The Top Secret History of America’s Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Warfare Programs and Their Deployment Overseas
At its peak in 1967, the U.S. nuclear arsenal consisted of 31,255 nuclear weapons with an aggregate destructive power of 12,786 megatons – more than sufficient to wipe out all of humanity several hundred times over. Much less known is that hidden away in earth-covered bunkers spread throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan, over 40,000 tons of American chemical weapons were stored, as well as thousands of specially designed bombs that could be filled with even deadlier biological warfare agents.
The American WMD programs remain cloaked in secrecy, yet a substantial number of revealing documents have been quietly declassified since the late 1970s. Put together, they tell the story of how America secretly built up the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The documents explain the role these weapons played in a series of world crises, how they shaped U.S. and NATO defense and foreign policy during the Cold War, and what incidents and nearly averted disasters happened. Moreover, they shed a light on the dreadful human and ecological legacy left by decades of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons manufacturing and testing in the U.S. and overseas.
This collection contains more than 2,300 formerly classified U.S. government documents, most of them classified Top Secret or higher. Covering the period from the end of World War II to the present day, it provides unique access to previously unpublished reports, memoranda, cables, intelligence briefs, classified articles, PowerPoint presentations, military manuals and directives, and other declassified documents. Following years of archival research and careful selection, they were brought together from the U.S. National Archives, ten U.S. presidential libraries, the NATO Archives in Brussels, the National Archives of the UK, the National Archives of Canada, and the National Archives of the Netherlands. In addition, a sizeable number of documents in this collection were obtained from the U.S. government and the Pentagon using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) requests.
This collection comes with several auxiliary aids, including a chronology and a historiographical essay with links to the documents themselves, providing context and allowing for easy navigation for both students and scholars.
• The papers in this collection detail how America’s stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons were developed, the staggering costs that were involved, the network of laboratories where the bombs and their components were designed and developed, new details about the dozens of secret factories spread across the U.S. where these lethal bombs and warheads were built, the sites where they were tested, and even newly released information about some of the storage depots where the weapons were deployed in the U.S. and overseas.
• This collection contains for the first time ever a comprehensive set of declassified documents which quantify the size and destructive power of the American nuclear, chemical and biological weapons stockpile throughout the Cold War era, including new details about the many different types of weapons in these arsenals, such as nuclear landmines (Atomic Demolition Munitions) and even a nuclear-capable recoilless rifle system.
• This collection contains hundreds of pages of declassified Defense Department and State Department documents concerning the secret negotiations between the U.S. government and over fifteen foreign governments concerning the deployment of nuclear and chemical weapons to their countries (complete biological weapons were never deployed overseas), as well as the even more difficult task later in the Cold War of trying to get permission to remove these weapons after they had outlived their usefulness. In some instances, the U.S. government deliberately did not inform the host nations that they had deployed nuclear and chemical weapons to their countries, as in the case of Japan, which was shocked to learn in 1969 that the U.S. was storing large numbers of nuclear and chemical weapons on the island of Okinawa without their knowledge or consent.
• Also included are over a hundred declassified documents regarding U.S. nuclear war plans, detailing how the American nuclear, chemical and biological weapons were to be used in wartime, including lists of their targets inside the USSR and the People’s Republic of China; newly declassified documents containing the details of all known nuclear, chemical and biological weapons accidents, some of which produced fatal results; and incidents involving attempts by foreign governments (Greece, Turkey and South Korea) to pressure the U.S. government by threatening to seize American nuclear weapons stored on their soil. Finally, there are recently released files concerning an attempt by a terrorist group to penetrate a U.S. nuclear weapons storage site in West Germany.
Number of documents: 2,374
Number of pages: ca. 21,212
• Introductory essay
• Glossary of acronyms
• MARC21 catalog records
• U.S. National Archives, Legislative Archives Branch, Washington, D.C.
• U.S. National Archives. Military Records Branch, College Park, Maryland
• U.S. National Archives, Civilian Records Branch, College Park, Maryland
• North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Archives, Brussels, Belgium
• National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
• National Archives of the Netherlands, The Hague, The Netherlands
• National Archives of the UK, Kew, Great Britain
• Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland
• Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri
• Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas
• John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts
• Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas
• Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda, California
• Gerald R. Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
• Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta, Georgia
• Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California
• George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Houston, Texas
• William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, Arkansas
• Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.
