• Offered by Department of Pacific Affairs
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject War Studies
  • Areas of interest History, Pacific Studies, Asia Pacific Studies, International Security

The extension of World War II to the Pacific Theatre in 1942 signalled a new era in the technology of war and profoundly shaped the modern history of the Asia Pacific region. This course is the first in the world to combine Allied, Japanese and Pacific Islander understandings of the Pacific War with particular attention to the South West Pacific. It complements the existing emphasis on the perspective from the United States and is distinctive in making 'space' for Islander experiences. Attention is divided equally between a narrative history of the events of conflict, and a multi-thematic consideration of the consequences and implications of World War II in the Islands. These legacies are addressed through issues as diverse as military technology and strategy, health and environment, Pacific Island lives and post-war political developments in the region. The course offers a fresh approach to a watershed in regional history, and should appeal to students in History, Peace and Conflict Studies, Pacific Studies, Asian Studies, Development Studies and International Relations.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of key actors, events, locations and interests in the Pacific War in the Islands, its aftermath and legacies, as scoped in this course
  2. Identify broadly distinctive interpretations and representations of events from different standpoints (such as Allied, Japanese and Pacific Islander perspectives; or popular versus specialist treatments of World War II in the Islands)
  3. Recognize issues of difference and debate
  4. Place texts, films, objects, or sites in their historical and interpretive contexts
  5. Explicate the assumptions implied in students’ own ‘inherited memory’ of the Pacific War in the Islands
  6. Find and deploy relevant material relevant to an essay question (or equivalent)
  7. Communicate these findings in a well-supported and convincing essay (or equivalent).

Indicative Assessment

  1. Contribution to discussion (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
  2. 2 reviews @ 500 words, including one of a written text; another on film, museum object, or any item in a medium other than text (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Short essay (1,500 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,6,7,8]
  4. Long essay (2,000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,6,7,8]
  5. Take-home exam, 2 questions, max 1,000 words each (incl. one compulsory reflective essay) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,6,7,8]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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The workload (per week) will be:

2 X 1 hour lectures

1 X 1 hour tutorial/online discussion (except for week 1)

7 hours independent study

Inherent Requirements


Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with WARS2004, PASI2006 and PASI6006.

Prescribed Texts

Readings will be provided from various sources, but will include:

  • Beaumont, Joan, ‘Australia's War: Asia and the Pacific’, in Joan Beaumont (ed.), Australia's War, 1939 - 1945, St Leonards, NSW, 1996, 26-53
  • Bennett, Judith A., Natives and Exotics: World War II and Environment in the South Pacific, Honolulu, 2009
  • Dower, John W., War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, New York, 1986
  • Falgout, Suzanne, Lin Poyer and Laurence M. Carrucci, Memories of War: Micronesians in the Pacific War, Honolulu, 2008
  • Fujitani, T., Geoffrey M. White and Lisa Yoneyama (eds), Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s), Durham, N.C, 2001.
  • Lindstom, Lamont and Geoffrey M. White, Island Encounters: Black and White Memories of the Pacific War, Washington, 1990
  • MacLeod, Roy M. (ed.), Science and the Pacific War: Science and Survival in the Pacific, Dordrecht and Boston, 2000
  • Nelson, Hank, ‘Kokoda: And Two National Histories’, JPH 42 (1), 2007, 73-92
  • Robinson, Neville K., Villagers at War: Some Papua New Guinean Experiences in World War II, Canberra, 1979
  • Stanley, Peter, Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942. Camberwell, VIC, 2008
  • Toyoda, Yukio and Hank Nelson (eds), The Pacific War in Papua New Guinea: Memories and Realities, Tokyo, 2008
  • White, G. M. et al., Bikfala Faet : Olketa Solomon Aelanda Rimembarem Wol Wo Tu = The Big Death : Solomon Islanders Remember World War II, Suva, 1988
  • White, G.M. & L. Lindstrom, The Pacific Theater: Island Representations of World War II, Honolulu, 1989


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3570
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6965 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

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