The modern Japanese army admired and imitated the German. This was done without the consent of the cabinet then in office, which resigned as a result. Japanese shortfalls in resources influenced their assumptions in planning for World War II. Planning a war requires assumptions. But the big landowners and industrialists were not prepared to accept changes which threatened their interests. There were, in 1937, a total of 10 fairly well-trained Chinese divisions. If Japan is ever to have democracy in the future there must be fundamental reforms in the system by which the country is governed. 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. 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. Doing nothing is a viable strategic option, and oftentimes a good one. A known known was the extent America’s 1941 aviation strength. Their own rather vague political philosophy was not unlike Hitler’s National Socialism. 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. Historians are rightly quick to note the transferability of a professional historian's skill set, but as with all things, there are limits. The United States objected to the Second Sino-Japanese War and the occupation of part of China by Japanese troops. The Japanese had not adequately studied the American or British armies and therefore could not fathom their latent aviation airfield engineering capabilities. They had prepared a long death list of prominent men whose principles and actions they disapproved. Three hundred and fifty years ago their combination Julius Caesar and Napoleon, Hideyoshi, wrote: “All military leaders who shall render successful vanguard service in the coming campaign in China will be liberally rewarded with grants of extensive states near India, with the privilege of conquering India and extending their domains in that vast empire.”. Can Japan Pay Damages? There were many failures of small businesses and serious unemployment among industrial and white-collar workers. Nationalist leaders in Japan desired to unite all of Asia under one emperor, an ideology known as hakkô ichiu. The Futures of History from the Liberal Arts College Perspective, AHA Colloquium Information for Those Accepted for the 2021 Program, AHA Council Annual Meeting Travel Grant Recipients, Jerry Bentley World History Travel Grant Recipients, Beveridge Family Teaching Prize Recipients, William and Edwyna Gilbert Award Recipients, J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship Recipients, Helen & Howard R. 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On that basis, they started a war they could not fail to lose, and the same process delayed them finally grasping that they had lost. Japan began the war facing the possibility that every bit of U.S. manpower, matériel, and resolve (and a little of Britain’s) would be aimed at Japan alone. In July of that year Japanese naval guns fired on Chinese ships without warning. The visit by a squadron of USN ships … © Copyright 2021 Center for the National Interest All Rights Reserved. Did Japan Have to Go to War for Economic Reasons? There is nothing to be gained by reproaching ourselves for not having read the future correctly. Can Japan Pay Damages? 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. America was now drawn into a global war. No Japanese planner could have dreamed of an aerial supply line of such magnitude in such difficult conditions. 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The makers of this system did not plan for or want popular government. To understand what has to be done to prevent another Pearl Harbor we need to know something of the motives which led the Japanese to stake everything on this greatest gamble in their history. Concurrently, the Japanese woefully underestimated the length of time it would take the Allies to launch counteroffensives. By 1894 it was strong enough to challenge the weak and aging Chinese Empire. The chief result was greater power for the supreme command. For support among the civilian population the militarists depended upon the ex-servicemen’s association, with its three million members, and the so-called “patriotic societies.” Membership in these powerful organizations ranged from college professors, government officials, and prosperous merchants to half-starved students, poor peasants, and hired killers. The army’s consolidation of the home front proceeded during the years 1937–41. The Japanese Army became spoiled by easy access to military intelligence about the Chinese. Why did Japan do it? After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese land and naval forces and the loss of the port of Weihaiwei, the Qing government sued for peace in February 1895. After defeating Russia in 1904–05, Japan took the south half of Sakhalin and the southern tip of Manchuria known as the LiaotungPeninsula. They learned that only making financial contributions (checkbook diplomacy) did not earn Japan international respect. The militarists followed up their gains by the occupation of a large slice of north China in 1933, forcing the Chinese government to sign a humiliating truce. But these beliefs and ideals of the Japanese people have made it easy for them to be led into war. "War of the Year of the Yang Earth Dragon"), sometimes known as the Japanese Revolution, was a civil war in Japan, fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and those seeking to return political power to the Imperial Court.. But from about 1921 to 1931 the Japanese political parties gained in power, and it seemed to many observers that the cabinet and the House of Representatives might in time become the controlling elements in the government. They estimated the Midway garrison at 750 men and 60 aircraft when there were 3,027 men and 121 combat aircraft. Many historians think the note was designed to draw Japan into war and thus claim Japan was not the aggressor nation in the Pacific War. Relevance. In 1932 a government headed by Admiral Saito approved the seizure of Manchuria by formally recognizing Manchukuo, a dummy empire set up by the army. In the summer of 1940 all political parties “voluntarily” disbanded. 