Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

International Relations The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)
by
Steve Phillips

Introduction

The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), what the Chinese often refer to as the Eight Year War of Anti-Japanese Resistance, began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 1937 and ended with Japan’s surrender in September 1945. This conflict marked the culmination of almost a half-century of growing Japanese aggression toward China. In 1895, Japan took the island of Taiwan from China’s ailing Qing Dynasty after the First Sino-Japanese War, and in 1931 the Japanese Army occupied Manchuria, China’s three northeastern provinces. Despite the superiority of Japan’s military, by 1937 no Chinese government could accept further territorial losses while maintaining legitimacy with the Chinese people. Japan’s all-out invasion and Chinese resistance would be second only to the clash between Germany and the Soviet Union in terms of destruction and the number of dead. Early scholarship focused on the battlefield. Experts placed the 1937 to 1945 period into different contexts—a China-centered War of Resistance, a regionally based Second Sino-Japanese War or Pacific War, or a global war. One controversial issue is how much Chinese resistance figured in the ultimate defeat of the Japanese. If China’s role was limited, what factors hampered the resistance effort? Later, scholars examined the political aspects of the war. Debate over the nature and effectiveness of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government dominates much of the English-language material. Did the Nationalists vigorously prosecute the war against the Japanese? Could the United States have done more to assist Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist government? The legacy of Communist victory in China’s civil war is another issue confronting those who research Sino-Japanese conflict. Memoirs, oral histories, and the secondary literature on the 1937–1945 period often present the war as a prelude to Communist victory, or as a case study in Nationalist defects that would lead to the regime’s collapse in 1949. As Steven Levine writes in China’s Bitter Victory, “If not for the Sino-Japanese War, it is doubtful whether the Chinese Communist party would ever have come to power.” (Hsiung and Levine 1992, p. xvii; cited under General Overviews) In the past few decades, scholars expanded from military or state-centric topics to issues of collaboration and the impact of war on Chinese society. Japanese atrocities, such as the Nanjing Massacre, and postwar reconciliation also have received more attention from researchers in recent years.

General Overviews

The volume of historical literature on Sino-Japanese conflict is less than that devoted to Japan’s war against the United States or to the war in Europe. There do exist, however, several comprehensive histories of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The famous and well-written Calvocoressi, et al. 1989 places the China war into a global context. Spector 1985 examines Japan’s war in China as it impacted upon the struggle between Japan and the United States in the Pacific. It focuses on the debates and conflicts among military leaders on each side. Hattori 1953 offers the perspective of a Japanese Army officer. By far the most comprehensive volume on military conflict in China comes from Peattie, et al. 2010. This multiauthor collection covers all major campaigns from 1937 to 1945 from Japanese and Chinese perspectives. For a perspective generally favorable to Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists’ war effort, see Hsu and Chang 1971. MacKinnon 2007 includes essays by some of the best scholars from the West, Japan, and China. A particular strength of this book is its examination of wartime state-building efforts by the Japanese, puppet regimes, and the Nationalists. Dorn 1974, written by an American military officer in China, covers the first four years of war from the battlefield. Hsiung and Levine 1992 reviews military action and introduces a variety of important topics including economics, art, and science during wartime.

  • Calvocoressi, Peter, Guy Wint, and John Pritchard. Total War: The Causes and Course of the Second World War. 2d rev. ed. New York: Pantheon, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Massive history of the war in Europe (Volume 1) and Asia (Volume 2) based mainly upon secondary sources. First published in 1972, Total War includes wonderful maps and a useful annotated bibliography. This volume is the best starting point for examining how the Europe-first strategy of the Americans and British impacted the war in China.

    Find this resource:

  • Dorn, Frank. The Sino-Japanese War, 1937–1941: From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor. New York: Macmillan, 1974.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Dorn, who served with the US Army in China during the war, wrote one of the most well-known first-person accounts of the 1937–1941 period. Dorn assesses Nationalist military prowess and emphasizes the defects in Chiang’s overall strategy: such as the attempt to concentrate forces in the Lower Yangtze region, and more systemic deficiencies of the regime. This book includes Chinese and Japanese orders of battle in an appendix.

    Find this resource:

  • Hattori, Takushiro. The Complete History of the Greater East Asia War. Tokyo: Headquarters 500th Military Intelligence Service Group, 1953.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The four-volume history translated by the Military History Division Headquarters, United States Army Forces Far East. This is a Japanese interpretation of the 1931–1945 period. The author headed the Operations Section of the Imperial General Army Headquarters, and was thus involved in the planning in many of the campaigns discussed in this work.

    Find this resource:

  • Hsiung, James C., and Steven I. Levine, eds. China’s Bitter Victory. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wide-ranging series of essays on various aspects of the war. This volume highlights the ways in which China, although victorious in the war, was left weaker and more divided than when the conflict began. The final chapters of the volume offer some of the best introductions to topics not usually covered by scholars, including economics, science, and China’s legal system—all of which suffered under the strains of war.

    Find this resource:

  • Hsu Lung-hsuan and Chang Ming-k’ai. History of the Sino-Japanese War, 1937–1945. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung. Taipei: Chung Wu, 1971.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translation from a Chinese history of the same title that is among the most detailed accounts based on the Nationalists’ interpretation of the war and its campaigns. This volume was produced by the History Bureau of the ROC Ministry of Defense. While the Communists and many American scholars were highly critical of Chiang’s willingness and ability to fight the Japanese, this volume highlights Nationalist leadership and sacrifice.

    Find this resource:

  • MacKinnon, Stephen R., ed. China at War: Regions of China, 1937–1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This volume grew from an international conference of American, European, Japanese, and Chinese scholars. It contains useful essays that illustrate the complexity of wartime experiences from Manchuria to Taiwan to Guangxi. The volume also includes comparative articles by Chinese and Japanese scholars on labor conscription. It also offers comparisons of wartime state building efforts by the Japanese, puppet regimes, and the Nationalists.

    Find this resource:

  • Peattie, Mark, Edward Drea, and Hans van de Ven, eds. Battle for China: Essays in the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Best volume on the military history of the war by prominent American, British, Chinese, and Japanese scholars. It includes descriptions of major campaigns and valuable essays that place the China conflict into the larger context of World War II. This volume offers the most current mainland scholarship available in English, and contains a relatively positive assessment of Chiang and the Nationalists’ contributions to anti-Japanese resistance.

    Find this resource:

  • Spector, Ronald. The Eagle and the Sun: The American War with Japan. New York: Macmillan, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Best volume on Japanese-American conflict. Spector writes an excellent overview of the China conflict in the context of the larger war. He focuses on military leadership, strategy, and resources, and conflicts within the Japanese and the Allied ranks. This volume suggests that the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater did not play a major role in causing Japan’s defeat.

    Find this resource:

Document Collections and Reference Works

There exist a variety of materials extremely helpful to those who do not have access to American, Chinese, or Japanese archives, or who cannot read Chinese or Japanese. These collections of primary sources offer the empirical evidence for historical debates. They also tend to represent the perspective of one nation or one bureaucracy. For example, Chinese Military Studies and Materials in English Translation, although prepared under the auspices of the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the [United States] Army, was originally written by Chinese Nationalist military officers. United States Department of the Army Office of Military History 1963 produced an invaluable tool for the English-speaking audience. The 187 monographs consist of operational histories written by former officers of the Japanese Army and Navy under the direction of General Headquarters of the US Far East Command. Allied Forces Southwest Pacific Area 1988 includes over 2,200 microfiches on a wide variety of war-related topics. The Foreign Relations of the United States 1931–1969 series offers thousands of reports giving American diplomats’ view of the war in China. US Army views are clear in United States Army Center for Military History 1991. In order to fully understand these very detailed materials, a few broad reference works are useful. This includes a detailed chronology of the war compiled in Williams 1960 and information on the leadership, training, organization, and equipment of the Japanese military from United States War Department 1970. Finally, Fuller 1992 has brief biographies of major Japanese military leaders.

  • Allied Forces Southwest Pacific Area. Wartime Translations of Seized Japanese Documents: Allied Translator and Interpreter Section Reports, 1942–1946. 2 vols. Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Over 2,200 microfiches with 7,200 documents, usually interrogation reports or translations of captured documents. They provide detail for scholars who are interested in a specific location or battle. The information in the reports range from important—on military units in China or chemical warfare tests in Manchuria—to arcane information such as how to read labels on Japanese ammunition containers.

    Find this resource:

  • Chinese Military Studies and Materials in English Translation. Prepared under the auspices of the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army. Washington, DC: Library of Congress Photoduplication Service, 1974.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ten-reel microfilm collection includes histories prepared by Nationalist military officers specifically for the Americans, with translations of Chinese-language materials. The collection includes titles such as A Brief History of the Republic of China Armed Forces; History of the Sino-Japanese War; Military Campaigns in China: 1924–1950; and Organizational Changes in the Chinese Army, 1895–1950.

