In part one, we gave a general overview of the 1919 or "Wilsonian moment,” a notion that extends before and after that calendar year, in part two, issues like the Asian Monroe Doctrine, how relations between China and Japan from the 1890s onward transformed the region from the hierarchy of time to the hierarchy of space, Leninist and Wilsonian Internationalism, western and Eastern Sovereignty, and the crucial March First and May Fourth movements, in part three the important Chinese factions beyond 1919 and the need for China to create a new Nation-State and how Japan, in turn, sought to expand into Asia through liberal imperialism and then sought to consolidate its empire through liberal internationalism. And in part four the various arrangements between the US and Japan including The Kellogg–Briand Pact or Pact in 1928 and The Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament of 1930. This whereby American policy toward Japan until shortly before the Pearl Harbor attack was not the product of a rational, value-maximizing decisional process. Rather, it constituted the cumulative, aggregate outcome of several bar­gaining games which would enable them to carry out their preferred Pacific strategy.

In analyzing the Manchurian crisis and its connection to the winding road to World War II it is tempting to fall into the conceptual trap of simple dichoto­mies. A standard dichotomy for what happened in Manchuria is that a small cabal of "militarists" hijacked power from a helpless civilian government in Tokyo and ran amok for the next fifteen years. There are many reasons for the tenacity of this historical interpretation, stemming from facile contempo­rary assumptions, the imperatives of America's postwar occupation of Japan, as well as influential popular histories like John Toland’s The Rising Sim. The preponderance of evidence, however, makes clear that a broad coalition of Japanese elites, including Emperor Hirohito. members of the Privy Council and House of Peers, statesmen, intellectuals, and military officials, were responsible for Japan's subsequent retreat from liberal internationalism and the empire’s expansionism in Asia over die next fifteen years (1931-1945).

From the beginning, as noted, the Kwantung Army had the tacit endorse­ment of the Army General Staffs operations and intelligence divisions. It also enjoyed support from “renovationist" politicians and intellectuals. Renovationists (sometimes called “reformists") carried with them a mash-up of resentment and indignation, particularly against Anglo-American liberalism and the international status quo.1

What bound this wide swath of Japanese elites together on the Manchu­rian issue, from the crown to statesmen, diplomats, scholars, and business leaders, and ultimately the mass of Japanese society, were three layers of “special" rationale: special rights, special interests, and special responsibil­ities. "Special rights” comprised a legalistic defense, based on "rights of possession" from previous wars and treaties. The transfer of leasehold rights in southern Manchuria that Japan won in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) can hardly be overstated. Japan mobilized more than one mil­lion troops during the war; 81.455 of them lost their lives. This considerable sacrifice cultivated a keen sense of regional entitlement. Indeed, Manchuria became regarded as hallowed ground, an impression seared into the con­sciousness of a generation of Japanese who came into positions of political, military, and intellectual authority m the 1930s. Adding to this sense of entitlement was that the empire had sunk an enormous amount of capital into the leased territory. The South Manchurian Railway became Japan’s biggest firm, with interests in rail freight, shipping, coal mining, soybean production, and tourism.2 There remained as well a psychological hangover from the Twenty-One Demands of 1915, a belief, embedded into the fabric of histor­ical truth, that China had freely accepted the demands. And now, China was going back on its word, violating treaties, and abusing Japan.

“Special interests." on the other hand, referred to national security inter­ests that derived from “nature and geography." Japan's proximity to China, went this “realist” argument, gave Japan unique decision-making preroga­tives on the continent. In modem diplomatic parlance, this meant that China and its frontiers were a vital interest, economically and strategically. During the Manchurian crisis. Japanese began to describe Northeast China as Ja­pan’s “lifeline.” There was much talk about the need for raw materials and outlets for surplus trade and population. However inflated these claims, the important point is that Japanese officials and commentators at the time be­came convinced of their veracity.

