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Japan: 1945 Conflicts And Internal Politics

2143 words - 9 pages


Discuss the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1952. What effects did the purges have on political and business leadership in Japan and to what degree did this action have on the continuity or discontinuity between pre-war and post-war elites? What actions led SCAP to “reverse” its policies from around 1948? What were the aims and goals of the occupation forces?

The occupation of Japan began in August 1945 and ended in April 1952. General MacArthur was the first Supreme Commander. The entire operation was for the most part carried out by the United States. Japan in essence lost all the territory obtained after 1894. The remnants of Japan's war machine were gone, and war crime trials were held. Approximately 500 military officers committed suicide shortly after Japan surrendered, and hundreds more were executed for committing war crimes. The Emperor was not declared a war criminal.
A new constitution went into effect in 1947: The emperor lost all political and military power, and was solely the symbol of the state. Universal suffrage was introduced and human rights were now guaranteed. Japan was also forbidden to lead a war again or to maintain an army. MacArthur also intended to break up power concentrations by dissolving the zaibatsu and other large companies, and by decentralizing the education system and the police. In a land reform, concentrations in land ownership were removed.
During the first half of the occupation, Japan's media was subject to rigid censorship of any anti-American statements and controversial topics.
The co-operation between the Japanese and the Allied powers worked relatively well. Critics began to grow when the United States acted according to self-interests in the Cold War. The United States reintroduced the persecution of the communists, stationed even more troops in Japan, and wanted Japan to establish its own self defense force despite the anti-war article in the constitution. Many aspects of the occupation's so called "reverse course" were welcomed by conservative Japanese politicians. With the peace treaty that went into effect in 1952, the occupation ended.

Discuss the significant features of post-war Japan that has lead Japan to become on of the leading industrial nations of the world. Emphasize the economic activities of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

After the end of World War II, Japan's economy was a disaster, and its international and economic relations were completely disrupted. Initially, imports were limited to essential food and raw materials, for the most part financed by assistance from the United States. Because of horrible domestic shortages, exports did not begin to recover until the Korean War, when the United States armed forces created boom-like conditions in indigenous industries. By 1954 economic rehabilitation and recovery were in essence complete.
During the decade of the 1960s, the monetary value of exports grew at an average annual rate faster than the average rate of all...

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