China

Full Name Republic of China
Alliance Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Entry into WW2 7 Jul 1937
Population in 1939 517,568,000
Military Deaths in WW2 4,000,000
Civilian Deaths in WW2 16,000,000

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

China had been in political turmoil since the 1911 revolution. In fact, civil wars and regional conflicts would continue nearly non-stop into the WW2 era. By 1928, the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, based in the capital of Nanjing, had largely emerged as the strongest faction. In the early- to mid-1930s, Nationalist government was able to significantly improve the country's infrastructure and stabilize the economy. Since the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912, sovereignty had slowly been returning to Chinese hands from the European imperial powers, and relationships with the west had also been improving. Foreign nations such as and the Soviet Union and Germany contributed much to the rise of modern China in this period. Behind the steady progress was the Nationalist Party's one-party system, which was maintained by brutal force whenever necessary. Corruption, which was a matter of course in Qing Dynasty China, was inherited by the Nationalist officials, and the party leadership did little to curb such practice.

It was around this time that the Chinese Communist Party was formed. Although later Communist literature would claim a great amount of credit in its efforts to better the lives of the ordinary people and to counter the increasing Japanese demands on China, the truth was that the Communist party was only slightly better than a group of bandits in the 1930s, surviving as the result of the Nationalist Party's agreement with the Soviet Union in return for military aid.

Japan's violation of Chinese sovereignty started as early as 1931 when Japanese troops entered northeastern China, also known as Manchuria, which had a population of about 30,000,000. On 18 Feb 1932, Japan established the puppet nation of Manchukuo, forcibly taking Manchuria away from China. The League of Nations attempted to interfere with Japan's aggression toward China, but failed. With the former Emperor of China, Puyi, nominally at the helm of the puppet nation, Japan used Manchukuo for its rich resources as well as its strategic location to counter Soviet influence in the area. In 1932, Japan attacked the Chinese city of Shanghai, again triumphant over an ineffective League of Nations. The streak of aggression would continue with an invasion of Hebei Province in 1933 and an indirect support of a Mongolian raid into northern China in 1936. Full scale war would finally break out in Jul 1937. Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kaishek, previously stressed the need to unify China by defeating the Communists before dealing with external aggression, was kidnapped during the Xi'an Incident and forced to temporarily ally with the Communists. Such an alliance was nominal at best. At first, the Communists undermined Nationalist efforts against the Japanese so to allow the Japanese to inflict maximum damage on the Nationalists, while the Nationalists moved their best divisions and weapons into reserve for the inevitable future civil war against the Communists. Before long, the two sides would engage in actual fighting against each other, although such clashes would be played down on both sides to avoid damage in reputation.

The city of Shanghai on the Chinese coast fell under Japanese control in Oct 1937, followed by the capital of Nanjing two months later. Japanese troops committed atrocities, with the most brutal example shown with the Rape of Nanjing, where 50,000 to 300,000 Chinese, mostly civilians and prisoners of war, were murdered and 20,000 women of all ages were raped. Japanese bomber crews were equally brutal against the civilians, dropping their payloads purposefully in residential zones and on clearly marked hospitals. Although out-gunned and out-maneuvered by Japanese troops, the Chinese were determined and were resilient. Fighting primarily a defensive war, the Chinese made use of the vastness of China Proper to trap more and more Japanese troops in this large theater as occupation troops, preventing them from being used offensively in the China-Burma-India Theater or as garrison troops in the Pacific War. To partially counter this, the Japanese organized regiments of Manchurian, Mongolian, and Han Chinese military and gendarmerie units to police the conquered territories. The most powerful collaborationist force in China under Japanese control was the military of the puppet state Manchukuo, which fielded a 220,000-strong military with a small air force and a small navy. The general Chinese population who happened to reside near main railways was pressed into Japanese service as well. These civilians were given the responsibility to quickly repair sections of tracks damaged or destroyed by Chinese saboteurs within eight miles of their places of residence; failures in doing so quickly would often result in reprisal killings.

At the end of the war, over 2,000,000 Japanese lived in China, most of whom in Manchuria. Nearly all were deported back to Japan after the war.

