Internationalizing the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and the Institute of Pacific Relations in War and Peace, 1919-45

Internationalizing the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and the Institute of Pacific Relations in War and Peace, 1919-45

Internationalizing the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and the Institute of Pacific Relations in War and Peace, 1919-45

Internationalizing the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and the Institute of Pacific Relations in War and Peace, 1919-45

Synopsis

This study of the Institute of Pacific Relations offers insight into the formation of the dominant ideologies and institutions of regional and international politics in the Pacific during the inter-war years.

Excerpt

The study of international history, that is, the history of international relations, has been transformed significantly in the last decade or so. Traditionally understood in the framework of 'diplomatic history', the subject has tended to focus on interactions among sovereign states, especially those that are called 'great powers'. Their foreign policies and strategies have been minutely examined to determine how these powers have dealt with one another in peace and war. The questions most frequently asked have been: How did wars begin? How were postwar settlements arrived at? How did great powers rise and fall in the international arena? These are, and remain, legitimate questions, and in many ways they provide the point of departure for any study of international affairs. To explore such questions, it is imperative to undertake empirical research, preferably in the archives of the countries that are being discussed. With the opening of more and more archives to researchers, we may expect to see the continuing publication of monographs in the traditional mode.

That is to be welcomed. At the same time, however, there has been a growing tendency among scholars, especially among the younger generation, to go beyond the traditional frameworks of diplomatic history and add new layers, propose fresh perspectives, and suggest connections that have not usually been stressed. Thanks to the efforts of these scholars, today international history is one of the most exciting sub-fields of history.

For instance, historians have been paying increasing attention to cultural issues and phenomena as vital aspects of international affairs. Traditionally, to the extent that culture comes into play in a study of diplomatic history, it has tended to be viewed as a means of enhancing a nation's effectiveness as a power. Cultural diplomacy best describes this perspective; propaganda efforts undertaken through books, movies and the like, or educational exchange programmes conceived as an instrument of foreign policy, are examples. There are, however, monographs that deal with cultural relations that have little or nothing to do with official policies or with interstate affairs. They show that cultural phenomena - such as tourism, international scholarly gatherings, or the spread of American food and fashions abroad - have a life of their own quite independent of the geopolitical 'realities', yet impinging powerfully upon them.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.