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Global Politics on Screen: Film on the Lytton Commission

Sep 19, 2011

80 years ago, a detonation at the railway in Shenyang gave the pretext for the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. An annotated version of a Japanese film showing the investigation team of a League of Nations commission is now available on the HRA portal.

On September 18th, 1931, a detonation at the railway near Mukden (Shenyang) gave the pretext for the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and initiated the way to World War II. From the outset, the parties involved in the so-called Manchurian incident addressed a global public with the newest media available. A team of the Japanese South Manchuria Railway Company filmed the League of Nations commission sent to investigate the incident and used the pretext of a documentary for the legitimation of a new order in Asia with a newly created state of Manchukuo in Northern China.

A version of this film with background information and annotations is now available on the HRA portal: "Global Politics on Screen - A Japanese Film on the Lytton Commission".
Students of Heidelberg University's History Department and scholars of the Cluster in collaboration with HRA specialists analyse this film by using the opportunities of the film annotations database pad.ma. Testing the potential of new technological tools, this project is committed to collaborative research and seeks to combine established models of historical interpretation with new opportunities provided by digital humanities.

See the 80th anniversary of the Manchurian incident from a new perspective.


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  • Still from the film