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Characters ñ Chinas War with Japan 1937 1945 ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ In Rana Mitter's tense moving and hugely important book the war between China and Japan one of the most important struggles of the Second World War at last gets the masterly history it deservesDifferent countries give difO Polo Bridge Incident' plunged China and Japan into a conflict of extraordinary duration and ferocity a war which would result in many millions of deaths and completely reshape East Asia in ways which we continue to confront today With great vividness and narrative drive Rana Mitter's new book draws on a huge range of new sources to. This book provides an overview of China's pivotal role in WWII and to the extent that readers are unfamiliar with that history it is a useful corrective But its true aims lie deeper it is unapologetically a revisionist history designed to rehabilitate the image of Chiang Kai shek and emphasize the role of the Nationalists in resisting the Japanese invasion In doing so the author also makes clear the relatively small contributions of the Communist forces and goes to great lengths to critiue the actions of Joseph Stilwell the Allies' representative in China and a constant irritant to Chiang In the latter respect the book feels like a response to Barbara Tuchman's Stillwell and the American Experience in China a generally well regarded pro Stilwell biography that did much to lock in the unflattering image of Chiang for Western observers While I enjoyed the book as a condensed review of China's role in the Second World War I felt that the author overreached in his goals I will say I gained a greater appreciation of the sacrifices by the Nationalist forces From this book it would seem that the Communists spent most of their energies regrouping during the war and positioning themselves for the inevitable power struggle to come a charge often aimed at the Nationalists The book also offers insights into some of the thinking of the Chinese participants in the collaboration government with the Japanese However I still harbor doubts about the uality of Chiang's leadership While he may have been the only person able to hold together China's fragile coalition of warlords emerging business class and factional armed forces his political instincts appear to be his primary strength Forgotten Ally is still left to wrestle with his disastrous tactical decisions most glaringly breaching a dike to slow the Japanese army which resulted in the death of up to a half million people and likely only slightly delayed the army's march and the intentional burning of the city Changsha by retreating Nationalists although the Japanese wouldn't reach the city for years The book also acknowledges the endemic corruption that plagued the government and the failure of the Nationalists to adeuately address a devastating famine in one province that ultimately killed millions In passing the book acknowledges that during the civil war with the Communists Chiang was unable to achieve any notable military victories and severely misjudged the strength of his opposition a concession that seems to me to cast doubt on his abilities as a military leader Indeed the only Nationalist military victories against the Japanese proved fleeting Chiang's greatest asset may simply have been his stubborn resolve Moreover the extensive portions of the book focused on J Stilwell struck me as unjustifiably harsh The author lambastes Stilwell for abandoning Chinese troops as part of a failed campaign in Burma despite according to Tuchman's book that he did so under direct orders And the book ignores the fact that Stilwell remained in the area to ensure that retreating armies were supplied with rice and refused air transport in order to stay with 100 military and civilian refugees on a perilous march to safety Tuchman's book also provides needed context for Stilwell's defeat in which he was frustrated by fickle British support and reluctant Chinese participation Tuchman unuestionably had an anti Chiang bias As one point she notes that he had a dictator's instinct for balconies Forgotten Ally returns the favor for Stilwell after the defeat in Burma Stilwell told the press that they had taken a hell of a beating Yet the book leads in to that uote with the statement that Stilwell was never one to miss the opportunity for good press a peculiar jab given his unflattering candor While I have not gone back to Tuchman's book to review all of the points raised against Stilwell the description of the initial Burma defeat did much in my mind to cast doubt on Forgotten Ally's objectivity Ultimately I was not fully convinced by Forgotten Ally While Tuchman's book needs balance to fully credit the Nationalist's contributions I don't think that Forgotten Ally should be read in isolation Still the Japanese aggression in Asia the Allies' shabby treatment of China during the war and the Nationalist's resistance are all critical for understanding China today and it is good that this book provides additional information on each

Summary ë eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ¹ Rana Mitter

In Rana Mitter's tense moving and hugely important book the war between China and Japan one of the most important struggles of the Second World War at last gets the masterly history it deservesDifferent countries give different opening dates for the period of the Second World War but perhaps the most compelling is 1937 when the 'Marc. A solid overview of the War of Resistance Ritter argues convincingly on why the Chinese Japanese deserves to be better known in the West but his exclusive attention to politics with no room to discuss battles or armies fails to hold my attentionif it's any comfort to Ritter's effort I already fully acknowledged the significance of 1931 1945 for the modern People's Republic of China

