Z okazji ostatniej 70 rocznicy zakończenia II wojny światowej w Azji, o której ostatnio było głośno, publikujemy poniżej fragmenty książki The Chinese War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression：A Concise History odnoszącej się do wydarzeń sprzed ponad 70 lat:
Why is the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression said to have lasted 14 years?
The September 18th Incident in Shenyang in 1931, in which Japanese troops engineered an explosion as a pretext for invading northeast China, marked the beginning of the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. By August 1945 when Japan announced its unconditional surrender, it had been going on for 14 years.
The first six of the 14 years were fought as regional wars of resistance mainly in northeast China, northern China, and Shanghai, and served as both the prelude to and an important part of the War of Resistance as a whole. The remaining eight years, fought as a nationwide War of Resistance, were an extension and development of the earlier regional wars.
The period from September 1931 to December 1932 saw the rise of regional wars. On September 18, 1931, Japan manufactured the September 18th Incident and swiftly occupied the whole of northeast China. On January 28, 1932, Japan initiated the January 28th Incident in Shanghai to support and provide cover for its army’s aggression against northeast China.
The regional wars of resistance developed during the period from January 1933 to July 1937. During this stage the Japanese Army began its invasion of eastern Inner Mongolia and northern China. In the face of mounting nationwide pressure on the Kuomintang (KMT) government to resist the intensifying Japanese aggression, the KMT government began to put up a certain level of resistance despite also maintaining its policy of internal pacification before resistance to foreign invasion. Some pro-resistance KMT officers led their armies against the Japanese in battles at the Great Wall, in Chahar, and in Suiyuan.
The period from July 1937 to October 1938 was a stage of strategic defense in the nationwide War of Resistance. On July 7, 1937, Japan manufactured the July 7th Incident (also known as the Lugou Bridge Incident), starting a full-scale war of aggression against China.
During this stage, the KMT military resisted large numbers of Japanese troops in center stage battlefields and fought battles at Shanghai, Taiyuan, Xuzhou, and Wuhan. The center stage battlefields constituted the main setting for resistance against the Japanese Army’s strategic offensives. At the same time, the armed forces led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) also came to the frontlines to resist the Japanese. Later, the CPC-led armed forces moved to areas behind enemy lines to launch guerrilla warfare and begin developing their own backstage battlefields.
The period from October 1938 to July 1943 was a stage of strategic stalemate in the nationwide War of Resistance. Following the Battle of Wuhan in October 1938, a now overstretched Japanese Army was facing a shortage of troops. In this context it was forced to give up its attempt to achieve a quick victory, and instead shifted to a strategy of fighting a protracted war, keeping the pressure on center stage battlefields and using its main force to concentrate on coping with the guerrilla warfare in its rear areas. Both soldiers and civilians under the CPC fought tirelessly to beat back ruthless offensives launched by the main force of the Japanese Army, giving the backstage battlefields an increasingly important role. These areas behind enemy lines progressively became the main battleground in the nationwide war of resistance.
The period from July 1943 to September 1945 was a stage of strategic counter-offensives in the nationwide War of Resistance. These counter-offensives were launched against the backdrop of fundamental changes in the Global War against Fascism, with the Japanese Army little by little losing its strategic initiative. Beginning in late summer 1943, the Eighth Route Army under the leadership of the CPC was the first to start local counter-offensives behind enemy lines in northern China. This was followed by counter-offensives by the Chinese Army in India and the Chinese Expeditionary Force in northern Burma and the western part of China’s Yunnan Province.
In the spring of 1944, the Japanese Army launched Operation Ichi-Gō in China’s center stage battlefields to open a land route to Vietnam. The KMT troops lost one battle after another, suffering decisive defeats. During this period, forces under the leadership of the CPC behind enemy lines were constantly expanding their own local counter-offensives. The local counter-offensives in China’s war of resistance pinned down the main body of the Japan’s ground forces, providing staunch support for the attacks launched against Japan by the Allied forces in the other theaters. In China, the battlefields in liberated areas under the leadership of the CPC launched fierce full-scale counter-offensives, securing great success. On August 15, Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration and announced its unconditional surrender.
Why is the War of Resistance a national turning point from decline to rejuvenation?
Looking back on the humiliation and tragedy that spanned almost a century of modern Chinese history starting from the Opium War of 1840–1842, it is difficult to name any world power that did not participate in invasion and plunder in China. In spite of efforts by the Chinese time and again to resist this aggression, not a single war ended without China suffering defeat. But the War of Resistance was to be a different story. The Chinese people came together, creating a great nationwide force for resistance against Japanese aggression and eventually securing complete victory for the first time in China’s modern history in a war for national liberation.
The War of Resistance awakened and united the Chinese nation. It gave rise to the tremendous enthusiasm of all Chinese people for united resistance against foreign aggression, while at the same time demonstrating a noble spirit of resistance fueled by a strong sense of patriotism. The national awakening and unity witnessed during the War of Resistance was stronger and more extensive than in any other struggle waged by the Chinese people in their modern history, and ultimately determined the evolution and outcome of the war. China’s victory in the war recast it from the subordinate position it had been in since the beginning of its modern history when it faced intimidation by imperialist powers. The victory encouraged the Chinese people to recover from the dark chasm of historic adversity and regain their national dignity and confidence. The awakening and unity of the Chinese nation serves as a source of inexhaustible motivation for national rejuvenation and remains an invaluable legacy of the Chinese nation.
The War of Resistance changed China’s destiny. From the Opium War of 1840 to the eve of the War of Resistance, China was little more than an object for colonialism on the world stage. The War of Resistance presented a historic opportunity for winning independence and liberation for the Chinese nation. With the great contribution the War of Resistance made to the Global War against Fascism, China regained respect from the international community, improved its international standing, and reestablished its position as a major country on the world stage.
The War of Resistance promoted the historic process of China’s new-democratic revolution. This was not only a national war for independence and liberation but also a process of profound social transformation for democracy and progress. For the Chinese Communists, represented by Mao Zedong, the primary consideration was the fundamental interests of the Chinese people. They mobilized, organized, and armed the people, and followed the line of complete resistance by the whole nation, gaining the support of the public, the democratic parties, and patriots without party affiliation. Following the War of Resistance, significant changes took place in the balance of political power in Chinese society. A political foundation was developed and staunch popular support was won for establishing New China and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Why was the CPC the mainstay of Chinese united resistance?
The War of Resistance was a people’s war involving the whole Chinese nation. The CPC developed a number of theories, policies, and principles, offered creative answers to questions of fundamental significance to the eventual outcome of the War of Resistance, developed a vast battleground behind enemy lines, and gave the Chinese people hope that they could save their nation.
The CPC advocated for the establishment of the Chinese united front against Japan. It pooled the strength of the whole nation to join the resistance against imperial foreign aggression.
As a forward thinking party with the strongest capacity for political organization in China, the CPC was the first to propose that China should engage in armed resistance against Japanese aggression and establish a Chinese united front against Japan. The CPC also brought about a peaceful settlement of the Xi’an Incident, which helped establish the framework for the united front.
Following the outbreak of the nationwide War of Resistance, the CPC continued to work tirelessly to secure the official establishment of the Chinese united front, encouraging the whole nation to resist foreign aggression. It drew up the Ten-Point Program for thoroughly defeating the Japanese and systematically formulated the line of the whole nation waging a full-scale War of Resistance and the underlying strategy of waging a protracted war. In his book On Protracted War, Mao Zedong analyzed the circumstances China was in and the characteristics of China and Japan and discussed how the War of Resistance might evolve. His analysis argued that the prospects looked good, and that final victory would go to China. To a large extent, his ideas helped mobilize all of China’s soldiers and civilians to create a people’s war against Japanese aggression.
The War of Resistance pitted the weak against the strong. The CPC adopted a creative strategy, elevating guerrilla warfare against Japanese aggression to a strategic position and formulating a complete set of programs, principles, and policies for creating a backstage war. The soldiers and civilians led by the CPC behind enemy lines effectively pinned down and eliminated large numbers of Japanese and collaborationist troops. The people’s counter-Japanese armed forces won great popular support, and expanded and grew until becoming the main force of the resistance. Likewise, the vast backstage battleground grew to become the main battleground of the War of Resistance, with guerrilla warfare playing a major strategic role in the protracted war of resistance.
The democratic counter-Japanese base areas created by the CPC were also significant in securing final victory in the War, as they provided long-term support for guerrilla warfare and nationwide resistance.
The CPC drew on a spirit of honor and exemplary action to encourage the whole population to develop a sense of determination in resisting Japanese aggression and a belief that their resistance would ultimately prevail.
Why was the China Theater the main eastern theater in the Global War against Fascism?
The War of Resistance was an important part of the Global War against Fascism, and this made it possible for the China Theater to become the main theater in the East for this war.
The War of Resistance started before and lasted longer than any other part of the Global War against Fascism, where more Japanese soldiers were fought and a higher price was paid than in any other part of the global war. The War of Resistance had a decisive role in securing a complete victory over the Japanese fascists.
It was in China that the curtain was first opened on the Global War against Fascism. With war brewing in both the East and the West, World War II was launched by Japanese, German, and Italian fascists. It began with a series of regional wars, which then gradually evolved into a world war.
The September 18th Incident marked the beginning of the Japanese invasion into northeast China, and set ablaze the first flames of war in the world’s fascists’ war of aggression. After this, Germany and Italy created a hotbed of war in the West. The Chinese people lifted the banner of anti-fascism, rising in resistance and firing the first shot in the Global War against Fascism. By the time war broke out in Europe in September 1939, China had already been fighting alone in the War of Resistance for eight years, and by the time the Pacific War erupted in December 1941, China had been fighting independently for a decade.
The July 7th Incident in 1937 marked the beginning of Japan’s full-scale war of aggression against China. This prompted the Chinese people to wage a nationwide War of Resistance, creating the first battlefield for large-scale fighting against fascism in the East. The China Theater covered an area of approximately 1.6 million square kilometers and over 400 million Chinese were involved in the war. The outbreak of the full-scale war between China and Japan was indicative of the fact that the clashes between the fascist and non-fascist camps were already becoming the main problem confronting the world. Its impact affected the overall international situation and even caused changes in the world order. This was, in reality, the beginning of the Second World War.
China fought and pinned down the bulk of Japan’s ground forces throughout the war, holding back Japan’s expansion both northward and southward and acting to facilitating the Allies’ execution of the “Europe first” strategy. China’s protracted war frustrated Japan’s plan to expand northward to Siberia so that the Soviet Union did not have to fight simultaneously on both fronts. It also held back and delayed Japan’s expansion south.
An expeditionary force was also sent by China to Burma to fight shoulder to shoulder with other Allied forces against the Japanese. As an important strategic base for the Allied forces fighting the Japanese in the Asia-Pacific, China provided other Allied countries with strategic materials, military intelligence, and human and financial resources in support of their anti-fascist struggle.
What incident marked the beginning of the War of Resistance?
Since launching the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895, Japan had secured enormous political, economic, and military gains from northeast China and had come to regard the region as its lifeline.
After Chang Hsueh-liang, security commander-in-chief of the Northeast, switched allegiance to China’s National Government in Nanjing, he began to work at developing the economy of the Northeast, winning also the support of Britain, the US, and other powers. This caused consternation in Japan and prompted Japanese objections, particularly from the Japanese High Command. They protested that China’s efforts to construct harbor and railway facilities encroached on Japan’s “special interests in Manchuria and Mongolia” and argued that the time had come to “solve the issue of Manchuria and Mongolia.”
