Trials in the Pacific

 

Courtroom gallery of spectators, Manila, P.I.

For those of you who have regularly visited this site, you are aware of posts I already published concerning the war trials, some of the most prominent figures which are Posted Here.

This below is a short round-up of other trials that occurred….

Rabaul – the gallows used

Hundreds of others were also prosecuted in the American trials, including Lt. General Matsaharu Homma, the man who actually did order the Bataan Death March and the bombing of the undefended “open city” of Manila. His headquarters had been 500 yards from the road the prisoners had marched and died on and he had admitted having driven down that road of blood many times. He was sentenced to hang.  His wife appealed to MacArthur to spare him – which he refused, but did execute Homma by the less disgraceful method of firing squad.

During these trials in the Philippines, 215 Japanese faced criminal charges and 20 were declared innocent and 92 were given the death sentence. In one case, Philippine President Manuel Roxas appealed to China’s Chiang Kai-shek to spare the life of one Japanese officer who had saved his life and that of several other Filipinos. The request was granted.

American tribunals were held in Shanghai for those accused of executing American airmen under the “Enemy Airmen’s Act” due to the Doolittle raid on Japan in April 1942, when many prisoners were murdered as an act of revenge for that mission of bombing Japan early in the war.

The U.S. Navy tried the Japanese accused of crimes on the islands. Three were held on Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands and 44 were put on trial on Guam. These were closely held in conjunction with British, Australian and Indonesian officials. Abe Koso, became the naval commander at Kwajalein and ordered the beheading of nine Marine Raiders that were left behind after the Makin Raid. Koso defended his acts by claiming the Marines were U.S. spies. The tribunal rejected his claim and 19 June 1947, he was hanged.

Singapore, 21 Jan. 1946

There were 19 cases brought up for medical experiments at Truk. (Most people have only heard of these abominable acts from the Nazis.) Another was held for the slaughter of 98 Pan American airline employees on Wake Island in 1943. And ten others were sentenced to death; 18 were convicted of murdering civilians in the Palaus.

The largest trial of 503 Japanese was held by Australia for cruelty to prisoners on Amoina and 92 were convicted. In Rabaul, New Britain, 1,000 American and British POWs were forced to march 165 miles and only 183 made it the entire route. The Japanese commander executed the survivors. The officer had survived the war – but not the court.

Australian MP’s guard 4 Japanese Officers of Borneo POW Guard Unit, in front of 9th Div. HQ, Labuan Island, Dec 1945

The Netherlands tried an ugly case for Vice Admiral Michiaki Kamada who ordered 1,500 natives of Borneo murdered. Four others were executed for their participation in the awful treatment of 2,000 Dutch prisoners on Flores Island. Another case involved the treatment of 5,000 Indonesian laborers, 500 Allied POWs and 1,000 civilians.

China tried 800 defendants, whereby 500 were convicted and 149 sentenced to death.

The French held the least number of trials and dealt with them as ordinary crimes. Five Japanese were given the death penalty for the murder of American airmen in Indochina. The French were still holding their trials as late as November 1951.

As mentioned previously, the Russian “trials” were held as propaganda against the West. The charges would be dismissed, due to “arrested development.” ( suggesting that the Japanese were hindered in their development since they were not subject to Soviet culture and education.) The Soviets publicly made it clear that they were “on to” Japan and her American friend’s plot against them.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas R. Boggs – Glaston Oaks, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. F/511/11th Airborne Division

Donald Dennis – Monroe, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 146th Field Artillery

Herbert Ginn _ Bangor, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Robert A. Henderson – Spooner, WI; USMC, WWII, PTO

Thomas Manier Sr. – Big Beaver, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Lyman, sonar

Horace Middleton – Northumberton, PA; US Army, WWII, Pvt., Co. F/2/5307 Composite (Merrill’s Marauders), KIA (Burma)

Michael Priano – Brooklyn, NY; OSS, CBI, frogman

Arthur C. Ramirez – US Army, Korea, Cpl., B Batt./57th FA/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin)

Lionel “Buck” Rogers – Muskoka Lakes, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Leland Smith – Vallejo, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 489th Bomb Group, machinist

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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 January 23, 2020, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 115 Comments.

