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II - Prerequisites for Occupation; Planning the U.S. post-war policies for Japan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 November 2020

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Summary

Building towards the Arts and Monuments Division

What were some of the factors – institutions, programs or individuals – that directly or indirectly influenced American planning and preparations for the Allied Occupation of Japan from September 1945 to April 1952?

To begin with, one must remember the context of the New Deal, the breeding ground for many of the policies, and people, who later engaged with the Arts and Monuments Division of SCAP. It is in this context that we note the alacrity with which concerned individuals and scholars, in particular at Harvard, acted for the preservation of cultural property – rallying as early as 1940, at the time of the Fall of France. The Roberts Commission, established at the instigation of President Roosevelt, and soon the centerpiece of everything that took place during and after the war in the realm of cultural heritage protection, was actually a continuation of the work of two other entities, namely the American Defense-Harvard Group and the American Council of Learned Societies. It is their work that allowed, as of 1943, for the Roberts Commission to build momentum and rally around a common cause, setting the tone for the US military's post-war efforts for cultural heritage protection, first in the European theater and later in the Far East. (It is a fact that Europe's cultural treasures were considered long before Asia’s. It must be kept in mind how much more attention and prioritization the European theater received from American military planners, as compared to the Pacific theater, in all areas.)

This diligent preparatory work by the Americans was not limited to the realm of cultural heritage protection alone. Even a cursory look at some of the many exceptional measures devised for the military, to teach it more comprehensively about the Japanese, shows determination to understand the enemy. As we shall see, one such measure, unique for the quality and level of its instructors and the prestige of the academic institutions involved, was the Civil Affairs Training Schools (CATS) program, a series of extensive training sessions lasting for the most part about half a year, designed and conducted by renowned experts and scholars of Japan at a number of top American universities. The CATS program, at both the junior and senior levels, had as its stated goal the preparation of US military officers for the post-war occupations of Germany and Japan.

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Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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