Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) (originally briefly
styled Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers) was the title held
Douglas MacArthur during the Allied occupation of Japan
following World War II.
In Japan, the position was generally referred to as GHQ (General
Headquarters), as SCAP also referred to the offices of the occupation,
including a staff of several hundred U.S. civil servants as well as
military personnel. Some of these personnel effectively wrote a first
draft of the Japanese Constitution, which the
National Diet then
ratified after a few amendments. Australian, British, Indian, and New
Zealand forces under SCAP were organized into a sub-command known as
British Commonwealth Occupation Force.
These actions led MacArthur to be viewed as the new Imperial force in
Japan by many Japanese political and civilian figures, even being
considered to be the rebirth of the shōgun-style government which
Japan was ruled under until the start of the Meiji Restoration.
William Manchester argues that without MacArthur's
Japan would not have been able to make the move from an
imperial, totalitarian state, to a democracy. At his appointment,
MacArthur announced that he sought to "restore security, dignity and
self-respect" to the Japanese people.
1 Welfare programs
2 War crimes issues
3 Media censorship
4 End of SCAP
6 Further reading
One of the largest of the SCAP programs was Public Health and Welfare,
headed by U.S. Army Colonel Crawford F. Sams. Working with the SCAP
staff of 150 Sams directed the welfare work of the American doctors,
and organized entirely new Japanese medical welfare systems along
American lines. The Japanese population was physically badly worn
down, doctors and medicines were very scarce, sanitary systems had
been bombed out in larger cities. His earliest priorities were in
distributing food supplies from the U.S. Millions of refugees from the
defunct overseas Empire were pouring in, often in bad physical shape,
with a high risk of introducing smallpox, typhus and cholera. The
outbreaks that did occur were localized, as emergency immunization,
quarantine, sanitation, and delousing prevented massive epidemics.
Sams, who was promoted to Brigadier General in 1948, worked with
Japanese officials to establish vaccine laboratories, reorganize
hospitals along American lines, upgrade medical and nursing schools,
and bring together Japanese, international, and U.S. teams that dealt
with disasters, child care, and health insurance. He set up an
Institute of Public Health for educating public health workers and a
National Institute of Health for research, and set up statistical
divisions and data collection systems.
War crimes issues
SCAP arrested 28 suspected war criminals on account of crimes against
peace, but it did not conduct the Toyko trials. That was the
responsibility of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East
handled that. President Harry Truman had negotiated Japanese
surrender on the condition the Emperor would not be executed or put on
trial. SCAP carried out that policy.
As soon as November 26, 1945, MacArthur confirmed to admiral Mitsumasa
Yonai that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary. Before
the war crimes trials actually convened, SCAP, the IPS and Shōwa
officials worked behind the scenes not only to prevent the imperial
family being indicted, but also to slant the testimony of the
defendants to ensure that no one implicated the Emperor. High
officials in court circles and the Shōwa government collaborated with
Allied GHQ in compiling lists of prospective war criminals, while the
individuals arrested as Class A suspects and incarcerated in Sugamo
Prison solemnly vowed to protect their sovereign against any possible
taint of war responsibility.
As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, MacArthur also decided not
Shiro Ishii and all members of the bacteriological
research units in exchange for germ warfare data based on human
experimentation. On May 6, 1947, he wrote to Washington that
"additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be
obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be
retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as "War
Crimes" evidence." The deal was concluded in 1948.
According to historian
Herbert Bix in Hirohito and the Making of
Modern Japan, "MacArthur's truly extraordinary measures to save the
Emperor from trial as a war criminal had a lasting and profoundly
distorting impact on Japanese understanding of the lost war."
Above the political and economic control SCAP had for the seven years
following Japan’s surrender, SCAP also had strict control over all
of the Japanese media, under the formation of the Civil Censorship
Detachment (CCD) of SCAP. The CCD eventually banned a total of 31
topics from all forms of media. These topics included:
Criticism of SCAP (individuals and the organization).
All Allied countries.
Criticism of Allied policy pre- and post-war.
Any form of imperial propaganda.
Defense of war criminals.
Praise of “undemocratic” forms of government, though praise of
SCAP itself was permitted.
The atomic bomb.
Black market activities.
Open discussion of allied diplomatic relations (Soviet Union–United
Although some of the CCD censorship laws considerably relaxed towards
the end of SCAP, some topics, like the atomic bomb, were taboo until
1952 at the end of the occupation.
End of SCAP
MacArthur was succeeded as SCAP by General
Matthew Ridgway when
MacArthur was relieved by President
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman during the Korean
War in April 1951. When the
Treaty of San Francisco
Treaty of San Francisco came into effect
on April 28, 1952, the post of SCAP lapsed.
^ We, the Japanese people, p. 360, Dale M. Hellegers, Stanford
University Press, 2002
^ a b Dower, John W. (1999). Embracing Defeat:
Japan in the Wake of
World War II, p. 341.
^ Manchester, William (1978). American Caesar. Little, Brown and
Company. p. 472. ISBN 0-316-54498-1.
^ Crawford F. Sams, "Medic": The Mission of an American Military
Doctor in Occupied
Japan and Wartorn Korea (1998)
^ Timothy P. Maga, Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials
^ Yuki Tanaka; et al. (2011). Beyond Victor's Justice? The Tokyo War
Crimes Trial Revisited. BRILL. pp. 149–50. CS1 maint:
Explicit use of et al. (link)
^ Paul Ham (2014). Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic
Bombings and Their Aftermath. St. Martin's Press.
^ Dower, p. 323.
^ Dower, p. 325.
^ Hal Gold,
Unit 731 Testimony, 2003, p. 109
^ Drayton, Richard (May 10, 2005) "An Ethical Blank Cheque: British
and US mythology about the second world war ignores our own crimes and
legitimises Anglo-American war making, the Guardian.
^ Bix, p. 545.
Bix, Herbert P. (2000). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New
York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-019314-0; OCLC 247018161
Dower, John W. (1999). Embracing Defeat:
Japan in the Wake of World
War II. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-04686-1;
Gold, Hal. (2003). Japan's Wartime Human Experimentation and the
Post-War Cover-up. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.
ISBN 978-4-900737-39-6; OCLC 422879915
Lind, Jennifer. (2008). Sorry States: Apologies in International
Politics Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
ISBN 978-0-8014-4625-2; OCLC 214322850
Manchester, William (1978). American Caesar. New York: Little, Brown
and Company, pp 459-544. ISBN 0-316-54498-1
Yoshida, Yukihiko, Jane Barlow and Witaly Osins, ballet teachers who
worked in postwar Japan, and their students, Pan-Asian Journal of
Sports & Physical Education, Vol.3(Sep), 2012.
Japanese Press Translations Collection from Dartmou