Episode 30: Opium War, US-China Trade War, and Modern Global Trade
Aug 7, 2020 Trade has often been ascribed as one of the core building blocks of a successful and healthy society. This remains true today, as there are a plethora of trade relations branching all around different parts of the world. However, many of these relations connect to a country that has a scarring history of trade deals: China. The most notorious of which is known as the Opium Wars. The Opium Wars are the two conflicts that occurred in China from 1839-1842 and 1856-1860 during the Qing Dynasty due to the British Empire’s want to force a trade with the Dynasty. The effects of this conflict can be felt even today through China’s attitude towards trade deals, the presence of opium in China, and even the western families who got rich off of selling opium to the Chinses populace.
Episode 29: Intro to Opium War, US-China Trade War, and Modern Global Trade
Aug 5, 2020 In 2018, President Trump pulled out of the TPP. The Trump Administration promoted protectionism and it no longer wanted to negotiate trade, among small groups of multiple countries, rather insisting on a bilateral front of negotiations taking place between only two countries. President Trump believed that their current international trade agreements were removing jobs from workers in the United States and outsourcing jobs to other countries such as India and China. As a result, President Trump decided to follow through on his promise to bring back jobs by imposing tariffs on other countries, most notably China, in an attempt to decrease Chinese imports, therefore, decreasing competition for domestic companies and workers.
Episode 28: The Rape of Nanking, Controversy and Coverups
Aug 3, 2020 As the name itself implies, The Rape of Nanking is no light subject. It is one of many of Japan’s extended list of war crimes committed by commanders and their troops during World War II. Throughout the seven-week pillaging of what was once Nanking, an estimate of 20,000 to 80,000 Chinese women raped and forced into a life of prostitution as “comfort women”, and 50,000 to 300,000 Chinese civilians were brutalized and savagely murdered. Despite the fact that the massacre was carried out by the Japanese, the Chinese government could partially be blamed as well, due to the Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-Shek’s inadequate handling of the event, and Communist leader Mao Zedong’s following coverup. The Rape of Nanking has been a topic of debate for historians in the past few decades as no one can seem to pinpoint the exact amount of people decimated, the extent of the acts committed by the Japanese Imperial Army, and whether it was comparable to the Holocaust.
Episode 27: Colonization in China - How it Affected Trade in the Modern World
July 31, 2020 The colonization of China was a long campaign involving the exploitation of the Chinese economy by the western powers, but mainly of Britain, France, and the U.S. Before this, China was at the center of the world economy throughout the 1700s due to their widely sought exports of porcelain, silk, and tea, all under the era of the Qing dynasty. However, the Qing Dynasty faced many issues and by the end of the 1700s, China was experiencing strains: a quickly growing population, a difficulty of food supply for this population, and a subsequent lack of centralized government control; all of which led to rebellions and a weakening of the dynasty’s power throughout their country.
Episode 26 Bonus: Pinay Guerrilleras, The Unsung Heroics of Filipina Resistance
July 29, 2020 December 8th, 1941 marked the start of the full-scale invasion of the Philippines. With the surrender of the Bataan Peninsula and the fortified island Corregidor in the Spring of 1942, all hope seemed lost. But, almost overnight, the Philippine underground resistance began to take shape. Units made up of guerrilla volunteers from all walks of life participated in the liberation of the Philippines. The women guerrillas of the resistance, or guerrilleras, are one such group who have received less attention in Pacific Theater histories.
Episode 26: Malabar Famine Under British Occupation
July 27, 2020 William Logan, in his book, Malabar, has explored the famine repeatedly faced by this district and chronicled the history and culture of Malabar. Famine related epidemics and large scale mortalities were persistent in the Malabar during the colonial period. The British documents about this have acknowledged that an artificial famine was possible as the district had continually failed to produce sufficient grains for its home population, and further emphasized that the technological advancements in rail, sea, and road made it practically impossible. But historical records have shown that Malabar had experienced repeated famines during the British rule as a result of imperial indifference in undertaking famine prevention activities. The famines under colonial rule occurred during 1865, 1876, 1891, and 1896.
Episode 25: Why Did Japan Attacked So Many Southeast Asia Countries in WW2
July 24, 2020 Japan’s “Meiji Restoration”—which spelled the end of the country’s isolation from the West during the reign of the Tokugawa Shoguns--allowed it to embark upon a campaign of modernization and westernization. Within the scope of a few decades, Japan modernized and became the most powerful country in East Asia, with that result cemented in blood by the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. Thereafter, Japan decided to emulate the Western Powers that colonized or subdued most of the non-Western world in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; in other words, Japan became an imperial power in East Asia. It annexed Formosa (Taiwan) in 1895, Korea in 1910, and the Caroline and Mariana Islands after World War I.