In 1930, the economic crisis that had been sweeping the capitalist world reached Japan, aggravating the country’s class contradictions and causing social unrest. At the same time, the profits from economic interests that Japan had secured in northeast China fell sharply. For example, the earnings of the South Manchuria Railway Company, Japan’s largest enterprise in the region, shrank to half the amount earned in 1929. In January 1931, Yōsuke Matsuoka, former vice president of the South Manchuria Railway Company, declared, “The issue of Manchuria and Mongolia is a matter of life and death and the lifeblood for our country… it is therefore necessary to ensure that nothing goes wrong there.” In March, Seishirō Itagaki, senior staff of the Kwantung Army, proclaimed “Manchuria and Mongolia are the empire’s first line of defense… If only peaceful diplomatic means are used, the issue of Manchuria and Mongolia will ultimately remain unresolved.”
At this time Japanese fascist forces believed that Britain, France, the US, and other Western powers were too preoccupied with their domestic economic crises to do anything about problems in the Far East; that China was busy dealing with domestic turmoil so it would not have the energy to fight back on the Manchuria and Mongolia issue; and that even if Japan attacked North Manchuria, the Soviet Union would not take action and the League of Nations was incapable of interfering in Manchuria. Believing that the objective conditions for aggression against northeast China were basically ripe, Japan decided to use force to seize the region.
The Japanese Army made a series of plans and preparations for the invasion of the Northeast. They carried out terrain reconnaissance, drew up operational plans, stepped up military deployment, increased provocations to be used as pretexts for further action, and took advantage of the Wanbaoshan Incident and the Nakamura Incident to fanatically fan the ﬂames of aggression against China.
On September 18, 1931, the Kwantung Army put into action its plan to blow up a section of a railway line owned by the South Manchuria Railway Company close to Liutiao Lake in the northern outskirts of Shenyang and blame the explosion on the Chinese army. Using this as a pretext, the Kwantung Army sent part of its Independent Garrison Unit to attack the Beidaying barracks where the 7th Independent Brigade of the Chinese Northeast Army was stationed, and deployed part of its 2nd Division to attack Shenyang. The Chinese army fought back in self- defense. This became known as the September 18th Incident, which marked the beginning of the War of Resistance.
How was the puppet state of Manchukuo founded?
In order to distract any potential international audience, cover up its act of aggression, and keep northeast China permanently under its control, Japan decided to form the puppet state of Manchukuo four days after the September 18th Incident in 1931.
In order to do this quickly, the Kwantung Army created “independent” provincial and regional puppet regimes in Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and the Dongsheng Special Region headed by Zang Shiyi, Xiqia, Zhang Jinghui, and others, thus laying the foundation for the puppet state of Manchukuo. At the same time, the Kwantung Army saw an opportunity to take advantage of abdicated Qing emperor Aisin-Gioro Puyi’s (who was living in seclusion in Tianjin) desire to restore the monarchy. Kenji Doihara, head of the Kwantung Army’s Shenyang Special Service Agency, was sent to Tianjin to deceive Puyi and coax him into travelling to the Northeast to once again ascend the throne. Influenced by the Japanese, Puyi secretly arrived in Lüshun on November 18, 1931.
Having made these moves, Japan believed that conditions were ripe for establishing the puppet state of Manchukuo and that the state should be founded before the League of Nation’s inquiry commission arrived so as to pull the wool over the world’s eyes. On January 6, 1932, Japan’s Ministry of War, Ministry of the Navy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly formulated the Program for Handling the China Issue. According to the program, “Manchuria and Mongolia should be seceded from China to become an area with an independent regime, and should gradually develop into a country… The defense of Manchuria and Mongolia should mainly be the concern of the Empire of Japan, and they should be made the frontline of war against Russia and China.” On February 25, with the approval of the Japanese cabinet and High Command, it was determined that the head of the puppet state of Manchukuo was given the title of chief executive, that the era name was to be Datong, that the capital of the “state” was to be Changchun, which was renamed Hsinking, and that its territory would include Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Rehe provinces, and Hulun Buir, Jirim, Joo Oda, and Jostu leagues. On February 29, the Japanese decided that Puyi was to be made chief executive. The puppet state of Manchukuo was officially founded on March 1, and eight days later, Puyi was inaugurated as chief executive.
What signified that the Chinese united front against Japanese aggression was formally taking shape and how did it come about?
A CPC manifesto and a statement by Chiang Kai-shek signified that the Chinese united front against Japanese aggression was formally taking shape.
While the main force of the Japanese Army was engaged in a strategic offensive in northern China, on August 13, in central China, another Japanese force began to attack Shanghai in an incident that sent shockwaves rippling across the whole country. Following this attack, which posed a direct threat to the National Government’s capital of Nanjing, Chiang Kai-shek made a fundamental shift in his policy on resistance against Japanese aggression. On August 14, the National Government issued a statement on engaging in self-defense, announcing that China had been pushed over the edge by Japan’s endless acts of aggression, and that the country was left with no choice but to defend itself and stand up to this violence.
With this new development, on August 18, the KMT and the CPC reached an agreement on the reorganization of the Red Army and personnel issues in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region. On September 22, the KMT published the Manifesto of the CPC Central Committee on the Establishment of KMT-CPC Cooperation via the Central News Agency. The next day, Chiang Kai-shek made a statement announcing that, “the manifesto issued by the CPC shows that national consciousness tops all else,” which was essentially a nod to the CPC’s legitimacy throughout the country. The CPC manifesto and Chiang Kai-shek’s statement indicated that the Chinese united front against Japanese aggression rooted in KMT-CPC cooperation was formally taking shape. This came as a result of the CPC’s decisions in response to a changing context and the shift in KMT policy.
What marked the beginning of the Chinese nationwide resistance?
The July 7th Incident (also known as the “Lugou” or “Marco Polo” Bridge Incident) marked the beginning of the nationwide resistance.
In February 1936, following the formal establishment of a fascist regime in Japan, the war of aggression against China began to pick up pace.
On the night of July 7, 1937, a unit of the Japanese China Garrison Army at Fengtai, Beiping (the name used at the time for Beijing), staged a provocative maneuver near the Lugou Bridge. Around midnight, the Japanese demanded entry to the town of Wanping to search for one of their soldiers whom they claimed to have gone missing during the maneuver. After the Chinese side rejected their demand, the Japanese launched an attack on the defending Chinese troops and bombarded the town. This incident marked the start of Japan’s full-scale war of aggression against China. A unit of the Chinese 29th Army, charged with the defense of Wanping, was forced to fight back in a struggle that was to mark the beginning of China’s nationwide War of Resistance.
How did the CPC direct war efforts in the resistance?
The CPC advocated adopting a line of total resistance against Japanese aggression by the whole nation. On July 8, 1937, the day after the July 7th Incident, the CPC Central Committee issued a telegram declaring, “A war of resistance in which the whole nation takes part is the only way out.” Between August 22 and 25, the Central Committee called an enlarged meeting of its Political Bureau. At the meeting, it was formally decided that total resistance by the whole nation was the line to be taken. In the “Ten-Point Program for Resisting Japanese Aggression and Saving the Nation” adopted at the meeting, this line was elaborated in detail. The main points included bringing down Japanese imperialism; mobilizing armed forces all around the country; mobilizing the people; reforming the government apparatus; adopting a counter-Japanese foreign policy; adopting wartime financial and economic policies; improving the people’s living standards; adopting a resistance-related education policy; weeding out collaborators, traitors and pro-Japanese elements, and consolidating the rear; and achieving national unity against Japan. The CPC’s line was, in essence, one of waging a people’s war.
In addition to the right line, the right strategy was also essential for securing victory. The CPC decided on its fundamental strategy of carrying out a protracted war.
In order to implement the line of total resistance by the whole nation and the overarching strategy of carrying out a protracted war, the CPC Central Committee and its Military Commission adopted a new military strategy for the people’s army, taking into account that the army was poorly equipped and its troop numbers were limited.
Mao Zedong proposed that the people’s army should engage in independent guerrilla warfare in the mountainous regions and that it should, when conditions were ripe, seek to defeat enemy units and engage in guerrilla warfare on the plains.
The new military strategy required the people’s army to transform the way it did battle. It was now to engage mostly in guerrilla warfare to resist the Japanese and no longer engage in regular warfare in civil war. The strategy also demanded that organizationally, the people’s army be transformed from a regular army employed in concentrated units to a guerrilla army employed in dispersed operations.
Mao predicted that during the final stage of the war, which for the Chinese would be a period of strategic counter-offensives, military strategy would again need to be changed, this time from mainly guerrilla to mainly regular warfare.
He also argued that there would be three stages to the protracted war. Each of these stages was, in its own right, to be protracted. The first stage, according to Mao’s analysis, was to be a period of strategic offensives by the enemy and strategic defense by China; the second was to involve strategic consolidation by the enemy, and Chinese preparations for making counter-offensives; and the third would be one of strategic counter-offensives by China and the enemy’s retreat. China, he predicted, would gain the power to swap weakness for strength during the second stage of the war, and that was what would secure its victory.
How did the KMT direct war efforts in the resistance?
After the July 7th Incident, the KMT authorities formulated plans for guiding the war effort. On August 20, the National Government issued a plan of guidance for the war, deciding on the adoption of a strategy of sustained attrition in what would be a protracted war of resistance.
The KMT regarded sustained attrition as the ultimate strategy. The basic idea was that “by making use of China’s enormous manpower and vast land, we should choose to fight a protracted war of attrition, on the one hand wearing down the enemy, and on the other, building up China’s own strength. We should wait for the right opportunity to launch an offensive to destroy the enemy and secure victory.”
The main substance of the strategy included:
- putting into action the notion of “trading space for time,” which was argued to be the essence of the strategy of sustained attrition;
- putting into effect the principle that “the purpose of attrition warfare is to constantly maintain the fighting capacity of our own armed forces while at the same time wearing down the enemy’s strength as much as possible so that our own forces can resist the enemy for a long time”;
- and employing a firm defense on the interior line with dispersed forces defending all important positions on the understanding that because the strengths of the Japanese forces lay in its aircraft, artillery, and tanks while that of the Chinese forces was in their deep trenches, high fortresses, and thick walls, the way to win in resistance was to “firmly defend positions and never retreat,” and “deploy forces on all lines and defend all positions.”
At the same time, the strategy also incorporated relying on intervention by a third country and international diplomacy to curb Japanese aggression.
What was the first major victory the Chinese military won during the War of Resistance?
In mid-September of 1937, the 5th Division of the Japanese North China Area Army rapidly approached the Inner Great Wall. At the same time, in coordination with the 5th Division, the main force of the Chahar Expeditionary Force of the Kwantung Army set off on a southward offensive from Datong. The Japanese attempted to break through Pingxingguan and eliminate the Chinese troops in the 2nd War Zone so as to lend support to the operations of the main force of the North China Area Army along the Beiping-Hankou and Tianjin-Pukou railways.
In light of this, Yen Hsi-shan, commander of the Chinese troops of the 2nd War Zone, decided to organize a defense covering Pingxingguan, Yanmenguan, and Shenchi along the Inner Great Wall, attempting to rely on the Great Wall to stop the Japanese troops from entering the interior of Shanxi.
