The Newsletter 50 Spring 2009

Race and empire: Japan, the Hague Convention and the prewar world

Ethan Mark

It has often been observed that the Hague Peace Convention of 1907 reflected the optimism and idealism of its age, however naïve. Its ideals remain a beacon for our times. Then and now, the Convention was cause for pride regarding the progress of human civilisation as a whole, and hope for a brighter and more humane future. But a look back at the Hague Convention, and Japan’s place within it, also provides a lens onto the contradictions and ambiguities of a modern world founded on the imperialist law of the jungle.

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