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Sbrega Source: Asian Affairs, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Sep. - Oct., 1979), pp. 45-63 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30172947 . Accessed: 15/02/2011 02:04
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JOHN J. SBREGA
of the most significant factors dominating the course of in events SoutheastAsiaafterthe Japanese in August 1945 surrender was the presenceof verylargeand still unconquered Japaneseforcesin variouspartsof the region.The suddenandunexpectedtermination of hostilitiesfollowingthe decisionto use the atomicbomb signalledthe startof a grimrace to liberatethe Japanese-occupied territories.Alhistorians continue to debate the of that decisionand wisdom though the consequentdestruction of Hiroshima andNagasaki, the connection between those events andthe subsequentstruggles conductedby indigenous nationalistmovementsin the FarEasthas been less appreciated. In planningoperationsto bringabout the finaldefeat of Japanand its acceptanceof the Allieddemandfor unconditional the surrender, were confronted with the militarystrategists unhappy-andpolitically that over one million casualties would be the unacceptable-assessment Allied price to invadethe Japanese home islands(in Operations renamedMAJESTIC, andCORONET). OLYMPIC, subsequently in securing the preliminary tactical Heavytolls were also anticipated positions necessaryto launchthe finaloperations.Eventhen, victory was not assured.For the frustrating prospectwas that the Japanese on the mainland, governmentwould move to more securestrongholds like Manchuria, and prolonghostilitiesindefinitely.
as Secretary of WarHenryL. British.PrimeMinister WinstonS. Suddenly.such as Tarawa and Iwo Jima.whereJapanesesoldiersand civilians chose suicideratherthan surrender.000 in the Netherlands East Indies."' At the 1944 OCTAGON possessing Conference.This estimatecompareswith 55.110. 1945.some 44. 116. this statementcontinued." decisionto surrender.000 Thaitroops)."' and recountedfor the Britishthe recent Americanexperienceat Saipan. 60. "savedhundredsof thousandsof Americans.and were capableof continuinghostilitiesindependently and for a long time.the Supreme Commander of the JapaneseArmybroadcasta bitter statementwhich the point that the homelandand Manchuria.000 in Indochina. includingSoutheast Asia. PresidentFranklinD.000 Japanesetroops werestill in the islandsat the end of the war. Otherexamples.46 AsianAffairs The determinedJapaneseresistanceencounteredthroughoutthe warconsistentlyaffected Alliedmilitaryplanning in a way not found in the Europeantheater.000 in Malaya.000 in Thailand(plus 90. Stimsonlater affirmed. The horrorsof Hiroshima and Nagasaki.held positionsof greatstrength.000 in Burma. bewilderedby the Tokyo government'sinexplicablecapitulationto Allied demands."4The fact was that the sudden.the attitudeof the Japaneseforces in Burmareflected .providedshockingpreviewsof what lay aheadwhen the attemptwas made to invadethe Japanesehomeland.Manyof these units."3 On August 20. Churchillwarnedthe BritishChiefsof Staff: "Allwe have seen of the Japaneseshows that they fight to the death to an extent not equalledby any other race modernweapons.the successfuldevelopmentof a workablenuclearweato so costly an invasion. For example.000 throughoutthe mandated islands. unexpectedend of the warhad strandedmillionsof Japanese troopsin largelyintact units throughoutthe Far East. as well as emphasized other Japanese-occupied were still areas.and over 490."the dignityof the ImperialNippon Armyremainssupreme.and Japswho would have perishedif the invasionthat we weresetting on foot had taken place. six days after the official announcement that Japanhad acceptedthe termsof the PotsdamDeclaration.Criticswho in pon presentedan alternative retrospectdenouncethe decisionto use the atomic bomb against Japanlose sight of the situationin mid-1945. Rooseveltalso expressedhis concernabout the "fanatical Japanesetenacity. Despite the '"unchallenged.100. and focus insteadon the traumaof subsequentpostwardevelopments. Even thoughthe Philippines had been retaken.
who was the British political advisor to Lord Louis Mountbatten. shared Hayes' anxieties.but I cannothelp feeling that unlesswe reallyaretough with all the Japanese leadersthey will be able to buildthemselvesup eventuallyfor anotherwar. "The situation described by General Hayes must indeed be unique in the history of warfare. Hayes. Sir Horace Seymour. but also to the myth-making potential inherent in the absence of decisive Allied military action against Japanese forces throughout the Far East. unlesswe can so humble them that the completeness of defeat is broughthome to them..." Seymour observed.enablethe Japanese leadersto deludetheirpeople into thinkingthey weredefeated only by the scientistsandnot in battle." The British Ambassador in China. Tientsin.The Japanese Surrender 47 this inability to comprehend the imperial order to lay down their arms." warned Maberly E. being maintained entirely by the powerful and undefeated Japanese Army. Shanghai. Mountbatten declared:' I am surethat your viewscoincide with mine. Dening. NormallyI am not a vindictiveperson. He remained alert not only to the short-run implications of such expedients.that it will be the greatestmistaketo be soft with the Japanese. In a letter to General Douglas MacArthur shortly after the Japanese notice of surrender."6 Similar conditions prevailed throughout the Southeast Asia Command (SEAC).namely. I fear. attending the surrenderproceedings at Nanking on September 9.and that I havebeen prevented from carrying out ZIPPER and MAILFIST (Malaya-Singapore. NEI) will. "They do not consider that they have been defeated and say so quite openly. General Sir Eric C. and elsewhere) was. relayed his own concern that "the situation The commander is still fraughtwith danger.neverthelessI cannotrefrainfrom expressing my feelings .. and when they are disarmed one cannot help wondering what will happen.. of Althougheveryonemust be delightedat the earlytermination the war. The fact that you have been preventedfrominflictingthe crushing victory which OLYMPIC and CORONET undoubtedlywouldhaveproduced. "Public order (in Nanking. Dening after returning from the surrender ceremonies at Rangoon. reported that law and order in eastern China "depends almost entirely on the Japanese. where Mountbatten as Supreme Allied Commander (SACSEA) apparently had no other choice but to utilize Japanese troops for policing duties in order to preserve law and order."5 of Britishtroopsin China.