A third factor is that Japanese officials as we have seen became animated by a more chau­vinistic strain of Pan-Asianist thinking, which posited that Japan had a “spe­cial responsibility” to rescue Asia from the West. Japanese grievance against the West thus was melded with superiority toward the East. Japan was now self-consciously cast as an exceptional nation, preordained to bring about the regeneration of Asia. Japan, after all, alone among Asian nations, had mod­ernized, fought off unequal treaties, and stunned the world by defeating Tsarist Russia. This paternalistic strand of Pan-Asianism recalled the spirit of imperialism's “civilizing mission” from the late nineteenth century, in which a caretaker nation had a moral obligation, the “white man's burden," to bring order and progress to allegedly less-enlightened peoples In fact, during the Manchurian crisis, the American-based Japanese journalist K. K. Kawa kami claimed that Japan’s leadership in Manchuria was “one of the most significant developments in the century, a great experiment in the reorgan­ization, regeneration, and rejuvenation of an ancient nation long wallowing in chaos and maladministration....For the first time in history, a non-white race has undertaken to cany the white man’s burden."3

Such expansive purpose required a profound sense of national unique­ness. In the 1930s. as scholars of Japan have made clear, strong currents of exceptional ism flowed through Japan's body politic from a multiplicity of influential tributaries, with some headwaters reaching back to the early twen­tieth century A nationalist literary movement, the Japan Romantic School, for example, exalted the unique traits and importance of Japanese civiliza­tion. Particularly industrious was a group of philosophers from Kyoto Impe­rial University, led by Professor Nishida Kitaro, who extolled the uniqueness of the Japanese family state. Other significant sources included eminent academies who filled think tanks. Nichiren Budding millennialists, ultranation­alists such as Kita DckiKanji Ishiwara, and Pan-Asianist ideologues like Shūmei Ōkawa.4 That the Manchurian crisis acted as a powerful ideological catalyst and coagulant in Japanese flunking can be deduced by comparing Kawakami's spirited piece above on Japan's mission with a commentary he wrote ten years prior, during the Washington Conference:

All the Powers ... have bound themselves by agreements or resolutions not to return to the old practice of spheres of influence or special interests [in Chi­na)....This change is no shadowy thing. It is as definite as it is real. Twenty years ago the Powers were talking only what they could take from China. Today they are talking about what they can give her. Certainly that indicates a vast moral progress.5

Thus, what was once the “vast moral progress” of liberal self-denial now required Japan's civilizing intervention.

Eventually, Pan-Asianist-inspired "special responsibilities” developed into the principal justification for Japanese expansionism in the decade fol­lowing the Manchurian crisis. The imperative of a Japanese rescue mission in Asia resonated with the imaginings of an alternative world order, unfettered by the liberal language of the Nine-Power Treaty and the Kellogg Pact.


Colonial dominoes fall

The war itself quickly unfolded in favor of Japan’s regionalist ambitions. While Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, they also overran Guam. Hong Kong, and Wake Island. Within a few months, colonial dominoes had fallen throughout Southeast Asia, producing unforgettable images of white over­lords capitulating to their Japanese conquerors. In February 1942, more than eighty thousand British troops surrendered in Singapore, a military defeat considered, to this day, as one of Britain's worst. In March, the Dutch surren­dered Indonesia: in May, the Americans did the same in the Philippines A significant turning point, however, came just as quickly. In June 1942, Ja­pan’s gains at Pearl Harbor evaporated at the Battle of Midway. Thereafter, the conflict turned into a slow and tortuous slaughter across the vast expanse of Pacific atolls and islands Whatever the private convictions among the young Japanese and American combatants who faced one another in unfath­omable existential moments, hovering over every battlefield and landing zone were far-reaching and competing ideas of world order.

