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  • MacArthur's Behavior in First War Trials

    I just finished reading "A Trial of Generals" by Lawrence Taylor, published in 1981. The book is about Two Japanese Generals who were tried, found guilty, and executed in trials in the Philippines which were totally separate from the main trials later held in Japan. The two Japanese Generals were Masaharu Homma who was the Japanese commander in the Phillipines during the 1941/1942 battles with the US, and Tomoyuki Yamashita, who was the Commander in the Philippines when the US retook the Philippines (he was the victorious General in the Malayan campaign).

    The basic contention of the book is that these two Generals were not given fair trials and were in fact innocent by standard concepts of military justice and that MacArthur had vendettas against these two men, and that MacArthur completely controlled the prosecutors and the judges. The basic charge against Homma was that he was responsible for the Death March, since it took place while he was in command, and the basic charge against Yamashita was that he was in command when the Japanese brutalized the people of Manila on their way out. Homma's basic defense was that he was running the still-ongoing campaign to take Corregidor, and that he had made provisions to deal with 30,000 prisoners, not the 100,000 there actually were, and he had given orders of fair treatment, and that he was recalled to Japan one month after the final US surrender. Yamashita's basic defense was that he was sent to the Philippines late in the war, and he withdrawn with his forces into the interior, and the brutalization of the people of Manila was by Japanese Navy units, and he was unaware of it.

    The book seemed pretty clear as to the facts, but on the other hand the author, a lawyer who wrote several other books, was clearly "setting the stage" for his case by describing the two Generals as kindly and gentle men, etc., which they may well have been, but it seemed to me he went a bit overboard, the images he tried to project didn't seem completely realistic.

    My questions are: Is the book essentially accurate in the portrayal of the the two Japanese Generals as being singled out unfairly, and in its portrayal of MacArthur as acting in an unethical manner?
    Last edited by lakechampainer; 04 Mar 10, 06:27.

  • #2
    MacArthur not my favorite general.

    However, Homma and Yamashita got what they deserved. Order this book and you will get it in time for Father's Day. I have seen the manuscript and the documentation is some of the most scholarly I have ever seen in a military history book. http://www.amazon.com/AMERICAN-GUERR...7802876&sr=1-1

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    • #3
      If i were to judge their war crimes and the primary defenses of military ignorance, or assignment after the fact ntl allowing continued pepretrations, to be essentially as horrific as those tried at Nuremburg-and i do. Their judgement was in parity.

      Thanks

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      • #4
        Being 'in charge' is what it is eh.

        The Japanese WERE in many cases guilty of grotesque actions by western standards.

        That's where the trouble is. Culturally a lot of what Japan did made perfect sense to a lot of Japanese.

        But they went to war against an industrial giant, and in the end reeeeeeeally paid for it too.
        Life is change. Built models for decades.
        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
        I didn't for a long time either.

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        • #5
          Related Book -By Colonel Masanobu Tsuji

          I just bought a book at the used book store closely related to A Trial of Generals. It is called (in the English translation) Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat - From the Japanese Perspective- The Capture of Singapore, 1942. It was written in Japanese by Colonel Masanobu Tsuji, who was the Chief of Operations and Planning Staff, 25th Japanese Army, Malaya, serving under General Yamashita. It was published in 1952, after Tsuji went through Southeast Asia in disguise for a few years, having been ordered at war's end by the Imperial High Command to "disappear" for a few years. This same Tsuji was portrayed in A Trial of Generals as the major villain of the Bataan Death March. He is also reported in the book to have been heavily involved in atrocities in China. In both locations the book alleges that Tsuji would give orders in Senior Officers names without their authorizations.

          Anyway, I've just had time to read the Publisher's note, the editor's note and the Authors preface. The Authors Preface was particularly interesting. One paragraph as follows (translated of course):

          "In military strategy Japan conquered spectacularly, in the war she was easily defeated. But, incomprehensibly, as a result India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines achieved independence soon after the hostilities. Indochina and Malaya had already become free almost overnight of domination by Europeans. These Asian peoples who were emancipated by the fall of Singapore will eternally pronounce benedictions on their benefactors."

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          • #6
            But, incomprehensibly, as a result India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines achieved independence soon after the hostilities. Indochina and Malaya had already become free almost overnight of domination by Europeans. These Asian peoples who were emancipated by the fall of Singapore will eternally pronounce benedictions on their benefactors."

            Was going to happen eventually anyway, certainly by the time Gandhi was an instrumental force in India. As such the other nations mentioned would have and did produce leaders capable of such action forcibly or other.


            In the end it sounds the like the Colonel is in the promotion of self-interest and justification for actions that politically have no bearing on the atrocities committed.

            Then again that's merely a good example of early revisionism, ie. obsfucation, distortion and denial.


            Thanks.

