The world-wide depression hit Japan hard, causing much privation among the poor farmers from whose ranks the army was largely recruited. The honor of bearing arms, which had always been regarded as a mark of the superior man, was extended to the entire nation. On the eve of the present war, Japan seized control of Indo-China from defenseless France and reduced Thailand (Siam) to the status of a puppet. Please note that the pamphlets did not list specific authors, due to the often significant rewriting by staff and censorship by the War Department and other agencies in the federal government. 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Of course, textbooks in Japan leave it out. More than seventy years after the end of World War II, the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki remains controversial.Historians and the public continue to debate if the bombings were justified, the causes of Japan's surrender, the casualties that would have resulted if the U.S. had invaded Japan, and more. Although Navy personnel had studied the American and British navies, the studies had always been on tactics. In 1941, a known unknown for the Japanese was certainly a realistic estimate of America’s projected aircraft production for 1942. This is a question historians continue to debate. Nationalist leaders in Japan desired to unite all of Asia under one emperor, an ideology known as hakkô ichiu. To pull Japan out of the depths of the depression a vigorous program of social, economic, and political reform was needed. World War II really began when the Japanese army seized Manchuria in 1931. A period known as Occupied Japan followed after the war, largely spearheaded by United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to revise the Japanese constitution and de-militarize Japan. The successful war with China in 1894–95 added Formosa and the nearby Pescadores islands to the Japanese Empire. Settled by migrants from the Asian mainland back in the mists of prehistory, Japan has seen the rise and fall of emperors, rule by samurai warriors, isolation from the outside world, expansion over most of Asia, defeat, and rebirth.One of the most war-like of nations in the early 20th century, Japan today often serves as a voice of pacifism and restraint on the international stage. The Navy’s operations division often ignored or did not believe its own intelligence, especially when that intelligence threatened planners’ assumptions. © Copyright 2021 Center for the National Interest All Rights Reserved. To understand why Japan lashed out, we must go back to World War I. Japan had been our ally. That will depend mainly upon our firmness and wisdom in handling Japan after the victory is won. Wilson rejected Japan's claim to German concessions in Shantung, home of Confucius, which Japan had captured at a price in blood. There is nothing to be gained by reproaching ourselves for not having read the future correctly. The posts of war and navy minister can be held only by a general and an admiral on the active list. The Japanese completely missed the timing of the Guadalcanal landing. It looks like Tokyo ignored its own many military and strategic short comings. Certain events of the years between 1932 and Pearl Harbor had convinced even the arrogant descendants of the gods that the United States was not going to be pushed around much longer. World War II really began when the Japanese army seized Manchuria in 1931. Why did the war in Japan cost so … Who were the men behind this drive? Nonetheless, in the fall of 1941 Japan was at the peak of its military and naval strength. Why did Japan begin World War II by invading China in 1937 and then widen it by attacking the British and Americans in 1941? Only a few Americans seem to have realized that the peace and security of the United States were being endangered every time Japan seized a slice of its neighbors’ territory. 9 years ago. 7 Answers. Japanese planners on Bougainville underestimated by half the American forces holding the Empress Augusta Bay perimeter. The Japanese knew what they did not know. Among the basic reasons why they lost, the US had resources and industrial capacity that were both many, many times greater than Japan had or could hope to have. For the purposes of this pamphlet the principal causes of Japanese aggression may be summarized as follows: The Japanese actually believe that they are descendants of the gods, that their emperor is divine, and that they have a heaven-inspired mission to rule the world. Six months later they did. It had allies in this fight--most importantly Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Britain and Russia faced victorious Axis armies in Europe and Africa, and the British navy was fighting the Battle of the Atlantic. Another dangerous feature is the division of control over civil and military affairs. In the Battle of Tarawa (November 20-23, 1943) during World War II (1939-45), the U.S. began its Central Pacific Campaign against Japan by seizing the heavily fortified, Japanese … What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? A valuable ally during World War I, the European powers and the U.S. recognized Japan as a colonial power after the war. The Boshin War (戊辰 戦争, Boshin Sensō, lit. There were, in 1937, a total of 10 fairly well-trained Chinese divisions. In return for this heavy investment, the Japanese expected great gains. To argue the merits and demerits of this philosophy is outside the scope of this pamphlet. To answer this question, we have to start from the Meiji restoration in the late 1800's. Therefore, the Americans, they believed, could not do it either. For centuries the imperial power has been in the hands of a few nobles, soldiers, or statesmen who had the strength to use it. The army took over the conduct of affairs in China, allowing the politicians little or no say. But that was not the starting point of Japanese aggression. The Navy considered intelligence a secondary function. Why Did Japan Choose War? The U.S., on the contrary, always assumed that a war with Japan would be a war of attrition. But there is good reason to suspect that some of the highest ranking generals were in sympathy with the mutineers. Critics have claimed, however, that even during this brief period there was no true republican system in Japan. In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan after years of war, intimidation and political machinations; the country would be considered a part of Japan until 1945. What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? A Japanese journalist recorded in 1943, “[We] are totally incapable of standing apart objectively and viewing positively the emotions and thought patterns of other countries. However, they did not think through what a longer war would take to win. Their faith in the government was shaken by the evidence of bribery, graft, and corruption in the chief political parties, and by deals between politicians and big business to the disadvantage of the mass of the people. Discontent and revolutionary unrest were seething within the army like a volcano preparing to erupt. The most serious short-term strategic failure in estimating the enemy concerned the Allies’ ability to recuperate after the