Japan's remarkable postwar growth spurt in the 1960s would not have been possible without Japan's alliance with the United States. Policy makers, political scientists, economists, historians, and journalists on both sides of the Pacific have made this claim, but no study has yet tested it with modern statistical methods. In this article, we compare the economic growth trajectories of Japan and a statistically constructed “synthetic” Japan, which had a similar profile until the late 1950s but did not experience the consolidation of the US–Japan alliance, a process that began in 1958 and culminated with the signing of a formal defense pact in January 1960. We find that Japan's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) grew much faster than the synthetic Japan's from 1958 to 1968. We substantiate these results with in-depth historical analyses on how the United States facilitated Japan's economic miracle.