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Charles's avatar

Why was the US military occupation of Japan and Germany peaceful compared to Iraq and Afghanistan?

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8 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

If you’re just going off pictures…....There are many pictures out there of soldiers having a good time with the locals of the cities they inhabited while in the Middle East. Conversely, there are also pictures of horrors from both wars.

tedd's avatar

The situations were entirely different. World War 2 was a much more conventional war. Nation A vs Nation B. When the wars were over, and the allies began occupying the former axis powers, the people of those nations began to see how corrupt/evil their leaders had really been.. and how untrue most of the propaganda put out about the allies was. While there were rumors and suspicions about the holocaust in Germany, the majority of the populace didn’t really know it was happening until the allies made them all work on clean up detail at the camps. The Japanese POW’s would frequently comment how shocked they were when they surrendered to US soldiers.. shocked that we gave them water and food, and didn’t abuse them.

The war on terror (which is what I’m going to call it just to avoid individually citing them both) is much different. You could argue it was conventional at the start (ala when we attacked Saddam and the Taliban), but the forces we fought by in large were terrorist groups. They didn’t/don’t have the major backing of the people in those nations, nor the resources and production of those nations behind them.

You could also make an argument that the terrorists of today are far more fanatical than the former Axis loyal citizens. Many citizens in Japan and Germany got swept up in nationalistic pride and fascism. They didn’t fully come to realize how in the wrong they really were until the wars ended. But with the terrorists today, they have a fanatical devotion to their religion. Even though in conventional terms the war was over practically the second it began.. they never lost faith in their cause, because they never found it to be wrong… hence they continued to battle.

mazingerz88's avatar

Because Japan and Germany knew and accepted their total defeat. Iraqi and Afghan forces are still battling against/over democratic ideals whether US forces are there or not.

CWOTUS's avatar

For one thing, as others have already stated, the Japanese and German armed forces and citizens were united under national governments and more or less in agreement with those governments. This has not been the case in Iraq, where distinct Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni populations have always been rivals (at least since the “nation” was formed after WW I – it had not be “a nation” until that time), and in recent decades the Sunni minority has ruled pretty ruthlessly over the Shiite majority and the Kurds in the north. Currently the Kurds are nearly allied with the western governments and in favor of secular government, and the Shiites have taken control of the government – and are now making life hell for the Sunnis, who still mount a strong insurgency against them.

Afghanistan has never had (and may never have) a “popular” and strong central government. Because of its geography, which is not conducive to travel or migration – or “conquering” – it is likely to be ruled forever by local chiefs and warlords.

When the Japanese and German military governments were destroyed and rebuilt, the civilian populations naturally turned their allegiance to the replacement governments which were more responsive to their needs and wants. (East Germany being a notable exception to that general rule, of course.)

ragingloli's avatar

Apart from what was already said, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan started the wars they lost, so they are more likely to see themselves as the victims, leading to stronger resistance to the occupation force.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Because the press was firmly under the influence of the military censors following WW2.
The occupations of Germany and Japan were actually far from peaceful. It was the beginning of the Cold War, and we did not want the Russians to know how much trouble we were having. I imagine it was the same on the Russian side of the border.

Hard line nazis and japanese conducted guerrilla warfare for several years following the surrender of each nation.

romy7's avatar

The parties, their talking about the PARTIES!

mattbrowne's avatar

In Iraq and Afghanistan we basically see a civil war with the US supporting one side, i.e. the pro-democratic forces. The surviving Nazis did not go underground and organize resistance.

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