What Was China's Role in WWII?

Chinese soldiers protect American planes in World War II.

All the victors of the Second World War focus more on their military contributions to the battles. The Americans project the Midway and the D-Day, the Russians focus on the Kursk and Stalingrad while the British spotlight the El Alamein and the Battle of Britain. China’s contribution to the Allies victory against Japan has never been recognized even though the Second Sino-Japan war was the bloodiest and the longest of all the battles.

What Was China’s Contribution In The Second World War?

The 8 years long war between the Chinese and the Japanese is one of the greatest untold Second World War stories. China was the first of the Allies to fight the Axis power in Asia, but they received less credit for the role they played in the Pacific theater than the other allies who joined the war in 1945. If China had not resisted Japan in 1937, the shape of the continent would have been changed for decades and maybe even up to date. Their resistance played a crucial role in stopping Japan’s military ambitions for the continent. Over 40,000 Chinese soldiers fought with the Allied British and American forces in Burma in 1944 and helped secure the Stilwell road which connected Assam to Lashio.

During the early twentieth century, the Chinese’s desire for national sovereignty rubbed against Japan’s growing imperialism in Asia. A war broke out on July 7, 1937, with the Double-Seven Incident when the dispute between the Chinese and the Japanese soldiers escalated in the battlefield. The war was the outcome of Japan’s policy of expanding its influence in Asia to access labor, food, and raw materials. The Japanese captured various Chinese cities including Shanghai and the capital city of Nanjing forcing China’s central government to relocate to Chongqing. The battle reached a stalemate in 1939 after the Chinese victory in Guangxi and Changsha. Japan was unable to defeat the communist soldiers in Shaanxi. Even though they controlled all the major Chinese cities, Japan lacked enough manpower to control the vast Chinese countryside.

The Americans joined the Pacific theater on after the Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The U.S. started airlifting supplies over the Himalaya after the Allies were defeated in Burma. The Japanese took over Changsha and Henan in 1944 during Operation Ichi-Go, but they didn’t stop the Chinese. The Japanese forces surrendered on September 2, 1945, after the atomic-bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The other Japanese forces surrendered five days later.

The Outcome Of The Chinese-Japanese War

The second Sino-Japanese Battle was the biggest war in Asia in the twentieth century which accounted for a huge percentage of the military and civilian casualties in the Pacific Battle. Over 4million Japanese and Chinese military personnel and about 20million Chinese civilians lost their lives during the 8years battle from famine, and war-related violence among other causes. Nearly 80 million Chinese became refugees. Some of the atrocities committed by the Japanese during the war included the bloody capture of Xuzhou in 1938, the Nanjing Massacre and the carpet bombing of Chongqing in 1939.


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