The eight-year war ended with a great cost on the Chinese population with about 20,000,000 perishing in the conflict, 16,000,000 of that figure civilian. Inflation grew to dangerous levels in the post-war economy, and the situation was worsened by rampant corruption in the Nationalist government. Meanwhile, the Soviet troops that invaded the puppet nation of Manchukuo remained there, providing a safe haven for the Chinese Communists to build up strength and gathered surrendered Japanese equipment. In Mar 1946, the civil war restarted, and a year later the Communist capital of Yenan was taken by the Nationalists, which enjoyed a military advantage and had monetary support from the United States. The Communists quickly turned the tide, however. Through effective propaganda campaigns and popular land reform policies, the Communists secured loyalty from the massive farmer population, thus providing the Communists a nearly unlimited pool of resources from which they could recruit manpower. By late 1947, the Communists had taken control all of northeastern China. Chiang Kaishek suggested an offensive into the northeast, but US Secretary of State George Marshall convinced Chiang to wait, hoping the civil war could end via diplomatic means; although a Nationalist offensive might or might not had been successful, the pause meant the Nationalists had now given away any chance of seizing the initiative. In 1948, the Communists launched an offensive of their own into China Proper, rapidly pushing back Nationalists forces. On 31 Jan 1949, Beiping was declared secure by the Communists. On 21 Apr, the Chinese capital of Nanjing fell under Communist control. The Nationalist government first fled to Guangzhou on 23 Apr, then Chongqing on 15 Oct, followed by Chengdu on 25 Nov.

Relocation of the Republic of China to Taiwan

On 10 Dec 1949, the Nationalists abandoned all positions in mainland China and relocated the Republic of China to the island of Taiwan on 10 Dec 1949. The Nationalists were able to secure quantities of gold reserves and various cultural treasures to Taiwan before they could be captured by the Communists. The Republic of China still remains in Taiwan today with the capital in the city of Taipei. Mainland China today is occupied by a new country formed by the Communist forces which claimed victory in 1949; the communist People's Republic of China renamed Beiping ("Northern Peace") to Beijing ("Northern Capital") to serve as its capital.

Sources:
Jung Chang, Mao
Philip Jowett, China's Wars
Wikipedia.

People

Bai, ChongxiHe, YingqinSun, Lianzhong
Bie, TingfangHo, Feng-ShanSun, Liren
Cai, TingkaiJiang, DingwenWang, Jingwei
Chen, Changjie Li, MiWang, Mingzhang
Chen, ChengLi, ShouxinXi Qia
Chen, DaqingLi, ZongrenXia, Chuzhong
Chen, GongboLiao, YaoxiangXiao, Yisu
Chen, JitangLu, HanXie, Jieshi
Chen, MingshuMa, BufangXue, Yue
Chen, ShaokuanMa, BuluanYan, Xishan
Chen, YiMa, BuqingYu, Hanmou
Chen, YiMa, ZhanshanYuan, Jinkai
Chiang, KaishekPan, Jun ShunZang, Shiyi
DemchugdongrubPang, BingxunZhang, Haipeng
Deng, XihouPuyiZhang, Jinghui
Ding, DelongRosenfeld, JacobZhang, Lingfu
Ding, JianxiuRuan, ZhenduoZhang, Xueliang
Dong, ZhaoSong, MeilingZhang, Zhizhong
Du, YumingSong, TiancaiZhao, Chengshou
Fu, ZuoyiSong, ZheyuanZhao, Dengyu
Gao, ZhihangSong, ZiwenZheng, Xiaoxu
Gu, ZhutongSu, YuZhu, Jiaren
Han, DeqinSun, Chu
Han, FujuSun, Du

Events Taken Place in China

Jinan Incident3 May 1928
Xinjiang Wars20 Feb 1931 - 30 Oct 1937
Mukden Incident18 Sep 1931 - 19 Sep 1931
Battle of Qiqihar4 Nov 1931 - 18 Nov 1931
Battle of Jinzhou21 Dec 1931 - 3 Jan 1932
Battle of Harbin and Establishment of Manchukuo25 Jan 1932 - 4 Feb 1932
First Battle of Shanghai28 Jan 1932 - 8 Mar 1932
First Battle of Hebei1 Jan 1933 - 22 May 1933
Battle of Suiyuan20 Oct 1936 - 17 Nov 1936
Xi'an Incident12 Dec 1936 - 24 Dec 1936
Lugou Bridge Incident and Second Battle of Hebei7 Jul 1937 - 8 Aug 1937
Battle of Chahar1 Aug 1937 - 12 Aug 1937
Beiping-Hankou Railway and Tianjin-Pukou Railway Operations1 Aug 1937 - 31 Dec 1937
Second Battle of Shanghai13 Aug 1937 - 9 Nov 1937
Bombing of Shanghai, Chongqing, and other Cities15 Aug 1937 - 23 Aug 1943
Battle of Shanxi1 Sep 1937 - 11 Nov 1937
Battle of Nanjing and the Rape of Nanjing9 Dec 1937 - 31 Jan 1938
Henan Campaign7 Feb 1938 - 10 Jun 1938
Battle of Xuzhou24 Mar 1938 - 1 May 1938
Battle of Xiamen10 May 1938 - 12 May 1938
Battle of Wuhan11 Jun 1938 - 27 Oct 1938
Guangdong Operation12 Oct 1938 - 31 Dec 1938
Battle of Hainan9 Feb 1939 - 12 Feb 1939
Battle of Nanchang17 Mar 1939 - 9 May 1939
Battle of Suixian-Zaoyang20 Apr 1939 - 24 May 1939
Battle of Khalkhin Gol11 May 1939 - 31 Aug 1939
Tianjin Incident14 Jun 1939 - 20 Aug 1939
First Battle of Changsha17 Sep 1939 - 6 Oct 1939
Winter Offensive1 Dec 1939 - 30 Mar 1940
Battle of Wuyuan28 Jan 1940 - 3 Apr 1940
Battle of Zaoyang-Yichang1 May 1940 - 18 Jun 1940
Hundred Regiments Offensive20 Aug 1940 - 30 Sep 1940
Battle of Huangqiao4 Oct 1940 - 10 Oct 1940
Battle of Han River25 Nov 1940 - 30 Nov 1940
Battle of South Henan30 Jan 1941 - 1 Mar 1941
Battle of South Shanxi7 May 1941 - 27 May 1941
Second Battle of Changsha6 Sep 1941 - 8 Oct 1941
Third Battle of Changsha24 Dec 1941 - 15 Jan 1942
Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign15 May 1942 - 15 Sep 1942
Battle of Changde2 Nov 1943 - 20 Dec 1943
Salween Offensive1 Apr 1944 - 27 Jan 1945
Operation Ichigo19 Apr 1944 - 31 Dec 1944
Battle of Zhijiang1 Apr 1945 - 30 Jun 1945
Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation9 Aug 1945 - 2 Sep 1945
Japan's Surrender14 Aug 1945 - 2 Sep 1945

Aircraft

X-PO

Ships

HaichenHairongNinghai-classYingrui
HaichouHairong-classPinghaiZhaohe
HaiqiNinghaiTongjiZhaohe-class

Facilities

Ankang AirfieldAirfield
Baishiyi AirfieldAirfield
Chengdu AirfieldAirfield
Chenggong AirfieldAirfield
Chuxiong AirfieldAirfield
Fuzhou ArsenalShipyard
Ganzhou AirfieldAirfield
Guanghan AirfieldAirfield
Guilin AirfieldAirfield
Huxian AirfieldAirfield
Jiangnan ArsenalFactory, Shipyard
Jiangwan AirfieldAirfield
Kaifeng AirfieldAirfield
Kunming AirfieldAirfield
Laohwangping AirfieldAirfield
Leiyun CAMCO FactoryFactory
Liangshan AirfieldAirfield
Liuzhou AirfieldAirfield
Loping AirfieldAirfield
Luliang AirfieldAirfield
Nanning AirfieldAirfield
Nanzheng AirfieldAirfield
Pungchacheng AirfieldAirfield
Ryojun Guard DistrictNaval Port
Shuangliu AirfieldAirfield
Suichuan AirfieldAirfield
Xi'an AirfieldAirfield
Xiangyun AirfieldAirfield
Xinjin AirfieldAirfield
Yangkai AirfieldAirfield
Zhanyi AirfieldAirfield
Zhijiang AirfieldAirfield

Photographs

Fuzhou Arsenal under construction, Fujian Province, China, 1867-1871Workers carrying a gun manufactured at Jiangnan Arsenal, Shanghai, China, circa 1890Settsu firing on German targets, Qingdao, Shandong, China, Oct-Nov 1914Kim Gu and other members of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai, China, 17 Sep 1919
See all 179 photographs of China in World War II

Maps

Map of the Battle of WuhanSoviet map of Battle of Khalkhin Gol, 20-31 Aug 1939



China in World War II Interactive Map




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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Gregg Heilman says:
    6 Mar 2010 06:51:12 AM

    I was at our doctors' office a few years ago when I read a review of Iris Chang's' book "The Rape Of Nanjing". As soon as I was able to purchase a copy I did.