however.many of the Chinesefled to the safety of the jungle.Native Malaystended to welcomethe Japaneseas a meansof riddingthemselvesof economic dominationby the ethnic Chinesepopulation. campaign the Allied failureto includingthe lack of outside communications.And while not all such ChineserefugeeswereCommunists. Mountbatten had good cause for concern. with Mountbatten to fight the Japanesein Despite an agreement returnfor SEACsupplies. since most of the areas allocated to his command were still under Japanese control as of August the Japaneseandre14.pro-MPAJA sympathies.Some of them had political-military receiveddirect encouragement from the Japanese.In SoutheastAsia.To escapethe resultantpersecutionof both Malaysand Japanese.the MPAJA maintainedessentiallya defensive posturethroughoutthe war. SEACforces facedthe task of disarming the Netherlands East occupyingMalaya. 1945. and much of Burmaurgently. In Malaya. undertakeany significantmilitaryactivityin Malayapriorto the abrupt .48 Asian Affairs to you on realizing that the tremendous operations that you were to command will not now take place. entertainedantithey universally Japanese. the political ramifications of the unexpectedterminationof the warrapidlybecame apparent.the Malayan People'sAnti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).Thailand. Indies.the Allies encountereda left-wingnationalist associationaspiring to independence.ratherthan by plannedstagesthrougha seriesof gradualmilitaryoperations.Communist propagandists lation that the MPAJA deserved most of the credit for defeatingthe invaders.Therethe more militant ChineseCommunistelementformedthe nucleusof the resistance. the shatteringexperienceof the PacificWarhad destroyedmost of the colonialismand exploded the myth of underlyingstructureof Western white supremacy.the startlingearlytriumphof the Japaneseexacerbated the markedsocial cleavages that historicallydividedthe country.This propaganda succeededfor a numberof reasons. and for all of them.In the euphoriaof the Japanesesurconvincedmuch of the popurender. II In virtuallyevery country.Indochina.
British medals. however.just as the entire Malayan population-not simply the collaborating element -became targets of the militant Communists. an end to prewar colonial ties. the second-ranking Communist leader. Each MPAJAguerrilla received money. who in return agreed opportunistically to collaborate in the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere program. both for reasons of self-defense and also out of determination to avoid falling again under the Chinese economic yoke. Meanwhile. After stockpiling arms and ammunition in jungle caches. under quite different influences and motivaWesterni the two major segments of the population in Malaya anticipated tions. Retreating from their own initial ambitions of aggrandizementto a more realistic policy of "Asia for the Asians. There can be little doubt. apparently . The Malays retaliated in kind. including such nationalist leaders as Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta. political awareness among the Malayan population had increased substantially. It is a matter for speculation as to what might have happened if the planned. Tokyo initially treated the NEI as Japanese territory. Lai Teck finally agreed to cooperate with the SEAC occupation forces. the Japanese had set free many political prisoners detained by the Dutch. Thus. that in the Sarrive interval between the Japanese surrender and the Allied return. the Communist leaders Lai Teck and Chin Peng conducted a brutal campaign of retribution against the Malayan element of Japanese sympathizers. and a copy of Mountbatten's speech at the formal reoccupation ceremony." the Japanese had encouraged the nationalist aspirations of the Malays while simultaneously fanning antisentiment. the fuse had been lit to ignite another 15 years of upheaval in Malaya. the promise of employment. Before SEAC jurisdiction and British authority could return. or if SEAC occupation forces had been able to more promptly. gradualliberation of Malaya through Operations ZIPPER and MAILFIST had taken place. Chin Peng. social disorder in the Netherlands East Indies at the end of the war promoted political agitation for the redress of prewar grievances. During the war.The Japanese Surrender 49 end of the war." Similarly. was flown to London to receive the Order of the British Empire and to lead the Malayancontingent in the Victory Parade. the MPAJA maneuvered skillfully to consolidate its position and sought to transform lingering anti-Japanese sentiment into a more general xenophobia. In this escalating process. a ration of rice. and the long delay preceding the Allied reoccupation. the distinction between Chinese who were Communists and Chinese in general was blurred. Under wartime Japanese tutelage.
Committeefor the Preparathey establishedthe socalledInvestigating to plan for this development.supposedly.9 Sukarnogave some indicationof the extent of his expansionist on July 11."'0 This ambitiousrhetoric.Thereafter. however. politicaland economic autonomy-somethingwhich Dutch colonial policy had consistentlythwarted.warexhaustionin Europe. I understand they are meant to form a singleentity.the Americans with Japan. but with other Western colonial powersas well. Alliedmilitarysuccessesgradually Indonesians assumedmore and more and underJapanesesupervision. in logisticaldifficulties." he declaredto the sympatheticInvestigating Committee for the of Indonesia'sIndependence.particularly New Guinea)openly suppliedthe Indonesians with armsand permitted the nationaliststo assumeadditionaladministrative functions. Dutch officials attemptingto reassertcolonial control over the NEI sufferedthe frustration of tragicallyuncontrollable circumstances.SEACpriorities Burma.But a compromise understanding eagerlyanticipating forced Japanto modify this position. "I have neversaid that dreamsfor a "Pan-Indonesia" Indonesiacomprisesonly those areasthat were ruledby the Dutch.and between the Pacificand Indonesianoceans.including Dutch militaryand civilian the replacementof Japaneseforcesguarding internees.50 AsianAffairs counterfor use in ultimate in hope of creatinga significantbargaining and their allies were peace negotiations.the two nationalistleadersproclaimed commanders the IndonesianRepublicjust three days followingthe unexpected a fateful periodonce againintervened Tokyo capitulation.and the determinedJapaneseresistancehad all combinedto thwartthe promptreturnof the Dutch to theirislandempire." calledthe "newfoundsolidarityof establishedIndonesian Withthe pace of eventsin August 1945.reflectingstronganticolonialsentiments.To complicatemattersfurther.Sukarnoand Hattaacceleratedtheir plans.Thus tion of Indonesia'sIndependence Japanesepolicy deliberatelycontributedto what Anthony Reid has leaders.and duringthe Summerof 1945. Tokyo promised eventualindependencefor the NEI."When I look at the islands Preparation situatedbetween Asia and Australia. before the prewarcolonialpower could set in motion any meaningful of reoccupation. pointed to a postwarcollisionnot only with the Dutch. 1945.After notifying the Japaneseoccupation of their intentions.In September1944.The relativelyuntestedJapaneseforcesin program in the NEI (notwithstanding some notable Allied inroads.Alliedshippingshortages.the slow and piece- .
