Chiang Kaishek and the Japanese Ichigo Offensive of 1944

29 May 2013, 17:00 - 19:00

SG1, Alison Richard Building

Humanitas Visiting Professor in Chinese Studies 2012-13

The Humanitas Chair in Chinese Studies has been made possible by the generous support of Sir David Tang

Professor Chen Yung-fa

Chen Yung-fa  (Modern History Institute of the Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan) will give a series of three public lectures on The Meaning of the Chinese Communist Revolution and participate in a concluding symposium. Information about the symposium will be posted at a later date.

This final lecture is  Chiang Kaishek and the Japanese Ichigo Offensive of 1944.

Video available

Abstract

While the Western powers launched the largest military campaign in European theater in 1944, the Japanese army surprised the Chinese Nationalist army by the Ichigo offensive, which was the largest campaign ever undertaken by the Japanese army in their entire history. Military historians have focused their attention primarily on the American general Joseph Stilwell’s campaign in North Burma at this time, and relatively few studies exist of the larger and far more important battles in the China Theater.  The resounding defeat that the Nationalist army suffered not only meant the loss of important human and grain resources and intensified the severe struggle of the Nationalist government with the provincial governments in the unoccupied areas of China, but also alienated a sizable number of the Chinese intellectuals from the Nationalist government in its competition with the Communist Party.  This essay reconstructs the history of the three battles, respectively in the provinces of Henan, Hunan, and Guangxi, on the basis of two diaries, one belonging to Chiang Kaishek and the other to his Military Chief of Staff, Xu Yongchang.  While showing the complex nature of the causes of the Nationalist debacle, this essay emphasizes Chiang Kaishek’s inability to become an effective reformer and his increasing tendency to seek comfort and courage from the Christian Bible and traditional moral gestures.

Further events in this series:

 

About Chen Yung-fa

 

Since 2005 Chen Yung-fa has been a distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, and Professor of History at the National Taiwan University.  From 2001 to 2009 he was the Director of the Institute of Modern History.

His major publications include Making Revolution: The Communist Movement in Eastern and Central China, 1937-1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986, 690p; Yanan’s Shadow (延安的陰影 Yanande Yinying), Taipei: the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Monograph 60, 1990, 6, 354p;  Seventy Years of China’s Communist Revolution (中國共產革命七年:從革命奪權到告別革命 Zhongguo gongchan gemingqishinian: cong geming duoquan dao gaobie geming), Taipei: the Lianjing Press, 1st ed. 1998, 1014p. revised ed. 2001, 1146p; Pursuing Excellence: Eighty Years of the Academia Sinica, Vol. 1, (追求卓越: 中央研究院八十年》,卷一,任重道遠【全院篇】(Zhuiqiu Zhuoyue: Zhongyang yajiuyuan bashinian ) Taipei: Academia Sinica, 2008, 7, 333p.

 

About the Professorships

Humanitas is a series of Visiting Professorships at Oxford and Cambridge intended to bring leading practitioners and scholars to both universities to address major themes in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Created by Lord Weidenfeld, the Programme is managed and funded by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue with the support of a series of generous benefactors, and co-ordinated in Cambridge by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). Humanitas Visiting Professors are held by distinguished academics and leading practitioners who have contributed to interdisciplinary research and innovation in a broad range of contemporary disciplines in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Covering areas of urgent or enduring interest in today's society as well as the performing arts, Humanitas Visiting Professors will present their pioneering work through a series of lectures or performances open to University audiences and the wider public.