Although Japan did not participate in any battles during World War I, it somehow emerged as the most victorious. It took advantage of Western vulnerability by claiming former European colonies as their own and emphasizing its material and military indispensability in order to avoid reproach (Roberts 350). Its industries prospered, especially in comparison to the Western powers that entered a depression after the Great War. Unfortunately its industrial strength was a double-edged sword—with the rest of the world in depression, nobody could afford luxuries like silk, which led prices to drop and trade to diminish (Roberts 358). In the section ‘Japanese Dynamism’, Roberts illustrates a tragic scene of Japanese poverty: “… the country’s economic plight was vividly brought hom...
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...rnment and economy was in an upswing. Eventually they gained full sovereignty, and they were in better shape than before.
Although Japan did experience prosperity independently post-WWI, it was short-lived and its people were divided under an unstable government. It could be argued that they were only successful post-WWII because of American intervention, but it was their “social cohesiveness and discipline” (Roberts 516) that helped make the American reforms effective. Instead of being difficult and rejecting the American occupation, they complied and utilized it to their advantage. It was merely the foundation upon which they built a great nation. In his speech, Emperor Hirohito mentions the “innate glory of the Imperial State” (Hirohito). Perhaps the American occupation was not the reason for Japanese success, but rather a tool in helping the Japanese realize it.
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