" Logemann argued. 51 Dutch leaders repeatedly voiced their displeasure at the apparent lack of Anglo-American responsiveness to their needs. was still lobbying for protection of Dutch colonial concerns. van Mook (who was also Lieutenant Governor General of the NEI) requested "urgent action" from the US State Department.1" The Dutch predicament continued in the chaotic conditions that followed the Japanese surrender. and van Mook warned that "the Netherlands government cannot possibly acquiesce in this state of affairs. Many important colonial administrators and other key officials remained in German-occupiedareas of Holland until the end of the war in Europe. . broadcast by Queen Wilhelminaon December 6. Gerbrandy expressed similar concerns. Logemann. The United States chose to interpret the wartime Dutch pledge. Since 1940. Australia. J. More than a month after the surrender. the Dutch Ministerfor Overseas Territories. and he emphasized the "grievous losses" inflicted on the Dutch Navy during the early stages of the war. Dutch Colonial Minister Hubertus J.. about developing selfgovernment in the NEI as a stabilizing influence in the postwar Pacific. Thousands of volunteers awaiting duty in the Far East now clogged Dutch ports. and also to transfer Dutch troops and civil affairs personnel to the NEI government-in-exile at Brisbane.. if necessary. the Colonial Minister pointed out. "In view of the very different war records of the Dutch and the French in Southeast Asia. H. all Dutch shipping had been placed at Allied disposal. for necessary preparations before actually undertaking to administer liberated areas. London and Washington-for different reasons-welcomed the reintroduction of the Dutch presence in the Far East. Dutch Prime Minister P. "Java should have a much higher priority than Indochina. 1945. both to bring Dutch marines to the United States for training before undertaking the liberation of the NEI. J.The Japanese Surrender meal liberation of Holland by the Allied forces in Europe had hindered the organization of comprehensive civil-military reoccupation teams. He complained about the "unexpected slowness" in freeing Holland completely from German influence. going so far as to recommend that the Pacific WarCouncil be revived to explore Dutch needs."'1 In London. A. On May 25. the release of ten to fifteen thousand men from the Far East should be delayed so that the maintenance of law and order could be ensured until the arrivalof an adequate number of Dutch troops." van Mook explained."'3 Actually. "Both projects are of the highest importance for the future of the Kingdom. 1942.
whichhad been carefully Indonesianaspirations nourishedby the Japanese occupationforces. "The guarantees State Departmentperceives no politicalobjectionto Netherlands partiin this memorandum in far as it so cipation SEAC.. the Fora draftstatementfor Mountbatten. muniquecalled for "amore active(SEAC)policy for Indonesia. The to reassertimperialauthorityclasheddirectly with Dutch determination for independence.at the State Department. he cannot recognizeany authoritynot approvedby the sovereign power. on the same day as the Nagasaki bombing.52 Asian Affairs while the Britishattemptedto shieldtheir own imperialconcernsby the returnof anotherWesterncolonialadministration."20 But like Malaya. The Dutch learned that the Foreign Office "strongly favors closer association"'" with them in Far East- ern affairs. vir- ."except may have a bearing on French participation.and the strengthof this awakenedIndonesiannagreatlyunderestimated tionalism. tion in the NEI worsenedrapidlyafter the Japanesesurrender.and Churchill "I will not lend myself promisedGerbrandy: to any trickery to deprive the Dutch of their territories. the British provided assurances of their support.nor can he tolerateso long as he is responsiblefor the NEI.a'8 Allied assurances the alreadydeteriorating situanotwithstanding. 1945. the Commander-in-Chief of the Dutch Forces."14 An earlierState Department memorandum remindedPresidentRooseveltthat the Frenchhad not given similar about an enlightenedcolonialpolicy after the war.Growingconcernfor a colonialpartner's troublesled the Britishto abandontheirpreviouscaution. tory.the situationin the NEI after August 14."'9 Two monthslater. In October 1945.underlinedBritishanxiety about the NEI to a Singapore Theircomby travelling meeting with Mountbatten."'5s Similarly. Brooke.. Mountbatten concluded detailed arrangements for Dutch civil-military collaboration in SEAC with PrinceBernhard.""' Ironically...forwarded with the to the Committee State-War-Navy Coordinating complaints of State considersthat it is politically observation:"TheDepartment should participate desirablethat the Netherlands in the liberationof the NetherlandsEastIndiesto the fullest extent permittedby military considerations. any activitiesor agitationwhichmightbe detrimentalto the securityand orderlyadministration of the terriGeneralStaff. eign Office prepared emphasizing that "whilehe has no wish to intervenein the politicalaffairsof the NEI more than is necessary. championing van Mook's H." explained. FreemanMatthews. the Chiefof the Imperial GeneralSirAlan E. The Dutch government knew little about whathad gone on in the NEI duringthe war.
France implored Washington to send aid to the resistance forces there. the Japanese refrained from asserting overt control in Indochina until the military coup of March 9. Vichy stipulations. Indochina had much greater importance as a political problem in interallied relations than as an area of actual military significance. French imperial interests." The French Ambassador to China. moreover. Unlike Malaya and Indonesia. the apparently simple decision as to what military theater would incorporate Indochina erupted into an Allied cause celebre. General Zinovi Pechkoff. Thai ambitions.The Japanese Surrender tually ensured an active indigenous resistance to Western efforts to reimpose prewar colonial controls. Stettinius prepared a draft statement pledging American support to the resistance in Indochina "subject . Admiral Jean Decoux. The fall of metropolitan France had exacerbated the problems of the French colonial administration in Indochina. would enjoy a certain amount of economic autonomy. and indigenous aspirations. "She will establish commercial relations with her neighbors. 53 III A somewhat similar story unfolded in Indochina. struggled to negotiate a course through Japanese demands. Foreshadowing plans to create a French Commonwealth of Nations. the French colonial administration enjoyed only nominal independence during most of the war. but in practice." Pechkoff stated. Allied requirements. had heightened tensions among the Allies. "and especially she will cultivate a bosom friendship with China. Even these early conceptualizations. the BrazzavilleConference in February 1944 announced: "The aims of the work of civilization accomplished by France in the colonies exclude any idea of autonomy. After the Japanese military coup. as Ambassador Henri Bonnet underlined "the importance and the urgency of the situation. provided assurancesshortly thereafter that Indochina. 1945."21 During the war. military operations to reconquer Indochina were still in the planning stage. any possibility of evolution outside the French bloc of empire."'2 Secretary of State Edward R. as a member of the proposed commonwealth. For example. From 1940 to 1945. where Allied military efforts had at least begun successfully (in New Guinea). Gaullist plans regardingthe postwar status of Indochina never seriously contemplated any course other than complete restoration of colonial control. the Governor General. Unlike the circumstances in the NEI.