In order to coordinate with the operations of the friendly armies, on September 24, the Eighth Route Army’s 115th Division Commander Lin Biao and Deputy Commander Nie Rongzhen decided to set up an ambush to the northeast of Pingxingguan. The ambush was to take place on a 13-kilometer section of a highway running from Guangou via Qiaogou and on to Donghenan Town, the intention being to stop the advancing Japanese troops in a narrow valley. On the same day, the Independent Regiment of the 115th Division blocked several attacks by Japanese troops at Yaozhan between Laiyuan and Lingqiu counties.
At dawn on September 25, Japanese troops from the combat train of the 5th Division and the main force of the 21st Brigade moved westward on the Lingqiu-Pingxingguan Road, and by around 7am entered the trap set by the Eighth Route Army’s 115th Division. Seizing the opportunity, the 115th Division launched its attack. The 685th Regiment took out the Japanese troops at the head of the force. The 687th Regiment then cut oﬀ the Japanese troops’ route of retreat between Caijiayu and the village of Xigou. The 686th Regiment launched an assault at Qiaogou between Xiaozhai and Laoyemiao, forcing the Japanese troops into a narrow valley. During the battle, the Japanese troops who, only days earlier on September 22 had occupied Dongpaochi, tried to turn back to Laoyemiao to reinforce the Japanese forces there, but they were stopped in their tracks by the 685th Regiment of the Eighth Route Army. As the two sides were in close combat, there was nothing that the Japanese aircraft could do, and although the Japanese troops came back with repeated counter-attacks, they were beaten back by the 686th Regiment. Finally, with help from the 685th Regiment, the 686th Regiment wiped out all the remaining Japanese troops.
At the battle of Pingxingguan, the 115th Division sustained over 400 casualties, killed over 1,000 Japanese soldiers, and captured a large quantity of military supplies. This battle was the Chinese military’s ﬁrst major victory since the nationwide resistance had begun. On September 26 Chiang Kai-shek sent a message to oﬀer his congratulations for the victory, saying “I am very pleased that a large number of Japanese bandits have been put down, and this shows our officers and soldiers have, regardless of danger, followed the order to defend our country.”
This was also the ﬁrst time the Eighth Route Army had successfully concentrated forces to ambush the Japanese forces. In shattering the myth that the Japanese were invincible, the battle greatly boosted the conﬁdence of Chinese armed forces and civilians. It also strengthened the reputation of the Communist Party and the Eighth Route Army, and drew praise from the international community.
Victory at Tai’erzhuang in the Battle of Xuzhou
The battle of Tai’erzhuang is the best known part of the Battle of Xuzhou. Located on the northern bank of the Grand Canal 30 kilometers northeast of Xuzhou, Tai’erzhuang was positioned on the canal and was the gateway to Xuzhou. With Tai’erzhuang standing in the way, it would be difficult for the Japanese Army to take Xuzhou. Zhou Enlai sent Zhang Aiping as a representative of the Eighth Route Army to meet with Li Tsung-jen and suggest that a major battle be launched at Tai’erzhuang to deal a heavy blow to the Japanese Army. Li Tsung-jen agreed to the idea.
On March 20, 1938, the Japanese Seya Detachment attempted a sudden advance on Tai’erzhuang in order to take Xuzhou in one swift attack, disregarding the fact that the Japanese 5th Division and Nagase Detachment on its ﬂanks were hindered from moving forward with it. With the aim of protecting Xuzhou, Li Tsung-jen ordered three divisions of the 2nd Group Army to defend Tai’erzhuang. On March 24, with air support, the Seya Detachment embarked on three days of intensive attacks against Tai’erzhuang. By March 27, over half of the defending troops had been killed or injured. Chi Fengcheng, commander of the 31st Division stationed in the town, led his troops into the streets to ﬁght the enemy in close combat. The 2nd Group Army engaged in repeated encounters with the Japanese, with the line of conﬂict seesawing back and forth and large casualties sustained by the Japanese. With the Japanese Army unable to make its way forward, the battle developed into a stalemate.
In light of these developments, on April 2, Li Tsung-jen made the order to surround Tai’erzhuang and eliminate the invading Japanese force. The 20th Army Group was to come from the right ﬂank, attacking the Japanese troops to the left of the town, the 2nd Group Army was to come from the left ﬂank to eliminate the enemy troops in Tai’erzhuang, and the 3rd Group Army was to position itself at Zaozhuang and north of Lincheng to cut off the enemy’s route of retreat. On April 3, the Chinese troops launched the counter-offensive from all sides. After four days of fierce fighting, most of the Seya Detachment and a part of the Sakamoto Detachment of the Japanese Army had been eliminated, with the remaining troops retreating to Yi County and Zaozhuang on April 7.
The Battle of Tai’erzhuang was a major victory for the Chinese army. In this ﬁerce battle, which lasted over two weeks, there were 46,000 Chinese troops involved, and 7,500 Chinese soldiers killed, wounded, or missing in action. Over 10,000 Japanese troops were killed and a large number of weapons and equipment were captured.
As news of the victory spread, the country was overcome with a great sense of relief, and messages of congratulations poured in from people of all different backgrounds from across the country, from overseas Chinese, and from international friends. The victory at Tai’erzhuang not only greatly boosted the conﬁdence of the Chinese people that they could win the War of Resistance and had a major impact in China and overseas, it also shocked and worried the Japanese aggressors. The battle fully demonstrated the commitment of the Chinese people to protect their homeland, with both soldiers and civilians ﬁghting to the death nationwide.
What did the Chinese government do to develop the economy during the War of Resistance?
Soon after Japan’s full-scale war of aggression against China began, Shanghai and the other coastal areas, where most of the industry was concentrated, fell one after another into enemy hands. This brought enormous losses to an economy that was still underdeveloped and unbalanced. Further adding to the problem was the soaring cost of waging war, so that the economic burden on the areas away from the frontline was growing heavier and there were widespread shortages in military supplies and civilian goods around the country.
In order to adapt to the needs of war, the National Government adopted economic emergency measures. It first established a military economic agency, exercised monetary and foreign exchange control, encouraged and assisted coastal factories to relocate to inland areas, and developed the economy in the Great Rear Area – the KMT-controlled areas in southwest and northwest China. It then went on to institute a wartime system, exercising comprehensive control of operations across the economy, and making adjustments to economic policies and principles.
In its Program of Resistance and National Reconstruction, the KMT emphasized that military needs should be central to economic development while at the same time attention should be given to improving the people’s living standards and expanding wartime production. The wartime economic policy was thus centered on giving priority to military affairs and putting into effect a planned economy. This meant that the planned economy was fundamental to China’s economic policy during the war, and monetary, foreign exchange, and import and export control was to be exercised. In January 1939, the KMT decided to practice a controlled economy to adjust production and consumption, and in March 1941, it officially conﬁrmed implementation of a controlled economy. The aim was to rely on legal and administrative means to strengthen direct interference or control of the wartime economy.
At the same time, the government also made major adjustments to its departments responsible for the economy and the offices underneath them, which, on the whole, succeeded in turning around what had been a somewhat chaotic situation and creating the necessary conditions for implementing the wartime economic policy.
In November 1937, the National Government decided to move its capital to Chongqing and develop a framework of centers away from the frontlines in southwest and northwest China, attaching particular weight to those in the southwest. In the Plan for Developing Southwest and Northwest China drawn up in January 1938, the National Government made it clear that new industrial centers would be mainly located in Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and the western part of Hunan. New areas for industrial development were also designated in the plan.
Under a government organized and supported initiative, a number of important factories and other enterprises in eastern coastal areas began moving inland. By the end of 1938, 304 factories, including machines and equipment weighing in at over 50,000 metric tons, had been relocated to the Great Rear Area.
The National Government’s initiative to develop an economy suitable to wartime conditions had an impact on different aspects of China’s social and economic development. As the wartime economy focused on the development of the manufacturing and mining industries, and gave particular precedence to heavy industries, which had been amongst the weakest in China before the changes and enjoyed extraordinary growth during this period. At the same time as the heavy industries were being bolstered, a number of emerging industries were also established in the interior, thus giving impetus to the development of modern industry. The relocation of large numbers of manufacturing and mining enterprises from along the coast and the Yangtze River to the Great Rear Area sped up economic development in southwest and northwest China – areas which had been industrially backward before the relocation initiative. The move generated important economic support for the resistance against Japanese aggression.
What kinds of cultural and educational activities were drawn on in China to support the resistance effort and how were they carried out?
After the outbreak of the nationwide War of Resistance, a Chinese united front was quickly formed bringing those from different cultural circles together. People from China’s cultural and education sectors, motivated by a strong sense of patriotism, actively engaged in initiatives to spread the word about the resistance, encouraging people to stand up against the Japanese invasion. Theirs too became an important front in the Chinese War of Resistance.
On July 15, 1937, the China Playwrights Association was founded in Shanghai. It was not long before it had created and brought to the stage a play named Defend the Lugou Bridge (“Lugou Bridge” is sometimes known in English as the “Marco Polo Bridge”). The play had a positive inﬂuence, encouraging people to resist the Japanese invasion and protect their nation.
July 28, 1937 saw the official founding of the Shanghai Culture Association for National Protection. The association joined forces with over 40 other resistance groups to form a publicity corps of over 3,000 people. The corps sent out its members to visit hospitals catering to injured soldiers, institutions for refugees, and local communities to carry out a whole variety of activities to spread the word about the resistance.
Literary and art circles in Shanghai founded the National Music Association for the Protection of China to boost public morale through concerts and songs about resistance against the Japanese.
The Shanghai Drama Association for the National Resistance also formed 13 troupes, two stationed in Shanghai and the others travelling deep into the interior to towns, cities, and villages, and visiting the troops on the frontline, holding performances to express gratitude and solicitude. They were widely acclaimed as the “guerrillas of the cultural battle.”
After the fall of Nanjing, for some time Wuhan served as China’s political, economic, and cultural center. National resistance groups, noted patriotic democrats, cultural celebrities, and large numbers of students and intellectuals in exile converged on the city. At that time, the KMT was making active efforts to resist the Japanese, and in the cultural sector, it adopted a number of enlightened policies. Under the leadership and participation of Zhou Enlai and Guo Moruo, the third division of the Political Department of the National Government’s Military Council essentially became a major front for the CPC to expand the cultural united front and promote the resistance.
On March 27, 1938, the All-China Literature and Art Association for Resistance was founded in Wuhan. The purpose of the association was to foster stronger unity among cultural circles. At the association’s inaugural meeting, Lao She, Guo Moruo, and Mao Dun were amongst the 45 people elected to the board of directors, and Zhou Enlai, Cai Yuanpei, and Soong Ching Ling were invited to become honorary directors. The association issued a declaration on the united resistance against Japanese aggression, and Zhou Enlai delivered an address at the meeting. The founding of the association was an important indication that the cultural united front was taking shape joining cultural circles from all over the country in resistance against the aggressors.
This period also saw the founding of other national associations, including the All-China Drama Association for Resistance, the All-China Singing Association for Resistance, the All-China Movie Association for Resistance, the All-China Fine Arts Association for Resistance, and the All-China Wood Engraving Association for Resistance.
