Total War: Asia & the Pacific 1931-1952

Subject 671-394 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Ten 1.8-hour lectures and AV sessions and a 1-hour tutorial each day for 10 days: 17 to 24 January, 29 January to 1 February 2007
Total Time Commitment: 2.5 contact hours/week , 6 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Usually 12.5 points of first-year history or Asian studies.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Erica Mehrtens
Phone: x45953
Subject Overview: This subject explores the World War II in Asia and the Pacific through lectures, videos, slides, and music. Within a political, social, economic, industrial, environmental, legal, moral, racial, military, and diplomatic context we will explore such questions as: Why did Japan attack America, Singapore, Australia? What role did race place in both the planning and execution of the war? Why were time, distance, intelligence, environment, medicine, and material so important in this conflict? What accounts for the Nanking Massacre and what makes an act of war a 'war crime?' Why did the Americans, who so vociferously condemned the bombing of civilians in China by the Japanese so willingly target Japanese civilians in 1945? How fair were the postwar trials and can war crimes trials ever be 'fair'? On completion of this subject students should have a solid understanding of the factors that led to this conflict, its nature, and the way it fundamentally shaped the world, relations between state and society, and the nature of warfare itself. This subject will change the way you view the most important event of the Twentieth Century.
  • gain a solid understanding of the issues and factors that led to the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific;
  • possess a solid understanding of the nature of total war fought over the world's largest and most diverse battlefield;
  • better understand the impact of this war on civilians, soldiers, and the state of the countries involved in the conflict;
  • better understand the factors behind Japan's eventual surrender and defeat.
Assessment: A research essay proposal, historiography, and annotated bibliography exercise of 1000 words 20% (due 31 January), a research essay of 3000 words 70% (due 23 February), and tutorial participation 10%.
Prescribed Texts:
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources;
  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
  • demonstrate understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: American Studies Major
Asian Studies
Asian Studies Major
History Major

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