General Yamashita, conclusion

General Yamashita – click to enlarge

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He had joined the Japanese Army in 1906 and fought the Germans in China in 1914, graduated Staff College in 1916 and began a military attaché in Switzerland as an expert on Germany, where he was to meet Tojo Hideki.

Tojo soon became very envious of the success and advancements Yamashita was achieving. This was especially true after the campaign in Malaya and bluffing the British into surrendering to his inferior forces in Singapore. Tojo used his influence to have Yamashita transferred to Manchuria before he could even announce his win to the Emperor. The general was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1944. A man who believed in the Samurai traditions and was highly devoted to the Emperor.

Many times, my friend Mustang Koji has given me information on this war, his site,  http://p47koji.wordpress.com and he supplied much of the data included here in today’s post. A visit to Koji’s website will give you stories about having relatives on both sides of the Pacific too.  Very interesting!

The initial contact with Gen. Yamashita

30 August – negotiations with the general were drawing to a close, but he remained in his mountain headquarters sending word with thanks to the American Commanders for their “sincere efforts and concerns,” and his regrets that he was unable to contact his forces in Cagayan Valley, Balete Pass and the Clark Field areas.

Small groups were beginning to turn themselves in and Major General Yuguchi, of the 103d Division in the Cagayan Valley had already agreed to the surrender terms, but was awaiting word from Yamashita. The 37th Infantry Division was expecting 3,000 to surrender on 2 September. Throughout the Philippine Islands, capitulations were being delivered from Japanese officers.

correspondents at the trials.

Some Japanese soldiers refused to believe that the Emperor had aired a demand for peace and skirmishes were reported on various islands. No American troops were listed as casualties. Those killed during that action with unfriendly combatants were Japanese, Filipino, Korean.  General Yamashita arrived for his surrender and behaved as a gentleman officer would, then was led away to Baguio City for confinement, surrender and trial.

Gen. Yamashita testifying.

In Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals.

Translator, Masaksu Hamamoto,.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s case was the most famous of the American trials and was presided over by a military commission of 5 American general officers (none of which had any legal training) and held in the ballroom of the U.S. high commissioner’s residence. The charge was “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.” The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.

The American Military Court in Manila sentenced Gen. Yamashita on 7 December 1945 and he was hanged on 23 February 1946.

The above is a modern photo of the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School where General Yamashita was first contacted. Later, he was sent to Baguio City for the formal surrender.
Photo is credited to, Dr. Walter Johnson

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From:  GP    To:  ALL WHO DARE TO ENTER

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Raymond J. Border – W. Lafayette, OH; US Navy, Iraq & Afghanistan, Chief Petty Officer, SeaBee, Bronze Star, KIA (Yahya Khel, AFG)

Loy E. Boyd – Wesley, AR; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

“You Are Not Forgotten”

Ash Carter – Philadelphia, PA; US Government, Former Defense Secretary

Floyd F. Clifford – Douglass, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class # 3423274, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

David N. Defibaugh – Duncansville, PA; US Army, Korea, Cpl. # 13308573, C Co/3rd Combat Engineers/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon, SK)

Robert Garza – Eagle Pass, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Purple Heart

Zelwood A. Gravlin – New Britain, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. # 31125292, gunner, 343 BS/98 BG/9th Air Force, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM), DFC

Howard G. Malcolm – Jefferson County, IL; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 16307893, Speed Radio Operator, HQ Co/9/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (Chosin, NK)

David Norcross – Shreveport, LA; USMC, Korea, Cpl., Charlie Company/1st Marine Division, wounded 3 times, one of the Chosin Few

Gregory Schall – Buffalo, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William T. Wall – Marion, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co G/187/11th Airborne Division

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About GP

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

Posted on October 31, 2022, in Post WWII, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 133 Comments.

  1. “The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.” That one sentence says so much. Thank you and Mustang Koji for educating readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gen. Yamashita’s counsel had a good point. On the other hand, the large number of acquittals suggests there was some amount of fairness in the trials. Or it might show that the desire for speedy trials resulted in a poor job of investigation. Some guilty culprits might have gone uncharged. A very interesting post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. He was an honorable man. Great post, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think we must now history of war but after that i try to keep war, far away from my bed

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Please support my blog – http;//freesocialmind.wordpress.com

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Gail, thank you for the remembrance of my Uncle David. There is one correction. He was wounded three times, but never received a Purple Heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I suppose he never put in for it? My father did that. I was disappointed he didn’t have one, but I did understand he reasoning.
      I’ll make the correction immediately.

