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Chiang Kaishek and the Japanese Ichigo Offensive of 1944

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  • UserChen Yung-fa (Modern History Institute of the Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan)
  • ClockMonday 29 April 2013, 17:00-18:30
  • HouseFaculty of English, West Road.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ruth Rushworth.

Chen Yung-fa (Modern History Institute of the Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan) will give a series of three public lectures and a concluding symposium on The Meaning of the Chinese Communist Revolution.


While the Western powers launched the largest military campaign in European theater in 1944, the Japanese army surprised the Chinese Nationalist army by the Ichigo offensive, which was the largest campaign ever undertaken by the Japanese army in their entire history. Military historians have focused their attention primarily on the American general Joseph Stilwell’s campaign in North Burma at this time, and relatively few studies exist of the larger and far more important battles in the China Theater. The resounding defeat that the Nationalist army suffered not only meant the loss of important human and grain resources and intensified the severe struggle of the Nationalist government with the provincial governments in the unoccupied areas of China, but also alienated a sizable number of the Chinese intellectuals from the Nationalist government in its competition with the Communist Party. This essay reconstructs the history of the three battles, respectively in the provinces of Henan, Hunan, and Guangxi, on the basis of two diaries, one belonging to Chiang Kaishek and the other to his Military Chief of Staff, Xu Yongchang. While showing the complex nature of the causes of the Nationalist debacle, this essay emphasizes Chiang Kaishek’s inability to become an effective reformer and his increasing tendency to seek comfort and courage from the Christian Bible and traditional moral gestures.

This talk is part of the Humanitas series.

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