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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Tuesday 12 November 2013

China's War with Japan

My Far East project has taken a bit of a detour into the Sino-Japanese conflict, which of course began before WW2. My latest reading is Rana Mitter's 'China's War with Japan', a book I discovered through a History Magazine Extra podcast. I can recommend these if you haven't tried them yet.

China's contribution to the defeat of Japan in WW2 is probably not fully appreciated, at least in the West. China continued fighting for eight years when it could have surrendered. They tied down half a million Japanese troops that could have been deployed elsewhere in the Pacific, most notably in an invasion of India. China paid a heavy price, with some 14 to 20 million dead.

This is a broad narrative history that takes us from the, almost accidental, outbreak of war in 1937 to the unexpected capitulation in 1945. It is a complex tale that focuses on the political history of the period because in practice there were three China's at play. The Nationalists, communists and the collaborationist governments. The outside actors, most notably the Americans and Russians, play an important role as well.

The military historian will be frustrated by the way the author brushes over the detail of major campaigns. However, the political context is important here, more so than many other campaigns, so this is definitely required reading.

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