• DOD FOIA Reading Room, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
• U.S. Army Center for Military History, Washington, D.C.
• Naval Historical Center Operational Archives, Washington, D.C.
• U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
• Department of Energy, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Washington, D.C.
• Douglas MacArthur Library, Norfolk, Virginia (Douglas MacArthur Papers)
• George C. Marshall Library, Lexington, Virginia (George C. Marshall Papers)
• Mudd Library, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ (George W. Ball Papers)
• National Security Archive, Washington, D.C. (Chuck Hansen Collection)
• Maryland Historical Trust, Annapolis, Maryland
Arkyves is both a unique database of images and texts and a meeting place for everyone who wants to study imagery and publish about it. All visual and textual sources are made accessible with the help of the multilingual vocabulary for cultural content of the
Iconclass system. By using this system it has been made possible to find and retrieve images and texts from various sources on a specific topic.
Arkyves it is currently possible to access almost 900.000 images, texts, etc. from libraries and museums in many countries among them the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD), the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, and the university libraries of Milan, Utrecht and Glasgow . More collections will follow in the near future. The database contains a link to the images which are available in open access.
Arkyves is both a research tool for art historians and book historians, as well as a tool to facilitate the process of describing images.
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• Dates: (inclusive): 1946-1985 • Languages used: Chinese • EAD finding aids are available Produced mostly by the Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio of China, documentary films and newsreels were two of the major mass media and communication channels in China from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. They covered all aspects of social activities, though the emphasis was on developments and achievements in the building of a socialist country. In order to reach even broader public audiences, government agents produced and printed the transcripts and shot lists for the films and sent them to cities and rural areas. The bulk of the items in the collection are transcripts for the documentary films and newsreels from the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976. Few of these printed materials have survived due to the poor quality of the paper upon which they were printed. All documents in the collection are in Chinese.
Location of originals: Duke University Library, Durham
• Number of titles: 269 • Languages used: Korean, Japanese, English • Title list available • MARC records are available •
Location of originals: C.V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University, New York Here is a unique collection of rare documents relating to the Japanese occupation of Korea, from the late nineteenth century up to 1945, representing a highly significant period in Korean history, and vital for a true understanding of many reflexes in the Koreas today. In 1876, Japan “opened” Korea to outside contact for the first time. What followed was a period of sparring with the Chinese over the right of influence in Korea, a rivalry which culminated in the Sino- Japanese war of 1894-95. Following victory, Japan steadily increased its presence and interference in Korean matters until the outright annexation of the country in 1910. Korea would remain a Japanese colony until the end of the Pacific War in 1945. Drawn from the holdings of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, New York, the collection includes more than 62,000 pages in Japanese language, 18,000 pages of Western (in most cases English) early impressions of Korea, and Korean texts (16,000 pages). This true treasure-trove, preserved through our online service, now presents the texts conveniently on your desktop.
Published from Tokyo under Japanese editorship before, during, and after WWII (1932-1970),
Contemporary Japan is now seen as a beacon of rationality, especially during the ‘devil’s decade’ of the 1930s. While consistently presenting the Japanese case,
Contemporary Japan spoke from the shrinking middle ground of the public sphere. Run by the semi-official Foreign Affairs Association of Japan,
Contemporary Japan published informed, critical, long-form journalism by leading Japanese and Western commentators on East Asia. Disillusioned Pan-Asianists compete with anti-Western rhetoric on the road to war against China. Post-war, new voices bemoan the 'reverse course' of 1947-1952. This lively Primary Source offers a window into Japan’s most rational and yet most engaged debates of the day.
Contemporary Japan ceased publication in 1970 and Brill has secured the entire run from Vol.1 1932 to Vol. 29, 1970, (with considerable gaps from 1954 - 1970, see full list of issues) but limits this first series to the period 1932-1954.
Note: virtually complete for the important years 1932 - 1954 (lacking two volumes: volume 9, no. 3 (1941) and volume 12, no. 1 (1943). Not complete for the years up to 1970. Should currently missing volumes emerge, these will be included at no extra cost to purchasers.
