Japan After World War II: Nuclear, Democracy, and Demilitarized

That summer morning should be the same as other mornings. People carry out their activities as usual, even though World War is raging out there. Children go to school, mothers do household chores at home, while fathers go to factories or other places to make a living. On that sunny morning, no one would have thought that their lives would stop at 8:15.

That day, August 6, 1945, history recorded the first use of the atomic bomb in war.

Hiroshima, a large city in the southern part of Japan’s main island, Honshu, became its first victim. The bomb, which had an explosive power equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT, destroyed about 70% of the building and killed around 140,000 people, tens of thousands of them died instantly. Temperatures at the center of the bomb reached 7,000 degrees Celsius with a blast radius of 5 km. The explosion, which resembled a giant mushroom, caused a massive shock wave and instantaneous air expansion, which caused a large number of deaths. Some people yawn without a trace while others die crushed by building rubble or broken pieces.

Most of the victims on that day were civilians, and “only” around 20,000 people were from the military. Ninety percent of doctors and nurses died or suffered injuries because the bombs that were originally going to be taken down on an important bridge in the city reportedly missed so that it exploded above the hospital. 42 of the 45 hospitals in the city were destroyed or badly damaged so that most of the victims died without having the opportunity to get first treatment.

After facing the destruction of the city and the deaths of most of its citizens, residents of Hiroshima still have to face the effects of radiation from this bomb. Acute radiation symptoms such as vomiting, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, until bleeding are experienced by residents affected by this radiation. This radiation sickness can cause death several weeks to several years afterward. The long-term effects experienced by victims include an increased risk of thyroid cancer and leukemia.

When the citizens of Hiroshima were still grieving, the second atomic bomb was dropped again by the United States. This time the target is not located on the main island, but in a small town in the south of Japan’s third-largest island, Nagasaki. August 9, 1945, one of the largest port cities in southern Japan, also experienced the same thing with Hiroshima. Although the bomb on Nagasaki is stronger than the Hiroshima bomb, the impact experienced by this city is not as big as Hiroshima, because the bomb fell some distance from the city center in a hilly and humid area. If added together, there were more than 200,000 deaths from the two bombs in the two cities above.

Six days later, on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced that Japan surrendered, and on September 2, 1945, Japan’s defeat in World War II was officially signed. After the war, there were two important things that must be done by the United States and its allies, namely the demilitarization and democratization of Japan. The Japanese armed forces were disbanded in November 1946, and through the formation of article 9 of the Japanese constitution, Japan would not take part in the war anymore.

After the war, the United States and its allies called for a major change in October 1945, which guaranteed freedom of expression, the press, and association as well as the right to form a union of workers and peasants. Through this step, the United States clearly called for democracy in Japan. Subsequently, a law was formed which reduced the power of the emperor as the highest monarchal government to “symbol of the state and the unity of society.” Postwar Japan became part of a capitalist world that glorified the understanding of peace in the midst of modern world society.

The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed not only Japan but also the world. This humanitarian tragedy is celebrated annually on August 6 and 9 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The ground zero where the atomic bomb first fell was made a memorial to peace, and tens of thousands of people gather here every year to commemorate the atrocities of war. This year too, the 74th anniversary of the bombing in Hiroshima was held at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and was attended by around fifty thousand people from various countries. Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, in his speech, hoped to create a world without nuclear weapons even though Japan rejected the UN agreement on nuclear which was inaugurated last month and was on the side of nuclear-armed countries such as Britain, France, and the United States.

How American and Soviet Compete to Win in Space Race

The Soviets succeeded in delivering Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first human to succeed in space.

Humans have known the moon for a very long time. In addition to looking at it with the naked eye, scientists such as Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, and Tycho Brahe after the discovery of the telescope routinely observe the moon and view the moon as a territory that has no owner.

However, curiosity about the moon is not only purely scientific reasons. There are also reasons for the cold war between the United States and the Soviets. Countries that want to carry the title of superpower are competing to send their aircraft and pilots to go to the moon. Soviet Sputnik II was recorded as the first drone that successfully orbited the Earth in 1957.

