Japan's Aggression Analysis

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The Meiji government 's hand in the rapid industrialization of Japan beginning in the 1870s played a key role in its growing military and territorial ambitions. Eventually, Japan escalated its aggression in the 1920s and used its newfound power to challenge the status quo and pursue regional hegemony. Western states, especially the United States, did not take kindly to Japan 's endeavors, and were forced to put an end to its aggression. The issue of Japan 's threat to American interests in the region during the period prior to its defeat in World War II leads to a debate that questions whether conflict between the two states was inevitable or avoidable. This essay will analyze Japan 's rise and influence as a superpower that put it in opposition…show more content…
Japan entangled itself in the affairs of foreign states, as evidenced by its involvement in Korea that prompted the Sino-Japanese War, which resulted in Japanese victory (Borthwick 145). Following the war, Japan benefited from territorial gains along with economic opportunities that gave it access to more treaty ports. However, these rewards proved to not be enough for Japan, as it pressed for a higher military buildup. This led to another war called the Russo-Japanese War, where Japan succeeded in having a strong economic stake in Manchuria, the region between China and Russia. (Borthwick 149). Indeed, Japan clearly believed that it could strive for more gains despite all of the opposition it would bring along. According to the assumptions of defensive realism, the majority of states will only acquire enough power to adequately defend itself from outside forces. Contrary to this notion, Japan continued to seek to expand its empire and maximize its power, thus following the route of offensive realism. In essence, Japan appeared to not be satisfied with the status quo and therefore felt that it had a capacity to directly challenge other states, even at the expense of its security. These military actions by Japan reached a culmination when the militarists took control of the government. As a result, the new regime rejected the principles of Shidehara diplomacy, which had previously highlighted the importance of maintaining cooperation with Western states. This marked the departure of Japan from the League of Nations, an international institution, along with its democratic ideals. By removing its association with the West, Japan positioned itself into breaking the temporary peace that existed between the major states prior to World War II. As Japan 's military pact with Germany and Italy that aligned it
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