- 公益財団法人 史学会
- 史学雑誌 (ISSN:00182478)
- vol.122, no.1, pp.36-60, 2013-01-20 (Released:2017-12-01)
Following the Armistice which concluded the First World War, there occurred a strong international trend toward anti-militarism, and in Japan, as well, public opinion toward military downsizing gained traction. On the other hand, since Japan had not participated significantly in the actual fighting during the War, the Army's equipment was now utterly outdated in comparison with the armies of Europe and the United States, and a call arose for the modernization of the Armed Forces. Given these conditions, in 1925 Minister of War Ugaki Kazushige reduced the Army's strength by four infantry divisions and used the budget funding so released to modernize its equipment, thus accomplishing disarmament and modernization in one stroke. His political position was strengthened through this so-called "Ugaki Drawdown", and he was touted to be a promising candidate for Prime Minister. In 1925, returning to the post of minister of war in Hamaguchi Osachi's cabinet, Ugaki embarked on a second round of military reforms, which like his first arms reduction plan, aimed at disarmament combined with modernization. However, the plan ran aground after meeting fierce opposition from the General Staff, causing Ugaki to resign his position in the Cabinet. As to the question of why Ugaki's reform concept succeeded in the first arms reduction plan, but failed in the second, while the two plans have received considerable time and attention from researchers to date, they have focused mainly on each reform plan separately, and thus have had little success in clarifying the various factors which led to the success of one and the failure of the other. From this perspective, the author of the present paper compares the two reform plans on the basis of a sequential interrelationship, and attempts to clarify the various factors within and without the Army that destined each plan to success or failure, while examining the extent to which Ugaki and the General Staff were aware of those factors.