Holocaust vs. Japanese Colonial Era in Korea Research Paper

June 20, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Holocaust in the history of Jewish people, as well as Japanese occupation in the history of Korean people, was one of the greatest tragedies. Though these inhuman crimes against the Jewish and Korean nations became possible because of the chaos of World War II, no ideology could justify them. At the same time, the end of the war concurs with the end of the occupation. Therefore, the tragedies of the two nations should be viewed in the context of military events. The murders and tortures of millions of people during the holocaust of 1939 – 1945 and the Japanese occupation of Korea during 1910 – 1945 should become historical lessons to mankind.

The Holocaust, which is usually referred to as the mass murder of six million European Jews from 1939 – 1945, as well as the Japanese occupation of Korea, during 1910 – 1945, is recognized as inhuman crimes against the Jewish and Korean people respectively. The ban on national cultures, imprisonment, slave-like labor, tortures, and assassination of citizens, including women and children, cannot be justified for any political reasons.

The Nazis, who were led by Adolf Hitler, used their ideology based on myths and even hallucinations of their leader and his counterparts to explain the reasons for which millions of people had to be kept under dangerous conditions in concentration camps and die from diseases, starvation or tortures. Preoccupied with the idea of the Aryan quest, according to which Germans proclaimed themselves as a supreme nation, the Nazis had an illusion about the Jewish international conspiracy.

For this reason, the Nazis’ attitude towards Jews is referred to as ‘Jewophobia’ (Longerich 27). Similarly to the mass murders of European Jews, Korean citizens suffered during the Japanese occupation. Although the main goal of Japan was to expand the sphere of influence and make Korea a colony, the rule of Japan was extremely harsh (Imperialism, War, and Revolution in East Asia). The Japanese authorities ruled through the military, crushed all Korean protests, forced Korean citizens to participate in the military actions of World War II on the side of Japan. Japan prohibited Koreans to maintain their national culture.

The teaching of the Korean language, history, and geography at schools was banned. Japanese confiscated and burned Korean historical documents and school textbooks. Koreans were even forced to change their names for Japanese names. Moreover, there is evidence that about 80 percent of Koreans complied with these policies of changing their names (Imperialism, War, and Revolution in East Asia). However, despite this unreasonable and unjustifiable oppression of Korean people during the Japanese occupation, the mass assassination of millions of European Jews did not leave room for discussion of cultural aspects. The tragedies of Jewish and Korean people during German and Japanese occupation cannot be justified with certain ideologies or political strategies.

One of the most influential factors, which made mass assassination and cultural oppression of Jewish and Korean people possible, was the chaos before and during World War II. After the end of the war, in 1945, the holocaust and the Japanese occupation were over. Therefore, these historical tragedies should be viewed in the context of the World War II, because the understanding of the alignment of forces on the international arena is essential to explaining the historical processes parallel to the beginning and end of genocide and occupation. Thus, the military success of Germans at the beginning of the war allowed the Nazis to take control of European territories and commit the outrageous crimes against the Jewish people. On the other hand, the occupational rule in Korea has become significantly harsher after the beginning of World War II.

The Korean citizens were forced to work at factories under the slave-like conditions or sent to the army. The Korean girls were kidnapped and turned to sex slaves meant to comfort Japanese soldiers (Imperialism, War, and Revolution in East Asia). At the same time, the end of the occupation concurs with the end of the war. After the Japanese attacked the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, the United States entered the war. Another important event affecting the course of the war and occupational rule of Japan was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is the unjustifiable decision of the US leader, and which became a tragic event in the history of Japan.

Germany and Japan were allies in this war and this circumstance could affect their harsh occupational philosophies to a certain extent. Importantly, the tragedies of the holocaust and the Japanese occupation of Korea should be viewed in the context of the World War II, because the chaos of the wartime created the conditions for the genocide and military occupation on the one hand, and the end of the war put an end to the mass murders and tortures, on the other hand.

Whereas the holocaust had only negative implications with millions of people murdered and tortured, the Japanese occupation surprisingly had a few positive implications for the development of Korea. These positive implications can be regarded as the main difference between the genocides of Jewish and Korean people. For example, there is evidence that along with banning Korean education, Japan contributed to the development of Korean cinematography and fostered the industrialization of the country. The expansion of commerce and various forms of mass culture took place during the years of the Japanese occupation (Imperialism, War, and Revolution in East Asia).

As opposed to the oppressive but in certain aspects, even the advantageous rule of Japan, the positive impact of Germany upon Jewish people was out of the question. The mass destruction of people because of national prejudices and illusions of Nazis had an only negative impact on the culture and destinies of the nation (Craig, Graham, Ozment and Turner 98). About two-thirds of Jews living in Europe in the 1940s were assassinated, with scientists, artists, and musicians among them.

Therefore, the holocaust was a great tragedy in the history of not only Jewish people but also the history of humanity as a whole. The masterpieces of Jewish culture will never be restored, while scientists assassinated during the holocaust could have made outstanding discoveries, saving the lives of people. Therefore, despite a few positive aspects of the Japanese occupation of Korea, the holocaust and the occupation of Korea should become important historical lessons for humanity, which should never be repeated.

The murder of millions of European Jews, known as the holocaust, and the Japanese occupation of Korea brought horrible tragedies to the Jewish and Korean people, which cannot be justified with the military regime of the World War II and should become historical lessons for the future generations not to be repeated ever again.

Works Cited

Craig, Albert, William Graham, Steven Ozment and Frank Turner. The Heritage of World Civilizations: Since 1500. New York: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

Imperialism, War and Revolution in East Asia: 1900 – 1945; Korea as a Colony of Japan n.d. Web.

Longerich, Peter. Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.

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