As we observe the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II, we can be thankful to the greatest generation who fought and won that war for us. We owe that generation our eternal gratitude.
However, it was not a total loss for Japan.
As Japan emerged as a modern nation in the latter half of the 19th century, she saw that the rich natural resource areas of Asia were dominated by European colonial powers. As the new leader of East Asia, Japan felt obligation to release Asian lands and peoples from ruling European nations. A simmering resentment in Japan was summed up in a popular slogan: “Asia for the Asian races!” That philosophy and other factors led Japan to war with other nations.
Japan’s defeat in World War II was not a total loss in view of her cause of Asia for Asian races. One of the consequences of World War II was that it brought down old colonial empires, some that had stood for more than a century. The war awakened the desire of other races to gain their independence. In a few short decades, colonialism was finished.
Southeast Asia and other countries of the region have shown remarkable growth and are becoming a stabilizing force in the Pacific Basin. What a supreme irony that a “Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” of sorts arose in peace from the ashes of Japan’s defeat.
Frank B. Austin