HUMN 3092 WWII in Asia and the Pacific

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 101830

Coordinator Peter Mauch Opens in new window

Description This subject provides inquiry into the origins, course, and aftermath of WWII in Asia and the Pacific. We will ask why Japan and China went to war with each other in the 1930s; we will also seek understanding of why and how that war came to include the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and practically all of Asia. We will examine the atomic attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Was the bomb a necessary evil? Or could/should the US have avoided using the bomb? We will also look intensively at post-WWII Asia. How did two wartime allies - the US and the Soviet Union - become bitter enemies within months of the war's end? Why did China descend into civil war? What was the war in Korea all about? Were wars of independence throughout SE Asia unavoidable? How was it that Japan escaped much of this postwar misery?

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline History

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject


Successful completion of 60 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. identify the complexity of international affairs (in general), and (more specifically) analyse the international environment before, during, and after WWII
  2. outline the issues that spark wars (in general), and (more specifically) discern the issues over which nations fought during WWII
  3. evaluate key differences in scholarly interpretations of events
  4. analyse primary source materials
  5. construct a sound argument based on solid research into both primary and secondary sources

Subject Content

Origins, course, and aftermath of WWII in Asia and the Pacific
Japanese-U.S. relations; Sino-Japanese relations; Sino-U.S. relations; Soviet-U.S. relations; Japanese-Soviet relations
Colonialism and SE Asian independence
The atomic bomb
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), war crimes, and international law
Ideology (including democracy, autocracy, authoritarianism, and communism) as a factor in international relations


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Log/Workbook 1,000 words 30 N Individual
Presentation 7 minutes 30 N Individual
Essay 2,000 words 40 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Akira Iriye, The Origins of World War II in Asia and the Pacific, (London: Longman, 1987).
  • Peter Mauch, ed., The Occupation-era Correspondence of Kichisaburo Nomura, (Folkestone; Global Oriental, 2010).