    Find this resource:

  • Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1931–1945. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1931–1969.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Produced by the United States Department of State, these volumes offer a rich selection of documents related to American foreign relations. The volumes covering 1931 to 1945 contain thousands of reports on events in China and, up to December 1941, in Japan. This includes information on Chinese leaders, American assessments of the defects of Chiang’s regime, and efforts to coordinate war strategy with the Chinese and British.

    Find this resource:

  • Fuller, Richard. Shokan—Hirohito’s Samurai: Leaders of the Japanese Armed Forces, 1926–1945. New York: Sterling, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Biographies of hundreds of high-ranking Japanese officers. A great tool for examining the background of those involved in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

    Find this resource:

  • United States Army, Center for Military History. The War against Japan. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Massive collection of documents on fifty-four microfilm reels of materials. Includes official histories or reports held by the United States Army Center for Military History Historical Manuscripts Collection. About fifteen reels concern the CBI or China theaters, often documenting efforts to coordinate military strategy with the British or Chinese, or frustrations over the Nationalists’ limited military success against the Japanese.

    Find this resource:

  • United States Department of the Army Office of Military History. Japanese Monographs and Studies on Manchuria. Washington, DC: Library of Congress Photoduplication Service, 1963.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An invaluable tool for those wishing to research Japan’s version of the war in China. The monographs are operational histories written by former officers of the Japanese Army and Navy under the direction of General Headquarters of the US Far East Command after the war. These monographs represent how Japanese officers probably wish to remember the war—as military operations shorn of political issues and war crimes. Many are available online. See also US Department of the Army, Guide to Japanese Monographs and Japanese Studies on Manchuria (Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1980).

    Find this resource:

  • United States War Department. Handbook of Japanese Military Forces. Gaithersburg, MD: Military Press of Gaithersburg, 1970.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a plethora of detail about the Japanese Army’s organization, weapons, and tactics. Originally published in 1944 as Technical Manual TM E-30-480.

    Find this resource:

  • Williams, Mary H. Chronology, 1941–1945. Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, United States Department of the Army, 1960.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A 660-page chronology of all major events involving the United States in World War II, including the CBI Theater. The most detailed resource of its kind.

    Find this resource:

Research Guides, Bibliographies, and Historiography

Scholars or students seeking basic guidance on the secondary source literature can start with the Columbia University guides to modern Japanese history (Allinson 1999) or modern Chinese history (Schoppa 2000). Next come more focused bibliographies and research guides on Japanese foreign policy (Asada 1989) and China’s economy (Kirby, et al. 2000). Wells 1999, Sbrega 1989, and Rasor 1998 are compiled guides that include works on the Second Sino-Japanese War. Finally, Mitter 2003 and Gordon 2006 are valuable state-of-the-field articles that evaluate the most recent English-language scholarship. The Mitter 2003 article places changing scholarship in the context of larger political currents on both sides of the Pacific.

  • Allinson, Gary D. The Columbia Guide to Modern Japanese History. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Key resource for more in-depth study of Japan’s history from the late Tokugawa era to the present. The Columbia guides include brief historical narratives and many annotated bibliographies arranged by subject. These volumes also offer glossaries of key terms and events, and short biographies of key historical figures.

    Find this resource:

  • Asada, Sadao, ed. Japan and the World: A Bibliographic Guide to Japanese Scholarship in Foreign Relations. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A great starting place for research into the diplomatic aspects of the Second Sino-Japanese War. In particular, see “Guide to Documents, Archives, Encyclopedias and Reference Works,” “Notes on Basic Sources, 1931–1945,” “From the Manchurian Incident to the Sino-Japanese War,” and “From the Sino-Japanese to the Pacific War.”

    Find this resource:

  • Gordon, David M. “Historiographical Essay: The China-Japan War, 1931–1945.” Journal of Military History 70.1 (January 2006): 137–182.

    DOI: 10.1353/jmh.2006.0052Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The single most comprehensive essay on scholarship related to the war. Gordon’s essay focuses on military history.

    Find this resource:

  • Kirby, William C., Man-houng Lin, James Chin Shih, and David A. Pietz, eds. State and Economy in Republican China: A Handbook for Scholars. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Useful introduction to economic issues related to the war in China. The volumes include information on research aids and archival collections. The second volume has a guide to reading Republican-era documents.

    Find this resource:

  • Mitter, Rana. “Old Ghosts, New Memories: China’s Changing War History in the Era of Post-Mao Politics.” Journal of Contemporary History 38 1 (2003): 117–131.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022009403038001967Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Connects memories of the war to shifting political agendas. Mitter shows how “Commemoration of the Sino-Japanese War became a new source for the construction of a centripetal nationalism that would counter the separatist forces that threatened to tear China apart, and create a patriotic antidote to the pressures that had led to the 1989 confrontation” (p. 121).

    Find this resource:

  • Rasor, Eugene L. The China–Burma–India Campaign, 1931–1945: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Best starting point for research into the CBI Theater. Besides an exhaustive review of the secondary source literature, the volume includes information on the major archives and document collections in the United States, Great Britain, China, and Japan.

    Find this resource:

  • Sbrega, John J. The War against Japan, 1941–1945: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A 1,050-page volume introducing 5,200 books, including works on the Second Sino-Japanese War and wartime Sino-American cooperation.

    Find this resource:

  • Schoppa, R. Keith. The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A key resource for more in-depth study of China’s history from the late Qing era to the present. The Columbia guides include brief historical narratives and many annotated bibliographies arranged by subject. These volumes also offer glossaries of key terms and events, and short biographies of key historical figures.

    Find this resource:

  • Wells, Anne Sharp. Historical Dictionary of World War II: The War against Japan. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Includes a detailed chronology, an introductory essay, and a bibliography. This is the best source for those new to the field seeking basic information on a battle, event, or individual. This reference work begins with Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and concludes with China’s civil war in the late 1940s.

    Find this resource:

Japan’s Military

Debates over Japan’s long-term goals and motivations, the nature of the Japanese Imperial Army, and responsibility for the war in China shape much of the scholarship. Ienaga 1978 and Smethurst 1974 both emphasize the ability of the Japanese military to build support for aggressive action in China throughout society, particularly in rural areas. The best-selling oral history collection, Cook and Cook 1992, suggests that nationalism led to support among all segments of the Japanese population for war against China, then the United States. Drea 1998 focuses more on politics within the military, and how generals could manipulate civilian politicians and influence the imperial house. Humphreys 1995 emphasizes how the military changed from the 1920s to the 1930s to support a more aggressive policy toward China. Bix 2000 shows that the Emperor Hirohito was involved in many key decisions related to the war in China. Bix 2000 destroys the image of a passive emperor manipulated by a few military officers. Barnhart 1987 steps back from some of these debates and claims that a lack of natural resources drove Japan’s policies. The history of the war in China is dominated by scholarship on ground forces: Peattie 2000, however, provides one of the few reviews of Japanese air power.

  • Barnhart, Michael. Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919–1941. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the connection between foreign policy, military planning, and resource scarcity in the Japanese empire. Barnhart’s volume suggests that the drive for autarky motivated Japan’s expansion into China and then Southeast Asia, as Japanese military leaders sought to construct a self-sufficient economic bloc.

    Find this resource:

  • Bix, Herbert. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Most detailed account of the emperor and his relationship with the military. Bix’s book forms a key part of the debate over the role of the emperor in Japan’s aggression against China and others in the 1930s and 1940s. The author emphasizes that the Showa Emperor was well informed of Japan’s military plans, and offered quiet approval policies that led Japan into China.

    Find this resource:

  • Cook, Haruko Taya, and Theodore F. Cook. Japan at War: An Oral History. New York: New Press, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Best-selling collection of oral histories from Japanese on the battlefield and on the home front. This is a key work for understanding how ordinary Japanese enthusiastically supported the war in Manchuria, then China. Of particular value is Part 1, which contains interviews with those who fought in China.

    Find this resource:

  • Drea, Edward J. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Studies in War, Society and the Military. Norman: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued in Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853–1945 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009). Key study of the Japanese Army’s organization and internal politics. Drea provides an in-depth explanation of the Japanese Army’s ability to dominate civilian politicians and influence the imperial house. This volume’s bibliographic essay is a first step for any researcher in the field.

    Find this resource:

  • Humphreys, Leonard A. The Way of the Heavenly Sword: The Japanese Army in the 1920’s. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Vital for understanding how Japan’s military leaders changed during the 1920s from perceiving themselves as Nihongun or kokugun (Japan’s army or the nation’s army) to believing they represented the kōgun (the imperial or emperor’s army). The author shows how the take-over of Manchuria in 1931 was a tangible result of this transition.

    Find this resource:

  • Ienaga, Saburo. The Pacific War, 1931–1945. New York: Pantheon, 1978.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Well-known but controversial work that examines Japan’s soldiers and their attitudes toward the Chinese. Ienaga emphasizes that a system of rigid ideological education and brutal military discipline led to attitudes that facilitated atrocities in China and elsewhere. He blames Japan’s military tradition for the China war.