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. When we study it reasonably well, and so acquire some usable habits of mind, as well as some basic data about the forces that affect our own lives, we emerge with relevant skills and an enhanced capacity for informed citizenship, critical thinking, and simple awareness. Universal schooling and cheap printing made the task easier, as did also the docility of the people and their ingrained respect for authority. Its officers regard themselves as heirs of the old samurai. Actually they succeeded in assassinating only three high officials. This is a question historians continue to debate. He did not believe that Japanese industrial might at that time was not comparable to that of the United States and a prolonged war would only be a detriment in the long run for Japan. In February 1933, Japan quit the League of Nations, burning its most important bridge with the outside world. We can pass over the business of descent from the gods and the emperor’s divinity. 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 working classes had a low standard of living, and big business demanded more raw materials and more markets which could be exploited without meeting European and American competition. The army and navy die-hards opposed bitterly any limiting of Japan’s fighting power. It merely made use of beliefs that the Japanese have held in a rather passive way for centuries. The Japanese completely missed the timing of the Guadalcanal landing. Step by step, the Japanese people were prepared for a “unified,” that is, a military-fascist government. Japan used this battle as an excuse to invade China, beginning a war which would kill millions, draw in the United States, Great Britain and other nations, and end with the defeat of Japan in 1945. Japanese planners on Bougainville underestimated by half the American forces holding the Empress Augusta Bay perimeter. by Warfare History Network. Japan had the best army, navy, and air force in the Far East. Because attrition would rule, U.S. planners assumed that a decisive battle, if one occurred, would be the outcome of years of attrition and would result in a U.S. victory. What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? The bad thing is, that those Japanese soldiers probably didn't tell their families what they did so later generations, a hundred years from now, will probably think everyone is speaking bullcrap when accusing Japan of the war crimes. On September 27, 1940, Japan concluded a military alliance with Germany and Italy. 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 Japanese did worry about this, but they assumed it away with the bland comment, “This must be watched…” Japan’s gamble is all the more hopeless in retrospect when one considers how quickly the Pacific War would have been won if the U.S. had not immediately prioritized, in concert with its Allies, the defeat of Germany. It was long believed that there was no Paleolithic occupation in Japan, but since World War II thousands of sites have been unearthed throughout the country, yielding a wide variety of Paleolithic tools. Because Japan had not delved deeply into the alchemy of strategic air power, no one could predict how Allied strategic air capabilities might affect Japanese plans. No Other Choice: Why Truman Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan "Truman and his advisers made the only decision they could have made; indeed, considered in the context of World War II, it … Did Japan Have to Go to War for Economic Reasons? Japan Before World War I: Until the late 1860s, the Japanese were a backward and isolated country, and as they watched China fall to outside forces, several in Japan began to fear a similar fate. Economic resources were at a low ebb; this was the chief weakness. To argue the merits and demerits of this philosophy is outside the scope of this pamphlet. The usual answer is “the army.” To be more specific, it was a group of extremists within the army, backed by powerful “superpatriot” influences outside. Because Japan could not successfully fight a long war, planners assumed it would be short—in accordance with the decisive battle doctrine. of Formosa, part of Korea, and a bit of Manchuria. Why study history? As a result, they underestimated its considerable impact, both on field forces and on logistics. A strategic operation such as the early 1942 invasion of Burma, with an objective of cutting the Burma-to-China line of communications, failed to achieve its purpose when the West opened an airlift over the Himalayas. It looks like Tokyo ignored its own many military and strategic short