Japan Chronicle Weekly (1900–1940) is the newspaper of record for Japan’s engagement with modernity and its emergence, through war, political and social upheaval and seismic social change in East Asia, onto the world stage in the first half of the twentieth century. Historians of East Asia have long seen the Japan Chronicle as a uniquely valuable resource. This well-informed, controversial but always readable source of news and opinion on Japan and East Asia offers an intriguing and lively Japanese complement to the
North China Herald Online. This collection includes the
Kobe Weekly Chronicle (1900-1901), the predecessor of the Japan Chronicle Weekly.
Founded and based in Kobe, a port city that saw enormous expansion during the
Chronicle’s lifetime, and edited by representative figures in this treaty port, the
Chronicle provides a unique perspective not only on the settler communities in Japan and East Asia but also to the historical development of East Asia as it happened. This supremely important and uniquely valuable resource, covering the years 1900-1941, is now exclusively available in Brill’s East Asia Archive Online, with the weekly
• Number of titles: 1 (The Japan Chronicle, including the Commercial Supplement). • Number of pages: approx. 80.000. • Languages used: English • MARC record available • Location of Originals: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, London) and the British Library (London)
Japan News-Week was the last independent, foreign-owned English-language newspaper published in Japan before the Pacific War. Brill’s exclusive holding runs from the first issue of November 1938 to within 6 months of the newspaper’s closedown on November 30 1941. A week later, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, the 8th November issue was scrapped and publisher W.R. “Bud” Wills and editor Phyllis Argall were arrested by Special Higher Police (Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu) on espionage charges.
Each issue, published on Saturdays, ran for 8 pages across 7 columns, with the weekly schedule giving Wills and his team time to commission features excavating issues rather than simply reporting news, journalism desperately needed between the breakout of all-out war in China in July 1937 and the competing drumbeats of the press on both sides of the Pacific in the run-up to Pearl Harbor. The weekly edition carried a conventional mix of news reports and interpretative features, arts reviews, cartoons, light entertainment columns, radio schedules and advertising. Besides its editorial priority on balanced coverage from all sides, almost all
Japan News-Week features carried by-lines and the newspaper declared that it was entirely “written by foreigners”.
• Impartial but US-tinged perspectives from Tokyo in run-up to Pacific War 1938-1941
• Last independent English-language newspaper published in Tokyo before Pearl Harbor
• 1368 pages
• Full-color 300 ppi pages from high-quality originals
• Fully text-searchable
• Sourced largely from founding family’s original holdings in USA
• Brill exclusive: there are no other holdings of comparable duration and quality
As flagship pictorial organs of Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Japan Times Weekly (November 1938 – December 1942) and its successor
Nippon Times Weekly, were priceless investments in the expression of Japan’s master narrative (i.a., the victimization of China and Southeast Asia by Western interests) and therefore published in colour at a time of extreme newsprint shortages. As an optional, limited giveaway with the main newspaper
Japan (Nippon) Times, these weeklies are now extraordinarily rare. This Primary Source from Brill therefore focuses on the wartime holdings, 1938-1944, of these consecutive titles showcasing Japan’s martial and geopolitical achievements in the all-out war in China and then in the Pacific War. Of the seven years of the wartime holdings, this Primary Source offers almost five years of the total.
Completeness: Of the
Japan Times Weekly, this Primary Source runs from the 2nd issue (September 1938) to November 1942, close to the end of the title. The
Nippon Times Weekly runs from the first issue of 1st January 1943 to the end of January 1944. Should any further issues emerge after all, these will be added to this PSO at no extra cost to customers. In addition to the Weekly magazine, both the parent newspapers the
Japan Times and its 1943 successor the
Nippon Times established publishing arms bringing out books and booklets broadcasting the defining mission of the Daily and the Weekly editions. Brill has collected a good holding of these issues, which we will publish with this Primary Source with its own dedicated tab. Also in addition, the material here comes with useful Index issues and extremely rare Supplements, including the
Nippon Times Supplement: News and View of Greater East Asia. Some issues of this consecutive title are available elsewhere in scattered form, but none are available in such a full run, and none have been digitised in full-text-searchable format
Manchuria Collection offers scholars of Japan’s modern history an unparalleled inside view of Japan’s agenda in Manchuria and its plans for domination in Asia. Founded in 1908 in the wake of Japan’s victory in the war against Russia, the
Manchuria Daily News set up in Dalian (Darien) at the headquarters of the South Manchuria Railway Company (Minami Manshū Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) (SMR).