The first living creature to space

The Soviets won the first few rounds of space missions. The first win was due to Sputnik II. The second victory followed because of their success in sending a Laika dog, which is a type of hunting dog that used to live on the streets to be sent out of Earth’s orbit. This mission succeeded, making the United States feel threatened and forming NASA in 1959.

Laika was chosen between two other dogs, Albina and Mushka. All three are trained to survive in a narrow space and are accustomed to hearing sounds and vibrations that are loud enough, and also accustomed to wearing special space dog clothes. All three showed a good performance, even though Laika was chosen because of her exceptional composure. When about to be sent in a small rocket, Laika was anesthetized with a low dose, and her body was attached with sensors to record heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and other metabolic indicators as an indication that Laika was still alive.

However, because the Soviets did not prepare plans for how to re-enter Earth’s orbit, Laika could not return and had to die in space. The Soviet reason at that time was because they only built a rocket within three weeks, so they did not prepare a re-entry plan. Laika’s death sparked much debate about the experimental ethics of animals. According to the official Soviet announcement, Laika died only hours after exiting Earth’s orbit due to extremely hot temperatures inside the plane. After his death, Russia holds the title of being the first to send living things into space successfully. Laika came to be known as a canine hero and made her statue as a memorial in 2008 near a military camp near Moscow.

The First Man to Space

Although almost all of us know that Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon successfully, not many people know who was the first person to succeed in going into space. He is Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet air force pilot who, in 1961, managed to record a record as the first man to succeed in space. Again the Soviets won to be first. While the first to successfully land an astronaut on the moon was the United States through the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

Why continue to explore the moon?

During the Apollo missions, the research astronauts carried around 382 kg of material from the moon to the Earth. When these rocks are examined, it can be predicted how the moon is now formed from fragments of the universe. What crashed the moon became the form of the moon we see today. Even research has reached the level of mapping the area on the moon based on its gravity. Because the moon has water and oxygen, if the water is processed, it will be additional fuel for the spacecraft. While the oxygen found could be used to supplement oxygen reserves of astronauts. That is why the moon is thought to be a temporary stop before astronauts and spacecraft can explore our galaxy to a further point. Not only the United States and the Soviet Union, but now the research mission on the moon is also joined by many other countries, such as Japan, European countries, China, and India.

World Wars After the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989

The world hopes for peace after the end of the Cold War. But in reality, there are still many conflicts on Earth that are becoming increasingly complicated until now.

How did the structure of the conflict in the world change after the fall of the Berlin Wall?

It cannot be denied that the 20th century was marked by many wars. It is estimated that two world wars claimed up to 80 million lives. Then the Cold War era between the United States and Russia, two countries that were competing for their weapons at that time. These two giants demonstrate their strength not only in European soil but also in other parts of the world. In Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, the strongest countries in the world are funding proxy wars.

Finally, in 1989, a peaceful revolution succeeded in bringing down the Iron Curtain regime. The cold war was declared over. “We hope that after the cold war, an era of peace will come,” said Sarah Brockmeier, a peace security expert for the United Nations at the Global Public Policy Institute, a think tank in Berlin.

Are there fewer wars now than in the past?

This hope is broken. There are still many conflicts that take place throughout the world. Since the mid-2000s, the number of conflicts in the world has continued to increase. Brockmeier: “There has always been conflicting, and there has been more violence – especially since the start of the war in Syria, more people have lost their lives.”

This is caused by a domestic conflict in the 1990s, where no one thought it would happen after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Brockmeier said. Like the Yugoslav war, in Sierra Leone, or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With the war in Mali starting in 2012 or Syria’s ongoing war beginning in 2011, this trend seems to remain.

In the last ten years, researchers from the Uppsala University Peace and Conflict Research Department noted that there were 23 wars and around 162 small-scale conflicts with fewer than 100 fatalities in one year.

According to Brockmeier, the world has indeed become better at recognizing indications of conflict. However, people often cannot avoid it: “We have not learned to mobilize political desires early enough to be able to intervene before an armed conflict occurs.”

The conflict becomes wider and more complicated.

