Post War Japan and Asia 1945-1951

Cold War map

In eastern Asia, the end of the war brought a long period of turmoil. In the European colonies occupied by Japan, liberation movements were established–some strongly Communist in outlook. In Indochina, Indonesia, and Malaya, wars were fought against the colonial powers as well as between rival factions.

The messy aftermath of war precipitated the final crisis of the old European imperialism; by the early 1950s, most of Southeast Asia was independent. In Burma and India, Britain could not maintain its presence. India was divided into two states in 1947, India (Hindu) and Pakistan (Muslim), and Burma was granted independence a year later.

San Francisco Treaty

Japan was not restored to full sovereignty until after the San Francisco Treaty was signed on September 8, 1951. The emperor was retained, but the military was emasculated and a parliamentary regime had been installed. Japanese prewar possessions were divided up. Manchuria was restored to China in 1946 (though only after the Soviet Union had removed more than half the industrial equipment left behind by the Japanese). Taiwan was returned to Chinese control. Korea was occupied jointly by the Soviet Union and the United States, and two independent states — one Communist, one democratic — were established there in 1948.

The most unstable area remained China, where the prewar conflict between Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists and the Chinese Communists led by Mao Zedong was resumed on a large scale in 1945.

After four years of warfare, the Nationalist forces were defeated and Chiang withdrew to the island of Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China was declared in 1949, and a long program of rural reform and industrialization was set in motion. The victory of Chinese communism encouraged Stalin to allow the Communist regime in North Korea to embark on war against the South in the belief that America lacked the commitment for another military conflict.

Korean War begins

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when the troops of Kim Il Sung crossed the 38th parallel, the agreed-upon border between the two states. By this stage, the international order had begun to solidify into two heavily armed camps.

In 1949 the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb. That same year, the U.S. helped organize a defensive pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to link the major Western states together for possible armed action against the Communist threat.

By 1951 Chinese forces were engaged in the Korean conflict, exacerbating concerns that another world war — this time with nuclear weapons — might become a reality. The optimism of 1945 had, in only half a decade, given way to renewed fears that international anarchy and violence might be the normal condition of the modern world.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Saturday Evening Post style – 

“I HOPE YOU’RE NOT ANGRY WITH ME FOR TAKING YOU AWAY FROM YOUR FRIENDS.”

 

“WELL NO…. BUT I DO HELP RUN IT.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Dustin B. Ard – Idaho Falls, ID; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt. 1st Class, 2nd Batt/1st Special Forces, KIA

Arthur Bruce – High Point, NC; US Army, WWII / US Navy, Korea

Glen Coup – Akron, OH; US Army, 101st Airborne Division

Luis Deleon-Figueroa – Chicopee, MA; US Army, Afghanistan, MSgt., 7th Special Forces Group, KIA

Roy Ellefson – Barnesville, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 9T/8th Air Force

Henry Fager Jr. – Wichita, KS; US Army, WWII, 2nd Lt.

Jose Gonzalez – La Puente, CA; US Army, Afghanistan, MSgt., 7th Special Forces Group, KIA

Paul Manos – Laurel, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

R. Patrick Stivers – St. Matthews, KY; US Army, WWII & Korea

Leonard Stokes – Nelson, NZ; RNZ Army # 4211953, WWII

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 2, 2019, in Korean War, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 122 Comments.

  1. Always an education her, GP. We didn’t learn this stuff in school.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Still lovin’ your blog, GP!

    Our Heroes Rock!

    Hugs,

    Tamara

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think that was the ending of the old European imperialism and the start of a new era for many countries at that time, particularly India and Pakistan, although this subject is being raised anew, much along the lines we are seeing with China and Hong Kong. Thanks for some enjoyable posts looking back into history tonight gp, cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Another great article Sir, I am going to reblog this one and a couple of others that I have read today. I always enjoy your history lessons you teach in your articles.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very much. I don’t know why I have so much trouble trying to ‘Like’ your posts and comment over there. But please know I do appreciate you sharing this information.

