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The WWII Experience in Asia Why Hidden and Forgotten? Its Consequences and Impact. Yue-him Tam Macalester College.

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Presentation on theme: "The WWII Experience in Asia Why Hidden and Forgotten? Its Consequences and Impact. Yue-him Tam Macalester College."— Presentation transcript:

1 The WWII Experience in Asia Why Hidden and Forgotten? Its Consequences and Impact. Yue-him Tam Macalester College

2 Seeds of Japanese Aggression Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) Annexation of Korea (1905) Overview of WWII in Asia

3 Japanese Aggression in China September 18, 1931 - Manchurian Incident Establishment of Manchukuo, 1932 All-out-war 1937 WWII in Asia 1931-1945 8 years before hostilities in Europe 10 years+ before N. American participation WWII in Asia lasted for 15 years Overview of WWII in Asia

4 Republic of China China unprepared for a modern war Republic of China, 1911 Nationalist Party (KMT, Kuomintang) Dr. Sun Yat-sen president Warlordism Gen. Chiang Kai-shek’s Northern Expedition, 1928 Overview of WWII in Asia

5 Problems of Reunification Powers desire a weak and divided China Japanese interfere in Shandong, 1928 CCP founded in 1922 Challenge KMT for control Civil war United Front against Japan, 1933 Overview of WWII in Asia


7 Japan’s Aims, China’s Strategy Japanese military highly modernized Chinese guerrillas using swords and spears Japan thought war would be short Desired China’s natural resources Wanted economic capitulation/cooperation US and USSR real enemy Chinese conduct a campaign of attrition Move capital to remote Southwest Overview of WWII in Asia

8 International Response 1st 15 years muted international response League of Nations mild condemnation for Japan Increasing Western Sympathy Time and Life Magazines US technicians, nurses, doctors, and professionals volunteer Small western loans Soviet Union provides greatest aide Overview of WWII in Asia

9 The West Enters the Asian War After 1939 Soviet aid stops. British, US, and other’s aid escalates 1941, Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and British Colonies Pulls Western powers into Asian conflict Changes nature of the war and foreign aid Direct military assistance Flying Tigers Canadian defense of Hong Kong Overview of WWII in Asia

10 Captain Chennault in AVG Recruiting Flying Tigers: 1940-1941 & “Blood Chit” Overview of WWII in Asia

11 Canadians Arriving in Hong Kong, 1941 Overview of WWII in Asia

12 American Financial Aid First 9 years very limited international aid American aid from 1942-1946 U.S. $1.54 billion Only 3% of total Lend-Lease to all nations Great Britain received US $31.6 billion USSR received US $11 billion Overview of WWII in Asia

13 Chinese Contribution Chinese resistance denied Japan essential resources for war effort Tied down Japanese troops 1931-39: pinned 50% of Japanese strength 1939-45: pinned 60% of Japanese strength Drove Japan to the road of no return Chinese sacrifice Military casualties: over 3 million Civilian Casualty: over 26 million Damage to Property: incalculable Overview of WWII in Asia

14 Japanese War Crimes Nanjing Massacre Sexual slave system (“ comfort women”) Biochemical warfare Forced labor Inhumane treatment of prisoners of war Looting and destroying cultural properties and many more crimes... Overview of WWII in Asia

15 Japan as War “Victim” Japanese education distorts WWII role Atomic bombings make Japan a “victim” American feelings of guilt Nagasaki & Hiroshima remembrance ritual w/o context Absolve Japan of wartime responsibility Why Hidden and Forgotten?

16 Cold War Geopolitics Japan only viable ally against communism in Asia CCP and USSR. Korea, Vietnam soon to follow China preoccupied with civil war Both attempted to use Japan against the other Some Taiwanese separatists still rely on Japanese support Why Hidden and Forgotten?

17 Trans-war Continuum Anxiety to build a demilitarized and democratic Japan Japanese war criminals spared prosecution Became leaders in politics, economy, and technology after the occupation Class “A” war criminals in Japanese politics. Kishi Nobusuke - prime minister 1957 to 1960 Why Hidden and Forgotten?

18 Emperor Hirohito Continuity of reign: 1926 – 1989 MacArthur exonerated him from any responsibility Western media presented him as a peace loving and benevolent emperor Told his only political deed was to shorten the war and announce Japan’s surrender. Why Hidden and Forgotten?

19 Western Confusion “Mixed messages” WWII Japanese Aggressor vs. Japanese Cold War Ally Predominance of European Holocaust and lack of information on Asian atrocities The Consequences and Impact

20 China and Korea Japan seen as an untrustworthy nation Youth still have poor outlook towards Japan even 65 years later 2005 protests against permanent Security Council seat Popular culture acceptable but “high” culture or more academic subjects disregarded Any open appreciation of Japanese aid and friendship invites puzzled looks. The Consequences and Impact

21 Japan Refuses Responsibility Jeopardizes relationship with neighbors Poses a specific threat to justice from the perspective of individual victims Creates atmosphere in which the laws of war fail to be respected Rise of Japanese conservatism Calls to revise the pacifist Constitution Yasukuni Shrine visits UN Security Council Issue The Consequences and Impact

22 Asian Economic Changes Pre 1990s Japan only Asian economic power Neighbors accepted economic aid from Tokyo Tacitly agreeing to avoid bringing up the war issues Now Rise of China & Korea leaders want issues of unresolved war responsibilities on the agenda Responding to the popular demand for justice at home The Consequences and Impact

23 Impact on Japanese Economy China has surpassed the United States as Japan's top trade partner anti-Japanese riots in China in 2005 sharply effected the Tokyo stock market Japanese companies moving factories out of China to less politically sensitive areas Japanese business leaders lobbied Koizumi to stay away from Yasukuni The Consequences and Impact

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