    Find this resource:

  • Peattie, Mark R. Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909–1941. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Peattie is one of the most respected historians of the Japanese military. Chapter 5, “Attacking a Continent: The Navy’s Air War over China, 1937–1941,” is vital for researchers in the field. The author highlights the strengths of Japanese airpower, including use of well-trained pilots and the long range of Japan’s warplanes. Peattie also explains how the war in China prepared the Japanese for later struggles against the United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Smethurst, Richard. The Social Basis for Prewar Japanese Militarism: The Army and the Rural Community. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview of the background and ideology of Japan’s soldiers. He emphasizes that the military was successful at transforming rural Japanese into “national villagers” who supported the invasion of Manchuria, then China proper. Reservist organizations, made up of retired soldiers, became the vital conduit for the expansion of the army’s influence to the village level.

    Find this resource:

Japan’s Empire and Manchuria in the 1930s

The Japanese Kwantung Army’s conquest of Manchuria in 1931 and the establishment of the puppet state Manchukuo marked an important step toward all-out war with China. Books on Japan’s informal empire, including Duus, et al. 1991 and Matsusaka 2001, describe Tokyo’s long-term interest in the region. Both works underscore the role of the South Manchuria Railway Company, an institution that defined Japanese interest in the northeast and trained generations of China experts in the Japanese bureaucracy since the early 1900s. Peattie 1975 is on a leading advocate of the Manchurian invasion, Ishiwara Kanji, and Young 1998 deals with Japanese visions of Manchuria that highlight the widespread support for the expansion of the empire from those in the military, business, press, and academia. Duus, et al. 1996 is a collection of essays on Japan’s wartime empire that illustrates how Tokyo sought to control and profit from its growing holdings in China. The translations in Morley 1983 and Morley 1984 draw attention to not only the connection between aggression on the continent and Japan’s declining relations with the West but also Japan’s control of China, which eventually required resources far beyond Tokyo’s means. Morley 1983 and its image of a “China Quagmire” that left Japan desperate for resources has become dominant in the field. While Manchuria was fairly quiet compared to the carnage that would take place in the rest of China after 1937, military conflict was not entirely absent. Coox 1985 documents the short wars between Japanese and Soviet forces along the border—conflicts that exposed the strengths of Stalin’s forces and convinced many in the Japanese military to strike south rather than into Siberia. Lee 1983 is the best account of resistance with Manchuria, which was led by the Chinese Communists.

  • Coox, Alvin D. Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. 2 vols. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Japanese military disasters on the Manchurian-Mongolian border. See also his Anatomy of a Small War: The Soviet-Japanese Struggle for Chankugeng-Khasan, 1938 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1977) about an important border battle at Lake Khasan. While many China-centered secondary sources highlight the strengths of the Japanese Army, Coox’s accounts show its limitations, particularly when facing a well-disciplined force with sufficient armor.

    Find this resource:

  • Duus, Peter, Ramon Myers, and Mark R. Peattie, eds. The Japanese Informal Empire in China, 1895–1937. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Part of a series of three edited volumes from Princeton University Press. It offers readers the state of the field in the study of Japanese imperialism in China. Of particular value are the chapters on the molding of Chinese experts in the Foreign Ministry and in the military, the role of the South Manchuria Railway Company in spurring Japanese imperialism, and Alvin Coox’s overview of Japan’s army in Manchuria, the Kwantung Army.

    Find this resource:

  • Duus, Peter, Ramon Myers, and Mark R. Peattie, eds. The Japanese Wartime Empire, 1931–1945. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Valuable collection of essays on attempts to maintain control, build loyalty, and extract resources. Part 2 offers articles about how the Japanese sought to integrate Manchuria into the empire. Louise Young writes about the intellectual frameworks for Japan’s expansion into Manchuria. Other authors investigate how Tokyo sought to create a northeast Asian bloc dominated by the Yen.

    Find this resource:

  • Lee, Chong-sik. Revolutionary Struggle in Manchuria: Chinese Communism and Soviet Interest, 1922–1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 5 details the Japanese takeover of Manchuria. Most of the book is devoted to the struggle of the Chinese Communists to maintain a presence in the region as part of their revolutionary struggle against Chiang and the Nationalists. These efforts were often at cross purposes with Stalin’s drive to ensure that the Soviet Union did not face a war in the Far East by antagonizing the Japanese.

    Find this resource:

  • Matsusaka, Yoshihisa. The Making of Japanese Manchuria, 1904–1932. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Details Japan’s long-term interest in the region and highlights the Japanese Army’s fears of Soviet military attack. This is a good companion volume to Lee Chong-sik 1983. Matsusaka portrays the 1931 takeover as the culmination of three decades of infiltration led by the South Manchurian Railway Company.

    Find this resource:

  • Morley, James W., trans. and ed. The China Quagmire: Japan’s Expansion on the Asian Continent, 1933–1941. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continuation of Morley 1984. See Hata Ikuhiko’s “The Marco Polo Bridge Incident, 1937” and Shimoda Toshihiko’s “Designs on North China, 1933–1937.”

    Find this resource:

  • Morley, James W., trans. and ed. Japan Erupts: The London Naval Conference and the Manchurian Incident, 1928–1932. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In the late 1950s, the Japanese International Studies Association sponsored a seven-volume history, Taiheiyō sensō e no michi (Japan’s road to the Pacific War). Morley’s translations present the Japanese interpretations of the invasion of China and the relationship between the war in China and the wider Pacific conflict. This volume contains essays connecting the Manchurian takeover to Japan’s overall diplomatic strategy.

    Find this resource:

  • Peattie, Mark R. Ishiwara Kanji and Japan’s Confrontation with the West. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Biography of an officer instrumental in the seizure of Manchuria in 1931 and in launching all-out war against China in 1937. Ishiwara Kanji’s Pan-Asianism and assumption that Japan and the West were destined to fight a major war form major themes of this book. More than a biography, the Peattie volume is a general survey of the region in Japanese strategic thinking.

    Find this resource:

  • Young, Louise. Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Highlights the broad-based support for the Japanese presence in Manchuria. While Kwantung Army officers may have been responsible for the initial takeover in 1931, it was a coalition of bureaucrats, businessmen, settlers, and idealists who sustained the new puppet state of Manchukuo. This volume suggests that Japanese imperialism was not the result of a conspiracy of a few militarists.

    Find this resource:

The Nationalists at War

Since 1937, scholars, diplomats, and military officers have debated the role of Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists in the anti-Japanese struggle. Were Chiang’s forces eager and effective against the invaders, or was the Generalissimo more interested in building up his military for a postwar conflict against the Chinese Communists? What were the defects of Chiang’s forces? These discussions can be seen through the lens of another debate—did Nationalist defeat on the mainland result from failures during the War of Resistance? Coble 1991 suggests that Chiang was trapped between his fear of facing Japan’s superior military and the need to maintain his nationalist credentials. Chiang’s own views are best understood in his infamous work, Chiang 1947. Eastman 1984 became the most influential monograph in the field. It emphasizes the regime’s corruption, misrule, and unwillingness to fight the Japanese. Van de Ven 2003 offers a more sympathetic portrait of Chiang, who had little choice but to remain on the defense after Japan’s all-out invasion in 1937. The Taylor 2009 biography of Chiang is a very favorable account that makes extensive use of the leader’s diaries. Taylor 2009 emphasizes Chiang’s success in light of the myriad economic, political, and military challenges faced by China. Other works offer insight into how the Nationalists struggled to govern during wartime. Young 1963 provides an insider’s view of how Chiang sought to finance the war effort. Peck 2008 and Wakeman 2003 examine how the Nationalists fought (or failed to fight) the Japanese on the battlefield or behind enemy lines.

  • Chiang Kai-shek. With notes and commentary by Philip Jaffe China’s Destiny and Chinese Economic Theory. New York: Roy, 1947.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translation of Chiang’s wartime appeal to racial nationalism in order to rally his countrymen against the Japanese. Chiang’s call to arms showed his antipathy toward his American and British allies and his anger over the unequal treaties. This volume is an excellent example of how Chiang sought to legitimize himself as China’s leader based on his nationalist credentials and the legacy of Sun Yat-sen.

    Find this resource:

  • Coble, Parks. Facing Japan: Chinese Politics and Japanese Imperialism, 1931–1937. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Vital for understanding how military and political forces other than the Communists attempted to force the Nationalists to take a strong stand against the Japanese. Chiang Kai-shek struggled to dominate Chinese politics and maintain political legitimacy while avoiding a major conflict with the Japanese—a war he knew his army could not win.

    Find this resource:

  • Eastman, Lloyd. Seeds of Destruction: Nationalist China in War and Revolution, 1937–1949. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview of the Nationalists’ state- and nation-building efforts during the war, with particular focus on the role of the military. Eastman’s portrayal of Nationalist corruption, misrule, and unwillingness to fight the Japanese is one of the most common understandings of the regime. By extension, Communist victory in 1949 came in large part due to Nationalist defects obvious during the war years.

