Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers


Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers

Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II. Although subsequently there were, and continue to exist, other Supreme Allied Commanders, the SCAP title "per se" has only ever been given to MacArthur.

In Japan, the position was generally referred to as GHQ (General Headquarters), as SCAP also referred to the offices of the occupation, including a staff of several hundred U.S. civil servants as well as military personnel. Some of these personnel effectively wrote a first draft of the Japan Constitution, which the Diet then ratified after a few amendments.

These actions led MacArthur to be viewed as the new Imperial force in Japan by many Japanese political and civilian figures, even being considered to be the rebirth of the Shogun style governmentharv|Dower|1999|p=341] which Japan was ruled under until the start of the Meiji Restoration Period.

Douglas MacArthur and his SCAP staff played a primary role to exonerate Emperor Shōwa and all members of the imperial family implicated in the war such as Prince Chichibu, Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda, Prince Asaka, Prince Higashikuni and Prince Hiroyasu Fushimi from criminal prosecutions before the Tokyo tribunal. [harv|Dower|1999 pn] [Herbert Bix, "Hirohito and the making of modern Japan", 2001 pn]

As soon as 26 November 1945, MacArthur confirmed to admiral Mitsumasa Yonai that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary. [harv|Dower|1999|p=323] Before the war crimes trials actually convened, SCAP, the IPS and Shōwa officials worked behind the scenes not only to prevent the imperial family being indicted, but also to slant the testimony of the defendants to ensure that no one implicated the Emperor. High officials in court circles and the Shōwa government collaborated with allied GHQ in compiling lists of prospective war criminals, while the individuals arrested as "Class A" suspects and incarcerated in Sugamo Prison solemnly vowed to protect their sovereign against any possible taint of war responsibility. [harv|Dower|1999|p=325]

As Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, MacArthur also gave immunity to Shiro Ishii and all members of the bacteriological research units in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. On 6 May 1947, he wrote to Washington that «additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as "War Crimes" evidence.» [Hal Gold, "Unit 731 Testimony", 2003, p. 109] The deal was concluded in 1948. [Drayton, Richard (May 10, 2005) " [http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0510-24.htm An Ethical Blank Cheque: British and US mythology about the second world war ignores our own crimes and legitimises Anglo-American war making] , "the Guardian".]

Above the political and economic control SCAP had for the seven years following Japan’s surrender, SCAP also had strict control over all of the Japanese media, under the formation of the Civil Censorship Detachment of SCAP. The CCD eventually banned a total of 31 topics from all forms of media. These topics included:

* Criticism of SCAP (Individuals and the organization)
* All allied countries
* Criticism of Allied policy pre and post-war
* Any form of Imperial Propaganda
* Defense of War Criminals
* Praise of “undemocratic” systems of Government
* The Atomic Bomb
* Black Market activities
* Open discussion of allied diplomatic relations (US vs. USSR)

Although some of the CCD censorship laws considerably relaxed towards the end of SCAP, some topics, like the atomic bomb, were taboo until 1952 at the end of the occupation.

Australian, British, Indian, Canadian, and New Zealand forces under SCAP were organized into a sub-command known as British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

MacArthur was succeeded as SCAP by General Matthew Ridgway when MacArthur was relieved by President Harry Truman for insubordination concerning the Korean War in April 1951. With the peace treaty with Japan, the post of SCAP lapsed.

See also

*Rusk documents
*Occupied Japan
*Syngman Rhee line

References

Bibliography

*


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