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Western protectionism, which had obstructed Japan's commercial development, and
Japan's lack of secure supplies of food and raw materials
Japan would soon face Asian competition and needed to develop more varied and
sophisticated export products.
Memories of casualties, atrocities and devastation soon produced a historiography
which was preoccupied with issues of conspiracy, guilt and political delinquency.
By the early 1960s a received view of prewar and wartime Japanese history was
clearly established in AngloAmerican academic circles.
By the mid1960s Japan's economic recovery, America's intervention in Vietnam
and advances in historical scholarship had combined to produce a wave of
revisionist writing which viewed prewar Japan in more sympathetic and complex
Japan's 'modernisation' clues to successful development, and concluding that
nineteenthcentury Japan had been a remarkably advanced society.
Development had brought an unprecedented dependence on international markets,
and the Wall Street crash and its aftermath had undermined economic and political
In 1966 James Crowley's Japan's Quest for Autonomy: This American scholar
argued that the economic and military crises which Japan had faced rendered her
attempt to create a selfsufficient East Asian bloc an understandable strategem,
rather than an irrational raid on the impossible.
1971 Richard Minear's Victor's Justice: This radical polemic supported the
Indian judge Pal's criticisms of the legal and ethical basis of the trial and concluded
that most allied judges had been biased and inconsistent in their conduct and
Both Crowley and Minear had focused attention on the motives and mechanisms
of Japanese foreign policy
Gordon Berger's Parties Out of Power in Japan, 193141 concentrated on the
pattern of her domestic politics. Berger delved into the earlier events of the 1920s.
Berger extended Crowley's notion of realpolitik to the shaping of domestic politics.
According to this interpretation the notion of a national defence state with a planned
economy and centralized political structure was not the product of premodern
fanaticism but an intellectual response to European concepts of total war. Berger
also traced the impact of such ideas on the shaping of Japan's wartime polity, and
concluded that disunity rather than dictatorship was the hallmark of Japan's 'new
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 Wartime Japan confirmed the
narrow limits of the Emperor's political power and demonstrated that Prime Minister
Tojo had possessed far less authority than Hitler, Stalin or Maotse Tung.
Particularly striking was Shillony's account of the smoothness and formality of Tojo's
ejection from office in 1944.
Shillony revealed that many writers and academics had enthusiastically supported
the war effort. The very success of Japan's cultural modernisation had made her
intellectuals more independent of the West.
He also pointed out most law courts appear to have been little affected by wartime
conditions, elections were remarkable for their general propriety, and Tojo, unlike
Stalin or Hitler, imprisoned few political offenders
Other pages in this set
Here's a taster:
Thomas Havens' Valley of Darkness examined the halfforgotten realities of
wartime life: food and clothing shortages and rationing, air raid precautions, mass
evacuation and months of relentless bombing.
Havens also placed such emotional phenomena as 'spiritual mobilisation' and
highpitched propaganda in the context of modern, allout total war. Progressive
social tendencies which closely paralleled British experience
The demands of wartime industry had removed personal servants from wealthy and
middleclass households, and women had entered many occupations which were
previously a male preserve.…read more