For Japan and China, World War II began in the 1930s.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Japanese Atrocities, Samurai Swords, Japan in WW2, Emperor Hirohito & Hideki Tojo, Kamikaze Pilots, Imperial Army, Flags, Flying Tigers, Japanese WWII Gold.
WWII veterans who served with Merrill's Marauders receive thank-you cards from China
The postcard which arrived in Ed Denzler's mailbox was a mystery from his past. Addressed in neat block letters to Denzler, the note reads: "It takes a strong man to save himself, a great man to save another. Thank you for 1944. From China." On the front is a photo of U.S. and Chinese service members. The card was mailed from China, and had Chinese writing on the back that Denzler couldn't decipher. Denzler fought in Burma in 1944 with Merrill's Marauders and served with the Chinese Combat Command in 1945. Baffled, he emailed Robert Passanisi, the historian and chairman of Merrill's Marauders Association, who told him that at least four other Marauders had received similar postcards. The messages and images varied, but the sign-off was always the same: "Thank you for 1944."
Over 4,000 Japanese children were left in China after Japan's defeat
For Gao Fengqin, the worst WWII horror took place in the last days: "I still remember the day my mother took me to a small restaurant to meet my new Chinese mother. I had noodles and when I finished, she stood up to leave. I gripped her leg, crying for her not to go." By the end of 1945, 1.66 million Japanese troops and civilians had moved in northeast China to colonize it. On Aug. 9, 1945, the Soviet Red Army marched into the region to end of the war and Japan's Kwantung Army was soon defeated. Amid the chaos Japanese refugees swarmed into the train stations to flee to the coast, hoping to catch a boat back to Japan.
The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China [book review]
Chiang Kai-shek is one of the most scorned leaders of the 20th century. Mocked as "Peanut" and "General Cash-My-Check," the leader of China's Nationalist government messed up the Allied war effort in World War 2 with his hapless defense of his country. His corrupt regime wasted billions in American aid and drove the Chinese into the arms of the communists. He died in exile a deluded despot, relegated to a footnote in modern Chinese history. Or so the usual story goes. But Jay Taylor's biography "The Generalissimo" disputes that view. Using archival materials - like Chiang's diaries and documents from the Soviet era - it torpedoes many earlier beliefs.
Xiao Ke - The last surviving commander who made the Long March
General Xiao Ke, the last surviving commander of the Red Army that made the Long March in 1934-1935, which led to communist control of China in 1949, has passed away at 102. Xiao participated in the failed first armed communist revolt that August and on October 3 he was caught but then freed. Back home, he set up a party cell with his elder brother and in 1928 they decided to join Zhu De's army in southern Hunan. On the way, he became deputy commander of a 100-strong "peasant battalion", which had grown to 600 by the time it joined Mao Zedong's Red Army at Longxidong that April.
Chinese WWII forced laborers vow to keep on seeking compensation
A group of Chinese who were victims of forced labor by Japanese aggressors promised on the eve of the 77th anniversary of Japan's invasion of China to "never to give up" seeking compensation from Japan outside the courts. 80 of the forced laborers and family members of the victims who died from the invasion met in Jinan to talk about the issue. The Sept 18 Incident (the Manchurian Incident), marks the start of Japan's armed invasion of the region. 40,000 Chinese were captured and taken by the invaders to Japan 1943-1945, to work at mines and construction sites. 7,000 died from the ordeal.
Uniformed Chinese everywhere, but nationalists or Communists? (Article no longer available from the original source)
Nazi Germany and Japan got the headlines, but America also had other World War II foes, as James Warren discovered. He was sent to China to service fighter planes of the Flying Tigers. Uniformed Chinese soldiers were everywhere, but it was difficult to tell nationalist Chinese allies from the Chinese Communists loyal to Mao Tse Tung. One day Warren was going to the flight line when his jeep passed an ammo dump guarded by a Chinese soldier in uniform. Seconds after his jeep passed, the dump exploded. "Those Commies didn't like us. I guess the guard that blew that stuff up was one of the bad guys."
Military history of Japan during 1930s and 1940s - Professor Brian Farrell (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Worldwide Great Depression hit Japan severely and gave extremists and militarists, people who desired Japan to rely much on itself, power to go after a much more expansionist, national agenda. Within two years they had hijacked national policy making. And from 1931, when the Japanese army instigated the Manchuria incident, the trajectory of relations with the US was downhill. By 1939-1940 the issue was nearly impossible to unravel but easy to define: China. Japan was dominated by policy makers who believed that economic self-sufficiency was paramount to the country's strength as an independent state.
