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Encouraging 'Democracy' in a Cold War Climate: The Dual-Platform Policy Approach of Evatt and Labor Toward the Allied Occupation of Japan 1945-1949

Christine de Matos

Asia Pacific Economic Papers from Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University

Abstract: This paper is based on research conducted in Australia and the United States into Australian aims toward the Allied Occupation of Japan under the Chifley government between 1945 and 1949. It challenges the prevailing characterisation of Australian aims as solely seeking a ‘harsh peace’ with Japan. An alternative, two-platform model is proposed to assess Australian aims. The model incorporates the pragmatic and retribution aspects of Australian policy (known as platform-one aims) and the more complex pragmatic and idealist aims of encouraging democratisation in postwar Japan (known as platform-two aims). The paper focuses on platform-two aims, as these tend to be neglected in historiography on the Australian role in the Occupation. The paper discusses three examples of Australian policies regarding the democratisation of Japan – constitutional reform, land reform and labour reform. These policies are placed in the context of Dr H.V. Evatt’s vision for the postwar world and the emerging Cold War. The paper assesses Australia’s ability to contribute to postwar reform in Japan during the Occupation. Obstacles to the implementation of Australia’s agenda included the difficulty to turn rhetoric into practice, problems in the Department of External Affairs, unilateral action by General Douglas MacArthur and the United States government, and the changing balance of global power with the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.

JEL-codes: Z0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2001-03
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:csg:ajrcau:313

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