Travels in Atomic Sunshine: Australia and the Occupation of Japan

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Travels in Atomic Sunshine: Australia and the Occupation of Japan

Robin Gerster

Publisher:Scribe Publications

In February 1946, the Australians of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force moved into western Japan to 'demilitarise and democratise' the atom-bombed backwater of Hiroshima Prefecture. For over six years, up to 20,000 Australian servicemen, including their wives and children, participated in a historic experiment in nation-rebuilding dominated by the United States and the occupation's supreme commander, General MacArthur. It was to be a watershed in Australian military history and international relations. The Chifley government wanted to make Australia's independent presence felt in post-war Asia-Pacific affairs, yet the venture heralded the nation's enmeshment in American geopolitics. This was the forerunner of today's peacekeeping missions and engagements in contentious US-led military occupations. The occupation of Japan was also a compelling human experience. It was a cultural reconnaissance - the first time a large number of Australians were able to explore in depth an Asian society and country.

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