War and Nationalism in China: 1925-1945  book cover
1st Edition

War and Nationalism in China: 1925-1945

ISBN 9780415514996
Published June 20, 2012 by Routledge
390 Pages

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Book Description

In 1937, the Nationalists under Chiang Kaishek were leading the Chinese war effort against Japan and were lauded in the West for their efforts to transform China into an independent and modern nation; yet this image was quickly tarnished. The Nationalists were soon denounced as militarily incompetent, corrupt, and antidemocratic and Chiang Kaishek, the same.

In this book, van de Ven investigates the myths and truths of Nationalist resistance including issues such as:

  • the role of the US in East Asia during the Second World War
  • the achievements of Chiang Kaishek as Nationalist leader
  • the respective contributions of the Nationalists and the Communists to the defeat of Japan
  • the consequences of the Europe First strategy for Asia.

War and Nationalism in China offers a major new interpretation of the Chinese Nationalists, placing their war of resistance against Japan in the context of their prolonged efforts to establish control over their own country and providing a critical reassessment of Allied Warfare in the region. This groundbreaking volume will interest students and researchers of Chinese History and Warfare.



Hans J. van de Ven, educated at Leiden and Harvard universities, is a Reader in Chinese Studies at the University of Cambridge. He is also the author of the award-winning book From Friend to Comrade.


'War and Nationalism in China will stand as one of the single most important works to deal with war and its impact on modern China...This book should be read by all who are interested in the shaping of modern China or the history of World War II... This is military history at its most exciting and significant.' - Asian Affairs

'A remarkable and bold piece of scholarship.' - The China Quarterly

'Scholars wishing to challenge this revisionist history will need to match van de Ven's discovery and mastery of documentary sources, his meticulous attention to detail and his formidable capacity to draft hypotheses and draw conclusions on some of the most controversial issues of the day. This important book is a must for anyone who wants to understand not only what happened in wartime China but how the wartime record came to be remembered, and perhaps misremembered, for six decades, both inside and outside China.' - The China Journal

'Should be sent to every member and ex-member of the Politburo and the Central Military Commission in Beijing, their counterparts in Taipei, and those who make cross-Straits policy in Washington. It may terrify a few key men in each place enough to make them steer away from the inevitable catastrophe resulting from a war between the Mainland and Taiwan.' - Asian Wall Street Journal