100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Tomoyuki Yamashita

Tomoyuki Yamashita

War Crimes Trials

“Brutal Atrocities and other High Crimes”

In re Yamashita

327 U.S. 1 (1946)

Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita (1885–1946) served as Japan's military governor and army commander in the Philippines from October 1944 until he surrendered Japan's forces to General Douglas MacArthur in early September 1945. He was the first Japanese general tried for war crimes by an American military commission after World War II. He was convicted, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Yamashita—the “Tiger of Malaya”—was hanged in February 1946.

Yamashita had earned his sobriquet by taking Singapore from the British in January 1942, even though the British troops outnumbered his, 100,000 to 30,000. The British anticipated an attack from the sea and positioned all their heavy artillery in that direction, ...

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