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
Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers
The Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Allied occupation of Japan following World War II. It issued SCAP Directive to the Japanese government, aiming to transform it into a non-terrorist nation. In Japan, the position was referred to as GHQ, as SCAP referred to the offices of the occupation, including a staff of several hundred U. S. civil servants as well as military personnel. Some of these personnel wrote a first draft of the Japanese Constitution, which the National Diet ratified after a few amendments. Australian, British and New Zealand forces under SCAP were organized into a sub-command known as British Commonwealth Occupation Force; these actions led MacArthur to be viewed as the new Imperial force in Japan by many Japanese political and civilian figures being considered to be the rebirth of the shōgun-style government which Japan was ruled under until the start of the Meiji Restoration. Biographer William Manchester argues that without MacArthur's leadership, Japan would not have been able to make the move from an imperial, totalitarian state, to a democracy.
At his appointment, MacArthur announced that he sought to "restore security and self-respect" to the Japanese people. One of the largest of the SCAP programs was Public Health and Welfare, headed by U. S. Army Colonel Crawford F. Sams. Working with the SCAP staff of 150, Sams directed the welfare work of the American doctors, organized new Japanese medical welfare systems along American lines; the Japanese population was physically badly worn down and medicines were scarce, sanitary systems had been bombed out in larger cities. His earliest priorities were in distributing food supplies from the U. S. Millions of refugees from the defunct overseas Empire were pouring in in bad physical shape, with a high risk of introducing smallpox and cholera; the outbreaks that did occur were localized, as emergency immunization, quarantine and delousing prevented massive epidemics. Sams, promoted to Brigadier General in 1948, worked with Japanese officials to establish vaccine laboratories, reorganize hospitals along American lines, upgrade medical and nursing schools, bring together Japanese, U.
S. teams that dealt with disasters, child care, health insurance. He set up an Institute of Public Health for educating public health workers and a National Institute of Health for research, set up statistical divisions and data collection systems. SCAP arrested 28 suspected war criminals on account of crimes against peace, but it did not conduct the Tokyo trials. President Harry Truman had negotiated Japanese surrender on the condition the Emperor would not be executed or put on trial. SCAP carried out that policy; as soon as November 26, 1945, MacArthur confirmed to admiral Mitsumasa Yonai that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary. Before the war crimes trials convened, SCAP, the IPS and Shōwa officials worked behind the scenes not only to prevent the imperial family being indicted, but to slant the testimony of the defendants to ensure that no one implicated the Emperor. High officials in court circles and the Shōwa government collaborated with Allied GHQ in compiling lists of prospective war criminals, while the individuals arrested as Class A suspects and incarcerated in Sugamo Prison solemnly vowed to protect their sovereign against any possible taint of war responsibility.
As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, MacArthur decided not to prosecute Shiro Ishii and all members of the bacteriological research units in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. On May 6, 1947, he wrote to Washington that "additional data some statements from Ishii can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as "War Crimes" evidence." The deal was concluded in 1948. According to historian Herbert Bix in Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, "MacArthur's extraordinary measures to save the Emperor from trial as a war criminal had a lasting and profoundly distorting impact on Japanese understanding of the lost war." Above the political and economic control SCAP had for the seven years following Japan's surrender, SCAP had strict control over all of the Japanese media, under the formation of the Civil Censorship Detachment of SCAP. The CCD banned a total of 31 topics from all forms of media.
These topics included: Criticism of SCAP. All Allied countries. Criticism of Allied policy pre- and post-war. Any form of imperial propaganda. Defense of war criminals. Praise of "undemocratic" forms of government, though praise of SCAP itself was permitted; the atomic bomb. Black market activities. Open discussion of allied diplomatic relations. Although some of the CCD censorship laws relaxed towards the end of SCAP, some topics, like the atomic bomb, were taboo until 1952 at the end of the occupation. MacArthur was succeeded as SCAP by General Matthew Ridgway when MacArthur was relieved by President Harry S. Truman during the Korean War in April 1951; when the Treaty of San Francisco came into effect on April 28, 1952, the post of SCAP lapsed. Bix, Herbert P.. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-019314-0. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-04686-1.
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, the United States with its allies after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U. S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U. S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, the Truman Doctrine of 1947, ending between the Revolutions of 1989, which ended communism in Eastern Europe, the 1991 collapse of the USSR, when nations of the Soviet Union abolished communism and restored their independence. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars; the conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. The capitalist West was led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system, as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes, most of which were the Western Bloc's former colonies.
