The enemy of my enemy is my friend: Okinawan identity and military government policy in occupied Okinawa, April 1945 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Short, Courtney A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This thesis explores the planning considerations of the United States Army in formulating and implementing policy for the occupation of Okinawa in April 1945. American soldiers on Okinawa encountered not only a Japanese enemy but a large local population. The Okinawans were ethnically different from the Japanese yet Okinawa shared politics with Japan as a legal prefecture. When devising occupation policies, the United States Army analyzed practical military considerations such as resources, weapons capability and terrain as well as attempted to ascertain a conclusive definition of Okinawa's relation to Japan through conscious, open, rational analysis of racial and ethnic identity. American planners determined that the Okinawans would act loyally towards Japan and should thus be treated like enemy civilians. As military government soldiers interacted with the civilians during the battle, however, ideas about race, ethnicity, and identity evolved; soldiers began to view the Okinawans as sensitive to the American cause. The modification of Okinawan identity from a Japanese enemy to an American friend displayed both the mutable nature of racial notions as well as their centrality in occupation planning.
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  • In Copyright
  • Kohn, Richard H.
  • Open access

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