T325 Topics in History: The Road to World War II: China, Japan and the U.S. (internet section)

Diana Lin/Fall 2011

Office: Hawthorn Hall 206A
(O)980 6981
Email: dchenlin@iun.edu
Website: www.iun.edu/~hisdcl
Office hours: MW 8:30-10am, 11:30am-1pm or by appt

Bibliography: textbooks on China and Japan in the IUN library.

Maps of East Asia.


The purpose of this class is to provide a detailed understanding of the road to World War II from the perspectives of Japanese and American political, diplomatic and military personnel, against the background of the international relations where the Pacific phase of World War II took place. One of the central themes of this class is mutual perceptions: how the Americans perceived the Japanese government and military, and why they treated the Chinese as allies; also, how the Japanese perceived the Americans and why/when they decided to take on the Americans in a war. We examine the mutual perceptions between the Japanese and the Americans both before the war and through wartime propaganda during the war. The result is a humanized picture of the war-- a behind-the-scenes look at the many options considered by the American and Japanese sides before the war started, and the mutual misrepresentation reinforced by the cruelty of the battles.

Books and Required Readings:
The following books are required reasdings and are available at the IUN campus Barnes & Noble bookstore:

Dower, John. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific. Pantheon Books, 1986.

Iriye, Akira. Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War. Bedford/St.Martin's, 1999. (Indicated as Iriye 1999 in class schedule.)

Iriye, Akira. Power and Culture: the Japanese-American War 1941-1945. Harvard, 1981. (Indicated as Iriye 1981 in class schedule.)

Learning Materials Available via Oncourse:

Course Requirements

I. Weekly writing assignments: There are usually two batches of reading assignments a week, and there is usually one essay question with each batch of reading assignment, with occasional exceptions, as the online section follows the pace of the on campus section and holiday class cancellations on campus also affect the online syllabus. Forum questions are under the weekly reading assignments on the syllabus, and answers to these questions are to be posted on Oncourse Forums. They are due on the Saturday of each week, for instance, the question for week 1 is due by midnight Saturday, Sept.3. Forum questions are submitted via Forums on Oncourse.

How to answer forum questions: Each forum question should be answered in TWO ways: by posting your answer and posting a critique/commentary on someone else's posting. Your grade for each question is based on both your posting and your comments.

II. Two take-home papers, each 8-10 pages, typed, double spaced. The papers need citations.

You will use the built-in paper topics in the syllabus, under the schedule for the 8th and 16th week, and at the end of the syllabus respectively. You are required to use both in-class readings and one or two outside sources for your papers. The papers are to be submitted via Oncourse Assignments. The due dates are as indicated on the syllabus.

III. Three Oncourese Connect meetings or two campus visits.

IV. Posting and answering ten questions respectively in Oncourse Chatroom.

All homework and correspondence with the instructor are to be conducted via Oncourse. However, if you have questions about Oncourse, you can email me at my regular email address at dchenlin@iun.edu until the problems are resolved. Correspondence through Oncourse guarantees your homework will be securely transmitted and preserved. Consequently, I expect you to check your Oncourse email also for any course announcements and correspondence from me and possibly other classmates.

Method of grading: all grades are assigned in percentages, which will be tabulated at the end of the semester and converted to letter grades. The averages of your take-home papers and of your weekly writing assignments will be taken to represent the grades for your take-home paper and weekly writing assignment. The conversion is as follows: 93-100: A; 90-93: A-; 85-89.9: B+; 80-84.9: B; 75-79.9: B-; 70-74.9: C+; 65-69.9: C; 60-64.9: C-; 55-59.9: D+; 50-54.9: D; 45-49.9: D-; 44 and below: F.

Grade distribution is as follows:

Forum Homework: 30 per cent
Take-home papers: 25 per cent each
Three Connect meetings or two campus visits: 10 per cent
Chatroom postings (10 questions and 10 answers): 10 per cent

All grades will be shown in your Oncourse Gradebook.

Class schedule

Week 1 (Aug.29-Sept.4)

1. Introduction: China, Japan and the U.S. in the 20th century.

2. Prelude to Pearl Harbor. Iriye 1981, chap.1.

Forum question 1: What was the uncertainty Iriye discusses here? What brought an end to it?

Week 2 (Sept.5-11)

1. The road to Pearl Harbor: Japanese decision making. Iriye 1999, pp.1-40.

Forum question 2: What important concessions did the Japanese think they were making? Why was China so important to them? What was the main reason for Japan's risking war with the U.S.?

