Partition of India

  The 1947  partition of India into Hindu and Muslim majorities divided three provinces: Assam, Bengal and the Punjab.     The division of >14 million people according to religious beliefs resulted in large-scale violence, with varying estimates between several...

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Haiphong Incident

On November 23, 1946 the French navy bombarded the Vietnamese coastal city of Haiphong, killing 6,000 Vietnamese people overnight. The Haiphong shelling was the first in a series of armed clashes leading to the December Battle of Hanoi and the outbreak of the First...

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Philippine Independence

The Philippines was colonized by Spain in the 16th century. In 1898 Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo and U.S. troops ousted the Spanish in the Spanish-American War. However, Philippine independence was thwarted when the U.S. formally annexed the country as part...

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North & South Korea

This rapid-fire video is an excellent summary of Korean history since the 19th century. The division of Korea between North and South occurred after WWII, ending the Empire of Japan's 35-year rule over Korea in 1945. The United States and the Soviet Union occupied two...

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Understanding Korea

Ancient Korea Gojoseon, Korea's legendary first kingdom, was founded in 2333 B.C.E. After its collapse, several small kingdoms coalesced into the Three Kingdoms Period (Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla) around the year zero C.E. Gradually assuming power, Silla consolidated...

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Vietnam After WWII

French Indochina was formed in the late 19th century by combining three Vietnamese regions (Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina) with Cambodia, Laos and Guangzhouwan. With the fall of France in 1940, the control of the colony shifted to the Vichy French who allowed military...

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Momotaro the Sea God Soldier

This scene from Momotaro the Sea God Soldier (桃太郎 海の神兵), the first Japanese feature-length animated film, was directed by Mitsuyo Seo. Commissioned by the Japanese Naval Ministry, the film, released in 1945 by the Shochiku Moving Picture Laboratory, was a sequel to...

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The German War

  Using German archival records and letters and diaries of both civilians and soldiers during WWII, The German War - A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945  by Nicholas Stargardt is a fascinating book that illustrates the strong civilian support for Germany's armed forces...

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Eternity

Eternity (万世流芳), a controversial collaborative film effort between Japanese and Chinese filmmakers, was made in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in 1943. Relating the story of Lin Zexu and the Anglo-Chinese First Opium War, the film was a Japanese attempt to produce...

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INFERNO

I am currently reading this excellent book by Max Hastings. Not only is it detailed, balanced and well-referenced; it is superb writing. Before dawn next morning, "a warm, damp, rather hazy day," American and Japanese pilots breakfasted. The Yorktown's men favoured...

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Third Reich Falters

Until the winter of 1942-1943, the German army was victorious in an almost unbroken chain of battlefield successes. All of Europe lay under German domination. However, after a successful advance into Russia in the summer of 1942, Soviet forces halted the Wehrmacht in...

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Japanese Juggernaut

  In early 1942, an Imperial Japanese military juggernaut rolled across the southern Pacific, sweeping Western imperialist powers away.   Here are three major reasons for Japanese success in early 1942: Western powers were simultaneously weakened by civil war (China),...

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WWII China

It is reasonable to say that WWII began, not with the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland, but with a battle on the outskirts of Beijing in July 1937. After occupying Manchuria in 1931, Japan began a wider invasion of China in 1937. By the end of WWII in 1945, ~13-20 million...

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Greater East Asian Co-operation

The Declaration for Greater East Asian Co-operation was an elementary school pamphlet published in Japanese colonies and occupied territories in 1942. With reference to Confucian benevolence, colorful illustrations of the Japanese Empire's multi-cultural aspects were...

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The Light of Asia

At war, Japan required large amounts of petroleum, scrap iron, and other raw materials. While 55 percent of its oil came from the USA, Indonesia supplied 25%. After the German occupation of Holland, Japan demanded vital natural resources, especially oil from the...

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Japanese Premier Visits Yasukuni Shrine

Today's headline elicits emotions reminiscent of an earlier time. 12/25/13  TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan visited a contentious Tokyo war shrine early on Thursday, provoking swift condemnation from China and South Korea, both victims of Japan’s wartime...

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Hong Kong Falls

    On Christmas Day 1941 ("Black Christmas") the Governor General of Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. In the 18-day battle, the British suffered 11,848 casualties and Japan suffered 2,754. Following the surrender, Imperial Japanese troops committed many...

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Allies Out of East Asia

On October 18th, 1941 His Majesty the Emperor visited a provisional festival at Yasukuni Shrine and offered prayers for those who died in the war. At 10:15 a.m., when the prayers were offered, all the people offered a silent prayer throughout the country. At 10:20...

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Japan Threatens French Indo-China

Japanese Demands on French Indo-China  With the collapse of the French army in Europe, the Japanese government demanded that the French allow the landing of Japanese troops in French Indo-China. Japanese warships took up naval stations off Indo-Chinese...

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Greater East Asian Sphere of Common Prosperity

"It is my firm belief that the establishment of a sphere of common prosperity throughout Greater East Asia is not only Japan's policy, but indeed a historical necessity in the event of world history." - Japan's Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka at the opening of the...

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Japan Controls French Indo-China

  In January 1941 Vichy French defeated the Thai Navy in the battle of Koh Chang. A truce in the Franco-Thai War was arranged by the Imperial Japan Japanese government that also confirmed Japan's military occupation of French Indo-China and access to Indo-Chinese...

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Yasukuni Shrine

The Shinto Yasukuni Shrine was created during the Meiji Restoration to commemorate the individuals who had died in service of the Empire of Japan.  In the shrine are numerous photographs and war paraphernalia  and the names, origin, birthdate and place of death of...

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Japan Controls French Indochina

The fall of France to German forces in June 1940, and subsequent establishment of the Vichy government, weakened French colonial rule of Indochina (modern day Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). Soon France permitted the establishment of Japanese military bases in...

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Sino-Japanese War Stalemated

  In 1940, after Nationalist Chinese victories in Changsha and Guangxi, and with her lines of communications stretched deep into the Chinese interior, Japan had reached a stalemate in the war with China. Although the Japanese ruled the large cities, they were unable...

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