20th Century Chinese Literature

The recorded history of Chinese literature begins with an era of great philosophical and cultural advances known as the Hundred Schools of Thought during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–256 BC). Following the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1912 and the establishment...

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Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong  (1893–1976)     In 1893, Mao Zedong was born into a prosperous peasant family in Hunan Province, After an elementary school education, Mao began working the fields at age 13. At age 17, he enrolled in a secondary school in Changsha, the capital of Hunan....

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Chinese Civil War Resumes

The civil war between Chinese Nationalists and Communists, begun in 1927, was put on hold during the fight against Imperial Japan in WWII.  After the Japanese surrender in August 1945, the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalists agreed to peace talks and a...

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Chinese Civil War Resumes

The Chinese Civil War  fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China (CPC) began in 1927. After a temporary truce to collaborate in the fight against Japanese aggression in China, the civil war resumed in...

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United Nations WWII

  A lot of people seem surprised to hear that the term "United Nations," coined by FDR, was used during WWII. President Franklin Roosevelt first coined the term "United Nations" to describe the Allied countries in WWII.  On New Year's Day 1942, FDR, Prime Minister...

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Eternity

Eternity (万世流芳), a controversial collaborative film effort between Japanese and Chinese filmmakers, was made in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in 1943. Relating the story of Lin Zexu and the Anglo-Chinese First Opium War, the film was a Japanese attempt to produce...

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Changjiao Massacre

While the most infamous was the 1937 Rape of Nanking, the Japanese Army also committed many other atrocities throughout Asia during WWII. The Changjiao Massacre, a four day rampage carried out by the Japanese China Expeditionary Army in May 1943, involved the murder...

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INFERNO

I am currently reading this excellent book by Max Hastings. Not only is it detailed, balanced and well-referenced; it is superb writing. Before dawn next morning, "a warm, damp, rather hazy day," American and Japanese pilots breakfasted. The Yorktown's men favoured...

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WWII China

It is reasonable to say that WWII began, not with the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland, but with a battle on the outskirts of Beijing in July 1937. After occupying Manchuria in 1931, Japan began a wider invasion of China in 1937. By the end of WWII in 1945, ~13-20 million...

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WWII Combatants

Population of Major Combatants in 1942 USA 134,859,553 Great Britain 48,400,000                  Australia 7,137,000                  Canada 11,825,500 China 527,456,000 Russia 112,000,000 ---------------------------------- Germany 72,620,000 Italy 45,387,000 Imperial...

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WWII Participants

Most countries in the world participated in WWII.   The leading Axis powers were Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Empire of Japan. The major Allied Powers were the United Kingdom and France and their colonies, China, the Soviet Union and the United States....

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Will Japan Abandon Pacifism?

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week,  Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe compared recent tensions between China and Japan to the rivalry between the British and German empires at the start of the 20th century. A conservative nationalist, Abe has...

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Japanese Premier Visits Yasukuni Shrine

Today's headline elicits emotions reminiscent of an earlier time. 12/25/13  TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan visited a contentious Tokyo war shrine early on Thursday, provoking swift condemnation from China and South Korea, both victims of Japan’s wartime...

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Flying Tigers

During the summer of 1941, young American pilots under the command of Captain Claire L. Chennault ("retired" from the United States Army Air Corps) secretly trained in the jungles of Southeast Asia in preparation for an air war with Japan. On December 20, 1942, the...

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Hong Kong Falls

    On Christmas Day 1941 ("Black Christmas") the Governor General of Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. In the 18-day battle, the British suffered 11,848 casualties and Japan suffered 2,754. Following the surrender, Imperial Japanese troops committed many...

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Allied Powers

    Allied Powers of WWII On January 1, 1942, 26 countries signed the Declaration by United Nations, which set forth the war aims of the Allied powers. Australia Belgium Canada China Costa Rica Cuba Czechoslovakia Dominican Republic Great Britain Greece Guatemala...

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Japan Attacks Hong Kong

  On December 8, 1941 the Japanese 21st, 23rd and the 38th Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai, attacked  heavily outnumbered British, Canadian, Indian and Volunteer Defense Forces in Hong Kong. After initial resistance, the defenders were soon...

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Lend-Lease Act

Diverging from a non-interventionist policy begun after WWI, in March 1941 the U.S. Congress  enacted Public Law 77-11, the Lend-Lease Act. Formally titled : An Act to Further Promote the Defense of the United States, the law authorized a program that supplied the...

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Sino-Japanese War Stalemated

  In 1940, after Nationalist Chinese victories in Changsha and Guangxi, and with her lines of communications stretched deep into the Chinese interior, Japan had reached a stalemate in the war with China. Although the Japanese ruled the large cities, they were unable...

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Casualties in the Second Sino-Japanese War

  The number of casualties in the Second Sino-Japanese War was shocking: Chinese casualties 3.22 million soldiers 9.13 million civilians killed in crossfire 8.4 million non-military casualties. Chinese sources claim ~35 million total casualties (most Western...

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Tientsin Incident

In June 1939, the Imperial Japanese Army blockaded foreign concessions in the northern China port of Tientsin because of British consulate refusal to hand over four Chinese accused of assassinating a Japanese customs official. Japanese soldiers strip-searched anyone...

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Inside Asia – John Gunther

In the late 1930s, John Gunther's popular "Inside" series described the national characteristics of Europe and Asian nations through personal anecdote, biography of important individuals and overall...

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Ethnic Conflict in Imperial Japan

                                Ainu                                                                     Korean                                                            Chinese In an attempt to develop the wilds of Hokkaidō, the Meiji government outlawed the...

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