Special Issue: State, Society, and the Individual in Wartime China during the 1930s and 1940s
Introduction: state, society, and the individual in wartime China during the 1930s and 1940s
Madeleine Yue DONG
Intellectual officers, professional journals, and military change in the Northeast and National Revolutionary Armies, 1928–1937
Chi Man KWONG
ABSTRACT:This article discusses the ways in which Chinese soldiers learned from foreign military developments in the decade before the outbreak of the Second Sino–Japanese War (1937–1945). Focusing on the Northeast Army (Dongbeijun) and the National Revolutionary Army (Guomin gemingjun), the article analyzes the role of Chinese intellectual officers in military change. It considers how they used professional military journals, which were at the time a new means of disseminating military knowledge, as a medium to discuss military issues, resolve differences in opinion, and push forward changes in tactics, equipment, and organization. It also suggests that some intellectual Chinese officers were fixated on the pursuit of a post-First World War modern approach to war that relied mainly on technology and industrial capability. However, this “modern” approach to war proved in practice to be rather inappropriate for contemporary conditions in the Republic of China.
KEYWORDS: Intellectual officers, Chinese military history, National Revolutionary Army, Northeast Army, professional journals
The maneuvering between Jiang Jieshi and southwestern warlords in the campaign to “exterminate the Communists” in 1934
ABSTRACT:The maneuvering between Jiang Jieshi and the warlords in southwest China in 1934 epitomized the tortuous adjustments that characterized the relationship between the southwestern regional warlords and the Nanjing government. Despite the façade of the joint efforts to “exterminate the Communists,” Jiang Jieshi, Chen Jitang, and Hu Hanmin each had his own political calculus. In September and October 1934, after the Central Red Army broke through the Nationalist encirclement of the Jiangxi Soviet and moved west, the loss of this strategic buffer zone put the southwestern local militarists in an awkward position. They took advantage of Hu Hanmin’s political clout to force Jiang Jieshi to enter Sichuan and thus eased the direct military pressure they faced from the Communists. At the same time, the warlords engaged the Red Army militarily in Guizhou. Jiang Jieshi, however, successfully reshaped the political situation in Guizhou, taking advantage of the opportunity to exterminate the Communists there to simultaneously encircle Guangdong and Guangxi. Jiang’s relationship with the southwestern warlords temporarily affected Jiang’s pursuit of the Red Army. This created favorable conditions for the Red Army’s westward movement.
KEYWORDS: Long March, exterminate the Communists, Jiang Jieshi, Chen Jitang, Hu Hanmin
The United Front in the context of politics based on personal relationships: the story of Mixian County in an age of ambivalence
ABSTRACT:In the Republican period, as a result of the constant changes taking place in modern China, key social concepts, political organizations, and absolute authority became ambivalent. Many facets of this social and political ambivalence were reflected in Henan Province, where local forces partially overlapped with the national regime. Mixian County in Henan Province is an ideal place on which to focus because of the emergence of Fan Baiquan, a local strongman, and the rise and fall of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the county during the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (the War of Resistance). The ascendance of Fan Baiquan and the development of the CCP in Mixian County during the War of Resistance were closely related to the general environment of politics based on personal relationships, splits within an organization, and ambivalent authority.
KEYWORDS: Fan Baiquan, the Chinese Communist Party, the Guomindang, politics based on personal relationships, the United Front
The dark side of the war: corruption in the Guomindang government during World War II
ABSTRACT:During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression from 1937 to 1945, corruption among all ranks of Guomindang officials intensified and spread widely. The Nationalist Party and its leader, Jiang Jieshi, recognized the importance of political reform, social control, and winning popular support during the war and attempted to establish strong governance. Corruption, however, severely harmed the Nationalist Party and derailed its original plan to “build the nation through the war.” As a result of the Guomindang’s ineffective control, corruption harmed the Party’s capacity to govern and was a key factor in its loss of mainland China soon after World War II. The Guomindang won the war but lost out politically.
KEYWORDS: War of Resistance, The Nationalist Party (Guomindang), The Nationalist government, corruption
Mobilizing the dead in wartime Chongqing
Linh D. VU
ABSTRACT:This paper examines how Republican China mobilized the war dead for nation building during the 1940s. In 1940, the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek, having evacuated to Chongqing, sought to affirm its status against Wang Jingwei’s collaborationist government in Nanjing by building a Loyal Martyrs’ Shrine (zhonglie ci) at the site of the Guan-Yue Temple. The existing temple and its estate provided an island of normalcy and livelihood for Daoist followers, spiritual cultivation advocates, business owners, and refugee farmers, whose presence and memories of war were erased by the government’s urgent need to monopolize religiosity, power, and prestige. Ironically, after the Loyal Martyrs’ Shrine in the alternate capital was completed, it immediately fell into disuse. In 1945, a victory celebration was held at Fuxing (Futu) Pass, an open space, signaling the need for a different mode of war commemoration that would resonate more with the role the Chinese military had played during World War II. In the meantime, the Loyal Martyrs’ Shrine converted from the Guan-Yue Temple quickly filled with tenants once more. Consequently, from 1946 to 1948, the Chongqing Municipal Government again tried to evict the living in order to commemorate the dead of the Chinese Civil War.
