Title

Parading Around China’s Military Legacy

The interpretation of history is an inherently political act in China, and the struggle for control of the narrative of the War of Resistance Against Japan—World War II—has heated up during the approach to the September 3 parade commemorating the Japanese surrender. Joining the Sinica hosts to talk about changing interpretations of World War II and the big military parade in front of Tiananmen is Rana Mitter, professor of modern Chinese history at Oxford University and the author of two books on twentieth century Chinese history: Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II 1937-1945 and A Bitter Revolution: China’s Struggle with the Modern World.

Mentions:

Recommendations:

David Moser: Homepage of the State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China

Rana Mitter: Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, Timothy Snyder, Bodley Head, 2015

Kaiser Kuo: Gareth Jones’ Master File of All Sinica Podcast Recommendations

Books

09.25.13

Forgotten Ally

Rana Mitter
For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. The war began in China, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, and China eventually became the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West.Rana Mitter focuses his gripping narrative on three towering leaders: Chiang Kai-shek, the politically gifted but tragically flawed head of China’s Nationalist government; Mao Zedong, the Communists’ fiery ideological stalwart, seen here at the beginning of his epochal career; and the lesser-known Wang Jingwei, who collaborated with the Japanese to form a puppet state in occupied China. Drawing on Chinese archives that have only been unsealed in the past ten years, he brings to vivid new life such characters as Chiang’s American chief of staff, the unforgettable “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, and such horrific events as the Rape of Nanking and the bombing of China’s wartime capital, Chongqing. Throughout, Forgotten Ally shows how the Chinese people played an essential role in the wider war effort, at great political and personal sacrifice.Forgotten Ally rewrites the entire history of World War II. Yet it also offers surprising insights into contemporary China. No twentieth-century event was as crucial in shaping China’s worldview, and no one can understand China, and its relationship with America today, without this definitive work.—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt {chop}