Defending the Enemy: Justice for the WWII Japanese War Criminals

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Bascom Hill Books, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 384 pages
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From 1946-48 Elaine B. Fischel worked in Tokyo alongside the American attorneys assigned to defend the Japanese war criminals held responsible for the torture and deaths of millions of civilians and prisoners of war. She recounts the post-WWII transition in Japan to the country's occupation by their former enemy, and the subsequent surprise on the part of the Japanese citizenry that the U.S. allegiance to democracy meant providing a fair trial even to the men considered the most evil perpetrators of atrocities. In letters to her family at the time, the author as a young woman tries to explain her relationships with the defendants and her own surprise at the growing fondness she felt for many of the "villains" of WWII-particularly prime minister and general Hideki Tojo, known during the war as "Razor." Defending the Enemy is also the story of a young woman who wants to make the most of her time in a country so full of beauty. Fischel interweaves the activities and intrigues of the trial alongside her tales of travel throughout Japan, her social engagements with high-ranking military and civilians, and her unique enduring relationships, such as her friendship with Emperor Hirohito's brother, Prince Takamatsu. In doing so, Fischel illuminates the paradoxes inherent during this period in history. Elaine B. Fischel was born in New York. Her widowed mother moved her girls out of the big city and raised Elaine and her sister in Southern California. In addition to "honors" grades in high school, Elaine's athletic abilities led to a number-one ranking in Junior tennis and, while representing UCLA, she became a National Intercollegiate Tennis Champion. The end of World War II found Elaine working in Tokyo for two-and-a-half years at the trial of the twenty-eight accused Japanese war criminals. General Douglas MacArthur, the leader of the Occupation, recruited American lawyers to defend the fallen leaders to insure that history would say this was a "fair trial." Elaine's assignment to the Defense enabled her to interact with the fallen leaders, who had become "clients," and with military leaders, diplomats, the Japanese royal family, and Japanese citizens from all walks of life. When the trial was over, Fischel returned home and attended the University of Southern California School of Law. She went on to practice law for fifty-seven years. Book jacket.

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User Review  - celticlady53 - LibraryThing

An amazing woman and an amazing story. Elaine B. Fischel is not your average woman in the 40's who accepts a job to go to Tokyo, Japan to be a legal secretary on the defense team that would defend the ... Read full review

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