The epic, untold story of China’s devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan
For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. The war began in China, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, and China eventually became the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West.
Rana Mitter focuses his gripping narrative on three towering leaders: Chiang Kai-shek, the politically gifted but tragically flawed head of China’s Nationalist government; Mao Zedong, the Communists’ fiery ideological stalwart, seen here at the beginning of his epochal career; and the lesser-known Wang Jingwei, who collaborated with the Japanese to form a puppet state in occupied China. Drawing on Chinese archives that have only been unsealed in the past ten years, he brings to vivid new life such characters as Chiang’s American chief of staff, the unforgettable “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, and such horrific events as the Rape of Nanking and the bombing of China’s wartime capital, Chongqing. Throughout, Forgotten Ally shows how the Chinese people played an essential role in the wider war effort, at great political and personal sacrifice.
Forgotten Ally rewrites the entire history of World War II. Yet it also offers surprising insights into contemporary China. No twentieth-century event was as crucial in shaping China’s worldview, and no one can understand China, and its relationship with America today, without this definitive work.
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Professor Rana Mitter on How China’s Wartime Past is Changing its Present – and Future
Published on Jan 11, 2013
About the Speech:
China’s harrowing experience of constant warfare between 1937 and 1949 has played a major role in shaping the nation’s worldview. Combining a historical analysis of wartime China and an assessment of China’s future goals in domestic and foreign policy, Professor Rana Mitter will provide a unique insight into how China operates as a global power in the 21st century.
About the Speaker:
Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He is the author of A Bitter Revolution: China’s Struggle with the Modern World (2004), and Modern China: A Very Short Introduction (2008).
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