Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Chiang Kai-shek and the Fall of Nanking


speldwiday

Recommended Posts

speldwiday

Hey all:

I am writing a term paper trying to explore and explain why Chiang Kai-shek allowed Nanking (and perhaps even Shanghai) to fall to the Japanese invaders so easily during the second Sino-Japanese war.

Overall, I want to get at what exactly Chiang Kai-shek's broad strategy was during this period of the war, why he adopted this strategy, and how he felt allowing his capital and other important strongholds to be taken so easily could be politically, socially, and militarily advantageous to the Chinese cause.

In my initial research I have run into many sources that point to the Nanking Massacre as a turning point in the development of Chinese nationalism and pride. This is another facet I want to delve into in my paper, but none of these sources pointed to any specific pieces of historical evidence to support this assertion.

Any expertise and/or references you all can offer me would be most appreciated!

Thanks so much, I look forward to your responses.

~bryan

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

This site looks relevant for your question.

http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Battle_of_Shanghai

If you can read Chinese, this article below by a KMT general who was in Najing at the time is also useful. He says that most of Chiang's advisors suggested that defending Nanjing was a lost cause and therefore they should just put up a symbolic fight and conserve their resources for the future.

http://www.looktoronto.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=355&Itemid=110

宋希濂

(作者当时系国民党第七十八军军长兼第三十六师师长)

自敌军在金山卫登陆,上海战局急转直下之后,“守不守南京”成为当时军事上的中心问题。蒋介石于十七、十八两日曾三次邀集何应钦、白崇禧、唐生智、徐永昌、王俊、刘斐、谷正伦等人开会。大多数认为今后进入持久抗战的局面,从长远和全面的观点着想,应以保存力量为上,均主张在原则上不守南京,只用少数兵力 ——最多六个团到十二个团——作象征性的守,并曾拟议为四川刘湘部的两个师担任。

Link to post
Share on other sites
speldwiday

Gato:

Thanks so much for the reply. Although I cannot read Chinese very well, I will definitely work with someone to get that article translated. Primary sources like that officer's letter are exactly what I am looking for. Let me know if you come accross anymore!

~brYan

Link to post
Share on other sites
I am writing a term paper trying to explore and explain why Chiang Kai-shek allowed Nanking (and perhaps even Shanghai) to fall to the Japanese invaders so easily during the second Sino-Japanese war.

Shanghai did not fall that easily to the Japanese. The Japanese took three months to take Shanghai amid fierce resistance from Chinese divisions in the city. Perhaps that could partially explain the Nanjing Massacre since taking Shanghai took longer than expected. The Japanese said the conquest of China would be complete in three months, and the Battle of Shanghai turned out to be a slap in the face towards reaching that goal.

However Chiang's prosecution of the Battle of Shanghai could have been better. He threw in his best trained divisions into the battle in an all-out engagement, when his troops were within close proximity to Japanese naval bombardment and air carrier support. A more sound strategy would be to fight a limited engagement at Shanghai (perhaps also pestering the Japanese with guerrilla warfare), withdraw to Nanjing's defensive perimeters, and devise a trap for the incoming invaders.

The huge casualties at Shanghai was a factor why Chiang could not effectively defend Nanjing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
speldwiday

Thanks for the reply. That's a good point, but couldn't it be construed that Chiang Kai-shek's strategy of putting a relatively low number of soldiers (although they were his best) shows that he was not putting all his resources into the defense of Shanghai or Nanking. I want to explore why.

Thanks again, keep em coming!

Link to post
Share on other sites
simonlaing

Also do not discount the overall strategy of Chiang Kai-shek,

Both Chiang and the CCP knew that the Japanese did not have enough troops to occupy all of China, He doubted the japanese would be able to reach Wuhan or Yunnan province with out severely straining the supply lines. (and later the Americans were starting to be successful in their Island hopping camaign. ) Chiang according to a few histories I read was obssessed with pursuing the Communists and thought that being the strongest, viable entity around when the Japanese withdrew would be able to take control of the country.

Also there were issues of technical advantage, the Japanese airforce was formidable and bombed Nanjing a lot before the invasion. The Japanese also had tanks and APCs, Heavy artillary and powerful machine guns, while from museum documentries it looked like the Chinese had basic rifles, molotov cocktails and a few Machine guns.

Certain historians also point to this withdrawal and the breaking of the Henan/hebei? Dams as the that came back to huant Chiang when there was a choice between the CCP and Chiang Kai-shek.

Some of this was from the Nanjing Massacre Museum, so it might be a little pro-CCp.

Anyway,

perhaps you can post your paper after you finish it.

have fun,

SIMon;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
speldwiday

Thanks for the reply!

THat information will fit nicely into supporting my thesis. Do you have the names of the references/books that talk amount Chiang Kai-Shek's strategy? THose would be very helpful to have so I can cite them. Same goes for the information about Chinese vs. Japanes military equipment at the time.

I'll be sure to post my paper after it has been submitted and graded (probably some time in May).

THanks again.

Link to post
Share on other sites
but couldn't it be construed that Chiang Kai-shek's strategy of putting a relatively low number of soldiers (although they were his best) shows that he was not putting all his resources into the defense of Shanghai or Nanking.

Yes, but the downside of putting the best of the best with a total of 700,000 men into one pitched battle means you do not get to live to fight another day. The huge casualties at Shanghai had severe psychological effects on many of Chiang's officer ranks.

The Chinese lost about 250,000 out of 700,000 men, while the Japanese lost about 60,000-70,000 out of 300,000 men.

It was a gallant defense considering that the Chinese were outgunned and still managed to inflict heavy casualties on the Japanese. Hand-to-hand fighting was common in the streets of Shanghai. But the efforts to defend Shanghai came at a heavy price. The losses at Shanghai, which included many of Chiang's best officers who personally took part in the battle, combined with his best German-trained divisions, meant that Chiang could no longer pose a serious opposition to future Japanese advances.

One of Chiang's best generals, Li Zongren (the commander who trapped the IJA at the Battle of Taierzhuang in Shandong province), suggested that the Chinese fight a limited engagement at Shanghai and concentrate on engaging the Japanese further inland when the terrain was advantageous.

Engaging the Japanese further inland on advantageous terrain would stretch the Japanese supply lines, expose their vulnerable points, and lay the groundwork for a trap against them using combined conventional and guerrilla forces.

The Battle of Shanghai worked to the Japanese amphibious advantage. They had the support of their naval guns and air support from their aircraft carriers.

The battle did slow the Japanese momentum and showed to the world what the Chinese armies could do, but it came at a heavy price where you can no longer mass a serious opposition against the IJA and later the Communists.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We sent our best central-troops to Shanghai.Include those elite such as the 36th/87th/88th Germen-armed and Germen-trained divisions.They all suffered severe loss.

Because of the poor transportation abilities, our reinforcement from warlords from different locations were still in their way when Shanghai was fallen.So we need time to reform and reorganize our militray power.That`s why we gave up Nanking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you need good solid information on this topic go to a book store and buy The Rape of Nan King by Iris Chang.

It wont directly answer your question but will provide a lot of background info and list other resources to follow.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
In my initial research I have run into many sources that point to the Nanking Massacre as a turning point in the development of Chinese nationalism and pride. This is another facet I want to delve into in my paper, but none of these sources pointed to any specific pieces of historical evidence to support this assertion.

Yes, this assertion is just invalid, and will only lead to an exaggerated conclusion on the effect of Nanking Rape. At the height of Chinese nationalism, Nanking Rape was almost not mentioned by CCP. Korea War may have a better role as a turning point.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...