On the 2nd September 1945, Japan formally surrendered to the Allied nations, indicating the cessation of nearly 4 years of the Pacific War. The American representative MacArthur spoke of ‘a better world emerging out of the carnage of the past’, and therefore the Occupation began. Despite the USA’s and minor allies conflicting aims for occupation, between 1945 and 1951, they set out to garrison a peace settlement within Japan, spearheaded by MacArthur and his 3 key aims of demilitarisation, disarmament and democratization. These objectives were achieved, with the allies remaking Japan economically, politically, militarily and socially. However by 1950, MacArthur’s policies were revised, lessening the aims success, due to the emergence of the Cold War which culminated in Japans identification as an ally.
Following the official surrender, the Allies did initially successfully implement their key policies of disarmament and demilitarisation whilst occupying Japan. MacArthur was appointed the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers in Japan (SCAP), now allowing him the capacity to dictate the aims of the takeover. SCAP was a mandate that would ‘attempt’ to work with the allies, however ‘in the event of differences, US policies will govern’. This is portrayed through in the rejection of Australia and the USSR to have a say in deciding policies. Macarthur now began his key aims of demilitarization and disarmament, ensuring the long-term objective of Japan never again threatening world security. It aimed at eliminating militarist attitudes and the breaking down of the armed forces. All troops were sent back to their homes and individual weapons were turned into SCAP. Coastal defenses on the 4 islands surrounding Japan were removed. Individuals responsible for war crimes were tried through the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE). Led by Australia, who was fearful of a militarized Japan, 5,700 suspected criminals were tried, 920 were found guilty and 9...
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