Pacific War Trials – conclusion

USMC Gen. R. Blake on Truk

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.

Upon Japan’s surrender, the Allies began organizing war crimes investigations and prosecutions throughout Asia. At the Tokyo Trial, the Allies prosecuted only 28 high-ranking ‘Class A’ suspects from various government and military departments on charges linked to the waging of war and war crimes.  Hundreds of lower-ranking ‘Class B’ and ‘Class C’ suspects of diverse ranks were prosecuted at other Allied trials operating across Asia.

The gallows for 18 prisoners charged w/ crimes at Changi, 1946

It is hard to arrive at the exact number of Allied trials held in Asia, as there continues to be access restrictions to some national trial records. Some latest estimates of the number of war crimes trials held by different national authorities in Asia are as follows: China (605 trials), the US (456 trials), the Netherlands (448 trials), Britain (330 trials), Australia (294 trials), the Philippines (72 trials), and France (39 trials).  In 1956, China prosecuted another four cases involving 1062 defendants, out of which 45 were sentenced and the rest acquitted.  The Allies conducted these trials before military courts pursuant to national laws of the Allied Power concerned.  Altogether 2244 war crimes prosecutions were conducted in Asia. 5700 defendants were prosecuted: 984 defendants were executed; 3419 sentenced to imprisonment; and 1018 acquitted.

JAPANESE WAR CRIMES TRIAL IN SINGAPORE (SE 6985) Lieutenant Nakamura, his head covered with a white hood, is led to the scaffold where he will be hung after being found guilty of beheading an Indian soldier with his sword on the Pulau Islands, 14 March 1946. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208817

The British conducted national war crimes trials (the Singapore Trials) pursuant to a 1945 Royal Warrant adopted by the British executive under royal prerogative powers (1945 Royal Warrant). The British military was given the responsibility of implementing these trials in different locations across Asia and Europe.  330 trials were organized by the British military in Asia. Of these, 131 trials were conducted in Singapore.

As of mid-1946, the British military had established 12 war crimes courts in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Rangoon, Hong Kong, and Borneo. Eight of 12 courts established were located in Singapore. There were also ‘travelling courts’ that made their way to particular locations to hear a case.

3 September 1946. Nisei Activities, Tokyo, Japan. Nisei monitors both civil service employees for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, War Ministry Building, Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Sho Onodere, Language Division, IMTFE, from Los Angeles, California, left, and Mr. Lanny Miyamoto, Language Division, IMTFE, From Los Angeles, California, right, listen to courtroom procedure. As the Japanese interpreters for the court make their translations, these men listen to their statements for accuracy and possible corrections, thus insuring a correct translation for the court records. Their job is twofold, for when the English speaking attornerys have the flloor, translation of English into Japaense must also be monitored. This is one of the many important positions held by Nisei in the Tokyo Area. Photographer: Davis.
Box 444

Singapore served as the base for the British military’s war crimes investigations and prosecutions in Asia. Investigations were conducted out of Goodwood Park Hotel. Post-war conditions in Singapore posed many challenges to the organizing of these trials. There was a shortage of food, basic necessities, and qualified personnel in post-war Singapore.

Trials conducted in Singapore concerned not only Japanese military atrocities perpetrated in Singapore but those committed in other parts of Asia

A substantial number of trials addressed the abuse and neglect of POWs and civilian detainees in prisons and camps, such as Changi Prison, Sime Road Prison, Outram Road Gaol, and Selarang Barracks.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Nikyisha T. Boyd – Kissimmee, FL US Army, Midlle East, Sgt. 1st Class, 1st Special Forces

Paul Coleman – Roswell, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

William Degen – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 7th Army

Dallas G. Garza – Fayetteville, NC; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Chief Warrant officer, KIA (South Sinai)

Marwan S. Ghabour – Malborough, MA; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Chief Warrant Officer, KIA (South Sinai)

Robert C. MacDonald – Hamilton, CAN; RC Air Force (RAF), WWII, CBI, Sgt., radarman

Kyle R. McKee – Painsville, OH; US Army (MFO), Egypt, SSgt., KIA (South Sinai)

Jeremy C. Sherman – Watseka, IL; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Sgt., KIA (South Sinai)

Seth V. Vandekamp – Katy, TX; US Army (MFO), Egypt, Captain, KIA (South Sinai)

Joseph Watson (102) – Waikato, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII, Pvt. # 6290224, 50th Northcumberland Regiment

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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 November 16, 2020, in Post WWII, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 97 Comments.