Soon after the nationwide War of Resistance began, a variety of pro-resistance, progressive newspapers and periodicals started to pop up all over the country. Examples of such publications include the Protect the Nation Daily and The War in Shanghai, the Resistance Daily in Changsha, the Thorough Resistance and Everyone’s Resistance in Wuhan, the Resistance Plays and the Literature and Art in Guangzhou, and the Golden Arrows in Chengdu. The New China Daily founded by the CPC; the Resistance Daily, with Guo Moruo as president and Xia Yan as the editor-in-chief; and the Resistance Literature and Art founded by the All-China Literature and Art Association for Resistance all provided signiﬁcant cultural support for resistance efforts.
With the emergence of the cultural resistance movement, a whole host of brilliant works of literature and art were produced. Plays such as Defend the Lugou Bridge, Eight Hundred Heroes, Storm on the Border, and Tai’erzhuang, songs such as Onward, Behind Enemy Lines and the Song of Guerrillas, movies like The Lugou Bridge Incident and Eight Hundred Heroes, novels like The Lugou Bridge, as well as poems and documentary literature, all provided important psychological sustenance for encouraging a spirit of national pride and nationwide resistance against Japanese aggression.
Many colleges and universities in north and central China found themselves having to relocate to southwest and northwest China. Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Nankai University were first ordered to move to Changsha, Hunan, merging into Changsha Interim University. After air strikes by Japanese aircraft in Changsha, the new university was forced to move a second time, this time to Kunming, and was renamed as the Southwest Associated University. Beiping University, the National Beiping Normal University, and the Peiyang Institute of Technology all moved to Xi’an, and were amalgamated into the Northwest Interim University, which later moved again to Hanzhong to avoid the ravages of war and was renamed as the Northwest Associated University. The faculty and students of these schools overcame hardships in their everyday lives, a lack of teaching facilities, and other difficulties to carve out a wealth of achievements in teaching and research, train a great number of people of outstanding ability, and play a part in the economic and cultural progress of southwest and northwest China.
What was going on in Chinese diplomacy after the nationwide war of resistance began?
After Japan launched its full-scale war of aggression against China, China became a focal point for the attention of the international community. According to their own interests, different countries adopted different attitudes toward China’s War of Resistance, thus forming a complicated, interwoven pattern of international relations. The Chinese government went to great lengths through diplomatic efforts to win the support of the international community for the resistance.
Following the Lugou Bridge Incident (known also as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident), Chiang Kai-shek met with the US and British ambassadors to China, urging the two countries to clarify their positions and obstruct Japan’s invasion of China. After Japanese had engineered an incident to use as a pretext to attack Shanghai for the second time, the Chinese government issued a declaration on its self-defense against the Japanese, calling on all countries to fulfill their obligations stipulated in international agreements and intervene to put a stop to Japan’s invasion. To this end, the Chinese government sent officials to the US and European countries to state China’s position and seek the sympathies and support of the international community. It also requested that the League of Nations call an international conference to be attended by the signatories of the Nine-Power Treaty, and impose international pressure and sanctions on Japan.
However, for a long time, the US, Britain, France, and other major western countries, asserting their neutrality and policies of noninterference, adopted a two-sided approach toward the Japanese invasion and China’s War of Resistance. Of particular importance was their adoption of a policy of appeasement toward Japan, which left the Chinese government extremely dissatisfied. In order to secure desperately needed military assistance, China had to focus its foreign policy on the Soviet Union and Germany.
Since the September 18th Incident (also known as the Mukden Incident), driven both by solicitude for an oppressed nation and concern for its own security, the Soviet Union had offered its sympathy and moral support for China’s resistance, and adopted an active approach toward China. On August 21, 1937, the Treaty of Non-Aggression was signed between China and the Soviet Union, which had a major impact on China’s resistance. By October, at the request of the Chinese, the Soviet Union had begun to supply China with military materials. In short, China’s diplomatic work related to the Soviet Union during the early days of the nationwide War of Resistance was very successful.
After the War of Resistance spread nationwide, the German government declared itself neutral in the war that was unfolding between China and Japan. Yet for historical reasons, China and Germany still maintained a certain level of military and trade contact. In September 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a military alliance treaty (known as the Tripartite Pact) in Berlin, which marked the open support of Germany and Italy for the Japanese war of aggression against China. By July 1941, China had severed its diplomatic relations with Germany, and trade between the two countries had completely ceased.
The Chinese government had long been working to win the British government’s support for China’s resistance and its intervention to stop Japanese aggression. Britain’s attitude, however, was somewhat ambiguous, and in the Far East, it made one concession after another to Japan. It was only after the outbreak of the Paciﬁc War that Britain and China truly became allies against the Japanese armed forces in the Far East.
China worked actively to seek military assistance and cooperation from the French government, and for some time, France took an active approach toward China. The two countries reached agreements on railway loans and military assistance to China and were preparing to engage in further cooperation when, in June 1940, Germany took France. The Vichy regime, which was backed by Germany, allowed Japan to use airports in Vietnam and prohibited China from using the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway, leading to the reversal of Sino-French relations.
The Chinese government also actively sought American assistance. However, while the US condemned Japanese aggression against China, it also adopted a policy of appeasement toward Japan. As the scale of the Japanese invasion of China expanded, American interests in the Far East began to suffer and came under increasingly serious threat. Following the outbreak of the Paciﬁc War, America’s policy toward China gradually became more positive, and the two countries embarked on a period of full cooperation.
After the start of the nationwide War of Resistance, the Chinese government worked actively to carry out diplomatic work and seek foreign assistance. Although it did have some success, its diplomatic achievements were limited due to the constraints of the international environment and conditions at that time.
How did Chinese people at home get involved and support the war of resistance?
- Different classes and social groups
After the nationwide War of Resistance got underway, all classes and social groups acted on their own initiative to organize themselves, and launched all kinds of activities to contribute to the resistance.
Working people across the country took an active part in the resistance, getting involved in a variety of ways. During the Battle of Shanghai, workers in the city formed a society for supporting the resistance. They organized teams of volunteers to join the fighting, deliver first aid, and help to improve the morale of service people, undertaking an extensive range of resistance activities. Working people in Tianjin, Guangzhou, Nanjing, and Wuhan organized resistance corps and associations, and societies for supporting the resistance away from the frontlines.
Already engaged in hard labor, China’s peasants worked to provide huge quantities of food and military supplies, as well as other forms of support for the war of resistance. It was the brave, hardworking, and warm-hearted peasants of China who constituted the main source of soldiers for the resistance forces.
Responding to the call of the government, patriots in industrial and business circles worked overtime to increase production, donated money and materials to support the front, and sent representatives to express their solicitude with the officers and soldiers.
Students and young people, filled with enthusiasm, eagerly organized performance troupes and publicity teams, launching publicity campaigns about the resistance, and raising resources and gathering materials to give to the troops ﬁghting the Japanese. Many intellectuals, especially young men and women driven by a sense of patriotism, joined the vanguard of the resistance against Japanese aggression.
Women worked actively to raise money and materials to support the resistance and help refugees and evacuated and displaced children. In only three months, women from the Jiaodong area of Shandong had rallied around to gather together 50 taels (1562.5 grams) of gold and 12,400 taels (387,500 grams) of silver to donate for the resistance. Many women joined the army themselves or fought in battles, and became the heroes of numerous stories of bravery that emerged from the fighting, like that of eight female soldiers from the Northeast United Resistance Army who fought a bloody battle with the Japanese, and on running out of ammunition, drowned themselves in a river in an admirable and courageous act of defiance.
- Ethnic minorities
In the face of slaughtering and pillaging by the Japanese aggressors and the enemy’s plot to alienate China’s different ethnic groups from each other, all ethnic minorities around the country and the Han people closed ranks, fought shoulder to shoulder against the enemy, and made major contributions to the War of Resistance.
The CPC formed over 10 counter-Japanese guerrilla forces in northeast China, many of which were set up in areas with strong concentrations of people of Korean decent. Large numbers of Manchu people took up arms to fight directly against the Japanese aggressors. They also provided generous support to the Northeast United Resistance Army, enlisting themselves and attacking Japanese and collaborationist army strongholds. Their efforts were such that word of their bravery spread far and wide. Mongolian people put up a heroic ﬁght against Japanese aggression. When the Japanese troops invaded Rehe (Jehol) in February 1933, the CPC Inner Mongolian Special Committee organized the Military Committee for Allied Mongolian-Han Resistance, to launch initiatives against the Japanese aggressors. Hui Chinese also stepped up to join the struggle to protect the nation. The many Hui officers and soldiers from northwest China who fought at the front battled against the aggressors with skill and courage in spite of the risk to their lives.
Zhuang, Miao, Yao, Mulam, and Gin Chinese in Guangxi; Li, Miao, and other ethnic minorities on the island of Hainan; Bouyei, Shui, and other minorities in Guizhou; people of the Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, and other minorities in Xinjiang; Tibetan people; and people of Gaoshan, She, Tujia, and other ethnicities living in diﬀerent areas of the country also joined in the resistance effort in various ways.
- The people of Hong Kong and Macao
Before the outbreak of the Paciﬁc War, large quantities of supplies for the resistance were transported to the mainland via Hong Kong. After the nationwide War of Resistance began, a student relief society, a workers’ association for fundraising and relief, and other social groups were founded in Hong Kong to launch a range of proactive activities to support the resistance. Following the fall of nearby Guangzhou, many people from Hong Kong returned to their ancestral hometowns or other parts of the mainland to take part in the struggle against Japanese aggression.
In June 1938, the China Defense League was founded in Hong Kong by prominent ﬁgures from both China and abroad under the leadership of Soong Ching Ling. It maintained extensive contact with overseas Chinese, peace-loving, democratic people in other countries, and international groups that were willing to assist China. It raised huge sums of money and an enormous amount of supplies to assist China’s war of resistance and gave strong support to the Chinese industrial cooperation movement that advocated self-salvation through production.
The people of Macao also made the most of their unique environment and “neutrality” and threw their weight behind the resistance movement. Business people and prominent ﬁgures belonging to the upper classes founded the Macao Multi-Sector Disaster Relief Society to organize resistance activities. The Macao Four Sector Disaster Relief Society composed of over 50 groups belonging to Macao’s academic community and music circles, as well as the sporting world, and the world of theater, established a “return-to-serve mission.”
Many patriots in Macao made use of different platforms such as newspapers and periodicals, schools, and public stages to spread their ideas about patriotism and fighting to protect the nation. They also organized all kinds of fundraising activities to raise monetary donations and collect medicines and military supplies to support the resistance. They reached out to express their concern for the soldiers on the frontlines, treated the wounded, provided relief to refugees, and established liaison stations.
The resistance efforts of people from Hong Kong and Macao provided strong support for the counter-Japanese guerrilla warfare in Guangdong, and constituted an important contribution to China’s war of resistance.
What did overseas Chinese do to assist China’s war of resistance?
At the time of the war of resistance, there were close to eight million Chinese living overseas. Driven by a deep love of their homeland, these members of the Chinese nation made major contributions to assist China’s war of resistance.
- Resistance movements organized by Chinese communities overseas
Following the September 18th Incident (also known as the Mukden Incident), overseas Chinese vehemently protested the invasion of China by Japan, supported the resistance of the volunteer units in northeast China, and called on the rest of the world to safeguard peace and justice and put a stop to Japanese aggression.
During the War of Resistance, in addition to the three major organizations – the Federation of Overseas Chinese in Europe for Resistance founded in September 1936, the Relief Committee of Nanyang Overseas Chinese for China’s Refugees established in October 1938, and the Chinese American Resistance Association founded in September 1943 – all kinds of overseas Chinese groups were established. In total there were over 3,940 such organizations. These organizations brought overseas Chinese together to support the resistance, and got them involved in activities to promote resistance efforts by publishing resistance-related newspapers and periodicals, establishing literary and art troupes, and creating literary works about the war of resistance.
