Book: Forgotten Ally: China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945
Author: Rana Mitter
Review: Jorge Fernandez, VP Global Commerce, Metro Atlanta Chamber
For most of us, when we think of World War II, what immediately comes to mind are the European and Pacific theaters of war and the events that have been ingrained in our minds stemming from motion pictures and history books. Invariably portrayed in these images are Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1939 and the attack on Pearl Harbor on December of 1941.
However, for the half-a-billion people who constituted China’s population in 1937, the war began on July 1937 when Japan invaded China. We could even argue that the war actually started as far back as 1931 when Japanese troops entered northeastern China in the region of Manchuria and established a puppet state.
The author of the book focuses on the three factions that dominated the Chinese political landscape and its leaders as it faced Japan – the Nationalists, the Communists and the collaborator government established in occupied China. Mitter also brings into play the efforts of the Chinese people in the wider war efforts, the crude sacrifices of the population, the horrors inflicted on Nanking, and what the author calls “The Road to Pearl Harbor.” This notion examines little known factors of the U.S. diplomatic and military presence in China at the time of its war with Japan.
For me, the book’s most captivating aspect is how this period fundamentally shaped China’s current world outlook. The Forgotten Ally –China’s World War II 1937-1945 is a must for those that need to understand China’s discernment of today’s global politico-military environment. This book is definitely for those that love how history defines peoples, nation-states, and WWII, and especially for those that love all things China.