WWII Chongqing bombings victim demands apology, compensation
A Chinese plaintiff who suffered in the Chongqing bombings 1938-1943 asked at a Tokyo court that the Japanese gov adopt a right view on the offences by the Japanese invasion army and make apology and compensation. "The Japanese government should recognize the crimes committed by the Japanese invasion army and make apology and compensation to the victims," Qian Fangneng told. "The Chongqing bombings lawsuit plaintiffs are mostly 75 to 90 years old. As victims and witnesses, we are responsible to tell the truth to the next generation." The Japanese invasion army bombed Chongqing in southwest China 1938-1943, killing 11,900 people and injuring 14,100.
Book brings little-known story of Nisei resistance to Japanese readers
For 50 years the story of Nisei draft resisters was written out of Japanese American history texts, which overlooked the group of young men who refused to be drafted for military service while they and their families were imprisoned behind barbed wire. Now 638-page volume "America Nikkei Nisei no Chohei Kihi" (American Nikkei Nisei Draft Resistance) by professor Morita fills that gap. Today Nisei resisters - prosecuted by the government as criminals and ostracized as traitors by Japanese American leaders and veterans - are considered heroes while the knowledge of their experience pales in comparison with the Nisei veterans who fought in WWII.
Japanese veteran haunted by WWII surgical killings in Mindanao
Over 60 years had passed but Akira Makino still suffered nightmares about Filipino hostages and the injections that made them unconscious. Every time he woke up to the flashbacks of killing scenes, he shut his eyes and tried to turn his mind away. But he felt he had to speak out about his wartime experiences to as many people as possible during the final years of his life. "These were nothing but living-body experiments. My captain combat-surgeon often showed us human intestines, and said this was the liver and that was that and so on..." Makino began making his statements on Japanese war atrocities just last year.
Japan: The Historic Meaning of the End of World War II
According to the data, there were more Japanese casualties in Japan and Southeast Asian countries, where massive air strikes by the U.S. were concentrated, than in its colonized regions. Hisao Ishiyama noted that the figures represent how Japanese people perceive World War II: "Japan was not defeated by the Asian populace." Japan lost to massive attacks by the U.S., and this is the reason why Japanese people maintain contemptuous views of Asian countries. The U.S. is responsible for Japan not atoning for what it did during the war. The U.S. did not impeach Japan's emperor, but rather used him to strengthen its cooperation with the war-ravaged country.
Books offer look at post-World War II Japan (Article no longer available from the original source)
A GHQ photographer provides a lens on post-World War II Japan in two volumes of photographs edited by Yoneyuki Sugita. "GHQ Kameraman ga Totta Sengo Nippon" (Japan After World War II by a GHQ photographer, Volume I) features postwar scenes from Tokyo intermixed with images of famous figures such as Emperor Showa and General Douglas MacArthur, and focuses on daily life in Tokyo. Volume II focuses on the postwar lives of ordinary citizens in prefectures such as Kyoto, Hokkaido and Okinawa. The photographer, Dimitri Boria came to Japan in 1947 at the request of the GHQ to record the situation in Japan and stayed until 1961.
Japan's often misrepresented war memories: Japan's Contested War
"Japan's Contested War Memories" by Philip A. Seaton asserts that the English-language media misrepresents the true state of war memory among Japanese by focusing too much on attempts by conservatives and the ruling elite to impose a glorifying narrative of the war that singles out Japan's victimization. Stereotypical images of Japanese collectively in denial about the atrocities committed by the Imperial armed forces are misleading and overlook the more prevalent view accepting wartime guilt. "Japanese war memories are not nearly as nationalistic as they are frequently made out to be."
Japan's war with China - The Marco Polo Bridge Incident (Article no longer available from the original source)
On July 7, 1937, shots rang out near a bridge in a Beijing suburb, triggering the clash between Japanese and Chinese troops known as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident - called "The Incident of July 7" in China. This escalated the Japan-China War, leading to the Pacific War, which ended with Japan's defeat. Along with Sept. 18, 1931, the date on which the Manchurian Incident began, July 7 is remembered by Chinese as a day of national humiliation. Japan's invasion of China started with the Manchurian Incident in 1931, leading to Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations in 1933.
Japan MPs Urge China to remove Anti-Japan photographs, Exhibits
Conservative Japanese lawmakers launched a campaign to urge China to remove photographs and exhibits from museums that they say distort the truth about Tokyo's actions in the Second World War. The campaign coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. A group of 42 Japanese lawmakers vowed to press China to stop showing "fake or wrongful" photographs, films and exhibits that reflect badly on Japan. "There are more than 100 anti-Japan museums across China, and anti-Japan campaigns have been going on day after day. We must not allow fake exhibits to open cracks in Sino-Japanese relations," said Takeo Hiranuma.
Taiwanese general Sun Yuan-liang who fought Japan in 1930s dies
General Sun Yuan-liang, who helped lead Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists to victory in China's struggle against Japan during WW2, has died at 103. The Nationalists led China from the 1920s until their defeat by Ma Zedong's Communists in 1949. Sun joined the Nationalist army and was among the most celebrated graduates of the Huangpu Military Academy. Sun led the Nationalists in a crucial battle to beat back Japanese naval forces attacking Shanghai in 1932. He led another famous battle in the city in 1937, holding onto the base for 76 days.
