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Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

Yinan He
Affiliation:
Seton Hall University, New Jersey
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Summary

In the aftermath of traumatic conflict, erstwhile adversaries Germany and Poland have made significant progress toward deep reconciliation, whereas China and Japan remain politically and emotionally alienated. Having examined these two cases with different reconciliation outcomes, this book concludes that a history of conflict does not doom states to future conflict. Instead, how the memory of the conflict is constructed and manipulated largely shapes the likelihood of reconciliation. Elite mythmaking of national history to fulfill immediate practical goals can bring about substantial divergence between the memories of former adversaries and spur both mutual perception of hostile intentions and virulent popular emotions. Although international structural incentives are instrumental in scrapping certain barriers to intergovernmental cooperation, without curbing pernicious historical myths and fostering bilateral historiographic convergence, a state of deep trust and harmony between former combatant governments and their corresponding societies will not truly arise.

This conclusion is borne out by the testing of realist theory and national mythmaking theory against the cases of post–WWII Sino-Japanese and German-Polish relations in the previous chapters. As illustrated in Table 7.1, the predictions of realist theory fit the reconciliation outcomes in only half of the total of eight subcases. It is true that a certain degree of compatibility between states' security interests is useful to enable the reconciliation process. Even in the European case, the trend of historical settlement did not appear until East-West détente created a more relaxed external environment for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and Poland to develop formal contacts.

Type
Chapter
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The Search for Reconciliation
Sino-Japanese and German-Polish Relations since World War II
, pp. 289 - 312
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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  • Conclusion
  • Yinan He, Seton Hall University, New Jersey
  • Book: The Search for Reconciliation
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511770463.009
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  • Conclusion
  • Yinan He, Seton Hall University, New Jersey
  • Book: The Search for Reconciliation
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511770463.009
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Yinan He, Seton Hall University, New Jersey
  • Book: The Search for Reconciliation
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511770463.009
Available formats
×