  1. Dad translated at many of the thousands of war crimes trials as a US Army sergeant during the Occupation of Japan. These were for “lesser” crimes: rapes, brutality, etc. These trials were held in Quonset huts – just somebody like a judge, the accused and Dad. Still, Dad would never talk about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew your father was a MIS Intelligence soldier – it’s just a shame he wouldn’t give his opinion on the trials. I can not imagine the horrible facts he was forced to translate during that time.

      Like

  2. It always–no matter how frequently I read about it–shocks me when POWs are treated so inhumanely. What is the point? They are captive, isn’t that enough abuse?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Despite some of the awful things they had to do, many will say out-right, “It was the best time of their lives.”

      Like

    • They had no respect for the Allied prisoners. Number 1, they surrendered (Japanese didn’t even have a word in their vocabulary for that), so the were cowards. # 2 they were considered mercenaries, being paid to fight rather than fighting for a cause as they were. # 3 plus, the lower soldiers were scared to death of their own superior officers and would be treated just as badly, if they did not follow orders.

      Like

  3. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you’re talking about WordPress blogs, the Support team is very helpful and your fellow bloggers are always willing to help if they can.

    Like

  5. Atrocities of the Japanese are fairly well documented. Were American or Allied soldiers convicted or prosecuted for conduct in the Pacific? Thanks. Love these posts that bring history to light.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We rarely hear about these trials. The ones in Germany got much of the press. Thank you, GP

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is an outstanding and informative post! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Do you know why a firing squad would be more acceptable to the Japanese?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this great post! I really enjoyed reading it and learning from your thoughts! I have recently published an article on my blog regarding my opinion on the death penalty. If you have time, it would be great if you could check out my post and let me know your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just finished Jeff Shaara’s The Final Storm…the last of many of his books I’ve read. I know it is fictionalized but it made participants somehow more real to me. Homma was mentioned along with others who survived to be tried.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We need that good laugh along with this serious stuff. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Had the Nazis or Japanese won the Wars can you imagine what might have happened in any such “Trials”? They had already long hence displayed their evil and barbaric nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Justice for those who never stood a chance. They lived and died in miserable conditions and many under brutal circumstances. There are always those that get away with it though because they are ‘useful’.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Is there another case of omission from the history books? In the history courses I took, there was no mention of these trials, just Nuremburg.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for posting this story. Many people did not know about the Japanese trails

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I guess all this had to be done, but so very tragic nevertheless

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Love the toons…”shaving my privates” – this was how it started haha! Also thanks for the post.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. The accused should have been passed over to ‘kangaroo courts’ of their victims …

    Different strokes for different folks, GP. Mercy is a quality that should be reserved only for those who understand it.

    (As an irrelevant aside, did you ever read the book ‘Samurai’ by Saburu Sakai and Martin Caidin? It helps illustrate the different mindsets. I may have mentioned it before but memory plays tricks these days.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • No I have not. I’ve had people mention it and I keep meaning to get it. I have books on the Samurai, Bushido ideal and books by Japanese authors, but not that one.

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      • It’s a real eye-opener. Good or bad, fiend or foe, whatever—the guy was larger that life. I guess we’ll never know, Caidin embellished (a bit!) in some of his other efforts.

        There are some I can identify with but could never emulate, Sakai being one of them. I also very much liked ‘A Higher Call’ (Adam Makos); some tales are inspiring.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks again, G. It’s a rare time when I read your blog and don’t learn something new. Much appreciated. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nice work. It’s important that these acts not be forgotten or they will tend to reoccur more often.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. The trials of Japanese war criminals also saw the conviction of former Premier Hideki Tojo and lesser known officers who had ostensibly committed war crimes. Justice prevailed after those harrowing years at PI.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I can’t believe the Russians. Thanks for telling the story, GP

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I wonder if there were witness and evidence in these trials….

