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Asian Communism and the “Reverse Course”

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Presentation on theme: "Asian Communism and the “Reverse Course”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Asian Communism and the “Reverse Course”

2 American Occupation Initial Purposes Conduct Contrast with Iraq
Disarmament Democratization Conduct MacArthur as SCAP Thin US layer Use Japanese bureaucracy Contrast with Iraq

3 Shift in US Thinking Interplay of foreign/domestic issues
Foreign factors Fear of Soviet Communism Rise of Mao and CCP in China North/South split in Korea Southeast Asia as well

4 US Shift (Cont) Domestic Factors (partial response to foreign “threat’) Cost factors in Occupation Republican criticism of Truman administration China Lobby Ultimately, McCarthyism

5 Upshot US change “Bulwark of democracy” in Asia
From idealistic democratic Japan To a renewed and economically viable Japan “Bulwark of democracy” in Asia Requires rebuilding and not reforming

6 Reverse Course Breath of fresh air for conservatives
Shock of purge of government and business leaders, constitution, growth of left Disappointment of left Struggle into 1960s, effecting student movement, large segment of society Seeds of postwar system The Japan with which we are familiar Shift unmistakable by 1948 Pronounced after Mao’s victory in 1949

7 Political Implications
Depurging of right Many returned to civil, political life Kishi Nobusuke most famous example Now, “Red Purge” Thousands fired from labor unions, businesses Many jailed Especially hurt labor

8 Conservative Revival Left-wing coalition governments lose out
Yoshida Shigeru in power Established the conservative political base, still unbroken Cemented US-Japan relationship Sticking point: Article IX

9 Economic Implications
Dodge Line adopted to facilitate revival 3/19/49 Joseph M. Dodge in Japan Stem inflation, balance budget Reduce money supply Set 360 yen to dollar Bitterly opposed 500,000 lost jobs Deflation But successful in stabilizing economy

10 Zaibatsu Policy Reversal
No longer attacked: cosmetic changes in ownership patterns Still around today (keiretsu), neo-zaibatsu Irony: great US business support for not breaking up zaibatsu

11 Japanese Labor Shift from SCAP pro-labor stance Conservative gov’t.
MacArthur forbids May Day demo ‘47 Labor loses support of SCAP and Japan Never becomes a political force in Japan Conservative gov’t. repression

12 Key Role of Korean War, June 1950:National Police Force of 75,000 (later SDF) Helped speed San Francisco Treaty Sept. 8, 1951 “Gift from the Gods” Economic boom


14 Ending the Occupation Occupation ends formally 4/28/52
De facto earlier as SCAP role ceased due to war Soon followed by US-Japan Security Treaty Japan as US client US bases in Japan Nuclear umbrella

15 Assessing the Occupation I
Mixed review Better than anyone expected Uniqueness of the experiment Compare with Iraq? Confidence/arrogance of US An unintended consequence Founding fathers of Japanolgy Like Peace Corps and Mormon missions

16 Assessment II Positive side:
Constitution—no amendments to a foreign constitution Land Reform—support for LDP Negative: Zaibatsu busting—Mitsubishi et al still with us

17 Assessment II Mixed assessment: Education Labor Local government
Economic recovery still stunning The human connection still stands out Popcorn on the Ginza and “Sayonara” Question for the semester: How democratic is Japan? What is the US credit/blame for that?

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