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The Legacy of the Pacific War: 75 Years Later

Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945 brought an end to World War II in the Pacific theater and with it, the emergence of the United States as a Pacific power. Over the past 75 years, the outcome of the Pacific War still pervades in defining diplomatic, security, economic, and social ties within Asia, and US relations with countries across the region. In fact, the memory of war has actually led to increased tensions in Asia at a time when there is growing competition and potential conflict among powers, large and small. In reflecting on how the Pacific War continues to influence competition and geopolitics in the region, the Wilson Center’s Asia Program has brought together a collection of essays as well as video interviews from select analysts and former policymakers from the United States and across Asia.

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Read the Introduction to the Series from Wilson Center President Jane Harman

"Through these perspectives, a complex context emerges in which the United States again finds itself competing with great powers that seek to re-write the international balance of power. Remembering the hard-won lessons from World War II, including differences of opinion with our competitors over the lessons learned, will be critical to successful American foreign and military policy in the next decade."

Read the Introduction


A headshot of Samuel J. Cox

Rear Admiral Samuel J. Cox, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Director of the Naval History and Heritage Command and Curator of the Navy
Robert Daly image

Robert Daly

Director, Kissinger Institute on China and the United States
A picture of Abraham Denmark in front of green foliage

Abraham Denmark

Former Vice President of Programs and Director of Studies; Former Senior Advisor to the Asia Program; Former Senior Fellow in the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States
Shihoko Goto

Shihoko Goto

Director, Indo-Pacific Program
A photo of Lucas Myers speaking at a conference with the Wilson Center logo in the background.

Lucas Myers

Senior Associate for Southeast Asia, Indo-Pacific Program
Toshihiro Nakayama

Toshihiro Nakayama

Japan Fellow;
Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan; Adjunct Fellow, Japan Institute of International Affairs
Diana Villiers Negroponte

Diana Villiers Negroponte

Global Fellow; Author "Master Negotiator: James A. Baker’s Role at the End of the Cold War"
A headshot of Joseph Nye

Joseph S. Nye, Jr

Former Fellow;
Author, American political scientist, and former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Marvin Ott

Marvin Ott

Asia Fellow;
Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Former Professor of National Security Policy, National War College and Deputy Staff Director, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
A headshot of Cheol-Hee Park

Cheol-hee Park

Chancellor, Korea National Diplomatic Academy
Kenneth Pyle stands at a podium.

Dr. Kenneth Pyle

Professor Emeritus, University of Washington  
Martin Sherwin

Martin Sherwin

Former Public Policy Fellow;
University Professor of History, George Mason University
Gwen K. Young

Gwen K. Young

Distinguished Fellow
Zheng Wang

Zheng Wang

Global Fellow;
Professor, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
A Headshot of Robert O. Work

The Honorable Robert O. Work

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense
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Play Video

Film Discussion: Grave of the Fireflies

In the inaugural event for the Asia Program's "Drinks With a Director" series, two Washington D.C. filmmakers came together to discuss the classic animated film Grave of the Fireflies, from the storytelling and animation techniques to the impact on international audiences.

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