KEYWORDS: the dead, Loyal Martyrs’ Shrine, war commemoration, nation-state, Chongqing, World War II, Nationalist Party
The migration of modernity: an alternative perspective on everyday life in rural communist base areas during wartime, 1937–1949
ABSTRACT:By placing an autobiographical account of a performing artist–soldier in the New Fourth Route Army in the context of the spatial fluidity of modern culture, this essay offers an alternative perspective that highlights the multifaceted nature of the Chinese Communist Revolution. It argues that there were many interactions and intersections between urban culture and the rural world during the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance and that men and women of letters and the modern culture they represented occupied a unique space in the Chinese Communist Party’s power hierarchy. The article also maintains that, despite the imperative of collectivism and the pressure for political conformity, in the process through which educated urban youth constructed their new identities as revolutionaries, individual subjectivity, modern feminist values, and a preference for an urban lifestyle remained visible. In other words, modernity without cities was part of the new daily realities in the rural areas where war was fought and revolution was carried out.
KEYWORDS: Migration of modernity, everyday life in the rural areas during the war, spatial fluidity of culture
Desperate fighting: divorce petitions of soldiers’ spouses in the Communist base areas during the War of Resistance
ABSTRACT:During the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the base areas under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party implemented the principles of gender equality and free-choice marriage. However, divorce petitions of soldiers’ wives were often denied and, over time, there was a tendency toward tightening control. To defend their rights, soldiers’ spouses continued to petition the government and the court to divorce their husbands, yet the effect was minimal. Some wives engaged in passive resistance such as squabbling or committing adultery. The primary reason for the difficulty in obtaining a divorce was the war and military needs. The Communist government had no choice but to compromise the legal rights of soldiers’ spouses in order to stabilize the army.
KEYWORDS: War of Resistance, Communist base area, Shaanxi–Gansu–Ningxia Border Region, soldier’s spouse, divorce
Surviving the Second World War in Manchukuo: memories of Korean experiences of the war in Manchurian farming villages
Chong Eun AHN
When the Second Sino–Japanese War broke out in 1937, it became increasingly important for the Japanese Empire to secure and exploit areas under its colonial control in order to strengthen the imperial forces. Focusing on the memories of the Chaoxian zu (ethnic Korean) peasants in Minle Chaoxian zu Township, Heilongjiang, this article examines how Korean migrant peasants in Manchukuo survived such an exploitative situation. These ordinary people’s memories of the years from 1937 through 1945 demonstrate that some Korean migrants negotiated their power in everyday practice by positioning themselves ambiguously in relationship to the Japanese colonizers and to other colonized peoples. While pressure existed to support the imperial forces by producing more rice, by being submissive imperial subjects, and by speaking Japanese in public, this article argues that these Koreans managed to survive by coping with the colonial circumstances. Their emphasis on daily lives challenges the simplistic binary between the colonized and the colonizer and sheds light on the moments when the weak exercised their power.
KEYWORDS: Anti-Japanese War, Manchukuo, Chaoxian zu, Korean Peasants in Manchuria
The emergence of the modern Chinese diplomats: officials in the Zongli yamen, waiwu bu and legations, 1861–1911, by LI Wenjie, Beijing, SDX Joint Publishing Company, 2017, 565 pp., ISBN 978-7-108-05644-3
Jenny Huangfu DAY (皇甫峥峥)
Xuezheng regulations and the imperial system in the Qing dynasty, by AN Dongqiang, Beijing, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2017, 328 pp., ISBN 978-7-5201-0465-1
Liang ZHANG (张亮)
A collection of historical documents on Weng Wenhao and the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, compiled by CHEN Qianping, Beijing, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2017, 2 volumes, 863 pp., ISBN 978-7-5097-9823-2
Yang SUN (孙扬)
The gender of memory: rural women and China’s collective past, by Gail HERSHATTER, translated by ZHANG Yun, Beijing, People’s Publishing House, 2017, 439 pp., ISBN 978-7-01-016781-7
Yan WANG (王燕)