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Napoleon Bonapartes Continental System
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Write a position paper on the following question: Should Napoleon Bonaparte have used the Continental System in his attempt to defeat Britain? Napoleon Bonaparte has been considered one of the most successful military leaders in history, driving France to conquer virtually all of Europe. However, despite all of his success, he was not over-confident. He recognized the fact that France lacked the resources to invade Great Britain, and he had already learned the defeat of his navy in the battle of Trafalgar that the French navy was no match for the strength of the British navy. Facing the fact...
not issued the Berlin Decree, none of this would have happened the way it did. Granted, Napoleon would likely have invaded Portugal and Russia anyway, but the circumstances would have been different. Perhaps France would have been better able to finance the invasions, allowing Napoleon to build a stronger and more effective army. Maybe Napoleon would have won the Battle of Nations at Liepzig in October, 1813. Maybe Napoleon would never even have faced exile. It is impossible to know for sure what could have happened, but I know that things would definitely have ended differently for Napoleon Bonaparte.

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Important Changes in Japan During... Important Changes in Japan During the 20th Century The 20th century was by all accounts an era of considerable progress for Japan. As a result of the remarkable success in the postwar era, Japan has become a model of the industrialized society for the world to take note. In this paper I will attempt to illustrate the important changes that Japan went through during this time of progression, using 1945 as a dividing point. These changes include a different role of the emperor, a new political system, social reform and the rise and downfall of the economy. Emperor Hirohito 1901-1989 was the emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989. He chose to designate his reign with the term "Showa" Enlightened Peace and he is sometimes referred to as the Emperor Showa. His reign was the longest of any monarch in Japanese history. Under the Japanese political system before World War II, the Emperor was in theory all-powerful. The emperor was sovereign, and everyone who worked for the government in effect worked for the Emperor. That meant, in effect, that power was divided among several different groups within the Japanese political system, most importantly, the military, the civilian bureaucracy, and to some extent the Diet, the Japanese parliament. In the pre-war period, before the Second World War, the fact that the Emperor was in theory all-powerful meant in effect that those groups who could claim to speak for the Emperor were the ones who were in fact all-powerful. So that we know in the 1930s it was the Japanese military, which claimed to speak on behalf of the Emperor, which managed to secure virtually all political power unto itself. After the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II in 1945, American forces under Gen. Douglas MacArthur occupied Japan until 1952. During this occupation Japan was forced to undergo a kind of democratization. One of their main goals was to make the all-powerful Emperor Hirohito into a symbol of this new democracy. His political power would be stripped from him and he would now just be a symbol of unity and culture, the real power would rest with the people of Japan who could now freely elect representatives to Japan's parliament. This was the basis for democracy and Hirohito was only needed to make this transition easier for the Japanese people. This was accomplished by the drafting of a new constitution, sometimes called the MacArthur Constitution because of the major role the Americans played in its drafting. This new constitution was completely different than that of the Meiji Constitution of 1889. The people now saw Hirohito not as an all-powerful god but as a human being just like them, which was strange to them but he still held their respect. The new constitution also established new civil liberties that didn't exist before. Women could now vote and were given equal rights unlike during the pre-war period. Japanese people now had the right of free speech and the powers of the police were weakened and strictly regulated. Trade unions were now allowed and by 1949 about half of all industrialized workers belonged to one, compared to only a few in the pre-war period. Family members were now treated more equally compared to the male head of household having all the control. The Japanese education system was modeled to become more like that of America's. Moral training was abolished and students were instructed in democratic ideas. The control of education and censorship was taken away from the central government and given to local administrations. The majority of these changes are still in effect to this day. After WWII, Japan was very close to being on the verge of bankruptcy. Industrial production was down by almost 89% compared to before the war. Inflation was high and there was a food shortage. Under the leadership of the USA, the allies proclaimed three fundamental changes that would prove to be ground breaking in terms of revitalizing Japan's economy. The first was banning Zaibatsu, or "money clique", the great family-controlled banking and industrial conglomerates. The intention of this breakup was to decentralize economic power. In 1937 the four leading zaibatsu controlled directly one third of all bank deposits, one third of all foreign trade, one half of Japan"s shipbuilding and maritime shipping, and most of the heavy industries. They maintained close relations with the major political parties. Despite the break-up by the allies, in the 1950s and 1960s groups based on the old zaibatsu reemerged as keiretsu. The decision on the part of these groups in the post-World War II era to pool their resources greatly