Episode 15: Rising Sun
In 1941 Japan was nearing the apex of a 70 year meteoric rise from fanatically isolationist hermit kingdom to Imperial contender on the world stage. At 70 million the population of Japan had more than doubled in that time as had her ambitions. Japan was now armed with a modern army and navy and had been recognized as one of the big five major powers in the Paris Peace conference of 1919 alongside France, Britain, Italy, and the United States. She had overseas territorial possessions in China and Korea. But Japan’s rise was not immaculate. Hundreds of thousands had perished in Japan's conquest of coastal china and the government was resembling more and more a military junta ruled by competing cliques as opposed to the constitutional monarchy that it aspired to. Japan was on a path to confrontation, though it was not inevitable the Generals and Admirals that effectively ran the country chose war to save face and preserve their national dignity. Had they chosen a less belligerent path Japan’s history would have followed a much less destructive course.