first Japanese blows. The so-called “liberals” of Japan who came to the fore after 1920 were not liberal in our sense of the word. This challenging opportunity, the equal of which might not occur again in centuries, was the final temptation which led Japan’s war lords to make their fatal choice. The Army and Navy assigned mediocre personnel to their limited number of intelligence slots and did not appreciate what intelligence and analysis could do. But these beliefs and ideals of the Japanese people have made it easy for them to be led into war. What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? They learned that only making financial contributions (checkbook diplomacy) did not earn Japan international respect. Why did the U.S. go to war in Vietnam? By 1894 it was strong enough to challenge the weak and aging Chinese Empire. The remaining 200 or so divisions and division equivalents could claim only unsatisfactory to non-existent training. by Warfare History Network. On the other hand, a powerful army and navy tuned to a high pitch of enthusiasm and efficiency are a strong temptation to a war-minded government in time of crisis. In order to execute this ideology and grow its military, Japan needed more natural resources to increase its industrial productivity and strength. Unfortunately for … Why did japan enter world war 2? A movement was on foot, however, which in the end swept away the weak machinery of representative government and launched Japan on its biggest gamble for empire. Japan’s training techniques, such as naval aviator training, did not allow for the efficient transformation of the average Japanese aviator into a competent pilot. After 1868 the old system of warrior clans was abolished and universal conscription was introduced. Because Japan could not successfully fight a long war, planners assumed it would be short—in accordance with the decisive battle doctrine. The visit by a squadron of USN ships … “To our soldiers will fall the grave responsibility for quieting unrest in our agrarian communities—both material and spiritual unrest.” To gain their ends the army extremists developed two characteristically Japanese methods: first, resorting to direct military action in China without authorization by the government; and second, terrorism against their political opponents at home. The day after the attack, the USA decided to declare war on Japan. After defeating Russia in 1904–05, Japan took the south half of Sakhalin and the southern tip of Manchuria known as the LiaotungPeninsula. The Japanese knew what it was. He is worshiped, but he does not originate either policy or action. The Chinese were little better than animals and insects. Moving cautiously, while its modern navy and army were still in the infant stage, Japan took over several groups of small islands not far from its homeland without having to fight for them. Anonymous. The USSR did essentially zilch in the war against Japan, and could not have been expected to have much time to do much once the US started its atomic annihilation. The answer is because we virtually must, to gain access to the laboratory of human experience. The mingling of emperor worship with the glorification of war, plus continued victories over half a century, have given the army and navy a popular prestige that will be hard to destroy. In 1894-1895, Japan defeated China in a short war and gained control of the island. Another two or three officers addressed air intelligence. Like the Nazis, the Japanese military fascists claimed to be friends of the common man. For over 2 centuries Japan had been an isolationist country, the only contact with the Western world being through the Dutch enclave in Nagasaki. Subcategories. Therefore, they believed Soviets must be similarly hobbled. As an example, they did not understand the breadth of the U.S. educational infrastructure and did not believe that the U.S. could train the officers, noncommissioned officers, and specialists needed to take back Japan’s conquests. generalists-historians concerned, for instance, with the Truman ad-ministration, with World War II in general, or even with the history of air power-depends heavily on the archival digging and analysis of the first circle. Japan started in business as a land-grabbing power in a small way. However, there should be as few assumptions as possible, otherwise one can assume away all one’s problems. Because Japan did not understand war, they could not accurately predict the ability of the U.S. to mobilize its resources. It merely made use of beliefs that the Japanese have held in a rather passive way for centuries. EM 15: What Shall Be Done about Japan after Victory? In February 1936, after two years of deceptive quiet, the army volcano erupted again, this time in a mutiny almost within the shadow of the imperial palace. In July of that year Japanese naval guns fired on Chinese ships without warning. In addition to trained manpower and modern weapons, Japan had in the mandated islands a string of naval and air bases ideally located for an advance to the south. Should we trace it back to the 1940s when President Harry Truman authorized U.S. financial support of the French war in Indochina? The modern Japanese army admired and imitated the German. Why Did Japan Choose War? All opposition to the war was suppressed. On December 8, 1941, America straightened up after Japan’s blow below the belt, full of the anger a fighter feels when he has been badly hurt and knows that his own overconfidence was partly to blame. We can pass over the business of descent from the gods and the emperor’s divinity. Accordingly, it is not possible for [us] to look at things objectively.”. This was done without the consent of the cabinet then in office, which resigned as a result. These fantastic ideas are based on what they call “history,” in reality a patchwork of fact, legend, and wishful thinking. Great Britain, Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary all ruled empires. Only about 1,400 troops, led by their captains and lieutenants, were involved. They knew that they must strike soon, or give up forever their dream of conquest. They estimated the Midway garrison at 750 men and 60 aircraft when there were 3,027 men and 121 combat aircraft. This could have been written yesterday. The all too human desire to possess their neighbors’ property was thus elevated to a patriotic and religious duty. Are You Thinking of a Career in Secondary Schools? Historians are rightly quick to note the transferability of a professional historian's skill set, but as with all things, there are limits. Their period of influence reached its high point with the signing of the London Naval Treaty of 1930. Could the United States Have Avoided a Showdown? Can We Find a Punishment that Fits the Crimes? In Japan, this led to the rise of ultra-right wing and nationalist leaders, such as Fumimaro Konoe and Sadao Araki, who advocated uniting Asia under the rule of the emperor. But we can plan and act now to keep the sons of the men who are fighting Japan from having to do the job all over again. From 1937 to 1941 the Chinese war had cost Japan many billions of dollars and at least a million casualties. 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