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Thread: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

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    Default Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    This decade old article pretty much sums up, in general if somewhat questionably in detail, why Japan has managed to preserve in government and society some of the features which took it to war and which still allow it to avoid confronting and dealing with its past, so that its nationalist elements still remain a threat to Japanese and regional stability where Germany has long since dealt with and disposed of those issues.

    And a lot of that comes back to MacArthur as the old Asia hand choosing to preserve the Emperor to assist the Occupation rather than imposing a crushing a defeat on the Japanese people, as happened with the German people. Overall, this looks like another of Mac's great disasters as one of the greatest commanders in history, according to him and his adoring public as informed by his huge personal propaganda machine.

    As Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Jewish Holocaust and Nazi atrocities in World War II, Nanking has become the symbol of the Japanese military's monstrous and savage cruelty in the Asian-Pacific War from 1931-1945. But in comparison to the Jewish Holocaust, relatively little has been written about the atrocities committed by the Japanese military in China, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia, where close to 50 million people died as a consequence of Japanese aggression. In China alone, an estimated 30 million people lost their lives. While there are thousands of volumes, numerous museum exhibits, documentaries, and feature films about the Holocaust, literature about the Japanese atrocities has been scant in the fifty years since the end of the war. In fact, Eugene B. Sledge has written that "the best kept secret about World War II is the truth about the Japanese atrocities" (Sledge, 297).

    Why has this part of World War II been kept from the world, and why has the present-day Japanese government not faced up to its militarist past and has eluded justice? For one thing, the Japanese government has utilized, for all that it was worth, its position as the primary victim of the war because of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because the United States felt guilty and responsible for the bombings, we helped Japan rebuild and nurtured Japan's victim status. For another, the Cold War made it necessary for the United States to cultivate Japan as an ally to counter the Soviet and Chinese threat; therefore, its past transgressions were overlooked. China has also played a significant part in not publicizing the wartime atrocities because it was engaged in a vicious civil war of its own after World War II. And after the civil war concluded, both China and Taiwan "needed Japan to play off against each other" and subsequently needed Japan as a trading partner ("The Forgotten Victims of World War II"). Therefore, China has never demanded an apology or reparations.

    Probably the most important reason for Japan's reticence, lack of remorse, and continued denials is what has been called the Showa-era continuum, or the transwar continuities in Japan. The most important symbol of this continuity is the reign of Emperor Hirohito after the war. He was exonerated from any responsibility for war crimes through a secret arrangement with General MacArthur, who engineered the surrender of Japan and the subsequent U.S. occupation. Emperor Hirohito, therefore, remained in power until his death in 1989. This is the equivalent of exonerating Hitler from war crimes committed by Germany during World War II. Along with the emperor, a great number of politicians, bureaucrats, and technocrats continued their positions in the public sector after a brief respite. They received a slap on the wrist and then went back to work. It was because of this continuity that Japan would never admit to the Rape of Nanking, preferring to regard it as a lie, a fabrication, or just a part of war.

    It is equally regrettable that in Emperor Hirohito's Imperial Rescript, delivered on the occasion of Japan's surrender, he never mentioned remorse, guilt, or responsibility for the war in the Pacific. He denied any aggression on the part of Japan, stating that war was declared on America and Britain "to assure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia," nor did Japan intend "to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or embark upon territorial aggrandizement" (Imperial Rescript, August 15, 1945). Therefore, he admitted to no wrong-doing or the commitment of any war crimes. Japan came away with a clean bill of health.

    However, as the century draws to a close, there are renewed calls to bring Japan to justice. Japan must come to terms with its past. As the Nobel Laureate for literature, Oe Kenzaburo, aptly noted: "[Japan's] unwillingness to come to terms with its past is not just morally offensive (emphasis added), it prevents Japan from playing its proper role in Asia" ("Denying History Disables Japan," New York Times, July 2, 1995).
    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2...286-497785_ITM
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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    This decade old article pretty much sums up, in general if somewhat questionably in detail, why Japan has managed to preserve in government and society some of the features which took it to war and which still allow it to avoid confronting and dealing with its past, so that its nationalist elements still remain a threat to Japanese and regional stability where Germany has long since dealt with and disposed of those issues.

    And a lot of that comes back to MacArthur as the old Asia hand choosing to preserve the Emperor to assist the Occupation rather than imposing a crushing a defeat on the Japanese people, as happened with the German people. Overall, this looks like another of Mac's great disasters as one of the greatest commanders in history, according to him and his adoring public as informed by his huge personal propaganda machine.

