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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.


Q1. Japan was a victim of many humiliations, which led to a popular urge for power projection that climaxed in the Second World War. Do you agree? Explain. (250 Words)

Ans.     Pre-requisites:

Intro: The formation modern Japan was a result of its contact with the West. This contact had given it a sense of competition with the west, especially to its military, so that it can be taken seriously in the global affairs.

Modernization Process:

  • Politically: 1889 Constitution created a western-style government with a Prime-Minister under the Emperor. About 5% men could vote.
  • Railway: Expansion started from 1860s
  • Modern Industry: Such as cotton, arms etc.
  • Japanese Empire: Expansion into the Islands in the south. Push into the Korean peninsula and into North China & Taiwan in late 19th
  • After the formation of the Modern Japan after the Meiji restoration, western style of military was adopted. This was to counter the western military influence.

Since the days of closed-door policy, Japan was a proud country which had a great amount of suspicion against the foreigners.

Non-recognition of it being a Global power:

  1. Japan was forced to open its economy to the west: In 1853, American Commodore Matthew Perryled his four ships into the harbor at Tokyo Bay.
  2. No recognition of effort in Boxer Rebellion: In the 8-nation alliance against the Boxer Rebellion in China, Japan provided the most ships and troops. Still its power was not recognized.
  3. Claim over Korea: Britain Acknowledged the Japanese claim to Korea. When similar acknowledgement was asked form Russia, it was refused. Japan attacked Russia in 1904 (Russo-Japanese War) and defeated Russia.
  4. Racial Discrimination: In Treaty of Versailles, Japan asked to accept that all nations were equal. This demand was rejected, further humiliating Japan.

Japan wanted to be seen as an equal to the Global powers and the west had constantly undermined this demand. Eventually, it started a process of Power projection:

Projection of its Power in the 20th century:

  1. In World War I, Japan ceased German territories in the Pacific Ocean.
  2. It attacked Manchuria in 1932, after which it was banished from League of Nations.
  3. In 1937, in annexed Nanjing, and its indiscipline army created a massacre.
  4. After this US sanctioned an Oil embargo against Japan. To restore its supply, it had to expand up to oil rich South China Sea and beyond.
  5. Pearl Harbor: To ensure continuous supply of oil, it had to counter the American threat, for which it attacked Pearl Harbour, thus entering into the World War – II.

Thus, the humiliation caused by the West pushed Japan for its power projection which led to its participation in the World War II. Eventually, it attacked and captured virtually all of Eastern Asia and justified its attacks with the slogan of Asia for Asians.

Conclusion: Yes, the Japanese expansion was pushed by an urge for the projection of its power. A lot of this was due to the continuous undermining of its position. However, no massacre of the innocent public can be justified by the urge of projection of self-esteem. By the end this projection of power was morally libel.

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