The wwii experience in asia why hidden and forgotten its consequences and impact
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The WWII Experience in Asia Why Hidden and Forgotten? Its Consequences and Impact. Yue-him Tam Macalester College. Seeds of Japanese Aggression. Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) Annexation of Korea (1905). Japanese Aggression in China.

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The wwii experience in asia why hidden and forgotten its consequences and impact

The WWII Experience in AsiaWhy Hidden and Forgotten?Its Consequences and Impact.

Yue-him Tam

Macalester College


Seeds of japanese aggression

Seeds of Japanese Aggression

  • Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895)

  • Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)

  • Annexation of Korea (1905)

Overview of WWII in Asia


Japanese aggression in china

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


Republic of china

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


Problems of reunification

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


The wwii experience in asia why hidden and forgotten its consequences and impact

Overview of WWII in Asia


Japan s aims china s strategy

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


International response

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


The west enters the asian war

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


The wwii experience in asia why hidden and forgotten its consequences and impact

Overview of WWII in Asia

Captain Chennault in AVG Recruiting Flying Tigers: 1940-1941 & “Blood Chit”


The wwii experience in asia why hidden and forgotten its consequences and impact

Overview of WWII in Asia

Canadians Arriving in Hong Kong, 1941


American financial aid

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


Chinese contribution

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


Japanese war crimes

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


Japan as war victim

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?


Cold war geopolitics

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?


Trans war continuum

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?


Emperor hirohito

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?


Western confusion

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


China and korea

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


Japan refuses responsibility

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


Asian economic changes

Asian Economic Changes

Pre 1990s

Now

Rise of China & Korea

leaders want issues of unresolved war responsibilities on the agenda

Responding to the popular demand for justice at home

  • Japan only Asian economic power

  • Neighbors accepted economic aid from Tokyo

  • Tacitly agreeing to avoid bringing up the war issues

The Consequences and Impact


Impact on japanese economy

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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