influenced Japan"s subsequent rise as a global business power. The second reform was a land reform in which class structure based on landholding was demolished. Landlords were no longer considered supreme and the rural society was restructured. In a paper by Toshihiko Kawagoe entitled Agricultural Land Reform in Postwar Japan: Experiences and Issues the author mentions that the reform is believed to have given former tenant farmers new incentives, which contributed to the rapid growth of Japanese agriculture. However, Kawagoe maintains that little empirical evidence has been presented to support that assertion. He suggests that perhaps agriculture grew after the war, not because of land reform"”but possibly because of greater technical knowledge and the recovery of critical inputs, such as fertilizer, that were in short supply during the war. He maintains that more empirical work is needed. The third reform gave workers legal rights and was enacted in order to rebuild the industrial sector and stimulate the production of goods and make the workers more motivated. The construction industry was an important factor in the economic recovery, both as a link in the actual reconstruction of a nation in ruins, and also as a catalyst for stimulating the economy. By 1955, Japan's industrial output had recovered to prewar levels. In the period from the mid 50's to the late 60's, the Japanese economy expanded at a rate of 10% per year. The years 1955 "“ 1959 were dominated by large private investments in industrial factories and machinery. Japan Insight mentions that "between 1955 and 1970, one third of the nation"s GNP was set aside to build national assets such as modern industrial infrastructure and production facilities. Of that one third, two thirds were investments that private corporations made in production facilities to become more competitive in the world market. Industrial investments, a marked increase in consumer spending between 1960-1964, investments in infrastructure, and increased exports combined to make Japan a major economic power. The Japanese economy has grown steadily since the beginning of the 70's. However, due to Japan's total lack of natural recourses, the oil crisis in 1973 significantly slowed the Japanese economy. In the early 70's the growth rate of the manufacturing sector began to decline, the first postwar layoffs became a reality and Japan became very dependent on imports. Despite the crisis, authorities managed to maintain prices by implementing a series of effective counter measures. In addition, many companies initiated structural changes to help optimize operations. In a PBS Public Broadcasting Service Interview in December 1997 interviewer Paul Solman summed up Japans economic situation this way: "The Japanese had become wealthy and, like most wealthy people, they invested even more, further fueling their miracle economy. And then came the 1990"s, at which point the Japanese economy, the world's second largest, began to buckle, or to use the cliché of choice, the bubble burst. Japan's stock market, near 40,000 at its height, plummeted below 15,000. The value of real estate collapsed as well. The great big banks turned out to have loaned money on the basis of those high stock and real estate values. They'd also made their loans to those with whom they had those long-term hand-in-glove relationships. Some of the relationships turned out to be corrupt. Some of the banks began to go under. The yen, which had been strengthening for years, declined in value; Japanese consumers stopped spending their money; and then after other Asian stock markets fell, the Japanese stock market crashed yet again, leading to the once unthinkable--the shutting down of the nation's fourth largest brokerage firm, Yamaichi Securities. Today Japan operates with an enormous trade surplus, which is more a result of the need for few imports than a massive amount of exports. Japan"s main export goods are cars, electronic devices and computers. There exports are highly visible and primarily dominant among consumer goods. In this regard, Japan's success has made the label "Made in Japan" a global symbol of quality. The main imports are oil, foodstuffs, and wood. The main industries are manufacturing, construction, distribution, real estate, services, and communication. At the end of 2001, economic indicators point to a general global downturn. At the end of September, CNN reported that, according to Merrill Lynch chief economist for Japan, Jesper Koll, "Japan is falling into recession". In particular, CNN mentions that "Japan"s jobless figure is at a record 5 percent, many companies have outlined plans to further slash staff and output, earnings forecasts are being revised downward, and falling share prices are hurting the already troubled banking sector, where bad and doubtful loans threaten some banks" viability." They report that "all agree that a recession this year is inevitable, making it Japan"s fourth recession in a decade." One is left with the impression, however, that the Japanese are a people that will successfully overcome the trials placed before them. The ideology of the "group" vs. the "individual" may be one reason for this success. Japan as a nation has gone through many important changes during the 20th century: the introduction of a new political system and different view of their emperor, the introduction of social reform and the rise and fall of their economy. I think if this were to happen to any other country, they wouldn't be as successful as Japan has been. Japan has fought through all of these changes and has risen to the status of a super-power and maybe with a little help from us, we're part of the reason they got there, they will stay that way.   

Important Changes in Japan During the 20th Century The 20th century was by all accounts an era of considerable progress for Japan. As a result of the remarkable success in the postwar era, Japan has become a model of the industrialized society for the world to take note. In...

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