Lavishly funded from Tokyo, and with the full resources of the SMR Research Department behind them, the
Manchuria Daily News and the associated titles offered here constitute a formidable record of Japanese policy on Manchuria and the Manchoukuo project. From 1908-1940 this compact, feisty daily and its associated titles responded to the exigencies of the day, taking requests from a variety of official and often competing propaganda bureaux. In the
Manchuria Daily News and in these associated publications, the SMR presented a powerful case for the Japanese leadership of Asia, after 1932 using Manchoukuo as a showcase for Japan’s technological, cultural and political advancement.
Apart from the early 1908-1912 holdings, and the October 1919 to February 1921 gap when publication was suspended , the 1912-1940 run published here is virtually complete and exclusive to Brill Primary Sources Online.
Brill has sourced an exciting range of associated English-language magazines published in tandem with the
Manchuria Daily News. Here for the first time are extensive holdings from the irregular publications
Contemporary Manchuria and the
Manchuria Information Bulletin.
Printed on the abandoned presses of the South China Morning Post,
The Hongkong News offers scholars the undiluted voice and mindset of the Japanese administration of Occupied Hongkong. This significant Japanese Occupation holding of
The Hongkong News started publication on 31st December 1941, six days after the Christmas Day surrender of the British Crown Colony, and lasted until August 17, 1945, the day that the Shōwa Emperor’s Rescript ordered Japanese forces to surrender to the Allies.
The Hongkong News traces Japan’s progress from the Colony's Imperial overlord to abject surrender, through large-scale internment and assurances of certain victory. In essence, 'A close, unvarnished, daily view of the recolonizing mind-set of the new masters of East Asia'. • Japan's perspective on East Asian and world news published from Occupied Hongkong (1941 - 1945)
• The complete Occupied Hongkong holding, December 31 1941 - 17 August 1945
• 5000+ pages
• high-quality originals
• not available elsewhere in full-text searchable format – exclusive to Brill
• holdings of the School of African and Asian Studies (SOAS), University of London
A NOTE ON COVERAGE:
This collection begins with volume 30 of
The Hongkong News. The first 29 volumes of
The Hongkong News in all probability do not exist anymore, or never even existed in the first place. Like other newspapers in other Asian regions,
The Hongkong News first functioned as a 'shell publication' installed in readiness for the actual imminent Japanese occupation, in September 1941.
An Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Foreign Relations since 1600
The SHAFR Guide Online: An Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Foreign Relations since 1600 is a near-comprehensive, 2.1 million-word online annotated bibliography of historical work covering the entire span of U.S. foreign relations. It aims to jump-start the research of both students from high school to graduate school as well as the most advanced scholars.
The SHAFR Guide Online, created by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and helmed by General Editor Alan McPherson, should be the first place to which researchers turn when establishing a bibliography, whether it be about US-Latin American relations in the 19th century, World War II, or US-China/East Asia relations since the Vietnam War.
The SHAFR Guide Online’s thirty chapters cover all eras in U.S. history from colonial days through the Barack Obama presidency as well as all geographical areas of the world. A specialist of the topic has expertly organized and annotated each chapter’s entries. The latest edition also includes four new thematic chapters—on economic issues; non-governmental actors; domestic issues, the Congress, and public opinion; and race, gender, and culture. Entries include every type of historical source, from collections of government documents to biographies, monographs, book chapters, journal articles, web sites, and much more.
The SHAFR Guide itself has a long, illustrious history. Since 1983, SHAFR has published several previous editions, under different names, edited by Richard Dean Burns, Robert Beisner, and Thomas Zeiler. Henceforth,
The SHAFR Guide will be primarily an online tool. The addition of keywords for each entry is meant to make searches as effortless as possible. It is destined to become the preeminent bibliography in the field and an indispensable research tool for historians of U.S. foreign relations—amateurs and professionals alike.
Translations of the Peking Gazette Online is a comprehensive database of approximately 8,500 pages of English-language renderings of official edicts and memorials from the Qing dynasty that cover China’s long nineteenth century from the Macartney Mission in 1793 to the abdication of the last emperor in 1912. As the mouthpiece of the government, the
Peking Gazette is the authoritative source for information about the Manchu state and its Han subjects as they collectively grappled with imperial decline, re-engaged with the wider world, and began mapping the path to China’s contemporary rise.