dispatcheda unit underMajor GeneralDouglasD. had collapsed.Graceyarrived on September13.A deadlyinterregnum had once more hinderedthe goals of the victoriouspowers.the 16th parallelemergedas the line of demarcation tween SEACand the ChinaTheaterfor purposesof acceptingthe AmericanAmbassador surrender."'27 Once again."'2s bePotsdam.The French."'24 china. Graceyto Saigon.But it was a claimthat they could not immediatelyimpose.of course. nous.the dethe position of an indigelayed processof reoccupationstrengthened vanishedin leftist movement.disas "inadvisable. but by then.28 ."Roosevelt.respectively."23 missedthis proposedannouncement the British Chiefs of Staff. explained At centratedon and employedin attainingour main objectives. Mountbatten dismissedthat historicboundaryas "crazy.undefeatedin battle. countryalong gradual failureof the Allies to reoccupyIndochinaimmediately. Mountbatten Consequently. but Frenchforces could not get to Indochinafrom metropolitanFrance quicklybecauseof the sameproblemsbesettingthe Dutch.unaidedresistance to Bonnet: "Allied resourcesmust be conStettinius later.54 AsianAffairs to currentand plannedPacificoperations. GeneralPhilippeLeclercand Vice AdmiralThierry as Commander-in-Chief receivedappointments of the d'Argenlieu FrenchForcesin SEACandGovernorGeneral.the use of the atomic bomb and the unexpectedend of the warabortedthe militaryoperationsdesignedto absorbthe The lines commensurate with Allied resources. who were sympatheticto Meanwhile. to ChinaPatrickJ.however.Mountbatten tried represented to make the best of a bad situationby authorizing Japanesetroops Terauchito maintainorder.had sufficientaircraftto aid anti-Japanese The Presishortagerulesout such plans. Hurley Japanese the fateful selection of the 16th parallelas "purelyan characterized expedientoperationalmatter. EmperorBao Dai had abdicatedand the independent DemocraticRepublicof Vietnamhad been proclaimedby President Ho ChiMinh. underField Marshal refusedto admit any discussionof their intention to re-establish their prewarauthorityin Indochina."'' Some 30 yearslater.The JapaneseArmy.and thus ensure an orderly transfer of authority from the unconquered Japanese forces.A few days but by then the hopeless. military Orderlygovernment August 1945.but "the manpower dent finally authorizedthe use of Americanairpowerthereon March29. forcesin Indothe French.Like Malaya. set in motion a fateful chainof events. the only stabilizingforcein Indochina.
the British experienced great difficulty in extricating themselves from Indochina. worried about the uncompromising French attitude. and d'Argenlieu on March 4 as the date for finallyreachedagreement the terminationof SEACresponsibilities in Indochina in favorof the Frenchascendancy. for example. Repeated clashes between local French contingents and elements of the League for the Independence of Vietnam (the Viet Minh) caused Gracey to suspend the official sanction for both sides to share occupation responsibilities with SEAC.in fact. Gracey planningphase when Japansurrendered."3 Threedecadesof virtuallyuninterrupted hostilities followed. consideredThailandan enemy.Londonwantedmore than friendlyassurances from the postwarBangkok mutualdefense government concerning . Such operationswerebarelyin the On January1. Annamite villages were burned and the local population suffered from the systematic searches conducted in attempts to eliminate what Gracey described as "pockets of resistance areas. especially in so far as the settlement of ex-guerrillaforces is concerned.cautionedthe BritishChiefsof Staff. carried out brutal operations of their own. General WilliamSlim.""29 The mushrooming British role in Indochina alarmed some perceptive observers. sympathetic to the clamoring demands of French civilians for retribution against the Annamites. alreadybeen established absenceof phasedmilitaryoperationsallowingfor the gradual liberation of Indochinaby the Allies. "The real and underlying danger is that the situation may develop so that it can be represented as a WestversusEastsetup. Duringand immediatelyafterthe war."30That in the patternof confrontationhad. as well as the grave implications of British involvement in reimposing European colonial power in Asia. "I need not point out how extremelydangerous this may be.32 The lessons of the 1941-42 militarydefeatsin SoutheastAsia had been indeliblyimpressedupon the British. while the RooseveltAdministration maintained that it was an enemy-occupied territory. the growing French forces.Britishand American policy The Britishgovernment towardThailanddifferedmarkedly.The Japanese Surrender 55 Despite their avowed desire to withdraw as soon as possible." Meanwhile. a British wartimecommander in Burma. 1946. at the moment. Mountbatten soon saw that the indefinite presence of a special British unit would be required even after the main British force (Special Operations Executive Force 136) had been withdrawn. Mountbatten explained: "There is no doubt that (British) personnel are."Slim. doing important work.
