Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Inventory of the John Damian Murphy Papers
No online items No online items       Request items ↗
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (112.31 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Damian Murphy Papers
    Dates: 1943-1949
    Collection number: 79095
    Creator: Murphy, John Damian, 1896-
    Collection Size: 14 manuscript boxes (5.6 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Consists of court proceedings, investigative reports, regulations, orders, memoranda, printed matter, and photographs relating to trials held on Guam, 1946-1949, of Japanese military personnel for war crimes.
    Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research. Access to audiovisual materials requires at least two weeks advance notice. Audiovisual materials include sound recordings, video recordings, and motion picture film. Hoover staff will determine whether use copies of the materials requested can be made available. Some materials may not be accessible even with advance notice. Please contact the Hoover Institution Archives Audiovisual Specialist for further information.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Damian Murphy Papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1979


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    1896 August 19 Born, Newton, Kansas
    1915-1918 Student, University of Kansas
    1918 Enlisted as apprentice seaman, United States Naval Reserve
    1922-1923 Student, Torpedo School, United States Navy, Newport, Rhode Island
    1927-1930 Associated with George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C.
    1929 JD, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
    1932-1933 Executive officer, USS Mindanao, Asiatic station
    1933-1936 U.S. Army Chemical Warfare School
    1938-1939 Commander, USS Sicard
    1939-1942 Chief of division, Office of Judge Advocate General (Navy)
    1942-1944 Commander, USS Alcor, fleet repair and flagship
    1945 Graduated from Joint Army-Navy Staff College, Washington, D.C.
      Legal officer, U.S. Pacific Fleet staff
      Planning officer, 7th Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
    1946 Naval aide, Justice Frank Murphy, special U.S. representative to the Philippine Republic
    1946-1949 Director, War Crimes, U.S. Pacific Fleet
    1955 Bachelor of science, American University, Washington, D.C.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers of John Damian Murphy consist of court proceedings, investigative reports, regulations, orders, memoranda, printed matter, and photographs, relating to trials held on Guam, 1946-1949, of Japanese military personnel for war crimes.
    Trials of accused Japanese war criminals were held on Guam and Kwajalein by the War Crimes Branch of the Pacific Fleet, U.S. Navy, from 1945 through 1949. They were held under the auspices of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), which oversaw war crimes trials in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region until 1951.
    Major accused war criminals were tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the Tokyo Trial. Other war crimes trials for alleged minor war criminals were held in the countries and territories invaded and occupied by the Japanese. The U.S. Navy had jurisdiction over some of these trials.
    Admiral John D. Murphy, a lawyer who had risen through the ranks from enlisted man, served as War Crimes Director. Naval trials were conducted by the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy) under the Navy Division of the War Crimes Office. The War Crimes Office was a central agency in the War Department to coordinate with the Departments of State, War, and the Navy.
    Investigations into alleged war crimes were conducted by U.S. Navy personnel. The courts were known as military commissions, and consisted of five to seven U.S. military officers. The accused were tried for minor war crimes, such as murder and ill-treatment of prisoners, and included personnel of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Imperial Japanese Army. The accused were afforded defense counsel, both Allied and Japanese. Rules of evidence were relaxed. Summaries of trials were regularly submitted to the Japanese government via SCAP memoranda.
    Related material at the Hoover Institution includes records of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. The National Archives in College Park, Maryland, holds official records of the U.S. agencies involved in these war crimes trials
    The John D. Murphy papers were acquired in 1979.
    Source: Welch, Jeanie M., "Without a Hangman, Without a Rope: Navy War Crimes Trials after World War II," International Journal of Naval History 1 (April 2002). Available from the International Journal of Naval History. 

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    United States. Navy--Officers.
    War crime trials--Guam.
    World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities.
    World War, 1939-1945--Japan.