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            • #7
              The Philippines were scheduled for independence in 1944. The war actually delayed it until 1948.
              Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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              • #8
                The Colonel's post war activities

                Originally posted by Thunder Dome View Post
                But, incomprehensibly, as a result India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines achieved independence soon after the hostilities. Indochina and Malaya had already become free almost overnight of domination by Europeans. These Asian peoples who were emancipated by the fall of Singapore will eternally pronounce benedictions on their benefactors."

                Was going to happen eventually anyway, certainly by the time Gandhi was an instrumental force in India. As such the other nations mentioned would have and did produce leaders capable of such action forcibly or other.


                In the end it sounds the like the Colonel is in the promotion of self-interest and justification for actions that politically have no bearing on the atrocities committed.


                Then again that's merely a good example of early revisionism, ie. obsfucation, distortion and denial.


                Thanks.
                Here's a paragraph from the publisher's note describing the Colonel's postwar activities:

                After the war's end, Colonel Tsuji was ordered by the Imperial High Command to "disappear," and spent the next few years wandering in disguise throughout Southeast Asia. Returning to Japan after reconstruction, he was elected to the Japanese Diet, subsequently serving in the House of Councillors. In the early 1960s he returned to Indochina, where he finally did disappear and has not been heard from since.

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                • #9
                  Yes. Good update. It wouldn't suprise me to find out that his grandchildren are board members of Toyota.

                  Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    I'm not a fan of Dugout Dougie either, but it is interesting that he is truly in a position of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." Many Australian books on WWII take MacArthur to task for having been too lenient on Japanese war criminals.
                    dit: Lirelou

                    Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lirelou View Post
                      I'm not a fan of Dugout Dougie either, but it is interesting that he is truly in a position of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." Many Australian books on WWII take MacArthur to task for having been too lenient on Japanese war criminals.
                      I agree with you about not being a big fan of him either...IMHO he was just a bit too lenient with Japan...
                      "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."- Sir Winston Churchill, about R.A.F. fighter pilots."
                      "It is well that war is so terrible, else we grow to fond of it." - Robert E. Lee

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lirelou View Post
                        I'm not a fan of Dugout Dougie either, but it is interesting that he is truly in a position of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." Many Australian books on WWII take MacArthur to task for having been too lenient on Japanese war criminals.
                        I agree, well said. I think it was brilliant the way he handled Hirohito, keeping him sweating for a while, then sending word Hirohito should come see him, and then the famous picture with the much taller MacArthur standing nonchalently next to the Emperor.

                        My guess is he knew it was the right thing to do, to rebuild around Hirohito, but that he knew Hirohito should have been punished.

                        http://factsanddetails.com/media/2/2...r_hirohito.jpg
                        Last edited by lakechampainer; 06 Mar 10, 09:19. Reason: typos

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
                          I just bought a book at the used book store closely related to A Trial of Generals. It is called (in the English translation) Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat - From the Japanese Perspective- The Capture of Singapore, 1942. It was written in Japanese by Colonel Masanobu Tsuji, who was the Chief of Operations and Planning Staff, 25th Japanese Army, Malaya, serving under General Yamashita. It was published in 1952, after Tsuji went through Southeast Asia in disguise for a few years, having been ordered at war's end by the Imperial High Command to "disappear" for a few years. This same Tsuji was portrayed in A Trial of Generals as the major villain of the Bataan Death March. He is also reported in the book to have been heavily involved in atrocities in China. In both locations the book alleges that Tsuji would give orders in Senior Officers names without their authorizations.
                          At risk of drifting off topic... Tsuji was also involved in the defeat of the Solomons campaign. He was present and active in the catastrophic October/December portion of the campaign that sealed the fate of the 17th Army

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by robbielynne View Post
                            I agree with you about not being a big fan of him either...IMHO he was just a bit too lenient with Japan...
                            Hi robbielynne and lirelou:

                            Our Australian members could speak to this, but I remember when Hirohito died there were pictures in the US papers of the headlines in the Australian papers, which tended to be like this one: See You in Hell!

                            I remember in the US in the 70s and 80s Hirohito was usually portrayed as a nice, simple man who just wanted to spend his time on Marine Biology. Once, as I recall, he visited the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute near Cape Cod and the press coverage was fawning.

                            The other thing about Hirohito I never understood, and this is certainly not an original thought, how could he not be blamed for the war since supposedly he was a figurehead, yet he got credit for ending the war.

                            Wikipedia article on him. Not mentioned but I remember from books I have read about Hirohito that he was in a somewhat weak position for a while because his first four children were daughters, and there was some talk of his being replaced by his brother. His fifth child was a son, who did become the next emperor in 1989.

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirohito
                            Last edited by lakechampainer; 06 Mar 10, 09:28.

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                            • #15
                              Wikipedia article on Colonel Tsuji, including a photo:

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Tsuji

                              According to the article, he probably died in the Laotian Civil War.
                              Last edited by lakechampainer; 06 Mar 10, 11:34.

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