October 19, 2015/ 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

UCLA Royce Hall Room 314

Cold War Fantasy

How ordinary people shaped the postwar world

Colloquium with Masuda Hajimu, National University of Singapore

Photo: Hajimu Masuda, 2015 (cover photo from Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World).  

What was the Cold War? A simple definition might be: a 20th-century international confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States, which involved Europe at first, and then Asia, Africa, and Latin America, eventually dividing the world into two camps. The key players in this global conflict are generally identified as a number of high-ranking policymakers, including Harry S. Truman, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. We are all familiar with this narrative, though history is seldom as simple as it is made in the textbooks. In this presentation, Professor Hajimu Masuda challenges us to look at the Cold War from a new angle. Examining the apparent aftereffects of Cold War politics in Asia and the United States, Mr. Masuda explores the imagined and constructed nature of the Cold War and its social needs, analyzing how a mere discourse turned into an irrefutable reality, how and why ordinary people shaped such a Cold War world, and what the Cold War really was.

Hajimu Masuda is a historian whose work concerns the social and global history of the Cold War, the history of American foreign relations, and the modern history of East Asia. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2012, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore, where he teaches courses on the modern history of Japan, student movements in Asia, decolonization, and the Cold War. He is the author of Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (2015), and has published a number of book chapters and articles which can be found in Foreign Policy, Diplomatic History, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Cold War Studies, and Journal of American-East Asian Relations.

Free & open to the public!

Sponsor(s): Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies