Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Archive Alert: Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal Papers at Georgetown

The Georgetown Law Library has announced the acquisition of the John G. Brannon papers:

“… I am fighting for a human life. The life of a hated enemy but nevertheless a life,” wrote John G. Brannon on November 25, 1947 in a letter to his brother Bernard.  John Brannon had arrived in Tokyo, May 17th, 1946, about five years after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was an American attorney from Kansas City, Missouri, appointed by MacArthur to defend Class A Japanese war criminal Osami Nagano, Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff, in his trial before the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. 
The Law Library’s Special Collections has recently acquired over 150 letters written by John Brannon to his brother over a period of 3 years (1946-1949), along with numerous photographs, manuscripts and two 16mm films (John G. Brannon Papers).  It is a collection teeming with fervent American patriotism, Truman politics and personal reflections of a transitional time in world history.  In his letters, Brannon discusses and describes:  Japanese culture, his defense strategies, the Tribunal, the Defense team, mounting U.S. tension with Russia, and the stigma attached to American attorneys defending the enemy after the war in the Pacific.  His writing is a vibrant personal view of the inner workings of, and politics behind, an important historic and international trial.  
According to the announcement, Georgetown also holds the papers of George Yamaoka, who was "one of the select group of American attorneys appointed by General MacArthur in 1945 to help in the defense of those Japanese accused of war crimes." More information is here.