This chapter explains why we need a book like this one and why this book is unique. It explains why the book focuses only on cases that are most representative by choosing one rising power (Japan), one country desperately trying to use the war to change its national fate (China), one British colony (India), one French colony (Indochina or Vietnam), and one Japanese colony (Korea). This chapter suggests that by studying these countries and their peoples’ responses to the First World War, we can convey how the war significantly shaped their thinking about themselves and the international system in the twentieth century, in addition to launching issues that continue to worry the region and the world at large. It further argues that Asian involvement in the First World War is a unique chapter in both Asian and world history. Asian participation transformed the meaning and implications of the broader conflict.
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