    What the Japanese did to the people of this country and to the citizens of Nanjing really necessitated a stronger response from the US military authorities after the war.

    Iris Chang said once she hoped people would read the book and then pass it on.

    I contacted some individuals during a search for the book. There is site dedicated to the "Rape of Nan I told them my father had been at Hickam on 12/7/1941. Before going into the Pacific after the Japanese their Units were shown movies of Nankjing. These movies were smuggled out of China.

    My father told us of seeing the using of Chinese POWs as living Bayonet dummies and the burying alive of thousands of Chinese.

    The Air Corp wanted the men to know what to expect from the Japanese if captured.

    The Japanese continue to deny these events took place. The trail of guilt goes to the house of the emperor of Japan. He had relation who were at Nanjing.

    Many of the Japanese still deny or haven't been taught of their terrible treatment of POWs and population groups during the war.

    Get the book, rent the DVD or search but find out and educate yourself as to what the Japanese leadership approved of and the real crimes committed during the war.

    During the Rape of Nanjing two Japanese officers had a contest to see who could behead the most Chinese. Only after one Japanese officer damaged his sword trying to split a Chinese soldier through his helmet did they stop.

    At this time maybe 200 men had been behead total and the heads lined up at trophies.

  2. Gregg Heilman says:
    6 Mar 2010 05:24:24 PM

    China is one of the worlds oldest and continued as one of the most advanced cultures for centuries. China had gun power, movable type and printed text centuries before Gutenberg printed his first Bible in Germany.

    Japan wanted be to thought of as a cultured and civilized society, and still wants to be held in a postion of respect and authority in the world.

    Germany has admitted and accepted blame for their world time crimes and has made restitution to many of its victims.

    When Japan takes blame and accepts responsibility for their crimes during the war then maybe people will think more highly of them. They continue to deny the Rape of Nanjing and the many other things they did with official approval during the war.

    My wife and I vacationed in Canada a few years ago. We went to the International Peace Memorial. The Tour Guide told us how the Pope had brought water from the Peace Memorial at the Atomic Bomb Memorial in Japan and put it into the fountain in Canada's Peace Memorial.

    I said while he was at it he should have brought water from Pearl Harbor. Then I added there would never have been any need for the bombs if the Japanese hadn't first bombed Pearl Harbor and committed the crimes they did in World War II. A good number of other tourists said I was right and agreed with me.

    If you go to these links there is plenty of proof of the Japanese crimes against the Chinese and many POWs. Be prepared it is graphic evidence of the crimes.

    http://www.gendercide.org/case_nanking.html


    http://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/njmassac/rape.htm


    http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/nanking.htm


    http://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/njmassac/nmintro.htm


    http://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/njmassac/killgame.htm


    http://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/njmassac/killrive.htm




  3. Daniel P. says:
    30 Mar 2010 08:41:10 AM

    Passing blame and judgement on a generation far removed from historic atrocites is both fruitless and inappropriate. This applies to all nations and cultures.

    I'm fairly certain that the Japanese of today do not share the same views that permitted such behavior in WW2.
    Much the same way that we can't assume all Germans are somehow homicidal racists.
    Or that all Americans are automatically pro-slavery.

    The events of the past should be studied and learned from, so as not to repeat mistakes. But in no way are the current generations responsible for the actions of their ancestors.

    That aside, for a long time in Japan to admit defeat was a great shame. And the practice of suicide in place of shame wasn't terribly uncommon. This same attitude was expressed toward their enemies as well. Those who admitted defeat and gave themselves up were of greater shame for not ending their own lives, and thus had no rights as humans.

    MOST of the world found this to be rather appalling, but such was the culture at the time. But again, things change. And it would be unfair to discriminate against modern Japan, or any other nation, based on a cultural relic of their past.

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"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937