    Find this resource:

  • Peck, Graham. Two Kinds of Time. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Account of the 1940–1945 period in areas under Nationalist rule by an American serving in the Office of War Information. This volume offers a sympathetic portrait of China and harsh critique of Chiang’s regime. It also details American efforts to both befriend and reform Chiang’s regime, exposing Washington’s lack of understanding about the reality of China at war.

    Find this resource:

  • Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Now the most popular account of Chiang’s life and contributions to China. Taylor’s book, which makes extensive use of Chiang’s diary, offers a much more sympathetic portrayal of the Generalissimo than Eastman and many previous accounts. He emphasizes that the Nationalists vigorously resisted the Japanese and highlights the huge barriers to state building and modernization Chiang faced.

    Find this resource:

  • van de Ven, Hans J. War and Nationalism in China, 1925–1945. London: Routledge, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers a balanced view of the Nationalists at war against Japan, noting that Chiang’s forces had to contend with superior Japanese military training and technology. As van de Ven explains, the Nationalists had little choice but to remain on the defensive after the initial Japanese invasion in 1937. This volume contains an exhaustive bibliography of Chinese and English-language sources.

    Find this resource:

  • Wakeman, Frederic E. Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Essential source for anyone interested in the Nationalists’ intelligence gathering and covert action. This volume also shows how Chiang manipulated various factions within the Nationalist ranks in order to maintain his power. Dai Li ensured his position by showing loyalty to Chiang during the December 1936 Xian Incident and by forging a relationship with United States through the Sino-American Cooperative Organization.

    Find this resource:

  • Young, Arthur N. China and the Helping Hand, 1937–1945. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued in China’s Wartime Finance and Inflation, 1937–1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965). Few Americans had as much experience with China’s wartime finances or Sino-American economic relations as Young. He was financial advisor to the Chinese government and to the Central Bank of China from 1929–1946 and became a member of the Chinese delegation to the Bretton Woods conference. Young’s books are sympathetic to Chiang, and they highlight the lack of steady revenue to finance the war effort.

    Find this resource:

First-Person Accounts of the Communists’ War

While English-language government documents, oral histories, and memoirs relating to the Chinese Communists at their base in Yenan (now commonly romanized as Yan’an) provide more than facts, they also represent part of a heated debate over the legitimacy of the Communists as an alternative to Chiang’s government. These works often focus on the Communists’ social and economic program as much as their military conflict with the Japanese. American images of the wartime Communists were shaped by the Dixie Mission, formally known as the United States Army Observer Group in Yenan (Barrett 1970 and Peterkin 1992). Van Slyke 1968 compiled a series of US government reports on Yenan. Carlson 1940, written by an American military officer in China, is an account of the first years of war that favorably compares the Communists to the Nationalists. One can analyze the thoughts of Mao Zedong through Mao 1967 or the comprehensive collection of documents compiled in Schram 1999. Most influential are the accounts of journalists who were sympathetic to the Chinese Communists, or at least disenchanted with Chiang’s regime in Chongqing. Snow 1968 gave the English-speaking world the first in-depth information on Mao and the Communist movement. White and Jacoby 1946 and Belden 1949 furthered the image of a benevolent Yenan regime led by Mao eager to fight the Japanese—a mirror image of the corrupt Nationalist government.

  • Barrett, David D. Dixie Mission: The United States Army Observer Group in Yenan, 1944. China Research Series 6. Berkeley: University of California Center for Chinese Studies, 1970.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Barrett led the American effort to investigate the ability of Mao’s forces to fight the Japanese and then wrote an overview of the mission, its interaction with Communist leaders, and the failure to forge a meaningful united front between the Nationalists and Communists. His account examines interesting issues such as the Communist intelligence organization in occupied China.

    Find this resource:

  • Belden, Jack. China Shakes the World. New York: Harper, 1949.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Jack Belden’s China Shakes the World, like many accounts written by Western reporters in China during the war, attacks the corruption and incompetence of the Nationalists, and paints a positive picture of the Communists—eager to fight where Chiang’s generals held back, honest where the Nationalists were corrupt, and enjoying popular support while the Nationalists relied on coercion.

    Find this resource:

  • Carlson, Evans Fordyce. The Chinese Army: Its Organization and Military Efficiency. New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1940.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Republished in 1975 (Westport, CT: Hyperion). His recollections include Nationalist and Communist military operations, beginning with the Japanese victory around Shanghai in late 1937. He devotes a great deal of attention to the Communists’ Eighth Route Army, the leadership qualities of Communist guerrilla leaders, and life in Yenan in his longer memoir, Twin Stars of China: A Behind-the-Scenes Story of China’s Valiant Struggle for Existence by a U.S. Marine Who Lived and Moved with the People (Westport, CT: Hyperion, 1975).

    Find this resource:

  • Mao Tse Tung. Selected Military Writings of Mao Tse Tung. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1967.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The starting point for anyone interested in learning about Mao’s view of guerrilla warfare and anti-Japanese resistance. Of particular importance is Mao’s 1938 plan for war against Japan, “On Protracted War.” In it, he builds on some of the themes he first mentioned in his interviews with Edgar Snow for Red Star Over China (Snow 1968, first published in 1937).

    Find this resource:

  • Peterkin, W. J. Inside China, 1943–1945: An Eyewitness Account of America’s Mission in Yenan. Baltimore: Gateway, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Colonel Peterkin, a military officer who participated in the Dixie Mission in 1944 and 1945, addresses life in Yenan, and the Communists’ efforts to obtain American assistance. He describes life under the Nationalists and corruption in their military. This work is a damning indictment of American policy, particularly support for Chiang and the replacement of General Stilwell by General Albert Wedemeyer.

    Find this resource:

  • Schram, Stuart, ed. Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912–1949. Vol. 5, Toward the Second United Front (January 1935–July 1937). Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued in Volume 6, The New Stage (August 1937–1938) (2004) and Volume 7, New Democracy (1939–1941) (2005). These are vital English-language volumes for those interested in Mao’s political strategies for land reform, the united front with the Nationalists, and rallying anti-Japanese resistance. Schram’s editing makes these volumes much more useful to scholars.

    Find this resource:

  • Snow, Edgar. Red Star Over China. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam, 1968.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued in The Battle for Asia (New York: Random House, 1941). This is a sympathetic account of Mao Zedong immediately after his flight to Yenan in the mid-1930s. Snow helped foster the wartime image of the Chinese Communists as moderate reformers and nationalists. The Battle for Asia continues Snow’s positive narrative into the War of Resistance. It presents Mao’s account of the united front with the Nationalists and the Communists’ anti-Japanese struggle.

    Find this resource:

  • Van Slyke, Lyman P., ed. The Chinese Communist Movement: A Report of the United States War Department, July 1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lengthy report by the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department reviews Communism in China—its history, relations with the Nationalists, economic policies, military capabilities, and organization. The report claims that the Communists were no more eager to fight the Japanese than were the Nationalists, as both parties engaged in a “war within a war” against one another from 1940 to 1945.

    Find this resource:

  • White, Theodore, and Annalee Jacoby. Thunder Out of China. New York: William Sloane, 1946.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Call for the American public to recognize the strength of Mao’s Communists and the brutality and incompetence of Chiang’s Nationalist regime: “The easiest way to understand China was to decide first that the government was only a false front for the Kuomintang, whose politics and cleavages were the main determinants of decision, and that behind the party was a personal despotism, the oldest form of rule known to mankind.” (p. 99)

    Find this resource:

Scholars’ Studies of the CCP

Since Johnson 1962, English-language scholarship has been dominated by studies designed to explain the Communist anti-Japanese mobilization efforts through the lens of Mao’s victory in 1949. This debate over the role of nationalism, class conflict, and superior organizational skills continues today. Johnson posits that peasant nationalism led many Chinese to support Mao. Japanese brutality left peasants with little choice but to seek the protection of the Communists, it suggests. Selden 1995 argues that social and economic difficulties motivated peasants to back Mao. Van Slyke 1967, Kataoka 1974, and Chen 1986 offer models for how the Communists could survive, then expand, from their base in Yenan. Van Slyke 1967 examines united front policies that created broad support for the Communists, Kataoka 1974 suggests that the collapse of Nationalist authority was key to the expansion of Mao’s influence, and Chen 1986 highlighted the Communists’ ability to tax and recruit soldiers. Benton 1992 and Xiang 1998 investigate one of the Communists’ military forces, the New Fourth Army. Finally, the Feng and Goodman 2000 volume highlights the current state of the field. These essays focus on “social ecology,” the unique conditions of North China, and how Communist success grew from their flexibility and willingness to modify their programs in light of local conditions.

  • Benton, Gregor. Mountain Fires: The Red Army’s Three-Year War in South China, 1934–1938. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued in New Fourth Army: Communist Resistance along the Yangtze and the Huai, 1938–1941 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999). Definitive studies of the New Fourth Army, concluding with its defeat at the hands of the Nationalists in the New Fourth Army Incident. He illustrates the conflict between local and national elites, and the role this competition played in the larger war effort. Massive bibliography that is vital for anyone interested in the New Fourth Army or the Communists in central China.

