Alliance under the nuclear umbrella
Japan’s strength in the tri-alliance military system (USA, Japan and South Korea), based on the Japanese-American Cooperation and Security Treaty agreed in 1960 and the Republic - Korea-US Mutual Defense Treaty of October 1, 1953, has grown considerably since then. Already in its first White Paper on National Defense of 1970, Tokyo had presented its defense policy with “three pillars” :
“The Navy and Air Force must secure the supremacy in the environment” – an unspecified term – “as the lifeblood of Japan”. It should be noted that the strait of Malacca, several thousand miles away (between Singapore/Malaysia and Indonesia), has repeatedly been called such a “nerve of life” because it is passed by oil tankers coming from the Middle East, among others.
“The aggression should be stopped in the beginning”. Not only did it remain open when an aggression is “in the beginning”; such a declaration could, for example, cover up and/or justify one’s own aggressive intentions/acts with regard to the Vietnam War.
Thirdly, in addition to point b), the White Paper spoke of" countering indirect aggression".
These statements have been unreservedly shared by all U.S. governments since Richard M. Nixon (1969-74). Japan was alternately regarded as the" most important"," most loyal “and” most important " ally in the region, for whose protection the US nuclear umbrella remains stretched, provided that Tokyo in return participates more in the financing of multilateral organizations (World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UN) in the sense of a mutual balance of interests and burdens.
With military expenditures of 30 billion dollars, Japan was already ranked third worldwide in 1990 and took the top position in Asia. Its navy is the third largest in the region after that of the USA and Russia. Should the government in Tokyo revise Article 9 of its post – war constitution (after sending soldiers to Cambodia as part of UN “peace-securing” measures), which politicians approve as necessary “Japanization” and experience an upsurge in the pull of the “international counterterrorism”, only one taboo would be broken-the building of its own nuclear force. This is currently neither politically majority nor militarily acceptable in Washington, in view of the other allies in the region and victims of Japanese militarism (Korea, PRC and ASEAN, Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
National liberation struggles in the shadow of the Cold War: the beginning was made by Indonesia and Vietnam
Everywhere in East, South and Southeast Asia people celebrated the end of the Japanese colonial yoke with exuberant cheers on 15 August 1945. Although the former Western colonial rulers (French, British, Portuguese and Dutch) had lost their nimbus of invincibility at the same time, they all relied on the recolonization of their former “possessions"in the course of their post-war policies. ( * * * * ) Reason enough for the multi – layered – armed and political-anti-colonial organizations, partisan groups and parties to push for an end to external patronage and to strive for the independence of their countries. The first to achieve this were Indonesia and Vietnam.
In contrast to Burma and the Philippines, for example, Tokyo originally did not envisage “independence” for Indonesia. Only in the late phase of the war did the Japanese attempt to continue to control the vast island empire by promising state sovereignty to Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, the leaders of the independence movement who initially wanted to cooperate and later distanced themselves from Tokyo. This was the issue shortly before the capitulation, when Sukarno and Hatta were killed on 9 September. On August 15, 1945, the Japanese flew to Vietnam to meet with senior Japanese military personnel. On August 14, the two Indonesian politicians returned to Batavia (Jakarta), where they proclaimed the independence of the free Republic of Indonesia on August 17, 1945.
However, the Dutch government wanted to reinstate the old colonial administration and had large parts of the island empire occupied in so-called politionele acties (“police actions”). Despite their numerical superiority, the Indonesian troops were not equal to the Dutch in terms of training and equipment, so that there was hardly any open military battle. A guerrilla war was decisive and more significant, as the Dutch troops were far from sufficient to control the vast territories. However, the Netherlands suffered the real defeat in diplomacy, as world public opinion increasingly sympathized with the Indonesian side. Following political pressure from Western governments (including Washington), Queen Juliana of the Netherlands signed the surrender of sovereignty to the Republic of Indonesia in Amsterdam on 27 December 1949.
Just on the day that Japan had to sign its instrument of surrender, on September 2, 1945, the Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam), which had fought as an alliance of anti-colonial, nationalist and communist forces against both the French and the Japanese, went on the political-diplomatic offensive in Vietnam. On 18 August, after a National People’s Congress of the Viet Minh had decided on the general uprising, the “August Revolution,” Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) on 2 September. The Viet Minh had cleverly exploited a short-term power vacuum and relied on the support of the Allies. The initial passages of the Declaration of Independence were strongly based on the US model.
