On the Transnational Destruction of Cities
What Japan Learned from the Bombing of Germany and Britain in World War II
How did it become “normal” to bomb cities and civilians? Focusing on the aerial bombardment of Japan in 1945, this talk spotlights the role of transnational learning in the construction of the “home front” in all the belligerents. Not only did each power seek to destroy the enemy’s home front and civilian morale, but they also studied each other’s efforts to defend their own civilians from the air war. It was Japan’s fate to suffer the war’s most lethal firebombing, based on what Germans and Allies had learned by bombing the enemy’s cities.
Sheldon Garon is the Nissan Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Princeton University. A specialist in modern Japanese history, he also writes transnational history that spotlights the flow of ideas and institutions among the U.S., Japan, and European and Asian countries. He is currently writing a transnational history of “home fronts” in Japan, Germany, Britain, and the United States in World War II. Previous publications include Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves; The State and Labor in Modern Japan; Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life; and The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West.