To what extent did Japanese nationalism lead to the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941?
Japanese nationalism had a significant impact in the decision to bomb Pearl Harbour in 1941, due to the tensions it caused towards the U.S. However, this was not only the contributing factor, others including American actions which restricted and aggravated Japan and Japanese foreign relations and policies all contributed to the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour.
At the turn of the 20th Century Japan was beginning to emerge as a new world power, following the industrialisation that resulted from the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853. The Japanese were intrigued by the modern technology of steam powered ships and open their doors to free trade, emerging as a modern, industrialised world power in the period of 50 years. This is highlighted in the Sino-Japanese conflict of 1894-95 that saw Japan defeat China and extended their control over Korea and Northern China, influencing the rise of Japanese nationalism. Subsequently the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 further established the rise of Japanese nationalism and indicated Japanese plans of expansion.
Japan was now controlled by strong militarist, imperialist and nationalist influences that favoured Japanese expansion. Nationalist feeling and response excelled throughout Japan with Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05. This was largely due to the symbolic nature of Japan’s victory, as it represented the first defeat of a European nation by an Asian nation in modern time.
General cultural tensions between America and Japan had already been established years before the bombing of Pearl Harbour. In Japan, there was a general dislike and resentment for the Western nations, particularly America and specifically in the view of older, conservative Japanese – which comprised the majority of the ruling army. The Japanese felt superior to the Western nations. This antagonism towards the west and America is...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document