China's Wartime Politics, 1937-1944

China's Wartime Politics, 1937-1944

China's Wartime Politics, 1937-1944

China's Wartime Politics, 1937-1944

Excerpt

The increasing public interest (sometimes anxious interest) on the part of the people in many parts of the Western world in the political and military developments in Free China is important for several reasons. On the one hand it shows a growing awareness of the vital role which the Chinese armies and Allied forces operating in China may play in the final defeat of Japan. On the other hand it evidences a belated and sometimes unbalanced knowledge of the fearful real burden which seven years of war, blockade and inflation have laid on the Chinese people and government. With that knowledge there is also some realization of the immense tasks which lie ahead if China is to be not only rehabilitated to her political and economic position of 1937 but also set upon the road to far-reaching economic reconstruction and political reform and thus enabled to fulfil the international responsibilities of a major power in the post- war world. Few people will dispute the urgent need of having China as a great Asiatic nation included as an effective, and not merely a nominal, member of the Big Four or Big Five powers. For that reason there cannot be too much study on the part of Westerners of how best China, so sorely handicapped these past seven years, can be aided to develop the material resources and the political and social mechanisms which will permit her to pull her full weight with the other great nations.

In that process of study it will be found essential to examine the political development of Free China during the war years. For despite the conservatism of Chinese life and the persistence of age-old social patterns and habits, the violent upheavals of the war with its vast displacement of population and economic life have forced political changes which are bound to influence the whole plan of Chinese post-war government and economic development. The full impact of these political changes can only be dimly glimpsed as yet. Their real effect may only become clear when the constant pressure of Japanese armies has ceased and when the Chinese government begins to reestablish its authority in eastern and northern China and in such restored territories as Manchuria and Formosa. Undoubt-

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