Episode 24: War Memory of the Chinese Expeditionary Force
July 22, 2020 After Communists won the Civil War and founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the history of the Chinese Expeditionary Force (CEF) was excluded from the public discourse for a long time due to their political affiliation with the Nationalist government. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that in the 1980s, that situation began to change. The stories of CEF started to be heard in China and many veterans from the CEF are now honored as national heroes. This thesis will examine this shifting narrative, and ultimately answer how and why the memory of World War II has changed in post-war China through the case of CEF.
Episode 23: WWII and the Progress of the LGBTQ Culture - The Queer Soldier
July 20, 2020 It has been 75 years since the Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, and 50 years since the riots at the Stonewall Inn, yet these events remain unconnected in popular consciousness. To commemorate the Normandy invasion, images of young male soldiers are abundant, and gallant stories of tragedy, danger, and heroism abound. Yet, as these young soldiers were facing danger and potential death, many were also making key discoveries about their sexual identity. As Pride celebrations continue throughout the month of June, this article will revisit the influence the Second World War had on defining queer communities in the United States.
Episode 22: 6 Facts to Share About Women During World War II
July 17, 2020 International Women’s Day is more than just a hashtag on social media. It is a day celebrated internationally by at least 100 countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Mongolia, Russia, and Ukraine. It has a radical origin with its start with the now-defunct Socialist Party of America in 1909 with demands for voting rights, better pay, and shorter working hours. Here are 5 facts of how women contributed to World War 2 in honor of this day that has been celebrated for over 100 years.
Episode 21: U.S. and Britain's Debates on Post-WWII Negotiations for Thailand
July 15, 2020 The United States and Britain, though supported by the Free Thai movement’s espionage throughout the war, had staunch differences and perspectives when it came to post-war negotiations. The United States took a more forgive-and-forget stance as the country and its underground, independence movements had been one of the main reasons the allies were able to wine back Southeast Asia from the Japanese. The U.S. did not wish to dissolve Thailand’s military as it did Japan, but rather, find ways to liberate all areas of the country from Japanese control. The British were more skeptical and called upon potential repercussions and punishments against the nation.
Episode 20: William McGarry and His Rescue by the Free Thai Movement
July 13, 2020 "Learning that the superstitious Japanese feared sharks, the ingenious Yanks painted the snout's of their P-40s to represent grinning heads of 'tiger sharks.' The A.V.G. pilots called themselves 'Tiger Sharks' but it was not long before the admiring Chinese troops changed it to 'Flying Tigers' the tiger is regarded as a minor deity in some sections of China." - Source: WAR HEROES, No. 2 | October-December 1942
Episode 19: How Much of China did Japan Occupy in WW2
July 10, 2020 In the late 19th century, as China declined in the face of internal struggles and foreign intrusion, Japan was on the rise. As the world moved on to the 20th century, China’s loss of influence over Korea and the stunning victory of Japan in the Sino-Japanese War confirmed that China was no longer the premier power in the Pacific. With this victory, Japan, the former tributary state to the Chinese Empire, followed the example set by the Western powers and claimed territory from China. They forced China to sign another humiliating unequal treaty (Treaty of Shimonoseki 1895), which ceded Taiwan, the Penghu islands, and the Liaodong Peninsula to the Japanese Empire. This was the beginning, but far from the end of Japanese conquest in China. This conquest would eventually become one of the most destructive conflicts in world history, engulfing China in a storm of chaos and destruction and causing the deaths of millions and the loss of much of China’s territory.
Episode 18: Japanese Use of Poison Gas in World War II
July 6, 2020 The years leading up to World War II saw an increase in the use of biological and chemical warfare in Japan, spearheaded by Major-General Ishii Shiro. BW most commonly took the form of anthrax, glanders, and plague, while chemical warfare included tear, smoke, and other poison gases. The proliferation of these two tactics in Japan, outlawed by the 1929 Geneva Convention, was enabled by the mechanized nature of the project. Shiro had great factories built in Manchuria and other areas of China. These “factories of death” included the infamous Unit 731 and were developed for research and human experimentation revolving around chemical and biological warfare.
Episode 17 Bonus: Three Years and Eight Months of Hong Kong
July 3, 2020 Eight hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Imperial Army launched an invasion plan for Southeast Asia, including Hong Kong. Since Hong Kong was a British Colony at the time, soldiers from British colonies including India and Canada fought alongside Chinese guerrilla fighters. However, soldiers defending the city at the time were largely unprepared and Japan claimed its victory within 18 days. During the Christmas of 1941, the governor of Hong Kong, Mark Aitchison Young surrendered Hong Kong and started the 3 years 8 months of the Japanese Imperial Army's occupation of Hong Kong. Civilians were raped and tortured during the occupation. Instead of caring for the citizens' experiences at the end of WWII, people cared about the ownership of Hong Kong as England and China raced to reach the city.