Some major Cold War frontlines such as Indochina and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was a self-proclaimed Marxist–Leninist state led by its Communist Party, which in turn was dominated by a totalitarian leader with different titles over time, a small committee called the Politburo; the Party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy, many organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites, funded communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with communist China following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. The two worlds were fighting for dominance in low-developed regions known as the Third World. In time, a neutral bloc arose in these regions with the Non-Aligned Movement, which sought good relations with both sides. Notwithstanding isolated incidents of air-to-air dogfights and shoot-downs, the two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat. However, both were armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war.
Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events, technological competitions such as the Space Race; the first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe and creating the NATO alliance; the Berlin Blockade was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War, the conflict expanded.
The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; the expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis, the Berlin Crisis of 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon in Europe and the US; the peace movement, in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, continued to grow through the'70s and'80s with large protest marches and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies France, demonstrated greater independence of action.
The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War, which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments. By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979; the early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was suffering from economic stag
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC provides bibliographic and full-text information to anyone. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog in the world. WorldCat has holding records from private libraries worldwide; the Open WorldCat program, launched in late 2003, exposed a subset of WorldCat records to Web users via popular Internet search and bookselling sites.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record. WikiD was phased out; the Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users; this around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries. Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog. OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections.
It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
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Pacifism is opposition to war, militarism, or violence. The word pacifism was coined by the French peace campaigner Émile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress in Glasgow in 1901. A related term is ahimsa, a core philosophy in Hinduism and Jainism. While modern connotations are recent, having been explicated since the 19th century, ancient references abound. In modern times, interest was revived by Leo Tolstoy in his late works in The Kingdom of God Is Within You. Mohandas Gandhi propounded the practice of steadfast nonviolent opposition which he called "satyagraha", instrumental in its role in the Indian Independence Movement, its effectiveness served as inspiration to Martin Luther King Jr. James Lawson, James Bevel, Thich Nhat Hanh and many others in the civil rights movement. Pacifism covers a spectrum of views, including the belief that international disputes can and should be peacefully resolved, calls for the abolition of the institutions of the military and war, opposition to any organization of society through governmental force, rejection of the use of physical violence to obtain political, economic or social goals, the obliteration of force, opposition to violence under any circumstance defence of self and others.
Historians of pacifism Peter Brock and Thomas Paul Socknat define pacifism "in the sense accepted in English-speaking areas" as "an unconditional rejection of all forms of warfare". Philosopher Jenny Teichman defines the main form of pacifism as "anti-warism", the rejection of all forms of warfare. Teichman's beliefs have been summarized by Brian Orend as "... A pacifist believes there are no moral grounds which can justify resorting to war. War, for the pacifist, is always wrong." In a sense the philosophy is based on the idea. Pacifism may be based on moral principles or pragmatism. Principled pacifism holds that at some point along the spectrum from war to interpersonal physical violence, such violence becomes morally wrong. Pragmatic pacifism holds that the costs of war and interpersonal violence are so substantial that better ways of resolving disputes must be found. Pacifists reject theories of Just War; some pacifists follow principles of nonviolence, believing that nonviolent action is morally superior and/or most effective.
Some however, support physical violence for emergency defence of self or others. Others support destruction of property in such emergencies or for conducting symbolic acts of resistance like pouring red paint to represent blood on the outside of military recruiting offices or entering air force bases and hammering on military aircraft. Not all nonviolent resistance is based on a fundamental rejection of all violence in all circumstances. Many leaders and participants in such movements, while recognizing the importance of using non-violent methods in particular circumstances, have not been absolute pacifists. Sometimes, as with the civil rights movement's march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, they have called for armed protection; the interconnections between civil resistance and factors of force are complex. An absolute pacifist is described by the British Broadcasting Corporation as one who believes that human life is so valuable, that a human should never be killed and war should never be conducted in self-defense.
The principle is described as difficult to abide by due to violence not being available as a tool to aid a person, being harmed or killed. It is further claimed that such a pacifist could logically argue that violence leads to more undesirable results than non-violence. Although all pacifists are opposed to war between nation states, there have been occasions where pacifists have supported military conflict in the case of civil war or revolution. For instance, during the American Civil War, both the American Peace Society and some former members of the Non-Resistance Society supported the Union's military campaign, arguing they were carrying out a "police action" against the Confederacy, whose act of Secession they regarded as criminal. Following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, French pacifist René Gérin urged support for the Spanish Republic. Gérin argued that the Spanish Nationalists were "comparable to an individual enemy" and the Republic's war effort was equivalent to the action of a domestic police force suppressing crime.
