The struggle for Okinawa was the last battle of World War II and the bloodiest campaign in the Pacific against Imperial Japan. Long before the battle ended, U.S. Army civil affairs officers began the task of providing essential services for the island's war-torn population. This volume is an authoritative account of the Army's military government efforts on Okinawa from the first stages of planning until the transition toward a civil administration began in December 1950. It is a fascinating history of how a small group of idealistic men with a limited, temporary mission saw their numbers and their role expand into a long-term commitment as American strategic considerations changed. The story ranges from the strategic planning of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Council in Washington to the civil affairs planning of the Tenth Army and beyond to the military government teams in the field. Although this is a success story, there are certainly lessons to be learned from the complex and often difficult interplay of the tactical occupation forces, the civil affairs officers, and the Okinawan population.
With this volume, the Center of Military History continues its history of American military government during World War II. That effort began with the annotated documentary volume Civil Affairs: Soldiers Become Governors in the U.S. Army in World War II series, and continued with Earl Ziemke's The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany, 1944-1946 in the Army Historical Series. This volume differs in format from both earlier books: it is a concise case history of a unique military government experience, augmented by selected documents that provide for more detailed study of current civil affairs concerns. For the uniformed student of military government, as for the general reader, this book should offer an interesting and instructive account of an often overlooked period of American-Okinawan history. - WILLIAM A. STOFFT, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, Chief of Military History.