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By Akira Iriye, Warren I. Cohen

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Extra resources for American, Chinese, and Japanese perspectives on wartime Asia, 1931-1949

Sample text

They share an interest in jointly exploring the past and in communicating their ideas and perspectives to readers in their three countries as well as in other parts of the world. The period from 1931 to 1949 has appeared to them to be particularly appropriate for such an undertaking, because this was a time of conflict, war, revolution, and civil war, and scholars from the countries directly involved in the drama are in an excellent position to compare research findings and to reflect on these phenomena.

All was quiet in East Asia, or so it appeared to audiences in the United States, as the new president focused on his New Deal to end the depression and save democracy in America. He showed no inclination to stir up matters with Japan and, for several years, no willingness to aid Chinese victims of Japanese aggression. Page 15 On the contrary, for most of his first term in the White House, he preferred the course of his cousin Theodore Roosevelt: appeasement rather than confrontation with Japan.

From their point of view Japan, a country poorly endowed with space and resources, had a right, even an obligation, to expand into neighboring lands and to develop them, even if this conflicted with Western interests. To cooperate with the richly endowed Western countries made no sense unless they were willing to share their space and wealth with Japan. Konoe and his colleagues were convinced that this was not the case. These four essays reveal an intricate pattern of relationships among the United States, China, and Japan.

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