Chinese protest Japan war crimes during World War II
Several dozen people have taken part in a rare public protest in Beijing, against what they see as Japanese WWII crimes. About 30 people marched to the Japanese embassy with banners and slogans. Such protests are rare in China, although the government has sanctioned a number of rallies against the Japanese wartime treatment of Chinese. However the number of these demonstrations has fallen in recent years. 10,000 people took part in a protest in April 2005, and the government was taken by surprise by the scale of the demonstration, and has since attempted to reduce the numbers of those taking part.
Japan's wartime deeds and horrors not easily forgotten in China
The Marco Polo Bridge, where a skirmish on July 7, 1937, provided the spark for Sino-Japanese war, is one part of China where the history of Japan's brutal invasion seems destined never to be forgotten, despite slowly warming ties. The old imperial bridge is preserved inside a park, yet modern Beijing is creeping up on once a remote outpost of the capital. "Remember history well, do not forget the past," enjoins calligraphy inside the low-rise building, which receives 300,000 visitors annually, some 10,000 Japanese. The exhibits show graphic pictures of decapitated Chinese and rusting swords.
Japan orders history books to change passages on forced suicides
Japan ordered changes to 7 history textbooks describing how the Japanese army forced civilians to commit mass suicide at the end of World War II. Textbooks say the army - faced with an impending U.S. invasion in 1945 -- handed out grenades to residents on the southern island of Okinawa and ordered them to kill themselves. The Education Ministry said there was no definitive evidence that the suicides were ordered by the army. Accounts of forced group suicides have been backed up by historical research and testimony from victims` relatives. Historians say propaganda led civilians to believe U.S. soldiers would commit atrocities.
Japan, China historians meet to tackle painful WWII past
Historians from Japan and China began a second round of talks on the nations' long and troubled history as a diplomatic furor simmered over Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's remarks on comfort women. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said he hoped the group would strive to carry out an "objective" study in a sensitive year, referring to the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre and the Marco Polo Bridge incident that opened all-out war between the two countries. The first meeting of the historians focused on the format for this meeting and did not touch on the sensitive topic of the Nanjing massacre.
CIA records reveal American hand in birth of Japan's right wing
Colonel Masanobu Tsuji was a Japanese militarist and brutal warrior, hunted after WW2 for massacres and complicity in the Bataan Death March - And then he became a U.S. spy. Newly declassified CIA records, by the U.S. National Archives, document more fully than ever how Japanese war criminals were recruited by U.S. intelligence. The documents also show how ineffective the effort was, in the CIA's view. The records fill in many of the blanks in the spotty documentation of the occupation authority's intelligence arm and its involvement with Japanese ultra-nationalists and war criminals, historians say.
The escalation the Sino-Japanese War (Article no longer available from the original source)
Who should take the blame for the escalation of a incident into all-out war? The Marco Polo Bridge Incident - a brief unplanned battle between the Imperial Japanese Army and Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese National Revolutionary Army - occurred July 7, 1937. A ceasefire accord was signed in Beijing, and all appeared to have been settled. But on the same day, the Konoe Cabinet told it would send more troops to China, a step that caused the escalation of military involvement. At the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War, army leaders were divided between those calling for an expansion of the war and those seeking to halt the conflict.
Chinese naval officers in the Normandy D-Day landings
Huang Tingxin, the last of 24 Chinese naval officers who participated in the Normandy D-Day landings, received France's highest honour in recognition of his valour during World War II. He graduated from a naval school in Qingdao in the late 1930s. In 1942, during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), Huang and 23 other naval officers were chosen by the then Nationalists to go to the Britannia Royal Naval College. They were then posted to fleets operating in different war theatres in March 1944. Huang also took part in the Toulon landing with French troops on August 15 the same year.
Legitimacy of Tokyo war crimes tribunal still debated (Article no longer available from the original source)
60 years after the Tokyo war crimes tribunal, debate is focusing on exactly what was at issue. Prior WW2 war crimes were considered to be abuse directed at prisoners or civilians. Two new concepts were introduced: Those responsible for planning wars of aggression were tried on charges of crimes against peace, while those who should have prevented inhumane acts against civilians were tried on charges of crimes against humanity. In trial it was revealed that the bombing of the South Manchuria Railway at Liutiaogou in 1931 was carried out by the Kwantung Army. One aspect that was not pursued was the biological experiments on humans and chemical warfare by the Unit 731.
