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World War II Re-explored

Some New Millenium Studies in the History of the Global Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples, Stephanie James and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

This volume is a collection of thirty papers written by authors from around the world. The writers focus on topics related to their own research interests. As a result, readers obtain a worldwide perspective on World War II from academics working on nearly every continent, proving that World War II was, probably, the first ever truly global experience for humanity. Present are many and different perspectives on the war. Eighty years after the end of World War II, these academics share their knowledge and reflections about a gruesome, but still not very remote time. In the new millennium, their studies should remind readers that the ‘end of history’ has been an impossible illusion and warn that peace and stability in international relations are not a given.

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Japanese Ultra-Nationalism and Its ‘Holy’ War: A Brief Intellectual History

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Abstract: This chapter examines the main characteristics of anti-Western sentiment expressed by Japanese pre-war ultra-nationalists and the logical foundations used to justify the ‘holy’ war against the West. There were 4 distinctive elements to their rationale for criticizing Western civilization, namely assertion of the uniqueness of Japanese culture; claims of cultural decay and the imminent decline of the West; accusations of the West’s interference into the domestic policies of other countries; allegations of the hypocrisy of the West. Given that an anti-Western sentiment lingers in the region, it could be a great challenge for Asian countries to find ways of maintaining their own cultural identity and, at same time, acknowledge and recognize their differences with the West. Achieving this would allow Asian countries to harmoniously co-exist with the rest of the world. In other words, based on the lessons drawn from the past history, developing and maintaining, a meaningful dialogue between Asia and the West would help to prevent another world war and maintain world peace and security.

Keywords: nationalism, Japan, intellectual history, World War II, Asian values

Introduction

Japan enjoyed peaceful national seclusion for more than two hundred years from the beginning of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century. In Japanese history textbooks, the two hundred sixty five year long peace and security of the land was known simply as ‘The Pax Tokugawana’ or more formally, as ‘The Tokugawa Period of Three Hundred Years of Peace and...

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