College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)
Douglas MacArthur, The Occupation of Japan, Cold War, Nation-Building
History | Military History
Newman, Carson Nathaniel, "Douglas MacArthur's Nation-Building: The Reconstruction of Japan" (2020). Masters Theses. 638.
At the end of World War II, Japan was militarily and economically devastated; Hiroshima and Nagasaki were radiated ruins; and the people were on the brink of starvation. Japan’s situation in 1945 looked very bleak as its people slowly began to rebuild their lives and move past years of bloody war. Transforming Japan meant replacing a military state focused on expansion with a parliamentary democracy focused on economic prosperity through innovation, industry, and peace. The American occupation lasted eight years and by the 1960s the Japanese economy was well on its ways to becoming the third largest in the world. General Douglas MacArthur was the man most responsible for Japan’s reconstruction. The Japanese willingness to restructure their political system, economy, and society combined with the leadership of MacArthur and the autonomy he wielded as Supreme Commander, brought the country into a new era of peaceful prosperity, innovation, industrial strength, and stability.