Week 3 (Sept.12-18)

1. The road to Pearl Harbor: view from America. Iriye 1999, 41-79.

Forum question 3: What issue was the most important in preventing a settlement between U.S. and Japan: the Tripartite Pact, the status of China, or the fate of Southeast Asia? Do you think Secretary Hull was open to or against some sort of negotiated settlement with Japan?

2. Japan's view of the Hull note and the unsent declaration of war. Iriye 1999, 79-112.

Forum question 4: How would you have read the messages between Tokyo and Washington if you had been a policymaker in Washington at the time? Do you think the Declaration of War, had it been sent, would have spared Japan from the criticism of having perpetuated a treacherous attack?

Week 4 (Sept.19-25)

1. Pearl Harbor in global context and Japan's adoption of the southward plan. Iriye 1999, 113-146.

Forum question 5: What does Sumio and Sadao's essay indicate about the nature of strategic decision making in Japan in 1940 and 1941, especially concerning the role and attitude of the Japanese navy? How does Normura's view compare to that of Sumio and Sadao?

2. Was Pearl Harbor preventable? Some American views. Iriye 1999, 147-69.

Forum question 6: How perceptive was American ambassador to Japan Grew in judging trends in Japan in 1941? Why were his views often ignored by the US government? According to David Khan, was Pearl Harbor the result of a failure in the US intelligence system?

Week 5 (Sept.26-Oct.2)

1. The Chinese-Japanese War (1931, 1932, 1937-45) from the Japanese and Chinese perspectives. Iriye 1999, 170-194.

Forum question 7: Do you agree with Katsumi that the Japanese were making substantial concessions in presenting Plans A and B? How does Wang's interpretation of US-Chinese-Japanese relations differ from that by Katsumi?

2. The Pacific War from the British and Indonesian points of view. Iriye 199, 194-219.

Forum question 8: How much sway did Britain have over the US during World War II? In the light of Hatta's views, how justified was Japan's claim for leadership in Asia?

Week 6 (Oct.3-9)

1. The Pacific War from the German and Soviet perspectives. Iriye 199, 219-41.

Forum question 9: Do you think American fears of close German-Japanese ties were exaggerated? How did the Soviet leaders view US-Japanese relations, and what did they tell the Americans?

2.U.S. and Japan after Pearl Harbor: reinterpreting each other. Iriye 1981, chap.2.

Forum question 10: Based on our readings from Iriye 1999, do you think the mutual reinterpretations by U.S. and Japan of each other reinforced mutual perceptions already formed before the war started, or were quite new? How did US perception of Japan influence its wartime diplomacy?

Week 7 (Oct.10-16)

1. Redefining war aims. Iriye 1981, chap.3.

Forum question 11: How did the Japanese and Allied redefinitions of the war and plans to conclude the war compare with each other?

2. Defining terms of peace. Iriye, chap.4.

Forum question 12: Briefly discribe why the changes in the Japanese government toward the end of the war, and how the US government came to develop a moderate peace policy toward Japan at the end of the war.

Week 8 (Oct.17-23) First take-home paper due via Oncourse Assignments email attachment on Sunday Oct.23. Paper topic: Based on our readings in the first 7-8 weeks, Discuss American foreign policy during the negotiations with Japan preceding the war. Discuss how the Pacific War came about by pinpointing some key events, and people that step by step led to the war on both the American and Japanese sides. Could America have avoided going to war with Japan? What American policies would have been pursued to avoid such a war? The paper needs to be 8-10 pages, typed, double-spaced. You need to use our required readings and one external source. Citations are required in the paper, e.g. (Iriye 1999, p.123). or link to the online articles. A bibliography is needed at the end. External sources may include articles from websites such as Japan Focus (www.japanfocus.org), JSTOR and other IUN library electronic databases or reputable external websites for primary sources (e.g.Japan Air Raids.org, at: http://www.japanairraids.org/).

1. Japanese and American propaganda during World War II. Dower, chaps.1-2.

Forum question 13: How did Japanese propaganda justifying expansion and American propaganda against Japanese colonialism compare with each other? What role did race play in the propaganda?

2. Battlefield cruelty on both sides. Dower, chap.3.

Forum question 14: Do you think battlefield cruelty for both Japan and US toward each other was normal, or was aggravated by steretypes and propaganda?

