Her new book, Prisoners of the Empire: POWs and Their Captors in the Pacific, was published by Harvard University Press in September 2020. [29] Furthermore, in many instances, Japanese soldiers who had surrendered were killed on the front line or while being taken to POW compounds. [36] This campaign was undermined by Allied troops' reluctance to take prisoners, however. Those who chose to surrender did so for a range of reasons including not believing that suicide was appropriate or lacking the will to commit the act, bitterness towards officers, and Allied propaganda promising good treatment. These interrogations were painful and stressful for the POWs. [1] Soviet troops seized and imprisoned more than half a million Japanese troops and civilians in China and other places. However, prisoners at this camp were given special benefits, such as high quality food and access to a shop, and the interrogation sessions were relatively relaxed. The programs were partially successful, and contributed to US troops taking more prisoners. The Japanese became so incensed that they ordered every POW in the Changi peninsula to sign an agreement promising not to escape. [23], Japanese soldiers' reluctance to surrender was also influenced by a perception that Allied forces would kill them if they did surrender, and historian Niall Ferguson has argued that this had a more important influence in discouraging surrenders than the fear of disciplinary action or dishonor. Wikimedia Commons [19] Japanese attitudes towards surrender also contributed to the harsh treatment which was inflicted on the Allied personnel they captured. Interrogation: World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq, NATIONAL DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE COLLEGE WASHINGTON, DC. For Allied personnel held as POWs by Japan, see. The Japanese repeatedly forced Allied prisoners of war to embark on prolonged marches with little to no provisions, resulting in the deaths of thousands [2][85], Due to the shame associated with surrendering, few Japanese POWs wrote memoirs after the war. Western Allied governments and senior military commanders directed that Japanese POWs be treated in accordance with relevant international conventions. [55] Force was not used in interrogations at any level, though on one occasion headquarters personnel of the US 40th Infantry Division debated, but ultimately decided against, administering sodium penthanol to a senior non-commissioned officer. Although not prisoners per se three of the crewmembers on the EP-3E Aries II Surveillance Plane who were detained in China are military women. [50], The Allies gained considerable quantities of intelligence from Japanese POWs. Japanese POWs often believed that by surrendering they had broken all ties with Japan, and many provided military intelligence to the Allies. The wording of this material sought to overcome the indoctrination which Japanese soldiers had received by stating that they should "cease resistance" rather than "surrender". Moreover, the POWs felt that by surrendering they had lost all their rights. [43] Australian and US troops and senior officers commonly believed that captured Japanese troops were very unlikely to divulge any information of military value, leading to them having little motivation to take prisoners. The conditions these POWs were held in generally did not meet the standards required by international law. More than 60 percent of them were of German nationality, but Polish women, those from the Soviet Union and one Dutch woman were transferred into the “special task forces.” [24] Hoyt in "Japan’s war: the great Pacific conflict" argues that the Allied practice of taking bones from Japanese corpses home as souvenirs was exploited by Japanese propaganda very effectively, and "contributed to a preference to death over surrender and occupation, shown, for example, in the mass civilian suicides on Saipan and Okinawa after the Allied landings". The Japanese government expressed no concern for these abuses, however, as it did not want IJA soldiers to even consider surrendering. [20] Shortly after the outbreak of Pacific War in December 1941, the British and United States governments transmitted a message to the Japanese government through Swiss intermediaries asking if Japan would abide by the 1929 Geneva Convention. Until late 1946, the United States retained almost 70,000 POWs to dismantle military facilities in the Philippines, Okinawa, central Pacific, and Hawaii. On August 5, 1944, more than 1,000 Japanese prisoners of war staged an audacious escape from a camp in one of the deadliest events on Australian soil at the time. Some of the conditions at Camp Tracy violated Geneva Convention requirements, such as insufficient exercise time being provided. Back of map of Imperial Japanese-run prisoner-of-war camps with a list of the camps categorized geographically and an additional detailed map of camps located on the Japanese archipelago . Soviet troops seized and imprisoned more than half a million Japanese troops and civilians in China and other places. Belle Boyd spied for the Confederacy by carrying important letters and papers across enemy lines. [55] Allied interrogators found that Japanese soldiers were much more likely to provide useful intelligence than Imperial Japanese