At home and abroad, Japan’s campaign into the South Seas glistened with the revisionist promises of liberation and coprosperity. In January 1942, Premier Tojo told the Diet that Japan had embarked on “truly an unprece­dentedly grand undertaking . . . [to] establish everlasting peace in Greater East Asia based on a new conception, which will mark a new epoch in the annals of mankind, and proceed to construct a new world order along with our allies and friendly powers in Europe." More comprehensively, at a sum­mer conference in Kyoto in 1942, a prominent group of Japanese intellectu­als gathered under the slogan “Overcoming the Modern" and critiqued the “corrupting” influences of an Americanized modernity. As one scholar has noted, the symposium's participants believed “all the ills that had poisoned Japan were found in Americanism,” which included its values, culture, and commodities.6 The claim of liberating fellow Asians and overcoming the corrupt tenets of Anglo-Americanism was an intoxicating ideological brew carrying great moral purpose. To this end, the Japanese government reorient­ed the cultural programs of the Kokusai Buuka Shiukokai toward the South Seas to help spread the Pan-Asianist scripture of Japan’s alleged holy war.

Throughout occupied Southeast Asia, the KBS disseminated publications, films, and Japanese language textbooks to promote the empire's prestige and leadership. The conscious intertwining between political and cultural motives can be seen in the words of KBS Chairman Matsuzo Nagai who as­serted that the promotion of Japanese culture would make the peoples of Asia ‘ grasp the true intention of Japanese actions" and "understand the signifi­cance of our holy war " The KBS’s soft power programs thus were politically malleable, the theme of Japanese cultural importance could be tailored lo American cosmopolitans or Asian nationalists. What did not change was tire irrefutable message of regional primacy.7 Tokyo's propaganda challenge also remained the same: to square its promise of liberation with coercive rule.

Japan’s leaders were not unaware of a gap between theory and practice. This was made clear in November 1943 just as the empire's fortunes in the Pacific were becoming increasingly bleak. In an attempt to reinvigorate the alleged altruism of Japan’s motives, the Tojo government invited leading statesmen from around Asia to attend the so-called Greater East Asia Confer­ence in Tokyo, under the banner of the utopian strand of Asian solidarity. The puppet heads of the Manchukuo and Nanjing regimes joined leaders from Burma, the Philippines. India, and Thailand. Although die Tokyo con­ference accomplished little of substance other than to issue an anti-Anglo- American “joint declaration,” it nonetheless indulged the language of libera­tion and independence and portended postwar decolonization, even if para­doxically wedded still to Japanese autarky, As Fujitani Takasbi has argued, even if we acknowledge such discourse as propaganda, “it is difficult to deny the unintended or unavoidable consequences” of officially declaring dis­avowals of racism and promises of greater equality.8

Under far more auspicious circumstances, in July 1944, seven months after the Tokyo conference, more than seven hundred delegates, including economists, financiers, politicians, and industrialists, from forty-four Allied nations trekked to northern New Hampshire to attend a virtual renaissance party for liberal internationalism. The Bretton Woods Conference, as it was called, breathed institutional life into that Wilsonian offspring, the Atlantic Charter, with the goal of stabilizing a liberal postwar economic order. It was an acknowledgment of the close and profoundly consequential relationship inbetween national and international economies. To secure the global monetary system, the system of exchange rates and international payments that allows nations to transact with each other, the conference created the International Monetary Fund. To provide developmental financing, the World Bank was born. As in Wilson’s time, the overall goal of these programs was to encour­age global peace and prosperity through so-called orderly processes.9

One month later, at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Washington. DC, the Allies began laying the foundation for the United Nations, with hopes of making amends for the nearly stillborn League of Nations. Of note, accord­ing to Fujitani, similar to the effects of Japan's strategic wartime disavowals of racism. America's universalizing wartime rhetoric of freedom and self­determination not only "made it increasingly necessary to disavow- racist discrimination” but to "demonstrate the sincerity of this denunciation through concrete plans.” Beyond influencing the loosening of US immigra­tion restrictions (the United States began accepting Chinese immigrants again in 1943 and Japanese immigrants in 1952). wartime rhetoric played a key role in the ensuing global era of decolonization. This is not to gloss over persistent hypocrisies and complexities. As Mark Mazower lias noted, how docs one square the United Nations’ stated ideals with the fact that a commit­ted segregationist. South Africa's Jan Smuts, helped draft the institution's lofty preamble? Or, more palpably, cases of violent resistance to indepen­dence movements by the colonizing powers and their allies.10

