Japan After World War Two Essay

1544 words - 6 pages

Japan: After World War IIThe occupation of Japan was, from start to finish, an American operation.General Douglans MacArthur, sole supreme commander of the Allied Power wasin charge. The Americans had insufficient men to make a militarygovernment of Japan possible; so t hey decided to act through the existingJapanese gobernment. General Mac Arthur became, except in name, dictatorof Japan. He imposed his will on Japan. Demilitarization was speedilycarried out, demobilization of the former imperial forces was complet ed byearly 1946.Japan was extensively fire bomded during the second world war. Thestench of sewer gas, rotting garbage, and the acrid smell of ashes andscorched debris pervaded the air. The Japanese people had to live in thedamp, and cold of the concrete buildings, because they were the only onesleft. Little remained of the vulnerable wooden frame, tile roof dwellinglived in by most Japanese. When the first signs of winter set in, theoccupation forces immediately took over all the steam-heated buildings. TheJapanese were out in the cold in the first post war winter fuel was veryhard to find, a family was considered lucky if they had a small barelyglowing charcoal brazier to huddle around. That next summer in randomspots new ho uses were built, each house was standardized at 216 squarefeet, and required 2400 board feet of material in order to be built. Amaster plan for a modernistic city had been drafted, but it was cast asidebecause of the lack of time before the next winte r. The thousands ofpeople who lived in railroad stations and public parks needed housing.All the Japanese heard was democracy from the Americans. All they caredabout was food. General MacAruther asked the government to send food, whenthey refus ed he sent another telegram that said, "Send me food, or send mebullets."American troops were forbidden to eat local food, as to keep from cuttingfrom cutting into the sparse local supply.No food was was brought in expressly for the Japanese durning the firstsix months after the American presence there. Herbert Hoover, serving aschairman of a special presidential advisory committee, recommended minimumimports to Japan of 870,000 tons of food to be distributed in differenturban areas. Fish, the source of so much of the protein in the Japanesediet, were no longer available in adequate quantities because the fishingfleet, particularly the large vessels, had been badly decimated by the warand because the U.S.S.R. closed off the fishing grounds in the north.The most important aspect of the democratization policy was the adoptionof a new constitution and its supporting legislation. When the Japanesegovernment proved too confused or too reluctant to come up with aconstitutional r eform that satisfied MacArthur, he had his own staff drafta new constitution in February 1946. This, with only minor changes, wasthen adopted by the Japanese government in the form of an imperialamendment to the 1889 constitution and went into effect on May...

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