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China At War, 1901-1949

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  • China At War, 1901-1949

    This book covers the fall of the Ching dynasty to the birth of communist China. It is divided into three main blocks.

    Firstly, the author talks about the warlord period which is roughly between 1901 - 1937. Although generally speaking the warlord period peaked during 1916 - 1928, 1901 - 1916 set in motion the events that lead to the warlord fractions. Post 1928, even with Chiang in charge, powerful warlords continue to co-exist with him. This part of the book is rather confusing to read. There are many events and many characters. However, there are few supporting graphics and maps to help explain things. The author should have done more justice to his writing by providing some aids to the reader. Nonetheless, it does gives the reader a good general idea of how KMT came to become the dominant power in China.

    Next is between 1937 - 1945. This of course is the war with Japan. Contrary to popular literature, his opinion was the there was little the KMT and CCP did to fight the Japanese after the early defeats. This in turn implied that the Japanese being in China did little to affect their effectiveness in the Pacific. CCP actions was mainly against the collaborators and not the Japanese. KMT pretty much did not do anything but stock up weapons and stores to prepare for the civil war that will erupt after Japan is defeated. His is of the opinion that Chiang was confident that the US will defeat Japanese. His argued his perspective by noting that the Japanese was able to inflict punishing defeats on the Chinese even in 1944 when Japan was clearly on the ropes. He also recorded that local truce and trade existed between the Chinese and Japanese troops. This part of the book was quite well written.

    Finally, 1945 - 1949. Here he described how the KMT was defeated by the CCP because of strategic errors. The KMT was materially superior but over extended itself into Manchuria. CCP on the other hand also grown much stronger by taking over armaments from the Kwantung Army in Manchuria. This is courtesy of the Russians.

    These are basically the three main themes of the book. I enjoyed the book as it gave me a good general perspective of that very tumultuous period in China. The Chinese people definitely suffered tremendously during this time, no doubt about it. Of course, not being versed in Chinese history, I simply read the book as it is. Even if some of the conclusions may be opened to interpretation and arguments, I do believe the description of the events are b y and large accurate.

  • #2
    Looks interesting. I found a review of it at this site:
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.


    • #3
      Originally posted by R. Evans View Post
      Looks interesting. I found a review of it at this site:

      Yes, it s quite a good book. Even though I found the warlord era part of the book confusing, it does give a good, general overview of who were the major players and what were the major events.

      Thanks for the link.


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