August 14th 1945 = The nation of Japan surrenders to the United States
Japan “bowing to a superior power”
The believed that the emperor was God's representative on earth, and so it was shocking to hear the man's voice on the radio announcing the surrender
Power is ubiquity in western civilization, it was the opposite in Japanese culture
The Japanese surrender was more than just the end of the war. It was a fundamental transformation of how Japan saw themselves in the world. It changed culture, religion, and pride in their country.
The occupation = 1945-1951
The Americans were very unprepared for the occupation. They had never done anything like this before, so they had no idea how this would work.
Presumed outcome = peaceful occupation would not work because Japan was militaristic and had never been friendly to its neighbors
Created a new constitution for Japan
Women given the right to vote
A new culture of democracy is embraced in the way the constitution was made
Commission who wrote constitution = mostly Americans, but a significant Japanese presence
Japan was democratized by the least democratic arm of the United States, the military
Japan saw the United States as the best alternative
Other threats = Soviet Union, become irrelevant and starving, all of Asia
Okinawa = most important American Japanese base. Not on the mainland.
American forces in Japan stabilize the region
If the USSR and USA went to war, it would have to involve Japan because the military presence so close to Russia [continues]
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