Far Eastern Governments and Politics: China and Japan

By Paul M. A. Linebarger; Djang Chu et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
Modern Militarist Japan

WITHIN the limits of the twentieth centuryitself it is almost impossible to explain the phenomenon of militarism in any one of the major nation-states. We Americans would certainly be hard put to explain the contribution made to our national existence by the recurrent crisis of war. By the middle of the twentieth century it is evident that our economy has become very characteristically a defense economy and that we, no less than any other of the great peoples in the modern world, find our prosperity and security, both of them, inextricably commingled with our long-range commitments to defense. The story of American militarism has scarcely begun; it would be a foolish person indeed who would attempt to predict: the long-range effect that the maintenance of massive and expensive armaments might have on our economy; the development of universal military training on our social habits; the pressure of almost uninterrupted international fears on our psychology; and the results upon our literature and our characteristic ways of thinking of all these factors put together.

The outbreak of the Korean war in 1950 marked a real milepost in the exchange of international roles between Japan and the United States . An American people who had fought World War II with the avowed commitment, so far as the Far East was concerned, of eliminating Japanese militarism, found itself involved in a strategic situation to which the only answer was American armament and American military effort on a scale never before known. The five years 1945 to 1950 marked a halcyon in Japan's power-political position. Japan down to 1945 had been defended by her own military establishments. For five years no serious attention was given to the defense of Japan until the beginning of Communist aggression in Korea, but as soon as the North Korean people's army moved, the defense of Japan once more became a requisite in international politics. And it was Americans, not Japanese, who had to defend Japan this time. We Americans

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