One striking feature of the Pacific War was the extent to which Wilsonian ideals informed the war aims of both sides. By 1943, the Atlantic Charter and Japan's Pacific Charter (Greater East Asia Joint Declaration) outlined remarkably similar visions for the postwar order. This comparative study of the histories surrounding both charters highlights parallels between the foreign policies of Great Britain and Imperial Japan. Both empires engaged with Wilsonianism in similar ways, to similar ends. Driven by geopolitical desperation, both reluctantly enshrined Wilsonian values into their war aims to survive a gruelling war with empire intact. But the endorsement of national self-determination, in particular, gave elites in dependent states a means to protest the realities of both British and Japanese rule and to demand that both empires practise what they preach. This comparative analysis of Britain and Japan thus sheds light on the part Wilsonian ideology played in the global crisis of empire during the Second World War.
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