Why did the US help rebuild Japan when the Japanese had ruthlessly attacked so many times, and was so stubborn about surrendering?

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Why did the US help rebuild Japan when the Japanese had ruthlessly attacked so many times, and was so stubborn about surrendering?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Because we needed and wanted a presence in that area of the world after WWII ended. China and the Soviet Union were communist, North Korea was as well, and we needed/wanted to make sure that Japan didn’t side with them. We negotiated to have military bases in Japan essentially in perpetuity, which let us continue to project power in that part of the world even thought it’s all the way across the Pacific Ocean.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There is no greater enemy nor greater friend than the U.S.

Also as much as everyone shits on the U.S. for being this big imperialistic warmongering nation. Compared to every other conquering empire from the past; being conquered by the U.S. is a god damn treat.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We moved from WW2 right into the Cold War and needed a solid ally in the region. And Douglas MacArthur was a student history about how WW1 recovery was botched in Europe. So, occupying Japan and turning it into a forward base for the coming Cold War required making it a solid ally. Plus, Korea very quickly became the first hot front in the Cold War, so Japan was definitely needed as an ally location. That war ended up being MacArthur’s downfall, but his progressive thinking about the treatment of Japan really did pay off. Japan grew in importance and became the number one ally in the region and has remained so.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Maybe we learned our lesson after ww1, punishing the losing side into poverty lead to Hitler…

Anonymous 0 Comments

A variety of reasons. Some of them were more noble (e.g. not wanting to leave Japan in a terrible state), but most of them were at best enlightened self-interest.

Building Japan back up, but better, is likely to create a long-term ally, rather than ensuring a long-term enemy if the US left them as they were. The US had seen what horrible damage the Treaty of Versailles had inflicted on the German Empire, and its leadership wanted to *avoid* setting up the conditions to empower yet another fascist dictatorship. Investing into a large, industrially-capable nation could make the US a hell of a lot of money if Japan actually recovered (which they did, and yes, it was a massively successful investment.) The US at that point was, and to this day remains, the only nation to ever use a nuclear weapon in war–rebuilding Japan was a way to improve our international reputation. Having a Japan that is relatively prosperous, independent, liberal-democratic, and capitalist would ensure a base of operations for US military activities all across eastern Asia, which was a big deal given the ongoing tensions with Russia and China.

Ultimately, they did it because it make economic, political, diplomatic, and military sense. That it was also a generally humanitarian thing to do was a nice bonus–but it probably would have happened even if that weren’t true.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A big reason for the rise of the Nazi’s in Germany was the huge war reparations that Germany had to pay to the Entente after WWI. And unlike after WWI there were a huge powerful communist block of countries that could support any revolutions. The communists were already winning the Chinese Civil War and the USSR would eventually help a communist revolution in Korea which is still ongoing. The post-war depression after WWII would also cause Vietnam to form its communist revolution, which would spill over into Cambodia.

This was all things that were predicted at the end of WWII based on the experience after WWI. We did not exactly how it would unfold but there was a big chance of it happening at some point. And if things were not handled correctly there was a chance that a communist revolution could spawn in Japan as well. The biggest challengers to the communists had been the imperialists, who had just been defeated. And if the Japanese people would fall into a depression they would likely have turned to communism to change their situation.

So the policy of the US administration of Japan was to build up the industry, give everyone meaningful jobs, improve living conditions, and make the Japanese control over themselves through democratic elections. This would give the communists a harder time to get to power. Meanwhile the US would maintain control with their military and a number of restrictions.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Soviet Union was a bigger threat militarily in 1950’s, so US wants decent ally in Asia to offset the Soviet military threat.

Japan was a strong source of cheap labor for manufacturing to US consumers in 1960’s, so US benefited from cheaper Japanese labor costs.

This changed when Japan was a bigger threat economically in 1980’s, so US enacted huge tariffs and protectionist measures on Japan, negotiating the “Plaza Accords” which forced Japan to revaluate the Yen and precipated multi-lost decades of stagnant growth in Japan.

So the lesson is, good to be friend of US when there is a bigger enemy, just don’t be a threat yourself to US. China is experiencing the exact same thing now.