Peking Gazette was a unique publication that allows contemporary readers to explore the contours, boundaries, and geographies of modern Chinese history. Contained within its pages are the voices of Manchu emperors, Han officials, gentry leaders, and peasant spokesmen as they discussed and debated the most important political, social, and cultural movements, trends, and events of their day. As such, the
Gazette helps us understand the policies and attitudes of the emperors, the ideas and perspectives of the officials, and the mentality and worldviews of several hundred million Han, Mongol, Manchu, Muslim, and Tibetan subjects of the Great Qing Empire.
The dozens of British scholars, missionaries, and consular officials who created this treasure trove of translated Qing documents did so for variety of different reasons. Robert Morrison (1782-1834), the first Protestant missionary to China, honed his classical Chinese by translating the
Gazette in preparation for his rendering of the Bible; Sir John Francis Davis (1795-1890), the future governor of Hong Kong, translated the
Gazette for the East India Company in Canton during the height of the opium trade; the missionaries Walter Henry Medhurst and William C. Milne, by contrast, sought to understand the Christian-inspired Taiping Civil War (1851-64) by studying and translating the
Gazette; the majority of the translators, however, served on the staff of the British consulate in Beijing and followed the lead of Sir Thomas Francis Wade (1818-1895), who decoded the
Gazette as a form of intelligence gathering for the British government and published them for the global reading public. However, nineteenth century British scholars, missionaries, and officials did not translate the entirety of the gazette into English.
Culled from a variety of publications, including the
Indo-Chinese Gleaner, the
Canton Register, the
Chinese Repository, and the
North China Herald, this full-text searchable database is the largest, most comprehensive collection of English translations of the
Peking Gazette in the world. It contains vital information on a wide range of topics, including the Opium War and other military conflicts between China and the West, the Taiping Rebellion and other peasant insurrections, the Self-Strengthening Movement and other Qing reform efforts, and thousands upon thousands of official documents that contain information about the mundane details of everyday life in nineteenth-century China and thrilling accounts of unprecedented events in late imperial times. There is no better source for readers who want to understand the interplay of complex political themes, social movements, and cultural ideas in late imperial China.
This database has been compiled by Dr. Lane J. Harris, Furman University. Dr. Harris would like to thank the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland for permission to reproduce the translations by John Francis Davis; the British Library for permission to include portions of their copy of
The Cycle: A Political and Literary Review; and the Center for Research Libraries for their assistance in acquiring microfilm versions of the
North China Herald, the
Canton Register, and the
As a special feature of this database, it is accompanied by a primary sourcebook, available through separate purchase, entitled
The Peking Gazette: A Reader in Nineteenth-Century Chinese History by Dr. Harris. The reader contains scholarly introductions to thematic chapters organized around the most important events and themes in modern Chinese history for use in undergraduate and graduate classes.
The purpose of this unique online collection is to provide students and researchers with the declassified documentary record about the successes and failures of the U.S. intelligence community in the Far East during the Cold War (1945-1991). Particular emphasis is given to America’s principal antagonists in Asia during the Cold War era: the People’s Republic of China, North Korea and North Vietnam. However, countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia are covered as well.
Number of documents: 4,285
Number of pages: ca. 23,500
- Introductory essay
- Glossary of acronyms
- MARC21 catalog records
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland
- CIA-CREST database
- Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas
- John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts
- Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas
- Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda, California
- Gerald R. Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta, Georgia
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California
- Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Army Center for Military History, Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
- Naval Historical Center Operational Archives, Washington, D.C.
- Douglas MacArthur Library, Norfolk, Virginia
- National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, UK
- National Archives of Australia, Canberra, Australia
- Vietnam Archive, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
- Archives of the National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
- Archives of the Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
• Number of titles: 654 • Languages used: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Russian, Dutch, German and Portuguese • Title list and printed guide are available •
Location of originals: Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London This new online collection comprises a descriptive, annotated bibliography of 654 early Western books on Imperial China up to 1850, all to be found in the Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. The collection is based on the book Western Books on China published up to 1850 by John Lust. The material is of unique historical interest, containing a scrutiny of China by Western societies.. The books, in a variety of Western languages, testify to the formidable difficulties encountered by Westerners, who attempted to extend their own familiar historical, linguistic and religious perceptions to the Chinese context.
