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Creating Military PowerThe Sources of Military Effectiveness$
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Risa A. Brooks and Elizabeth A. Stanley

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753999

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753999.001.0001

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Nationalism and Military Effectiveness: Post-Meiji Japan

Nationalism and Military Effectiveness: Post-Meiji Japan

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter 2 Nationalism and Military Effectiveness: Post-Meiji Japan
Source:
Creating Military Power
Author(s):

Dan Reiter

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804753999.003.0002

This chapter explores how military effectiveness is affected by nationalism. It develops a model of how nationalism affects soldier motivations. It describes two areas in post-Meiji Japan in which nationalism impacted military effectiveness during World War II: island warfare and suicide attacks. Social mobilization and strengthening the leadership's power base can shape nationalist culture. It is observed that nationalism is a tool available to states and militaries to increase the willingness of soldiers to die and kill in battle. Moreover, Japanese nationalism had mutated into an extreme version, and prisoners of war did not receive humane treatment. Japan experienced a meteoric rise in industrial, military, and political power after the Meiji restoration. Nationalism increased skill by increasing motivation, and it increased responsiveness by making possible suicide tactics. It can be stated that nationalism can significantly shape military effectiveness, and scholars and policymakers should recognize its potential significance.

Keywords:   military effectiveness, Japanese nationalism, soldier motivations, post-Meiji Japan, World War II, island warfare, suicide attacks

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