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Turbulence in the Pacific

Japanese-U.S. Relations During World War I

by Noriko Kawamura

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June 2000


Pages 192
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/General
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    Hardcover: £102.00/110,00€/A$170.00

Although events in East Asia were a sideshow in the great drama of World War I, what happened there shattered the accord between Japan and the United States. This book pursues the two-fold question of how and why U.S.-Japanese tensions developed into antagonism during the war by inquiring into the historical sources of both sides. Kawamura explains this complex phenomenon by looking at various factors: conflicts of national interests—geopolitical and economic; perceptual problems such as miscommunication, miscalculation, and mistrust; and, most important of all, incompatible approaches to foreign policy. America's universalism and the unilateralism inherent in Wilsonian idealistic internationalism clashed with Japan's particularistic regionalism and the pluralism that derived from its strong sense of racial identity and anti-Western nationalistic sentiments.

By looking at the motives and circumstances behind Japan's expansionist policy in East Asia, Kawamura suggests some of the centrifugal forces that divided the nations and challenged the premise of Wilsonian internationalism. At the same time, through critical examination of the Wilson administration's universalist and unilateral response to Japan's actions, she raises serious questions about the effectiveness of American foreign policy. At the close of the 20th century, after 50 years of Cold War, those in search of a new world order tend to resort to Wilsonian rhetoric. This book suggests that it can be unwise to apply a universalistic and idealistic approach to international conflicts that often result from extreme nationalism, regionalism, and racial rivalry.

Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionJapan's Entry into the War and the Twenty-One DemandsAmerican Response to the Twenty-One DemandsWho Should Lead China into the War?The Lansing-Ishii AgreementSiberian InterventionWilsonian Idealism and Japanese Claims at the Paris Peace ConferenceSelected BibliographyIndex



[n]o recent English-language monograph has solely addressed the wartime diplomacy between the teo nations....^I Turbulence in the Pacific^R is a marvelously well-researched and compelling argued book that demonstrates the intricacies of intercultural diplomacy.—Army History

The author sheds new light on important dimensions of some of the easly phases of the long process of mutual estrangement that led eventually to Pearl Harbor.—Choice

Noriko Kawamura has written the best book we have on Woodrow Wilson''s confrontation with Japan during World War I and in the peace conference that followed.—The Journal of Military History

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