Week 9 (Oct.24-30)

1. The Bataan death march in the Philippines. Online reading from JapanFocus: The Bataan Death March and 66 years struggle for justice.

Forum question 15: Compare information from Dower, chap.3, with this article. Do you think cultural and racial stereotypes led to worse treatment of American POWs in Bataan?

2. American bombing of Tokyo, March 10, 1945. Online readings: The unforgettable day: the great Tokyo bombing through drawings; Thinking now about the great Tokyo air raid.

Forum question 16: Comment on the scale of destruction in Tokyo after the bombing.

Week 10 (Oct.31-Nov.6)

1. Racial stereotyping: the Japanese as children. Dower, chap.6.

Forum question 17: Who were the Americans who were doing the racial stereotyping of Japanese as children? How influential were they?

2. The yellow race in the context of global imperialism. Dower, chap.7.

Forum question 18: How did the Americans maintain paradoxically racial prejudice against the Japanese while treating the Chinese friendly during World War II?

Week 11 (Nov.7-13)

1. Racism and nationalism as weapons of war. Dower, chaps.8 & 9.

Forum question 19: How did racism combined with nationalism help Japan's wartime propaganda?

2. Building an Asian empire with the rhetoric of race. Dower, Epilogue. (new)

Forum question 20: Do you agree with Dower's explanation of the cruelty of the war in the last year and the subsequent (smooth) transition of Japan from a militaristic state to a peaceful nation? (new)

Week 12 (Nov.14-20)

1. Interning Japanese Americans during World War II: another phase of the war. Online reading: Japanese Americans and the making of US democracy during World War II. Optional reading: Blood-Sacrifice in the Politics of a Nation-State. Japanese-Americans in Hawai'i During and After World War II.

Forum question 21: Compare what you read about the internment of Japanese Americans with Dower, chaps.6-7. Do you think the same kind of racial stereotyping applied to mainland Japanese was also applied to Japanese Americans?

2. The end of World War II. Online reading "The Showa Hall: Memorializing Japan's War at Home." (under Oncourse resources) (new) Optional online reading: The Yushukan Museum in Modern Japanese History.

Forum question 22: Explain the purpose and function of the Showa Hall. (new)

Week 13 (Nov.21-27) Because of Thanksgiving, Week 14's forum homework is due at midnight on Monday Nov.28.

1. 2. The end of war and mutual perceptions of Japan and the U.S. Iriye 1981, chaps.5 & Conclusion.

Forum question 23 Summarize, through a comparison between Iriye and Dower, how wartime mutual perceptions and propaganda affected postwar transition to peace in Japan and U.S.-Japan relations.

2. Online documentary viewing: December 7th.

Forum question 24: Comment on how the documentary captures or fails to capture the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Week 14 (Nov.28-Dec.4)

1. Who owns historical memory? Online reading: Richard Kohn, "History and the culture wars: The Smithsonian Institution's Enola Gay exhibition." (on Oncourse Resources)

Forum question 25: Do you think the Smithsonian Institution did the right thing through its attempt to put up an exhibit that was educational, challenging and commemorating?

2. The politics of memory. Online reading: The great Hiroshima cover-up.

Forum question 26: Why did the American authorities want to suppress the documentary footage that covers Hiroshima after the bombing?

Week 15 (Dec.5-11)

1. Possibility to build a cross-national memory of Pearl Harbor? Online reading: Tora! Tora! Tora! and the Fate of Transnational Memory

Forum question 27: Comment on the possibility of creating a binational memory of Pearl Harbor.

2. Dec.7 Conclusion. Extra credit: If you incorporate some information from the mass media from Dec.7: news, movies, documentaries, on the commemoration of Pearl Harbor into your second take-home paper.

Week 16 (Dec.12-18)

Second paper due by email attachment through Oncourse Assignments on Dec.14. Paper topic: Discuss the mutual perceptions and American and Japanese policies during World War II. How much do you think the policies were guided by their perceptions of each other and how much by realistic war goals (refer to first half of semester for war aims on both sides). The paper needs to be 8-10 pages, typed, double-spaced. You need to use our required readings and one external source. Citations are required in the paper, e.g. (Iriye 1999, p.123). or link to the online articles. A bibliography is needed at the end. External sources may include articles from websites such as Japan Focus (www.japanfocus.org), JSTOR and other IUN library electronic databases or reputable external websites for primary sources (e.g.Japan Air Raids.org, at: http://www.japanairraids.org/).