was not guilty. Since the Emperor is Japan, hence Japan is not guilty and the whole lot can conveniently be blamed on a few out of control Army officers.

    Hopefully this is enough to start up a decent discussion.
     
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  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I will give you that the Americans excluded all others in the post-war administration of Japan. But facts must be faced...Great Britain was too busy trying to reestablish her reputation in her lost colonies, since her forces returned only by way of the surrender of Japan, and not through military conquest. The same can be said for the Netherlands, with the addition that she was also trying to rebuild her own nation after several years of German occupation. Ditto for China, except that they were now renewing their own "civil" war against the Chinese Communists. Then there is the America-centric view that "We essentially won this was ourselves, you may have helped some, but we alone won the war against Japan."

    As to the prosecution of Japanese war criminals, all nations were included in this at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Military_Tribunal_for_the_Far_East
    and the British did quite a bit on there own as well.
    http://www.geocities.jp/hhhirofumi/eng08.htm
     
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  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Then the country that suffered the most at the hands of the Japanese, China, had suffered horrendous massacres at the hands of the very people that found themselves in power after Japan's defeat.
     
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  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Slightly confusing USMC Price...you mean the Japanese Politicians?

    Personally i think not prosecuting Hirohito was a master stroke from USA...they showed how to occupy a (proud) country without the usual reprisals and disfunction...Indeed, the Japanese actively tried to "Americanise" themselves (a TRUE Victor gains the admiration of its enemy).
     
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  5. scipio

    scipio Member

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    They called themselves the Forgotten Army and you clearly have not studied the War in Burma.

    The Anglo\Indian Army (plus Vinegar Joe with his Chinese) fought a larger number of Japanese than the Americans. Kohima, Imphal were not called the Road of Bones for nothing. Slim's success at Meikteila, in its own way, is as successful as Stalingrad or El Alamein. The cost of the Burma campaign left Britain with a huge bill (I think almost 50% of the total British War Debt) owing to the Government of India.

    Of course it could be said that American Forces only returned by courtesy of British help in starting development of the Atomic Bomb - if nothing else America would have needed many more months to develop this weapon and I suggest in meantime would have had to bite the bullet and invite the USSR, Britain and Australia and anyone else to join in the conquest of Japan.
     
  6. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Yes - here we have a Class A War Criminal, America's favourite ally in the Pacific:

    "Nobusuki Kishi, a former economic czar of Manchuria, and architect of Japan's wartime economy, joined Tojo's cabinet in October 1941, and was a co-signer of the declaration of war against the United States. He served as Industry Minister and, following Tojo's resignation in 1944, as Vice Minister of Munitions.
    "After the surrender, Kishi was held for three and a half years at Sugamo Prison as a Class "A" war criminal. But in 1952 he was released under a general amnesty and began a new political career during which he showed that he had lost none of his old style. It took him five years to become prime minister, so that in thirteen short years he had moved from Tojo's war cabinet to become head of the U.S.'s most trusted ally in the Pacific" (Japan: The Blighted Blossom, 1989, pp. 31).

    Kishi was not and is not alone. In fact the LDP which has ruled Japan almost uninterruptedly since WW2 was set up by many war criminals.

    I struggle to think of any other "democracy" where the ruling party has hung on to power for such a long period but as Kishi reported said "money is power".
     
  7. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Well, Eisenhower could have left the senior Nazi Officials in charge, retained Albert Sheer as the Economics Minister and I am sure that the transition of power would have been smoother. It does not make it right.

    This is exactly what happened in Japan. Those War Criminals that were brought to book were almost exclusively Military - excepting of course the Emperor's Family , the military Prince Asoka, who was guilty of the Rape of Nan-King.

    In fact there is evidence that Hirohito's younger brother appraised him of the atrocities and in fact the Imperial Family urged MacArthur to depose Hitohito and install a Regency in preparation for his untainted son to take over.
     
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  8. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    The senior nazi officials weren't revered like Hirohito, the effect would not have been the same...
     
  9. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Good thread. Lots to consider before commenting....Just wish the system allowed more salutes.
     
