The Post-War Reshaping of Japanese Politics, 1945–52
It is one of the ironies of history that the Japanese attempt to establish an autonomous empire ended in Japan’s being even more at the mercy of a Western power than it had been in the 1860s. Not that the full extent of the nation’s humiliation was spelt out in the broadcast in which the Emperor announced Japan’s surrender on 15 August 1945. Indeed, while referring to America’s use of a devastating new weapon as the principal reason for the termination of the war, he avoided any explicit admission that Japan had been defeated, going only so far as to concede that the conflict had developed ‘not necessarily to Japan’s advantage’. He then proceeded to exhort his subjects to ‘beware most strictly of any outburst of emotion … or any fraternal contention and strife which may create confusion, lead ye astray and cause ye to lose the confidence of the world’, and urged them to devote themselves to building the future while continuing ‘as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishableness of its sacred land’.1
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