      Like

  6. Who made the decision to split India into two The British or the Indian governments or the Americans and why? Were most people there living in divided neighbourhoods? Was their internal fighting between religions? We’re not taught about this so thank you for educating me.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It really is astonishing how quickly turmoil returned after WWII. Obviously, there were regimes and leaders who were willing to use the post-war period for their own purposes, but the speed with which some of those events happened is remarkable. I do remember that the phrase “police action” was commonly used when I was a kid. I wonder now whether it might have been that reluctance to acknowledge the reality of another war.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The US says that a ‘conflict’ is not a war unless Congress votes that we did indeed declare war. Congress has not declared war since Pearl Harbor (have they agreed on anything since Pearl Harbor?)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. …and the wars go on!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s really fascinating to look at this and who our gre atest enemies, allies, and (for lack of a better word) neither… and the relationships they have today with us and the rest of the world. Thanks for another marvelous, insightful post, GP.
    I’m glad to know you’re now safe from Dorian. Although I’m sure there are still some problems in his wake. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great information…. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The OSS warned Harry Truman that North Korea would attack South Korea if he removed US troops there. He did it anyway, and the result was the Korean War.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thanks as always for the history lesson, G. Too bad it only took five years for the post WWII euphoria to wear off. Hope the hurricane heads north instead of west. Our son Tony is now out in the Bahamas coordinating Coast Guard rescue efforts. Our cousins who live in the Bahamas seem to have weathered the storm. Again. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Excellent history lesson, GP. I find it unfathomable that after all the global waste of life from WWII, that anyone would have the energy to fight five years later in the Korean War.

    Liked by 3 people

    • If you recall the history (I know you’re too young to remember first-hand), it was a UN “Police Action”, not even considered a war at the time – except by the soldiers, sailors and Marines fighting in it.

      Like

      • Oh, yes, I know that. I remember growing up hearing the complaints about how it was classified. Now, I thought, enough time has gone by where it’s understood it was a war. I’ll call it Korean Conflict, if you want. 😉 ]
        Have you seen the memorial of it at the Mall in DC? Really captivating. I thought it was beautiful.

        Liked by 3 people

  14. GP, I’ve been following for a few years now and I’ve enjoyed our voyage. I know we don’t see eye to eye of some things but that isn’t all that important. At the moment I am researching a topic that is about the Australian “Soldiers’ Settlement Scheme” which was started to help returned soldiers settle on farms. There were two schemes; one after WWI and a similar one after WWII. Now I know about the GI Bill but our scheme was focused on developing farming opportunities. Is there anything similar in the US? There are differences between the first war and the second war programmes. But I am trying to get an American comparison.
    Sorry if this is a bit long. Have a shot of Jim and take your time.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Millions died in the partition of India in 1947. Hindu and Muslim had lived together peacefully for years but Muhammad Ali Jinnah insisted on a separate Muslim state for followers of that religion. The subsequent exodus of millions of Muslims across India to Pakistan and Bangladesh cost the lives of huge numbers of innocent people of both religions.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for including that information, John! There’s always someone who thinks they know better – and he ends up causing a war or innocent deaths because of it, eh?

      Like

  16. Excellent post. This connected a few dots for me. The only question I still have is how did Taiwan end up a British colony?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. My Dad was still listed on the reserve in 1950. He received notification to register at a local barracks, and felt sure he would end up in Korea. But because he was just over 30, and married, he was put at the back of the queue. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go.
    Sadly, many inexperienced National Service conscripts did have to go, and many were killed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Great summary of what was going on in the Far East after the end of WWII. It seems like we go from one war to another war and most people only talk about WWII. A friend of us just died who fought in the Korean War. He never talked about his war. Maybe because he was overshadowed by most of his contemporaries who fought in WWII. Hope someday we don’t have to send our boys to fight for other countries.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. The Soviet Union blew an atom bomb in 1949? So it’s true, and not a vicious imperialist propaganda piece? I am being facetious, of course, GP. We were inundated and brainwashed, as you know. Same goes for the situation in Kurili Islands and the American involvement in Korea. I am grateful to you for telling the truth and filling in details for me.
    Happy Labor Day, dear friend!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. War and conflict is the only constant down here. But we have every right to fight for our freedom.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. This points out how close together those wars were. That’s frightening. I like the comics, too. I have pictures of my daughter silhouetted against a Cruiser background. Yeah, she runs it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, it sure didn’t take long for the ‘new’ China to try out its new-found strength, eh?
      Yeah – but your daughter actually does. I find it hard to believe the Swabby does. 🙂

