【PART 4】 The Mystery of Security Treaty Village (2): The UN Charter and the Postwar World
【3】 Accepting the Potsdam Declaration on August 14 meant the victory of the Atlantic Charter
The most surprising thing about this document is when it was signed. At that time, August 1941, the U.K. was fighting and losing in a series of battles against Germany on the European battlefront. Meanwhile, the U.S. wasn’t even taking part in the war yet — it was four months prior to Pearl Harbor.
Take a look at each clause again. Everything written there is not about the world war that they were facing, but about the world after it. What’s more, it is a basic framework of the postwar world based on the premise that they were going to win the war.
Also, please note the day when this declaration was signed. August 14, 1941 — notice anything? It’s on the exact same day that, four years later, Japan agreed to the Potsdam Declaration, thereby ending the Second World War.
Of course, no one could’ve known what the war situation would be like in four years. But it’s likely that they intended to end the war by that date, August 14. No doubt it was a part of their big plan to end the war, along with the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945, and the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6 and 9 respectively. The U.S. is extremely particular about dates and symbolic meanings when it comes to ruling over other peoples.(*) The U.S. government had first assumed that the Soviet Union wouldn’t join the war until August 15, and the plan by President Truman and Secretary of State Byrnes was to have Japan surrender by the prior day, August 14. (See Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, written by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, published by Chuokoron-Shinsha)
What this means is that the two countries had already agreed on the following details as early as August 14, 1941. First, they would expand the large-scale war being fought between Germany against the U.K. and France to make it a world war. Afterwards, they would become the victors, and run the postwar world based on the Anglo-American Alliance. These schemes turned out as planned, with their final victory on the same day four years later. There is a striking difference between the two countries’ governments and their Japanese counterpart, which joined the war without thorough preparation and, as a result, caused a myriad of its own soldiers to die from starvation.
Moreover, the principles of the Atlantic Charter were later adopted into the UN Charter, and it became the basis of the postwar international community. I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t aware of this either, until recently.
The Constitution of Japan was also created within this larger framework as well. Let me explain. Please observe the clauses of the Atlantic Charter again, particularly the phraseology used here: “peace-loving people” (Clause 8), and “a peace … which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want” (Clause 6). They occur also in the preamble of the Constitution of Japan.
In addition, the basic principle that “all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force” (Clause 8) is passed on to Article 9-2 of the Constitution.
Tracing through history back from such an early period, even before the Pacific War, may perhaps seem like a detour. However, the strong connections between the “great mystery” we are trying to solve and this period, as I illustrated above, makes it essential to do so, in order to solve this issue that we Japanese are facing.
* ・・・ To take, for example, some of the key dates that marked critical junctures in the process of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also called simply the Tokyo Trial, Class-A War Criminals were indicted on April 29, 1946 (i.e., the Emperor Showa’s birthday), and the seven defendants who were sentenced to death were hanged two years and eight months later on December 23, 1948 (i.e., the birthday of Emperor Akihito who was the Crown Prince at the time). Furthermore, on May 3, 1947, exactly one year after the trial opened on May 3, 1946, the new Constitution of Japan was enforced.
Similarly, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, which is the constitutional law of Germany as referred to in Part 3, was approved by the Parliamentary Council on May 8, 1949, the fourth anniversary of the Victory in Europe Day (May 8, 1945), the date of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender to the Allied forces. Even though far less obedient than Japan to the occupation authorities, Germany must have been pressed by the Americans into accepting this “coincidence of dates.”