Michael Schaller argues that the reconstruction of postwar Japan not only shaped the future of that country, but also the future of U.S. policy throughout postwar Asia, leading up to the controversial interventions in China, Korea, and Vietnam. In this detailed study, he shows how the U.S., after the war, sought to develop Japan as a stable bulwark against both Soviet expansion and Asian revolution. In particular, he depicts the intense conflict that raged among American officials, with the flamboyant Occupation Commander, General Douglas MacArthur, against virtually all civilian and military planners in Washington, including President Truman. Lauded by the public as a hero, and initially given free rein to shape the future of Japan, MacArthur was gradually undermined in a series of bureaucratic and personal manoeuvres. His plans were replaced by a new Occupation programme, which provided U.S. aid to rebuild Japan as a major industrial power at the hub of a subordinate Asian trading network.
This was done in the hope that Japan's regional dominance would simultaneously ensure recovery, bolster world trade, and stabilize the fragile arc of Southeast Asian states in transit from colonialism to independence. Michael Schaller's fascinating account is indispensable to anyone seeking to understand the United States's complex postwar history.
"This volume will be indispensable to all who seek to understand the more recent chapters in the historic struggle between the two superpowers."*
"The first step toward significantly rewriting the history of an era...Schaller recounts in fine detail the five years during which the autocratic MacArthur vied with Washington for dominance in Japan and a role in world affairs."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"[A] brilliant, provocative study."--Journal of American History
"A valuable contribution to the understanding of the origins of the cold war in Asia....It is the first comprehensive and detailed study on the aspect of U.S. occupation policies."--International History Review
"A careful historian's account of the origins of the cold war in Asia with a particular focus on the U.S. occupation of Japan."--Foreign Affairs
"Schaller has written the best kind of history, the kind that has great scope, supported by solid scholarship."--Kirkus Reviews
"A very good book....Schaller points out...that American military and political advisers did not fashion their plans for the future of East Asia in a vacuum, but hammered them out in the context of their own ideological and strategical concerns."--The New Republic
"The research is exhaustive on the American side and the author is to be commended for his effective use of the Freedom of Information Act."--Pacific Affairs
"A lively and informative book on the American occupation of 1Japan....invigorating, scholarly, and engaging."--Science and Society