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To what extent has foreign influence by the United States after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki affected Japan economically and politically? Material that can be acquired from this source includes information about the investigation of the results of the bombing and the U.S’s intent on searching the bombsite. The source also informs us about the context of the investigation and the situation occurring in the source, that Japanese and American scientists alike are cooperating to better comprehend the aftermath of the situation. Background information such as this encompasses what the scientists and doctors from the United States and Japan accomplished throughout the investigation and knowledge they accumulated about the Hibakusha, the residents in the area who survived and were exposed to the bombings in 1945.
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The values concerning the origin of the source that are accurate and apparent consists of the background information concerning the bombings, the death count, and the newly attained knowledge gathered regarding the investigation itself. Limitations regarding the origin would include the publication date in 2016, as the source was written much later after the actual event took place in 1945-1952. It was also written through an American perspective having no excessive knowledge and insight about the author to deem him as credible or plausible.
The values regarding the purpose of the source are to demonstrate the American motive behind the investigation and their purpose to embark and learn about the situation and aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The claims asserted by the author were to justify the intent of the U.S. searching in Japan. Limitations of the purpose consists of their intent being explained by an American author, therefore indicating an American and biased perspective.
Numerous economists, political scientists and historians have analyzed Japan’s economic growth, specifically its growth acceleration. According to various scholars, “the prosperity of Japan’s economic growth relied on Japan’s close affiliation with the most powerful country in the world the U.S.” Scholars also theorize that the growth would have never occurred had not the U.S support the reconstruction of Japan after the war. Additionally, the recovery would not have been so extraordinary without MacArthur’s radical reforms, as “MacArthur’s tactics enabled the occupation to succeed in a short period of time.” According to Dower and Dobbins, the two main narratives of MacArthur’s position in this transition, both assert that Japan’s postwar growth was made achievable by MacArthur’s endeavor during the occupation, as MacArthur’s efforts made a “significant contribution in changing the attitudes of both the Americans and the Japanese toward each other and accomplished to build a new relationship which still remains strong.” After WWII and the many adverse effects for Japan, especially the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan has continued to recover and advance exceedingly faster than anyone could possibly imagine.
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Japan is now considered one of the most advanced countries in the entire world, “the second largest economy after the U.S. measured on an exchange rate basis.” They achieved outstanding rapid accomplishments after losing a war with devastating damage. However, one cannot disregard the truth that the United States played a considerable role in Japan’s postwar restoration. It would not have been probable without “the aid of the U.S. and General Douglas MacArthur’s guidance during the seven year occupation from 1945-1952.” Japan is the only substantial country with a “diversified economy that has risen from a below-average level of development to the upper tier of the world economy”.
The initial result of the bombing was an economic catastrophe, the bombs had caused extensive damage to cities and the loss of many jobs which lead to many expenses in reconstruction and repairment. And yet only a decade after suffering complete military collapse, “Japan returned to its pre-war standard of living.” More remarkably, Japan has even accelerated at an exceptional rate. Their GDP per capita had increased from a mere “6.8% growth rate to a substantial 11.7%” Throughout the next 10 years, their growth would continue to grow exceptionally with an “average growth rate from 1945 to 1958 of 7.1 percent, whereas it was 9.5 percent from 1959 to 1970.” The effect brought by the growth spurt was that by 1970 Japan had obtained the position of being “the third largest economy and ranked among the most developed countries in the world.”
Another area of change that Japan encountered was political. The American government presumed that administering democracy in Japan required adjustments in all areas of Japanese life. Lead by MacArthur and the combined efforts of the Japanese, Japan encountered immense transitions in just seven short years. The accomplishments of the Occupation can be justified by the evidence that forty years later, Japan has engaged in a war, has close affiliation with the U.S., and has not reverted most of the significant reforms established during the Occupation.
The most notable alterations were political. During the Occupation, Japan adopted a new constitution. This constitution was completely different from the Meiji Constitution of 1889. The biggest change it constituted was that it “declared that sovereignty rested with the people, not the emperor, this is the political basis of democracy.” Another significant change implemented was that “women were given equal rights under the new constitution, including the right to vote.” The supreme political institution was now to be Japan’s parliament, the Diet, which was to be made up of freely elected representatives of the people.
The constitution established many new civil liberties, “such as the right of free speech, and the powers of the police were weakened and carefully regulated.” Governing adjustments that were instituted was that “the emperor was to continue as a symbol of Japanese unity and culture, somewhat like the Queen of England in Britain’s democracy, but without any political authority whatsoever.” Besides changing Japanese institutions, the Americans wanted the Japanese people to understand better the idea of democracy.
To accomplish this, the occupation government used its control of newspapers and magazines to explain and popularize democracy, they used American democracy as a model to be copied. The complete defeat and devastation of Japan after the war had left many Japanese shocked and disillusioned with their own military leaders, and they were open to the new ways of their American conquerors. To ensure that Japanese children learned democratic values, the Americans insisted that the education system and the laws regulating families be revised. Moral training in schools was abolished, and instruction in democratic ideas was begun. Control of education and censorship of textbooks were taken from the central government and given to local administrations. The laws giving the head of the household complete control of every family member, for example, he could withhold his consent when his children wished to be married, were changed to make each family member more equal and thereby more democratic.
The processes in which I had to undergo to complete this outline consists of first, gathering and accumulating all the necessary information which wasn’t exactly an easy task. Throughout this process I had encountered various problems and difficulties, including not being easily able to find sufficient evidence to support my claims though eventually through strenuous and extensive searching through many various search engines, primarily Google and Ebsco, I was able to find supporting evidence concerning the effects the U.S. had inflicted on Japan, economically and politically. The sources I had acquired through the extensive research were the ones I used most consistently throughout this essay to complete the investigation portion. These sources that I utilized the most consisted of my main source “The Grave is Wide: The Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Legacy of the Atomic Bomb Casualty commission and the Radiation Effects Research Foundation.”
The knowledge regarding my topic that I acquired throughout the process of completing the H.I. comprised of some of the most important affairs in Japanese history such as the many various alterations that the U.S. administered to Japan. One of the most prominent events that I gained insight from that sparked changes politically and economically in Japan was the U.S Occupation from 1945-1952.
During this incident the U.S. instituted a new constitution for Japan, administering adjustments for the Japanese government and establishing new rules. The most crucial change in the constitution was establishing democracy in Japan as this brought on about even more transitions and reforms in the Japanese government and politics as a whole. These various notable reforms would eventually contribute to Japan’s status as a democracy.
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