      Like

  8. From all accounts, Yamashita was an honorable man. May he rest in peace

    Liked by 2 people

  9. GP each time I visit I feel I know so little about the history of war. I appreciate this insight and learning. It sounds as though there were many factors, including political, at play in the trial.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m familiar with the case. Many years ago, there was a documentary dramatization of Yamashita’s trial and execution. He did not blame his American attorney for failing to obtain a fair verdict. Yamashita’s last words, including words of hope for Japan, with only an hour left to live, are here: https://apjjf.org/-Yuki-Tanaka/1753/article.html

    His closing words, addressed to Japanese mothers, were these:

    “These are the last words of the person who took your children’s lives away from you.”

    Resquiescat in pace.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great post as always. Here is another Salute:
    Hubert Pensinger– Ft Wayne, Ind; Army Air Corps, WWII

    Liked by 3 people

  12. This made me sad to think that a General was hanged for doing the same thing all Generals do during a war. What a sad ending.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Happy Halloween! Or at least, day-after-Halloween …

    Liked by 2 people

  14. “Revenge”?
    And in most instances in history there would have been no trials.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Despite everything this ultimately prompted sadness. But maybe not for him.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. What happened to his legendary war loot though? That’s what we know Yamashita for here in PH. Did it fund the son of the dictator’s decades-long presidential campaign?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I can understand how events at the trial unfolded as they did, but today it seems as though the logic of the defense’s argument (which makes sense to me) was beside the point. Punishment/revenge was the order of the day. It was interesting to read about Tojo’s actions, too. The human element always is in play, no matter the circumstances.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I wonder how the officers were chosen to oversee the trial, G. There might be a story there as well. Interesting as always. Thanks. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I agree with John Howell, GP. The argument Col. Harry Clark used was correct. I wasn’t in the Philippines, though, and have no empirical evidence. I can only state an opinion.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. My favorite teacher in high school was a medic in The March of Bataan which I know I told you before. Such compelling history. Happy Halloween! 🐈‍⬛🕸️🎃🍭👻

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Most people would think the conviction of Gen. Yamashita was unjust, and he was not responsible for the atrocities of the Japanese soldiers during the war. Someone has to be accountable, and it has to be the person in charge. Look at it from the viewpoint of those who suffered from the Japanese treatment at that time. I can’t blame them. It took me a while to get over that same feeling, and I won’t buy any Japanese car for that reason. I’m sorry, but I was affected by the war since I lost some relatives, and my parents had a miserable time during the war when I was a baby.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Victors’ justice…never a pretty sight.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I screwed up. With my poor eyesight, I just accidentally deleted a comment I was writing. Will try later… Thank you for your kindness as always, gpcox!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. I didn’t know he was hanged. I’d seen him as a brilliant strategist, didn’t know he was tried for war crimes.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I think the argument Col. Harry Clark used was very sound. It appears that the court was not in the mood for logic. Also, I think the General knew his fate and that’s why he refused to take his own life.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. I did not know much about the trials and executions involved post-war, so this was very informative, GP. Sadly, it sounds like at least a few of these “court” proceedings were acts of war as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Not justice, just revenge.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Like several others, I didn’t know Yamashita was executed. The charges do not seem valid, and I guess there was no consideration given for his conduct during the surrender process. It doesn’t seen to fit well with our values. Thanks for this series, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. There is an excellent book titled “The Case of General Yamashita” by Frank Reel, who was one of the defense councils for the general. He maintains that General Yamashita was denied basic rights during the trial and railroaded by a court anxious to please General MacArthur. Interesting read.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. It seems that General Yamashita was unjustly executed.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I was highly intrigued by last week’s post so looked up Wikipedia concerning the general. Massacres and rapes went on in Manila on a huge scale and it is difficult to believe that he had no knowledge of this. At the same time he seemed to be a highly educated, clever and loyal subject of Japan.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Revenge not justice, I think that probably wasn’t the only time it happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Thank you, GP, for the piece on the cruel and infamous history of Japan.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Despite everything I have read about WW2, I had not known that Yamashita was executed. The charge he was convicted of sounds rather ludicrous, but no doubt those prosecuting were keen to seek revenge for the many POWs that had been killed by the Japanese.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Thank you so much form improving my knowledge of this Japanese general. I have never been a friend of the Japanese in WW2 but the charge faced by Yamashita is quite simply ludicrous, “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.”

    Liked by 2 people

  36. War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing … The destruction we see in the world, is only the surface of the destruction we do to our own souls

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Yamashita’s fate was rather anti-climatic. His execution, in my opinion, was too swift. I imagine that allied intelligence could have gained a lot more knowledge and wisdom from extensive, personal interviews. But then, this is 20/20 hindsight.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Sometimes we get it wrong and with this man we did. Fascinating tale, GP.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. A tragic end for Yamashita.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. It is a very interesting story about this general. Thanks for sharing, GP! I have to read more about him, so it’s great to get offered the link to another blog. Thanks a lot, and have a nice week! xx Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  41. envious of succes is very dangerous in war

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Thank you, Maria. I did do a few posts about Germany, including the POW’s we housed here in the U.S.

    Like

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