from the museum director
guidance in building
the fifteen-year war
modern warfare
The Two World Wars and Subsequent Efforts to Prevent War
The Cold War and Postwar Independence of Former Colonies
Post Cold War Conflicts
Weapons Development
Contemporary Regional Conflicts
buiding peace
getting to the kyoto museum for world peace
The Cold War and Postwar Independence of Former Colonies
The Division of Korea

After World War II,independence movements arose in a large number of the world's colonies, leading to freedom for many of them. However,there was constant friction between the capitalist nations, led by the United States,and the communist bloc,which followed the Soviet Union. This power struggle,which came to be known as the Cold War,cast its shadow over the growing efforts of colonized territories to gain independence.

One example of the impact of the Cold War on independence movements can be seen in what happened on the Korean peninsula. At the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel, and eventually, despite opposition by many Koreans, they split it into the Republic of Korea in the South and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North. Later, conflicts between North and South Korea over unification initiatives led to the outbreak of the Korean War.

The Vietnam War

Like many of the world's peoples who had suffered colonial rule, the Vietnamese sought to overthrow their rulers and gain their independence after World War II. Although the Vietnamese defeated the French in 1954, the U.S., fearing the spread of communism, soon stepped in and set up a puppet regime in South Vietnam. However, inspired by North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh's call to "value freedom and independence above all else," the Vietnamese fought the puppet regime and the American forces that supported it, and, with worldwide support, achieved unification of their country in 1976. As in the Korean War, U.S. bases in Japan played a significant role in this conflict.


"Pineapple" Bombs
The special attraction in this section of the museum is a large number of utensils made of a silvery material. They include a cigarette case and ashtray, as well as a knife, comb, pendant and a number of rings. Visitors are asked to guess what they are made of. The answer is duraluminun—the metal taken by Vietnamese people from downed U.S. airplanes. (Donated by Yasushi Ishijima and Masahiro Hashimoto)