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History of Japan & USA

During the 1st World War, Japan was with the Allied powers, but had only a small role in fighting German colonial forces in East Asia. In the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 which followed, Japan's suggestion of appending a "racial equality clause" to the written agreement of the League of Nations was not heard by America, Britain & Australia. Unwanted pride and racial discrimination towards the Japanese had annoyed Japanese-Western relationships since the enforced opening of the nation during the 1800s, and were again a significant component for the degradation of relations in the decades before World War 2. During 1924, for instance, the US Congress passed the Exclusion Act that prohibited further immigration from Japan (Feis, 1950).

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After WW1, Japan's economical situation worsened. The Great Kanto Earthquake during 1923 and the world wide recession of 1929 also aggravated the crisis. During the years succeeding 1930, the military took over almost complete control from the government. Several political dictators were killed, and communists suffered (Feis, 1950).Teaching someone to accept doctrines uncritically and censorship in education and media were more increased in extent. Navy and army officers soon took over several of the important offices, even the prime minister’s post.

In 1940, Japan occupied French Indochina (Vietnam) upon agreement with the French Vichy government, and joined the Axis powers Germany and Italy. These actions intensified Japan's conflict with the United States and Great Britain which reacted with an oil boycott. The resulting oil shortage and failures to solve the conflict diplomatically made Japan decide to capture the oil rich Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and to start a war with the US and Great Britain.

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During December 1941, Japan attacked the Allied powers at Pearl Harbor and several other points throughout the Pacific. This unexpected attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships (two of which were raised and returned to service late in the war) and damaged four more. The Japanese also sank or destroyed 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, and 1 minelayer, damaged almost 200 aircrafts, and caused human destruction in which 2402 were killed and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not hit. Japanese losses were minimal, at 29 aircraft and four midget submarines, with 65 servicemen killed or wounded.

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These huge Japanese successes procured without any kind of diplomatic formalities, shocked and angered the previously divided American population into a level of intentional unification hardly seen ever before or since then (Morley and Titus, 1994). For the following 5 months, till the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan's far-reaching offences continued uninterrupted by fruitful opposition. American and Allied attitude suffered accordingly. Under general political situations, an accommodation might have been thought of.

Japan was able to expand her control over a relatively huge territory that almost touched the border of India in the West and New Guinea in the South during the following 6 months. The notable event which took place in the Pacific War was the battle of Midway in the year 1942. From then on, the Allied forces gradually fought back the territories won by Japan. During the year 1944, frequent air raids started over Japan. In spring 1945, US forces invaded Okinawa in one of the war's bloodiest battles (Borg, 1973). On July 27, 1945, United States and other Allied powers asked Japan in the Potsdam Declaration to surrender unconditionally, or deterioration would continue. Anyhow, the military never considered surrendering under such terms(Borg, 1973). Following that US military forces dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, and also the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan on August 8. On August 14, however, Emperor Showa finally decided to surrender unconditionally which led to the end of the war. This bombing has serviced to prohibit future attacks on American soil. The atomic bomb may have killed thousands, but it also saved several million citizens in the future

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