Friday, April 16

China’s History

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Selected scenes from the 1944 newsreel produced by the US Government in 1944.

The Battle of China(1944) was the sixth film of Frank Capra’s Why We Fight propaganda film series. It describes the modern history of China, with the founding of the Republic of China by Sun Yat-sen, and leads on to the Japanese invasion. The invasion of China is explained in terms of the four-step plan for Japanese conquest, mentioned in the Tanaka Memorial.
“Here was their mad dream. Phase One – the occupation of Manchuria for raw materials. Phase Two – the absorption of China for manpower. Phase Three – a triumphant sweep to the south to seize the riches of the Indies. Phase Four – the eastward move to crush the United States.”.
Special attention is paid to Japanese atrocities such as the bombing of Shanghai and the Nanking Massacre the film includes graphic film footage of the Nanking atrocities. The film mentions a Nanking massacre death toll of 40,000 far lower than modern estimates; the true death toll was unknown at the time.
The mass westward migration associated with the moving of the Chinese capital to Chongqing, and the construction of the Burma Road are also covered, and the film concludes with overview of the Chinese victory at the Battle of Changsha.
The Chinese communists are never explicitly mentioned, but are implicitly acknowledged with a discussion of Chinese guerrilla warfare behind the Japanese lines.
The introductory maps shown in the film show China as including Outer Mongolia and Tannu Tuva, as they are, to this day, constitutionally claimed by the Republic of China, but not claimed by present-day People’s Republic of China.