Sunday, November 29, 2020

Why was Imperial Japan so cruel?

University of Washington, Seattle Professor Daniel Chirot explores in an October 27, 2020 lecture, the Ideologies of Racial Superiority and Purity: Why Did Germany and Japan Engage in Such Extreme Mass Murder During World War II?

Although there were differences between Germany’s effort to wipe out Jews (and others) and Japan’s massacres (death through work and human experimentation) there was a common ideological basis for these outrages. What lay behind Nazi ideology and Japan’s aggressive militarism, and why were they so vicious? A comparison helps put what happened in perspective and shows why we cannot exclude the possibility that something like this could happen again.

Among the common traits between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were a deep sense of racial and ideological superiority. The difference was that the Germans were ideologically genocidal whereas the Japanese were negligently so. The Germans wanted to eliminate certain peoples while the Japanese were simply indifferent to the welfare of their subjugated and enslaved.

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