Cold War (1945–91)

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Why is Japan considered a 'victory' in the Cold War? 

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Japan is considered an American victory in the Cold War because the United States helped to rebuild the Japanese economy along capitalist lines after World War II. The United States was afraid of Asian nations becoming Communist after the war, particularly following the Chinese Revolution of 1949 in which Communists under Mao took over China. General Douglas MacArthur of the United States designed post-war Japan to be a democracy with a parliament (see the source below). The emperor was stripped of all political power. In addition, the business conglomerates called zaibatsu were destroyed in favor of a free market economy with more competition. Japan also eliminated its military, except for defensive forces, and Japan became a political ally of the United States and eventually an economic world power. The United States recreated the economy and politics of Japan in a short period of time and converted a former adversary into a capitalist ally.

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Japan is considered to be a victory in the Cold War because it became a strong ally of the United States in political terms and because its economy became a capitalist powerhouse.

During the Cold War, the US felt that it was important to keep communism from spreading.  There was a great deal of communism near to Japan (China, North Korea) and there were those in Japan who favored communism.  Therefore, it was a victory for the US when Japan remained firmly in the Western, democratic, and capitalist camp. Instead of becoming communist, Japan became an outpost from which capitalism and democracy could spread.

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