But like the Dutch in Indonesia, France fought bitterly to restore its political and economic power in its former colony. His defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in the spring of 1954 and worldwide protests against the war led to the signing of the Geneva Indochina Accords on July 20-21. Although these ended the fighting for the time being, they did not bring the independence and unity of Vietnam. This was to be sealed by general, free elections in 1956. Until then, it was built along the 17th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, a military demarcation line was drawn, which de facto divided the country. While Hanoi pressed for the general elections set out in the Geneva Accords to be held, Saigon flatly rejected them out of fear of an overwhelming electoral victory for Ho Chi Minh. At the beginning of the 1960s, the chance of peaceful reunification had been lost and the intra-Vietnamese conflict had been internationalized by the West-East bloc confrontation.
Under false pretenses (an alleged attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats on an American destroyer in international waters, which triggered the so-called Tonkin affair at the beginning of August 1964), the US government provoked a war that is still referred to today as the “American War” in Vietnam and abroad as the Vietnam War or the “Second Indochina War”.
In its main article of the April 7, 1975 issue, the Hamburg news magazine Der Spiegel discussed the end of the war and came to the conclusion that “apart from America’s wealth (estimated 140 billion dollars – note. RW) also severely damaged America’s political morale and cost over 56,000 Americans their lives.”
It was further stated in this post:
“Within three weeks this Asian pseudo-Sparta clashed, goods of (South Vietnam’s General Note.: RW) Thieu’s 13 divisions six destroyed, the head of state saw himself almost reduced to the domain of the mayor of Saigon – a debacle comparable to the sudden fall of France in 1940, more dramatic than the creeping catastrophe in Cambodia, whose head of state Lon Nol flew to Bali these days, a result of superior morale of struggle as well as superior strategic imagination. ( … ) The Americans had dropped 7.1 million tons of bombs over Vietnam, three and a half times as much as they dropped from the sky during World War II. One million Vietnamese were killed, six million lost their homes and had to flee the front lines, more than a quarter of the tropical forest was torn apart by bombs and grenades and destroyed for many years by chemical defoliation poisons. Even in South Vietnam, for which the Americans fought the Jungle war, the surface throws of the US bombers had destroyed twelve percent of the agricultural area; in the hostile north almost half of the villages went up in flames.”
The war also affected the neutral neighbouring states of Cambodia and Laos, where massive B-52 surface bombardment with napalm also forced millions of people to flee to the cities. Especially during the “secret war” in Laos-and there primarily the level of clay jugs and their surroundings – 2.1 million tons of bombs were dropped by the US Air Force alone between 1965 and 1973 – more than over Germany and Japan during the Second World War! To this day, much of the country is contaminated with duds and the defoliant agent Orange. The headquarters of the CIA and the secret Hmong army it recruited was Long Cheng. From 1962, the CIA established an air base there with 40,000 inhabitants, and from there the war was coordinated with daily takeoffs and landings of over 400 aircraft. For a time, Long Cheng was the second largest city in the country and the world’s busiest airfield. A place that does not appear on any map and whose existence was not even known to the US Congress. In this context, the then US Senator and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, J. William Fulbright, rightly spoke of the “arrogance of power” (1967).
On 27 January 1973, the Paris Agreement had agreed on the end of a “war without fronts” (Greiner 2007). But two more bitter fighting years with massive bombings of the North Vietnamese cities Hanoi and Haiphong passed, until Saigon surrendered and the last US citizens were panic-stricken by helicopters. As in Korea two decades earlier, another imperial war of the Second World War had turned the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos into piles of rubble.
Korea: “Trusteeship”, partition and war again
Especially in the former Japanese colony of Korea (1910-45), people celebrated the long-awaited end of the war in a joyful festive mood. There they hoped to finally be able to live in freedom and self-determination. The underground anti-Japanese opposition of nationalists, conservatives and communists was now able to function publicly and legally. From their ranks, local popular committees had emerged in all parts of the country as bearers of a democratic new beginning. On 6. On September 15, 1945, the representative assembly of these committees met in the capital Seoul. The most important result of the conference was the formation of a national government of the People’s Republic of Korea. However, this republic had two birth defects: it was denied international recognition and it was short-lived.
Even before the surrender of Japan, the US and the Soviet Union had agreed to divide the Korean peninsula along the 38th parallel into two zones of occupation and to administer it in trust. In the north, the Red Army was in charge, and in the south, the United States was in charge. On September 8, 1945, the 7th U.S. Infantry Division landed at Incheon on the west coast of Korea. The occupation forces led by General John R. Hodge ignored the newly formed government of the People’s Republic of Korea and instead installed the U.S. Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK) as the only legitimate government. Since none of its members spoke Korean, the majority of the population flatly rejected this government and saw its newly regained freedom threatened by American “liberation.”
When a Congress of the People’s Republic refused to dissolve itself in mid-November 1945, General Hodge declared it unlawful. At the initiative of the USAMGIK, a so-called Parliamentary Democratic Council was established in mid-February 1946, chaired by Dr. Rhee Syngman, a Korean exile who had flown in from the USA. Although Rhee did not know the Korean post-war reality, he was built with American backing to head the forces formerly collaborating with the Japanese – big landowners, capitalists and state bureaucrats. Even members of the USAMGIK openly criticised Rhee’s authoritarian style of government.
In September 1946, the American authorities issued an arrest warrant against prominent Communist leaders. They then settled in the northern part of the country. Shortly afterwards, violent protests took place in the south, which were crushed by US troops and right-wing paramilitary thugs. In order to monitor and intimidate the population, so-called “strategic hamlets” were created, central collection points, into which the people had to go in tens of thousands in order not to be regarded as “overthrowers”. This revolt, which had entered history as a “hunger revolt”, was triggered by social and economic conditions; everywhere in the country there was a lack of food, clothing and shelter. Protest and resistance against this miserable situation were suppressed by police forces, of all people, trained by the Japanese and now subordinate to the US superintendent. Their boss, the American Colonel William Maglin, spoke of” born policemen " who should not be sent away simply because they had once served under the Japanese.
The Soviet occupying power in the northern part of the country granted the popular committees and protected the anti-Japanese partisan force around Kim Il-Sung, one of several. In the spring of 1946, the North sent a socio-political signal when a far-reaching land reform helped over 700,000 peasant families without property to gain land. This land had previously belonged to large landowners who had fled to the south. For Kim this was undoubtedly a great gain in legitimacy, especially since a similar reform in the south of the peninsula was not possible.
As a victory for the Communist Party led by Mao Zedong was already looming in neighbouring China, Korea was at the very crossroads of the onset of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. On 15 August 1948, the Republic of Korea was established in the south of the peninsula with US aid. On September 9, 1948, the North followed suit and-with Soviet support-proclaimed the People’s Democratic Republic. This sealed the division of the country. In the capitals of Seoul and Pyongyang, shrill propaganda sounded to force unity by force if necessary. Armed provocations from both sides on the demarcation line along the 38th parallel were accumulating. And on June 25, 1950, North Korean troops crossed the demarcation line. A few days later, they captured the South Korean metropolis of Seoul and quickly advanced to the port city of Busan in the deep south of the country.
General Douglas MacArthur, commander-in-chief of US forces in the Far East and at the same time commander of the troops deployed by 15 countries by the United Nations, called for a counteroffensive. When it reached the Yalu, the border river between North Korea and the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong sent so-called volunteer groups to the front. In response, General MacArthur, together with fellow generals in the U.S. Air Force, even threatened to use atomic bombs to “pulverize"the Chinese cities near the border. However, this went too far for the Truman administration: fearing that things might get out of hand and raise the risk of a Third World War, MacArthur had to resign under pressure from the president.
This war lasted three years, in which the front lines changed several times and in the course of which the most modern weapons were used, including napalm, bacteriological, anthrax-causing agents. The impact of Napalm operations was described for the first time by the British Korea correspondent René Cutforth:
“Before us stood a strange, somewhat bent figure with spread legs and arms stretched sideways. He had no eyes, and his whole body, visible almost everywhere through burnt scraps of cloth, covered a hard black crust speckled with yellow pus. The man had to stand because his body no longer had skin, but was covered by a slightly fragile crust. I thought of the hundreds of burned villages I had personally seen, and imagined the list of losses that had to grow immeasurably on the Korean Front.”
About two million civilians were killed. According to the United Nations, one million North Korean and Chinese soldiers as well as 250,000 soldiers from South Korea and 37,000 US GIs lost their lives in this “war before Vietnam”.
In no previous war was the number of civilian casualties as high as in the Korean War. Whole areas were devastated for years. All major cities lay in ruins. The hardest hit was the North Korean capital Pyongyang, where only smoking ruins stuck in the sky. High-ranking US military officers such as Emmet “Rosie” O’Donnell, head of the US bomber command in the Far East, complained at the time that there were no longer any targets in Korea. Carter, J. Eckert, Director of the Harvard Center for Korean Studies, said in the 1990s from the traumatic after-effects of the “permanent siege mentality” of the North Koreans: “Practically the entire population,” says Eckert, “lived and worked for three years in artificial underground bunkers to escape the constant attacks of the US bombers, each of which – from the perspective of the North Korean nuclear bomb could wear.”
It was only after months of diplomatic wrangling that a ceasefire agreement was reached on 27 July 1953 in the inhospitable village of Panmunjom, at the height of the 38th parallel. It was signed only by North Korea, the People’s Republic of China and the American General Mark W. Clark on behalf of the United Nations. South Korean President Rhee Syngman not only refused to sign the agreement. He wanted to continue the war. It was only when the US government agreed to a bilateral security pact, its commander-in-chief stationed in South Korea also assumed command of the South Korean troops, and the South Korean side was promised substantial economic, financial and military aid that Rhee agreed to respect the ceasefire clauses. A truce that has not yet been translated into a peace treaty!
To this day, the Korean Peninsula is divided by a 240-kilometer-long so-called “demilitarized zone”. A euphemism without equal: indeed, there are still a million soldiers there today, including about 35,000 American GIs in the south. And until 1993, military dictators ruled in South Korea, who secured their brutal rule, among other things, with a law called among the Japanese “Law for the Maintenance of Public Order and Security” and since the end of 1948 simply called “National Security Law”. Almost seven decades after the end of the war, the South Korean judiciary still punishes offenses against this law, that is, “contacts with an anti-state organization” (as North Korea is referred to in it), with (sometimes high prison)penalties.
While diplomatic relations between the former aggressor Japan and North Korea are still pending, the former lieutenant Okamoto Minoru, in the service of the Japanese emperor, ensured a “reconciliation” between Seoul and Tokyo when he signed the “Normalization Treaty” between the two countries in 1965. Former Lieutenant Okamoto Minoru was the South Korean General Park Chung-Hee, Seoul’s “strongman” from 1961 to 1979. As a collaborator of the Japanese, he had once sworn to their emperor Hirohito to"fall like a cherry blossom in the Holy War for the establishment of the Greater East Asian Common Sphere of Prosperity and in defense of the odo rakudo (Kingdom of the Right).” In Article 3 of the “Normalization Treaty”, Tokyo recognized Seoul’s claim to sole representation for Korea and granted South Korea low-interest loans in addition to a one-time payment of 500 million US dollars. In return, Park Chung-Hee secured lucrative business opportunities for Japanese companies. Park did not tolerate opposition. In October 1972, he suspended the Constitution and – like Ferdinand E. Marcos in the Philippines a month earlier – imposed martial law on the country. A pre-emptive counterrevolution: in the region there was a fear that after the (already looming) defeat of the USA in Indochina, other countries could become communist, but at least withdraw from the US sphere of rule.
Excursus III: Changing frontlines, wars behind frontlines and the silent massacre of No Gun Ri
During the Korean War (1950-53), the US occupation forces and their allies carried out massacres among the civilian population, such as that of No Gun Ri. For decades, crimes were tabooed.
“I would say that almost the whole peninsula of Korea is a single pile of rubble.”,
explained Emmett O’Donnell. With the undertone of regret, as if he had just become unemployed, the US Air Force general added:
“Everything is destroyed. Nothing worth mentioning has stopped. Shortly before the Chinese entered the war, no more attacks were carried out by our bombers. There were no more destinations in Korea.”