should avoid form of gued that "HisMajesty's government usingany wordswhich might." the BritishChiefsof Staff declaredin a 1945 memorandumwhich carrieddisturbing implications.H. especiallyalongthe Thai-British the strategicKraIsthmus."s Wartime Britishsilenceabout postwarThailandbothered American officials."Inview of the probabledevelopmentof modernwarfare.' .Imperial about the KraIsthmusthat extendedbesecurityrequiredassurances mere of Thai yond protestations good will.they will requirevery largeimportsof rice. derogatefrom our freedom to obtainour minimumstrategical requirements. L.""3 This forecast added another dimen- . the War Cabinet decided:37 Muchwill dependon the measuresSiamtakes to contribute towardsthe expulsionof the Japanesefrom Siameseterritory andtowardsthe ultimatedefeat of Japan.and on her readiness (a) to make restitutionto His Majesty's governmentand their Allies for the injurydone to them in consequenceof Siam'sassociation with Japan. Sanderson. In addition. Ambassador John G."33 the militaryleadership had arEarlier."36 But the British remained passive to persistent American efforts to elicit a clear declaration of British support for a free and independent Thailand after the war. pointed out that "the absence of a statement of British intentions with respect to Thailand is causing considerable inconvenience to my government. Winant."34 ForeignSecretary Eden reinforcedthis position by explainingthat the Thais Anthony had "betrayed" Britishfriendship in collaborating with Japan.by free interpretation.and (b) to ensuresecurityand good neighborly relationsin the future.56 AsianAffairs borderrunningthrough arrangements. As was so often the case in BritishFar Easternpolicy. Directorof Rice at the Ministry of Food."it would not be practical to restrictthe facilitieswhich we requireto some specialarrangements in the KraIsthmus. and it will be disastrous if our re-entryinto them coincideswith a shortage of essential foodstuffs..the British realizedat an earlystage the implicationsof reoccupyingcolonial areasat a time of widespread food shortages.such as were expected at the end of the war.and "like other countriesin like case. warnedin January1945: "As soon as the Asiaticrice consuming countriesareliberated. for example. In April 1945. 'they must work their passage home. colonial concernsplayed a dominantpartin shapingBritishattitudes.
then at least some specialmilitarypositionor rights. insistedon assurances that the termsrepresented the minimumBritishdemands.The failureto implement Japanese Thailand-and." British economic experts observed in December 1944.of operationalplanswhichwouldhaveincorporated control over the essential Thai rice course.althoughawarethat Consequently of wouldinterpretdemandson Thailand"as savoring the Americans came the to view matter in connection with the Thais reparations.the momentousdecisionto use the atomicbomb set off anotherkind of chain-or rogue-reactionthat entailedfarreaching.The bomb did an about termination of hostilities with Japan. unintendedpoliticalconsequences in SoutheastAsia.The problemfocused on food suppliesrather hardship than the difficultiesof occupation(despite the presenceof 55. and in Burma much worse. the British. the Siamese (rice) surplus is believed to have dropped to little more than the prewar one of 1. government.000 armedThais).precludeda processof gradualreoccupationby the Allies in . the importance of the Siamese surplus has greatly increased. "Owing to the lack of incentive and transport difficulties.but intervenedonly to influencean amelioration of the termsaddressing which originallywere "in realitydepostwarsecurityarrangements.the returning colonial nese and the corresponding could not afford additional the with associated complications powers severefood shortages."39 The abruptend of the warin this case inflicted a differentkind of on the Allies. plus all futurehome-grown suppliesbeyond domesticneedsuntil September 1. After the humiliating militarydefeatssufferedat the handsof the Japaloss of prestige. The UnitedStatesmonitoredthese negotiations.5 million tons."The subsequentThai-British "working treaty of December1945 required the Thaisto make available to the BritishRice Unit in Bangkokany existingsurplusof rice up to 1. the Thaigovernment had been disposedto regard the treaty proto an ultimatum. In fact.000 troops and 90. supply-in the Allied sphere at a comfortablepacemeantthat an enormouscrisisawaitedthe Western powerswheneverthey did manageto reassertcolonialauthority. bring abrupt in turn."The Thaidelegationat these talks. 1947.but this."" posalsas "tantamount IV In summary. "As the position in Indochina is similar."40 their passage home.The Japanese Surrender 57 sion to the importance of postwar controls over Thailand.which were held in Singapore.5 milliontons.if not a protectorate signedto securefor His Majesty's over Siam.
val between the unanticipated announcement of surrender and Tokyo the time it took the Allies to assumethe overwhelming burdensof reoccupation provided these political movements with a priceless opportunity.The suddendemandsfor occupation plannedcampaigns forces throughoutthe FarEast exceededthe capacityof already strainedAllied resources. CAB 80/88. 1943.Rather. (Hereinafterreferredto as PRO.While the decisionto use the atomic bomb did not by itself "cause"the tragicFar Easternepilogueto WorldWarII. Ironically.) 2. which they exploited in ways that had enormous significance for the stability of the postwar world. June 3."May 8. This is not to suggest that the Allies should not have employed every means available to end the war againstJapanas quicklyas possible. need to establishthe legitimacyof Allied miliincludingthe overriding internalorder. Minutesof the First PlenaryMeeting(OCTAGON).meant that tary and civilianpersonnelin maintaining with leftist tendencies. Thisinability to digestliberatedareasin measured increments.58 AsianAffairs of liberation. . remainedunabsorbed The interimmediatelysoughtto implementtheir politicalaspirations. enclosed in COS(44)875(0). Public Record Office. that decisionunintentionthat led to ally contributedto the complex patternof circumstances the political turmoiland militaryconflicts that in some caseshave continued for three decades."OperationANAKIM. Churchillmemorandum. the continuing historical debate has not sufficiently addressed this crucial consequence of the use of the atomic bomb in 1945. CAB 80/69. PRO. 1944. enclosed in COS(43)281(0). 1944. 1943. London. NOTES 1. Moral dilemmas and even the military necessity of employing nuclear weapons to force Japan to surrender remain-properly-open to value judgments.in most cases indigenouspoliticalassociations armedand underthe spell of the powerfulJapaneserhetoricof autonand outside Allied control. But another important dimension has thus far been less appreciated: the indirect military consequences of the atomic bombs elsewhere in the Far East.September 13.it is the purposeof this and Nagaessay to point out that the unintendedresultsof Hiroshima should be included in re-examination of the any saki problem. COS(T)8. October 9.Thesegroups omy.
