Description of Talk:
This is an early discussion of an ongoing book project on the politics and law of the Tokyo war crimes tribunal and the lingering impact of Japan’s World War II atrocities on modern Asia. I am early in the project and welcome suggestions. A legal landmark and an important but understudied case of international criminal justice, the Tokyo tribunal was also bound up in the tremendous political changes that created the postwar Asian order. The trial of the top Japanese leadership played itself out from 1946 to 1948 against a chaotic background of Communist revolutionary triumph in China, rising anticolonial nationalism in India and elsewhere, and the early days of the Cold War. The book will consider the political motivations of the major actors, with particular interest in China: the chief victim of Japan’s aggression but torn by the civil war between the KMT and CCP. How did Nationalist China approach the punishment of Japanese war criminals? How did the Chinese judge at Tokyo seek to sway the other judges? And could China have done more to overcome the bitter legacy of Imperial Japanese aggression and atrocities?
Gary Bass, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, is the author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide (Knopf);Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention (Knopf); and Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton).
The Blood Telegram was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in general nonfiction and won the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Book Award, the Lionel Gelber Prize, the Asia Society's Bernard Schwartz Book Award, the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations' Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize, and the Ramnath Goenka Award in India. It was also a New York Times and Washington Post notable book of the year, and a best book of the year in The Economist, Financial Times, The New Republic, and Kirkus Reviews. Freedom's Battle was a New York Times notable book of the year and aWashington Post best book of the year.
Bass has written articles for International Security, Philosophy & Public Affairs, The Yale Journal of International Law, The Michigan Law Review, Daedalus, NOMOS, and other journals, as well as numerous book chapters in edited volumes. A former reporter for The Economist, Bass has written often for The New York Times, as well as writing for The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs,Foreign Policy, and other publications.