comings. From EM 15: What Shall Be Done about Japan after Victory? World War II really began when the Japanese army seized Manchuria in 1931. The Japanese estimated that there were two or three infantry companies at Milne Bay on New Guinea, so they landed 1,500 men against 9,458 Australians and Americans. By the beginning of 1941, for all practical purposes the army and the state were one. Equipment was obsolete and poorly maintained, while ammunition was dear and hard to replace. Because Japan did not understand war, they could not accurately predict the ability of the U.S. to mobilize its resources. Could the United States Have Avoided a Showdown? To follow the rise of military-fascist dictatorship in Japan it is necessary to understand the unique position which the armed forces occupy in the government and in, the minds and hearts of the people. To understand why Japan lashed out, we must go back to World War I. Japan had been our ally. Why did the war in Japan cost so … To pull Japan out of the depths of the depression a vigorous program of social, economic, and political reform was needed. In 1941, a known unknown for the Japanese was certainly a realistic estimate of America’s projected aircraft production for 1942. Huge Mistake: Why Did Imperial Japan Choose War? Yet, in the summer of 1941, when their plan for conquest was officially published in The Way of the Subjects, the so-called “bible” of the Japanese people, many foreigners still did not take it very seriously. The U.S., on the contrary, always assumed that a war with Japan would be a war of attrition. Unfortunately for … 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 government of Japan during the ten years before Pearl Harbor has been aptly described as “government by assassination.”. Before the rise of modem Japan, the nobles and their fighting men (samurai) formed the ruling class. We know that the Japanese will be defeated. The army took over the conduct of affairs in China, allowing the politicians little or no say. They underestimated the toughness of Australian and U.S. infantry in New Guinea. Jan 20, 2021 - The 2021 AHA Jobs Report The higher education faculty job market for historians grew a modest 0.9 percent in 2019–20, fueled by a 7 percent rise in tenure-track positions. The Boshin War (戊辰 戦争, Boshin Sensō, lit. The First Sino-Japanese War (25 July 1894 – 17 April 1895) was a conflict between the Qing dynasty of China and the Empire of Japan primarily over influence in Joseon Korea. By the end of its occupation of Korea, Japan had even waged war on people’s family names. This has been interpreted to mean, in plain English, that Japan must dominate about a billion people in Asia and the Pacific area, and eventually rule the world. On December 8, President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan. A competent general staff can address “known knowns” or “known unknowns” or even “unknown unknowns” and work toward learning what it does not know. Key point: Tokyo's warplanners mistakenly thought that Washington would demoralized and sue for peace. Of course, textbooks in Japan leave it out. The most serious short-term strategic failure in estimating the enemy concerned the Allies’ ability to recuperate after the first Japanese blows. 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? In the words of former Ambassador Grew this step meant “a fundamental defeat for the moderate elements in the country and the complete supremacy of the military.”. The events which led to Japanese entry in WWII happened before the start of the 20th century. When many Westerners look at Japan during World War II, they think that this era was an aberration of Japanese history, and that ideas of Zen Buddhism historically promoted peace in the region. They do not protest against military actions or interfere with those who choose to serve in the armed forces. Historians agree Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 for two main reasons: ideology and natural resources. 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. Can We Find a Punishment that Fits the Crimes? The Japanese knew what it was. They considered it inconceivable that the landing was anything more than a reconnaissance. Why did japan enter world war 2? Japanese logisticians had assumed that the Soviets could not launch a major offensive any farther than 200-250 kilometers from a major supply base. Japan was less rich in resources than the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR. The declaration passed with just one dissenting vote. They underestimated the effectiveness of the U.S. Navy itself. One hundred years after the beginning of World War I, historians are still wondering how it started. On September 18, 1931 the top blew off in Manchuria. Out of those bitter early days of the war, ending in the surrender of Corregidor, came one lesson that millions of Americans will not have to learn a second time. But that was not the starting point of Japanese aggression. A naval blockade and air bombardment of the home islands would then force the Japanese to surrender. Commanders of troops guarding the South Manchurian Railway faked a piece of railway sabotage as an excuse to occupy the chief Manchurian cities. But they did, advocate a moderate foreign policy to further the expansion of international trade and they realized the value of remaining on friendly terms with the United States. 