Planning for MacArthur: Harnessing the Complexity of Postwar Japan
SAMS Monograph rept. Jun 2013-May 2014
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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In a relatively short period of time, Supreme Commander for the Allied PowersGeneral Headquarters, led by General Douglas MacArthur transformed Japan from a militaristic Imperial nation to a stable, peaceful, democracy. Changing a government, military, economy, and culture is complex and requires significant concerted effort, time and resources. How did operational planners harness the complexity and prepare for and execute the occupation of Japan This monograph proposes General MacArthurs staff based their plan on understanding operational environments realities, strategic guidance, and the Japanese culture to prepare for and execute the occupation of Japan from April 1945 to November 1946. Regarding the operational environment, planners focused primarily on the economy, government and military to institute immediate change in 1945. The speed of change is the emergent trait inherent in all three lines of effort during the initial years of MacArthurs military government in Japan. Planners received guidance from international actors in the form of the Potsdam Proclamation, as well as from within the United States Government executive departments. Finally, with respect to considering culture in executing the occupation plan, operational planners implemented immediate change in Japans education system, facilitated religious tolerance and strictly controlled information through censorship and targeted information operations. Although many officials in the Japanese Diet and Imperial government initiated policies which directly led to the loss of American soldiers lives, the necessity of keeping the officials within the interim government was critical. It provided MacArthurs staff time to understand the realities of the operational environment and plan without worrying about basic governance issues. Therefore, immediately after the cessation of hostilities, it is critical to incorporate the conquered officials into the post war plan for peace.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics