End of Empire100 days in 1945 that changed Asia and the world.

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  • First war crimes trial in the Philippines

    8 October. At the direction of General MacArthur, now Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan but previously commander of U.S. forces in the Philippines, the first of several high-profile trials is initiated of Japanese military officials for wartime atrocities in the Philippines. Indicted is the former commander of Japanese forces in the Philippines, General Yamashita Tomoyuki, called the ‘Tiger of Malaya’ for his role in the fall of Singapore. A U.S. Army commission is established to try Yamashita as a war criminal on the basis of his command responsibility for the Rape of Manila. Yamashita was 80 km from the city at the time, and his lines of communication had been disrupted by American military action. He is nonetheless found guilty for having failed to prevent the massacres and atrocities. Yamashita will be executed in February 1946 and controversially becomes one of the convicted war criminals sanctified at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine.

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    arriving at the military tribunal in Manila, Philippines, in 1945. Yamashita was the commanding general during the conquest of Malaya and in the Philippines. He was held responsible for atrocities committed by troops under his command and found guilty of failing to prevent them. The trial set a controversial precedent known as ‘command responsibility’, which held that an officer could be charged if he failed to control the acts of troops under his command. Yamashita was executed by hanging in February 1946. (N. B. Stucky, Australian War Memorial 119134)