“Those who cannot learn from history are
doomed to repeat it” – George
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice
everywhere” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The world is a dangerous place not because
of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”
--- Albert Einstein
six-week period during the Nanking Massacre in 1937-1938, on the average, one
person (man, woman, or child) was killed approximately every 10 seconds.
Over 20,000 women and girls were raped, and over 80% of Nanking, then
the capital of China, was destroyed.
This is just one example of the scale of violence and deliberate
destruction on humanity by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Asia
Pacific War 1931-1945.
book, Imperial Japan’s World War Two, 1931-1945, Werner
Gruhl, an expert on the Asia Pacific War, began his book with “Most
Americans know something about the Second World War in Europe, a little
about the war in the Pacific, and virtually nothing about the war in East
and Southeast Asia. . . . The popular view
is that World War II was started by Germany with the invasion of Poland in 1939.
Few are aware of, or fully
appreciate, Imperial Japan’s even vaster and equally merciless aggression in
Asia, which began with the 1931 invasion of Manchuria in China.”
continued in his book: “Today the
memory of the Japanese invasion of Asia and
the cost in lives has been relegated to the ‘attic of history,’ the
suffering unrecognized in the West or treated as if it counted for little.
There is minimal attention paid to what the war did to the Chinese people.
The painful war experience of SE Asia and the Indian and
islands are completely neglected. . . .”
a terrible travesty of justice that suffering of a third of the population
of Asia during World War II should be neglected from the
global history taught currently in the West and, consequently, relegated to
the “attic of history.”
atrocities that the Japanese Imperial Army inflicted on China, Korea,
Philippines, and other parts
of Asia were not isolated incidents, but
massive atrocities that included the Nanking Massacre, sex slaves,
biological and chemical warfare, and illegal mistreatment of prisoners of
war (POWs). Yet, the Japanese
government still has not formally acknowledged the atrocities their Imperial
Army committed 65-80 years ago.
This long amnesia of war crimes of such magnitude is a great stumbling block
to ultimate peace and reconciliation among the Asian countries, and the
world at large. In light of the
trend toward globalization, improving the education and awareness of our
young people about this part of WWII history in Asia is especially important
for the U.S. and the world.
Its importance is captured so eloquently in the above quotes.
The goal of the “New Jersey-Alliance for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia” (NJ-ALPHA) is
to bring this long neglected chapter of history into the schools as part of the school curriculum. We have
already made a good start in this effort by working in partnership with the New Jersey Commission
on Holocaust Education. We have published a curriculum guide for use in the schools, and are
now in the process of implementing it in the New Jersey school system. We are also sending teachers
and educators to China to experience first-hand, visiting the sites where some of the atrocities took
place and meeting and discussing with survivors. All the teachers who have returned from these
summer study tours have praised the experience as unforgettable and eye-opening, and it has changed
their lives. We need to send more teachers, as well as students.
also expanding our whole program to other states in Eastern U.S., besides
NJ, and plan to help establish other ALPHA chapters. In
the future, we would like to change our name from NJ-ALPHA to East Coast-ALPHA.