- The Wages of Guilt by Ian Buruma
Cape, 330 pp, £17.99, June 1994, ISBN 0 224 03138 4
After the First World War Germany was compelled by the victorious Allies to accept full responsibility for the war, and in consequence to pay all the costs. In spite of the work of Fritz Fischer and his associates, few historians would now claim that this was fair. To the German people at the time it seemed outrageous. Their outrage was to be a major element in the revanchism so ably exploited by Hitler in his rise to power, and in the remorse that paralysed so much of British enlightened opinion when it came to dealing with him.
Vol. 16 No. 19 · 6 October 1994
Michael Howard (LRB, 8 September) correctly says of resistance to the Nazis in Germany: ‘one of the less attractive features of the present German government is its attempt to deny the Communists any share of the credit.’ But he has a blind spot about resistance to Japan’s war of aggression (1930 to 1945) and the leading part played in it by the Communists. In fact, Mr Miyamoto, the present chairperson of the Japanese Communist Party (currently 360,000 members), spent 18 years in Japan’s prisons for his part in that resistance. The Japanese Communist Party can rightly claim to be the only political party which opposed Japan’s militarism and aggression.