The war has become more complicated since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Especially with the help of technological advances and globalization. In addition to the two opposing parties involved in a war, often, other parties are involved. For example, by sending troops, sending weapons, or participating with military expertise or providing training to participate in the conflict. In the early 2000s, on average, only two or three external parties were involved in the conflict. In the following years, the average rose to four to five parties.

The main reason is the complicated conflict in the Middle East. For example, in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2009, 46 external parties took part in the fight against the Taliban. Parties included international alliances such as NATO, which in the case of Afghanistan became the leader of the International Security Assistance Force. At present, the war in Syria has also become as complex. Bloomberg noted there are ten main parties who have different interests, and this will continue to change.

Military budget spending is decreasing worldwide.

In 2017, countries around the world spent around € 1.8 trillion in their military interests. This figure is 2% of gross domestic product worldwide. Please note that this value has never been this big. In fact, global military spending has continued to decline in recent decades.

End of the Cold War: Evidence of the Victory of US Liberalism over Soviet Communism

During the cold war, there was a pattern of competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, affecting the stability of the security of the European region. The ideological conflict between the two superpowers is capable of influencing all interactions of life. So it is with security issues in the European region.

In 1952, Europe sought to raise security forces from within its regional territory, among European Countries and European Community (ECSC) Prime Minister of France, Rena Pleven for input from Jean Monnet proposing the establishment of the European Defense Community (EDC), but this was rejected by member countries, including by France itself. But two years later, in 1954, the ECSC countries again negotiated the formation of a security and defense system called the Western European Union (WEU) Agreement. In meetings attended by France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Italy, agreed to integrate themselves into an armed force. At that meeting, a council of ministers, a small secretariat, a consultative assembly, and armed forces were formed. Previously this forum was only a coordinating council on the foreign policy of its member countries.

Although European countries have formed defense alliances in creating regional security, two defense pacts, NATO and Warsaw, still hold the key to the security of European countries. Both are mutually balancing and military maneuvers indirectly against countries that are considered as ideological opponents. Although it has become a military alliance, inevitably, the interests of America and the Soviets are the main priorities of the performance of the two Defense Pacts.

Instead of creating political stability and world peace, the Warsaw Pact emphasized opposition with the Allies. This was seen when the Soviet Union with Warsaw carried out military aggression against Czechoslovakia in 1968. Only because of the accusation of the Czechoslovak leader were the Liberalist minions, the Soviets with their fleet of war destroyed the country.

At this time, military power has an important bargaining position as a form of political power balance. Even nuclear weapons have become a vital factor in national defense. In this era, it indirectly affected the basis of the overall European regional defense system. But the movement of change made by Mikhail Gorbachev through the Priostoika program has changed the situation. With the uprising of the workers as a pro-democracy movement led by Lech Walesa in Poland, spread to other countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, and Romania. The climax of the movement was the desire of East German and West German citizens to reunite. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communist power with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989, America’s influence on the world became more dominant.

End of Warsaw Pact Defense Journey

After the Soviet Union broke up and the union of West Germany and East Germany, the security situation in Europe began to change. This is due to the economic crisis that took place in Europe. On November 19, 1990, in Paris, 32 European countries with the US and Canada signed an agreement known as the “second Magna Carta,” which each party agreed to eliminate military disputes and work together to form peace. Previously there were agreements to reduce conventional weapons between 22 NATO countries and the Warsaw Pact. The economic crisis that hit the Eastern European region made the country’s leaders consider the existence of the defense pact because the most important thing needed was economic-political cooperation. So on February 25, 1991, in Budapest, the leaders of the Warsaw Pact alliance defense alliance gathered and agreed that the alliance was dissolved.

In 1992 the European desire arose to form a European economic community (EEC), the rapid pace of European economic growth led to a desire for Europe itself to be independent in all fields, both economic, political, and security.

So in terms of its military function, NATO is certainly no longer needed to stem the Soviet forces in the European region after the collapse of the communist state. However, until now, America has continued to strive to declare that NATO is the most suitable alliance to be implemented in Europe. This is closely related to the US foreign policy agenda, which is to keep NATO in Europe as a guardian of political and economic stability in order to support and accelerate the pace of US economic growth.