The limitation of the Diet due to the veto powers the Japanese Emperor had, the corruption within the democratic leaders soiling the name of Democracy, the failure of the Democratic leaders and further on… Maybe these were some of the reasons why democracy had looked like a very poor system to a common Japanese man. Due to their failure to solve the problems of the farmers and workers, the Democratic Government was not supported by the people.
Furthermore, the economic crisis which followed painted the Democratic Government in a bad light as it was powerless to make any decisions that could save the country. Coupled with a lack of faith in its abilities, the Democratic Government’s failure of solve all these problems lost it valuable support and steered the Japanese people to the arms of the military. Things began to take a change when western imperialism and American expansion influenced Japanese leaders to work towards an ideology of militarism since it made them more wary of safeguarding their territories and consolidating their position in the region.
This is how Japan started on the path of fascism. Of course, logically, every ideology has its own pros and cons and it depends on the history and culture of a country to fascism was beneficial to Japan to what level of extent. The word “Beneficial” refers to having given the country a positive change and for the case of non-beneficial, bringing harm and torture to the people. In my option, I have decided that Fascism did not benefited Japan to a large extent when considering about going long way down the road.
Firstly, looking at Japan’s situation, democracy did not fit in for Japan as there were loopholes in the system which indicates that Japan was not suited for democracy. There were many problems in Democratic Japan where workers had difficulties, the trade imbalance which eventually led to the great depression in 1929. The diet was then seen as weak and powerless; leading to the military taking over since they were favored by the Emperor. The further success of the military in world war earned the people’s trust and gave the country pride.
Thus it was beneficial as it made Japan look more like a strong state where the people were united and nationalistic. Fascism also provided a sense of belonging to the people where they were again proud in be able to give their part in bringing glory to their nation. Therefore, Fascism did benefit Japan to a certain extent. Secondly, fascism would allow the country to be ruled under a single power. This is beneficial as it centralizes the whole government, thus there would be fewer conflicts within the government.
The whole country would also act as one unit instead of multiple units where is would be harder to take control of them. This allows any end goals or changes to be made and met more efficiently and expediently. This advantage of being a fascist country would help Japan in her economics downturn as the country would work as one to help improve the economy. One example would be the Wall street crash. As countries adopted protectionalism, the demand of silk falls and leads to lesser revenue for companies. The companies would not have enough money to pay for workers’ wages and unemployment occurs.
With the adoption of fascism, the problem would be solved at a faster rate as each citizen does their part for the country’s interest and listens to the government. Therefore fascism is indeed beneficial for Japan when its interest is concerned as compared to having a democratic system whereby the decision making took a longer time, leading to a reduction in the level of efficiency. Thirdly, Fascism benefited Japan by reducing unemployment. While looking back at Germany’s Nazism, where Nazism is fascism in Germany, Hitler reduced unemployment by implementing new government projects which requires building.
Similar to Japan, Japanese people were employed for expanding building programmes generating much needed jobs and helping Japan recover economically from the great depression. Also, one year of military service took young men off unemployment for one year, reducing the strain and allows them to contribute financially towards their families. Women were also given the opportunity to work adding much needed workforce to the economy and helping Japan recover economically from the great depression. Therefore, Fascism in Japan did help because it helped in the reducing of unemployment.
Fourthly, free schooling were available for children where Japanese children were given 6 years of compulsory free schooling, allowing the Japanese nation to educate children and generate talent. This relieved the financial burden of Japanese families who might not have been able to send their kids to school. This law passed on as ery important as all of the children are now able to have some basic knowledge and skills to equip themselves with so that they could help out and contribute to the economy in the future. Fifthly, almost everything is standardized.
It was much easier on deciding on what channel to watch, what magazines or paper to read. Also, the people were just required to listen to what the government says and wants and to blindly carry them out, contributing to the society. This sets a clear goal for the people and the system would be more orderly. It is beneficial as the small tiny things and tasks in the country could be accounted for and having to just follow blindly, without any opinions and objections, would be more convenient. Lastly, one distinct characteristic of Fascism is the government being imperialistic or being an expansionistic.
In Japan’s case, they withhold a strong army, thus they would want to show the rest their power and strength. This is a positive impact as due to the economic problems they were facing and the aggressive foreign policy adopted by Japan. The aggressive foreign policy led to creation of weapons, armaments which led to an increasing lack of natural raw materials for production processes and this further fuelled the desire to expand territorially into China and the Asia Pacific in order to obtain land, resources and markets.
This in turn also provides living space for the proud citizens, thus again, showing the nation’s power. Continuing, when the population of Japan grew from 30 million in 1870 to 70 million by 1937, the rapid increase in population created a problem for Japan as its farmers could not grow enough food for the people and the growing population needed more space. As Japan is a mountainous country, the military said that overseas expansion would provide land to build more homes and to grow more crops.
Thus they looked into Manchuria as a solution as it could provide Japan with cheap manpower, raw materials like: coal, timber, iron, soya beans, grain and gold and it could serve as an overseas market for Japan’s goods. It shows that the government at least considered the people and tried out a solution. As examples above, these are just some of the pros of Fascism and those are what would be the norm of all fascist state. Be it to solve unemployment, to make the people work together, to centralize the powers for a better system or to improve the living conditions of the citizens.
Thus, the advantages of a Fascism is just similar to other ideology where they have their own pros and cons, thus I do not see how Fascism has benefited Japan as other ideologies could have easily given Japan other benefits if Japan was to adopt it. Maybe fascism was indeed better than the democracy system, but there are some rights given in democracy which was not given in fascism, for example the rights of the people on how they wanted their government to be. It was more on whether Fascism had given more benefits or harm to Japan’s society and progress.
