The impact of World War 1 on Japanese development in the early 20th century

2503 Words Dec 23rd, 2009 11 Pages
'Assess the impact of World War 1 on Japanese development in the early 20th century.'"World War 1 and its' aftermath, together with the great Tokyo earthquake of 1923, brought profound changes in social, intellectual, and urban consciousness." (Jansen 496)World War 1 caused many changes in the nation of Japan, both positive and negative. The whole infrastructure of the country altered immensely during the early 20th century, even when compared to the drastic modernisation of the Meiji Restoration. In the first quarter of the 20th century Japan had no less than 3 different emperors, and subsequently experienced 3 different historical eras. July 1912 saw the death of the much exulted Emperor Meiji, his successor (called the Taisho Emperor) …show more content…
Of the big four (Mitsui, Sumitomo, Mitsubishi and Yasuda) the first three concentrated on heavy industry such as ship-building. This proved a lucrative move considering the demand for ships during the war, for military and trade purposes. Of course none of these changes would have taken place had the government not agreed to the trade agreements and industrial tutoring of Europe and the United States.

World War 1 also ushered in changes in the government of Japan. These changes were less visible differences and more a change in the ideas of how a government should be structured. Political party government took a long time to take hold.

"The Meiji Constitution was deliberately vague on the subject of executive responsibility. Sovereignty and final authority in all matters rested with the throne, but at the same time the ruler had to be protected from active participation lest he be found fallible." (Jansen 496)Up until 1921, considered the dawn of party politics in Japan, the government system was set up of four main parts. A powerful Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister, was in control of local government and national police. (The Emperor was theoretically head of the armed services, but generals and admirals were selected by the staff of the armed services to protect the Emperor from participation) A Privy Council made of imperial appointees had to approve of important decisions on national policy or the constitution. A House of Peers,
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