Post–World War II: Longing for Peace and Reconciliation
Mending World War II Atrocities
World War II took place from 1938 to 1945 when America rose into a great nation and carried the torch of democracy—freedom. Back then, two great nations—Germany and Japan—came to the fore as major threats to human right to life and freedom. Germany implemented the holocaust, a crime of genocide against the Jews by the Nazis under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Japan, on the other hand, aggressively pursued dominion over Far East Asia by making trails of barbaric massacres, sexual slavery, death marches, and bombing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (America’s baby state).
While World War II was escalating, moves were made to seek justice for genocide victims. In October 1943, the Moscow Declaration was signed by the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union. The mandate states that “armistice persons deemed responsible for war crimes be sent back to where it had been committed and be judged according to the laws of the nation concerned.”
Then two significant events in World War II, Operation Overlord (also known as D-Day) and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, put a stop to violence. This gave the United States of America world prominence as she and her allies set up the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which formally opened in Nuremberg, Germany, on November 20, 1945. In October 18 that year, chief prosecutors read the indictments against 24 leading German nationals, who participated in crime against humanity. In 1960s to 70s, these penalties went from severe to light.
Germany and Japan were made to pay for the atrocities of World War II. Published articles show that starting on September 10, 1952, Germany moved towards reconciliation through repayment and charitable foreign policies with Israel, Poland, France, etc. from Europe to select third world nations even to this day. Germany has preserved monuments of the holocaust (concentration camps and Jewish family landmarks as rich resources for learning) as reminders of Nazi crimes. These reconciliatory moves have yielded acceptance of German economic leadership in the European Union today.
Meanwhile, the catchphrase from Joseph Keenan (chief prosecutor representing the United States at the trial indictment stated) that “war and treaty-breakers should be stripped of the glamour of national heroes and exposed as what they really are—plain, ordinary murderers” were implemented in the IMTFE, Tokyo.
Then, Japan’s participation in the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) are some of the venues of her peace efforts. The Philippines has accepted Japan’s monetary support in infrastructure, educational, and business projects. However, China and Korea have shown negative reception to the event at the shrine and the masakaki tree gift of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe because these glorify what the Japanese did in World War II. Both nations must sustain recompense and peace efforts consistent with the golden rule to attain world unity.
Reflections on World War II, subsequent peace movements, and the golden rule are discussed comprehensively in my book, Perspective: The Golden Rule, at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. You can also read all my works at www.davidmeakes.com. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Cathey, Emily A. 2008. “The Effects of Japan’s Apology for World War II Atrocities on Regional Relations.” Accessed October 4, 2018. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a494016.pdf
Judson, Mel. 2018. “Horrific Japanese Crimes in WWII That History Forgot.” Ranker. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-wwii-war-crimes/mel-judson
Rienzi, Greg. 2015. “Other Nations Can Learn from Germany’s Efforts to Reconcile After WWII.” John Hopkins University. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2015/summer/germany-japan-reconciliation/