    Find this resource:

  • Chen, Yung-fa. Making Revolution: The Communist Movement in Eastern and Central China, 1937–1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the state building success of the Communists. Like any state, the Communists had to devise methods of tax collection and army recruitment, while also avoiding loss of its popular support for these extractions. Until it seized the Nationalists’ administrative apparatus, the Chinese Communists were unable to procure manpower or revenue in a sustained manner, Chen argues.

    Find this resource:

  • Feng, Chongyi and David S. G. Goodman, eds. North China at War: The Social Ecology of Revolution, 1937–1945. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ten essays focused on what the authors call the “social ecology” of North China. They focus less on grand narratives of revolution or national liberation, and more upon unique local conditions and issues such as culture or gender. These essays contain case studies of resistance to Communist demands for support. What draws these articles together is the idea of Communist success growing from local flexibility.

    Find this resource:

  • Johnson, Chalmers A. Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China, 1937–1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how the Communists melded socioeconomic revolution and nationalism. In particular, Chapters 2 and 3 looks at military matters, including the Japanese Army and the development of Mao’s forces. Johnson’s model of “peasant nationalism” posits that Japanese oppression was a key factor in spurring peasants to back the Chinese Communists.

    Find this resource:

  • Kataoka, Tetsuya. Resistance and Revolution in China: The Communists and the Second United Front. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Emphasizes that Japanese invasion and occupation shattered Nationalist rule in many areas and allowed the Communists to build support through land reform. The Japanese ensured that the Nationalists could not crush the Communists in Yenan, as they had done in central China, and gave Mao time to implement his program among the peasants. The second United Front was vital to Communist survival and eventual victory in 1949.

    Find this resource:

  • Selden, Mark. China in Revolution: The Yenan Way Revisited. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Selden’s 1971 book (revised and republished in 1995) connects the War of Resistance to Communist victory in 1949. In opposition to Chalmers Johnson, he argues that peasant misery in the Yenan area, not Japanese invasion, was the chief motivation for peasants to support the Communists. The economic, social, and educational campaigns designed in Yenan built support that would continue after the war.

    Find this resource:

  • Van Slyke, Lyman P. Enemies and Friends: The United Front in Chinese Communist History. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1967.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Places wartime cooperation into a large context of Communist policy dating back to Lenin. Van Slyke emphasizes that while the origins of united front tactics lay in Europe, the Chinese Communists were not simply doing the bidding of Moscow. Mao’s ability to create broad coalitions, honed during the anti-Japanese war, was a key factor in the Communist victory in 1949.

    Find this resource:

  • Xiang, Lansin. Mao’s Generals: Chen Yi and the New Fourth Army. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Interviews and documents shed light on the New Fourth Army between its creation in 1938 and its march into Shanghai in 1949. This volume highlights the military successes of generals, rather than Mao, as well as the conflicts among Communist military leaders. He makes a strong case that military experience gained during the War of Resistance was vital for victory in 1949. Mao’s Generals includes a very useful bibliography with neibu (internal) materials.

    Find this resource:

Chinese Society during Wartime

In the past two decades, scholars have expanded their research from political, military, and diplomatic history to examine the impact of war and occupation on Chinese society. Lary 2010 shows how the strains of war changed family structure and often led to a focus on personal survival rather than national salvation. Lary and MacKinnon 2001 is an edited collection of essays that documents the suffering caused by Japan’s invasion and investigates how shifting political agendas cause some narratives of wartime loss to become widespread while others languish. Hung 1994 makes a strong case that wartime propaganda, which sought to foster a spirit of resistance to the Japanese, permanently changed Chinese culture by politicizing it and linking it to rural China. Hung 1994, like many scholarly works, argues that developments against Japan would favor the Chinese Communists in the civil war. Two volumes investigate the impact of refugees. Schoppa 2011 shows that flight from areas under Japanese occupation caused those from China’s relatively modern eastern coast to mix with those in the less-developed interior. MacKinnon 2008 discusses the flight from the Nationalists’ temporary capital of Wuhan in order to highlight the disruption to Chinese society and strain on Nationalist resources. Efforts to create a functioning society and economy outside of the Japanese reach is a relatively new topic in the field. Israel 1998 details how refugees sought to re-create the intellectual world of occupied Beijing in Kunming. The resulting new university became a hotbed of criticism of Chiang and his war effort. Howard 2004 researches Nationalist efforts to ensure labor peace, to build support for the regime, and to foster an armaments industry in the wartime capital.

  • Howard, Joshua H. Workers at War: Labor in China’s Arsenals, 1937–1953. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on armaments workers in factories in Chongqing under Nationalist, then Communist, rule. The book suggests that workers engaged in three overlapping struggles: national liberation, civil war, and class conflict. Howard shows how the War of Resistance and civil war blurred in the minds of workers. This is also a case study of how the Nationalists sought to ensure that national loyalty trumped class consciousness during the war against Japan.

    Find this resource:

  • Hung, Chang-tai. War and Popular Culture: Resistance in Modern China, 1937–1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes popular culture, including newspapers, dramas, and cartoons, as a tool to build support for the war effort against Japan. Hung makes a strong case that urban popular culture changed during the eight years of war to become more politicized and more influenced by rural China. He also argues that the Chinese Communists promoted, and ultimately benefitted from, this shift.

    Find this resource:

  • Israel, John. Lianda: A Chinese University in War and Revolution. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Thousands of students and professors fled Japan’s invasion of North China in 1937 and formed the National Southwest Associated University (Lianda) in Kunming in the far southwest. Many of these intellectuals were considered China’s “liberals” who supported neither the Nationalists nor the Communists. Lianda became a home for critics of Chiang and a center for the intellectual life in wartime China.

    Find this resource:

  • Lary, Diana. The Chinese People at War: Human Suffering and Social Transformation, 1937–1945. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511761898Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Introduction to how Japan’s invasion and occupation changed Chinese society. This book highlights the extent to which the struggle for survival shaped family structure, and contributed to the breakdown of many traditional bonds. Lary also examines how the war was portrayed in popular culture.

    Find this resource:

  • Lary, Diana, and Stephen MacKinnon, eds. Scars of War: The Impact of Warfare on Modern China. Victoria: University of British Columbia, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors note that China’s sheer size and huge population has tended to obscure suffering, and that political agendas have made some narratives of loss more acceptable than others. Of particular interest are chapters by Chang Jui-te comparing commemoration of the war on Taiwan and the mainland, and Neil Diamant on Communist treatment of war veterans and widows.

    Find this resource:

  • MacKinnon, Stephen R. Wuhan, 1938: War, Refugees, and the Making of Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes how events on the battlefield changed Chinese society. Wuhan was the temporary capital after the humiliating retreat from Nanjing. The battle for Wuhan was costly for both sides. The Japanese won on the battlefield, but they experienced great losses and subsequently gave up attempting to exterminate Chiang’s regime in Chongqing. Chinese refugees increased the disruption to society and the strain upon Nationalist resources.

    Find this resource:

  • Schoppa, Keith. In a Sea of Bitterness: Refugees in the Sino-Japanese War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674062986Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sheds light on the “spacial, social, and psychological displacement of tens of millions of refugees” from Zhejiang province. This book also highlights how this trek became a journey back in time, as refugees from the relatively advanced coastal regions learned about the conditions of China’s less developed interior.

    Find this resource:

Collaboration and Occupied China

Few topics are more sensitive than collaboration with the Japanese. Much of the scholarship in this area focuses on motivations for and definition of collaboration. Boyle 1972 and Bunker 1972 are the first in-depth accounts of the Wang Jingwei, a Nationalist rival of Chiang who fled Chongqing and established a puppet regime in Nanjing during the war. Both use Wang’s own words to help explain why he went from revolutionary leader to Japanese collaborator. Both point to a complex combination of patriotism and self-interest to explain Wang’s actions. Later works have moved beyond the elites. Fu 1993 describes how intellectuals in Shanghai dealt with Japanese occupation. Coble 2003 shows how business interests could trump national loyalty in the lower Yangtze region. Barrett and Shyu 2001 and Brook 2005 offer more information from the Japanese perspective. Brook 2005 highlights how collaboration proved “morally awkward” for both Chinese and Japanese. Finally, Snow 2003 is a book about Hong Kong that bridges the gap between China and Southeast Asia under Japanese occupation. It demonstrates how the humiliating defeat of the British changed Chinese attitudes toward colonial rule after the war. Many of the studies of collaboration focus on the lower Yangtze River region, and are detailed in the section on Shanghai.

  • Barrett, David P., and Larry N. Shyu, eds. Chinese Collaboration with Japan, 1932–1945: The Limits of Accommodation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how many Chinese reconciled themselves to occupation while Japanese sought collaborators in order to reduce the costs of the occupation. Also useful is Wang Ke-wen’s essay on Wang Jingwei and the peace movement during the 1930s. David Barrett contributes an excellent comparison of the Wang and Chiang regimes.