  10. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    well we have to consider that Cold War already started at this point as US forerunner in this war already needed all the allies , potential would-be allies in region against Communism at this point. Especially Civil War in China considered. No matter who or what they used to be as long as they were not Communists they could be remolded and be best friend of West. That was why US Occupation Goverment and MacArthur as its head probably went so easy on Japanese after the war. War Trials well Homma and Yamashita Trials were not about justice. Real culprits like Imperial Guard officers , mid level officers like Col. Tsuji etc already escaped noose so they were more about revenge. Once Japanese showed enough deferance to their conquerers it was easy for US occupation authorities to let their guard down and go easy on remaining goverment structure.
     
  11. scipio

    scipio Member

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    This reverence bit is overdone.

    In the time of Hirohitos's father, Taisho, there was considerable progress made by the newly enriched Capitalist and Middle Class to democratise the Meiji Constitutuion (or at least grab more power form themselves)- a period called the Democratic Taisho culminating in Universal Suffrage (for men).

    The old Feudal Lords in the House of Peers lost power but the process of instituting true Constitutional Monarchy was still born as they still held onto more power than the Lower House. Also in an echo of the German Wilhelminite Constitution the Emperor retained his independent power over the Armed Forces.

    The position of the revered Emperor was beginning to be questioned but then came the 1930's and the rise of Militarism under a compliant Emperor - propaganda as effective as the Nazis in universally elevating the Emperor to Hero worship, and instituting Bushido which had not been practised for over 50 years
     
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  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I was referring to the Chinese factions we supported. Chiang was guilty of numerous massacres and purges. If you expand further to include bloody warlords and criminal organizations that he supported and that supported him, the depredations of the Japanese were on par with those perpetrated by their own people. Du Yuesheng "Big Eared Du" was the criminal overloard of Shanghai, a key Chiang supporter and one of the prime architects of the Shanghai Massacre. Many very nasty types supported Chiang through the twenties, thirties and forties.
     
  13. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Now I am confused USMC.

    Do the facts of Chinese massacres of Chinese excuse the Japanese Massacres or do you mean that the US has (or rather had - I think standards are improving) no problem with supporting murderous Orientals as long as they are not Communist?
     
  14. scipio

    scipio Member

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    So why the need to go easy on Japan with a lower Soviet threat (and resultant unsuccessful re-education) when was the re-education of Germany was successful with Soviet Forces on the Border and a direct threat to Western Europe

    .
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    No excuses for the massacres. My comment was directed at the idea that because Hirohito was not tried as a war criminal, Japan has been allowed to deny it's part in war crimes against the Chinese populace. The war crimes trials we did have were never about justice, it was all for show. If we had really wanted justice we would have gone after Chiang, his warlord and criminal supporters, our own politicians that enabled Chiang by supporting him and those Japanese that ordered or allowed war crimes to take place.
    A good example is when MacArthur, after the surrender, personnaly had General Masaharu Homma extradited to the Phillipines to stand trial by military tribunal. Never mind that Homa had instructed his troops to treat the Filipinos as friends and not enemies, to respect their customs and religion. Stopped a number of plots by subordinates to engage in executions and attrocities against the civilian populace. His policies were so lenient that he was relieved of his command after the fall of Corregidor and then forcibly retired in 1943. His real crime was defeating MacArthur. He was tried and executed by firing squad.

    "Associate Justice Frank Murphy of the U.S. Supreme Court protested the verdict, stating: "Either we conduct such a trial as this in the noble spirit and atmosphere of our Constitution or we abandon all pretense to justice, let the ages slip away and descend to the level of revengeful blood purges."[12]" from Wikipedia

    The point is that while Japan appears to be dodging responsibility and re-writing history, we too are guilty of the same thing.
     
  16. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    Asia was not calm in 1950. Actual military engagements of Cold War happened here mostly. Russians got Manchuria , went halfway to Korean Peninsula and occupied Kuril - Sakhalin Islands north of mainland Japan in 1945. Communists won Chinese Civil War and got control of country in 1948. And Korean War erupted in January 1950 when Soviet Union began having a nuclear arsenal. Each of these events probably pushed US Administration and MacArthur to the point of "Let's Forget the Past and look to future" when dealing with Japan. Korean War was a huge boon for half ruined Japan for example. By being logistics administration base for US Armed Forces Japan improved its economy faster during Korean conflict.

