The Change to a Reconciliation System
At the close of the twentieth century, reconciliation systems seemed to represent the wave of the future. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and imperial Japan in World War II, the Allied powers instituted democratic regimes that replaced the elitist mobilization systems. Over forty years later, East Europeans, Latin Americans, South Koreans, and Taiwanese experienced the breakdown of bureaucratic-authoritarian systems and the formation of more pluralistic governments. Bureaucratic elites, whether communist party apparatchiki or professional military officers, yielded some formal authority to elected civilian leaders. Competitive elections enabled citizens to choose a few government leaders, especially legislators and presidents. Parliaments and independent courts gained greater influence over the policy process. Legal procedures placed limits on the arbitrary exercise of government power. The mass media and voluntary associa- tions--unions, ethnic groups, churches, student organizations, ecological movements--won partial independence from government control. Even if not pluralist democracies, the regimes in Eastern Europe, Latin America, South Korea, and Taiwan at least resembled competitive oligarchies. Supporters of expanded civil liberties and pluralism competed with more bureaucratic-authoritarian elites for policy supremacy. What structural, cultural, and behavioral crises explain the ascendancy of reconciliation systems during the late 1940s and late 1980s?
Just as conditions within the world arena partly explained the rise of Nazi-fascist regimes between the two world wars, geopolitical conditions underlay the establishment of reconciliation systems in West Germany, Italy, and Japan after World War II. The military defeat of the three Axis powers ended compliance with these elitist mobilization systems, discredited their legitimacy, and deinstitutionalized the repressive regimes. Government officials from the Allied pow