Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Parallel Holocaust

While the National Socialists were carrying out their racial programs in the parts of Europe they conquered, the other country that lost World War II, Japan, was conquering and occupying parts of Asia, mostly China. There, as in Europe, "war crimes" were committed upon the people in occupied countries that emerged victorious at the end of the conflict, and the victors rounded up, charged, "tried," and executed a considerable number of "war criminals," some of whom may have indeed have been guilty of genuine atrocities.

But this story in the New York Times points up one area in which the after-action stories diverge: at least since the departure of the counter-occupiers of Japan, it apparently is not a crime in Japan to dispute accounts of war crimes advanced by the victors, as it is in Germany and many other countries in Europe, including victorious ones.

The rationale of the thought-crime laws in Europe is that failure to criminalize such discussion might lead to a recurrence of National Socialism or some other unpleasant political development. It appears, however, that the comparative freedom enjoyed by the Japanese to discuss all World War II history has somehow not led to such developments. Indeed, a casual comparison of Japan with Europe leaves Europe seeming the leader in troubling developments of "nationalism" that remind some of National Socialism.

Maybe the Japanese are more to be trusted in such matters. Or maybe Jews were not represented among their victims.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"An Occupation Without Troops: Wall Street's Half-Century Domination of Japanese Politics," by John G. Roberts

"Now that the Cold War is finally over, the postwar history of Japan must be rewritten. Most of the historical works currently available reflect a victor's justice mentality, particularly those scholarly tomes produced by Japanologists originally trained by the intelligence community. Their role in history was to rule Japan, not necessarily through understanding but by applying the brute force of the Occupation, which lasted from 1945 until 1952. The subsequent works of these scholars can hardly be called objective, yet their prefabricated views of America-Japan relations have always been considered the norm. . . ." [from the Introduction]

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