For three long years, from the end of June 1950 to the end of July 1953, the US Air Force used Napalm against man and nature systematically and comprehensively in Korea. Towns and villages were affected as well as densely wooded mountain slopes, from which soon only withered stumps of trees protruded into the sky.
At the beginning of the war, the US Army often evacuated entire villages in south Korea. This was also the case in the late July days of 1950 with the residents of No Gun Ri. This place, located a few kilometers south of the city of Daejeon, and the adjacent areas were a stronghold of anti-Japanese resistance before the arrival of American troops in Korea. After the surrender of Japan in mid-August 1945, the Yongdong People’s Committee was established here, which enjoyed great support among the predominantly peasant population. Even before the evacuation of No Gun Ris, it was later learned that units of the North Korean People’s Army had driven nearly 2,000 civilians from GIs to the nearby mountains in the course of another operation and were literally executed there. The American historian and Korea expert Bruce Cumings referred to a secret intelligence memo from the US Army addressed to Major General Clark Ruffner from that time, in which “execution commands” were demanded to “eliminate” people suspected of working for the guerrillas.
Soldiers of the 7th US Cavalry Regiment dug in at No Gun Ri on July 26, 1950 on a several hundred meter long front section. On the morning of the same day, the leadership of the 8th U.S. Army radioed the following order to all troops in the combat area: “Refugees do not have to cross the front. It is shot at anyone who tries to cross the lines. In the case of women and children, prudence must be maintained.“Major-General William B. Kean gave the 25. “All civilians who are in this area are considered enemies and treated accordingly.”
On the same day, when a trek of 500 to 600 inhabitants of surrounding villages fleeing from approaching North Korean units approached the US front line, the refugees were driven off the road. The GIs desperately wanted to keep them free for US military vehicles, and they forced people to turn onto an adjacent railway embankment. As the refugees were resting there, US warplanes suddenly dropped bombs instead of warning labels and fired MG volleys at the convoy. According to Korean eyewitness reports, about a hundred people were killed after multiple shelling from the air alone. The survivors – mainly old men, women and children-took refuge in the tunnel under a nearby railway bridge. They did not find shelter there, however; they were fired upon incessantly. Some piled corpses on top of each other to build protective walls, while others dug holes in the ground with their bare hands to find cover from the hail of bullets.
Once again in its history, the 7th U.S. Cavalry regiment had left a trail of blood. Since its establishment in October 1866, it had initially violently subjugated Native Americans in its own country (its “exploits” included the massacre of several hundred defenseless Sioux at Wounded Knee in South Dakota at the end of 1890), and around 1900 it “purged” the Philippines and Cuba of “insurrectos” (“insurgent bandits”). Now, 50 years later, it terrorized the disparagingly called “gooks” (for “slithering, sneaky Asians”) population in Korea.
For almost half a century, the gruesome events in No Gun Ri were more or less forgotten, although the first secret documents about the US-American war in Korea were declassified as early as 1982, and have thus been publicly accessible ever since. But at that time hardly anyone in the USA was interested in it. In South Korea, since the end of World War II the anti-communist front state par excellence, where military regimes were in power until 1993, No Gun Ri remained taboo. Such and similar massacres were the “devil’s work of North Korean communists"in Seoul’s official historiography. And Washington reigned at the height of the Cold War, the renewed arms race against the Soviet Union, and only a decade and a half after the nation-wide massacre in the South Vietnamese city of Mvi Lai (where US troops were killed on 16 September). In March 1968 504 civilians – among them numerous children, women and old people-as “suspected Vietcong” had murdered cold-blooded) partout no interest in tracking down now also No Gun Ri, one of the many atrocities before mỹ Lai, and admitting these publicly.
It was not until the mid-1990s that 30 survivors and survivors of the no-gun-Ri massacre petitioned the South Korean government’s compensation Committee in Seoul. Initially, both South Korean and US military authorities categorically denied that there had been any incidents like in No Gun Ri at all. However, the victims were able to make themselves heard in the South Korean media until 30 June. September 1999 the US news agency Associated Press published its report on No Gun Ri and allowed a dozen US war veterans to speak in it. A poor record for the authorities and a cover – up on the part of the government-that’s what Pete McCloskey believes. A veteran of the Korean War, he was decorated with medals of valor and once served as a congressman in the U.S. Congress: “I don’t think,” he said, “the American government, the Pentagon, and most government agencies want the truth to come out. This would embarrass the government.”