Thereis no substantiationoffered for the grotesquechargeby GabrielKolko: "The warhad so brutalizedthe American leadersthat burningvast numbersof civiliansno longerposed a real predicament and United States Forby the Springof 1945. "Estimateof Enemy Situation-1944." See his Politics of War:The World eign Policy. Penney Papers. Rather. August 20.. Penney Papers. November 12. Penney memorandum."n. pp. p. October 17. n. The authoris grateful to the British and Malaysian embassiesfor providingvaluableresearchassistance in the preparationof an unpublished1969 researchpaperon the Malayan"Emergency. August 31." Box 2." See his superbstudy." 1948-60. Mountbattenremainedconvincedthat he had preservedorderin Southeast Asia by assigningpolicing and other securityresponsibilitiesto the Japanese. 1945."Tab 3. Record Group43: Recordsof International Conferences. indefinite butchery. For more on the wartimesituation in Malaya. 4. Mountbattento MacArthur. 1945.C. to China(enclosingreport by 6.Box 153. 1973. 1945). September13.folder 5/9. 1947. Furbermemorandum. 7.London. Muirhead. Penney Papers. CAB 80/97. Washington. MaberlyE. PRO.d. NationalArchives.D. III. Gerig.The statisticalinformation may be found in RudolphA.. To averta vast. Hayes. AmericanDiplomacy 1941-1945 (New York: John Wiley and Sons. September 18. 1945.Churchillconfirmedthat "there never was a moment's discussionas to whetherthe atomic bomb should be used or not. Dening to John SterndaleBennett (Far EasternDepartment. FO 371. March8.see RalphBunche memorandum.Document #28. King'sCollege Centre for MilitaryArchives.BritishAmbassador GeneralSir Eric C. to ForeignSecretaryErnestBevin.Foreign Office). 1968).First Sea Lord AndrewB." November 18. RecordGroup 59: GeneralRecords of the Departmentof State: Recordsof HarleyNotter (hereinafter referredto as Notter Files). August 16. Suitland.folder 5/12." (Boston: HoughtonMifflin. Henry L. after all our toils and See WinstonS.(Hereinafterreferredto as Penney Papers. 1945.New Haven.February5. 1945). Stimson to ColonelJohn S. Penney Papers. 639. PRO.Commissions.The Japanese Surrender 59 3. During the Second WorldWar. referredto as NA). Record Group 332: "Wedemeyer Files. Washington referredto as WNRC. 539. 1965). enclosedin COS(43)791(0).enclosed in GeneralSir Ronald C.folder 5/18. London. seemed.and Committees:WorldWarII Confer- . 1946. Cunningham memorandum.to bringthe war to an end. 1945. Morerationally. B.46214. to lay healinghandsupon its torturedpeoples by a manifestationof overwhelmingpower at the cost of a few explosions. RonaldC.(Author's interview with Lord Mountbatten.Gaddis Smith has concluded: "All that can be said with assurance is that the men who decided to drop the bomb acted conscientiouslyand with a sense of responsibilityfor mankindin so far as they were able. to give peace to the world.Triumphand Tragedy perils.Connecticut. National Records n. H. Stimson Papers.) 5. (hereinafter "BritishMalaya. 1944..) (Hereinafter Center. SterlingLibrary.) 8.d. 1943-1945 (New York: Vintage. (after August 14. PRO. a miracle of deliverance.August 2.Expositions. CAB 80/ 77.Box 135. Winnacher (WarDepartment)to Stimson. Text of Domei broadcast.Maryland." Box 3. Sir Horace Seymour.Yale University. p. Penney to Mountbatten. COS(45)268(0). 1953). (February1945?). A detailed analysisof eventsin Malayaas well as in each of the other countries to be consideredfalls outside the scope of this study.folder 5/11. See also folder "GuamConference. folder "Documents#1-#30. 157-160. Pt.In a revealingdescriptionof the 1945 perspective. 1943. 1945. F 7930/186/10. to O.it is the intention of this essay to point out some of the regionalproblemsassociatedwith the abrupt terminationof the war and to underlinethe internalelements of conflict that existed to influence the courseof postwarevents in each country. Churchill. CCS300/2.d. December 12. Stimson Papers.
September21. numerous tionary activities along the Thai-Malayan publishedworks on the postwarhistory of Malaya." Journalof Asian Studies.stressed two crucialpoints: (a) Dutch war exhaustionprior to the demandsof reimposingimperialauthority in the NEI. AIR 23/ 2353. 1945. in Malaya(15 Augustsee Boon Kheng Cheah. US Congress. 1945." T-108. McMahon. pp. February 15. folder "BriefingPapersfor Stettinius. Lai Teck attended Communisttrainingseminarsin Hong Kong sponsoredby Moscow. 1-14.0011PW/5-3045.October 22. 1945. March1977. 9. NA: COS(45)511(0). HubertusJ. K."Anglo-American acy and the Reoccupationof the NetherlandsEast Indies."IndonesianPolitics and Nationalism. PRO.John Hickerson memorandumof conversationwith Dutch CounselorJonkheerH."Diplomatic History. Record Group 59: Files of John Hickerson. Kahin. pp. Virginia. Record Group 59.60 AsianAffairs ences. Reid describesthe solidarity fostered among the three rivalelites-nationalists.Surveyof InternationalAffairs. 35-53. Duringthe early 1930s. 1955). Vishal Singh. CAB 80/97. 74-83. 1939-1946: The Far East. "The JapaneseOccupationand RivalIndonesianElites: Northern Sumatrain 1942." Journalof Southeast Asian Studies. September 18. "The Colonial Backgroundof Indonesian Politics. Muslims. C.Warmenhoven. Notter Files. 1945. and (b) Dutch ignoranceof conditions in the NEI duringthe war. 1953). Grew. 1978. PREM3-221/7. Winter1978. 10. 12. Lebra."Pacific DiploAffairs. 13. R. pp. head of the MalayanCommunistParty and a possible double agent.. Box 4. In late 1947.d.Chin Peng then became head of the Party. NA. folder "Memoranda of Conversations April-December 1945.PRO.COS(-5)595(0). folder "T Does 101129. 