chapter  Chapter Four
29 Pages

General MacArthur and the Recovery of Japan

WithPeter Lowe

Douglas MacArthur is one of the most central and controversial personalities in the conduct of the Korean War. It is appropriate to consider the preparation for his activities in Korea afforded by his experience in directing the affairs of Japan between 1945 and 1950. Japan played a crucial role in the chain of events leading to the Korean War. The complex issues involving the termination of the allied occupation of Japan and the repercussions for all those powers interested in East Asia and the western Pacific were closely linked. MacArthur wished to establish an enduring democratic system representing the ascendancy of the 'centre right', that is, those Japanese politicians who were firmly opposed to communism and to old-style militarism. It was essential for the United States to explain to those countries which had supported the allied war effort against Japan how the dangers posed by a Japanese economic revival could be surmounted.