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Japan’s Support of Britain in WW1: Lecture by Professor Ian Gow

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School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

50 George Square

Edinburgh

EH8 9TH

United Kingdom

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Japan’s Support of Britain in WW1: An Overdue Reassessment of Japan’s Naval Contribution

1917 marks the 100th anniversary of the dispatch of Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) ships to protect British troop and supply ships under attack from German submarines in the Mediterranean. Despite the widespread coverage in the media remembering WW1 little has been said about Japan’s role. Similarly, histories of the Great War have tended to either ignore Japan’s role or dismiss it as too little, too late, with Japan merely acting in its own interests. This lecture will address the negative consequences of Japan’s entry into the war. Japan’s territorial acquisitions in China and the Asia Pacific at the outset of the war caused considerable concern to British, Australian and America policymakers. It will then provide a corrective in terms of the vital naval support it provided in the Mediterranean in 1917 but also worldwide and not limited to 1917. Finally it will suggest the reasons why Japan’s role has been at best neglected and at worst dismissed as motivated purely by self-interest.

About the speaker:

Professor Ian Gow OBE is a former Chairman of the Japan Society of Scotland. He is an Edinburgh University Graduate (MA in Politics & Modern History). He has published extensively, in English and Japanese, on military and defence matters. Amongst his many publications he is co-editor of The History of Anglo Japanese Relations 1600-2000 vol. 3 The Military Dimension, Routledge 2003; University of Tokyo Press 2004 (in Japanese); and author of Military Intervention in Prewar Japanese Politics: Admiral Kato Kanji and the ‘Washington System,’ Taylor and Francis 2004. In both books he discusses Japan and WW1.


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Screening Room

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

50 George Square

Edinburgh

EH8 9TH

United Kingdom

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