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2...286-497785_ITM
    Rising Sun,

    You may want to know that this "decade old article" the link leads us to is exactly the same article that turns up if you click another link on that page like, for instance, "The Railway Man."

    One is led to believe they should be different articles or texts.

    Seems that site has a point of view they really want to get across.

    But thanks for the link anyway.

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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    Quote Originally Posted by jimb1940 View Post
    Rising Sun,

    You may want to know that this "decade old article" the link leads us to is exactly the same article that turns up if you click another link on that page like, for instance, "The Railway Man."

    One is led to believe they should be different articles or texts.

    Seems that site has a point of view they really want to get across.
    It might seem that way, but in fact this occurs because the text is taken from a journal review of a number of books, including The Railwayman, but the internet version in the link is attached to individual books from the review without listing the others. As the final pargraph in the link notes

    The seven books listed above are not pleasant to read. Many sections are unbearably gruesome to read for more than four or five pages at a time.
    The full review is here

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2...286-497785_ITM

    If the link doesn't work for anyone (Although I've tested the link, it might work because I'm a member of that library and it might recognise my IP address but it might not recognise non-members' IP addresses.), you can access it by joining the library which requires only an email address and postcode.
    ..
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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate
    Becouse West, mate, let them to escape , turning Japane ww2 agressors into natural best American ally in the asia during Korean war.
    The Japane "rehabilitation" has come from that period when USA was needed the international "support" ( and additional military base in Japane) agains communism.
    The Japane was a natural ALLY for America- both pretty well hated the Communism( and killed a lot of "commies" in defferent historical period), and fought with commies by their own methods( according their own admissible principles)- Japs by the slaughtering of local peasants, more technically superior Yankees- by the tons of NAPALM. A bit later..
    I've forgot which side has killed more local civils but coz i'm an great friend of America and democracy right now( and yet i don't wish to be banned as a "communists") - i know the ONLY Japanes and commies are bad.
    But the Japane is a key american ally in Asia, the S.Koreans are even not such devoted as Japanese.
    So it's too late to complain, Japane revisionism is on the march.The dzine has been let out of bottle.
    Last edited by Chevan; 04-20-2009 at 03:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Becouse West, mate, let them to escape , turning Japane ww2 agressors into natural best American ally in the asia during Korean war.
    Not all of the West.

    Britain wasn't too interested in post-war Japan as it wasn't central to British interests, which shrunk in Asia in the post-war period of decolonisation.

    Australia was very interested in not letting Japan escape its war crimes past. We carried on war crimes trials for several years after Britain and America had abandoned them. But as a minor power we didn't have much influence on events controlled by the major powers. We would have kept going if we weren't nobbled by the major powers. There's an interesting book on this and I think I might have a copy. I'll see if I can find it.

    America was the main cause of letting Japan off the hook, because it was the major power in the North Pacific and because the Pacific War was largely the long awaited contest between America and Japan for control of the Pacific. America won and determined what happened afterwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    The Japane "rehabilitation" has come from that period when USA was needed the international "support" ( and additional military base in Japane) agains communism.

    The Japane was a natural ALLY for America- both pretty well hated the Communism
    Exactly.

    And before the war there were significant elements in America who thought the Nazis were their natural ally because the Nazis opposed communism.

    Nothing during the war changed the American attitudes to communism in influential business and political circles which were almost universally hostile to and fearful of communism, which then was confined to the USSR.

    Sure, there was war time propaganda which made the Russkis out to be America's great friend and it had an effect, but read Studs Terkel's book The Good War and see how confused some Americans found it to have spent the war being told how the Soviets were their allies and then when the war was won to be told what a threat they were to everything that the Soviets and Americans had been fighting for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    I've forgot which side has killed more local civils .
    The Japanese, by millions. I think their death count is estimated at between 30 and 50 million in China and the Pacific (don't hold me this - it's off the top of my head).

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    But the Japane is a key american ally in Asia, the S.Koreans are even not such devoted as Japanese.
    Maybe not, but the South Koreans are more likely than anyone in the region to suffer from the crazy North Korean regime and they need the Yanks to support them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    So it's too late to complain, Japane revisionism is on the march.The dzine has been let out of bottle.
    It's debatable whether it's Japanese revisionism or just a continuation in certain parts of Japanese government, commerce and society of the same mentality which arose during the 1920s and took Japan to war.
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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Not all of the West.