20." Box 39. ed. November 1975. PrimeMinisterGerbrandy's request is referredto in Churchillto Foreign SecretaryAnthony Eden. pp." Box 2. May 25. February1976. PRO. F. L.For one of the later studies. 1945. Amry Vandenbosch(State DepartmentPolicy PlanningStaff) memorandum."Netherlands East Indies. Decade of AmericanForeignPolicy (Washington: Departmentof InformationServices. 1945. Holland. Joyce C.Background to Indonesia'sPolicy Towards Malaysia(KualaLumpur: 1964). Records of South East Asia Command.Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.A GovernmentPrintingOffice. 48-74. September29. September29. January-March 1976. pp. Lai Teck. CAB 80/97. Malaysian Intentions TowardsMalaysia(Kuala Lumpur:1964). . pp.Indonesian 1950)."n. 1942. Robert J. and is rumoredstill to be carryingon revoluborder. who later changedhis name to Ho Chi Minh."InternationalStudies. "British-DutchRelationsand the Republicof Indonesia.GeorgeM. 11."Asian Affairs (London). DS 740. As quoted in Malaysian Departmentof Information Services. especially the widespreadanti-Dutchsentiment that had developed there by 1945. Summer 1975. pp. of course. NA. Richmond. One of his compatriotsthere was Nguyen Ai Quoc. see also Oey Hong Lee." Tab 3. 1-28. and B. 215-229.and Pamong-Praja (an aristocracyin transitionto a bureaucracy)-by the Japanesein his article. PRO. Professorof 1942-45)."in WilliamL."Some Aspects of the Interregnum 3 September 1945). Political Science at VirginiaCommonwealthUniversity. pp. appearsto have abscondedwith the MCP'streasury. Jones. COS(45)595(0). COS(45)584(0). 49-63. author'sinterviewwith HenriWarmenhoven (a civilianinternee in the NEI.There are.NA. van Mook to Acting Secretaryof State Joseph C. HughBorton. PRO. F. August 4. AsianNationalismand the West(New York: Macmillan. 1945. June 2.folder "Reoccupationof Malaya. CAB 80/97. CAB 80/96. p. "The Significanceof the JapaneseMilitaryModel for Southeast Asia. 19421946 (London: Oxford UniversityPressissuedunder the auspicesof the Royal Institute of InternationalAffairs. Pearn. 798-804. van Vredenburch.. PRO.
1945." Box 8. 1945. CAB 80/93. PRO. April 4. 19. Record Group 59. 1941. NA. See US Congress. August 2. DS 740. 1945.00/1488. John Morgan (Division of Northern European Affairs. New York. CAB 80/97. memorandum. Notter Files. Record Group 59.0011PW/ 3-1245. 1945. Roosevelt Library. (Hereinafter referred to as FDRL. NA." Box 2. folder "T Does 37-66. September 3. Kunming) to Secretary of State Cordell Hull. PRO. April 25. Hyde Park. Jr. March 16. London. Mountbatten maintained that the fateful demarcation emerged only from the two-fold desire to appease Chiang Kai-shek and to pay tribute to the ideas of the late American President. Churchill to Eden. 12 vols. Record Group 59. Vol. PRO. WM(41)66. CAB 96/2. see Seymour to Eden. DS 893. PRO.0011PW/3-1745. London. Record Group 59. CAB 66/71. PRO. 1973. 178/3. FE(40)103. and events in Southeast Asia from November 1940 to December 1941. 1944. 1945. Box 52. 1945. PRO. July 6. 1945. COS(45)683(0)." Box 4. William Raymond Ludden (US Consul. COS(45)236(0). Record Group 59." T-60. 1945. Roosevelt's response is enclosed in the attached letter to Stettinius from Admiral William B. 1947." WP(41)154. June 2. see the papers of Charles W. 73. F 2960/186/10. II. 17. 1945. War Cabinet memorandum.0011PW/3-2245. Paris). PRO. March 12. PRO. 1946. PREM 3-221/7. DS 740. For more on these March events. NA. R. See also unsigned State Department memorandum for the President. 1945-1967. Author's interview with Mountbatten. 1944. NA. 1941. 15. PRO. December 28. April 16. Record Group 59: Files of H. FE(41)6. April 14. February 4. 1941. August 15. NA. CAB 80/96. and 180/7. Taussig. PRO. Record Group 59: Files of John Hickerson. Record Group 59. "Japanese Intentions in Indo-China.0011PW/5-3045.. May 1. folder "Vincent. John Hickerson to James Bonright (US Consul. 27. United StatesVietnam Relations. House Committee on Armed Services.46210. State Department) to Roosevelt. Masland. CAB 96/1. NA. 1940. WNRC. NA. August 9. 1945. NA. (Washington: Government Printing Office. "The Political Status of French Indo-China. Stettinius to Bonnet.The Japanese Surrender 14. For a report of the Pechkoff press conference. 1942. Bonnet memorandum. 1945. 61 26. Leahy. August 10. 1973. PREM 3-221/7. NA. 20. October 3. June 25. DS 740. enclosed in COS(45)526(0). For the complete record of British policy decisions. correspondence-memoranda in PREM 3-178/2. 28. 22. CAB 65/19. Foreign Office. Menys (Foreign Office) memorandum. December 11.0011PW/8-1045. 1945.d." Box 31. DS 740. 1945. dated March 17. CAB 80/98. Documents Relating to British Involvement in the Indo-China Con- . folder "Memoranda 1946. Record Group 43. NA." Folder "G-mo's Mins. Matthews to State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee. see also Hurley to President Harry S. "Wedemeyer Files. John Sterndale Bennett memorandum. March 22. 1942. See Stettinius to Roosevelt. memoranda. COS(45)589(0). October 5. PRO. 25. January 1. author's interview with Sir Nevile Butler. DS 740. see the records of the Far Eastern Committee in CAB 96/1-4. S. folder "Personal-1947. Great Britain. (late January 1945?). December 23. Hurley described the surrender arrangements at Sino-American Staff Meeting No. Truman.0011 PW/3-1245. Record Group 59. Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal (Air Chief of Staff) memorandum. July 7. PRO. 21.) 23. 1945." Box 8. 1971). DS 740. Freeman Matthews. 16. PRO. n. May 30. James W. Mountbatten memorandum of conversation with Prince Bernhard. FO 371. 18. Franklin D. 24.
