The Rise of American Hegemony in Northeast Asia : An International History of Military Occupations and Alliances, 1945-1954The Rise of American Hegemony in Northeast Asia : An International History of Military Occupations and Alliances, 1945-1954AA12709917
The presence of approximately 78, 000 American troops and thirty-eight military bases in Japan and South Korea continues to symbolize and project US power in Northeast Asia today. This enduring American military presence in the region is perhaps the most visible, combined legacy of the postwar US occupations and the bilateral military alliances with these two countries. Based on multi-archival sources, this article examines the process by which American hegemony was established in Northeast Asia, focusing on the regional history of US military occupations and alliances during the early phase of the Cold War. During this period, the US military leadership consistently sought autonomous and permanent bases of operation in the region, which were finally guaranteed through the establishment of military treaties in the early 1950 s. Historians and social scientists have begun to focus on this regional and global US military presence, some labeling it an empire of bases; a new type of informal empire that has replaced colonial possessions with military bases. This article contributes to the ongoing debate by comparing colonial empires with military occupations, examining the history of American occupations, and by measuring the extent of US military authority in allied nations that host American bases.