The Japanese Monarchy: Ambassador Joseph Grew and the Making of the "Symbol Emperor System," 1931-1991

By Nakamura Masanorit; Herbert P. Bix et al. | Go to book overview

2
THE THEME OF PEACE The Key Role of the Emperor System

A Carthaginian Peace?

IN FEBRUARY 1943 the German Army surrendered at Stalingrad. In the same month the Japanese were forced to retreat from Guadalcanal, and in May they fought a desperate battle on Attu Island, refusing to surrender. U.S. forces were gradually closing in on the Japanese in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and although the war was still far from over, in Grew's view the defeat of Germany and Japan was "approaching with a mathematical certainty."

Waldo Heinrichs has observed that from May 1943 onward, Grew changed from the theme of war to peace, pointing to a speech of May 20 as his evidence. But this is not strictly correct. If one looks at Heinrichs's description and the records of Grew's lectures in the Department of State Bulletin, it seems more accurate to regard Grew's speech of August 28 as his first public discussion of the theme of peace.

This address, entitled "For This We Fight," was given under the auspices of the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, with the backing of NBC broadcasting. Grew indicated that it was the first time he had spoken in public about an eventual peace settlement with Japan. Let us look at the points Grew made in this speech.

As his main themes, Grew discussed the current state of the war against Japan and the issue of dealing with Japan after the final victory, in other words, the terms of surrender.

For Grew, the Battle of Midway had marked a decisive turning point in the war, followed by successive U.S. triumphs on Attu, Guadalcanal, the Gulf of Kula, Munda, and Salamoa. An American victory was now no longer a question of "if" but of "when." Talking of the

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