Self-interest, to be sure, mingled with idealism. Every institution estab­lished at Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks, for better or worse, earned the ubiquitous imprint of American leadership and liberal principles. After slugging it out against fierce ideological foes in both Europe and the Pacific, the American mindset could accurately be described as be sure not to make the same mistake twice. Henry Luce's 1941 commentary “The American Century” represented an early and forceful expression of this evolving world­view. calling for vigorous American leadership. "In 1919,” wrote Luce, "we had a golden opportunity ... to assume the leadership of the world.... We did not understand that opportunity. Wilson mishandled it. We rejected it. We bungled it in the 1920s and in the confusion of the 1930s we killed it.” It must not happen again, he warned Americans. “America is responsible.” Luce said, "for the world-environment in which she lives.” He concluded with missionary zeal, claiming “all of us are called... to create the first great American Century ”11 In some ways, despite different desired ends. Luce’s expansive call to action mirrored Japanese rhetoric. Just as Japan viewed its struggle in Asia as holy war. Luce characterized the conflict as a holy war for a free-market, democratic order. The main ideological difference, albeit a significant one, was that of an exclusive regionalism versus a more open internationalism.

The moment of America's ideological redemption arrived in 1945. In May. Germany surrendered to Allied forces. In the Pacific, the brutal island­hopping campaign came to a halt on June 22 after the Battle of Okinawa. American commanders subsequently scheduled an invasion of the Japanese home islands to start in November. In the meantime, a methodical firebomb­ing campaign incinerated large parts of sixty-plus Japanese cites. And then, in early August, with bewildering suddenness, came three shocks in four days. On August 6 an atomic bomb killed more than eighty thousand Japa­nese civilians in Hiroshima. Two days later the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. And on August 9. another A-bomb leveled the city of Nagasaki. (The sparing of Kyoto and its cultural treasures from atomic destruction on ac­count of Secretary of War Stimson's personal intervention raises questions about the possible influence of KBS programs.)12

Following Nagasaki, and facing Total annihilation. Emperor Hirohito fi­nally accepted Allied terms for surrender. The forty-four-year-old emperor spoke to the nation for the first time on August 15. Filled with regret and sadness, the recorded address announced Japan’s surrender and encouraged the Japanese people “to endure the unendurable" But ideology made an appearance as well. The emperor reminded his subjects of the noble Asianist goals for which they allegedly fought. "We declared war on America and Britain." asserted Hirohito. "out of our sincere desire to insure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.” He also extended the nation's “deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with tire Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia."13 Thus, despite the deaths of an estimated twelve million Chinese from Japanese aggression, the myth of coprosperity, that Manchukuo and the Wang regime were not pup­pet states, but allied partners fighting side by side in a good fight for a new order in Asia, was duly perpetrated.

In the United States, President Harry S. Truman also described the end of the war in ideological terms, stating: “This is the end of the grandiose schemes of the dictators to enslave the peoples of the world, destroy their civilization, and institute a new era of darkness and degradation. This day is a new beginning in the history of freedom on this earth.”14 The uplifting words momentarily papered over aspects of the Asia-Pacific War perhaps more properly defined in moral gradations rather than absolutes. In the coming decades. Americans would be compelled to grapple morally with their government’s decision to drop two nuclear bombs on civilian populations, with the second bomb coming just three days after the first, as well as the illegal internment of nearly 120.000 innocent Japanese Americans. Bui for the immediate future, the thousands of American troops and bureaucrats pouring into Japan, led by General Douglas MacArthur, seemed to affirm Truman's declaration.