Most Chinese people living in Southeast Asia were owners of small or medium-sized businesses. They took the lead in boycotting Japanese goods, and received a positive response from their local friends and counterparts. Many Chinese people working at Japanese iron mines in the region went on strike, causing a signiﬁcant decline in production, and even the complete paralysis of some mines.
In order to limit Japan’s import of materials of strategic value from the US, on several occasions, Chinese people living in the US stood up to prevent the transport of waste iron to Japan, and managed to win the support of different sectors of American society.
- Economic assistance
Overseas Chinese around the world found a variety of ways to make donations to support the war of resistance. To mark the anniversary of the Lugou Bridge Incident, in 1942, within a week Chinese people in New York had donated 900,000 yuan in China’s national currency. Those in Boston donated 1.5 million yuan, and the Counter-Japanese Assistance Society under the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England donated 1.05 million yuan.
Donations came from overseas Chinese from all kinds of social backgrounds. From the leaders of overseas Chinese communities and well-known business magnates to people running small and medium-sized businesses, from prominent cultural ﬁgures to ordinary members of society, from senior citizens to elementary and high school students, people were eager to give whatever they could.
Many overseas Chinese also returned to China to make investments. The investments they made in China during the war were mainly in industry, mining, land reclamation and farming, and ﬁnance, and totaled between 1.8 billion and 1.9 billion yuan.
In addition to ﬁnancial aid, overseas Chinese also provided material support for China’s war of resistance. Between 1937 and 1942, they donated a total of 217 airplanes. To a Chinese air force that was at that time rather weak, this was by no means an insigniﬁcant donation. Members of the overseas Chinese community also donated everything from trucks, ambulances, and medicines, including tablets for treating malaria patients, to mosquito nets, woolen blankets, cotton-wadded clothing, and other textile goods, and rice. There were even blood drives to support China in the resistance. Many overseas Chinese gave their own porcelain, paintings, calligraphy works, and antiques, as well as wedding rings, jewels, and other valuables to China to support the war effort.
Since the Revolution of 1911, donations had been a common way by which overseas Chinese had made contributions to China. Yet the scale of donations, the breadth of their coverage, the range of types of items donated, the signiﬁcance of the role they played, and the touching stories behind these donations were unprecedented before the war of resistance.
- Contributions of manpower
Following Japan’s launch of a full-scale war of aggression against China, most of the transport routes by both land and water linking China to the outside world were cut off. In the Southwest, the only route was the Burma Road, which had been built hastily and in treacherous conditions owing to the winding mountains and wild rapids it negotiated. Altogether there were 3,913 overseas Chinese drivers and mechanics from Southeast Asia recruited to work back in China, with the majority working on the Burma Road and the rest scattered around other parts of the country. In just over three years while they were working along the road, Chinese drivers and mechanics from Southeast Asia transported 450,000 metric tons of combat supplies and more than 1,000 of these people gave their lives while working on the road.
After the War of Resistance went nationwide, Chinese Americans began to found aviation schools and societies in the hope that China could be protected through the development of its aviation industry. Two of these aviation schools – the Al Greenwood Flying School in Portland and another school in San Francisco – sent as many as 110 outstanding young pilots back to China to take part in the resistance efforts.
Organizing first-aid teams, and various other service groups, such as those formed to show solicitude for the soldiers, was an important way by which overseas Chinese contributed their own time and energy for the country’s cause. In March 1940, the 67-year-old Tan Kah Kee led a consolation and inspection team of over 40 members from the Relief Committee of Nanyang Overseas Chinese for China’s Refugees and presented the government with 3.2 million yuan as a way of demonstrating their solicitude for the country.
What did people around the world do in support of China’s war of resistance?
- Sympathy and assistance from people around the world
After the nationwide War of Resistance began in China, communist parties, and progressive and peace-loving people around the world expressed their strong condemnation of the Japanese aggression and their ﬁrm support for China’s resistance efforts.
The presidium of the Communist International’s Executive Committee called on the proletariat and working people around the world to champion China’s cause, speak out against imperialism, and take a stand against Japan by boycotting Japanese goods and opposing arms trade with Japan.
In Europe, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain called on all parties and people of all classes to take action to participate in the movement to support China. Following this, a dozen or so organizations were established for providing support to China, including British United Aid to China. The people of Britain contributed in cash and kind, ﬁnding various ways to send medicines, clothes, and funds to China. In France, the France-China Friendship Society launched a campaign to support China by organizing conferences for the representatives of groups in support of China and opposed to Japanese aggression and anti-Japanese-aggression gatherings, which demanded that the French government work to stop Japanese aggression against China. Following the Lugou Bridge Incident, the Communist Party of Spain sent a telegram to the CPC, expressing its ﬁrm support for China’s war of resistance.
In America, the Communist Party of the United States of America called on the people of America to offer as much help as possible to China, a call that received a warm response from Americans of all classes. The Communist Party of Canada also called for support for the Chinese resistance, and entrusted Dr. Norman Bethune, a renowned thoracic surgeon, to organize a medical team to travel to China to help.
In Asia, after the September 18th Incident in 1931, a number of people from Korea stepped up to organize an armed force to join the resistance. They engaged invading Japanese troops in bitter clashes in northeast China and over the border in Korea, making an important contribution to the fight against Japanese fascism. The Communist Party of Indochina headed by Ho Chi Minh, and the people of Vietnam offered strong support to China in its war of resistance. The people of the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, and India united with Chinese communities in their countries, boycotted Japanese goods, and rejected cooperation with the Japanese, dealing a blow to Japan both politically and economically.
The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) and many peace-loving people in Japan also expressed their sympathy for, supported, and participated in the Chinese people’s struggle against the aggression of Japanese fascists. JCP leader Sanzō Nosaka worked for some time in Yan’an, directly helping China in its war of resistance. A great number of well-known public ﬁgures, activists, and writers from Japan, including Wataru Kaji and his wife Sachiko Ikeda, Eiko Midorikawa, Kazuo Yamada and Susumu Narikura, lived in China for many years and joined the Chinese people in their struggle against Japanese aggression.
Many friends from around the world actively supported and joined in the Chinese people’s war of resistance. Among them, Norman Bethune, who had travelled to China with a Canadian-US medical team, Dwarkanath Kotnis, a member of the Indian team providing medical assistance in China, and Hans Shippe, a journalist and member of the Communist Party of Germany, all gave their lives in the war of resistance. International reporters, including progressive American writer Agnes Smedley, travelled to China to report from the war zone, following the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army, writing a great number of reports on the Chinese resistance. Rewi Alley from New Zealand, and US journalist Edgar Snow and his wife established the International Committee for the Promotion of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (ICCIC), known as Gung Ho. It set up various cooperatives throughout China to help refugees and support the country in its protracted war of resistance. Gung Ho organizations in Britain, New Zealand, and Australia also offered assistance to China’s Gung Ho organizations. The moving stories of international friends supporting the Chinese in their war of resistance will always be remembered by the people of China.
- Assistance from the USSR, the US, and other countries
During the early years of China’s nationwide resistance, the Soviet Union was one of China’s main sources of support. Japan’s full-scale war against China posed a serious threat to the Soviet Union, and thus prompted it to increase its assistance to China. As well as making its condemnation of Japan’s acts of aggression known internationally, the Soviet Union also signed a treaty of mutual non-aggression with China, and offered significant material assistance to the country for its war of resistance.
The Soviet Union also sent a large number of military advisors and technical experts to China. Soviet generals M. I. Dratvin, A. I. Cherepanov, K. M. Kachanov and V. I. Chuikov served consecutive terms in China as chief military advisor to the Chinese government. They acted as contacts to facilitate the Soviet Union’s military assistance to China, helped with military planning, and even played a role in commanding major battles.
After the war of resistance entered a stage of strategic stalemate, the US gradually increased its assistance to China. In December 1938, following a series of negotiations between the two countries, the US government for the first time announced it was to provide a loan of $25 million to China, which was to be used to purchase American materials and would be paid back in tung oil. In February 1939, the two sides formally signed the Tung Oil Loan Agreement, marking the beginning of American assistance to China during the war. In April, Roosevelt signed a directive to allow American ex-servicemen to join the American Volunteer Group (known as the “Flying Tigers”) organized by Claire Lee Chennault to help the Chinese air force to ﬁght the Japanese military.
After the start of the Pacific War, the US further increased its assistance to China. According to incomplete statistics, the US provided a total of $845.7 million in the form of loans and leases to China throughout the course of the war, all but $20 million of which took the form of grants. The US delivered arms, airplanes, tanks, auto vehicles, vessels, and other military supplies in total worth $520 million to China in support of its war of resistance.
In April 1938, France signed a contract with China on a loan for the Nanning-Zhennanguan Railway totaling 150 million francs and GBP£144,000, to which a further loan of 30 million francs was added in March 1939. In December 1939, China and France reached another agreement, this time for a loan of 480 million francs for a railway between Xufu and Kunming. However, as the tide of war began to take a turn for the worse for France, the two contracts were suspended. France maintained a positive attitude toward the efforts of the Chinese government to seek military assistance and cooperation, yet its own plans for military assistance and cooperation were suspended due to the defeat and surrender of France in 1940.
The support of the international community for China gave great encouragement to the Chinese people who had for many years been ﬁghting the Japanese independently in the East. It boosted their morale and their confidence that they would prevail over Japanese fascism. At the same time, China kept fighting its protracted war of resistance, and in spite of the tremendously tough conditions in China at that time, provided a large amount of the agricultural, animal, and mineral products to the Soviet Union, the US, Britain, and France that they urgently needed for their war efforts, supporting, and helping others around the world in the ﬁght against fascism.
What kinds of new tactics were developed in China’s guerrilla warfare against Japanese aggression?
The extensive mass guerrilla warfare at the resistance bases in northern China allowed the rapid development of joint defense by people’s militias, transport sabotage operations, land mine warfare, and tunnel warfare. In terms of battle command, militia groups in villages located within the same area no longer fought in isolation. Instead, they began to work together to protect their villages. Militiamen in the Shanxi-Suiyuan area frequently operated around Japanese strongholds to keep watch over enemy forces. As soon as the Japanese forces went on the move, warnings were immediately issued to all villages under joint defense. Other militiamen dug trenches, put up walls, and laid mines along strategic routes, thus blocking and limiting Japanese movement. Militia groups in central Hebei developed their own tactics after analyzing when and how the enemy moved and operated.
They staged ambushes around Japanese blockhouses to catch the troops as they were coming out, and used ambushes in forests and around villages to capture Japanese soldiers. Militia groups in Shandong adopted the tactic of repeatedly attacking the Japanese en route as they moved positions, tiring out the troops by keeping them constantly moving. When one village was under attack, they mustered forces from surrounding villages to resist the enemy. In May 1943, a total of over 15,000 militiamen were engaged to counter Japanese “mopping-up” operations in the Taihang area, ﬁghting more than 2,000 engagements. In the heartland of the Taihang Mountains, it was said that the “sound of gunﬁre permeated the air” as Japanese soldiers were under attack in almost every village.
