World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Constitution of Japan
The Constitution of Japan is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May 1947, as a new constitution for a post-war Japan; the constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights. Under its terms, the Emperor of Japan is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" and exercises a purely ceremonial role without the possession of sovereignty; the constitution known as the "Post-war Constitution" or the "Peace Constitution", is best known for its Article 9, by which Japan renounces its right to wage war. The constitution was drawn up during the Allied occupation that followed World War II and was intended to replace Japan's previous militaristic system of quasi-absolute monarchy with a form of liberal democracy. No amendment has been made to it since its adoption; the Meiji Constitution was the fundamental law of the Empire of Japan, propagated during the reign of Emperor Meiji. It provided for a form of mixed constitutional and absolute monarchy, based on the Prussian and British models.
In theory, the Emperor of Japan was the supreme ruler, the cabinet, whose prime minister was elected by a privy council, were his followers. Under the Meiji Constitution, the prime minister and his cabinet were not chosen from the elected members of the Diet. Pursuing the regular amending procedure of the "Meiji Constitution", it was revised to become the "Post-war Constitution" on 3 November 1946; the Post-war Constitution has been in force since 3 May 1947. On 26 July 1945, Allied leaders Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman, Chiang Kai-shek issued the Potsdam Declaration, which demanded Japan's unconditional surrender; this declaration defined the major goals of the post-surrender Allied occupation: "The Japanese government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established". In addition, the document stated: "The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government".
The Allies sought not punishment or reparations from a militaristic foe, but fundamental changes in the nature of its political system. In the words of political scientist Robert E. Ward: "The occupation was the single most exhaustively planned operation of massive and externally directed political change in world history." The wording of the Potsdam Declaration—"The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles..."—and the initial post-surrender measures taken by Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, suggest that neither he nor his superiors in Washington intended to impose a new political system on Japan unilaterally. Instead, they wished to encourage Japan's new leaders to initiate democratic reforms on their own, but by early 1946, MacArthur's staff and Japanese officials were at odds over the most fundamental issue, the writing of a new Constitution. Emperor Hirohito, Prime Minister Kijūrō Shidehara and most of the cabinet members were reluctant to take the drastic step of replacing the 1889 Meiji Constitution with a more liberal document.
In late 1945, Shidehara appointed Jōji Matsumoto, state minister without portfolio, head of a blue-ribbon committee of Constitutional scholars to suggest revisions. The Matsumoto Commission's recommendations, made public in February 1946, were quite conservative as "no more than a touching-up of the Meiji Constitution"). MacArthur rejected them outright and ordered his staff to draft a new document. An additional reason for this was that on 24 January 1946, Prime Minister Shidehara had suggested to MacArthur that the new Constitution should contain an article renouncing war. Much of the drafting was done by two senior army officers with law degrees: Milo Rowell and Courtney Whitney, although others chosen by MacArthur had a large say in the document; the articles about equality between men and women were written by Beate Sirota. Although the document's authors were non-Japanese, they took into account the Meiji Constitution, the demands of Japanese lawyers, the opinions of pacifist political leaders such as Shidehara and Shigeru Yoshida, the draft presented by the Constitution Research Association under the chairmanship of Suzuki Yasuzō, translated into English in its entirety by the end of December 1945.
MacArthur gave the authors less than a week to complete the draft, presented to surprised Japanese officials on 13 February 1946. On 6 March 1946, the government publicly disclosed an outline of the pending Constitution. On 10 April, elections were held for the House of Representatives of the Ninetieth Imperial Diet, which would consider the proposed Constitution; the election law having been changed, this was the first general election in Japan in which women were permitted to vote. The MacArthur draft, which proposed a unicameral legislature, was changed at the insistence of the Japanese to allow a bicameral one, with both houses being elected. In most other important respects, the government adopted the ideas embodied in the 13 February document in its own draft proposal of 6 March; these included the con
The Heian period is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after modern Kyōto, it is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors had mothers from the Fujiwara family. Heian means "peace" in Japanese; the Heian period was preceded by the Nara period and began in 794 CE after the movement of the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō, by the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu Kanmu first tried to move the capital to Nagaoka-kyō, but a series of disasters befell the city, prompting the emperor to relocate the capital a second time, to Heian. A rebellion occurred in China in the last years of the 9th century, making the political situation unstable.
The Japanese missions to Tang China was suspended and the influx of Chinese exports halted, a fact which facilitated the independent growth of Japanese culture called kokufu bunka. Therefore, the Heian Period is considered a high point in Japanese culture that generations have always admired; the period is noted for the rise of the samurai class, which would take power and start the feudal period of Japan. Nominally, sovereignty lay in the emperor but in fact, power was wielded by the Fujiwara nobility. However, to protect their interests in the provinces, the Fujiwara, other noble families required guards and soldiers; the warrior class made steady political gains throughout the Heian period. As early as 939 CE, Taira no Masakado threatened the authority of the central government, leading an uprising in the eastern province of Hitachi, simultaneously, Fujiwara no Sumitomo rebelled in the west. Still, a true military takeover of the Japanese government was centuries away, when much of the strength of the government would lie within the private armies of the shogunate.
