How Can We Keep the Japanese from Future Aggression?
Nearly everyone is agreed that our first and indispensable
goal is: to keep Japan
from starting another war. This would be accomplished if Japan
were unable to go to war or if the Japanese people were to experience a change
of heart and become unwilling to start a fight.
Only a very small minority
of Americans would put their trust in any declaration to the effect that defeated
Japan will want
nothing but to be let alone.
Most students of Japanese politics and history
are convinced that the Japanese will try it again if they are permitted, to recover
enough strength to make the attempt. It is argued that the younger generation
has had complete indoctrination from the cradle in Japan’s “divine mission”and
that older people share that view with more or less intensity. The inevitable
results of defeat will be widespread poverty, unemployment, and hunger. Public
utilities, factories, and homes will be in ruins; industry and business at a standstill.
is a safe bet that the Japanese will blame us, not themselves, for what they have
suffered. Their desire for revenge will be intense, since defeat, because of their
highly emotional patriotism, will be very painful.
This point of view does
not, of course, exclude all hope of future improvement in relations between Japan
and the rest of humanity. But we and our allies cannot risk our security on the
chance of Japan’s taking defeat lying down. What means, then, are proposed to
guarantee that Japan
will be unable to fight again?
be disarmed and occupied?
To teach Japan
that war does not pay, its military power must be not only broken, but smashed
beyond repair. The Japanese in past conflicts escaped most of the horrors of war.
United Nations leaders are resolved that this time the war must be carried into
the Japanese homeland.
It is important that the Japanese army and navy should
be stripped of power and prestige not only on the field of battle but in the minds
of the people. How is it to be done? Should the responsibility for accepting the
terms of unconditional surrender, demanded in the Cairo Declaration, be placed
squarely upon Japan’s military leaders so that there can be no doubt as to who
brought disaster upon the nation? Should conscription be abolished and the armed
forces be completely demobilized? Should all instruments of warfare be confiscated
or destroyed? Can aims be accomplished short of invasion and military occupation
long should occupation last?
Most authorities are agreed that we must invade
Japan as a necessary
last step to achieve total victory. But there are strong differences of opinion
on the value of a long-term military occupation for the purpose of keeping Japan
from rearming. Some experts insist that the invasion of the Japanese home islands
should be limited to the time needed to destroy the enemy army and navy.
surrender, they say, the allies should make a peace treaty with whatever government
the Japanese set up to replace the militarists. Thereafter, acts of aggression
by Japan should
be prevented by controls from without, rather than by attempting to make over
Japanese politics, industry, and education. It is maintained that an attempt to
reform Japan by
long-term occupation would be very costly to the allies and would drive the entire
people to plot rebellion and revenge.
Other authorities urge a military
occupation long enough and complete enough to impose sweeping economic, political,
and cultural changes: They point out that the surrender of the Japanese armed
forces in the field will lop off the branches of militarism but leave the roots
untouched. Advocates of this plan recognize that it would be costly and would
present serious administrative difficulties. Some of these problems are discussed
further on pages 33–37 of this pamphlet.
A third point of view might be
considered a compromise between extended occupation and immediate withdrawal after
surrender. It would leave Japan
to straighten out its political problems, but would prevent its rearming by a
system of “detection and coercion.”The allies would watch carefully for any signs
that the Japanese were attempting to restore their military strength and would
apply strong disciplinary measures to check any such move. This system might be
supplemented by the control of imports needed for munition-making and the strict
limitation of such industries as the building of planes and ships.
the details all decided?
Plans for occupying Japan
have gone beyond the stage of discussion in only a few details. In anticipation
of military occupation of Japan,
Army and Navy officers are being trained to administer occupied territory and
are studying the Japanese language. In a number of American universities, training
schools in civil affairs have been preparing skilled personnel to establish civil
order in Japan
The United States
will, of course, share this responsibility with our allies in the Pacific war...
Indeed, it has been suggested that the Chinese, because of geographical, political,
and language factors, are best fitted to take the lead in the pacification and
occupation of Japan.
Russia has definite interests in the Far Eastern settlement—especially in the
island of Sakhalin and in Japanese-occupied areas bordering on Siberia.
is possible that Japan may be administered by a joint United Nations commission.
Or Japan may be
divided into zones, each under a different allied power. Germany may prove a valuable
laboratory for working out the problems which will confront the United Nations
again, under somewhat altered conditions, when we have defeated Japan. In conclusion,
it may be said that even after the details of the occupation are carefully determined,
fast-moving events may alter the picture overnight.
Will collective security
answer the need?
But there are other ways, besides disarmament and occupation,
of making it impossible for Japan
to succeed in any future attempt at aggression. Perhaps by the end of the war
or soon after, a system of collective security may be established. The law-abiding
nations of the world may pledge themselves to place at the disposal of an international
organization armed forces more powerful than those of any single aggressor nation
or probable combination of aggressors.
Because of the failure of the League
of Nations there is a good deal of doubt about the effectiveness of
such an international organization for preserving peace. But many hold that the
League did not fail because its basic idea was unsound but rather because, among
other things, its members would not risk the use of force against aggression even
when international crimes were committed by Japan,
Italy, and Germany.
will to use force against an aggressor is more important than the machinery for
doing so. The experience of the past decade may have convinced the peoples of
the United Nations that protests against aggression need to be backed up by prompt
military action. It seems probable that the international organization evolved
at Dumbarton Oaks and later conferences will be provided with teeth in the form
of pledges of armed forces to be supplied by the member nations. Even if the United
Britain, and Russia
retain the right of veto in cases which involve their own interests, it seems
unlikely that any one of the three great powers would oppose disciplinary measures
directed against an unrepentant Japan.
is doubtful, however, that collective security alone will be sufficient guarantee
of Japan’s future good behavior. Japan,
it is generally maintained, cannot be left to its own devices after defeat, to
rearm if its government sees fit. The nations which have suffered at its hands
will probably demand the double security of international cooperation to maintain
peace and continued Japanese disarmament.
What will happen to the Empire?
up the Japanese Empire as a safeguard against Japan’s “trying it again”has already
been decided on by the United States, Great Britain, and China—at the Cairo Conference
of December 1943. Japan
is to lose not only the American, Dutch, British, French, and Chinese territory
seized since 1931 but also its colonial possessions, some of them held for fifty
years. The Cairo Declaration implies the end of all Japanese control in China,
political and economic. Manchuria, Formosa, and Pescadores islands, between Formosa
and the mainland, are to be restored to China. Korea,
annexed by the Japanese in 1910, will eventually become an independent nation.
may as well recognize that these measures to right old wrongs and weaken Japan’s
military position will arouse strong resentment among the Japanese people. Losing
possessions into which they have poured vast amounts of labor and wealth will
not make them more willing to let bygones be bygones. But even though Japan
is embittered and revengeful, it may at last come to realize through this hard
lesson that aggression does not pay.
The mandated islands which Japan
received in trust under the League of Nations after the
first World War constitute a special problem. Various plans have been suggested
for disposing of these “anchored aircraft carriers.”They might become United States
possessions for reasons of military security; they might be assigned to the United
States under mandate by the new international organization; or they might be controlled
by that body directly. What really matters is that these potential naval and air
bases be held as insurance against future violations of the peace by a resurgent
fate of Sakhalin and the Kurile islands
may depend upon whether Russia
remains neutral or takes an active role in the war against Japan.