The American occupation of Japan lasted nearly seven years (1945-1952).15 Despite considerable Japanese agency, the occupation amounted to an unprecedented undertaking in nation-building and ideologi­cal overhaul. Under the banner of “demilitarization and democratization,” the American authorities instituted land reform, education reform, and a free press and. of greatest significance, drafted Japan’s postwar constitution. The liberal charter completely transformed Japan's polity. It turned the emperor into a depoliticized symbol of the slate, abolished the House of Peers and hereditary aristocracy, mandated party cabinets, and gave women the fran­chise. Initially it also disbanded Japan's military. The pacifist Article 9 in­serted into the constitution essentially incorporated the principles of the Kel­logg Pact by prohibiting Japan from using armed forces in an offensive war.16

At the same time, in a move that had far-reaching effects. MacArthur chose not to prosecute Emperor Hirohito for war responsibility; instead, he used the exalted crown to drive a wedge between the nation as a whole and a culpable military clique. In other words, the occupation resurrected the 1930s “dualism” of Ambassador Grew and other so-called Japan Hands and super­imposed it onto the occupation. On a practical level, this helped stabilize the occupation, but it also cut the rope to the anchor of self-reflection regarding war responsibility. In the postwar years, the Japanese people drifted in a sea of moral ambiguity, leading to the prevalence of the Grew-tinted “dark val­ley” thesis. According to this interpretation, a small cabal of militarists defied the emperor and civilian government and took ail innocent nation down the path of militarist min. Grew himself publicized his convictions just before the end of the war. saying Japan's military had established a “dictator­ship of tenor" over the people. Such views created lasting stereotypes about Japan's polity for years to come As KBS official Aoki Setsuichi claimed two decades after the war. “The military blatantly pressured us ... to conduct cultural projects to camouflage military intent.” As a result of tills revived thesis, after the war, former officials such as Shigeinitsu Maniom, Yoshida Sbigeru, and Kishi Nobusuke quietly traded in their imperialist clothes for internationalist garb. Shigeinitsu subsequently became involved in the Unit­ed Nations, and Yoshida saved as premier for nearly seven years.17

The Allies' Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal (1946-1948), meanwhile, set out to make a sweeping case against Japanese militarists. In the process, it inad­vertently opened up a Pandora’s box to ideological sparring by charging the defendants with "crimes against peace” (conspiring to wage war), a novel category in international law established by the Nuremberg Tribunal (1945-1946). This allowed the accused to recycle the specious claim that Japan had only sought to liberate Asian peoples from Western oppression,  and that, from Manchuria to Pearl Harbor, the empire had acted in self­defense against Anglo-American encirclement, As a result, though the Allies disarmed Japan's military and effectively extirpated the militarist ethos in society, the tribunal earned the cynical moniker a “victors’ justice.”18 Such a confused and conflicted legacy of the war, not unlike the sordid Lost Cause legacy of the .American Civil War, has prompted a parade of postwar Japa­nese politicians to make controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo as well as tone-deaf remarks about Japan’s wartime responsibility. The result has been repeated protests among Chinese and Koreans, not to mention protests by Japanese pacifists.19

In the cultural realm, the organization that had helped spread the idea of benevolent Japanese leadership in the occupied territories, the Kokusai Rim­ka Shiukokai, was left in institutional limbo immediately after the war. One American scholar at the time eviscerated the KBS as an apologist for military aggression, thus challenging the society's claims of institutional autonomy and innocent dedication to the arts. Occupation officials, meanwhile, tended to associate traditional Japanese cnlnire with feudalistic practices and thus initially suppressed it. The specter of communism in Asia, however, eventu­ally stimulated a reappraisal and subsequent reversal of some occupation policies, tire so-called reverse course, which included reconstituting the KBS. Accordingly, in 1949, many former KBS officials, including Dan Ino, Maeda Tamon, Kabayarua Aisuke, and Prince Takamatsu, reprised their roles as cultural ambassadors, but this time under a mission statement that heralded “a fresh stan with new ideals and goals”, as part of "the rebirth of Japan as a cultural stale along democratic lines.”20 And so began one aspect of Japan’s postwar transformation from enemy to ally.

