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American Occupation of Japan: The Orgins of the Cold War in Asiaby Michael Schaller
Synopses & Reviews
This book provides a novel perspective on the origins of the Cold War in Asia, tracing it all the way back to the occupation of Japan after the Second World War. Schaller argues that the reconstruction of postwar Japan not only shaped the future of that country but the future of U.S. policy throughout postwar Asia, leading up to the controversial interventions in China, Korea, and Vietnam.
The author shows how after the war, the United States sought to develop Japan as a stable bulwark against both Soviet expansion and Asian revolution. Schaller depicts the intense contest that raged among Americans, pitting the flamboyant Occupation Commander, General Douglas MacArthur, against virtually all civilian and military planners in Washington, including the president. First hailed as a hero and given nearly free reign to shape Japan's future, MacArthur was ultimately denounced by Truman and his advisors as a "bunko artist" who had wrecked Japan's economy and opened it to Communist influence. In place of MacArthur's ambitious social and economic reforms, the new Occupation program reconcentrated power in the hands of Japans's old elite. The book shows how Communist control of China and North Korea cut Japan off from its historic trading partners and forced officials to focus on developing the rich but unstable Southeast Asian states. Washington feared that economic blackmail alone would pull Japan into the Soviet orbit. Determined to secure Japan--the ultimate "domino"--the United States spurned possible detente with China, extended military aid to the French in Indochina, and finally entered the Korean War.
About the Author -
Michael Schaller is Professor of History at the University of Arizona
Argues that the reconstruction of postwar Japan not only shaped the future of that country, but also the future of US policy throughout postwar Asia, leading up to controversial interventions in China, Korea, and Vietnam.
In this novel and intriguing book, Michael Schaller traces the origins of the Cold War in Asia to the postwar occupation of Japan by U.S. troops. Determined to secure Japan as a bulwark against both Soviet expansion and Asian revolution, the U.S. instituted ambitious social and economic reforms under the direction of the flamboyant Occupation Commander, General Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur was later denounced by the Truman Administration as a "bunko artist" who had wrecked Japan's economy and opened it to Communist influence, and power was shifted to Japan's old elite. Cut off from its former trading partners, which were now all Communist-controlled, Japan, with U.S. backing, turned its attention to the rich but unstable Southeast Asian states. The stage was thus set for U.S. intervention in China, Korea, and Vietnam.
About the Author
Michael Schaller, Professor History at the University of Arizona, is author of The U.S. Crusade in China, 1938-45 and The U.S. and China in the Twentieth Century.
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