Also mentioned earlier on in the beginning of the essay, I have stated that I agreed on the fact that Fascism did benefit Japan to a large extent. I believed that Japan was more of harm as the disadvantages it brought was on a higher degree of intensity as compare to the advantages of Fascism to Japan when considering the timeline of Fascist Japan. Firstly, being under Fascism, the general term would be militaristic. This meant then the country would depend on the army and this meant war and fights. There will be causalities and the country will be more aggressive.
As more people are required to become patriotic soldiers, it would lead to a decrease in the workforce. Also, the most known negative impact of war is the breaking up of families and sadness in the society. The death count will surely rise and the armament would result in further tension between countries. Secondly, Fascism snatches away the freedom of the people and limited their thoughts and ideas as they were forced to just listen and obey the government. The people were controlled in every aspect of their lives and acted like slaves to the country. This led to the loss of incentive to innovate or to do one’s best.
As the regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite thus there is a disdain in human rights. Due to the fear of enemies and the need for security and through clever use of propaganda, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “needs for the country”. Thus people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc… Another cause of neglecting of domestic problems was due to the supremacy of the military.
Thirdly, the government controlled the workers and limited their freedom. Although trade unions, various work groups were given but all the groups did was to brainwash the workers into obedient ‘slaves’ to country willing to work for the common good of the country. The problem of the poor working conditions of the people were not solved but instead, they were taught to put their rights aside and accept the conditions than to cause riots so that the country could advance. The workers had no choice but to continue working and to not care about their rights.
People are supposed to have their basic rights while they service their country. The government freely limited people’s freedom and in a few examples later on, it shows how the government make the people look like ‘slaves’ to the country. Fourthly, the next example was the loss of woman rights and the limited freedom they had. The woman who worked for the country had to be stay in special flats so that they could be controlled and monitored. This is an obvious violation of privacy. The women had to be separated from their family just to earn them some money and get controlled by the government. Why would they be controlled?
This shows that the government thought of them as people who can’t be trusted, and someone who would betray the company and make an uproar? Since men are not required to go through these conditions, it clearly meant that they treated women as a lower race. Thus fascism had limited the rights of women and this was unacceptable as there is inequality. Fifthly, education was infused with military training and brained washed the children with traditional ideas of self sacrifice and total obedience allowing the Japanese military to have a ready supply of patriotic soldiers willing to lay their lives down and sacrifice themselves for the good of
Japan and to help build the country into an empire. This system is outrageous as children should not being going out into being soldiers and fight war. The brainwash have put the young children in unnecessary risk and the government uses them like pieces in a chess game and not giving any form of care to the people. Thus it was not beneficial as it is a negative impact on the country. Sixthly, with great power, one may just defy the government and the military did it. After the bombing of Zhang Zuo Lin, the army in Manchuria acted on its own to take control of Manchuria.
This showed that the armed forces in Japan had enough influence to be able to carry out invasions without the permission from the central government. This was dangerous as it could lead to further conflicts with other countries with the tendency of triggering a war. Seventhly, at 1925, the peace preservation law was passed to prevent communist and socialist influences or thinkers to influence the Japanese people. With the rise of militarism in the 1930s, this law was revised to broadly encompass any opponents of the state and military.
The law allowed the government to arrest people who were a danger to the government or who were critical of the government suppressing political freedom and allowing the military to gain more power and act unopposed. From 1925 through 1945, over 70,000 people were arrested under the provisions of the Peace Preservation Law, but only about 10 percent reached trial. People who were critical to the government also lost their jobs and it suppressed the people’s freedom even more. This was similar to what Hitler did why he would eliminate all of his opponents and those who went against him.
This law resulted in unnecessary arrest and imprisonment and suppressed political freedom. Lastly, due to the rise of militarism in the Show period, many Japanese politicians were being threatened, pressured to support the military or out rightly murdered for refusing to do so. This was not favourable as the government had more power than the army. Since there were more prime ministers that originated from the army, it is most likely that the government would favour the army more than the people.
Most of the resources are all used for the army instead of the people and led to sufferings due to the living conditions of the people. Summing up, Fascism did help Japan more than it had harmed her. In that period of time, there was still a possibility of war and Japan had to look strong. Furthermore, since America was expanding in the neighbour hood of Japan, the importance of safeguarding their territories became more important. As japan had a strong military, people would surely put it as a base on how they looked at Japan being a strong state.
Thus allowing militarism was something that had to be done to give the military more power and make other countries see her worth. Although there was limitation on peoples’ freedom and rights, it had to be done to make them be more focused on serving the country. Therefore, those impacts are not really that unjustifiable as they were part of the conditions to help advance the country. Like Hitler, he did made many negative impacts on Germany, but people still respected him as he helped to improve and make Germany proud again.
However, we should consider about the end effects of Fascism. To solve the problems in Japan, the military decided to invade for resources instead of thinking about other possibilities and they invested a lot on getting Manchuria. There were more conflicts with China, whereas Japan could have asked China for help instead thus they could support one another. Overall, in my opinion and putting all aside, I agree that fascism had helped the country quite a lot as the people worked together to bring pride to the country as the country advances.
But it all ended as nothing when fascism brought Japan to war where its resources were all used up and the living conditions of the people were not much improved. And it seemed that Japan has misused most of their resources on planning of invasions and war. Having to invade also creates more conflicts and makes Japan sink further into war by having to constantly get resources only to end up losing when two atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima. Thus, I agree that Fascism was not beneficial to Japan.