The entry of the warrior class into court influence was a result of the Hōgen Rebellion. At this time Taira no Kiyomori revived the Fujiwara practices by placing his grandson on the throne to rule Japan by regency, their clan, the Taira, would not be overthrown until after the Genpei War, which marked the start of the Kamakura shogunate. The Kamakura period began in 1185 when Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the emperors and established the shogunate in Kamakura; when Emperor Kanmu moved the capital to Heian-kyō, which remained the imperial capital for the next 1,000 years, he did so not only to strengthen imperial authority but to improve his seat of government geopolitically. Nara was abandoned after only 70 years in part due to the ascendancy of Dōkyō and the encroaching secular power of the Buddhist institutions there. Kyōto had good river access to the sea and could be reached by land routes from the eastern provinces; the early Heian period continued Nara culture. Kanmu endeavored to improve the Tang-style administrative system, in use.
Known as the ritsuryō, this system attempted to recreate the Tang imperium in Japan, despite the "tremendous differences in the levels of development between the two countries". Despite the decline of the Taika–Taihō reforms, imperial government was vigorous during the early Heian period. Kanmu's avoidance of drastic reform decreased the intensity of political struggles, he became recognized as one of Japan's most forceful emperors. Although Kanmu had abandoned universal conscription in 792, he still waged major military offensives to subjugate the Emishi, possible descendants of the displaced Jōmon, living in northern and eastern Japan. After making temporary gains in 794, in 797, Kanmu appointed a new commander, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, under the title Sei-i Taishōgun. By 801, the shōgun had defeated the Emishi and had extended the imperial domains to the eastern end of Honshū. Imperial control over the provinces was tenuous at best, however. In the ninth and tenth centuries, much authority was lost to the great families, who disregarded the Chinese-style land and tax systems imposed by the government in Kyoto.
Stability came to Japan, but though succession was ensured for the imperial family through heredity, power again concentrated in the hands of one noble family, the Fujiwara which helped Japan develop more. Following Kanmu's death in 806 and a succession struggle among his sons, two new offices were established in an effort to adjust the Taika–Taihō administrative structure. Through the new Emperor's Private Office, the emperor could issue administrative edicts more directly and with more self-assurance than before; the new Metropolitan Police Board replaced the ceremonial imperial guard units. While these two offices strengthened the emperor's position temporarily, soon they and other Chinese-style structures were bypassed in the developing state. In 838 the end of the imperial-sanctioned missions to Tang China, which had begun in 630, marked the effective end of Chinese influence. Tang China was in a state of decline, Chinese Buddhists were persecuted, undermining Japanese respect for Chinese institutions.
Japan began to turn inward. As the Soga clan had taken control of the throne in the sixth century, the Fujiwara by the ninth century had intermarried with the imperial family, one of their members was the first head of the Emperor's Private O
Mitani Takanobu was a Japanese Home Ministry government official. He was born in Kyoto Prefecture, he graduated from the University of Tokyo. He was a Christian, he was Ambassador of Japan to France. He was Grand Chamberlain of Japan. Keiichiro Asao, maternal grandson 三谷隆信の墓
Count Tokugawa Satotaka was a Japanese samurai of the late Edo period who became a government official in the Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa eras. Younger brother of Tokugawa Iesato, his childhood name was Bannosuke. Served as a member of the House of Peers and the Board of Trustees of Gakushūin. In the pre-1945 nobility, he held the rank of count. Father: Tokugawa Yoshiyori Mother: Takai Takeko Wives: Kyoko, Daughter of 15th shōgun Yoshinobu Shimazu Tomoko, Daughter of Shimazu Tadayoshi Children: Sumiko married Naoyoshi Mizoguchi by Kyoko Tokiko married Tsuchiya Kennao by Kyoko Tsuyako married Tachibana Kantoku by Kyoko Shuko married Tokugawa Takesada of Matsudo-Tokugawa Family by Kyoko Satonari Tokugawa by Tomoko Keiko married Okubo Kan’ichi by Tomoko
Yoneda Torao was an Imperial Japanese Army veteran of the Boshin War. He was born in Kumamoto Prefecture, he was Grand Chamberlain of Japan. He was recipient of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. Office of Historiography, ed. "百官履歴 下巻", Nihon Shiseki Kyokai, 1928. Inamura and others, "大正過去帳 - 物故人名辞典", Tokyo Bijutsu, 1973. Historical Society of Japan, ed. "明治維新人名辞典", Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1981. Asahi Shimbun, "朝日日本歴史人物事典", Asahi Shinbunsha 1994. Kasumi Kaikan Editorial Committee for a Complete Compilation of Genealogies of Peers, 平成新修旧華族家系大成 上巻, Kasumi Kaikan, 1996. Hata, Ikuhiko, ed. "日本官僚制総合事典: 1868 – 2000", Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 2001. Yasuoka, Akio, ed. "幕末維新大人名事典 上巻", Shin Jinbutsu Oraisha, 2010
Hatano Norinao was Grand Chamberlain of Japan. He was born in Saga Prefecture, he was recipient of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, the Order of the Rising Sun and the Victory Medal for World War I. 霞会館華族家系大成編輯委員会『平成新修旧華族家系大成』（霞会館、1996年） 衆議院・参議院編『議会制度七十年史』（大蔵省印刷局、1962年） 波多野敬直経歴