Empire of Japan
From World History Wiki
How did the changes and issues in Japan affect their country during the 1920s to the problem of World War II?
Summary of Research
The changes through the Empire of Japan had made them more into the life of having the military taking over their country, and other events such as the Mukden Incident to be into the ways of dominating places in Asia. Those issues and certain people had brought Japan in its power-hungry form. For example, Sadao Araki had introduced his philosophy that deals with a mixture of totalitarianism, expansionism, and militarism to enhance [somewhat] of Japan's power and government. Araki's philosophy, though, had slowly pushed Japan into the Second World War. Additionally, economy problems such as the Great Depression affect the Japanese as their lives weren't getting any better as their economy slowed down as well as people started to lose their occupations, along with the invasion of Manchuria as the effect of their slow financial downfall.
Some nationalist problems in Japan was caused by the Great Depression as their trade was in peril while foreigners couldn't buy any Japanese merchandise and other exports. This issue had also caused the economy to slow down by the 1920s. And sooner or later, unemployment spread throughout Japan along with peasants who were close to starvation. Later on this problem had led a issue between China and Japan.
As the Great Depression didn't help their economy, Japan lacked the raw resources such as oil, rubber and iron that led them to find the raw material in East Asia, especially in Manchuria where most of the materials were found which can bring up Japan's economy once again. This interest with Manchuria brought up the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 as Japan conquered the place and start up a puppet state called "Manzhouguo" or "Manchukuo" for the "State of Manchuria". The Emperor of China, Pu-Yi was, then, accepted to act as the head for Manchuria.
A day before the Japanese invaded Manchuria, the Mukden Incident, or the Manchuria Incident, occurred as Japanese troops brought up explosions on the Japanese-controlled South Manchurian Railway and blamed it on the Manchurians. As well, other things had occurred such as the civil Cabinet of Tokyo collapsed and the issues of public opinion on the invasion in Manchuria went out that happened a few days after the Incident.
Years before the Incident, Manchuria had fought in their boundaries as the country had access to many places of Asia from the way to Siberia, the Mongolian Plateau, China, and Korea. This includes their productive area they had with many products from that land.
The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923
This earthquake brought homes and other buildings to be lost and about 140,000 people were dead and 37,000 that went missing and might have been dead as well by the earthquake's affect and the fire that came along with it. This includes the destruction of Tokyo. The earthquake was one of the worst earthquakes throughout time. The event happened on the Kanto Plain, which is in central of Honshu, Japan, on September 1st, 1923.
The fire was caused by the fire use that the people had as they were cooking during lunchtime. The spread of the fire came about as the high winds from a typhoon came over and caused it to happen. Since that mishap, the fires were the cause of most of the deaths.
During the late 1920s to 1932, Japan was soon closer to being under the control of militarism, totalitarianism, and expansionism, which soon led them to World War Two and join the Axis alliance. The person that led them to the war and national problems was Sadao Araki, founder of the Army in Japan and important figure with good thinker at the time.
A Japanese general and leader of ultranationalist called the "Imperial Way", Araki had strong nationalistic views and became a part of the Kokuhonsha, which is based on the way to go against the threat of Socialism in Japan. Later on in the 1930s, Araki became Minister of War under Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai as well as doing other certain roles of his life.
Though later in his life, Araki's political life emerged as he brought up the philosophy that mixed up the ideas of totalitarianism, militarism, expansionism along with loyalty.
The rise of militarism was brought upon the military as they gain importance since the Meiji Restoration during the Meiji period, and was brought up by Prime Minister Yamagata Aritomo.
Militarism is a foundation based on the military's capacity as it enhanced the society's security and help prevent anything that can harm the society the military keeps safety of. And even though the military should help on assuring the society's important goal, Japan's military had included themselves on Japan's affairs as they dictate the empire, such as taking over the government and try to control the lands in the Pacific around the time of World War Two and along with dominating the social and political issues of their nation.
Soon, the country was led to also serve the Army and Emperor as the military had control of the Japanese government. The political enemies were killed as communists were harassed by the military. Later on, the army took over the positions of important offices and the seat of the prime minister.
Totalitarianism is another issue which the government can control all aspects of social life and individual rights. As it happened in Japan and other parts of Asia and Italy a little before the Second World War along with the Nazis state control in Germany. This action had the control of influencing the population's thoughts and actions through any ways they can find like the use of the media and the latest technology of the time. Any opposition from anyone would be annihilate by the use of the police, terror, and other ways to eliminate the people who are against the totalitarianism system they had set up.
Expansionism is based upon expanding the base of the military aggression, or economic potency, of that certain country. Some of the issues of the expansion would be the thoughts of reconquering a few lost places and/or take over past generations' places. Though those ideas were mainly from irredentism, revanchism or reunification.
Japan's economy came to a dull pace as the Great Depression affected the country financially by the loss of jobs and money, including the lack of materials and the issue of starvation. Soon, Manchuria was their way of getting "raw material" like rubber and oil, yet the Japanese conquered the place, which caused an uproar in both lands. Power was soon in place with getting the accessible resources that happens to be in Manchuria that led them to the Mukden Incident to the invasion of Manchuria.
Even though the event seemed out of place, the Great Kanto Earthquake partially caused their economy and history. This event affected the Japanese as the buildings were crumbled and burned down including the "missing in action" people who were claimed dead with the other 140,000 people who were dead during one of the worst earthquakes in history.
Nationalistic events were brought upon the philosophy of Sadao Araki's as the theory had put Japan in World War Two in the Axis side of the war. Other events include the interest to put the military in place in order to defend the government and country as well as controlling them in a way, which is called Militarism. There is also expansionism and totalitarianism, which one of them concerned the expansion of the influence of the country and the other is the issue of the government's control over the country's political and social lives.
In summary, Empire of Japan's financial issues went downhill that were affected by the Great Depression that also brought the Japanese to get Manchuria and other parts of China. The act of controlling Manchuria brought out the events of the Mudken Incident, the invasion of Manchuria, and other invasions in China. Beforehand, there was the Great Kanto Earthquake, which affected the damage of the buildings and the deaths of people in Tokyo. Later on, nationalism in Japan brought out the expansionism, militarism and totalitarianism onto their country. These three effects on their country had also affect their choice of being apart of the Axis alliance in WWII.
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