Western Law

5885A 001

Instructor(s)Kostal, Rande
Credits0
Essay RequirementNo, this course will not satisfy the Faculty of Law essay requirement
Pre/Co-requisitenone

Note: While not a formal prerequisite, an academic background in modern history and/or politics will be a considerable asset to students enrolled in this course.

CompulsoryNo
CoreNo
Enrollment Restrictionnone
Instruction Introductory lecture followed by intensive seminar discussion.
Assessment Students will be evaluated on the best of three of four seven-page take-home essay assignments worth 75% of the course grade, and, for the remaining 25%, on the basis of their attendance, preparation, and intellectual contribution to the seminar. Unexcused absences will be reflected in the student’s final mark for seminar contribution.

Note: This course is a great choice for students with: 1) wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, but especially about law and international affairs since the Second World War; 2) the willingness to do a more than an average amount of interesting reading and talking every week of term; 3) the capacity and desire to undertake a series of challenging tasks in critical thinking and written composition.

Materials All relevant reading material will be made available on the website supporting the course. No books purchases are required.
Library MaterialsClick here for Library Materials for this Course
Description This course will concern the two greatest law reform projects in the history of the world. Students will examine how American legal officials undertook to impose (and/or induce) the “rule of law” in defeated Nazi Germany and imperial Japan after WWII. The course will delve into a range of published and unpublished source materials as it grapples with five overarching questions: To what extent did agencies of the American state act to transform the “fascist” legal systems of Germany and Japan? On what legal and political principles were these “reforms” founded? How did German and Japanese officials react to these initiatives? To what extent (and why) did American aims and actions differ in occupied Germany and Japan? What was the effect of the “Cold War” on these “reform” projects?

In the first sessions of the course, we will consider the methodology of modern legal historical inquiry, and also the historical and political context of the occupations of Germany and Japan in 1945. We will then examine the German and Japanese legal systems as they existed under the Nazi and Imperial-Showa states. In the balance of the course, sessions will be devoted to how American civilian and military agencies attempted the demolition and reconstruction of the German and Japanese constitutions, judiciaries, criminal justice systems and bar associations. We will also devote considerable time to the controversial subject of war crimes, and how and why American officials defined and prosecuted them in occupied Germany and Japan.

This course will concern the two greatest law "reform" projects in the history of the world. Students will examine how American officials undertook to impose (and/or induce) the "rule of law" in defeated Nazi Germany and imperial Japan after WWII. The course will delve into a range of published and unpublished source materials as it grapples with five overarching questions: To what extent did agencies of the American state act to transform the "fascist" legal systems of Germany and Japan? On what legal and political principles were these "reforms" founded? How did German and Japanese officials react to these initiatives? To what extent (and why) did American aims and actions differ in occupied Germany and Japan? What was the effect of the "Cold War" on these "reform" projects?

In the first sessions of the course, we will consider the methodology of modern legal historical inquiry, and also the historical and political context of the occupations of Germany and Japan in 1945. We will then examine the German and Japanese legal systems as they existed under the Nazi and Showa states. In the balance of the course, sessions will be devoted to how American civilian and military agencies engaged in the demolition and reconstruction of the German and Japanese constitutions, judiciaries, criminal justice systems and bar associations. We will also devote considerable time to the controversial subject of war crimes, and how and why American officials defined and prosecuted them in occupied Germany and Japan.