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Rethinking Japan, 193745
Gordon Daniels, 31 December 1989
History TodayJapanVolume: 40 Issue: 1

Irrational chauvinists or fearful protectionists? Gordon Daniels looks at the new research and
arguments reshaping our view of Japan's rulers before and after Pearl Harbour.

At the height of the Second World War a young official in…

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prewar crisis. Development had brought an unprecedented dependence on international markets,
and the Wall Street crash and its aftermath had undermined economic and political stability.

In 1966 James Crowley's Japan's Quest for Autonomy: National Security and Foreign Policy,
19301938 confirmed this shifting trend in Western historiography. This American scholar argued…

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defeated attempts to subdue and control them. Consequently there was little that was new or orderly
in Japan's wartime regime.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s broader comparative analyses and new lines of research
produced more de tailed reappraisals of Japan's wartime politics. BenAmi Shillony's Politics and
Culture in…

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production this scholar, like Berger, highlighted the squabbles, inadequacies and rivalries which
plagued major attempts at coordinating armaments production.

Japan's ministry of munitions was not established until 1945, and even then failed to integrate
production as effectively as its British equivalent. Time after time industrialists resisted government
and army intervention,…

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knowledge of primary sources. Distinguished scholars have clarified the Emperor's role as a
constitutional monarch and his known preference for peaceful rather than aggressive policies. But the
context of wartime Japan the Emperor's greatest importance was as a symbol of modernity ­ who
visited universities, research institutes or scenes of…

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United States. In short, the alliance of Western powers which Japan sought to destroy was not
simply a coalition which represented democracy, pluralism and international law. lt was an alliance
which was permeated by a variety of racial prejudices which were slowly undermined by the
pressures of war.

Following four…

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