Why Did Japan Turn to Militarism?

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- Why did Japan turn to militarism and drift away from democracy in the 1930s and the 1940s? How did US occupation authorities seek to prevent Japan from relapsing into the past system of military expansion?

The root of Japan’s militarism started out from the developments of the Meiji era that was established by imperial restoration after Edo period. The idea of the Meiji Revolution, to boost morale and to extricate Japan from the idea of Tokugawa feudalism, had been carried over to turn Japan into militarism. In 1930s, a lot of external and internal influences such as Western Powers, Japan’s victories of war in Asia, economic depression and Japan’s oversea expansion with the successful Meiji modernization had caused the rise of militarism and repudiation of democracy. Though Japan’s unstoppable and irresistible growth and alliance with fascists and Nazis had pushed Japan to expand its domain to even the territory of the United States, the United States occupation authorities used military force to defeat Japan.

A lot of historians insist that there are several causes that incurred the rise of militarism and that one of the key causes is that Japan had suffered from worldwide economic depression in the late 1920s and Japan sensed vulnerability of industrial success and military vitality. The depression led to a collapse of international trade and it was fatal to Japan’s economy. While Japan was suffering from economic depression, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy practiced colonization by war against foreign countries such as France. The colonization had allowed access to the raw materials, military supplies, etc. Believing that oversea expansion and colonization are the only effective solutions to the economic problems, Japan followed German military model which was colonization. Therefore, the Asian mainland, particularly China and Korea, became Japan’s primary target for expansion. Japan’s victories in war against China called Sino-Japanese war and war...
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