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Imperial Japan And The Pacific War

Todays Date: December 15, 2018

The propaganda during the Pacific war had a great impact on social order and international relations between the nations and continents. A major influence on international policies was the relations between the two opposite camps and the views each held of the other. The USA and Japan were reluctant to follow any line that risked running into the antagonism of the other for fear of alienating their ally and therefore endangering one of the precepts of their distant policies. In an epoch of growing international anxiety and doubt, the Germany remained one of the few relatively sure supports upon which they could depend on. Thesis Dewey is right stating that Japanese threat was not different from the German threat thus the image of Japanese s an enemy was influenced by American propaganda and
Dewey is right that American propaganda was used as an effective tool against Japanese population. Americans depicted Japanese people as different to white population which helped the USA to justify their actions and bombing. Certainly, in the formulation and conduct of international war policy the significance attached to the views and position of the other was considerable, indeed the contacts and discussions between them were often decisive (Dewer 18). The history of the Pacific war suggests that the greatest impact this war had in Asian countries through the processes of decolonization and modernization coming to these geographical regions. The Pacific war changed the landscape and opened new opportunities for independence (Dewer 234).
The war propaganda changed the national consciousness and self-determination of the Japanese. For either to be successful the co-operation of their partner across the continent was considered imperative. Neither the USA nor Japan was prepared to take any initiative alone: among diplomatic, military and political circles there was a refusal to act either against Russians hostility or German treaty violations in Europe without the guaranteed support of their partner. This perceived incapability to operate without the backing of the other extended at several vital junctures to the point where the USA nor Japan allowed the other, possibly willingly so, to determine their own policies (Dewer 38). In western eyes, the war against Japanese population was justified and supported by vivid images of global evil coming from this land.
Dewey underlines that the outcome this emphasis placed on the other’s strategy was to strengthen the case for appeasing Japan. Each was depressed from taking a firm posture by the belief that the other was not committed to a policy of confrontation. During the first months of the Pacific war, the countries recognized that, whatever their public statements, the British were not committed to a hard line over the USA hostility. Later, following the reoccupation of Japan, a similar sight was held by other nations. Equally important, each knew, indeed it was explicitly stated, that their ally would not act without them and without having first received a formal promise of their support. The USA and Japan pacification policies were further reinforced by the denial to accept a trade-off by which support for a policy of resistance against one fascist aggressor would be exchanged for the promise of support against the other (Dewer 263). The only result of these political maneuvers was to further damage their relations, with each berating the other for failing to provide the necessary support. In fact, these often hurtful exchanges had more to do with seeking to place the onus for action onto their ally’s shoulders than with any wish to adopt a policy of resistance towards fascist hostility. The outcomes drawn from these common considerations, firstly, that it was impossible to act without the backing of their ally and, secondly, that their union was no more than half- hearted in its desire to oppose Germany (and also that they lacked the means even if they had desired to accept such a policy), accentuated their already unsure policies, impeded any firm answer, and acted as a further impetus to the policies of appeasement. Dewer states: “photographic negative, devoid of individuality, would appear at first glance to be the crassest sort of Western ethnocentricity and racism, for example; but it was, in fact, not very different from the patriotic slogans promoted by Japan’s own ruling groups” (30).
Dewey’s statement is correct that pre-existing racism made the Japanese threat seem more menacing than the German. When considering the Asian responses to the USA bombing, a contrast has been made between ‘the complicated “game” and the determination of the Government of a strong-willed administration wanting to do all it could to halt Japan and defend itself. The obvious contradiction with traditional record of propaganda messages and images in upholding the settlement is explained away by a supposed dual volte-face in which each at the same time assumed the core of the Other race. This actually rapid and total about-turn in policy cannot explain the complexity of the USA and Japanese policies. Anti-Japanese propaganda supported illegal and immoral actions of the USA officials and helped them to justify military intervention in Japan. For both there were numerous issues to be taken into account, some pushing towards opposition to the Japan ambitions and defense, others towards maintaining friendship through acceptance of expansion. In contrast to Germany, racism was used as the main tool which helped the USA to create an image of “Demonic Other” and an enemy in minds of European and American populations. For the USA leaders the importance of the national crisis, coming at a critical time in international affairs, lay in its repercussions beyond war.

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