Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Records of Allied Operational and Occupation Headquarters, World War II

Records of Allied Operational and Occupation Headquarters, World War II – http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/331.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How might an occupier change the educational system of an occupied country?
  • Where can I find records of Japanese war crimes trials?
  • Where can I find information on POWs held by Japan?


This set of records relates to the Pacific and European theaters and include many postwar occupation records. It may be the best source of primary source records on the occupation of Japan. Some of the relevant series include:

  • 331.37.6 Records of other general and special staff sections – This group includes dockets of war criminals.
  • 331.38 Records of the SCAP Diplomatic Section 1945-52 – This group includes correspondence accusing the Soviet Union of obstructive actions in postwar Japan.
  • 331.39.1 Records of the Office of the Chief – Includes items relating to war crimes trials, 1946-49, including court proceedings, affidavits and statements, and related records.
  • 331.39.2 Records of the Administrative Division – Includes records on Japanese POWs, POWs held by the Japanese, aerial photo of the route of the Bataan Death March, information on War crimes trials and instructions to the government of Japan.
  • 331.39.4 Records of the Legislation and Justice Division – Among other things, contains a compilation of Japanese laws from 1884-1947
  • 331.39.5 Records of the Prosecution Division – Contains case files and transcripts for war crimes trials, including war crimes committed in Korea, China and the Phillippine Islands.
  • 331.39.6 Records of the Investigation Division – Contains completed questionnaires from former prisoners of war of the Japanese.
  • 331.40 Records of the SCAP International Prosecution Section (IPS) 1907-48 (bulk 1945-48) – additional records of war crimes trials, including newspaper clippings, trial transcripts and at least one diary kept by a Japanese government minister. Also includes a Japanese newsreel showing interrogation of captured U.S. Pilots and photographs of Japanese soldiers and Alliewed POWs
  • 331.41.1 Records of the Headquarters Division – Contains records relating to public welfare, 1945-1951.
  • 331.42 Records of the SCAP Government Section 1945-52 – Contains instructions to the government of Japan as well as the Japanese civil service and records relating to religious, cultural, economic, and other organizations in Japan.
  • 331.45.3 Records of the Education Division – Records including teacher training materials and collections of approved and rejected textbooks.

These record groups could be very helpful in providing backgrounds for occupied countries or planets where the invaders have decided to alter just about all aspects of the invaded society. It will also be useful in studying how war crimes cases are established and tried. Unfortunately, it appears none of this material is available electronically, though some of it of it is available in Microfilm. See the “Plan your visit” page from the National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/research/start/plan-visit.html to see how you might go about accessing this material.


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