Opinion / From the Readers

Canadian blogger: China's V-Day parade justified

By Mark Munro Updated: 2015-09-04 13:38

Canadian blogger: China's V-Day parade justified

Veterans, with medals on their uniforms, salute as their vehicles march through the Tian'anmen Square during the military parade on Sept 3, 2015. [Photo/]

"They are the greatest generation."

Most young Canadians, when we learn about World War II, are reminded of this verbatim. We are taught about the Normandy landing and Juno beach, the liberation of France, and ultimately the defeat of Hitler. We learn that America's entry into the war was caused by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and that the dropping of the atomic bombs was ultimately the end of WW2. Textbook closed.

Or so the story goes...

As I got older and started to study history in university, I learned that what we were told about WW2 pretty much just glorifies what Canada did, and that the war was won as soon as the Americans entered. In public school, we weren't taught much about the Soviet War, Operation Barbarossa, and the fact that it was the Soviets who captured Berlin. They were the ones who suffered the most casualties. This led me to realize that Hitler killed himself because he was afraid of the Soviets finding him, not the Americans.

And we certainly didn't learn anything about "The Forgotten War."

China's involvement is pretty much glossed over in the West. It is swept aside by Nazis and their concentration camps, Normandy, Pearl Harbor, The Bomb, and all the American events that are captured "perfectly" in the countless cornucopia of Hollywood movies.

It wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I began to learn about the Chinese theatre of War against Japanese Aggression. I was introduced to the Rape of Nanjing, and eventually studied the Long March in depth. I read of Mao and the mass peasants he mobilized to fight back against the Japanese at a time when the Kuomintang was still largely waiting for the League of Nations. I read of the grueling Long March and came to recognize Mao as a revolutionary hero. I learned of the Flying Tigers America's involvement in helping out the Chinese cause. And I learned of Norman Bethune. Perhaps it was because of Bethune that I knew I had to come to China myself as someone who had become sensitive to China's history. I wanted to get a visual understanding of the war that remains silent in the West.

Fast Forward.

Today, China held a parade to celebrate its resistance and ultimate victory in the War against Japanese Aggression. On display with roughly 84 percent of its military on-hand for the world to see included 200 planes, 500 tanks, and more than 12,000 soldiers from 17 countries. More than 30 leaders and heads of state attended the event.

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