Episode 17: Celebrating Injustice - The Confederate Flag vs. The Yasukuni Shrine
July 1, 2020 After the horrors of what chemical warfare had applied to humans in World War I, several countries took upon matters to discuss about the prohibition to use such measures in war. As one of the leading forces behind the 1925 Geneva Protocol agreement, the United States strongly opposed any usage of biological or chemical warfare. Despite the fact that the U.S. failed to ratify the agreement until the year of 1975, their negative attitude concerning chemical warfare continued all the way up to the outbreak of World War II, when it became evident that some of the participant countries of the war had begun to take measures on both biological and chemical warfare.
Episode 16: U.S. Pre-War Doubts on the Success of Biological Warfare
June 29, 2020 After the horrors of what chemical warfare had applied to humans in World War I, several countries took upon matters to discuss about the prohibition to use such measures in war. As one of the leading forces behind the 1925 Geneva Protocol agreement, the United States strongly opposed any usage of biological or chemical warfare. Despite the fact that the U.S. failed to ratify the agreement until the year of 1975, their negative attitude concerning chemical warfare continued all the way up to the outbreak of World War II, when it became evident that some of the participant countries of the war had begun to take measures on both biological and chemical warfare.
Episode 15: A Deadly Retreat from Burma
June 26, 2020 In May 1942, the rainy season in Burma just began to reveal its true color, soaking lands with nightmarish thunderstorms. In the meantime, tens of thousands of soldiers from the Chinese Expeditionary Force were suffering from a disastrous retreat in the jungle. Gu Luo, a soldier serving in the Fifth Army wrote in his diary: “The jungle covered everything for miles, leaving us deadly thirsty…The soldiers are all in rags and look very gaunt. Everyone is carrying a bag of rice, a water-can, a diesel tin, and on the other hand, a walking-stick…Because we haven’t had any oil for a month, my stools are very hard and my anus has split”
Episode 14 Bonus: Unit 731: The Forgotten Asian Auschwitz
June 25, 2020 Under the leadership of Dr. Shiro Isshi, Unit 731 subjected 3,000-250,000 innocent men, women, and children to cruel experiments and medical procedures that were carried out by the brightest medical students and staff that Imperial Japan had to offer. In a bid to develop its own germ warfare capability, the government of Imperial Japan resorted to incredibly deprived and inhumane methods of experimentation, like infecting prisoners with virulent strains of anthrax, plague, cholera, and other diseases. These prisoners were often subject to excruciating vivisections without the use of anesthesia in order to observe the real-time effects of these deadly diseases. Perhaps the most shocking development after the war was that the perpetrators of this heinous crime against humanity have largely escaped persecution unlike their Nazi counterparts in Europe. In a cowardly attempt to escape persecution by the Soviets, Dr. Shiro Isshi and his staff were able to trade the information obtained from their experiments with the Americans in return for immunity in the Tokyo Trials.
Episode 14: The Vietnamese Boat People
June 22, 2020 The Vietnamese Boat People were a series of refugees that fled Communist Vietnam in a mass exodus occurring in 1954, and again from 1975-1992. In 1954, the Northern Vietnamese fled to Southern Vietnam to escape the corrupt and violent Viet Minh regime. Under the Viet Minh, anyone deemed an enemy was prosecuted under the full extent of the law: this included Catholics, intellectuals, landowners, and generally anyone that disobeyed the regime.
Episode 13: The Formation of French Indochina
June 19, 2020 Pre-colonized Vietnam was split into three states, Cochinchina, Annam, and Tonkin. Cochinchina covered the most southern part of Vietnam in which its primary city was Saigon. Annam was the central state of Vietnam where the ancient capital of Vietnam, Hue, was located. Tonkin was the most northern region where its main city was Hanoi. The first European arrival to Indochina, which was made up of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, began with Portuguese and Dutch missionaries during the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively. These missionaries’ main objective was to start up trading posts along the Vietnamese coast.
Episode 12: The Khabarovsk War Crimes Trial
June 15, 2020 The west often dismissed the Khabarovsk War Crimes Trial as "Communist Propaganda." However, it was the first time the scientists from the "Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department" of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) came forward with the crimes they committed during World War 2. To confuse others about what their mission is, they frequently use the name, "Water Supply and Prophylaxis Administration of the Kwantung Army," or "Hippo-Epizootic Administration of the Kwantung Army."
Episode 11: Jews in Shanghai during WW2
June 12, 2020 In the spring of 1938, a month after the annexation of Austria to Germany, the Anschluss, Austrian Jews were deported to Dachau and Buchenwald Concentration Camps. At the time, there were about 185,000 Jews in Austria, and they had two choices, either flee the country or be deported to the Camps. However, it was not an easy task for most as the Nazis required Jews exiting the country to hold an entry visa to the country. Ho Feng-Shan was the consul-general in Vienna during this dark period. He went against his superior’s order and issued visas for the Jews looking to escape.
