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Rise of militarism in Japan

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Japan Factors leading to the rise of militarism Meaning of militarism: It is a belief that a country should be placed entirely under the absolute military control and foreign expansion should be carried out. INTERNAL 1. Japan's militaristic tradition For several centuries before Emperor Meiji regained political power in1868, Japan was ruled by the shogun. Under his rule, Japan was a military dictatorship. After 1868, the military still enjoyed superior status under the Meiji Constitution. They had direct asses to the Emperor, and were not under cabinet or Diet control. They could even stop the formation of a cabinet by not appointing army and navy ministers to it. During the Meiji Modernization, the education and military reforms emphasized traditional virtues such as bravery, obedience to superiors, loyalty to the Emperor and self-sacrifice. The government indoctrinated young men with Bushido spirit and patriotism. ...read more.


Moreover, the government failed to implement any socio-economic reforms to improve the living condition of the Japanese, therefore the people turned their support to the military which called for patriotism and overseas expansion. 3. The Japanese especially the rich merchants supported the military because of internal economic needs Japan was a small country with limited agricultural land and lacked natural resources. Thus, she relied heavily on the import of food and natural resources for her population and the development of her economy. When the US and European countries practiced economic protectionism in the 1930s, Japan's exports dropped by half. She thus lacked capital to purchase her necessities from abroad. Under these circumstances, there was a growing demand among the militarists for foreign expansion. They hoped that Japan could establish an economic zone in Asia under her domination, so that a stable supply of natural resources and large export markets could be obtained for her industrial development. ...read more.


In the Washington Conference of 1921-22, Japan was forced to return to China her rights in Shandong. The Conference also limited the tonnage of warships of the participating countries. The development of the Japanese navy was thus checked. The Japanese people thought the Western countries had discriminated against their country and wanted a strong government to gain equality with Western countries. The idea of the militarists to overthrow the democratic government therefore appeal to them. 6. The military was affected by the success of totalitarian governments in solving their economic problems The Great Depression that began in the US in1929 brought severe damage to countries all over the world. The democratic countries like the US, Britain and France faced great difficulties in dealing with the economic depression. Japan began to lose confidence in democracy. Meanwhile, Italy and Germany practiced totalitarianism and became more successful in solving their economic problems. Therefore, Japanese militarists in the 1930s deeply believed that democracy could never make Japan powerful. Militarism was the only way to solve her domestic problems ...read more.

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