The first cultural projects sprouted from myriad institutions, including die KBS, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cultural Properties Protection Commission, the US State Department, and Japan societies. John D. Rocke­feller III. a cultural advisor for Washington’s 1951 Peace Mission to Japan, was a key figure. In the ensuing years Rockefeller, along with Kabayama and Matsumoto Shigeharu (a top Domei official and confidant of Premier Konoe), poured energies into establishing a nonprofit, nonpolitical center for intellectual cooperation and cross-cultural exchange in the heart of Tokyo. This was the International House of Japan (I-Honse), which officially opened in 1955. Rockefeller also helped organize a major touring exhibition of Japa­nese cultural treasures in 1953. which bore a sinking resemblance to the 1936 MFA show. American critics uniformly praised the show, seen by nearly five hundred thousand people. Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Araki Eikichi, meanwhile, invoked standard "soft power” assump­tions, saying the exhibition "served to draw even closer the bonds of culture and friendship which exists between our countries.” A 1955 publication sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. Japanese and Americans: A Century of Cultural Relations, echoed Araki’s sentiments, maintaining that “cultural interchange can lay the groundwork for solution of mutual problems.”


Conclusion part six

One of the reasons why we started this what will be an eight part investigation is among others because as we have seen, the US is concerned that China is flirting with the idea of seizing control of Taiwan as President Xi Jinping becomes more willing to take risks to boost his legacy. A good reason why we covered the  Asia-Pacific War 1941 till September 1945. Like Japan due to earlier agreements with China felt justified to take Manchuria, not unlike China perceives Taiwan and a large part of the Pacific (the South China Sea) as their own. Similarly when Japan saw itself in a special role as mediator between the West (“Euro-America”) and the East (“Asia”) in order to “harmonize” or “blend” the two civilizations and demanded that Japan lead Asia in this anti-Western enterprise there are parallels with what Asim Doğan in his extensive new book "Hegemony with Chinese Characteristics: From the Tributary System to the Belt and Road Initiative" (Routledge Contemporary China Series April 2021).

With as Doğan explains, China appears to be moving from a period of being content with the status quo to a period in which they are more impatient and more prepared to test the limits and flirt with the idea of unification also with Taiwan. As the US prepares for a period in which Xi Jinping is entering his third term, there’s concern that he sees capstone progress on Taiwan as important to his legitimacy and legacy, and that there is a perception that he is prepared to take more risks. This matched a warning from Admiral Philip Davidson, head of US Indo-Pacific command, who told senators China could take military action “in the next six years”.

Admiral John Aquilino, who is scheduled to succeed Davidson, this week told Congress that there was a wide range of forecasts but “my opinion is this problem is much closer to us than most think”.

“We've seen things that I don't think we expected,” Aquilino told the Senate armed services committee. “That's why I continue to talk about a sense of urgency. We ought to be prepared today.” Aquilino said China had taken other “aggressive actions”, including clashes with India on their border that suggested it was emboldened.

Kurt Campbell, the top White House Asia official, said that while China was acting in an increasingly aggressive manner in many areas, it was taking the most assertive activities in its approach to Taiwan. “We have seen China become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea . . . economic coercion against Australia, wolf warrior diplomacy in Europe, and the border tensions with India,” he said. “But nowhere have we seen more persistent and determined activities than the military, diplomatic and other activities directed at Taiwan.”

Three days after Joe Biden was inaugurated as US president Chinese fighter jets and bombers simulated missile attacks on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft.

The simulation occurred as Chinese warplanes spent two days flying in and out of Taiwan’s air defence zone just days after Biden was sworn in. One US defence official said the incident was not the first time China had simulated attacks on US ships. The revelations highlight that the intense military competition between the two superpowers around Taiwan and the South China Sea has not eased, posing a challenge to any attempts the Biden administration might make to improve US relations with Beijing.


Part 1: Overview of the discussions following the 1919 or "Wilsonian moment,” a notion that extends before and after that calendar year: Part One Can a potential future Pacific War be avoided?

