Japan Must Restore Its National Pride, and the U.S. Should Reflect on Its Mistakes
70 Years after WW2


70 Years after WW2


Japan Must Restore Its National Pride, and the U.S. Should Reflect on Its Mistakes

“Reflecting on the past” is different from “apologizing”. Reflecting means looking back on the causes of the current events objectively and correcting mistaken thoughts and deeds. At present, China, a large communist power, is enhancing its economic and military power, posing a threat to its neighbors in Asia while the United States’ influence is waning . This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2, and we’d like to take this opportunity to consider some mistakes that the U.S. made before, during, and after the war.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress, said, “Post war, we started out on our path bearing in mind feelings of deep remorse over the war.” His speech in April of this year received applause from the audience, enlivening the mood of friendship. However, should it be only Japan that expresses remorse over WW2?

,After fighting the Cold War to its conclusion, the United States has been reigning as the only superpower in the world. These days, however, China is actively trying to overtake America, as can be seen in its recent activities, such as the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and building runways in the South China Sea.

In response, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to advance the reconstruction of the legal framework for Japan’s security, and has been looking to strengthen Japan-U.S. relations. Yet, there is something that the two countries have to do in order to become true friends. It is to reexamine the historical narrative, which the victors embraced; a narrative that views the War as a struggle between an “evil” Japan and the “good” allies. Doing so will guarantee a bright future for the relationship between Japan and the U.S..


Part 1

The U.S. Should Contemplate the Mistakes Roosevelt and Truman Made

Franklin. D. Roosevelt served as the president from the outbreak of the U.S.-Japan war to just before the end of the war, and Harry. S. Truman succeeded him and approved the atomic bombings of Japan.


The First Point to Reflect on, a Lack of Caution Towards Communism

The theme is one that ponders “the mistakes that the U.S. should reflect on”. So, exactly what mistakes were there?

The first point America needs to look back at was that it lacked a sense of urgency about Communism, causing it to spread throughout the world.
Let me give you some background.

In 1922, about 20 years before Japan and the U.S. came to clash, the Soviet Union,, an atheist and communist nation, was born. After becoming its leader, Stalin started to execute its citizens ― the so-called Great Purge.

Back then, there was genuine fear in Japan of a Soviet invasion. For this reason, Japan advanced into Mainland China in a move to counter the Soviet threat.

So Japan was concerned about the Soviet Union, and not the U.S.

At first, the U.S. did not diplomatically recognize the Soviets, but immediately after Roosevelt became president in 1933, he established diplomatic relations with them. It is said that there were some Soviet agents amongst his aids.

The confrontation between the Japanese and the Soviets, and Roosevelt’s desire to start war with Japan were the two factors that prompted Roosevelt to take measures, such as economic sanctions, against Japan that forced Japan into war with the U.S.

The United States cooperated with the Soviet Union

In February of 1945, the U.S. president Roosevelt, the Prime Minister Churchill, and the Soviet leader Stalin concluded the Yalta agreement, in which they decided that the victors would define and maintain the framework of the new international order after the war. The victors were the U.S., the U.K., France, the Soviet Union, and China. The postwar framework that the five nations created led to the global domination by two major powers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
But during the Cold War, the Americans and the Soviets antagonized each other, armed with nuclear weapons.

What’s worse, after the war, President Truman cut off support for the Chinese Nationalist Party, resulting in the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in China’s civil war. In 1949, the Communists established the People’s Republic of China, which permitted Communism to spread throughout Asia.


The Second Point to Reflect on, Racial Discrimination Was Behind the Dropping of the Atomic Bombs Over Japan

The United States should reflect on the droppings of the atomic bombs

Roosevelt ordered air strikes on major cities in Japan and pushed ahead with the Manhattan Program . After he died in April of 1945, Truman took over his project and decided to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There are those who say that the atomic bombs were dropped over Japan to bring an end to the war.

But that is merely an American excuse. Incendiary bombs had already burnt down the major cities of Japan, and the Japanese government was seeking peace talks, so there was no need to drop the atomic bombs.

There have been various opinions as to why the bombs were dropped, such as the U.S. just wanted to test new types of bombs, or that it wanted to keep the Soviets in check. The U.S. was concerned that the Soviets would gain supremacy in the world after the war. In fact, the Cold War began 2 years after the end of WW2, and the Soviets came to possess nuclear weapons later.

But one of the factors behind the atomic bombings was that the Americans of the time felt a strong sense of discrimination against the Japanese. At first, the Americans started the development of atomic weapons to fight against the Germans, but they did not want to target Germany because it was a white country, so the Americans chose Japan, a country of the yellow race, to be the first victim of its atomic bombings.

Furthermore, Roosevelt is known for the setting up the Japanese internment camps which targeted U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry, and froze Japanese assets. After receiving the report on the successful dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Truman expressed his joy by saying, “This is the largest event in history.”

Later, the American diplomat George Kennan, who proposed a policy to contain Soviet expansion during the Cold War, pointed out that America has often overestimated China and underestimated Japan, urging Americans to reflect on this tendency.

Japan Must Restore Its National Pride, and the U.S. Should Reflect on Its Mistakes
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