    Britain wasn't too interested in post-war Japan as it wasn't central to British interests, which shrunk in Asia in the post-war period of decolonisation.
    Australia was very interested in not letting Japan escape its war crimes past. We carried on war crimes trials for several years after Britain and America had abandoned them. But as a minor power we didn't have much influence on events controlled by the major powers. We would have kept going if we weren't nobbled by the major powers. There's an interesting book on this and I think I might have a copy. I'll see if I can find it.
    Yes mate. I heard the Britain wasn't in delight in post-war american policy , including the creation of Israel
    And Yankees , whose population never seen such Japane terror like australians in Banka Island, so yes they pretty well closed their eyes in a face of the "new global threat" - communism.Letting the former Japane occupation administration , say in Korea, to continie their post-war service on Korean administration.
    America was the main cause of letting Japan off the hook, because it was the major power in the North Pacific and because the Pacific War was largely the long awaited contest between America and Japan for control of the Pacific. America won and determined what happened afterwards.
    Sure, Americans don't realize all the threat to small nation, coming from japane.

    Exactly.

    And before the war there were significant elements in America who thought the Nazis were their natural ally because the Nazis opposed communism.
    ...and rest singifican elements though that the USSR the same evil like Nazis and Soviets were natural ally of Nazis, so USA shall fight agains USSR too
    Nothing during the war changed the American attitudes to communism in influential business and political circles which were almost universally hostile to and fearful of communism, which then was confined to the USSR.

    Sure, there was war time propaganda which made the Russkis out to be America's great friend and it had an effect, but read Studs Terkel's book The Good War and see how confused some Americans found it to have spent the war being told how the Soviets were their allies and then when the war was won to be told what a threat they were to everything that the Soviets and Americans had been fighting for.
    But for sake of true, it wasn't American president who ordered to develop the unfair operation "Unthinkable" - real total war against the former ally, but British gov.As well it was Churchil's Fulton speech that began the cold war.
    The Japanese, by millions. I think their death count is estimated at between 30 and 50 million in China and the Pacific (don't hold me this - it's off the top of my head).
    I think you are very right, and at least half of millions killed, were the CHinases "commies"

    Maybe not, but the South Koreans are more likely than anyone in the region to suffer from the crazy North Korean regime and they need the Yanks to support them.
    ..or Yankees need the N/Korea as the "Bogy" to hold all the Asia under american controll. That's why , i heard, the US administration prevented and torpedos all the independent S.Korea-N.Korea diplomatic attempts to improve the mutual relations between the brother nation.
    Just imagine , if you was american - how can you hold the asian hostlility in peace otherwise?
    But as i said, i/m great friend of America and i think the one more US military base can't damage the Process of Democracy
    The new Empire of Evil might be very usefull for democratic purposes, in practice
    It's debatable whether it's Japanese revisionism or just a continuation in certain parts of Japanese government, commerce and society of the same mentality which arose during the 1920s and took Japan to war.
    Yes mate.It's disgusting to hear the japane crying about 60 000 of poor innocent Kwantung Army pows who died in GULAG after the war - what a crime , compared to 20 millions of civils murdered by that glorious Master-race Army in CHina and Mongolia.

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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    Adding to my last post

    With the Cold War intensifying, the government of President Harry S. Truman felt that Japan needed to be moulded into an American ally and a bulwark against the spread of communism. Truman believed that these aims would be difficult to achieve if the Japanese people were alienated by continuing prosecutions of their war criminals. For this reason, the United States called a halt to further war crimes prosecutions when twenty-five "Class A" war criminals had been sentenced to death or imprisonment at the end of 1948. The decision to halt the prosecutions was entirely based on political expediency. It had nothing to do with issues of legality, morality, or humanity.

    Immediately after the death sentences had been carried out on seven "Class A" war criminals in December 1948, General MacArthur released a large number of the remaining "Class A" suspects from detention. When the gates of Sugamo Prison were opened, some of Japan's worst war criminals were released. Many of these suspected war criminals were able to move smoothly into politics, the bureaucracy, and big business. At the same time, MacArthur began to wind down the "Class B" and "Class C" trials.