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Chinas War with Japan 1937 1945Recreate this terrible conflict He writes both about the major leaders Chiang Kaishek Mao Zedong and Wang Jingwei and about the ordinary people swept up by terrible times Mitter puts at the heart of our understanding of the Second World War that it was Japan's failure to defeat China which was the key dynamic for what happened in As. Read just about any popular history of World War II and you’ll find any number of references to the Allies as the Big Three of Britain the US and the Soviet Union What’s missing is recognition that China bore nearly as high a price as the USSR with an estimated fourteen to twenty million dead compared to fewer than half a million for the UK and the US The Soviet Union lost as many as twenty four million dead On that basis alone Oxford University historian Rana Mitter is justified in titling his revisionist history of China in World War II Forgotten Ally But as he explains at length recognition of China’s contribution to the war effort is overdue on a far broader basis than thatDueling myths and torrents of propagandaChina’s World War II experience has generated dueling myths and torrents of propaganda In China itself Mao Zedong’s government long suppressed any favorable comment about the performance of Chiang Kai shek‘s Nationalists or indeed that of any of his or Mao’s competitors for power Mao didn’t attain the undisputed leadership of the Communist Part until the war was nearly over and Chiang was never fully secure at the top of the Nationalists until he fled to Taiwan in 1949 So called warlords always controlled large swaths of territory In Forgotten Ally Mitter attempts to set the record straight To a considerable extent he succeedsToday’s China was forged in the war with Japan“Contemporary China is thought of as the inheritor of Mao’s Cultural Revolution” Mitter writes “or even of the humiliation incurred by the Opium Wars of the nineteenth century but rarely as the product of the war against Japan That history disappeared down a hole created by the early Cold War from which it has only recently reappeared” And Mitter’s book is an effort to rebalance the history books asserting that World War II merits a preeminent position in modern Chinese history He also attempts in Forgotten Ally to dispel the simplistic notion that the war involved a two way struggle between Nationalists and Communists “A new history of China’s wartime experience must take account of the three way struggle for a modern China Nationalist Communist and collaborationist”A fundamental disconnect between China and the WestThere was a fundamental disconnect between the Chinese and Western views of China’s role in the war “The problem” Mitter writes “was that they looked at China’s role through almost entirely different lenses To the Western allies China was a supplicant a battered nation on its knees waiting for the Americans and British to save it from certain destruction at the hands of the Japanese In Chiang’s view and that of many Chinese their country was the first and most consistent foe of Axis aggression” By most reckoning World War II did in fact start in 1937 in China and only in 1939 in Europe“Despite numerous opportunities to withdraw from the conflict China had fought on when the prospects of outside assistance seemed hopeless and it now deserved to be treated as an eual power” The result of this disconnect was that “the British and Americans wished to give the impression that China was a serious ally without actually putting much effort into the relationship while Chiang overestimated what he was worth to the Western Allies” As Mitter reports “In 1941 and 1942 the total proportion of US Lend Lease aid to China was around 15 percent of the total dropping to 05 percent in 1943 and 1944 and would rise to 4 percent only in 1945”Why China should be considered the fourth AllyMitter’s argument that China deserves recognition for its role in World War II rests on four premises each of which he takes great pains to justifyChina might have surrendered Chiang and Mao didn’tAlmost throughout the course of China’s eight year war with Japan 1937 45 prospects for Chinese victory were slim at best Less resolute Chinese leadership might well have sought peace with the Japanese In fact Wang Jingwei a now little recognized Chinese official who had been Sun Yat sen‘s designated successor did collaborate with the Japanese He served as head of a puppet regime in Nanjing from 1940 until his death in 1944 Yet Chiang’s troops managed to hold down than half a million Japanese troops who might otherwise have been posted to the war in the Pacific and South AsiaChiang kept the country united against JapanChiang Kai shek was a far better leader than most accounts give him credit for In fact he was the only person who could command a true national presence Chiang’s competitors recognized this fact and so did Mao Although Chiang’s regime was at least as corrupt as his critics complain and his in laws were among the most notorious thieves in the country Chiang himself was not on the take Despite the corruption and the lack of cooperation from many of his generals he did manage to maintain the resistance to Japan throughout the warChiang was better than his critics contendAlthough Chiang was a poor tactician and hindered by jealous and venal “warlords” as well he was far adept at war strategy Complaints by General Joseph Stilwell and other Americans on the scene were overblown in Mitter’s view And Stilwell himself was not just ill euipped to command soldiers in the field he should Mitter believes have been court martialed for deserting his troops in Burma and fleeing to IndiaNationalists and Communists cooperated to resist JapanMany accounts of the war in China emphasize the bitter enmity between Chiang’s Nationalists and Mao’s Communist Party In fact in one of the most notorious episodes in his life Chiang had even attempted to exterminate the Communists when he turned on them in 1928 in Shanghai Clearly there was no love lost between them But both men and the overwhelming majority of their supporters were prepared to set aside their differences to oppose the Japanese invasion of their countryAbout the authorCambridge educated Rana Mitter is a British historian and political scientist of Indian origin who specializes in twentieth century Chinese history at the University of Oxford He is also a familiar presence on BBC Radio Forgotten Ally published in the UK as China’s War with Japan 1937 1945 The Struggle for Survival is his third book