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New insights into intelligence role in start of Pacific war

Recently uncovered documents about prewar Japanese intelligence that offer new insights to the World War II Pacific theater will be discussed in a free, public presentation on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at WSU Pullman. Tosh Minohara, professor in the Graduate School of Law at Kobe University, Japan, will present “Reconsidering the Road to Pearl Harbor: The Role of Intelligence in Decision Making,” noon-1:30 p.m., Sept. 25, in Bryan Hall 324.

His approach will be two-fold: first, to briefly overview the obscure history of the Japanese Black Chamber, a code breaking operation; and second, to examine the intelligence dimension of policy formulation in Tokyo. This will include the impact of signals intelligence on decision making, most notably at the critical juncture of November 1941 during U.S.-Japan negotiations. The talk is sponsored by the WSU Department of History, the George and Bernadine Converse Historical Endowment, and the WSU Asia Program.

Read more about the presentation

March changed lives of former WSU employees

We were there …

Elaine Zakarison, Pullman resident and daughter of Fred Yoder, founder of the sociology department, and LeRoy Ashby, retired history professor, are among members of the WSU community who have special memories of attending the March on Washington (D.C.) in 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Read the article and find related stories at WSUNews

Text corrected 9:35am 8/30/2013

Exhibit showcases key role of unions in shaping Clark County

Laurie Mercier
Laurie Mercier

History Professor Laurie Mercier (WSU Vancouver) specializes in labor issues and says the growing disconnect between unions and the public is apparent in her classrooms.

Working with students, she’s developed about a dozen narrative and photo panels displayed in a new exhibit at Clark County Historical Museum.

Read more and see historical photos

No Changes for King Richard III — for now

Do-gooder or scoundrel – in the wake of the early February announcement that the skeleton found beneath a parking lot in central England is that of King Richard III, how much does it matter? After all, he reigned for only two years and died more than a half-millennium ago at the age of 32.

There’s also the question of how much a long-buried skeleton can tell us about the person’s actions and behaviors back in the 15th century, said Jesse Spohnholz, associate professor of European history. “While the bones confirm that he suffered wounds in battle and also resolve the puzzle of where he was buried, they are silent when it comes to telling us how he reigned.”

Read more about the debate >>

Professor’€™s expertise informs public about Mali invasion

Peter Chilson
Peter Chilson

Months of onsite investigative journalism by Washington State University English professor Peter Chilson into al-Qaeda’s takeover of northern Mali last spring have recently put him in high demand with the national and international media.

The flurry began when France intervened in the Malian crisis last week in an attempt to halt a further incursion by Islamists to gain control of Bamako, Mali’s capital city, and the rest of the country. The French intervention has received support from the international community, including the United States and several European nations.

The incursion coincided with the release of Chilson’s e-book, “We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali,” published by Foreign Policy magazine and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a media clearinghouse supporting writers who cover global conflicts for the U.S. media. The e-book, announced in Foreign Policy’s January/February issue, examines the implications of al-Qaeda’s newest base of operation and decries their devastation of ancient cultural icons. Links to selected Chilson radio interviews and to the e-book are available below.

“Peter Chilson’s work in Mali is some of the finest crisis reporting we’ve seen in a long time,” said Tom Hundley, senior editor, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. “Peter’s graceful writing, his deep knowledge of the subject, his gift for storytelling and willingness to go to where the real story was unfolding – all of this has made for a very rewarding piece of journalism…that will inevitably inform policy discussions on the future of Mali.”

Read more about Chilson’s work