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Anti-Fascist War in the 1930s and 1940s
Updated: 2005-05-08 11:38

The anti-Fascist war between the 1930s and 1940s was the first just war of a global scale in human history. It ended in the Axis' unconditional surrender in 1945, 60 years ago. Over 2 billion people in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania (exceeding four-fifths of the world population at that time) were involved in the war. People who had experienced that unheard-of calamity will never forget those days when flames of battle raged everywhere.

China was the first country to fight the Fascist aggressor, experiencing the longest period of struggle, and suffering great sacrifices and heavy losses. (The death toll of Chinese people is more than 3.5 million and directly economic loss is US$100 billion.) An important part of the international anti-Fascist war, the Chinese people's War of Resistance Against Japan was closely bound up with it.

People will never forget August 15, 1945, the date on which the Japanese government issued a note to the Allied countries, announcing its unconditional surrender. Japanese militarism, the No.2 war criminal in World War II, collapsed. The Chinese people won the final victory in the anti-Japanese national liberation war through their bitter struggles.

China's War of Resistance Against Japan was a righteous struggle against a war of aggression provoked by Japanese militarists against the will of the Japanese people. As for the Chinese, it was an anti-aggression war to defend state sovereignty and vindicate national honor.

The War of Resistance Against Japan was a turning point in modern Chinese history. It ended the divided situation in which China found itself since the Opium War of 1840. It aroused the Chinese people, filled them with a common hatred against the enemy, and enhanced their traditional national spirit as never before.

The War of Resistance Against Japan was not merely a struggle between the Chinese people and the Japanese militarists or merely a local war between China and Japan. Viewed from the general situation of the international anti-Fascist struggle, China's War of Resistance Against Japan was an important part of the war against aggression waged by people throughout the world, and the China theater was a major theater of decisive importance to World War II. China's War of Resistance strongly supported the anti-Fascist struggle in the European and Pacific theaters, disrupted the overall plan of the Japanese imperialists who attempted to dominate the world, thwarted Japan's "northern march" plot to invade the Soviet Union, and delayed its "southern march" schedule for unleashing the Pacific war. More important still, the Chinese people through great sacrifices pinned down Japan's million troops on the Chinese battlefront so that it could not enhance its military forces in the Far East and the Pacific Ocean. As a result, it greatly reduced the pressure on the Allied forces. When the Pacific war broke out, Japan's military strength totaled 2.1 million soldiers, of which 1.4 million were sent to the Chinese theater. At this time less than 400,000 Japanese soldiers were fighting on the several million-square-kilometer Pacific battlefield. Thus, 67 percent of the total Japanese military strength was tied up in China during the most dangerous period of the Pacific war. In other words, the Japanese military force that China (one nation) resisted trebled what more than 10 nations headed by the United States resisted. The leaders of the Allies knew this well. Franklin D. Roosevelt, then US President, once commented that without China, or if China had been defeated, many more Japanese divisions would have been deployed to other areas and they would have been able to occupy Australia and India immediately without any trouble, and then push to the Middle East.

In the spring of 1942, the United States proposed to establish a China War Zone, and invited Chiang Kai-shek to be the supreme commander. The China War Zone consisted of the China proper, as well as Viet Nam, Thailand, Burma (now Myanmar), etc., a clear indication that the Allies relied heavily on China. Because of this, on New Year's Day, 1942, the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union united with China, and issued the United Nations Declaration. Thus, China became one of the four major anti-Fascist powers. In December 1943, China, Britain and the United States jointly issued the Cairo Declaration. It formulated the general principles of resistance against Japanese imperialists in the anti-Fascist struggle. The Potsdam Proclamation was also jointly issued by Chinese, American and British governments in July 1945, and won wholehearted support worldwide. (The Soviet Union entered into it in August.) It sounded the death knell for the international Fascist warmongers, at the same time becoming an official denunciation against the Japanese Fascists. China' prestige and influence not only frightened the Japanese warlords, but also won for it the respect of all those people who wanted to free themselves from under the iron heel of the Fascists.

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