Honors | The Atom Bomb, World War II, and Japan (HON)
H204 | 7885 | George Wilson


MW 4:00-5:15pm

This course will deal with the joys and horrors of the closing days
of World War II in the Pacific.  Bitter combat on land and sea gave
way in 1945 to new U.S. tactics that brought overwhelming force to
bear on the Japanese home islands.  Technological innovations paved
the way for the future, including firebomb raids on major cities and
the first use of atomic bombs.  The purpose of the seminar is to
explore the war’s apocalyptic climax and evaluate how it happened
and what it means.

Required reading will come from 9 books, all paperbacks.  Among
other works we will read Ienaga Saburô’s narrative of Japan’s
wartime history, The Pacific War; biographies of an emperor
(Hirohito) and a scientist (Robert Oppenheimer); and 2 novels chosen
for the way they reveal social change on both sides, Japanese and
American.  Two midterm exams plus a 12-page seminar paper.  (No
final exam.)