EWC 50 Spotlight: Educators from Nine Nations Explore the Multiple Histories of the Pacific War

Workshop participants show appreciation for the presentation by civilian survivors of the Pacific War.

Different ‘voices’ and multiple perspectives shed new light on the impact World War II had on the Pacific, when 75 college professors from nine nations participated in workshops as part of the East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP).


In collaboration with the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks (formerly the Arizona Memorial Museum Association), the two National Endowment for Humanities-sponsored workshops on “History and Commemoration: Legacies of the Pacific War,” examined a history the region shares but still views in different and at times conflicting ways.


The EWC’s AsiaPacificEd program has previously hosted similar workshops for U.S. and Japanese high school teachers that delved into the multiple histories surrounding the Pearl Harbor attack. As an expansion on that theme, the ASDP “Legacies of the Pacific War” examined issues stemming from the war across the wider Pacific region, bringing together educators from Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States to engage in dialogue and hear perspectives from first hand sources in Hawaii.


Personal stories shared by civilian survivors of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, the war in the Marshall Islands, and the Japanese internment camps on the U.S. mainland, left a lasting impression on the participants.  U.S. veteran Pearl Harbor attack survivors and expert historians from the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial rounded out the picture.  Hungdah Su, a professor of international history at National Taiwan University, stated in a Star Advertiser article , because of lingering World War II animosities in Asia, “such a workshop could not be held in any other Asian country — only America …The workshop is an important step toward reconciling histories.”


Click here to read more about the workshop and some of the personal stories shared by the civilian survivors.


Click here to view photos from both workshop sessions posted on the Pacific Historic Parks Blog.


Posted August 13, 2010