Part 2: Issues like the Asian Monroe Doctrine, how relations between China and Japan from the 1890s onward transformed the region from the hierarchy of time to the hierarchy of space, Leninist and Wilsonian Internationalism, western and Eastern Sovereignty, and the crucial March First and May Fourth movements were covered in: Part Two Can a potential future Pacific War be avoided?

Part 3: The important Chinese factions beyond 1919 and the need for China to create a new Nation-State and how Japan, in turn, sought to expand into Asia through liberal imperialism and then sought to consolidate its empire through liberal internationalism were covered in: Part Three Can a potential future Pacific War be avoided?

Part 4: The various arrangements between the US and Japan, including The Kellogg–Briand Pact or Pact in 1928 and The Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament of 1930. Including that American policy toward Japan until shortly before the Pearl Harbor attack was not the product of a rational, value-maximizing decisional process. Rather, it constituted the cumulative, aggregate outcome of several bar­gaining games which would enable them to carry out their preferred Pacific strategy was covered in: Part Four Can a potential future Pacific War be avoided?

Part 5: The Manchurian crisis and its connection to the winding road to World War II are covered in: Part Five Can a potential future Pacific War be avoided?

Part 7: Part Seven Can a potential future Pacific War be avoided?

Part 8: While initially both the nationalist Chiang Kai-shek (anti-Mao Guomindang/KMT), including Mao's Communist Party (CCP), had long supported independence for Taiwan rather than reincorporation into China, this started to change following the publication of the New Atlas of China's Construction created by cartographer Bai Meichu in 1936. A turning point for Bai and others who saw China's need to create a new Nation-State was the Versailles peace conference's outcome in 1919 mentioned in part one. Yet that from today's point of view, the fall of Taiwan to China would be seen around Asia as the end of American predominance and even as “America’s Suez,” hence demolishing the myth that Taiwan has no hope is critical. And that while the United States has managed to deter Beijing from taking destructive military action against Taiwan over the last four decades because the latter has been relatively weak, the risks of this approach inches dangerously close to outweighing its benefits. Conclusion and outlook.


1. See Harada Diary, August 21, 1931, 39, and October 2, 1931, 101-4 On reformists, see Sharon Minichiello, Retreat from Reform: Patterns of Political Behavior in Interwar Japan (Honolulu University of Hawai’i Press. 1984).

2. On remembrance, see Naoko Shimazu Japanese Society at War: Death, Memory and the Russo-Japanese War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2009) On the development of the SMR zone before the 1931 crisis, see Yoshihisa Tak Matsusaka, The Making of Japanese Manchuria, 1904-1932  (Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), and Ramon H Myers, “Japanese Imperialism in Manchuria: The South Manchurian Railway Company, 1906-1933,” in The Japanese Informal Empire in China, 1395-1937, ed Peter Duus. Ramon H Myers, Mark R Peattie, 101-32 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1989).

3. K.K. Kawakami Manchukuo: Child of Conflict (New York Macmillan. 1933), v-vi.

4. See Kevin Doak Dreams of Difference : the Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1994); Tetsuo Najita and Harry' Harootunian, “Japanese Revolt against the West: Political and Cultural Criticism in the Twentieth Century.” in The Cambridge History of Japan. vol 6, ed Peter Duus, 711-74 (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1989), James Heiseg and John Maraldo, eds, Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School, and the Question of Nationalism (Honolulu University' of Hawai'i Press, 1995), Aydin Politics of Anti-Westernism, esp. 111-21, 141-88, Jacqueline Stone “Japanese Lotus Millennialism.” in Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence, ed Catherine Wessinger. 261-74 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000), W. Miles Fletcher, The Search for a New Order. Intellectuals and Fascism in Prewar Japan (Chapel Hill University' of North Carolina Press. 1982).

5. K.K. Kawakami Japan 's Pacific Policy' (New York E P Dutton & Co, 1922), 151.

6. Tojo quoted in Perer Dims, “Introduction" in Harry D. Harootunian, Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan, 2002.

