Occidentalism
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Allied war crimes

May 16th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

The Marmot has posted a link to an article, “An ethical blank cheque,” that reminded me that the Germans and the Japanese were not the only ones who committed war crimes in World War II. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article that people like Mike Honda should consider before demanding that Japanese apologize for events that happened more than sixty years ago:

We know from Anthony Beevor about the sexual violence unleashed by the Red Army, but we prefer not to know about mass rape committed by American and British troops. Lilly suggests a minimum of 10,000 American rapes. Contemporaries described a much wider scale of unpunished sex crime. Time Magazine reported in September 1945: “Our own army and the British army along with ours have done their share of looting and raping … we too are considered an army of rapists.”

….

We least like to remember that our side also committed war crimes in the 1940s. The destruction of Dresden, a city filled with women, children, the elderly and the wounded, and with no military significance, is only the best known of the atrocities committed by our bombers against civilian populations. We know about the notorious Japanese abuse of prisoners of war, but do not remember the torture and murder of captured Japanese. Edgar Jones, an “embedded” Pacific war correspondent, wrote in 1946: “‘We shot prisoners in cold blood, wiped out hospitals, strafed lifeboats, killed or mistreated enemy civilians, finished off the enemy wounded, tossed the dying into a hole with the dead, and in the Pacific boiled flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments.”

The Japanese code of honor was not the only reason that very few Japanese were taken prisoner in World War II.


13 Responses to “Allied war crimes”

  1. comment number 1 by: jion999

    It is 21st century, now.
    However, there are still so many ideas of hypocrisy and victor’s justice.
    All countries go to war for their national interests. But each government broadecast the propaganda that we are fighting for justice and enemy is evil to encourage people to kill enemy.
    And after the war, victor’s propaganda is written as history which emphasizes courage of ours and criticizes the enemy’s dirty war crimes.
    This is the reality.
    But there are still so many people who are cheated by propaganda so easily.

  2. comment number 2 by: jion999

    Koreans who criticize Japanese with comfort women controversy prefer to mention about Nanjing Massacre, either.

    Chinese who criticize Japanese with Nanjing massacre prefer to mention about Bataan death march, either.

    Everybody prefers to exploit the authority of stronger man.

    And when the question comes to Bataan death march, Americans who are the main actor of Victors of WW2 sentence solemnly that it is a fact, not a debate.

    And Koreans and Chinese smile and laugh at Japanese behind Americans.

    This is the mechanism of Japan Basing.

    In short, this is the victor’s justice and its derivatives.

    If Bataa death march is a fact without a debate, Nanjing massacre must be a fact with fabricated pictures, and comfort women controversy must be a fact with a testimony from North Korea without evidences.

    Hence, only the war crimes of losers has been criticized for more than 60 years, and will be.

    It is not logical, but it goes on in this world.

  3. comment number 3 by: ponta

    I think it is absurd to deny the atrocity on the part of the victors just as it ia absurd to deny
    the atrocity on the part of the defeated.
    I think it is also absurd to make history as a political agenda.

  4. comment number 4 by: dogbert

    I would note that the Allied (led by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur) occupation of Japan ranks as one of the most benign and non-vengeful in the history of the treatment of conquered nations.

  5. comment number 5 by: General Tiger

    “History is the story of the victors”

    An unfortunate truth.

  6. comment number 6 by: lirelou

    If history was the story of the victors, none of you would have ever heard of the Confederacy, read Erick Lamarck’s “All Quiet on the Western Front”, or Guy Sajer’s “Forgotten Soldier”, or any of the multitudinous war histories or novels written by former members of the losing side. It is not an unfortunate truth. Rather it is an unfortunate truism that cannot be sustained by evidence. A single report in Time, or mumbled generalizations by “embedded” reporters, mean nothing without specific details. The unanswered question by Time or Jones: How many U.S. troops were charged and convicted of such crimes? Surely those statistics were available?

  7. comment number 7 by: T_K

    Revisionism is called for, in some cases. It doesn’t detract from the sacrifices of Allied soldiers to acknowledge that their side had human failings.
    The need to rewrite some parts of the story is most glaringly obvious in Russia, where the official story still is that they only fought Fascists in WWII. If you follow minor European news, you’ll remember the furor that erupted when Estonians wanted to remove a Soviet war memorial in Tallinn. The “liberators” insisted that this was a slap in the face and a dangerous act of revisionism.

  8. comment number 8 by: jion999

    lirelou

    “How many U.S. troops were charged and convicted of such crimes? Surely those statistics were available? ”

    The statistics says 200,000 of women, children, and old men were massacred by US force in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    It is war crime killing innocent civilians in spite of any excuse or reason, isn’t it?
    Was any war crime of US during WW2 punished?
    No.
    It is obvious that the history of WW2 is based on the victor’s justice.

