British Commonwealth archives constitite a rich and often under-utilized source of material for understanding the international history of the 20th and 21st centuries. From the late 19th Century onward, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand each enjoyed close and confidential relations with not just Britain, but with each other and increasingly, too, with the United States. They also participated in major international organizations at both an official and non-governmental level. Although or perhaps because each was a “middle” rather than “great” power, as each country developed its own diplomatic bureaucracy, their representatives often had informal and even intimate insights into the policies of a wide range of countries. This article introduces the highlights of each nation’s major archival repositories for materials relating to international affairs. While the holdings of the Library and Archives of Canada in Ottawa, the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia in Canberra, and the National Archives of New Zealand in Wellington all feature prominently, the author casts a wider net and draw researchers’ attention to additional important and often under-utilized collections scattered across the different countries.
While access to library and archival collections in mainland China remains unclear due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and increasing government scrutiny, past experiences in Chinese archives are still relevant for scholars going forward, in the event that the People’s Republic of China reopens the doors to these collections. In surveying the digital, print publication, and manuscript collections pertaining to the Chinese history of World War ii, this article shows how access to new kinds of sources redefined the pre-pandemic state of the field. In particular, curated volumes that emphasized perspectives from the Chinese Communist Party and leftist intellectuals gradually have given way to a more representative collection of the documentary evidence, and Taiwanese collections continue to be important to the historiography. The article begins with coverage of well-known guides and published catalogues of mainland and Taiwanese collections. It then covers some military documents that Chinese scholars occasionally have referenced. It emphasizes the richness of accessible material on the social and cultural history of the war era as part of a call to colleagues and future students to expand the scope of what is traditionally thought to be “military history.” There is ample opportunity for major interventions into our understanding of wartime China, which shaped the course of modern history overall, and major innovations in historiography that scholars usually make from the dusty reading rooms of the libraries and archives.
This essay introduces readers to the recent discovery of the personal papers of Grand Steward Tajima Michiji. These documents capture the post-surrender reflections of Hirohito, Japan’s Shōwa Emperor, and record him speaking on such issues as his war responsibility, as well as the culpability of prewar politicians such as Konoe Fumimaro and General Tōjō Hideki. In August 2019, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) (nhk) announced that it had gained privileged access to the papers. Acting on advice from scholars, it then released extracts from Tajima’s audience records. Drawing not on the Tajima papers themselves, but on what the nhk has made available, the documents demonstrate that Hirohito, after Japan’s surrender, experienced anguish and over the war and its outcome. He continued as emperor because he accepted “moral responsibility” for the war that required him to help his nation and its people endure occupation and reconstruction. This article also describes Hirohito’s postwar reflections on several issues, such as Japanese field officers and subordinates in the 1930s initiating without authorization acts of aggression, the Rape of Nanjing, and Japan’s postwar rearmament. While the Tajima papers will not resolve the ongoing debate over the emperor’s responsibility for Japan’s path of aggression before 1945, they do provide valuable insights about his role in and reaction to events before, during, and after World War ii.
This article introduces readers to World War ii-era Japanese primary sources that have become available, over the last three decades, at the major archives and libraries. It also illustrates how and why some of these hitherto unavailable archival materials have become publicly accessible. At first, political, diplomatic and military historians primarily conducted their research at Diplomatic Archives, Military Archives, and the Modern Japanese Political History Materials Room, until the Japanese Diet passed a law in 2011 stipulating that all government and agencies, except for the Foreign Ministry and Imperial Household Agency, must transfer archived documents to the National Archives of Japan (naj). Enhancing its importance for research, the naj played the lead role in creating and maintaining the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records that has sustained a major effort at digitization. Other important primary sources include documents related to Emperor Hirohito, the Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy series, holdings of the Military History Department, and materials non-governmental organizations have published. The amount of Japanese source materials and their digitization now has reached a level that meets the U.S. and European standards.
This study looks at Basque migrants in the United States and shows how different geographical locations there attracted different groups of migrants over time and how the immigrants organised themselves as a diaspora community and maintained their identity. Emigration from the Basque Country to the United States began during the Gold Rush in 1848; since then there have been multiple, distinct waves of immigration. The study’s results are based on in-depth interviews with Basque Americans and a survey. We analysed Basque communities in the Far West, New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, North Carolina and Florida, and found that Basque food is the most common factor by which Basque migrants maintain their identity, regardless of state, place or generation. Even so, there are differences among communities, which distinguish them from each other. Consequently, in order to connect with the diaspora and create diaspora strategies, governments should take these differences into account.
The coalescence of Jews from across the world to form a unified Jewish nation-state has been the dream of many Jewish and Zionist leaders. With the gathering of immigrants after the State of Israel was established, the founders strived for a ‘fusion of exiles’ (mizug hagaluyot), where individual migrant cultural identities would assimilate to form a new Israeli identity that was predominantly European. Though the idea of a ‘New State’ appealed to Indian Jews, the promises that were made before they migrated from India did not materialise once they arrived in Israel, and they had to undergo several challenges, including discrimination based on colour and ethnicity, thus delaying their assimilation within Israeli society. This paper tries to understand the migration patterns of the Bene Israeli and Cochin Jewish communities and the prejudices enforced by the Israeli government and its agencies on them, which challenged their integration into mainstream Israeli society.
How and why do right-wing populist parties engage in diaspora outreach? This article uses populism as a lens through to study diaspora engagement, and compares strategies used by right-wing parties in power (Turkey’s AKP and India’s BJP) to access their diasporas. While we find that polarising and civilisationist discourses are adopted in both cases for uniting the diaspora behind the populist in power, we argue that these strategies are implemented for different purposes. In the Turkish case, the promotion of Turkish and Sunni-Muslim identification serves the purpose of garnering electoral support behind the ruling party, while in the Indian case, identification with Hindutva is used to achieve the financial and developmental goals of the ruling party. By comparing outreach strategies through the analysis of policies and practices employed by the parties as well as the activities of their diasporic organisations, the article contributes to debates on party-led diaspora engagement.