In South Korea and in the USA there was outrage and disgust. Now the Pentagon was also asked to comment on the events in No Gun Ri. After a 15-month investigation, the Inspector General of the US Army came to a conclusion in his final report published in January 2001, which the Korean survivors as well as most US witnesses described as “whitewashing”. In the last sentence of this report it says literally:
“What happened to civilians near No Gun Ri in late July 1950 was a tragic and deeply regrettable concomitant of a war that had been imposed on unprepared U.S. and South Korean forces.”
There would have been no deliberate killing, even orders to shoot civilians. Although the outgoing President Bill Clinton still regretted the death of unarmed civilians in No Gun Ri in January 2001. He did not like to apologize formally. According to the US Army, GIs had not intentionally killed in Korea; in that case, the US military would be publicly pilloried, not least it would have been a judicial war crime.
The official account of the authorities in Washington and the supporting view of ex-officer Robert L. Bateman were finally refuted by a document discovered by historian Sahr Conway-Lanz (2006) in the US National Archives. It was a letter from the then U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, John J. Muccio, dated July 26, 1950. In it, the diplomat informed the U.S. State Department of a” necessary " decision by the 8th U.S. Army in Korea, which could lead to negative reactions in the United States. The addressee of Muccio’s letter was Dean Rusk, who as deputy Foreign Minister was responsible for East Asia and himself became head of the State Department during the Vietnam War. Muccio spoke of a” very serious problem “that was increasingly"challenging the military as well”. The roads and access roads blocked by the influx of refugees hampered their own military vehicles, and there were also fears that North Korean agents might be among the refugees.
Muccio then referred to a meeting held the day before (July 25) between him, the commander of the 8th U.S. Army, including its security service, employees of the South Korean Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the director of the National Police. The central point of this meeting was the order issued afterwards: “If refugees approach north of the US lines, warning shots are fired. However, if they continue to advance, they will be shot.”
Muccio’s letter to Rusk was not included in the final report of the Inspector General of the US Army, nor has it ever been sent to the South Korean authorities, which in turn were investigating what happened in No Gun Ri. Yi Mahn Yol, chairman of the National Institute of Korean History and a member of the South Korean Government Commission to clarify the incidents in No Gun Ri, therefore assumed that from the beginning “the command system was involved in everything and it was by no means a deplorable accident.” Manic-repressive anti-communism of the US occupation forces and their South Korean governor Rhee Syngman, manifest racism among the GIs and a systematically tolerated and practiced violation of international norms of peoples and human rights were responsible for what happened in No Gun Ri and elsewhere during the Korean War.
Moreover, the massacre of No Gun Ri was not an isolated incident. In August 1950, U.S. Major General Hobart R. Gay issued an order to blow up a bridge over the Nakdong River. There was no mention of the dead in his report. When pioneers blew up a second bridge over the same river, according to contemporary witness and former sergeant Carroll F. Kinsman from Gautier, Mississippi, many people were killed – “the entire bridge was full of refugees.” The military annals laconically stated: “Excellent results.“In the same month (August 1950), 80 civilians who had sought shelter in a shrine in the village of Kokaan Ri near the South Korean city of Masan were killed. A month later, another 400 civilians were killed on the beaches of the port city of Pohang by targeted artillery fire from the US Navy. So far, more than 60 such massacres during the war are known and documented.
Whatever positions the combined US and UN forces could not hold was blown up to prevent the enemy side from falling into their hands. When hundreds of thousands of Chinese volunteers intervened in the war on the side of militarily oppressed North Korea, it fueled anti-communist hysteria and pogrom sentiment. When South Korean President Rhee Syngman was escorted back by US troops to his headquarters in Seoul, which had been temporarily under North Korean control, his people and sympathizers took terrible revenge on everyone they believed was working for the opposing side. Several tens of thousands of people fell victim to these acts of revenge. This in turn led to increased guerrilla activity, which reached its peak in mid-January 1951.
