‘Out of the ashes … a new Japan’
The defeat in 1945 was not just the loss of one war – it represented defeat of the foreign policy goals pursued since the mid-nineteenth century. This does not mean specifi c territorial goals, but the broad goal of achieving great power status and equality with the Western powers. It is still debatable as to how planned or inevitable the war was, but historians agree that until 1945 most Japanese viewed war as a legitimate means of pursuing national interests. With defeat and occupation this assumption was destroyed.