Monday, March 2, 2009

Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

Here in Tokyo for a few weeks, capital of one of the signatories of the Tripartite Pact, meditating on the global nature of WWII and the support the Nazis had from a number of other militaristic and dangerously jingoist societies. Interesting to find that, even though the Japanese were similarly brutal to all their perceived-as-inferior neighbors, they didn't share the antisemitism of the Nazis, at least not in quite the same way. Although books repeating the canards of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion sold millions of copies in Japan, they had funded their earlier war with Russia with money from the prominent Jewish financier Jacob Schiff, and also allowed a number of Jewish refugees from Europe to settle in Japan for a curiously mixed-up set of reasons under the Fugu Plan. I've never quite understood how the Germans, in their search for a world dominated by perfect Aryan-ness, could settle into a marriage with the most un-Aryan Japan, a country which had even fought against Germany in the Great War that rankled Hitler so much. But it was a relationship that lasted until the end for both short-lived empires, from the outside at least warm and congenial, with none of the obvious cracks that threatened the Nazi's other marriages of convenience.

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