chapter  24
Social Reform in Postwar Japan: British Perspectives on Education and Land Reform
Pages 9

IN AUGUST 1945 Britain still ruled an empire, but her transition to a lowlier role had already begun. Her economy was exhausted by six years of war, her international commitments were crippling, while plans for postwar reconstruction challenged the social assumptions of the imperial age.1 Clement Attlee’s new Labor government promised a welfare state and colonial emancipation but imperial conceptions continued to dominate much influential opinion. From these conflicting visions of domestic and international society sprang views of postwar Japan which often differed from those of Britain’s major allies.2