Hirohito’s role and significance in the growth of Essay

This essay has a total of 2054 words and 11 pages.

Hirohito’s role and significance in the growth of Japanese militarism


1925-41


• Tsinan incident 1928


• The Manchurian Incident 1931


• Shanghai 1932


• February rebellion 1936


• Sino Japanese war 1932-41


• The influence of Hirohito’s court group


• Emperor worship to gain military support


• Hirohito’s unwillingness to control the army


• Hirohito’s position as supreme commander


• The military taking matters into their own hands


The PowerPoint presentation in the background is a summary of my speech and if at any time
you become lost it will assist you in understanding what I am saying.



Emperor Hirohito’s reign was marked in its early stages by rapid militarisation, later
manifesting itself by aggression against Manchuria and China. From the 1930s til the end
of WWII the cult of the emperor was a crucial factor in the growth of nationalism and
Japans aggressive territorial expansion. Between the wars, extreme nationalists in the
army increasingly controlled political life, reviving traditional beliefs, such as the
divinity of Emperor Hirohito, to create an autocratic state. The military had substantial
influence on the diet through the role of the military ministers and political
assassinations during the 1930s. The military, backed by nationalist sentiment at home,
embarked on a policy of colonial expansion to relieve pressure on the overpopulated
country. This led to the conquest of Manchuria-1931, the invasion of China-1937, and the
Sino Japanese war.



Hirohito succeeded the throne in 1926 and his reign was known as the Showa era. Throughout
his sovereignty Hirohito was firmly supported and guided by the members of the court
group. These men helped to resolve disputes within the government, gather information for
the emperor and exert political influence on him. Hirohito had command over the court
group, whose main objectives were to assist Hirohito in exercising real supervision, help
him in choosing prime ministers, and to ensure that his will was incorporated into the
decisions of the cabinet. Throughout his reign emperor Hirohito proved to be a politically
active emperor. Although Hirohito maintained a very keen interest in the military side of
his public life, he and his associates preferred to concentrate on domestic affairs.
Hirohito had an unwillingness to be used by the party government, yet he was less than
enthusiastic in asserting over his armed forces the control that was required of him by
law. This heightened the military’s thinking that they could take matters into their own
hands, which began after enthronement of the emperor.



The enthronement of Emperor Hirohito began the official and accelerated emperor cult. The
enthronement pronounced that the emperor, who would rule as well as reign, had been made
into a living god and the Japanese people were taught that they held an innate moral
superiority as a people and a race. The long enthronement process built up and released
enormous popular energy and enthusiasm, and played a major role in enticing people to the
side of the throne. The early Showa nationalism was embodied by a cult figure and
commended militarism, dictatorship and the glorification of war. The military throughout
the 1930s used the emperor ideology to rally the Japanese nation to support the growth of
militarism and expansion.



Hirohito was utilized by the military to gain national support through the revival of the
emperor cult. The armed forces also applied to their full advantage Hirohito’s reluctance
to punish perpetrators of army cover-ups. Hirohito was an active emperor among the diet;
he intervened in the decisions of the party cabinets and the Privy Council and forced the
diet to halt debates to suit his convenience. Yet extreme nationalists in the army
increasingly controlled political life. The army and navy could make it impossible for a
prime minister to govern by refusing to support the cabinet and not allowing an officer to
be allocated as the minister for the armed force. The views of extremists became
increasingly influential in Japan during the 1930s, and they used intimidation and
assassination of politicians, businessmen and armed service leaders as means to achieve
their aims. The military honed the idea of their right to supreme command by the stoking
up of emperor worship which lowered the level of national political debate and gained
public support. The first main instance of the army spiralling out of control, through
loosening discipline is the Tsinan incident in 1928.



Hirohito had given consent to dispatch troops to protect Japanese lives during the Chinese
civil war, however general Fukuda on his own intuitive decided to proceed inland to
Tsinan. This unleashing of Japanese troops destroyed chances of repairing Sino Japanese
relations, yet instead of holding general Fukudu responsible Hirohito shifted the blame to
the prime minister. This highlights Hirohito's reluctance to discipline the military which
ultimately lead to their control of Japan throughout the 1930s.



The first example of Hirohito attempting to re-establish discipline within the military
was after the assassination of the Chinese warlord by the Japanese Kwantung army. Emperor
Continues for 6 more pages >>




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