In the 1960s, some pacifists associated with the New Left supported wars of national liberation and supported groups such as the Viet Cong and the Algerian FLN, arguing peaceful attempts to liberate such nations were no longer viable, war was thus the only option. Advocacy of pacifism can be found far back in literature. During the Warring States period, the pacifist Mohist School opposed aggressive war between the feudal states, they took this belief into action by using their famed defensive strategies to defend smaller states from invasion from larger states, hoping to dissuade feudal lords from costly warfare. The Seven Military Classics of ancient China view warfare negatively, as a last resort. For example, the Three Strategies of Huang Shigong says: "As for the military, it is not an auspicious instrument; the Taoist scripture "Classic of Great Peace" foretells "the coming Age of Great Peace". The Taiping Jing advocates "a world full of peace"; the Lemba religion of southern Frenc
The Meiji Restoration known as the Meiji Renovation, Reform, or Renewal, was an event that restored practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were ruling emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities and consolidated the political system under the emperor of Japan; the goals of the restored government were expressed by the new emperor in the Charter Oath. The Restoration led to enormous changes in Japan's political and social structure and spanned both the late Edo period and the beginning of the Meiji period; the Japanese knew that they were behind the Western world when American Commodore Matthew C. Perry came to Japan in 1853 in large warships with armament and technology that far outclassed those of Japan with the intent to conclude a treaty that would open up Japanese ports to trade. Figures like Shimazu Nariakira concluded. Observing Japan's response to the Western powers, Chinese general Li Hongzhang considered Japan to be China's "principal security threat" as early as 1863, five years before the Meiji Restoration.
The leaders of the Meiji Restoration, as this revolution came to be known, acted in the name of restoring imperial rule to strengthen Japan against the threat represented by the colonial powers of the day, bringing to an end the era known as sakoku. The word "Meiji" means "enlightened rule" and the goal was to combine "modern advances" with traditional "eastern" values; the main leaders of this were Itō Hirobumi, Matsukata Masayoshi, Kido Takayoshi, Itagaki Taisuke, Yamagata Aritomo, Mori Arinori, Ōkubo Toshimichi, Yamaguchi Naoyoshi. The foundation of the Meiji Restoration was the 1866 Satsuma-Chōshū Alliance between Saigō Takamori and Kido Takayoshi, leaders of the reformist elements in the Satsuma Domain and Chōshū Domain; these two leaders supported the Emperor Kōmei and were brought together by Sakamoto Ryōma for the purpose of challenging the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and restoring the Emperor to power. After Kōmei's death on January 30, 1867, Meiji ascended the throne on February 3; this period saw Japan change from being a feudal society to having a market economy and left the Japanese with a lingering influence of Modernity.
The Tokugawa government had been founded in the 17th century and focused on reestablishing order in social and international affairs after a century of warfare. The political structure, established by Ieyasu and solidified under his two immediate successors, his son Hidetada and grandson Iemitsu, bound all daimyōs to the shogunate and limited any individual daimyō from acquiring too much land or power; the Tokugawa shogunate came to its official end on November 9, 1867, when Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the 15th Tokugawa shōgun, "put his prerogatives at the Emperor's disposal" and resigned 10 days later. This was the "restoration" of imperial rule – although Yoshinobu still had significant influence and it was not until January 3, the following year, with the young Emperor's edict, that the restoration occurred. Shortly thereafter in January 1868, the Boshin War started with the Battle of Toba–Fushimi in which Chōshū and Satsuma's forces defeated the ex-shōgun's army; this forced the Emperor to strip Yoshinobu of all power.
On January 3, 1868, the Emperor made a formal declaration of the restoration of his power: The Emperor of Japan announces to the sovereigns of all foreign countries and to their subjects that permission has been granted to the Shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu to return the governing power in accordance with his own request. We shall henceforward exercise supreme authority in all the internal and external affairs of the country; the title of Emperor must be substituted for that of Taikun, in which the treaties have been made. Officers are being appointed by us to the conduct of foreign affairs, it is desirable. All Tokugawa lands were seized and placed under "imperial control", thus placing them under the prerogative of the new Meiji government. With Fuhanken sanchisei, the areas were split into three types: urban prefectures, rural prefectures and the existing domains. In 1869, the daimyōs of the Tosa, Satsuma and Chōshū Domains, who were pushing most fiercely against the shogunate, were persuaded to "return their domains to the Emperor".
Other daimyō were subsequently persuaded to do so, thus creating, arguably for the first time, a central government in Japan which exercised direct power through the entire "realm". Some shogunate forces escaped to Hokkaidō, where they attempted to set up a breakaway Republic of Ezo; the defeat of the armies of the former shōgun marked the final end of the Tokugawa shogunate, with the Emperor's power restored. By 1872, the daimyōs, past and present, were summoned before the Emperor, where it was declared that all domains were now to be returned to the Emperor; the 280 domains were turned into 72 prefectures, each under the control of a state-appointed governor. If the daimyōs peacefully complied, they were given a prominent voice in the new Meiji
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