The Rise of Japanese Militarism A WH1 Presentation by Mr. Hess Problems After WWI 1. Rapid population growth • 35 million people lived in Japan in 1872; nearly 60 million in 1925. • Since Japan was an island nation, land was limited. 2. Raw materials • Japan had industrialized rapidly, but had very few resources needed for manufacturing. Problems After WWI, cont. 3. Scarce farmland • Land was continually subdivided among farmers, many of whom gave up and became factory workers. 4. Limited democracy • Political power belonged to the nobles and urban industrialists. • The emperor was backed by military leaders who opposed democratic reforms. The Great Depression • Because, Japan depended so much on international trade, millions of Japanese became unemployed as industries were hurt by a worldwide fall in prices. • Desperation caused many Japanese to look to the nation’s military leadership, who opposed foreign countries’ tariff and immigration policies. Militarism • Military leaders invaded and conquered Manchuria in 1931 without government approval. • When the League of Nations ordered Japan to withdraw, Japan quit the League. Militarism, cont. • An armed takeover of the government by the military failed in 1936. • By 1937, the government and the army essentially merged. • Emperor Hirohito remained in office, but was afraid to jeopardize his position by opposing the military. World War II • Japan needed China’s ports in order to take over the oil reserves of the East Indies. • Japan began WWII in Asia by invading China in 1937 and capturing many of the major cities. • Japan continued to fight for control of China throughout the war. World War II, cont. • When Japan continued to expand into Southeast Asia, the US made its opposition clear by means of an embargo on scrap iron and oil. • Japan retaliated by bombing Pearl Harbor. World War II, cont. • Japan soon lost power in the Pacific due to the Allies’ strategy of “island hopping.” • Finally, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led Japan to surrender.
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