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From Plunder to Preservation: The Untold Story of Cultural Heritage, World War II, and the Pacific

A Conference Marking the 70th Anniversaries of the Battles of of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal

Thursday, November 8, 2012 – Friday, November 9, 2012
The National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC

1785 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036-2117


Last year marked 70 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Now, a lifetime has passed since the United States entered the Second World War on December 8, 1941. The anniversary revived interest in World War II, and in particular, the Pacific Theater of Operations. With 2012 also commemorating the Battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal, focus on the War in the Pacific will continue to increase this year. 

This emphasis is welcome but belated. The European Theater has long overshadowed its counterpart in the Far East. Despite its unfathomable atrocities, WWII in the West was the last of the so-called "great" wars, with its front lines, conventional combat, and massive land campaigns. It was a familiar horror, as it had been fought before many times, in some cases on the same battlefields, and even by many of the same men. 

The Pacific Theater --- with its Kamikaze suicide bombings, guerrilla tactics, and nuclear weapons --- was instead a harbinger of terrors to come. A take-no-prisoners fight to the death through island jungles exotic to both the Americans and Japanese. Like the conflicts today in Afghanistan and Iraq, and earlier in Vietnam and Korea, it was a clash between East and West. And since it was fought between civilizations, heritage was a major target, and thus a major casualty. 

This cultural cost of the Pacific War, like its broader toll, has also been eclipsed by the devastation in Europe. We have condemned the Nazi looting of art, mourned Monte Cassino's loss, reconstructed old Warsaw, applauded Holocaust restitution, and tended graves at Normandy. But what do we know of the Empire of Japan’s systematic pillaging of Asian treasures from Mongolia to Singapore? Or the US plan to first destroy --- and ultimately spare --- historic Kyoto? South Korea's efforts to recover their looted artworks? The neglect suffered by the cemeteries at Tarawa?  Or the environmental time bomb of sunken battleships, and gravesites themselves, in pristine South Pacific waters? 

Do you want to learn more about these untold stories? Then join us at our fourth annual conference on November 8-10, 2012 in Washington, DC. We hope this event will be the beginning of a long overdue conversation about the fate of heritage during the Pacific War.




Thank You to Our Sponsors!

The American Society of International Law Cultural Heritage and the Arts Interest Group



Member (Professional): $120 SAVE $80!
Nonmember (Professional): $200
Member (Student): $60   SAVE $40!
Nonmember (Student): $100
Continuing Legal Education Credits: $150*


Traveling on Delta Airlines to our annual conference or elsewhere? Enter LCCHP's SkyBonus Number US0009266 when booking and earn frequent flyer miles for yourself and our organization!

Program Summary

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Destruction and Plunder of Cultural Heritage in the Pacific War: A Silent Legacy

Case Studies of Plunder 

Due Diligence, Repatriation, and Restitution

Old Records: New Possibilities

Looking Forward: A Moderated Discussion with the Panelists

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Legal Framework for Preserving the Pacific's World War II-Era Past

Case Studies of Preservation

Focus on Underwater Cultural Heritage

The Environmental Threat of Sunken Military Craft

Looking Forward: A Moderated Discussion with the Panelists


* Pending approval of the Virginia Board of Continuing Legal Education. Up to 10 credits will be available. We will work with you to transfer credits to other states. If you would like more information, please email us.
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