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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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Introducing the Memorial Site for Asia-Pacific War Forced Labourers in Hokkaido – Background, Constraints, and Opportunities in Teaching Practise

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Abstract: Japan’s aggression during the 1930s and 1940s led to the colonization of parts of Asia. Both Japanese and foreign forced labourers suffered under the harshest of conditions, although there was little subsequent official acceptance of the contribution that they made to Japan’s war effort. Japan has taken steps to confront its past, with many memorials commemorating both Japanese and foreign victims. However, a few memorials also honour Japanese military heroes, which reflect the post-World War II American occupier’s viewpoint. Such contradiction contrasts with the situation in Germany where, after prolonged introspection, the war’s impact upon society is widely acknowledged. However, unlike Nazi Germany that rigorously pursued a genocide program, Japan’s primary objective was to augment its workforce that had been severely reduced by military conscription. In Germany, priority is given to educating students about war crimes, which results in a high level of public awareness. However, in Japan, the school curriculum provides less attention to the historical perspective of World War Two, and much of it focuses upon the suffering of Japanese people. This disparity is the subject of significant debate within Japanese academia. Although the atomic bomb memorial sites are internationally renowned, many lesser memorials to the victims of forced labour are left to local determination to maintain as atonement for the suffering inflicted. Unfortunately, it totally depends on the efforts of individual citizens and educators to improve the understanding of the past, and encountering people with a different background, including the use of social media,...

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