    Find this resource:

  • Boyle, John Hunter. China and Japan at War, 1937–1945: The Politics of Collaboration. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1972.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the first accounts of the Wang Jingwei regime. Boyle shows that Wang and his supporters were driven by a complex combination of self-interest, hatred of Chiang, pan-Asian ideals, and hopes for national preservation. Relying heavily upon Japanese records, Boyle posits that Wang was seeking to create a new central government to replace Chiang as early as 1938.

    Find this resource:

  • Brook, Timothy. Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses theoretical approaches from the much larger historical literature on collaboration in France during World War II. Through archive materials from China and Japan, he shows that collaboration was “morally awkward” for both sides. He also claims that, despite the brutality of the occupation, the Japanese did not have to search long to find local collaborators.

    Find this resource:

  • Bunker, Gerald E. The Peace Conspiracy: Wang Ching-wei and the China War, 1937–1941. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes Wang’s attempts to negotiate peace with the Japanese, first from within, then from outside, the Nationalist ranks. Bunker’s work, like Boyle 1972, moves beyond simply cursing Wang for treason and investigates his point of view. Bunker notes that Wang misjudged Japan’s willingness to accept a strong China and that factional politics among the Japanese stymied any attempt to reach a peace agreement.

    Find this resource:

  • Coble, Parks M. Chinese Capitalists in Japan’s New Order: The Occupied Lower Yangzi, 1937–1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows how Japanese occupation devastated China’s capitalists, who had already struggled under Nationalist Chinese rule during the 1930s. Coble suggests that most businessmen put aside political questions and accepted Japanese rule or cooperated with Wang Jingwei’s puppet regime. This volume details the strategies for survival learned by businessmen in China’s economic heartland.

    Find this resource:

  • Fu, Poshek. Passivity, Resistance, and Collaboration: Intellectual Choices in Occupied Shanghai, 1937–1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Details reactions to Japanese occupation among Chinese intellectuals. While many works focus on collaboration or resistance, Fu offers case studies of those who chose to withdraw from public life in order to seek a “dignified survival.” He places these choices in the context of what he terms the “grey zone” of Japanese occupation. See also the section on Shanghai.

    Find this resource:

  • Snow, Philip. The Fall of Hong Kong: Britain, China and the Japanese Occupation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines interaction between the British, Japanese, Hong Kong Chinese, and mainland Chinese. Many Chinese were unwilling to support the British resistance efforts. The Fall of Hong Kong tells a story familiar to scholars of Southeast Asia—once the Europeans were defeated, Asians could never look upon them with the respect or the fear they had prior to December 1941.

    Find this resource:

Shanghai

Shanghai’s importance, and the availability of archival resources in many languages, has made study of the city during the Second Sino-Japanese War a thriving subfield. While little known in the West, the short war between Chinese Nationalist and Japanese forces in 1932 around Shanghai was a prelude to the much larger 1937–1945 conflict. Jordan 2001 claims that the Nationalists did learn a few lessons from the 1932 war about how to best use their larger but poorly equipped forces against the invader. Prior to December 1941, much of Shanghai was off limits to the Japanese, who continued to respect European and American control that grew from the unequal 1800s treaties. As shown by Ristaino 2008, some foreigners tried to protect Chinese civilians in much the same manner as the more well-known Rabe case in Nanjing. Wasserstein 1999 examines the role of foreigners who took advantage of Nationalist collapse for their own profit. Three other books describe anti-Japanese resistance in Shanghai, an experience unlike the conventional battlefield. Wakeman 2002 emphasizes Nationalist efforts to use violence and intimidation against collaborators or any potential opponents to Chiang’s regime. Heriot and Yeh 2003 illustrates how complicated Shanghai became under Japanese occupation. For example, even as some Chinese assassinated Japanese or collaborators, others were happy to assist the Japanese by profiting from trade with unoccupied areas. See also the section Collaboration and Occupied China.

  • Heriot, Christian, and Wen-hsin Yeh, eds. In the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Shanghai under Japanese Occupation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proves that not all resistance to the Japanese was motivated or controlled by the Nationalists or the Communists. The authors also point out that resistance in Shanghai was neither conventional nor guerrilla warfare. Rather, terrorism and assassination became common. Many of the essays detail how contact and even trade continued between occupied and unoccupied China.

    Find this resource:

  • Jordan, Donald A. China’s Trial by Fire: The Shanghai War of 1932. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In 1932, a small Japanese invasion highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of each side. Japanese forces were better trained and equipped, with modern air and naval power to support the land war. The Nationalists had larger numbers and local support. The Nationalists learned some important lessons about the dangers of trench warfare against the mechanized Japanese forces.

    Find this resource:

  • Ristaino, Marcia R. The Jacquinot Safe Zone: Wartime Refugees in Shanghai. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In a story similar to John Rabe’s account in Nanjing, a French Jesuit, Father Robert Jacquinot de Besange, sought to protect Chinese civilians from Japanese atrocities during the invasion of 1937. He worked with Japanese and Chinese officials to organize a safe zone—creating a model that would be duplicated when the Japanese took other major cities.

    Find this resource:

  • Wakeman, Frederic, Jr. The Shanghai Badlands: Wartime Terrorism and Urban Crime, 1937–1941. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes how Dai Li and the Nationalists’ military intelligence unit assassinated Japanese and puppet officials in and around Shanghai’s international settlement. The bibliography is a good introduction to the materials available in Shanghai Municipal Police files, and newspapers and periodicals in the area. Wakeman highlights the tenuous nature of the Japanese occupation.

    Find this resource:

  • Wasserstein, Bernard. Secret War in Shanghai. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Portrays a multinational cast of Westerners, including the British businessmen, White Russians, and German refugees. Wasserstein illustrates the ways that these foreigners took advantage of the Nationalist retreat in order to profit. Shanghai’s sordid reputation was solidified by the experience of 1937 to 1945. This book includes information on Dai Li’s efforts, and a great multilingual bibliography. Should be read in conjunction with Wakeman 2002.

    Find this resource:

  • Yeh, Wen-hsin, ed. Wartime Shanghai. New York: Routledge, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Centers on political or cultural issues, but Yeh’s chapter, “Urban Warfare and Underground Resistance: Heroism in the Chinese Secret Service during the War of Resistance,” examines Dai Li’s attempt to redefine patriotism and heroism in order to mobilize support for the Nationalists.

    Find this resource:

Sino-American Relations

Sino-American relations during the war were cordial in public and contentious in private. The Americans thought Chiang should do more to fight the Japanese, and the Nationalists thought the Americans should provide more aid. The debacle of General Joseph Stilwell, who was removed from his post in China as Chiang’s request, and larger questions about American support for the Nationalist regime, dominate much of the secondary literature. Government archives, personal papers, and secondary materials concerning General Stilwell cast an extremely critical eye on the Nationalist government and military. Romanus and Sunderland 1953 comprise several volumes that rely heavily upon Stilwell’s papers and other US Army documentation. While these histories focus on United States military operations and Stilwell’s travails, they provide a window into the conflict between Chinese and Japanese forces and offer an excellent overview of the types of documents and personal papers available from military sources. Kubek 1970 and Service 1971 offer examples from a collection of stolen US Government documents that generally support Stilwell and other critics of Chiang and the Nationalists. Feis 1953 sets the stage for early Cold War scholarship. This volume highlights mutual misunderstanding on each side. Defenders of Stilwell have tended to focus on the defects of Chiang’s regime and to connect wartime problems to Nationalist defeat in 1949. United States Department of State 1949 sought to absolve the United States of any responsibility for Chiang’s wartime performance or postwar defeat. Most famous is Tuchman 1970, a sympathetic biography of Stilwell. Schaller 1979 highlights the failure of Chiang and his supporters in the American ranks such as Milton Miles. Recently, historians have reevaluated Chiang and his leadership. Van de Ven 2003 and other materials in the Nationalists at War section suggest that Stilwell and other Americans expected too much of China and the Nationalists, and they were overconfident of their ability to reform China’s political culture. Finally, Li 2006 offers the most comprehensive biography of Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and her role in Sino-American wartime diplomacy.

  • Feis, Herbert. The China Tangle: The American Effort in China from Pearl Harbor to the Marshall Mission. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1953.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Volume that shaped debate over wartime Sino-American relations for decades. Feis emphasizes American failure to foster a friendly and democratic China. Avoiding conspiracy theories, this volume suggests cultural differences, gaps in expectations, Chiang’s unwillingness to reform, and the inability of the Americans to offer resources necessary to achieve their goals all contributed to poor relations between these allies and Chiang’s eventual defeat.

    Find this resource:

  • Kubek, Anthony. Amerasia Papers: A Clue to the Catastrophe of China. 2 vols. Papers prepared by the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1970.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Selection of 315 items from among stolen US government documents. This is a great introduction to the types of reports by Americans in China available to researchers. Also includes translations of Chinese language documents from the Nationalists and the Communists.

    Find this resource:

  • Li, Laura Tyson. Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China’s Eternal First Lady. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The most detailed account of the diplomatic and domestic political machinations of Chiang’s wife. Li highlights how Madame Chiang epitomized American hopes for a modern and democratic China. She was vital for gaining American public support, if not American government aid, during the war.

