CHAPTER ONE On Vio­lence and Perpetrators Before dealing with the specific dimensions of Japa­nese war crimes, it is impor­ tant to further analyze the theoretical aspects of vio­lence, the perspectives of perpetrators, and how the likelihood of violent be­hav­ior in war increases. This analy­sis ­will serve as a precondition for a better understanding of vio­lence, a ­ factor of history that Hannah Arendt called a phenomenon of ­human action.1 The World Health Organ­ization (WHO) defined vio­lence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or ­ actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that ­ either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.”2 However, when discussing vio­lence, we must understand— as American psychologists Robin R. Vallacher and Christopher Brooks have emphasized—­that vio­lence “is not considered an end-­state or a goal but rather a readily available means by which higher-­order concerns can be redressed or goals can be achieved.”3 In ­human historical rec­ords, vio­lence has always been used at the individual, group, or even state levels to achieve specific aims. Consequently, voluntary, planned, or direct vio­lence, as well as invol- untary, affective, and indirect vio­lence, has been used as tools for one’s own or society’s advantage. Arendt highlighted the importance of vio­lence within this historical pro­cess when she stated that “no one engaged in thought about history and politics can remain unaware of the enormous role vio­lence has always played in ­human affairs and it is at first glance rather surprising that vio­lence has been singled out so seldom for special consideration.”4 Arendt even went a step further and declared vio­lence to be the “midwife of history,” but also a force that “creates history as less as the midwife creates the child.”5 Whenever the individual or societal interests lead to a dichot- omy, the danger of violent outbreaks increases much like power, strength, and authority, vio­lence is a tool to dominate others.6­
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