DS 711. 1945.JIC(43)497(0). 1945. "Political Status of Thailand. PRO.October 10. Documents Relating to BritishInvolvementin the Indo-ChinaConflict. CAB 96/8. author'sinterview with Mountbatten. 1945. Eden memorandum. NA.. October 14. Final Report to the CombinedChiefsof Staff by the SupremeAllied Commander. December 3. 34. memorandumof conversationwith SwissMinisterCharles Bruggmann. CAB 79/68. 1943. PRO. enclosed in FE(44)7. 1943. 1942. 1943-1945. both enclosed in FO 371. Economic AdvisoryBranch(Foreign Office and Ministryof Economic Warfare) memorandum. 1942. NA. 1945. 1942. PRO.August 2. JamesW. February 17. BritishChiefs of Staff memorandum.92/40. 32. 35. PRO. CAB 96/8. See Mountbattenmemoranda. PRO. 1944." enclosed in FE(45)18 (restricted). PRO.. and COS(45)617(0)."Notter Files. December 4. Record Group 226: Records of the Office of StrategicServices.62 Asian Affairs flict. Secretary'sStandardFile (SSF. CAB 80/50. PRO. December 21. PRO. 1945. COS(45)660(0). OSS memorandum. 1945. State Departmentmemorandumto the NetherlandsLegation(describingindirect declarationsof war on the Allies by Bangkokthrough the Swiss Legation). NA. October 9. April 25. 1945.FE(45)32. CAB 79/68. CAB 96/5."June 9. FE(45)31. As of January30. PRO. PREM3-159/6. 1945. 1945. Record Group 59."Developmentof Thai Cooperationwith Japan.FE(44)20. 1945. both in the PRO. and John SterndaleBennett memorandum. 38. and OSS memorandum.46566.November 12.Mountbatten'sreport of his talks with Leclerc to expedite the movement of Frenchinfantry from Marseilles is enclosed in COS(45)619(0)." Box 31. XL 20863. GeneralGracey'sofficial title was "Commander of Allied Land Forces and Head of a Control Commissionin Indo-China. PRO. F 1196/1196/ 40. 1944. Slim memorandum.enclosed in COS(45)627(0). 1945-1965 (London: Her Majesty'sStationery Office. August 18. OSS R&A#552."FE(E)(45)1. CAB 96/5.COS(45)607(0). PRO.COS(45) 31(0). 30. WM(45)49. July 10. NA. January30. October 13. PRO.see Mountbatten. DS 711. 1944. See Adolph A. PRO. Masland. 1951). 36."Post WarStrategicArrangements in Siam. the United States still had not receivednotice of the Thai declarationof war. CAB 65/52. R. NA. February3. PRO. and GreatBritain. October 17. and COS(45)296(0). SanderSon memorandum. See Sir AlexanderCadogan(PermanentUnder Secretaryof State for Foreign Affairs) memorandum. South East Asia. CAB 80/97. 1945. For the negotiationsconcerningthe Britishwithdrawal. 33.April 23.April 5. 1945. 1944. 1944. NA.Jr." 29. 39. 54-55. Winantto Eden. The French request for Spitfire aircraftand the British Chiefs'approvalmay be found in COS(45)244. 31. CAB 80/97. February3. folder "T Docs 37-66."WP(44)72. or Confidential). CAB 80/98. December4. Foreign Office.92/31. See also OSS memorandum."Changesin SiameseEconomy. PREM3-159/6. CAB 80/97. October 13.February23. CAB 80/90. 1945. C."Restoration of Rice Production in and Procurement of Rice for Countriesat PresentOccupied by the Japanese."Policy TowardsSiam. 37. 1944. memorandum. CAB 80/97. Vice-Admiral the Lord Mountbattenof Burma (London: His Majesty'sStationeryOffice. 1942. 1943. London. Jr. October 4. Berle.ForeignOffice). Record Group 59. PRO. January 12. December20. London later informedWashington:"If . 1965). CAB 96/5. 1945.XL 20319. PRO. 1973. January9. pp. Price (Vice Chiefsof Staff) to Victor Cavendish-Bentinck (Far Eastern Department. CAB 96/5. for accounts of the developingsituation in Indochina. July 11. 8-9. 1945." enclosed in FE(E)(44)4.
Record Group 59. NA. CAB 80/50. OSS R&A #2954." FE(M)(45)7. PRO. "Thailand's Relations With Great Britain in the Strategic Upper Malay Peninsula. NA. October 9. CAB 80/98. Box 2." August 27. NA. September 24-29. September 6.93/9-2445 through 741. In either event. FE(45)5. November 12. December 16. A. COS(45)212. Record Group 59. NA. DS 741. FE(0)(45)6. 1945. CAB 80/98. PRO. February 27. L. Moffat memorandum. undated memorandum. October 12. 1945. 1945. COS(45)653(0). 1945. folder "1946 Files. PRO. 1945. July 13. F 8238/1196/40. Record Group 59: Files of John Hickerson. 1945.92/10-2545. Even at half that price they would be doubled. October 25. 1945. PRO. 1945. December 20. PRO. 1945. PRO. August 28. Acheson to Charles W. DS 711. September 27. NA. FO 371. the proceeds would bring Siam's existing holdings of gold and foreign exchange to three times their present level. OSS memorandum (tracing Bangkok instructions to Thai delegation at Kandy. John Carter Vincent to Dean Acheson. enclosed in Ambassador Lord Halifax to Foreign Office. OSS memorandum. 1945. A. 1946. Record Group 59. CAB 96/5. unsigned. "Future Status of Thailand.93/9-2945.The Japanese Surrender 63 Siam were to be allowed these involuntary hoarded stocks at the present scarcity prices." Record Group 43. Briefing Book. 1945. PRO. NA: COS (45)692(0). October 10. His Majesty's government feel very strongly on this point. CAB 80/50. Hall memorandum. . State Department aide-mimoire. Yost (in Bangkok). H. NA. NA." See G. 41. Ceylon). 40. XL 30932. "Policy Toward Siam. COS(45)235. L. 1945. 1945. see OSS memorandum.46566. 1945. September 12. XL 23084." Box 3. December 22. For detailed accounts of Thai-Anglo-American relations and the evolving Thai-British Treaty. Siam would end the war in an incomparably better financial position than any of the other countries which were in a position to offer more serious resistance to the aggressors. DS 711. 1945. PRO. Moffat memoranda. 92/12-2245. CAB 80/50. CAB 96/9.