World War II in Asia and the Pacific and the War's aftermath, with General Themes: A Handbook of Literature and Research

World War II in Asia and the Pacific and the War's aftermath, with General Themes: A Handbook of Literature and Research

World War II in Asia and the Pacific and the War's aftermath, with General Themes: A Handbook of Literature and Research

World War II in Asia and the Pacific and the War's aftermath, with General Themes: A Handbook of Literature and Research

Synopsis

A companion to World War II in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, this volume reevaluates the most enduring literature on basic aspects of the war in Asia and the Pacific. It also covers themes pertaining to societies at war, culture, the arts, and science and technology as well as international relations and the postwar world. Included are not only grand strategy, military and naval campaigns, and matters of diplomacy, but also resistance, collaboration, prisoners of war, and broad topics of the "home front," including chapters on gender issues, film, literature, popular culture, and propaganda. This volume and its companion provide the first comprehensive historiographic reference work on the war.

Excerpt

Carol N. Gluck

In the late 1990s, more than half a century after it ended, World War II is the subject of intense debate in many societies. Issues of history and memory generate political heat both within nations and between them. France focuses obsessively on its Vichy past. The United States challenges Switzerland over the spoils of Nazi gold. Serbs evoke Croatian wartime fascism to justify new violence. China confronts Japan over its failure to remember and acknowledge the Rape of Nanjing. Others chastise the United States for its postwar coverup of Japanese biological warfare. And the list continues. Far from bringing either commemorative closure or scholarly consensus, the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war in 1995 launched a new round of attention to, and contention about, the nature and meaning of the twentieth century's most deadly global war.

Historians have not been idle. Their customary work of revising existing interpretations, rummaging through newly opened archives, and revisiting the past through the lens of the present has only intensified since the end of the Cold War. The sheer volume of scholarly material on World War II in different languages around the world is astonishing, and, as this book shows, the works in English alone amount to a vast literature on everything from airplanes to advertising, wartime planning to postwar poetry, presidents to POWs. To study the war is to learn the twentieth century and also to see the world.

The world, of course, has been less well represented in English-language scholarship than our own particular corners of it. We know far more about the war against the Nazis, and in the United States, about the war against Japan, than we do about the war in Asia or, for that matter, in countries other than the great powers or the major belligerents. But this volume attests to the fact that recent work has begun to remedy these habits of inattention. Asia is the subject of a growing scholarly literature, which . . .

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