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070120 UE Guided Reading Contemporary History - Imperfect Justice (2020W)

The Pacifc War and its aftermath

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 7 - Geschichte
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Please note: normal course dates until Christmas, and one Blockseminar (FR/SA) in January (film screening).
Please make sure, in case we need to switch to online classes due to the pandemia or a too large number of participants, that you will need a Laptop (with headphones), or smartphone to follow the class.

Wednesday 14.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Hörsaal 5 Tiefparterre Hauptgebäude Stiege 9 Hof 5
Wednesday 21.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 28.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 04.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 11.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 18.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 25.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 02.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 09.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 16.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
Friday 15.01. 13:15 - 17:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Please note: normal course dates until Christmas, and one Blockseminar (FR/SA) in January (film screening).

Course language is English, German is allowed as well

Debates about legal rules and normative behavior in war in the post-war era are a fascinating start for historical and political analysis. This seminar will delve into the topic by addressing war crimes trials after 1945 in a global perspective, with a special focus on the Asian side of the Allied struggle for justice in the post-war world.
When the two first international tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo were opened in 1945 and 1946 respectively, the public hailed them as legal milestones. However, problems in the court room as well as political tensions due to the emerging Cold War (as reflected in the London Conference of August 1945, which set the frame for Nuremberg) soon made it visible that judging war criminals in international courts was not an easy task for the former Allies, especially in Asia.
We will focus not only on the International Military Tribunals at Tokyo, but also analyze selected cases of war crimes trials in Asia (for example on forced labour as a war crime/the Burma Siam railway, on crimes against women for sexual slavery/ "comfort women" issue, and on crimes against Allied Prisoners of War/ ‘Death marches). In conclusion, we will analyze films dealing with war crimes in Asia.

Assessment and permitted materials

presenting a topic from the syllabus,
Preparation of readings, reading notes, discussions in class.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

presenting a topic from the syllabus,
Preparation of readings, reading notes, discussions in class.

Examination topics

presentation with ppt or handout

Reading list

Kerstin von Lingen (ed.): War Crimes Trials in the Wake of Decolonization and Cold War in Asia, 1945-1956. Justice in Times of Turmoil, Basingstoke: Palgrave 2017.

Sandra Wilson, Robert Cribb, Beatrice Trefalt, Dean Askielowicz: Japanese War Criminals. The Politics of Justice after the Second World War, New York: Columbia 2017.

Kerstin von Lingen (ed): Transcultural Justice: The Tokyo Tribunal and the Allied Struggle for Justice,1946-1948, Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Yuma Totani: Justice in Asia and the Pacific Region, 1945-1952, Cambridge UP 2015.

Association in the course directory

AER: Zeitgeschichte.
BA Geschichte (Version 2012): PM Vertiefung, Guided Reading (4 ECTS).
BA Geschichte (Version 2019): M5 Vertiefung, UE Guided Reading, ZWM Berufsorientierung, ZWM Fremdsprachen in der GeWi (5 ECTS).
BEd UF GSP (Version 2014): UF GSP 03 Aspekte und Räume 1, Guided Reading zu Globalgeschichte (4 ECTS).

Last modified: We 17.02.2021 10:49