  9. comment number 9 by: lirelou

    jion999

    They were not “innocent civilians”. They were “enemy civilians”, and more lives were saved by crispy-crittering 200,000 (if that figure is indeed accurate) than would have been lost had we landed. Which we were going to do and were prepared to suffer one million U.S. casualties doing. Note that it took two bombs to convince the emperor to overrule the military, which wanted to fight on, despite having suffered two atomic blasts.

  10. comment number 10 by: ponta

    lirelou
    This is a very sensitive issue, and a point that most Japanese and Americans would disagree.
    First off, I have no intention to justify the atrocities Japanese troop did, and I know Japan had a plan to produce atomic bombs.
    But just for your reference,

    They were “enemy civilians”,

    Most of them were women and children because at the time men were drafted to the battle fields.

    more lives were saved by crispy-crittering 200,000 (if that figure is indeed accurate) than would have been lost had we landed.

    Let me quote from the book on it.

    He[Truman} declared that the two available atomic bombs should be dropped on Japanese cities because “an invasion would cost at a minimum one quarter of a million casualties, and might cost as much as a million, on the American side alone “The president added that “a quarter of a million of the flower of young manhood was worth a couple of Japanese cities. Truman’s statement brought the meeting to a close; none of the cabinet members or military officials present expressed a dissenting view……

    page5 The meeting described never took place. The quotation are authentic, but the context is not. With the exception of two notations from Trauma’s diary, the the statement quoted were made after the war to explain why the bomb was dropped. Those statements and many others expressing the same views created a widely held myth about the decision to use atomic bombs against Japan—-the belief that Truman had to choose between, on the one hand, authorizing attacks on Japanese cities with atomic bombs, or, on the other hand ordering an invasion.

    In fact, however, Truman never face a categorical choice between the bomb and an invasion that would cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. The prevailing perception about the alternative available to the president, which has become an article of faith among so many Americans, vastly oversimplifies the situation in the summer of 1945 as the Truman administration weighed its option for bringing the Pacific war to an end. The historical evidence makes clear that the popular view about the use of the bomb is a mythological construct for the following reason:(1)there were other options available for ending the war within a reasonably short time without the bomb and without invasion;(2)Truman and his key advisers believed that Japan was so weak that the war could end before an invasion began, that is, they did not regard an invasion inevitable;(3)even in the worst case ,if an invasion of Japan proved to be necessary, military planners in the summers of 1945 projected the number of the lives lost are far fewer than the hundreds of thousands that Truman and his advisers claimed after the war

    lirelou wrote:

    Note that it took two bombs to convince the emperor to overrule the military, which wanted to fight on, despite having suffered two atomic blasts.

    Hasegawa
    argues that it was Soviet invasion that played role in making Japan end the War.

    The point is whether it was necessary and proportional, and in my opinion, it was neither necessary nor proportional.

  11. comment number 11 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Lirelou wrote:

    They were not “innocent civilians”. They were “enemy civilians”, and more lives were saved by crispy-crittering 200,000 (if that figure is indeed accurate) than would have been lost had we landed. Which we were going to do and were prepared to suffer one million U.S. casualties doing. Note that it took two bombs to convince the emperor to overrule the military, which wanted to fight on, despite having suffered two atomic blasts.

    That statement is a perfect example of American hypocrisy. In other words, Americans can commit war crimes to save American lives, but the Japanese cannot.

    America did not have to fire bomb Japanese cities and kill hundreds of thousands with nuclear bombs to win the war. She could have won the war by simply negotiating a treaty with Japan. America committed war crimes and killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians because she wanted unconditional surrender. Americans wanted vengeance, even against Japan’s most innocent.

  12. comment number 12 by: Ken

    About 300 murders and 30,000 rapes by the UN (mainly the US) army were officialy counted during occupation period.
    So the UN directed to set up comfort house.
    It is unmanly too that they did them because there were no resistance, counterattack and punishment.
    Korean army made North Korean women sex slave during Korean War.
    Korean army raped and massacred hundreds of Vietnamese during Vietnam War.
    Why are these not accused? How come?

  13. comment number 13 by: ponta

    I forgot to say that I think Japanese leaders was so stupid that they didn’t end the war earlier. For that matter, I think Japanese leaders were stupid enough to attack Pearl Harbor. And as I said, there were a lot of war crimes committed by Japanese troops.
    But if the war tribunal is the court that judges war criminals on both sides, I am not sure if nobody on the allies side didn’t commit the crimes.
    That said, I believe in general Japanese have no intention to politicize history.