The Allied occupation of Japan is remembered as the "good occupation." An American-led coalition successfully turned a militaristic enemy into a stable and democratic ally. Of course, the story was more complicated, but the occupation did forge one of the most enduring relationships in the postwar world. Recent events, from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to protests over American bases in Japan to increasingly aggressive territorial disputes between Asian nations over islands in the Pacific, have brought attention back to the subject of the occupation of Japan. But where did occupation policy come from? This talk considers the role of presidents, bureaucrats, think tanks, the media, and Congress as part of an informal policy network created to manage the postwar world during World War II.
Dr. Dayna Barnes is a specialist in 20th century international history, American foreign policy, and East Asia. She is a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law, and is an incoming assistant professor of history at City, University of London. Her book, Architects of Occupation: American Experts and the Planning for Postwar Japan, was published in Cornell University Press in March 2017.