Navy personnel, possibly due to differences in the indoctrination provided to members of the services. [81][82], Hundreds of thousands of Japanese also surrendered to Soviet forces in the last weeks of the war and after Japan's surrender. Jenny Martin was born in a prisoner of war camp in Singapore and her story is being remembered to mark 75 years since Hiroshima and the end of World War 2. British authorities retained 113,500 of the approximately 750,000 POWs in south and south-east Asia until 1947; the last POWs captured in Burma and Malaya returned to Japan in October 1947. The prisoners taken by the Western Allies were held in generally good conditions in camps located in Australia, New Zealand, India and the United States. [43] The Japanese Government's wartime POW Information Bureau believed that 42,543 Japanese surrendered during the war;[17] a figure also used by Niall Ferguson who states that it refers to prisoners taken by United States and Australian forces. The Japanese Government responded stating that while it had not signed the convention, Japan would treat POWs in accordance with its terms; in effect though, Japan had willfully ignored the convention's requirements. [70] In addition, 24 Japanese POWs killed themselves at Camp Paita, New Caledonia in January 1944 after a planned uprising was foiled. On 25 February 1943, POWs at the Featherston prisoner of war camp in New Zealand staged a strike after being ordered to work. [2] The number of Japanese soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who surrendered was limited by the Japanese military indoctrinating its personnel to fight to the death, Allied combat personnel often being unwilling to take prisoners,[3] and many Japanese soldiers believing that those who surrendered would be killed by their captors.[4][5]. Sergeant Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe at a series of Japanese POW camps. [46] Alison B. Gilmore has also calculated that Allied forces in the South West Pacific Area alone captured at least 19,500 Japanese. [5] In addition, the Japanese public was aware that US troops sometimes mutilated Japanese casualties and sent trophies made out of body-parts home from media reports of two high-profile incidents in 1944 in which a letter-opener carved from a bone of a Japanese soldier was presented to President Roosevelt and a photo of the skull of a Japanese soldier which had been sent home by a US soldier was published in the magazine Life. [28], ^a Gilmore provides the following numbers of Japanese POWs taken in the SWPA during each year of the war; 1942: 1,167, 1943: 1,064, 1944: 5,122, 1945: 12,194[47], This article is about personnel from Japan held as POWs by the Allies. While the Western Allies notified the Japanese government of the identities of Japanese POWs in accordance with the Geneva Convention's requirements, this information was not passed onto the families of the captured men as the Japanese government wished to maintain that none of its soldiers had been taken prisoner. Top 35 Prisoners of War Movies. [64], Prisoners who were thought to possess significant technical or strategic information were brought to specialist intelligence-gathering facilities at Fort Hunt, Virginia or Camp Tracy, California. [34] Allied forces mounted an extensive psychological warfare campaign against their Japanese opponents to lower their morale and encourage surrender. [33], Despite the attitudes of combat troops and nature of the fighting, Allied militaries made systematic efforts to take Japanese prisoners throughout the war. [57] This included developing propaganda leaflets and loudspeaker broadcasts which were designed to encourage other Japanese personnel to surrender. In an attempt to win better treatment for their POWs, the Allies made extensive efforts to notify the Japanese government of the good conditions in Allied POW camps. [28], Estimates of the numbers of Japanese personnel taken prisoner during the Pacific War differ. Conditions at the camp were subsequently improved, leading to good relations between the Japanese and their New Zealand guards for the remainder of the war. [24], The causes of the phenomenon that Japanese often continued to fight even in hopeless situations has been traced to a combination of Shinto, messhi hōkō (self-sacrifice for the sake of group), and Bushido. The continuous wiretapping at both locations may have also violated the spirit of the Geneva Convention. During the Pacific War, there were incidents where Japanese soldiers feigned surrender in order to lure Allied troops into ambushes. Prisoner of war camps in Japan housed both capture military personnel and civilians who had been in the East before the outbreak of war. In 1942 the Army amended its criminal code to specify that officers who surrendered soldiers under their command faced at least six months imprisonment, regardless of the circumstances in which the surrender took place. During the first two years following the US entry into the war, US combatants were generally unwilling to accept the surrender of Japanese soldiers due to a combination of racist attitudes and anger at Japan's war crimes committed against US and Allied nationals such as its widespread mistreatment or summary execution of Allied POWs. 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