The Rise Of Militarism In Japan During The 1930s

1338 words - 5 pages

The Rise of Militarism in Japan During the 1930s

Japanese militarism reached the peak高峰 in 1932-45. This era
was called the "Dark Valley黑暗的深淵" in Japanese history. In its simplest
meaning, militarism means prestige and greatness of Japan at the
expense犧牲 of other countries, an aggressive foreign policy,
dominance主導 and overall political control by military officers, a huge
military budget, an intensive加強的 armament programme as well as
militarist attitudes of the people as a whole. The rise of Japanese
militarism in the 1930s was due to many factors.

Firstly, the emergence of Shintoism神é“æ•™ in the late Tokugawa era
provided Japanese militarism with the ideological foundation. Japanese
people were the offspring後代 of Sun Goddess天照大神. Hence they were
racially superior to other nations. Since Sun Goddess was the direct
ancestor祖先 of the Japanese royal family, so the tenno天皇 was the centre
of loyalty. Anyone who could influence the emperor was thus able to
command the whole state.

Japan's insular島嶼性 position and its separation from the Asian
continent as well as the seclusion鎖國policy of over 200 years had
contributed to the uniquenessç¨ä¸€ç„¡äºŒ of Japan's national identity and
culture. In addition, foreign imperialist aggression and the
subsequent unequal treaties during the late Tokugawa and early Meiji
periods added to Japanese patriotism愛國主義 and taught the Japanese that
"mightåŠ›é‡ is right". The traditional high social status of military
personnel was further enhancedæ高.

Some reform items of Meiji Modernization also helped spread militarism
throughout the country. In 1871 feudalism and class distinctions were
abolished. Japan became a centralized unitary單一 nation-state.
Compulsory education was introduced in 1871. Feudal samurai were
disbanded解散 in 1876. All the people paid loyalty to the emperor only.
Conscription徵兵制 was implemented in 1873, which spread Bushidoæ­¦å£«é“ to
males of all sections界別 of the population.

Militarism derived its constitutional foundation from the 1889 Meiji
Constitution. The Army and Navy were personal forces of the Emperor,
in no way responsible to the Diet國會. The Army and Navy
Chiefs-of-Staff總åƒè¬€é•· had direct access直接覲見 to the Emperor. The Diet had
no say in military appointments and the military budget. Furthermore,
a decree詔令 of 1900 stated that only in-serviceç¾å½¹ army generals and
navy admiralså°‡è» could be appointed Ministers of War and Navy陸ã€æµ·è»å¤§è‡£.
Hence, the Cabinet could not be formed unless the Army and Navy
provided nominees被æå人 for those ministerial posts部長è·ä½. In other words,
the Army and Navy could blackmail勒索 civilian politicians文人政客 to carry
out their warlike好戰的 policies.

During the...

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