Both Japan and Russia experienced a major economic development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The government played a major role in both countries economic growth due to their support in industrialization and economic succession.
Government support in order to build up industrial production systems, such as factories and infrastructure was heavy in both nations and resulted in radical political change, however they ways in which the two countries achieved their development goals differed in some aspects, for example, Russian industry did not require government support in getting raw materials for production like Japanese industries did.During At the time both countries were far behind in the global race to industrialize and desperately desired to catch up. This motivated the two governments to take drastic measures to catch up, but with the exception of a few basic principles they did so in very different ways.
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Russia, officially referred to as the Soviet Union at the time was under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. He industrialized using a tightly regulated system known as The First Five-Year Plan. This plan included many laws, the establishment of production quotas, collective farms, and established heavy government regulation over the economy.
It was successful in industrializing Russia at a whirlwind pace with the creation of many factories and huge technological advancements, but at a large cost of the lives and freedom of many Russian peasants. The collective farms failed to produce a food supply sufficient to feed the people resulting in widespread starvation.
Japanese emperor Meiji played a large role in the economic development of Japan, as Stalin did in the USSR, but he did so in a very different way. Meiji created state-sponsored factories that were paid for largely with revenue from tax increases imposed on the citizens.
However his reforms were broad scope and encompassed many aspects of life. For example, he ended the feudal system in Japan and introduced a modern Westernized system, a very different social change than that of Stalin who pushed his citizens further into poverty.
With an increase in industrial production and economic progress, the need for resources also increases, and that was a challenge both countries had to face but dealt with differently according to their needs and the resources they had within their borders. In Japan the demand for resources such as coal and metals needed to fuel production exceeded the resources that could be recovered from its own islands.
This lead to a series of imperialistic military conquests of foreign lands that were brutally colonized in order to export as many raw materials as possible to the industrial factories of Japan. Russia was able to keep the supply of materials flowing into their production lines by obtaining resources from regions within the country.
The areas of resources were far from industrial centers so transportation infrastructure had to be built in order to get the raw materials into factories. The government created projects such as the Trans-Siberian Railroad, with workers sourced from labor camps containing political prisoners and prisoners of war.
The life p of these dispensable workers was very short because of the harsh working conditions and poor treatment. In order to feed their industrial production lines the raw materials they needed, both countries went to great lengths to obtain the needed resources, killing countless numbers of civilians in the process.
In conclusion the government played a heavy role in economic progress for both nations resulting in huge loses of civilian life, but they spurred on development in different ways. The methods of industrialization each country used set up the stage for how each would interact globally from then on, especially in WWII.
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