70% of Japanese have no knowledge about Tokyo war trials (Article no longer available from the original source)
About 70 percent of Japanese voters have little or no knowledge about the Tokyo war crimes tribunal, an event that led to the start of Japan's postwar history. 53% of the respondents were aware the International Military Tribunal for the Far East took place after World War II, but they did not know any further details. And 17% said they didn't even know the Tokyo tribunal was held. Ignorance of the trial was greater among younger respondents.
War Lives On at Museum of the Biological warfare experiments
Exhibit shows Japanese biological warfare experiments carried out on thousands of Chinese prisoners from 1939 to 1945. Researchers estimate 3,000 Chinese were killed and 300,000 sickened by the hideous wartime experiments. In the case of Unit 731 much of the picture was blurred until the 1980s and 1990s, when documents uncovered in Japan, China and the US gave scholars a better idea of what went on. Some Chinese prisoners were dissected live and without anesthetic, for instance, while others were cremated before they were dead.
S. Korea Blasts Japan Over WWII History Whitewashing
The South Korean government denounced Japan for "whitewashing, distorting and glorifying" its militarist past after Japanese officials ordered a series of controversial new changes to high school textbooks. Japan's Education Ministry requested revisions to 55 textbooks in an effort to avoid student "misunderstandings." The revised books clearly label disputed territories as Japanese territory. Also, references to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre were changed to indicate the number of people killed by the Japanese may have been less than the 300,000 victims claimed by China.
Japanese Corporations Turning a Blind Eye to History
Just as Nazi Germany did in Europe during WW II, Imperial Japan made extensive use of forced labor across the vast area of the Asia Pacific it once occupied. Today, however, Japan`s government and corporations are dealing with the legacy of wartime forced labor very differently than their German counterparts. This article examines the corporate counter-offensive to reparations claims for Chinese forced labor in Japan.
National archive on WWII experiences of Japanese opens (Article no longer available from the original source)
A national archive documenting the hardships of retired Japanese soldiers who were wounded or became sick in WW II opened. Shokei-Kan -- the Historical Materials Hall for Wounded and Sick Retired Soldiers -- has been set up to publicize some of the personal hardships that result from war, organizers said. The archive, located in an office building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, aims to convey some of the experiences of sick and wounded Japanese veterans and their families during and after the war up to the present day.
China Hails a Good Nazi who shielded more than 200,000
69 years ago the courtyard of two-story brick building was filled with Chinese seeking refuge from Japanese troops who were rampaging through the China's capital. The invaders subjected Nanjing to a 6-week reign of terror, killing large numbers of unarmed Chinese soldiers and murdering and raping thousands of civilians. The property was the home of John Rabe, a Nazi Party member and employee of Siemens. In addition to sheltering people in his own compound, Mr. Rabe led a score of other foreigners in the city to form an international safety zone that shielded more than 200,000 Chinese.
The Port Of Last Resort - The free city of Shanghai
Documentary - The Port Of Last Resort: In 1938, as the noose began to tighten around them, German Jews began casting about for anyplace where they could find refuge. For about 20,000 of them that place turned out to be the city of Shanghai. Up until 1941, prior to Japan's entry into WW2, Shanghai remained a free city, which meant there was no need of passports, visas, or entry stamps, to gain admittance. All you had to do was be able to get there. Shanghai's unique situation came about as a hold over of colonial times.
Japan close to giving up on WW2 "stragglers"
Diplomats and journalists were losing hope of meeting two Japanese soldiers left over from WWII as suspicion mounted that the story was false. Media have named the pair as Yoshio Yamakawa and Tsuzuki Nakauchi. The last known Japanese straggler from the war was found in 1975 in Indonesia. Officials have said the mediator admitted he had not met the men himself and had only heard about them from Filipino contacts. On a roster of Imperial Japanese Army members, the two men were registered as dead. General Santos residents said it was well known that some Japanese soldiers had avoided surrendering and had settled down with tribal communities in the nearby mountains.
Chinese memorial to the "good Nazi" opens war wounds - John Rabe
A plan by China to honour "the good Nazi", a German who helped to save hundreds of thousands of civilians from Japanese troops, has reopened a dispute with Tokyo over its lack of atonement for the Second World War. The Chinese authorities are drawing up plans for a museum dedicated to the memory of John Rabe, who defied the "Rape of Nanking" - a six-week massacre during which an estimated 300,000 Chinese were slaughtered by Japanese soldiers.
Chinese tanks during World War II
A list of Chinese tanks is difficult to put together because every sort of import and seized weapon was used. Many local armor versions were set up from materials on hand. Warlords would take trucks and have metal plates bolted to the sides and a machine gun mounted on the top. At the beginning of the conflict with Japan, the Chinese had a variety of old AFV and 7000 trucks. China had 2 armored battalions that fought around Shanghai when war broke out with Japan in 1937. Almost half of China's armor was either captured or destroyed by 1938 as out of the 96 tanks they started with, only 48 remained.