    Find this resource:

  • Romanus, Charles F., and Riley Sunderland. Stilwell’s Mission to China. Washington, DC: Department of the Army, Historical Division, 1953.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued in Stilwell’s Command Problems (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, Department of the Army, 1956) and Time Runs Out in CBI (Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1959). Part of The U.S. Army in World War Two series. These classic volumes on America’s role in Chongqing’s anti-Japanese struggle are generally sympathetic to General Stilwell’s point of view. These are the starting point for all research into official sources, as each concludes with a valuable bibliographic essay.

    Find this resource:

  • Schaller, Michael. The U.S. Crusade in China, 1938–1945. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Survey of America’s troubled relationship with Chiang and China. Schaller’s account is sympathetic to Stilwell, and highly critical of the Nationalists and Chiang’s American supporters, such as Milton Miles and Patrick Hurley. He suggests that American policy was fundamentally flawed in its attempts to oppose revolution in China. This volume also highlights how anti-Communism motivated many American supporters of Chiang.

    Find this resource:

  • Service, John S. The Amerasia Papers: Some Problems in the History of US-China Relations. Berkeley: Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, 1971.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A diplomat and political advisor to General Stilwell in China during the war, Service was later dismissed from the State Department for his alleged Communist sympathies. This book was his response to his critics, and the materials released in The Amerasia Papers. These sixty-five documents highlight Nationalist failures and misrule during the war, assess Communist strengths, and discuss in-fighting among Americans in China.

    Find this resource:

  • Tuchman, Barbara. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911–1945. New York: Macmillan, 1970.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Tuchman produced a devastating critique of Chiang’s leadership and commitment to the anti-Japanese struggle. This is the single most important book for creating the positive image of Stilwell, and a negative image of Chiang and Claire Chennault. In her account Stilwell was eager to improve China’s military, understood its problems, and offered a viable strategy to fight the Japanese in China and in Burma, but was stymied by Chiang.

    Find this resource:

  • United States Department of State. United States Relations with China: With Special Reference to the Period 1944–1949. Washington, DC: Department of State, 1949.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    White paper that explains the collapse of the Nationalist regime and justifies American policy through narrative and documents. Key document for creating the idea that Chiang’s defeat in 1949 grew from his long-term inability or unwillingness to heed American advice. Nationalist defeat grew in large part from defects clear during the war.

    Find this resource:

  • van de Ven, Hans. “Stilwell in the Stocks: The Chinese Nationalists and the Allied Powers in the Second World War.” Asian Affairs 34.3 (November 2003): 243–259.

    DOI: 10.1080/0306837032000136288Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the rise of the “Stilwell myth,” that Chiang’s refusal to follow American advice during the war was the primary factor in the regime’s inability to resist the Japanese. Van de Ven suggests that Stilwell was unrealistic about China’s ability to resist, and bears much responsibility for the lack of wartime Sino-American cooperation. This is a vital counterpoint to the Tuchman volume.

    Find this resource:

America’s War in China

Besides the debates over General Stilwell and American relations with Chiang discussed in the previous section, the US war effort involved three other important areas: the air war and the role of General Chennault, the ground war in Burma and cooperation with the British, and intelligence cooperation with the Nationalists. Chennault 1949 highlights the eagerness of Chiang and the Nationalists to fight the Japanese and denounces Stilwell’s alleged attempt to use “the Chinese Communist government of Yenan as a lever to move the Generalissimo” (p. 317). The volume also makes a case for using American air power rather than wearing out Chiang’s armies to defeat the Japanese. A more balanced view comes from Craven and Cate 1984, which comprises volumes related to China. More recently, Xu 2001 suggests that conflicting military strategies and Stilwell’s lack of support for air power hampered Chiang’s ability to contribute more to the war against Japan. Burma was another problem area. While Stilwell wanted to launch a vigorous counterattack to recover Burma and open a land route to supply China, Chiang was less enthused. Kirby 1957–1969, a massive multivolume history of the British role in the war against Japan, shows British attempts to recover their prewar empire and build relations with the Americans. The diplomatic history in Thorne 1978 highlights the depth of Anglo-American discord over China’s potential to contribute to the war against Japan. Romanus and Sunderland 1953 and other works listed in the Sino-American Relations section are also important for understanding the war in Burma. Finally, the interaction between two American intelligence organizations and Chiang’s government has become another avenue to investigate Sino-American relations during the war. Miles 1967 was written by the head of the US Navy–organized Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SACO), which worked closely with Dai Li and generally got along well with Chiang. Caldwell 1972 reviews cooperation from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) perspective. Yu 1996 and Yu 2006 present a less-partisan assessment of the role of US intelligence services in the war against Japan. It shows how Chiang was undermined by his inability to control the activities of foreigners in China.

  • Caldwell, Oliver J. A Secret War: Americans in China, 1944–1945. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1972.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Caldwell worked in China with the OSS. His account is highly critical of Chiang and the Nationalists, particularly General Dai Li. This volume portrays American efforts to assist the corrupt and ineffective Chongqing regime as ill-advised. It also details the complicated relationships between various American intelligence organizations in China.

    Find this resource:

  • Chennault, Claire Lee. Way of a Fighter: The Memoirs of Claire Lee Chennault. Edited by Robert Horz. New York: Putnam, 1949.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Commander of the American Volunteer Group (the “Flying Tigers”), 1941–1942, China Air Task Force, 1942–1943, and US 14th Air Force, 1943–1945, Chennault makes a case that increased American airpower in China could have made major contributions to the defeat of Japan. In many ways, his account is a mirror image of Tuchman and supporters of Stilwell, and reflects the hardening ideological positions of the early Cold War.

    Find this resource:

  • Craven, Wesley Frank, and James Lea Cate, eds. The Army Air Forces in World War II. 5 vols. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    These volumes are useful introductions to Army Air Force records held in archival collections. The Army Air Force volumes attempt to explain the Chennault-Stilwell conflict and offer a middle-ground between partisans on each side. Originally published 1948–1958.

    Find this resource:

  • Kirby, Stanley Woodburn. The War against Japan. 5 vols. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. London: HMSO, 1957–1969.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Prepared by Major General Kirby, who served in the Army Headquarters India. Volumes 3 through 5 contain information on Nationalist China, primarily as it relates to the war in Burma. This is an important work for seeing the British perspective on the CBI Theater, including efforts to recover Burma, obtain United States support. The British engaged in heated conflicts with the Nationalists over military strategy and supplies.

    Find this resource:

  • Miles, Milton. A Different Kind of War: The Little-Known Story of the Combined Guerilla Forces Created in China by the U.S. Navy and the Chinese during World War II. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Miles, head of SACO, promotes the image of the Nationalists as an eager and effective fighting force against the Japanese. SACO, primarily staffed on the American side with United States Navy officers, was devoted to protecting Chiang’s government from internal and external opponents. Miles’s account also attacks Stilwell and Department of State officials who praised either the war-fighting ability or the governance of the Communists in Yenan.

    Find this resource:

  • Thorne, Christopher. Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain and the War against Japan, 1941–1945. New York: Oxford, 1978.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Seminal volume on wartime Anglo-American diplomacy. It places the CBI Theater into the context of the decline of the British Empire and exposes how the two allies came to see China as a secondary theater of conflict. He also shows that racism shaped how Washington and London perceived China. The British were more skeptical of Chinese ability to contribute to the war effort.

    Find this resource:

  • Xu, Guangqiu. “The Issue of US Air Support for China during the Second World War, 1942–1945.” Contemporary History 36.3 (July 2001): 459–484.

    DOI: 10.1177/002200940103600304Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive review of the secondary source literature and primary source materials on this topic. This article tends to support the revisionist view of the Chiang-Stilwell conflict, concluding that Sino-American discord stemmed from “the different military goals and strategies of the USA and China, Stilwell’s emphasis on the role of ground forces and his contempt for air power, the construction of the Ledo Road, and the lack of understanding of Chinese military politics” (p. 484).

    Find this resource:

  • Yu, Maochun. The OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Along with Yu 2006, the most detailed works on wartime intelligence operations in China, and the Americans’ troubled relationships with the Nationalists’ intelligence and security apparatus. This book reveals the extent of distrust between Chiang and the Americans.

    Find this resource:

  • Yu, Maochun. Dragon’s War: Allied Operations and the Fate of China, 1937–1947. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued from Yu 1996. Yu concludes that military and intelligence activities of the Americans, Soviets, British, and French in China ultimately undermined Nationalist legitimacy. Chiang simply could not control his allies, which increased the perception that he could not or would not protect China’s dignity and sovereignty.