Mines were used widely in guerrilla warfare. Militiamen devised ever more ingenious ways of laying and using mines, posing a formidable threat to Japanese soldiers throughout the war. In countering Japanese mopping-up operations in May 1943, militiamen in the Taihang area deployed mines along brooks, besides roads, under water tanks, and on the lintels of doors. Japanese forces were hit by more than 1,900 mines which killed or wounded over 1,000 troops. Militiamen in Shandong not only laid mines to protect their villages against the plundering Japanese troops, but also used mines as an offensive weapon by launching them into the air. They made mines out of various materials such as iron, stones, clay pottery, and porcelain bottles, and set them up in creative ways, for example laying them as pull mines, trip-wire mines, and water mines, connecting a series of mines, and using fake mines to cover real ones. Militiamen in the Beiyue area of the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Resistance Base utilized landmine warfare to one of its greatest extents in their struggle against mopping-up operations in 1943. Li Yong, a demolition hero, and his team killed or wounded over 130 Japanese troops by combining the use of snipers with land mines. Later, he developed the tactic of combining landmine warfare with “sparrow” warfare, killing or wounding over 300 Japanese troops and demolishing ﬁve enemy vehicles.
Tunnel warfare also played an important part in guerrilla warfare. In many areas of central Hebei, there were not only a network of tunnels connecting every household and village, but also a multi-dimensional ﬁghting system consisting of rooftops, the ground, and tunnels, allowing militiamen to hide, attack, and move about while also protecting themselves against poison gas and poisoned water. Militiamen in Ranzhuang, Qingyuan County, defeated two assaults by Japanese and collaborationist troops by relying on tunnels. In the face of the ﬁrst enemy assault, militiamen ambushed the enemy at the entrance to the village and then moved into the tunnels. By attacking the enemy from hidden and high positions with rifles and grenades and by making full use of land mines, they defeated the enemy’s assault and killed more than 50 soldiers. When two regiments of Japanese and collaborationist troops launched a second revenge assault, the militiamen, over 30 strong, engaged the enemy for 13 hours relying on their tunnels, and eventually killed more than 70 soldiers and sustained no casualties. Over a dozen villages in southern Hebei’s Feixiang County had tunnels that interconnected to form a large network, and some villages even built mazes of tunnels to confuse the enemy.
The Hundred-Regiment Campaign
Between May and June 1940, Germany occupied vast swathes of Western Europe and went on to launch large-scale strategic bombardments against Britain. The startlingly desperate situation in the war on the European front prompted Japan to intensify its effort to conquer China. Japan strengthened its military, political, and diplomatic offensives against China. In the face of this international situation and under pressure from Japan, the KMT and officials within its National Government began to vacillate and lean toward adopting a policy of appeasement toward the Japanese.
In order to lift Chinese morale, stem the risk that the KMT and its government would turn to a policy of appeasement, and cripple the Japanese “prison cage” strategy against resistance base areas in northern China, the Eighth Route Army Headquarters made the decision to launch a large-scale offensive.
This offensive was to cover the main lines of transport throughout the whole of the north of China. In these areas, the Japanese Army had three divisions, four regiments from another two divisions, five independent mixed brigades, and part of four independent mixed brigades and cavalry brigades, which in total amounted to approximately 200,000 men. In addition to this, the Japanese also had around 150,000 collaborationist troops working on their side. From the Eighth Route Army, there were 105 regiments that were to participate in the offensive, which was thus known as the “Hundred-Regiment Campaign.”
The Hundred-Regiment Campaign was divided into three stages.
The ﬁrst stage lasted from August 20 to September 10, 1940, during which all the units of the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Military Area and the 129th Division launched attacks up and down the whole route of the Zhengding-Taiyuan Railway, storming Japanese blockhouses along the railway and attacking the Jingxing Coalmine which was also located along the route. At the same time, the Eighth Route Army’s 120th Division launched major attacks on the northern section of the Datong-Puzhou Railway and the main roads in northwestern Shanxi while other units of the Eighth Route Army and guerrilla forces in other parts of northern China including southern, eastern, and central Hebei and the Taiyue region also engaged in extensive efforts to destroy Japanese lines of transport in their respective areas.
The second stage lasted from September 22 to early October. During this stage, the Laiyuan-Lingqiu Campaign was launched by units of the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Military Area to capture dozens of Japanese strongholds. The 129th Division also began the Yushe-Liaoxian Campaign, seizing many strongholds as well as the seat of Yushe County. Units of the 120th Division made further efforts to wreck the Datong-Puzhou Railway, managing to paralyze its northern section.
The third stage lasted from early October 1940 to January 24, 1941. Having suffered two large-scale offensives in a row, the Japanese Army amassed huge forces for a counter-attack. In early October 1940, the units of the 129th Division began to ﬁght against the mopping-up operations in a campaign lasting until early November, forcing Japanese troops to fall back to their strongholds. Between November 17 and December 5, Eighth Route Army units under the Taiyue Military Area inflicted heavy casualties on the oncoming Japanese Army in over ten battles at Guantan, Longfosi, and other locations, forcing the Japanese to withdraw from the region. During this stage, the Japanese Army also launched counter-attacks on the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei and the Northwestern Shanxi resistance bases. By January 1941, the army and the people in the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei border region had beaten back the Japanese attacks on the Pingxi and Beiyue resistance bases, and Eighth Route Army units in northwestern Shanxi had also pushed all other Japanese forces back to their original positions.
According to statistics from the Eighth Route Army Headquarters, by December 5, 1940, the units of the army that had participated in the Hundred-Regiment Campaign had fought 1,824 battles, killing or injuring 20,645 Japanese troops and 5,155 collaborationist troops, and capturing 281 Japanese troops and 18,407 collaborationist troops. Eighth Route Army units had captured large amounts of military supplies and liberated 10,120 workers from the coal mines and 2,055 railway workers. The units had suffered more than 17,000 casualties.
At a time when tempers were blazing among the Japanese fascists and the whole of China had been flung into the crucible of the war of resistance, the Hundred-Regiment Campaign was a hugely significant strategic move. Militarily, the campaign dealt a heavy blow to the “prison cage” strategy of the Japanese Army in northern China, consolidated the resistance bases there, and also supported operations on the frontlines by forcing the Japanese Army to move more troops from the frontlines to the rear in order to deal with the resistance forces. Politically, the campaign shattered the claims of those KMT diehards who had belittled the Eighth Route Army for “moving around without ﬁghting.” It helped to suppress the KMT tendency toward appeasement while significantly boosting Chinese confidence nationwide in the war of resistance.
The Chinese Expeditionary Force’s ﬁght in Burma
The Burma Road was an important transportation line for international supplies to and from China during the War of Resistance. Starting in Kunming in the east, the road extended westward to Lashio in Burma and was connected to the Rangoon-Mandalay Railroad.
After the outbreak of the Paciﬁc War, China and Britain signed an agreement to jointly protect the Burma Road on December 23, 1941. The Chinese Expeditionary Force (CEF) entered Burma under the command of Tu Yu-ming, deputy commander of the First Route of the CEF in February 1942. The expeditionary force totaled over 100,000 men and consisted of ten divisions from the 5th, 6th, and 66th armies.
Burma was one of Japan’s major strategic targets in the Paciﬁc War. On January 20, 1942, the Japanese Army crossed into Burma through Mesok in west Thailand and took Rangoon on March 8.
While the Japanese were advancing northward along separate routes, the CEF arrived to the front just in time. In the battle for the defense of Taungoo from March 8 to 29, the Chinese Expeditionary Force eliminated a total of more than 5,000 enemy troops and provided strong support for the British Burma Army.
On April 2, 1942, Chiang Kai-shek decided that Luo Zhuoying should replace Wei Li-huang as commander-in-chief of the CEF, and that Luo Zhuoying and Chief of Staff of the China Theater Joseph W. Stilwell should take joint command of the CEF.
After occupying Taungoo, the Japanese 15th Army ﬁnalized its plan for taking Mandalay on April 3, and the Japanese main forces launched attacks along the Taungoo-Mandalay axis, coordinated with attacks on the eastern and western ﬂanks.
On April 18, Stilwell and Luo Zhuoying ordered Chinese troops to give up the Pyinmana campaign, advance northward, and prepare for a campaign in Mandalay.
On the western route, the British Burma Army decided to give up Burma and retreat to India for defense. In the Yenangyaung campaign from April 14-19, the Chinese New 38th Division defeated the Japanese with a numerically inferior force and rescued the 1st Division of the British Burma Army that had been encircled in for days.
The Japanese took Hsipaw on April 28, Lashio on April 29, Bhamo on May 3, and finally Myitkyina on May 8, cutting off the CEF’s route back to China.
After losing Lashio, Stilwell and Luo Zhuoying gave the order to abandon the Mandalay campaign, moving all units of the CEF westward to cross the Irrawaddy River and withdraw back to China along the Bhamo-Myitkyina Road.
After arriving in Mansi on May 18, the New 38th Division moved westward to Imphal, India. The headquarters of the 5th Army and its New 22nd Division arrived in Ledo, India on July 25. The 96th Division as well as one artillery unit and an engineer corps arrived in Jianchuan in western Yunnan on August 17.
The 200th Division reached Yunlong on June 29, despite the loss of its commander, Tai An-lan, who died in Maobang Village on the way. The main force of the 66th Army and the 6th Army also retreated back to China as separate units.
In nearly six months, the Chinese Expeditionary Force had marched over 1,500 kilometers while engaging the Japanese Army in Burma. Its efforts not only significantly contributed to the Global War against Fascism, but were also the ﬁrst time Chinese troops had travelled to another country to fight the Japanese in coordination with other Allied forces.
The Truth about the Nanjing Massacre
On December 13, 1937, after seizing Nanjing, the Japanese army carried out a bloody slaughter of unparalleled savagery in violation of international law.
As stated in the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, “Estimates indicate that the total number of civilians and prisoners of war murdered in Nanjing and its vicinity during the first six weeks of the Japanese occupation was over 200,000….These figures do not take into account those persons whose bodies were destroyed by burning, or by being thrown into the Yangtze River, or were otherwise disposed of by the Japanese Army.”
The Chinese Military Tribunal for War Crimes in Nanjing stated in a verdict that “during the period from December 12 to 21, 1937, it was estimated that more than 190,000 Chinese prisoners of war and civilians were shot with machine guns in large groups by the Japanese Army and their bodies were incinerated… In addition, more than 150,000 people were killed in small or scattered groups, and their bodies were collected and buried by charity organizations. Altogether, more than 300,000 people were murdered.”
After capturing the city, Japanese troops employed all kinds of brutal methods in their killing, such as decapitation, skull splitting, slicing open the stomach, pulling out the heart, drowning, burning, cutting off reproductive organs, dismemberment, and piercing the vulva or anus.
Equally unthinkable, there was a killing contest between two second lieutenants, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, to see who could win by being the ﬁrst to kill 100 Chinese. When they met on December 12, Mukai had killed 106 and Noda 105.
John Rabe, Wilhelmina (Minnie) Vautrin, and John Magee recorded the incidents of rape carried out by Japanese soldiers after the fall of Nanjing in their diaries, photographs, and ﬁlms. It is roughly estimated that more than 80,000 women were violated in Nanjing, of whom more than 65,000 were killed.