    From the time that the Americans decided to halt the war crimes prosecutions, Australian prosecutions of Japanese war criminals were obstructed by lack of cooperation from the US military.
    http://www.users.bigpond.com/battlef...e_Coverup.html

    By 1948 the American government and the influential commercial interests (as distinct from the American people) which supported it had, for anti-communist political reasons unrelated to the noble principles of justice for which millions of Americans fought and tens of thousands died in that war, lost interest in prosecuting Japanese war criminals.

    To support America's position Britain was trying to get its dominions, being mainly Canada and New Zealand (which didn't have a huge involvement in the Pacific War) and Australia (which did) to take a similar approach. Australia wasn't too receptive to that idea, because we still had a lot of scores to settle with the Japanese and because we didn't have the same influences operating on our government as the Americans did. Going easy on Japanese war criminals would not have been politically acceptable here at the time. Christ knows how it was in America.

    Be that as it may, by 1950 Mac Arthur had commuted the sentences of those war criminals not sentenced to death and by 1952 the Americans had passed laws to reduce the time to be served by Japanese war ciminals convicted in war crimes trials only a few years earlier, again to suck up to the same nationalist militarist mentality in Japan which had taken it to war and which refused to accept that it had done anything wrong by going to war and massacring or otherwise murdering tens of millions of people who got in the way of Japan's expansionist ambitions.

    Meanwhile Australia was still carrying on war crimes trials until 1951, unlike America which was doing all it could to suck up to the same interests in Japan which took Japan into China and WWII in the hope that they would support America in its opposition to communism in Russia and, by 1949, China. Part of that problem was that America failed to grasp the individual and distinctly nationalistic aspects of communist elements and regimes in various countries (like Castro had anything in common with Mao, and either or them with Stalin, FFS!) but treated it all as some monolithic entity threatening Western (okay, really American) civilisation as we knew it.

    The problem with Japan was that, unlike Germany, the Allies pussy footed around and failed to grind their heel into the defeated enemy and tell them how things were going to be from now on. Instead, Japan was allowed to continue its past with only a few sacrificial lambs before the Yanks got into bed with their former enemy to make common cause against the communists in China and the USSR.

    I'm glad I'm not the descendant of an American who died in that war, because I'd be seriously pissed off that any of my ancestors died so that truth, justice, the American way and most of all the lives of so many people taken cruelly by the Japanese could be shat upon so contemptuously by my government. But I'm not an American so that's up to Americans to decide how they feel about being sold out by their government after fighting what was probably the most vicious large scale war ever.

    But as an Australian I am seriously pissed off that the Yanks ****ed up our program of bringing to justice all the Japanese and related (notably Korean) bastards who perpetrated the most appalling atrocities on our people, and people in our region. And, for that matter, upon countless dead and damaged Americans who deserved to have the bastards who committed cruel crimes upon them brought to justice.
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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    The actual differences between Germany and Japan were that:

    (a) Germany was occuppied by four nations, and the effects of the occupation were different in each zone. The post war reconstruction of Germany was skewed by the political attitudes of each occupying nation and the fact that each saw it as a buffer against the other.

    (b) the timing of the signing of their respective surrender and peace treaties. It is indicative of the Treaty of San Francisco that it was signed in the middle of the Korean war, and it was as much an attempt to show the other side that will do what they want in their spheres of influence as it was about their attitude towards Japan.
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    Default Re: Why Japan escaped Germany's post-war fate

    Quote Originally Posted by Amrit View Post
    The actual differences between Germany and Japan were that:

    (a) Germany was occuppied by four nations, and the effects of the occupation were different in each zone. The post war reconstruction of Germany was skewed by the political attitudes of each occupying nation and the fact that each saw it as a buffer against the other.
    A very good point.

    This stopped the occupying power having the free hand which MacArthur had to impose his own vision on the occupation, so he could do some brilliant work; bugger it up beyond all belief at the same time; and promote himself as God's gift to mankind, all of which were his trademarks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amrit View Post
    (b) the timing of the signing of their respective surrender and peace treaties. It is indicative of the Treaty of San Francisco that it was signed in the middle of the Korean war, and it was as much an attempt to show the other side that will do what they want in their spheres of influence as it was about their attitude towards Japan.
    Another very good point.

    It's also worth noting that the USSR opposed the treaty because it didn't stop a resurgence of Japanese militarism and used Japan as an American military base.

    The past sixty or so years have shown that the Soviets were correct.
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