    Find this resource:

Nanjing Massacre

Few incidents in the Second Sino-Japanese War have caused more heated debate and diplomatic discord than the Nanjing Massacre from December 1937 to January 1938. During the massacre, Japanese soldiers killed up to 300,000 Chinese, committed countless rapes, and pillaged much of the city. The event has become a symbol of Japanese aggression against China, and two books sparked public and academic interest in the massacre. Chang 1997 blamed the Japanese and Americans for making this a “forgotten” holocaust. In the diaries, Rabe 2000 presents a contradiction for readers: a Nazi Party member who is outraged by Japanese atrocities in Nanjing. Many Japanese are eager to investigate the massacre, as seen in Honda 1999, written by a journalist who conducted interviews in Japan and China. Brook 2000 has compiled a useful collection of documents related to the massacre from Chinese and other sources. In response to demands for greater information, Drea, et al. 2006 features a committee of scholars who review archival materials. The documents, indexes, and commentaries resulting from this project are vital for students and scholars who cannot access the US National Archives. Finally, three works shed light on contending interpretations of the massacre. Wakabayashi 2007 and Fogel 2000 both offer critiques of those who use the tragedy of Nanjing to promote political agendas on behalf of Beijing or Tokyo. Yang 1999 describes the state of the field. It also points out how research into the massacre highlights problems common to the study of any atrocity or war crime.

  • Brook, Timothy, ed. Documents on the Rape of Nanking. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of primary documents and commentary. Interestingly, this book includes evidence confirming Japanese atrocities and dissent from the Tokyo Trials judgment. In “The Dissenting Opinion of Radhabinod Pal,” an Indian judge at the trials questioned the legitimacy of the judgments in light of the atomic bomb and Western imperialism.

    Find this resource:

  • Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. New York: HarperCollins, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Graphic detail on the events of December 1937 and January 1938. This book combines historical research and strong polemic, and its popularity sparked interest in the massacre on both sides of the Pacific. Chang highlights the complicity of high-ranking Japanese officers in China and Japan. She also attacks Americans and Japanese for refusing to confront the massacre after 1945. The volume has been criticized for historical inaccuracies.

    Find this resource:

  • Drea, Edward, Greg Bradsher, Robert Hanyok, James Lide, Michael Petersen, and Daqing Yang. Researching Japanese War Crimes: Introductory Essays. Washington, DC: Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A US National Archives and Records Administration project that includes documents, guides to archives, and essays on war crimes in China. These essays, and a lengthy series of sample documents, were in response to allegations by Iris Chang and others that the US government was withholding key evidence of Japanese war crimes. The volume and documents include information on the Nanjing Massacre, comfort women, and slave labor.

    Find this resource:

  • Fogel, Joshua, ed. The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520220065.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview of how the massacre has been understood or portrayed. It includes essays on Chinese and Japanese memories of the massacre, and Daqing Yang’s entry, which places these events into a larger international context. The volume also contains an essay by Mark Eykholt that connects the massacre to China’s postwar national consciousness, and by Yoshida outlining how the massacre has been debated in Japan.

    Find this resource:

  • Honda, Katsuichi. The Nanjing Massacre: A Japanese Journalist Confronts Japan’s National Shame. Edited by Frank Gibney. Translated by Karen Sandness. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Honda uses documents and extensive interviews in China and Japan to document the massacre. He avoids being dragged into arguments over the exact number of dead, instead focusing on the irrefutable evidence of an atrocity. He connects the events in Nanjing to Japan’s overall policy toward China.

    Find this resource:

  • Rabe, John. The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe. Edited by Erwin Wickert. Translated by John E. Woods. New York: Vintage, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rabe, a Nazi Party member working as a businessman in Nanjing, was moved by humanitarian concerns to protect Chinese. Rabe, part of an international committee that included foreign missionaries and doctors, was credited with saving up to 250,000 Chinese by offering them refuge in a “neutral zone” during the height of the killings. Rabe’s account provides vivid detail on Japanese atrocities.

    Find this resource:

  • Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashi, ed. The Nanking Atrocity, 1937–1938: Complicating the Picture. New York: Berghahn, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Combines history and historiography. This balanced book offers a critique of Chang 1997, noting that Nanjing is far from a “forgotten holocaust.” Other essays attack attempts by Japanese rightists to deny or downgrade Nanjing. Wakabayashi’s essay is a succinct review of how the massacre has become portrayed as a holocaust, primarily in mainland China.

    Find this resource:

  • Yang, Daqing, “Convergence or Divergence? Recent Historical Writings on the Rape of Nanjing: Review Article.” The American Historical Review 104.3 (June 1999): 842–865.

    DOI: 10.2307/2650991Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews scholarship and politics related to Nanjing in the United States, Japan, and China, noting a gradual convergence of views over the past two decades. Yang does, however, highlight differences in perception. He also raises important issues about the impossibility of determining exact numbers of dead from such a chaotic event.

    Find this resource:

War’s End and Aftermath

The formal end to combat did not bring an end to hardship. As Glantz 2003 shows, war finally came to Manchuria in August 1945 when the Soviets invaded and quickly defeated the depleted and dispirited Japanese forces. Thousands of Japanese were taken as prisoners into Siberia. Itoh 2010 describes how other Japanese were trapped in Manchuria long after the war. The end of the Second Sino-Japanese War did not bring peace to China, which was soon embroiled in civil war. Pepper 1999 is a broad overview of the conflict between the Nationalists and the Communists that builds upon many of the histories of the wartime strengths and failures of these two parties. Spector 2008 places the renewed fighting in China in context of a series of civil conflicts in East and Southeast Asia that were only delayed by the anti-Japanese struggle. The final judgments on wartime atrocities would come from a series of trials in Tokyo and elsewhere. Piccigallo 1979 offers the most detailed English language overview of the Tokyo and regional trials like those that occurred in China. Pritchard, et al. 1981–1987 and Pritchard and Zaide 1998–2005 compiled the best guides and document collections to the Tokyo Trials, where Japan’s overall policy of aggression toward China was brought to light. Finally, He 2009 is the best overview of the limited postwar reconciliation between China and Japan. It explains how elites in each country have been willing to pursue reconciliation when it suited their interests, or to emphasize historical grievances in order to build political legitimacy at home. After almost seven decades, the Second Sino-Japanese War remains unresolved.

  • Glantz, David M. The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria, 1945: August Storm. London: Frank Cass, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Most detailed account from the Soviet perspective. This volume shows that the Japanese military in Manchuria was hollowed out and demoralized by war’s end. See also Glantz’s companion volume, Soviet Operational and Tactical Combat in Manchuria, 1945: “August Storm” (London: Frank Cass, 2003).

    Find this resource:

  • He, Yinan. The Search for Reconciliation: Sino-Japanese and German-Polish Relations since World War II. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    He takes a realist approach to elucidate how Japanese and Chinese have sought (or hampered) reconciliation. She suggests that “the key to interstate reconciliation is the harmonization of national memories.” In the 1970s, Tokyo and Beijing avoided the war in order to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough. By the 1980s, however, elites in both countries were more willing to emphasize the history of animosity and atrocity.

    Find this resource:

  • Itoh, Mayumi. Japanese War Orphans in Manchuria: Forgotten Victims of World War II. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Beginning in the early 1930s, hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians settled in Manchuria. At war’s end, many did not escape back to Japan, but were left behind to the tender mercies of the Soviet Red Army and the Chinese Communists. Itoh also points out Japan’s “historical amnesia”—war orphans became reminders of defeat and a lost empire best forgotten.

    Find this resource:

  • Pepper, Suzanne. Civil War in China: The Political Struggle, 1945–1949. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Best single volume on civil war. Pepper shows how the war against Japan left China facing huge problems of political reconciliation and economic reconstruction. This volume shows that Nationalist defeat began not on the battlefield, but through the failure of Chiang’s regime to capitalize on Japan’s sudden surrender. Many of the wartime defects of the Nationalists continued after 1945.

    Find this resource:

  • Piccigallo, Philip. The Japanese on Trial: Allied War Crimes Operations in the East, 1945–1951. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Does more than focus on Tokyo; it also examines the regional trials, and is the best English-language overview of China’s policies on punishing war criminals. Piccigallo’s book takes a middle position on the issue of “victor’s justice.” He notes that political considerations shaped the trials but does not shy away from showing that Japanese troops did commit systematic atrocities against Chinese and others.

    Find this resource:

  • Pritchard, R. John, Sonia M. Zaide, and Donald Watt. The Tokyo War Crimes Trial: Index and Guide. 5 vols. New York: Garland, 1981–1987.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The Index and Guide are key resources for those interested in the trial.

    Find this resource:

  • Pritchard, R. John, and Sonia Zaide, eds. The Tokyo Major War Crimes Trial: The Complete Transcripts of the Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. 124 vols. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1998–2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The Complete Transcripts are a greatly expanded version of materials printed in twenty-two volumes by Garland. This is the most complete record of accusations against the Japanese available outside of archives.

    Find this resource:

  • Spector, Ronald. In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia. New York: Random House, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses less on Allied victory in World War II than on conflicts that were delayed by the anti-Japanese effort. Japan’s surrender brought an end to the façade of a united front between Chiang Kai-shek Nationalists and Mao Zedong Communists. Spector confirms that the rapid and unexpected collapse of Japanese occupation in China contributed to postwar chaos.

    Find this resource:

LAST MODIFIED: 02/26/2013

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199743292-0141

back to top

Article

Up

Down