The US High Command estimated the number of insurgents at 30,000 to 35,000 people. In order to eliminate them, the military strategists invented “Operation Rat-killers”, the command of which was given to one of South Korea’s fiercest anti-communist foes, General Paik Sun Yup. General Matthew B. Ridgway, who had in the meantime replaced Commander-in-Chief Douglas MacArthur, who had been dismissed by US President Harry S. Truman, announced the success of this operation at the end of January 1952: “Nearly 20,000 paratroopers were killed or captured. This was the end of this irritation once and for all.“But at the end of 1952, the guerrillas were still very active in the mountains around Jirisan in south-west Korea.
In December 1952, photographer Margaret Bourke-White wrote a feature for Life magazine entitled “The Savage, Secret War in Korea”. An excellent title; in fact, the guerrilla movements behind the front lines meant a war in war. Bourke-White interviewed several insurgents, including courageous women:
“Some of the insurgents changed fronts and joined the Reds. Thousands of North Koreans were also among them, who were fortunate enough to withdraw from their units when the UN troops broke through the siege ring that had been laid around the southern port city of Pusan. Other insurgents came from the north, where they overcame the Allied front lines. All in all, it was a force that would never have survived the war raging around it for more than two years and the harsh conditions in mountainous terrain had it not been supplied and supported by the population.”
Ordered comeback of the elites, permanent counterinsurgency & esteemed " little brown brothers”
“The Filipinos, “said Francisco Sionil José, the country’s best-known contemporary author, mockingly,” spent nearly 350 years in the Spanish convent. It followed nearly half a century under the rule of Hollywood, interrupted by a three-year Japanese intermezzo. Our dilemma: we are the child of too many parents.”
In the Philippines, after the war, the most powerful anti-Japanese resistance organization, the Hukbalahap, was illegalized and fought by the old and new colonial power USA. (The situation was not different in neighbouring Malaya, later Singapore and Malaysia. The Malayan Communist Party, the CPM, had fiercely resisted the Japanese in order to be denounced and hunted after the war by the old and new colonial rulers, the British, just as vehemently as “overthrowers” and “communist terrorists” – briefly called “CTs”. What London euphemistically called “Emergency”, the period of” emergency " from 1948 to 1960, was a brutally waged war to preserve colonial interests on the Malay peninsula for as long as possible.) Since the Hukbalahap had not fought for the exchange of occupiers, it continued its struggle underground and renamed itself the People’s Liberation Army, Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (short: HMB).
It was not until the mid – 1950s-after fierce “counterinsurgency”, political appropriation and promised allocation of one or two hectares of land to former Huk fighters on the south island of Mindanao – that Manila succeeded in defeating the HMB militarily. Among other things, with means of sophisticated psychological warfare (psywar), in the form of the Aswang project. Aswang is a demonic, often female figure in Philippine mythology, who also acts as a vampire and sucks the blood out of the victims ' bodies with a tubular tongue. Since the majority of Filipinos are as devout Catholics as they are superstitious, trained army special forces took advantage of this in psywar by capturing the last man of a Huk squad during nighttime commando operations, killing him, drilling two holes in his neck, and then bleeding the body out. Through word of mouth and/or the dropping of leaflets in the respective operating area, the news was then spread that even vampires or similar demonic beings were on the side of the government troops and were willingly at their service. (see also Lansdale 1991)
The promise made during the war by US President Roosevelt that all Filipinos who fought side by side with the GIs would receive compensation after the end of the war and, like their American comrades-in-arms, would benefit from health insurance and pensions was not kept. At the beginning of 1946, a law passed by the US Congress explicitly did not recognize this principle of equality. Even more: an emergency supply of US $ 620 million originally promised by the Truman administration was cut by US $ 100 million in the US Senate. And the $ 1.25 billion in reparations originally promised by the U.S.-Philippine War Damage Corporation did not flow in full. (After all, Manila, along with Warsaw, was the most destroyed capital during the Second World War, where in February 1945 alone, according to official data, more than 100,000 people were killed in the course of the recapture of the city by combined American-Philippine units. When the War Damage Corporation ceased operations in 1950, it had paid out only $ 388 million to private applicants, most of whom maintained close contacts with the government in Manila.