7. Nagai quoted in Jessamyn Reich Abel, Cultural internationalism and Japan’s wartime empire: The turns of the kokusai bunka shinkōkai, p. 37-38.

8. On comparisons between Tokyo's declarations and liberal internationalism especially the Atlantic Charter, see Akira Iriye, Power and Culture : The Japanese-American War, 1941-1945, 1982,, esp 112-21, and Jessamyn R. Abel, The International Minimum: Creativity and Contradiction in Japan’s Global Engagement, 1933-1964, 2015, 194-217. Takeshi Fujnaiu Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War U (Berkeley: University of California Press. 2011), 23.

9. See Borgwardt New Deal for the World, 88-193, and Mazower, Governing the World, 191-213.

10. Takashi Fujitani, Race for Empire Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II,2011, 17. Mark Mazower. No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and The Ideological Origins of the United Nations, 2009, 19.

11. Oil FDR's pragmatic liberalism, see Warren F. Kimball, The Juggler:  Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman, 1994, 185-200Alan Brinkley, The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century, 2021, "61-65.

12. On the wars final months, see Richard Frank Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (New York Random House, 1999), and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Cambridge, MA Belknap Press, 2006) Stimson knew about Kyoto s cultural treasures since at least the 1920s, when he visited the city This study suggests that, given the extent of KBS activities in the 1930s, a reasonable inference is that its programs reinforced Stunsons awareness of Kyoto s cultural importance. Still, why did Stimson, after approving the strategic bombing of more than sixty Japanese cities, choose to spare a cultural center? See Jason M Kelly. "Why Did Henry Stimson Spare Kyoto from the Bomb’’ Confusion in Postwar Historiography Journal of American-East Asian Relations 19, no 2 (2012): 183-203.

13. Hirohito surrender speech,

14. Truman statement, August 16, 1945,

15. Officially it was called the "Allied" occupation of Japan, but Gen. MacArthur was the supreme decision maker.

16. The occupation historiography is voluminous See especially John Dower, Embracing Defeat Japan m the Wake of World War II (New York W. W. Norton 1999), and Eiji Takernae Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan audits Legacy, trans Robert Ricketts and Sebastian Swann (New York Continuum 2002). See also Hiroshi Knamura Screening Enlightenment: Hollywood and the Cultural Reconstruction of Defeated Japan (Ithaca. NY: Cornell University Press 2010) On race relations see Yukiko Kosluro, Trans Pacific Racisms and the U.S. Occupation of Japan (New York Columbia University Press, 1999).

17. See Dower, Embracing Defeat. 277-301, and Bix, Hirohito, 541-618 Grew, Ten Years, 217. See also Masanon Nakamura, The Japanese Monarchy: embassador Grew and the Mak­ing of the “Symbol Emperor System” (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1992) Aoki cited in ShibasakiKindai Nihon, 128. To this day the Japan Society of Boston bestows an internation­alist award in Shigemitsu’s name On Yoshida see Dower, Empire and Aftermath On the politics of surrender, see Marc Galliceluo, The Scramble for Asia: U.S. Military Power in the Aftermath of the Pacific War (Lanharn, MD: Rowman & Littlefield 2008).

18. See Richard Minear, Victors' Justice: Tokyo War Crimes Trial (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972), and Yuma Totani The Tokyo War Crimes Trial: Die Pursuit of Justice in the Wake of World War 11 (Cambridge. MA Harvard University Asia Center 2009). Hirota was the lone civilian leader to be hanged Matsuoka died in prison in 1946 from tuberculosis Konoe committed suicide in December 1945.

19. Yasukuni Shrine was founded in 1869 to memorialize Japan’s war dead See especially Aktko Takenaka Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar (Honolu­lu University of Hawaii Press, 2015), 131-89.

20. Harley F. MacNair, "Japan and the Pacific war of Politics" 4, no. 3 (July 1942): 353, Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai: Organization and Program (Tokyo: Kokusai Bunka Shuikokai 1949). 1.


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