World War II Era Records of the World Council of Churches
Historical background The documents in this collection form a subset of the World Council of Churches archives dating from 1932 to 1957. They were assembled hurriedly and in a very provisional form during the “dark days” of the war by an administration just being born and still in the making. Under such chaotic conditions, some elements were inevitably lost and the original order of the records was difficult to reconstruct. Yet a dramatic story is revealed here, the story of the fledgling ecumenical movement’s thought, policy, and activities in the face of the power of Nazi Germany.
The ecumenical movement represents the effort of churches divided for centuries to re-establish contact with each other, to rediscover their common heritage, to explore possibilities for collaboration, to react in situations of crisis, and to find a new place within society by participating in the foundation of a new world community. To achieve these ends, the churches founded many organizations, including the International Missionary Council in 1910, the Life and Work movement in 1925, and the Faith and Order movement in 1927. In 1938, the Life and Work and Faith and Order movements came together to form the World Council of Churches, which was officially inaugurated in Amsterdam in 1948. Today the World Council of Churches is a worldwide fellowship of churches from different traditions: Orthodox (Oriental and Eastern Orthodox), Anglican, Old Catholic, most mainline Protestant churches (Moravian, Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist), the historic peace churches (Mennonite, Quakers, Church of the Brethren), and some evangelical churches (like Baptist and Pentecostal). Although the Roman Catholic Church is not a member, it participates as a member of the Commission on Faith and Order and sends official observers to all major meetings, such as the general assemblies.
During the Second World War, the World Council of Churches in Process of Formation was instrumental in smuggling several hundred Jews across the borders into Switzerland, actively helped by courageous and inventive young French workers affiliated with CIMADE (Comité Inter-Movement Auprès Des Evacués). Reflecting on this era, Dr. W. A. Visser ‘t Hooft, then General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, wrote "… as I look back on these attempts to help the Jews during the war years, I feel far from proud. I know that I should have done a great deal more."
Not all the sources testifying to this period have been preserved, but what remains is gathered in this collection.
Sections In 2013 the WCC Archives moved in the newly arranged "Espace Archives", located in the west wing of the former Library premises in the backyard of the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva. The WCC Library united its collections at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, near Geneva. The WCC archives are divided into many different sections, reflecting the various bodies that have been active in the ecumenical scene during the 20th century. The records of the International Missionary Council and the General Correspondence Archives of the World Council of Churches’ General Secretariat, previously published on microfiche by BRILL/IDC Publishers, are examples of such sections.
The present collection is the first collection from the WCC that is made available electronically. Originally on microfiche, the collection covers the period from 1932 to 1957. The documents consist of newspapers, press clippings, press releases, telegrams, correspondence, minutes, manuscripts, and personal notes. The boxes are organized by 16 countries, mostly European (Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Yugoslavia), but also the United States of America, Colombia, and Israel, as well as China and Indonesia. Records relating to Germany account alone for thirty boxes.
Scholarly relevance These archives have been studied by historians of the Bergier Commission, a commission set up to investigate the role of Switzerland during the Second World War, and many individual scholars. The collection includes correspondence and personal letters of such notable individuals as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, George Bell, Hans Schönfeld, Karl Barth, James McDonald, Georges Casalis, Adolf Freudenberg, Martin Niemöller, Otto Dibelius, Gerhart Riegner, Marc Boegner, and Willem Adolf Visser 't Hooft. The archives document not only the issues and events of the War, but also the beginning years of the World Council of Churches.
The material in this collection is of high value for researchers from different disciplines, such as political and historical sciences as well as church history, theology, ethics, and ecumenical studies. Churches from different parts of the world, like China, Israel, or Colombia, might find material here that help to interpret their own history, by original documents from their own offices and individuals as well as by documented views from other churches and ecumenical bodies.
As Dr. Visser 't Hooft wrote: "The war came. And at first it seemed as if it would at least mean that the clock of ecumenical history would be definitely set back. The staff became smaller and smaller. Many plans had to be cancelled. But right in the midst of war the tide turned. What new contacts between the churches lost in frequency, they gained in intensity and depth. The war did not weaken the council. On the contrary."
Pierre Beffa (former Director of the World Council of Churches Library), revised by Fernando Enns, Professor of (Peace-) Theology and Ecumenical Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.