United States And Japan World War II  

In order to understand the Japan and the United States actions during World War II, one first has to go back a little in history to the time between the end of World War I and when Japan became an active participant in World War II.

After World War I, the economic condition in Japan worsened. The situation further deteriorated with the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923 and the world wide depression in 1929. During 1930s, the military in Japan gained complete control over the government and many so-called political enemies were assassinated and the communists were persecuted. Censorship and indoctrination became common in education and media. Army and naval officers soon ended up occupying important government offices including that of the prime minister.

Like the rest of the western world, Japan forced China into unequal economic and political treaties. In addition, since the end of the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905, Japan’s influence over Manchuria had been steady increasing. This led to the Chinese Nationalists challenging Japan’s influence on Manchuria in 1931. This in turn saw the Kwantung Army, the Japanese armed forces in Manchuria, occupying Manchuria. The next year, the Japanese declared Manchuria as an independent state which was controlled by the Kwantung Army through a puppet government. The same year, Japan conducted air bombardment in Shanghai to protect the Japanese residents living there from anti-Japan protests and movements.

Japan was a member of the League of Nations but withdrew from the League in 1933 after facing severe criticism over her actions in China. And then in July 1937, the second Sino-Japanese War broke when the Kwantung Army acted independently from the moderate Japanese government. The Japanese ended up occupying nearly the entire coastal part of China and committed severe war atrocities on the Chinese. These atrocities were especially evident during the fall of Nanking, the capital. However, the Chinese government did not surrender and the war continued for at a lower scale right until 1945.

In 1940, Japan went ahead and occupied Indochina (Vietnam) after an agreement with the French government and joined Germany and Italy, the Axis powers. This led to conflicts with the United States and Great Britain, who responded with an oil boycott. This led to severe oil shortage in Japan. Efforts were made to resolve the conflict diplomatically but when that failed, Japan captured Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), which was rich in oil, and this started Japan’s war with the US and Great Britain.

In December 1941, Japan waged an attack on the US by attacking Pearl Harbor and several other strategic points throughout the Pacific. Within the next six months, Japan expanded her territorial control from the border of India in the West to New Guinea in the South.

From June 1942, the US and Great Britain slowly started winning back the territories occupied by Japan. In spring of 1945, the US forces invaded Okinawa after one of the bloodiest battles in World War II. In July 1945, the Allied Powers requested Japan to surrender unconditionally or face further wrath. However, the Japanese military had no intentions of surrendering and this led to the US forces to drop two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 respectively.

However, on August 14, 1945, Emperor Showa of Japan surrendered unconditionally.

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