China and Japan at War (1937-1945): New Perspectives

Thursday, 11:30-13:00, 502






The Influence of German Military Advisers on the Chinese Defence Efforts Against the Japanese 1937/38

The paper is subdivided into three small chapters:
- The German Advisers and the Stabilizing of the Kuomintang Regime
- German Military Advisers in Combat Action during the first Months of the War
- Strategic and Tactic Advice for the Chinese Leadership !937/8

The long resistance in Shanghai (11 August till 8 November l937) by Chinese troops that had been trained and armed by the Germans was repeatedly, in contemporary Japanese comments, put down to active German participation, which in those days was equally categorically denied by the German government. Yet, so far there has been every indication that German advisers did in fact take an active part. In this context Falkenhausen’s (the chief advisor’s) activities must be reconsidered since his innumerable memoranda and evaluations had a decisive impact on shaping Chinese strategy. The topic, however, should not be treated as a purely military one but much rather should be approached from the political point of view. Quite probably the traditionally sinophile circles in Berlin - the industry, the Foreign Office and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) – encouraged or even, though indirectly, ordered active intervention by the German advisers in order to counteract Hitler’s new course in Germany’s East Asia policy that had recently been favouring Germany’s new ally Japan (Anit-Comintern-Pact).


International Features of Guilin’s Wartime Culture, 1937-1944

During China’s war against Japan between 1937 and 1945, the city of Guilin in southwestern China, spared of Japanese occupation when most of China’s urban and coastal regions were controlled by the Japanese military, became an ecstasy for China’s intellectuals and many internationalists. This paper focuses on the international features of wartime cultural development in the city of Guilin away from China’s battlefield. Controlled and protected by a nationally powerful Guangxi warlord group, the city began to attract various groups of people including Communists, artists, intellectuals of different orientations, and foreign scholars, reporters, and international patriots. Their active participation in the anti-Japanese aggression movement, mainly in the form of literary production, propaganda activities, and theatrical performance, made Guilin a new wartime cultural center.

Notably, Guilin’s wartime culture was also characterized by active participation of many international groups, political organizations, and foreign individuals. The wartime culture in Guilin during this time was characterized by a strong international presentation seen in two major developments. One was the translation of foreign literature and political works ranging from The Communist Manifesto to Pearl Buck’s Chinese Novel. The literary works produced in Guilin between 1938 and 1944 clearly reflected a combination of Chinese national and international anti-fascist and anti-military sentiment. Well-known Chinese literary masterpieces were translated into different foreign languages and famous foreign literature and political works were introduced to the Chinese population through various cultural and political exchange programs in the city.

The second development was the active participation of many foreign patriot groups including The Southwest Branch of the Japanese People Antiwar Alliance (JPAA), Korean Volunteer Group (KVG), and The Vietnamese Alliance (VA). Internationally known individuals such as American scholar John King Fairbank, writer Ernest Hemingway and his wife Martha Gellhorn, radical writer Agnes Smedley, Vietnamese nationalists Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap, and Japanese antiwar activists Shikaji Wataru and Sakamoto Hideo were involved. The paper attempts to emphasize how wartime culture transformed nationalism and internationalism.


A Perspective on Modern Sino-Japanese Relations: A Study of the Japanese Elementary School in Pre-1945 Beijing

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the vicissitudes of the Japanese elementary school in Beijing in pre-1945 China. The school was established for the Japanese children living in the Japanese settlement of the city in the second decade of the 20th century and continued to exist until the end of the Japanese colonial empire with its capitulation to the Allied Powers in the summer of 1945. This presentation will elucidate the about thirty-years experiences of the school, including its teachers, students, and their parents, in the city which often become the main stage of major historical events, arguing that the school was not only the microcosm of the overseas Japanese community but also a looking-glass of modern Sino-Japanese relations.