Episode 10: Taiwanese Experience of WW2
June 8, 2020 Taiwanese had faced the Second World War from many different angles, as Taiwan had been under Japanese occupation for around four decades when the Second Sino-Japanese War was starting up, which influenced the Taiwanese to be more supportive of Japanese cause. Another angle represented were Taiwanese who supported the Chinese as many Taiwanese were living in China at the time after escaping the Japanese invasion and displayed heavy anti-Japanese sentiments.
Episode 9: Moving KMT to Taiwan
June 5, 2020 Taiwan was a valuable source for economic and agricultural production for the Japanese, and when it was turned over to the Chinese, it was used to increase agricultural production rates. Since the Cairo Conference in 1943, Taiwan and the Penghu Islands were already decided to be given to China following the surrender of Japan. Before moving the Nationalist Government leaders, a state government was already established over Taiwan. As the Communists began claiming the advantage over the Nationalists military, Nationalist officials and many Nationalist supporters began to take refuge in Taiwan and establish their new government in Taiwan.
Episode 8: Three Examples of Martial Law Imposed on US Soil
June 1, 2020 With cases of coronavirus spreading in the United States, the idea of martial law is one of the measures considered to enforce social distance as a public safety measure. Under martial law, civil governments would be overridden by the military. It should only be used as a last resort. Only the president has the power to go into martial law on a federal level. On a state level, the governor has the right to impose martial law within the border of the state. Many of these incidents were to protect citizens against foreign attacks, while some were humanitarian efforts for public safety.
Episode 7: Triads in Hong Kong and the Making of Modern Chinese History
May 29, 2020 Started on June 9th, 2019, protests in Hong Kong had sustained almost a year. Shockingly, what started as a protest against an extradition bill continued well into weeks after the bill was canceled. The involvement of triads in Hong Kong in the protest has also attracted international news. During the latest protests, triad members with white shirts with swords and sticks chasing protesters look as if they are characters in a Kung Fu movie from Hollywood.
Episode 6: Konoe, Who Could've Prevented the Attack of Pearl Harbor
May 25, 2020 During the summer of 1941, Prince Konoe, then Prime Minister of Japan, made several attempts through Ambassador Grew to improve relations with the United States. On August 18th, 1941, Foreign Minister Toyoda secretly submitted a proposal to Ambassador Grew, suggesting that Prince Konoe and President Roosevelt meet. Konoe offered to go to Honolulu, an unprecedented step in Japanese history. According to Ambassador Grew, Konoe was fully aware of the objections to this move in certain parts of his country.
Episode 5: Background of Unit 731
May 22, 2020 Unit 731 had eight divisions. Division 1: Bacteriological research. Division 2: Warfare Research and field experiments. Division 3: Water Filter Production. Division 4: Bacteria Mass production and Storage. Division 5: Educational Division. Division 6: Supplies Division. Division 7: General Affairs. Division 8: Clinical Diagnosis.
Episode 4: Personnel of Unit 731
May 18, 2020 Shiro Ishii came up with the idea of having Unit 731 built to keep up with the West since westerns were believed to be developing their own weapons of biological warfare. The Japanese government heavily invested in the Unit 731 facility in order for it to function fully. Masaji Kitano was a commanding officer of Unit 731. Another member of Unit 731 was Yoshimura Hisato, who was a physiologist. In addition, Yasuji Kaneko is also one of the alleged members of Unit 731.
Episode 3: Russian Victims of Unit 731
May 15, 2020 In 1936, the Japanese built Unit 731 — the administrative center of the top-secret biological warfare project of the Imperial Japanese Army — in the isolated Pingfang District of the city of Harbin in Manchuria. At the time, Harbin was a city with a large Russian minority population, and writer Morimura Seiichi has hypothesized that of the 3,000 prisoners experimented on at Unit 731, up to 30% were Russian.
Episode 2: Forced Pregnancy of Unit 731
May 11, 2020 Unit 731 was a biological and chemical weapons research and development unit of the Japanese Army. It operated covertly for ten years since 1935 in Harbin, China, and was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes committed by Imperial Japan, due to its extensive use of lethal human experimentation.
Episode 1: Biological Warfare - The Deadlier Alternative to Nuclear Warfare
May 9, 2020 "When you are thinking about things that could cause in excess of 10 million deaths, even something tragic like a nuclear weapons incident wouldn't get to that level. So the greatest risk is from a natural epidemic or an intentionally caused infection bioterrorism events... Whether the next epidemic is unleashed by a quirk of nature or the hand of terrorists, scientists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year. So the world does need to think about this" -- Bill Gates, during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on January 19, 2017.