    Relations with newly formed West Germany was much more geninue because although Germans and its new Social Democrat leaders disliked Russian dominated communism and Eastern Bloc (Stalin and Red Army lost a lot of credit during capture of East Prussia and Berlin in 1945 then with Berlin Blockade in 1948) they also tried to cut their ties with their traditional militant past as much as possible whether it was Prussian militarism (easy since their lands were left other side of Iron Curtain ) or Nazi totalitarism which gambled and cashiered life of entire German nation due to whims of one man even after defeat was certain. Nazism was not rooted in German culture and way of life like imperial monarcy of Japan-which was also a half religion according to Shinto beliefs. Pragmatically Germans realised they needed goodwill of US especially if they wanted economic assistance against Soviet dominated East and they started from Stande Null (Zero Hour) also culturally. Successive generation of Germans in 1960'ies or 1970'ies did not look like or inspired from their parents or ancestors
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Clearly you have not studied the Pacific War in general...

    Singapore was successfully recaptured when?
    Hong Kong was successfully recaptured when?
    Malaya was successfully recaptured when?

    Of course, the British were planning a military campaign to recapture these territories, however it was not acted upon before the Japanese announced their surrender on August 15th, 1945.



    If this is true, don't you find it odd that MacArthur's recapture of the Philippine Islands resulted in slightly more than twice the number of Japanese killed than the entire Burma Campaign(336,000 dead vs. 144,000 dead)? The you lump in all the other American campaigns in their march across the Pacific & South Pacific...and, well, the numbers just don't add up that the British faced a larger number of Japanese than did the Americans.



    In it's own way...Just as, in it's own way, it had about as much effect on the overall Japanese war effort as the American capture of Attu & Kiska.

    IIRC, at war's end the UK owed India about 1.2 billion pounds. Good thing that the American Lend Lease aid to the UK was given gratis(about 31 billion US Dollars), and IIRC, Canada gifted the UK about $4 billion.



    I believe that you are vastly overestimating the British "help" in the development of the Atomic Bomb.

    And if I remember my history correctly, it was the British that first rebuffed American assistance to work on the Atom Bomb via a joint project. That is, up until the British finally realized a momentous the task really was. At which point they fell all over themselves seeking American aid, however, American progress in the development of the Atomic Bomb had grown quite rapidly, and the Americans now felt there was no need to involve the British in the Manhattan Project. Still, the Americans and British would come to an understanding and sign the Quebec Agreement in August, 1943. So, on one hand, Britain did help in the development of the Atom Bomb, but, on the other hand, it also hindered it as well.
     
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  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It is not the Soviet threat, but the speculative "cost" to the Americans.

    MacArthur spells this out in his memo CA 57235 dated January 25th. 1946


     
  19. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Not as much as I would like

    - and Manchuria was taken when? and Korea was taken when?

    I don't deny that the War was an American one and a very impressive land and sea operation, it was too.

    However Japanese killed figure does not equal forces opposed - more Japanese were tied down in Burma (and even more in China but largely supine).
    I have seen debates which deal with MacArthur's attack on the Philippines and question whether it was necessary at all but frankly I don't know.



    And all burnt up in defeating the common enemy - not charity but a necessary cost to the US of defeating Japan and Germany. When you are completely bust and your exports of 30% of what they were and spending 70% of GDP on Arms, it is difficult to find $1.2 billion and it was about half of what was owed in total - the point I make is that the blood and cost of fighting the Japanese was not American alone.

    The Tube Alloys project had already shown that the Atomic bomb was feasible, been running well before and already made significant progress long before America joined hostilities - in fact nuclear know-how of the US was almost negligible pre-war. But your assertion about "re-buffed", I have not read before, can you provide more info please.
     
  20. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    If you look at the below list of WW2 and immediately after "allies" I can hardly think how they could get worse

    - Stalin (though that "alliance" was forced by Hitler that invaded the USSR and declared war on the USA)
    - The Sicilian Mafia
    - Ciang
    - Gehlen

    The post war trials were tainted by years of propaganda and a desire for revenge, but I really don't see how that could have been avoided.
     

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