The Pursuit of Greater National Unity and the War State, 1932–45
By 1932 both liberal ideas and socialist hopes had received setbacks from which they were not to recover until after 1945, and nationalism had reasserted itself as the dominant force. Much of its revived strength was due to the peculiar combination of increased insecurity and inflated pride, as Japan simultaneously defied the League of Nations over Manchuria and displayed its military prowess. Even so, the real threat to Japan from outside was not that much more considerable than before, and its international isolation was far from total. To appreciate why nationalism became so pervasive and virulent in Japan — to such an extent that historians customarily refer to it as ultranationalism — it is necessary to take other factors into account.
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