Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's 1995 book, "Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and the Atomic Bomb," compelled historians to re-think the end of the World War II.
Members of the EIU and local communities will have the opportunity to judge for themselves when Hasegawa speaks on Eastern's campus at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. Admission is free and open to the public for the event, scheduled to take place in the Lecture Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.
Hasegawa, a specialist in modern Russian/Soviet history and the Cold War, promises to present a revised understanding of the end of the war in the Pacific. The conventional understanding has been that the Japanese surrendered as a consequence of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hasegawa's investigation into the Japanese, Soviet and American archives -- itself ground-breaking, since very few historians of the period have working knowledge of all three languages -- and Soviet archives (which have only been accessible since the 1990s) revealed that the Japanese responded less to the threat of atomic bombs than to the threat of the Soviet invasion and rapid advance into Chinese territory.
Historians believe this revelation compels a reconsideration of America's decision to drop the two atomic bombs, said Anita Shelton, chair of the EIU history department, a co-sponsor of the event.
Hasegawa, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has research interests in two areas -- the Russian Revolution of 1917; and foreign relations involving Russia, Japan and the United States, specifically on Russo-Japanese relations, the end of the Pacific War and the Cold War in Asia. He is also the former co-director of UCSB's Center for Cold War Studies.
In a more recent work -- a collection of essays titled "East Asia's Haunted Present: Historical Memories and the Resurgence of Nationalism" (Praeger Security International, 2008) -- Hasegawa and Kazuhiko Togo, public policymaker-in-residence at UCSB, explore the bitter historical memories that have resurfaced in recent years and have led to contentious issues between Japan and its neighbors.
Hasegawa's lecture at Eastern will be followed by a question-and-answer session. His appearance is being co-sponsored by the James Jones Society, the EIU College of Arts and Humanities, and the history and English departments.