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Didn’t know, most of this. And I’m glad it happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thanks so much for posting this, GP. In my reading, mostly about the South Pacific, I had wondered about the trials, especially concerning the POW camps in the Philippines and the Hell Ship incidents.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. The aftermath of the war seems like it was plenty gruesome. I hope someday there will be no more wars.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Given the level of the callous and inhuman atrocities carried out by the Japanese in every area their soldiers were deployed, I have to say that I think they got off very lightly.
    That the allies gave them fair trials is something for us to all be proud of.
    Just imagine what would have happened if the Japanese had won…
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Your excellent article on the war trials in the Pacific corrected a falsely held view of mine and perhaps many others that the Japanese guilty of war crimes got away ‘with murder’, whereas their German counterparts had to face justice in the Nurnberg trials. Thank you, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Once again this brings to mind my mother’s (WWII Navy Lt.) seething hatred for the Japanese POWs in Hershey, PA, where they were treated well, even played golf.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Several things came to mind here: some serious, some not. I kept thinking that, despite everything, it must have been hard for people like MacArthur, confronted with the wife of Lt. General Matsaharu Homma, to hold firm. And hearing the testimony had to be equally difficult, although first-hand knowledge of the atrocities might have been worse. On the less serious side, I love the hats of those Aussie guards in the photo! And both of today’s cartoons are great. The one of the worker and his superior reminded me of those labor charges posters in various shops: “If I do the work, $25/hr. If you watch, $35/hr. If you help, $75/hr.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love your comment today, Linda – not that you don’t always do great!! Some things Mac had to remain firm about, he couldn’t allow the Japanese to see him as weak. And yes, those hats are classy, eh?! Thanks for the added chuckle at the end. 🙂

      Like

  31. So much horrible things happened during wars. Its really a shame, but best to have some of them brought to court. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I hadn’t even considered there were trials in the Pacific theater. I’d always only heard about (and seen the documentaries) of the European trials. Thanks for educating an old man. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. At least with the Japanese, there wasn’t a whole host of war criminals convicted and sentenced to death, only to have their sentences commuted to, say, fifteen years, of which they eventually served only three. The best example was Joachim Peiper who was not hanged because ultimately, Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin did not want to risk upsetting the good German folk of his home state.

    God only knows what the French were playing at with their trials of the Japanese. Why not just hand over the suspects to the country whose citizens had been murdered?

    And the Russians? Well, it’s off the scale for stupidity and is completely indefensible. I do think, though, that the Russians were perhaps motivated strongly by how few Germans had been hanged in Europe, and were firmly convinced that Russian lives were valued at a lot less than, say, American or British ones. Albert Speer is a good example of that. Apparently they requested the death penalty for him three times, only to be refused.

    Overall, though, you cannot fault the Americans for the way they found and tried war criminals in the Pacific theatre.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. I’ve read some of the war crimes transcripts in hopes of finding answers to what might have happened to Dale Wilson and the rest of the B-25 crew lost off New Guinea. The parents of Dale (copilot) and the navigator were notified by people who regularly listened to Radio Tokyo, telling them their sons had been named as POW of the Japanese. The family hopes they perished in the plane rather than to go through the treatment of so many Japanese against air crews.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. At least they had a trial. The victims never had a chance. So many of your stories illustrate war bringing out the best in people. It also brings out the worst in some. Thanks for the information. I can’t imagine this was easy research.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Sorry to be off topic but I found this one an thought you might like to read…..chuq

    https://soeinburma.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/soe-sis-cooperation/

    Liked by 1 person

  37. GP – This probably was one of the least easy posts for you to research and write. Thank you for doing it – it is consistent with your fine efforts to portray all aspects of that global conflagration we call “World War II”,

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Seems like justice prevailed. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Thank you for sharing this article.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Trials in the Pacific — Pacific Paratrooper – Truth Troubles

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