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Pacific War Trials – part two

Courtroom spectators, Manila

The Allies also established the United Nations War Crimes Commission (the UNWCC) in 1943.  The UNWCC collected evidence on Axis war crimes and drew up lists of suspected war criminals for Allied prosecution after the war.  In 1944, a sub-commission of the UNWCC was established in Chungking to focus on the investigation of Japanese atrocities.

The major trials being held in Tokyo were presided by the U.S., Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, France, China and the Philippines and began in May 1946. General MacArthur, as supreme commander of the Allied powers, largely controlled the progress of the trials. They started with 25 defendants, but two passed away during the proceedings and another was evaluated as too mentally deficient to participate.

Hideki Tojo listening to testimonies.

Hideki Tojo was the most infamous face to symbolize Japanese aggression being that he was the Prime Minister at the time of Pearl Harbor. A 55-count indictment was drafted by the British prosecutor, Arthur Comyns-Carr. Every nation’s prosecutor signed the document listing: 36 counts of ‘crimes against peace’, 16 for murder and 3 counts for ‘other conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity’ for the major persons involved. These proceedings were held at the Japanese War Ministry Building and would last until November 1948. During this time, the prosecution called 400 witnesses and produced 800 affidavits.

Foreign Minister, Koki Hirota at his sentencing.

Tojo took responsibility as premier for anything he or his country had done; others argued that they had operated in self-defense due to the ABCD power’s embargo and military assistance given to China. In Tokyo, all defendants were found guilty. The death sentence was given to: Hideki Tojo; Foreign Minister Koki Hirota; Generals Kenji Doihara, Seishiro Itagaki, Akiro Muto, Hyoturo Kimura and Iwane Matsui – these sentences were carried out three days later.

Sixteen others received life in prison. Eight of the judges agreed on all of the sentences. Sir William Webb dissented, Delfin Jaramilla of P.I. thought they were too lenient, H. Bernard of France found fault with the proceedings, B.V.A. Roeling of the Netherlands voted to acquit Hirota and several others.  A complete dissent came from Radhabinod Pal of India.

Tomaya Kawakita and his attorney

Another series of tribunals were held in Yokohama, Japan. These were for lower ranking officers, Shinto priests, medical personnel and farmers in association with the treatment of prisoners. One case involved the ship, Oryoko Maru, upon which 1,300 POWs died in 1944. The secret police, the Kempeitai, were brought to justice along with other spies. The trial of Tomaya Kawakita was moved from Yokohama to Los Angeles at his request being that he was born in the United States. This was a clear case of “be careful what you wish for” – the American court sentenced him to death.

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.

To be continued…

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ralph Becker – South Bend, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 388th Bomb Group/8th Air Force

Alice Keller Clark – Lebanon, PA; US Army Air Corps WAC, WWII

David A. Deatherage – Independence, MO; US Army, Korea, Co. A/187th RCT

James M. Flanagan – Jacksonville, FL; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

George Homer Jr. – New Rochelle, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical/457th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

George La Marsh – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

John Price – Muskogee, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PB4Y-2 bombardier

Charles ‘Chuck’ Reiner (100) – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII  /  31 y. career as volunteer, Red Cross, VA Hospital, DAV

Jack Schouten – Keokuk, IA; US Army, WWII, SSgt., 588th Signal Depot Company

Edward Wall – Riverside, CA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

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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