This week’s episode is an overview of the Allied Occupation of Japan. In just seven years (1945-1952), the Allies undertook a massive effort to overhaul Japan’s politics, economy, and society. We’ll discuss the ways in which they tried to do so, and briefly attempt to evaluate their success. This was a really interesting episode to write and record — I learned a lot myself! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Listen to the episode
The Making of Modern Japan.
American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964.
Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)
A newsreel from 1946 showing the devastation of Japan proper and the beginnings of recovery.
MacArthur and Emperor Showa, early in the Occupation. This photo, with Hirohito dwarfed by MacArthur, became one of the symbols of the Occupation and of the new reality of American dominance.
The Ichigaya Building, former home of the Imperial Army and location of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo War Crimes Trials).
Tojo Hideki, center, as a defendant in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.
The Justices of the Tokyo Trials.
Members of the Japanese Communist Party being released from prison after the end of the war. Their elation would be short-lived, as by 1947 the Occupation government began clamping down on Marxist groups.
South Korean refugees fleeing during the early months of the Korean War. The war provided part of the impetus for termination of the Occupation, both because of the need for American troops on the peninsula and because Allied procurement contracts with Japan revitalized the Japanese economy.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru signs the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952, formally ending World War II as well as the Occupation.