Most of the policies that Japan adopted between 1852 and 1945 were motivated by the concept of ‘manifest democracy’, whereby the country was afraid of suffering the same fate as China. Japan’s entry into the World War II is directly connected to the Sino-Japanese War and the preceding Marco Polo battle. Consequently, Japan’s foray into China is closely connected to its subsequent involvement in the World War II. Japan first attacked China in 1953, because prior to 1852, Japan had remained as an isolated country with no outside contact with the rest of the world (Skrzypczak 22).
Japan’s state of isolation changed when Commodore Matthew sailed into Tokyo and demanded the country to open it borders as requested by President Fillmore of the United States. The popular view within the ruling Shogun Dynasty was that Japan would suffer the same fate of colonization like the one China had encountered in the nineteenth century. In addition, the Japanese were constantly overpowered by the Western powers in terms of both systems of government and technology. To assert its imperialistic powers in Asia, Japan first attacked the Korean Peninsula and then started making a play for China. China retaliated with an attack on Japanese forces but this attempt ended in a humiliating defeat for China. Subsequently, Japan realized it had the military upper hand within the region.
Now that Japan was the dominant nation in Asia, the country found itself contending for territory with other global super powers including Russia. By the time the World War II started, Japan had already taken up more than it could handle when it came face to face with the American Army. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was the country’s way of trying to bring the conflict to a speedy end because the country realized that it was disadvantaged (Skrzypczak 66).
Japan suffered more losses than gains in the World War II. First, the dropping of two atomic bombs on its territory had a debilitating effect on the country’s social and economic welfare. Economically, the country had already depleted its resources even before the World War II ended. On the other hand, there was growing opposition against the ruling elite and their war agendas. Eventually, the use of Kamikaze pilots in the war greatly affected the public opinion about the war. Some of the social and economic effects of the World War II in Japan were felt in the country several decades after the war had ended. Eventually, World War II has a profound impact on Japan’s history because it introduced the country to the world and vice versa.
Skrzypczak, Edmund. Japan’s Modern Century. Sophia University, 1998.