China, the forgotten ally

19 Oct

A new book is out that makes an interesting case about China’s role during World War II which it fought the longest due to Japanese invasion in 1939 and subsequently lost about 14 million people. Titled the Forgotten Ally, the writer makes a strong claim that China’s importance during that great conflict has been ignored and overlooked, which has led to it being sidelined from the ensuing postwar regional developments, most specifically in the lack of a formal peace treaty between China and Japan. He argues it here in a NY Times opinion piece, while you can check out a review of the book here.  However I won’t go so far as to tie China’s current stance on the South China sea to its lack of proper recognition from the US and the West following WWII. It’s a very complicated case that brings up Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of China during WWII and directly afterwards. He’s been negatively portrayed as incompetent and stubborn, so much that the relationship with the US, then China’s main ally, deteriorated heavily during his reign. He’s also seen as the man who “lost China” to the Communists, having been forced to flee to Taiwan in 1949. On the other hand, Chiang was on the brink of defeating the Communists when Japan attacked and then followed up with fullscale invasion.

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