The role of the First World War in creating the conditions for Internationalism to ourish is the central paradox running through the period roughly corresponding to Japan’s Taisho Era. This talk will examine, through the lens of Japan, the transformation of attitudes towards war and peace during this period. The First World War resulted in a redistribution of power in the wake of imperial collapse, creating changes in the normative environment, and in the principles and ideas that underpinned international politics. Rather than merely a transformation as a result of shifts in material power, new behavioural norms also shaped the emerging international order. While not overlooking an emergent militarism, this talk will highlight Japan’s engagement with internationalism in the context of Japan’s rise as a Great Power. Crown Prince Hirohito’s visit to Europe, the Peace Exposition held in Ueno Park and Japan’s withdrawal from Shandong all pointed toward an ocial endorsement of peace and the new brand of liberal internationalism that shaped the immediate post-war order.
Mahon Murphy is presently a JSPS Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics, with a thesis on Britain’s takeover of Germany’s colonies during the First World War and the internment of Germans from these theatres. This thesis was awarded the Annual Thesis Prize of the German Historical Institute, London. He is currently working on Japanese attitudes towards internationalism and peace during the period 1914-1924. His rst book, Colonial Captivity during the First World War: Internment and the Fall of the German Empire, 1914–1919 (Cambridge University Press, 2017) has just been published.