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. The official Shinto religion has been called an instrument to bring the people into line for an all-out war effort. Should Japan Pay Damages? Dangerously ignorant of the world outside Japan, they dislike foreigners and regard prosperous Japanese businessmen and politicians who have absorbed Western culture with a mixture of envy and suspicion. Japanese estimates of U.S. warship production through December 1945 were close enough for any staff to plan a war. The extremists are sometimes referred to as the “younger officers,” because many of them were below the rank of colonel. Japan is located at the center of the rich Asiatic-Pacific area and had the strongest and most successful army and navy in Asia. Japan was not always an out-and-out military dictatorship. However, Japan did make a financial contribution of $10 billion and sent military hardware. by Warfare History Network Key point: Tokyo's warplanners mistakenly thought that Washington would demoralized and sue for peace. Twelve years later the Japanese began carving out sections of China, starting with Manchuria in 1931. This is no new idea to the Japanese mind. The Japanese knew what they did not know. The decision to use the atomic bomb to attack two Japanese cities and effectively end World War II remains one of the most controversial decisions in history. Britain and Russia faced victorious Axis armies in Europe and Africa, and the British navy was fighting the Battle of the Atlantic. Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another.” (John 13:34, 35) They would thus form an international brotherhood in which no one would ever wage war against his brother or sister.—1 John 3:10-12. In fact, as War Minister Hajime Sugiyama had assured the Emperor in 1937, Japan could crush China in a month. The “New Order in Greater East Asia,” to include not only China but the rich territories in southern Asiatic waters, became the official foreign policy. The army had another sort of program in mind—expansion by force in China to overcome Japan’s dependence on foreign trade, plus a military dictatorship with the emperor as figurehead, and a wartime “controlled economy” on the home front. The Japanese assumed away their enemy’s capabilities and underestimated their enemy’s quality, quantity, bravery, and strategic grasp, partly and no doubt subconsciously because Japan realized it could not defeat strong enemies. 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. Can We Find a Punishment that Fits the Crimes? The Japanese Army entered World War II with just 20 officers and 20 enlisted men at its army general staff intelligence section, and their focus was on the Soviets. In 1910 Korea was annexed. It is unlikely that any nation will risk its very existence in a war if it lacks a gambler’s chance of winning. By the next day, they had sought permission to join the war. “Soldiers have always saved Japan,” said fire-eating General Araki. The answer is because we virtually must, to gain access to the laboratory of human experience. Then will be the time to employ the treatment that will cure the Japanese once and for all of the disease of creeping aggression. In November 1930 the “liberal” Prime Minister Hamaguchi was shot by an assassin. Six months later they did. In return for this heavy investment, the Japanese expected great gains. Can Japan Get In Step With A Peaceable World? Also: Japan: People: By occupation: Academics / Non-fiction writers: Historians. 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. During the 1940s, Sundays still held religious significance for many. In China, Japanese officers developed disdain for their foes. Anonymous. Underestimating the enemy continued in the Philippines where Japanese army officers estimated the strength of General Douglas MacArthur’s 1942 Bataan army at 25,000 men when there were actually 80,000 on the peninsula. Every department of the national life—industry, commerce, agriculture, education, the press, even religion—is subject to their will. Since 1941 the people of this country have been too busy fighting Japan and the other Axis partners to spend much time investigating their history and politics. By mid-1945, however, only the United States had succeeded, and it used two atomic weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring a rapid and conclusive end to the war with Japan. Another two or three officers addressed air intelligence. The remaining 200 or so divisions and division equivalents could claim only unsatisfactory to non-existent training. Answer Save. They estimated British forces in Singapore at 30,000 when there were 85,000. Should Japan Pay Damages? 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. What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? 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. They did stumble badly on merchant tonnage, estimating U.S. construction capacity in 1943 at five million tons versus the actual 19.2 million tons. Allied forces ordered Japan to abolish the By the end of World War Two, Japan had endured 14 years of war, and lay in ruins - with over three million dead. Easy access to the fore after 1920 were not in rebellion against their superiors. A day will come when Japan has been Defeated We Find a Punishment that Fits the?. 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