The Japanese army also committed frenzied acts of arson and looting. According to incomplete statistics calculated after the war, Japanese soldiers looted 2,406 sets and more than 309,000 pieces of appliances or utensils, 5,920 boxes and more than 5.9 million articles of clothing, 710 kilograms of gold and silver, plus 6,345 pieces of jewelry, 1,815 boxes, 2,859 sets, and 148,600 volumes of books, more than 28,400 ancient calligraphy scrolls and paintings, more than 7,300 antiques, more than 6,200 animals bred as livestock, and more than 720 million kilograms of grain. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Chinese Military Tribunal for War Crimes in Nanjing, after collecting a large amount of evidence and confirming all the findings, pronounced death sentences for the principal culprits of the massacre, Iwane Matsui, Akira Muto, and Tadayuki Furumi. The crimes of the Japanese aggressors will forever be recorded in the history of the Chinese war of resistance against Japan.
What kinds of biological warfare did the Japanese Army carry out in China?
Japan began research on bacteriological weapons in the 1920s. In April 1932 the Japanese Army set up a bacteriological laboratory at its Military Medical School in Tokyo under the leadership of Shirō Ishii. In August Ishii transferred the research on bacteriological warfare to Heilongjiang Province in China and built a bacteriological laboratory in Beiyinhe, Wuchang County. In the spring of 1936, the laboratory was moved to Pingfang District, Harbin, and was officially referred to as the “Anti-Epidemic Water Supply and Purification Bureau of the Kwantung Army.” In 1941 the Bureau adopted the name “Unit 731 of Manchuria.”
In China the Japanese Army set up six biological and chemical warfare units that involved a total of more than 20,000 troops. These units were Unit 731 in Harbin, Unit 100 in Changchun, Unit 516 in Dunhua, Unit 1644 in Nanjing, Unit 1855 in Beiping, and Unit 8604 in Guangzhou.
Unit 731 carried out a large number of experiments, the most horriﬁc of which were conducted on live human beings, who were referred to in Japanese as “maruta” (“logs”). Those conducting the experiments performed vivisections on living subjects, injected subjects with pathogens, experimented with gas and poison, carried out electrical experiments, and infected subjects’ food and water. In order to observe and test the efficacy of bacteriological and chemical weapons, Unit 731 would often tie the “maruta” to stakes in the testing ground, making them suffer the effects of bacteriological and chemical bombs dropped by airplanes or fired from artillery, and even directly administered plague-infected ﬂeas or gas to them.
Germ warfare was an important part of Japan’s war against China. In July 1940, Shirō Ishii directed a germ warfare unit in battles at Ningbo and Jinhua. As a result, bubonic plague spread throughout local communities. Several thousand people became ill, and hundreds of people died.
In the summer of 1941, Colonel Ota Kiyoshi, chief of the 2nd Department of Unit 731, led a germ warfare unit to Changde in Hunan Province to support army operations. This unit dropped plague-infected cotton fibers, fabric cuttings, wheat, rice, and fleas from the air over Changde, causing an outbreak of bubonic plague in the area and at least 7,600 deaths.
In the Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign from May to September 1942, supported by Unit 1644 from Nanjing, Japanese troops dispersed anthrax, paratyphoid, and bubonic plague germs from airplanes, resulting in outbreaks of bubonic plague and heavy casualties in the targeted areas.
In May 1942, Japanese troops carried out attacks with cholera bacteria against Baoshan and Kunming, causing outbreaks of cholera in 58 counties and cities in Yunnan Province. Within a period of two and a half months, more than 120,000 people had become ill and more than 90,000 had died. From the fall of 1944 to March 1945, Japanese troops disseminated plague bacteria across western Yunnan. The resultant outbreaks of bubonic plague lasted until 1953.
In August 1945, Unit 731 soldiers blew up all their facilities, destroyed all equipment and materials used in their experiments, and secretly killed hundreds of imprisoned “maruta.”
How did the Japanese military carry out its system of sex enslavement in China?
The Japanese military set up large numbers of “comfort stations” all across China, where women from China, Korea, and other countries were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops.
In the words of a former Japanese intelligence officer captured in his account at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, “Taking Chinese women as ‘comfort women’ would console soldiers dispirited due to defeats in battle; their feeling arising from defeat on the battlefield by Chinese forces would be redressed most effectively on the bodies of Chinese ‘comfort women’… Our soldiers would be comforted both mentally and physically, and they would become fully confident of victory.” Yasuji Okamura, former Commander-in-Chief of Japan’s North China Area Army, acknowledged after the war that he had been “the initiator of the utterly shameless ‘comfort women’ system.’’
On the eve of the January 28th Incident in 1932 (when Japan made its first attack on Shanghai), the headquarters of the Japanese Naval Landing Forces designated the Daiichi Saloon (now at Lane 125, Dongbaoxing Road in Shanghai) as a special “comfort station” for the navy. This was the first “comfort station” in China. In late December 1937, Iwane Matsui, Commander-in-Chief of the Central China Area Army, also gave orders to set up “comfort stations.”
There were generally three kinds of “comfort station.” The ﬁrst were those directly set up in occupied areas by the Japanese military. For instance, following the seizure of Nanjing by the Japanese 16th Division, the regiments of the division set up “comfort stations” in the locations where they were stationed. Those falling into the second category were those opened by Japanese nationals in China on military orders. Soon after Japanese troops captured Nanjing, Japanese nationals in the city set up “hometown comfort stations” and “Naniwa comfort stations.” The third type was set up by Chinese traitors under orders from the Japanese military.
“Comfort stations” were also set up in Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi, and Yunnan provinces, in big cities such as Beiping and Tianjin, and in the vast rural areas of Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, and Henan provinces.
The primary means by which the Japanese military obtained “comfort women” was forcible abduction, but other means included the establishment of quotas for residents by local puppet governments, and the deception of women.
Many female Chinese soldiers captured on the battleﬁeld were also sent to remote frontlines to serve as the sex slaves of Japanese troops. These women were called “circuit comfort women”; they met with serious abuse, and the majority were murdered.
Chinese women were the largest group to suffer from Japanese soldiers’ sexual violence and the “comfort women” system. The total number of sex slaves of the Japanese military is difficult to calculate due to the loss of historical materials, however according to incomplete statistics, the Japanese military abducted more than 200,000 women from China and more than 160,000 from Korea, while most of the rest came from Japan and some Southeast Asian countries and a small number came from Australia, America, Britain, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, and other countries.
How did China, the US, and Britain conduct strategic coordination during the Global War against Fascism?
Although after the fall of 1943 the Axis had disintegrated and the Allies had seized the initiative, the armed forces of fascist Germany and Japan still fought on desperately. In late November, China, the United States, and Great Britain held a conference in Cairo to further strengthen cooperation, coordinate military operations, bring an end to the war against fascism as soon as possible, and exchange opinions on postwar reconstruction and other major issues. This was the only conference of heads of state of the Allies that China attended during World War II.
At the conference the participants focused on military and political issues. In addition to attending plenary meetings, Chiang Kai-shek held several talks with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin Roosevelt on behalf of the Chinese government. Militarily, the Chinese, US, and British heads of state agreed that their countries should fight together against Japan until it surrendered unconditionally. On specific plans for operations, the three countries focused on discussing the counter-offensive in Burma. Politically, they concentrated on issues related to postwar China, and dealing with Japan, the oppressed nations in Asia, and the establishment of a new international organization. Finally, the three leaders jointly signed the Cairo Declaration.
The declaration was officially published on December 1, 1943. It stated that the Three Great Allies were ﬁghting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. “It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Paciﬁc which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of World War I in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as northeast China, Taiwan, and the Penghu Islands, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed… The three Allies will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.”
The Cairo Declaration’s recognition of Taiwan and other places as Chinese territories, as well as its affirmation of the need to carry on the war until the unconditional surrender of Japan, was a great source of encouragement to civilians and soldiers in China and other Asian countries fighting against the Japanese. The Declaration would also become an important legal basis for handling postwar issues in Japan.
How did China participate in the founding of the United Nations?
Following the fundamental shift in the global war against fascism, the Allies began to give more and more thought to major issues such as consolidating the victory of the war and safeguarding postwar world peace and security. As a result, the establishment of a new international organization – the United Nations – gradually became part of the Allies’ agenda.
On October 30, 1943, China, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union jointly signed the Declaration of the Four Nations on General Security. This was a key step toward the creation of the United Nations. According to the declaration, the four countries would establish a general international organization for the maintenance of international peace and security, and that before this organization was established, they would consult with one another with a view to joint action on behalf of the community of nations. As one of the four signatories of the declaration, China was intended to have an important place in this new organization.
To put into practice the Declaration of the Four Nations on General Security, between August and October 1944, delegates from China, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union met at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC to jointly draft the organizational plan for the United Nations. From April to June 1945, these four nations jointly held the San Francisco Conference, where delegates from 50 countries in attendance discussed the formulation of the Charter of the United Nations. The Chinese delegation was headed by T. V. Soong and consisted of members of the KMT, the CPC, and other democratic parties as well as persons without party affiliation. Dong Biwu, a representative of the CPC, attended the conference as a member of the Chinese government delegation. During the conference, the Chinese delegation advocated for justice and equity, making important contributions to the success of the conference. For example, the Chinese delegation proposed that a new trusteeship system be established so that trust territories could develop toward independence and autonomy. This proposal was included in the Charter of the United Nations, and is a major contribution made by China to the global national liberation movement.
The Charter of the United Nations was finally adopted at the conference, and a ceremony was held for its signing. Dong Biwu and other Chinese delegates signed the charter. After ratification of the charter by China, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States, and the majority of other signatory states, it came into effect on October 24, 1945. According to the charter, China was not only a founding member of the United Nations, but also one of the ﬁve permanent members of its Security Council.
The CPC Launched the First Strategic Counter-Offensives in the China Theater
Beginning in the fall of 1943, the Japanese Army gradually lost its grip over its rear lines in northern China, whereas the Eighth Route Army, whose strength was increasing, enjoyed superiority in some areas and was the ﬁrst Chinese army to launch offensives against the Japanese, paving the way for strategic counter-offensives in the China Theater.
In July 1943, with the support of Japanese troops, the collaborationist Provisional 24th Group Army occupied the seat of Lin County and its neighboring areas in the Eighth Route Army’s Taihang Resistance Base as well as areas south of the Wei River in the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Resistance Base. To thwart the enemy’s attempt to expand south into the Taihang Mountains and to defend the resistance base area, the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Area and the 129th Division, which constituted the Taihang Military Area, launched two campaigns.
On July 30, the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Area’s main force launched the first campaign south of the Wei River and attacked the collaborationist troops that had invaded Changyuan and Hua counties. Most of the invading troops were eliminated, and those remaining retreated to the areas west of the Wei River. By mid-August, the campaign was successfully concluded, with the Eighth Route Army eliminating more than 5,600 Japanese and collaborationist troops and recovering and developing the areas south of the Wei River.
On August 18, the second campaign was launched into southern Lin County. The 129th Division concentrated the main forces of the Taihang Military Area and the Southern Hebei Military Area to form east and west operation groups, which set off on an offensive against Japanese and collaborationist troops who had invaded Lin County and its surrounding areas. The campaign came to an end on August 27, with the Eighth Route Army eliminating more than 7,000 enemy troops and liberating the vast territory south of Lin County and north of Hui County, which together contained a population of more than 400,000.