The Philippine Trade Act, which also came into force in 1946, or the Bell Trade Act even guaranteed parity rights. Thus, Americans in the Philippines enjoyed the same rights as Filipinos in the United States. The economic supremacy of the USA in the Philippines remained so dominant in the long run that on July 4 (coinciding with US Independence Day!) 1946 proclaimed Republic of the Philippines effectively remained a neocolony. Especially because of the political blackmail of its first president Manuel Roxas, who had served as a travel collector for the Japanese occupiers. During Roxas ' tenure, Washington also decided to allow the maintenance and expansion of the largest military bases outside the North American continent (Clark Air Field and the Subic Naval Base of the US 7th Fleet). This in turn was used by the US military as a significant logistical hub of its wars of aggression against Korea (1950-53) as well as against Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1965-75).
Little brown brothers was the common name of the Filipinos during the American colonial rule over the archipelago from 1898 to 1946. This paternalistic term was coined by William Howard Taft, Washington’s first Governor General in the Philippines (1901-1904) and 27th President of the United States (1909-1913). And pampered little brown brothers remained Philippine politicians even and especially in the post-war era. No wonder that the Philippines, as the most reliable vassal of the USA in Southeast Asia, also formed the stronghold par excellence for anti-communism and cold War in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was founded on September 8, 1954 in Manila under the leadership of the United States. Southeast Asian Pact Organization, also known as the Manila Pact) based in the Thai capital Bangkok saw itself as a Pacific counterpart to NATO. Its stated goal, according to the Truman doctrine promulgated in 1947, was to “contain communism in Southeast Asia.” Thailand and the Philippines were the only countries in the region to join the alliance for security reasons, while the other member states (France, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) and the United States were concerned with safeguarding their own interests in the region. On 30 June 1977, two years after the US debacle in Vietnam, the SEATO disappeared unceremoniously from the political scene. Together with CENTO (*****) and NATO in the West, a cordon sanitaire against the “communist power bloc”, represented by the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, was created at the height of the Cold War.
Amnesia and ongoing conflicts
Where after 1945 the respective liberation or independence movement quickly won – as in the case of Indonesia and Vietnam – the political and social conditions were so opaque and the problems of the people so serious that it was impossible to think of an appreciation of the numerous war victims. To this day, the hundreds of thousands of Romushas (forced labourers) who were forcibly conscripted by Japanese troops during the construction of the Thailand-Burma railway, for example, have not been officially commemorated in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, nor in Thailand and Myanmar. To this day, especially for reasons of political opportunity, the relationship between the PRC and Japan remains tense because of the Nanking massacre (1937/38).
If Beijing for a long time tolerated no victims of Japanese militarism, but only “heroes of socialist construction,” Tokyo assumed that it had fought in the “Great East Asian War” for a just cause, namely “against white colonialism and imperialism.” Victims did not fit into the (right historical)picture, while influential political circles in Japan make no secret of honoring once high-ranking perpetrators, including war criminals convicted in the Tokyo trials, with highly controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in the heart of the capital. Not to mention the euphemistically called “comfort women” forcibly recruited East and Southeast Asian girls and women - including Dutch women in The Hague’s former colony of Indonesia – who had been systematically humiliated and tortured by tens of thousands in Japanese military brothels. Which, above all, burdens the South Korean-Japanese relationship to this day to an oppressive degree.
Last, but not least: Since Burma (today’s Myanmar) gained its independence in early 1948, its vast army and intelligence apparatus has been in a permanent state of war with national minorities, who at least argue or advocate for autonomy. And since the partition of the Indian subcontinent into the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947, both sides have fought each other in wars and military conflicts around Kashmir. Meanwhile, the Indian part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani part of the Autonomous region of Azad Kashmir, and the special territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. It was only with the Shimla Agreement of 2 July 1972 that the “Line of Control” was surveyed, mapped and de facto recognized as a border between the two states after three military conflicts (1948, 1965 and 1971) around the entire region of Kashmir by a joint Indian-Pakistani military commission. This does not change the fact that both sides still claim sovereignty over the entire territory. Since 1962, after the Indo-Chinese border war, parts of Kashmir, including Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Valley, have also belonged to the People’s Republic. All of these conflicts, some of which 75 years after the end of the Second World War, are far from being amicably resolved for the civilian population.
The sources can be found here.