      Like

  22. The world was certainly changed forever

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Excellent post, GP. A complex situation in Asia after WWII

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Thanks to my father’s interest in world affairs I was aware of the post war developments…particularly the case if Vietnam.
    I do wonder where we are heading now….as there seems to be a lot of coat trailing going on.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Once they take off the uniforms, people generally get along so well. Too bad governments haven’t learned how to do that.

    The battle between democracy and totalitarianism that erupted in post the WWII era seems to have intensified recently as Russia and China expand their influence and America retreats from its core values. The existence of democracy anywhere is a threat to totalitarian governments everywhere. The US used to be where dictators would be rebuked and people seeking human rights and freedom could count on for support. These days its the dictators (except Venezuela and Cuba) and leaders with anti-democratic tendencies who our President expresses admiration for.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Despite not being a politician, I think our Pres. is a bit cagier than people give him credit for. If we weren’t still fighting for others’ freedom and democracy, why have we been in Afghanistan for 17 years, no sign of leaving any time soon and why did we lose 3 very special men in combat this week? Why are we in so many countries, based to protect,that I can’t even guesstimate how many?

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Excellent background information on the Asian postwar theatre, GP! Having grown up in Germany, I was fully familiar with the communist threat to Western Europe. Eastern Europe was already under Stalin’s rule in 1945. Little did I know about the developments in the Far East.

    Liked by 3 people

    • An awful lot of our military were in Europe because you were not alone in your opinion. See, even after all that time in the Pacific, how many in D.C. took the time to understand the Oriental cultures?

      Liked by 1 person

  27. And life in the US went merrily on in the 50’s as if the war in Korea wasn’t happening. I wasn’t born until it was over, but when adults spoke of war, they always meant WWII.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think they still do at times – or Vietnam now that those veterans are aging. I have a book titled “Where Ya Been, Mac” that expresses the feelings then. After the Great Depression and then WWII, no one wanted to know about the ‘police action’ going on in another country they barely heard of.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Thank you for another great history lesson, GP! At school we really learned nothing about it, and at unversity – i had political science too – was only a very small look on the AP-area. This posting a very sneaky military humor too. Lol Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Also, the French finally left Vietnam in the 1950s, leading to what eventually became the Vietnam War.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Good summary, GP. I wonder if the current international world situation is finally migrating past the post-WWII period (eg NATO). Internationally, WWII spelled the end of European colonialism and lead to the rise of the Civil Right movement int he the U.S. You can’t ask people to fight for you without giving them a reason that means something to them.

    Liked by 5 people

  31. Thank you for your update on the history in that part if of the world. We in Europe didn’t learn too much about it in school though I had a very talented and engaged teacher. He sparked my interest in history

    Liked by 4 people

  32. “international anarchy and violence might be the normal condition of the modern world.” well that’s still the case sadly. We never learn.

    Liked by 4 people

  33. Complicated history with Korea and China, then and now! Thank you for summing it up so well.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. A good summary of the post war Pacific and transition to modern issues. The war shattered the myth of European invincibility and gave many SE Asian countries the confidence for self rule. We see the last vestiges of this playing out in Hong Kong today, where residents hope to retain benefits learned from their once colonial masters.

    Liked by 5 people

  35. Such an amazing amount of turmoil. An important period to remember because the effects of that turmoil are still with us.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Huge info captured to concise few paragraphs. Thanks much!

    Liked by 6 people

  1. Pingback: Featured Blogger Report: Post War Japan and Asia 1945-1951 // Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk reports | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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