Following these two campaigns, the Eighth Route Army’s Shandong Military Area launched offensives into southern Shandong and Binhai in November 1943. On November 15, Southern Shandong Military Area forces attacked a unit of Liu Guitang’s collaborationist troops in and around Dongzhuzi Village in Fei County, eliminating more than 1,100 soldiers and seizing 12 strongholds. On November 19 and 20, Binhai Military Area forces embarked on the Ganyu Campaign, eliminating more than 2,000 collaborationist troops and over 10 strongholds. On December 4, the Central Shandong Military Area amassed about five regiments to attack Wu Huawen’s collaborationist troops in the Mount Lu area. After four days, more than 1,000 of Wu’s men had been eliminated and more than 20 strongholds had been taken over.
These campaigns show that to some extent, the Eighth Route Army had already seized the initiative in the battlefield and was capable of launching offensive operations. With conditions thus ripening, these campaigns would shortly be followed by even greater local counter-offensives.
Japan’s Surrender and the Acceptance Ceremony in China
At noon on August 15, 1945, a radio broadcast was aired throughout Japan in which Japanese emperor Hirohito read the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War, officially announcing unconditional surrender.
On September 2, 1945, a ceremony for Japan’s surrender was held on board the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay. The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu on behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government and by Chief of the General Staff Yoshijirō Umezu on behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters. Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, signed the instrument, followed by the nine representatives of the Allied Powers that accepted the surrender: United States representative Admiral C. W. Nimitz, Chinese representative General Hsu Yung-Chang, United Kingdom representative Admiral Bruce Fraser, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics representative Lieutenant General Kuzma Derevyanko, and representatives of Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
With this, the thorough defeat of Japan’s militarism and ﬁnal victory in the Global War against Fascism was officially proclaimed. September 3 was later established as the victory memorial day for the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.
On September 9, 1945, the signing ceremony for the Japanese armed forces’ surrender in the China Theater was held at the ceremonial hall of the National Government’s Central Military Academy in Nanjing.
At 08:52, Ho Ying-chin, Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Army and the special representative for the Supreme Commander of the China Theater Chiang Kai-shek, as well as Gu Zhutong, Commander-in-Chief of the 3rd War Zone, Xiao Yisu, Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army Headquarters, Chen Shaokuan, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and Zhang Tingmeng, Commander of the 1st Air Force, entered the hall and were seated for the surrender acceptance ceremony.
Seven Japanese officers, including Yasuji Okamura, the Japanese representative for surrender in the China Theater and Commander-in-Chief of Japan’s China Expeditionary Army, followed by Asasaburo Kobayashi, Chief of Staff, Takeo Imai, Deputy Chief of Staff, Ryozo Fukuda, Commander-in-Chief of the China Area Fleet, and Haruki Isayama, Chief of Staff of Japan’s Taiwan Army, took off their caps and entered the hall.
At exactly 9am, Ho Ying-chin handed the Declaration of Japanese Surrender to Xiao Yisu who presented it to Okamura. After reading it, Okamura signed and stamped both copies of the Declaration and then gave them to Kobayashi to hand back to Ho Ying-chin. Ho Ying-chin then signed and stamped the Declaration, and with this, the surrender acceptance ceremony for the China Theater was over.
The China Theater accepted the surrender of one Japanese headquarters, three area armies, ten armies, 33 infantry divisions, one tank division, two air force divisions, and 41 independent mixed brigades, as well as guard division soldiers, garrison forces, and naval units; a total of more than 1.28 million Japanese soldiers.
The People of Taiwan’s Resistance against the Japanese and the Recovery of Taiwan
After the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895, Japan took possession of Taiwan from China through the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
In May 1895, Japanese troops began an attack on Taiwan. General Liu Yung-fu fought against the Japanese with volunteer troops led by local gentry such as Chiu Feng-chia, Hsu Hsiang, Wu Tang-hsing, and Chiang Shao-tsu. The Japanese army occupied Taiwan at the cost of over 4,800 deaths and 27,000 injuries. At the end of the year, an uprising erupted in Yilan in northern Taiwan. Afterward, multiple armed uprisings broke out across Taiwan. Three heroes of the resistance, Chien Ta-shih, Ke Tieh-hu, and Lin Shao-mao, led troops in a guerrilla war that lasted for seven years.
In the wake of World War I, Taiwan’s national bourgeoisie and intellectuals, including Lin Hsien-tang and Chiang Wei-shui, launched counter-Japanese movements as they struggled with the Japanese colonial authorities to preserve Chinese culture. Historian Lien Heng completed the General History of Taiwan, and Huang Yu-chai completed The Revolutionary History of Taiwan, which recorded the struggle against Japan from 1895 to 1925.
After the Lugou Bridge Incident on July 7, 1937, over 50,000 compatriots of Taiwan overcame all barriers to return to the mainland and join in the war of resistance against Japan, among whom were Chiu Nien-tai, Tsou Hung, Lin Cheng-heng, Lien Chen-tung, and Li Yu-bang. Cultural works supporting the resistance appeared as well, such as Wu Cho-liu’s novel The Orphan of Asia, which portrayed the enduring spirit of the Chinese nation, and Ho Fei-kwang’s The Light of East Asia, known as “a sword of justice on the silver screen.”
On December 9, 1941, the Chinese government issued the Declaration of War against Japan, openly “declaring to the whole world that all treaties and agreements concerning Sino-Japanese relations must be terminated.” The Treaty of Shimonoseki was declared invalid. It was also solemnly declared that China would recover “Taiwan, Penghu, and the four provinces of northeast China.”
In November 1943, the heads of state of China, the United States, and Great Britain held the Cairo Conference, at which Chiang Kai-shek’s demand for the recovery of Taiwan was supported by the other two heads of state.
On July 26, 1945, China, the United States, and Great Britain issued the Potsdam Proclamation, reiterating that “the terms of the Cairo Declaration must be carried out” and Japan must return Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to China.
On August 15, Japan declared its unconditional surrender. On August 28, the National Government appointed Chen Yi as chief executive of Taiwan and commander-in-chief of the Taiwan garrison headquarters.
On the morning of October 25, the surrender acceptance ceremony for the province of Taiwan in the China Theater was held at the Sun Yat-sen Conference Hall in Taipei. Rikichi Andō, the Japanese representative, signed and stamped the instrument of surrender. Taiwan was thus returned to the motherland after having been occupied by Japan for 50 years. To mark the event, October 25 was designated as the recovery day of Taiwan.
How were the Japanese war crimes tried?
After the end of World War II, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) was established in Tokyo.
On January 19, 1946, General Douglas MacArthur issued the Special Proclamation and approved the Charter of the IMTFE, clearly setting out the three types of acts for which there would be individual responsibility: conventional war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity.
On April 29, the IMTFE officially prosecuted 28 Class A war criminals. The Tokyo Trials lasted two and a half years, concluding on November 12, 1948. In the end, 25 defendants had been tried and given verdicts. Seven of them were hanged (Hideki Tōjō, Kōki Hirota, Kenji Doihara, Seishirō Itagaki, Heitarō Kimura, Iwane Matsui, and Akira Mutō). Sixteen were sentenced to life imprisonment (Sadao Araki, Kingoro Hashimoto, Shunroku Hata, Hiranuma Kiichirō, Naoki Hoshino, Okinori Kaya, Kōichi Kido, Kuniaki Koiso, Jirō Minami, Takazumi Oka, Hiroshi Ōshima, Kenryō Satō, Shigetarō Shimada, Toshio Shiratori, Yoshijirō Umezu, and Teiichi Suzuki). In addition, Shigenori Tōgō was sentenced to 20-year and Mamoru Shigemitsu 7-year imprisonment. On the morning of December 23, 1948, seven Class A war criminals were hanged at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo.
In December 1945, the National Government and the Far Eastern and Paciﬁc Sub-Commission of the United Nations War Crimes Commission formed the Commission on the Handling of War Crimes and set up military tribunals to try war criminals in China. Trials were held in Baoding, the Northeast, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Jinan, Wuhan, Taiyuan, Shanghai, and Taiwan. From late 1945 to the end of December 1947, these military tribunals handled the cases of 2,435 Japanese war criminals. They handed down verdicts in 318 cases and refrained from prosecuting 661 cases. After the review of the Ministry of Defense of the National Government, death sentences were delivered in 110 cases.
Military tribunals were also set up in other countries that had been subjected to Japanese invasion to try Class B and Class C war criminals, including Russia (in Khabarovsk), Singapore, the Philippines (in Manila), Burma (in Rangoon), and Vietnam (in Saigon, which is today known as Ho Chi Minh City). Statistics show that a total of 5,423 Japanese war criminals were prosecuted by the Allies. Among them, 4,226 were sentenced, of which 941 were given the death penalty.
From December 25 to 30, 1949, the special military tribunal of the Soviet Union conducted trials of 12 war criminals.
The United Kingdom set up special military tribunals in Hong Kong and Singapore to try Japanese war criminals, prosecuting 118 in Hong Kong and 446 in Singapore. Among those prosecuted, 133 were sentenced to death, two to life imprisonment, and 369 to ﬁxed-term imprisonment. Tomoyuki Yamashita, who had been the commander of the 14th Area Army when Japanese troops surrendered, was arrested and executed in the Philippines.
The Dutch government prosecuted 995 Japanese war criminals across Indonesia, sentencing 226 to death, 30 to life imprisonment, and 697 to ﬁxed-term imprisonment.
The US prosecuted 1,453 Japanese war criminals, sentencing 140 to death, and Australia prosecuted 939 Japanese war criminals, sentencing 153 to death.
Generally speaking, the Tokyo Trials were relatively fair. They embodied the common will of the anti-fascist Allied countries and the principle of justice in international law. However, there were also some apparent shortcomings.
First, Japanese Emperor Hirohito was not held to account for his part in the War. He shouldered ultimate responsibility for the Japanese war of aggression and the atrocities of Japanese troops, and played an important role in planning the war: “When Japan invaded northeast China in 1931, or launched a full-scale war of aggression in 1937, or committed any other crime in China, including the Nanking massacre, the ‘Three Alls’ policy (kill all, burn all, and loot all), the torture of POWs, the killing of civilians, and the development and use of chemical weapons, Emperor Hirohito did not take any measure to stop but rewarded the perpetrators.” Despite his position as supreme commander in the war of aggression, Emperor Hirohito was not charged with any offense.
Second, “crimes against humanity” was not used as an individual account of prosecution. This crime refers to Japan’s brutal acts during its rule over Korea, Taiwan, and other colonies and especially within occupied China. For example, the brutal “Three Alls” policy resulted in thousands of atrocities, the indiscriminate bombing of residents of defenseless cities, and the use of forced labor and “comfort women” as the sexual slaves of the Japanese troops. Although the International Military Tribunal for the Far East recognized that “crimes against humanity” was a crime in international law of war, the prosecution did not press charges for these atrocities committed under Japanese colonial rule.
Third, war criminals of biological and chemical warfare were not severely punished. During the War, over 5,000 Japanese troops openly defied international conventions by carrying out biological and chemical warfare in China, and participating in the research, production, and use of such weapons, including cruel and inhumane experiments on live human beings. Nonetheless, many Japanese war criminals escaped the force of law and due punishment. Even more unpalatable was that some Japanese military officers involved in the research and development of biological weapons wrote and published academic papers on the basis of data they had gained from their “live experiments” in China, and dozens of those who had committed such brutalities obtained doctorate degrees in medicine.
注：以上30篇文章均摘编自《中国抗日战争史简明读本》（英文版）（The Chinese War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression：A Concise History）.
 “Translator’s Epilogue,” Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Xinhua Publishing House, Beijing, 2005, p. 522.