  1. Interesting series. It must have taken a lot of work, so thanks, once again, for your efforts.

    After you spoke of the Civil War I looked up the history of war crimes and can’t find any history before 1945. I know the British held an enquiry about the execution of Edith Cavell in 1919 but they found that the Germans had acted properly and had no case to answer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a great series- difficult to read but informative. Thanks GP!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I totally understand. I appreciate you reading through.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s hard to process— war is hard to process— especially the parts about cannibalism.
        I hate to admit that I was fascinated while reading the posts.
        We like to think we would act differently but one can never know unless faced with the same situation.
        It’s been thought provoking for sure.
        Do you think some of the court cases were sensationalized? I’m just curious…
        I remember not long ago some media coverage on American soldiers during one of our countless ongoing continuing wars (I think it was after 9-11 and the weapons of mass destruction war the name fails me at the moment)… it was heartbreaking the way they acted but then can they be blamed? I’m not sure. It’s a tough situation.
        I found myself saying “I would never!” But quickly stopped myself. Honestly, I have no idea what I would have done.
        There are so many factors to consider.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The number of allied trials is staggering. Were there as many allied trials in Europe? Why do I think not? I thought I was pretty knowledgeable, but I was wrong. Thank you, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was a shocking part of history, I’m sure with the Japanese, as with the Nazis, many of those who were truly responsible managed to get away without prosecution at all. At least many did pay the price for what they did.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the series

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank goodness that, whatever was done to the Japanese, within ten years, they had rejoined humanity and today their behaviour is impeccable. At the last World Cup, their supporters all brought a plastic bag to the games so that they could collect up all of their litter.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. In referring to your photo of the two Niseis, their role as “monitors” was unique. As Japanese-Americans (I know Miyamoto was interned at Manzanar), their jobs were to oversee the translations provided by aristocratic Japanese for the defendant Tojo.

    Interestingly, there were three Nisei monitors for the Tojo trial; in addition to Miyamoto and Onodera, a man named Itami was the third. Itami had the most years (15) in Japan and Miyamoto the least with five. Dad had eleven.

    As you know, Dad didn’t want to talk about the trials he translated at. You may understand why when I report here that Itami committed suicide two years after the tribunals.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I learned a lot from this series and your summary wrapped it up nicely. One question if I may. Some German war criminals fled to other countries after the war and they were hunted for decades. Was that the situation for any Japanese criminals? Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It sounds as though the war crimes and atrocities in the Pacific theatre were quite extensive.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. A good series,G. Necessary. But I’m glad it’s done. Hard to read about the crimes, and punishment.
    You might say that plane was high-jacked. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  11. A great and informative series, GP. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Great post, GP! I have read a little about war crimes in the Pacific Theater, but you are right, It is much less well known. The same for what happened in China as well …

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I just shake my head. There’s nothing else I can say, except pray such things never happen again. I suppose they do still happen, but not to such a numerous, mind numbing extent. Thank you for helping us try to learn from history, GP. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. This has been a fascinating series, GP. Is there any thought that these trials sent a message to combatants and guards during the Korean War?

    I got a kick out of the humor today. Living near the airport, that first sign is one we see on some nearby roads.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. So much more is known about the Nazi trials that the Asian. Great series!

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Immensely important, informative series, GP. I did know about medical experiments, yet I was not aware of the numbers of war criminals involved.
    On a different note, love your humor today.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Little was known of the Pacific War trials yet Nuremberg trials were all over the place. Glad to see justice was done. Great series, GP.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Oei mijn antwoord is niet verschenen. Nog eens terug schrijven. Heb er veel van opgestoken maar de gruwel vind ik verscvhrikkelijk. Hoe mensen daar mee kunnen leven heb ik nooit begrepen.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. So much I was unaware of GP. Your dedication to research and education is commendable. Heartbreaking to think of the atrocities that occurred at these camps.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Good series, GP. I enjoyed every bit of it.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. At first, the number of trials, convictions, and executions seemed high. Then, I thought about the number of men who suffered in the prisons and camps, and realized that, if anything, the punishments were more than propotionate. It’s recently occurred to me that I don’t remember reading much at all about prisons, trials, and punishments in our Civil War. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention in class. I do remember the book, Andersonville, and the film based on it, coming out when I was still in grade school. No matter the war, there are horrors that need remembering, as you have here.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you very much for that comment. As you stated, I do not remember anything about trials after the civil war either. I had better correct that, especially as it being the war where we lost the most people!!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I am so happy you posted this historical part that relates to Singapore. Goodwood Park Hotel, Changi Prison, Selarang Barracks are still standing and in use. Thank you so much.👍😃

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Glad you included the Allies War Crimes Trials. Our history seems to normally be very US Centric. I’ll bet there are still some American adults that do not realize that WWII started on September 1, 1939, and not December 7, 1941. (And many of them could probably not tell you when Pearl Harbor was or maybe even where Pearl Harbor is.)

    Liked by 6 people

  24. Thank you for this very interesting series, and the summarizing post, GP! As in my mind less trials, as important it was they had done this. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Off topic: WordPress has de-platformed Conservative Tree House. I have written them in protest and told them that when I resume blogging I will use the SquareSpace platform.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Liked and Shared, dear Sir. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. As always, a well-researched, important documentation of the Pacific War and the aftermath. I can’t praise your efforts enough, GP, though I periodically take a shot at it! These three are, as you note, probably tell of the least known part of the aftermath of the Pacific War and need more light.

    Liked by 6 people

  28. A terrible chapter in the history of the war. Thanks for the Military Humor!

    Liked by 5 people

  29. This has been a very interesting and informative series, GP. As my uncle was a POW of the Japanese, and very badly treated, I am glad to read the facts about the retribution that was exacted on the perpetrators. I confess I can find no sympathy for them whatsoever.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. The translation checks are fascinating – I’ve always wondered about the accuracy of interpreters.

    Liked by 2 people

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