The American Occupation Summary

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The occupation of Japan by the United States at the end of World War Two was at the time and still today a very controversial subject. This difference in analysis is very pronounced in Walter LaFeber’s “To Create a New Japan: Reforming, Reversing, and Warring (1945-1951)” and Edwin Reischauer “The American Occupation”. Both accounts tell about the American occupation of Japan but differ in specific facts, events, and implications of the event. Ultimately in analyzing the pieces Reischauer account gives a more persuasive and realistic depiction of the occupation.
Both articles attempt to inform the reader on the U.S. occupation of Japan by discussion on how the nation was rebuilt and the economic as well as political motives the United States
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(Pg. 260) The United States had a political interest to not allow continued economic devastation in the conquered Japan. Macarthur’s heavy handed use of authority in preventing strikes and some forms of organized labor, as well as purges and executions of key wartime officials, provoked the ire of many Japanese. At the center of much controversy was the drafting of a new Japanese constitution, a process dominated by American sensibilities and beliefs. The use of the term “American Shogun” to describe Macarthur also helps to show Lafeber’s heavy handed American perspective. Washington feared “leftists” (264) taking power and the rise of Communism in the region. These points draw a conclusion of American self interest in the occupation in ensuring a peaceful ally. Lafeber’s overall tone is one of give and take, with the Japanese resisting American hegemony and American dominance ultimately prevailing. This approach contrasts the way that Reischauer presents the reasons for the American occupation. Reischauer described the entire occupation as being somewhat “friendly and benevolent.” (185) This friendliness and cooperation of both the Japanese and …show more content…
Both pieces talk about the purge of Japanese authorities but in very different ways. Reichauser talked of a “so called purge” in his piece (190) while Lafeber talks somewhat more extensively about it as a policy disliked by many Japanese who came to power. Lafeber seems to look at the issue from more of a practical standpoint, in that the purge removed many from positions of government and education that could have made the government more effective. Reichauser makes brief mention of the people involved, but his criticism of the purge rested in the anti-democratic nature of the event. Another key difference

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