Save

Chinese Documentary Source Materials Relating to World War ii

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
View More View Less
  • 1 Handa Chair of Japanese-Chinese Relations Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, aaron.moore@ed.ac.uk
Open Access

Abstract

While access to library and archival collections in mainland China remains unclear due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and increasing government scrutiny, past experiences in Chinese archives are still relevant for scholars going forward, in the event that the People’s Republic of China reopens the doors to these collections. In surveying the digital, print publication, and manuscript collections pertaining to the Chinese history of World War ii, this article shows how access to new kinds of sources redefined the pre-pandemic state of the field. In particular, curated volumes that emphasized perspectives from the Chinese Communist Party and leftist intellectuals gradually have given way to a more representative collection of the documentary evidence, and Taiwanese collections continue to be important to the historiography. The article begins with coverage of well-known guides and published catalogues of mainland and Taiwanese collections. It then covers some military documents that Chinese scholars occasionally have referenced. It emphasizes the richness of accessible material on the social and cultural history of the war era as part of a call to colleagues and future students to expand the scope of what is traditionally thought to be “military history.” There is ample opportunity for major interventions into our understanding of wartime China, which shaped the course of modern history overall, and major innovations in historiography that scholars usually make from the dusty reading rooms of the libraries and archives.

Abstract

While access to library and archival collections in mainland China remains unclear due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and increasing government scrutiny, past experiences in Chinese archives are still relevant for scholars going forward, in the event that the People’s Republic of China reopens the doors to these collections. In surveying the digital, print publication, and manuscript collections pertaining to the Chinese history of World War ii, this article shows how access to new kinds of sources redefined the pre-pandemic state of the field. In particular, curated volumes that emphasized perspectives from the Chinese Communist Party and leftist intellectuals gradually have given way to a more representative collection of the documentary evidence, and Taiwanese collections continue to be important to the historiography. The article begins with coverage of well-known guides and published catalogues of mainland and Taiwanese collections. It then covers some military documents that Chinese scholars occasionally have referenced. It emphasizes the richness of accessible material on the social and cultural history of the war era as part of a call to colleagues and future students to expand the scope of what is traditionally thought to be “military history.” There is ample opportunity for major interventions into our understanding of wartime China, which shaped the course of modern history overall, and major innovations in historiography that scholars usually make from the dusty reading rooms of the libraries and archives.

It used to be the state of affairs that historians of wartime China complained that there were few or no primary sources for their work, but this is no longer the case (if indeed it ever was). It is certainly true that access to collections in the People’s Republic of China (prc) that the Chinese Communist Party (ccp) controls is sporadic and dependent on the vicissitudes of mainland government policy. It is unlikely that historians of the war in China ever will enjoy the ease with which scholars in Europe or North America access critical primary source documents. Outside of the prc, materials in the Republic of China (roc), Chinese Nationalist Party—Guomindang (gmd)—has become increasingly public with the rise of democracy in Taiwan, but these are not as voluminous as those on the mainland. Politics and China’s turbulent modern history notwithstanding, historians recently have been able to use publicly available resources to conduct innovative research projects on many topics.

Because the era of total war in East Asia (1937–1945) occurred within the Republican Era (1911–1949), government archives of the prc (also known as “mainland China”) often preserve wartime documents as part of that period’s history—it sometimes refers to it as “pre-liberation” (meaning before 1949)—and archivists handle them differently from documents relating to the period of ccp rule. This is not the case in Taiwan, which is still the roc, and therefore state archives combine the history of the war with other events, such as the Civil War (1946–1949). As a first step, historians may wish to consult the multivolume collection titled General Overview of Republican Era Archives in China [Quanguo Minguo dang’an tonglan] to obtain a summary of the roughly 3,800 government archives across China.1 Nevertheless, state archives do not just preserve government documents. What ends up in a Chinese archive is sometimes mysterious, subject to the chaos of multiple revolutions, personal connections, and local idiosyncrasies. Nearly every historian of modern China has a story about how someone asserted with complete confidence that “such a document does not exist,” or no one could find it, and that person turned out to be wrong—at times, these statements come from the archivists themselves. To be a historian of wartime China is something of a test of scholarly resilience, entrepreneurship, and occasional craftiness, but being open-minded is paramount.

Because of the need for brevity, this article will restrict itself to primary source documents in Chinese. After a long period of exile from mainland Chinese archives, and reliance on foreign views of the war in China, there was, perhaps, an understandable desire on the part of scholars to root their work on the “War of Resistance” exclusively in Chinese materials. Nevertheless, historians still have made good use of resources in Japanese, Russian, and European languages, particularly when the writer juxtaposes them with research in Chinese.2 Non-Sinophone archives and collections, such as the Yale Divinity Library, the British National Archives, and the National Archives and Records Administration (nara) at College Park, Maryland still will prove to be essential collections for documenting China’s wartime experience. The future of groundbreaking research, however, will continue to be in the untapped resources in Sinophone collections, particularly those in local archives.

The covid-19 pandemic, the prc government’s increasing scrutiny, and the general decline in funding for the academic humanities have combined to bring renewed emphasis on the importance of remote-access or published primary sources, which for senior scholars surely must feel like a “return to form.” Additionally, supervisors of students at higher levels of education may wish to reference materials that are accessible to libraries outside of the Sinophone world, for the purposes of academic training. This article therefore describes some print collections that are of use to those who wish to enter into wartime history without being able to access manuscript collections in prc or roc archives. This section will explore bibliographies and guides, general documentary collections, specifically wartime primary source compendia, and private publications.

First, there are many general reprints and collections of archival documents that include wartime materials, but finding them (and discerning their utility) can be daunting. Chinese scholars and editors have produced publication bibliographies—in particular, before digitization took hold of libraries around the world—and while these compendia can be idiosyncratic, they also draw together books on a particular topic that a scholar might not do independently. For example, Tian Dawei, former vice president of the National Library in Beijing, led a team that in 1985 published the Republican Era Comprehensive Bibiliography (Minguo shiqi zongshumu), which includes a volume on military matters, but also catalogues wartime publications on philosophy and psychology. History of the war years cannot simply be a military history; volumes like this reveal publication strands on topics like the dynamics of mass psychology in the army, as Xiao Xiaorong presented to the Central Military Committee (cmc) in 1945, or moral education documents (that men wrote) for women.3

Another way to ascertain the existence of publications, including documentary reprints, is for researchers to reference the bibliographies of multi-volume historical surveys. For example, on a topic like wartime education, volume seven of Li Guojun and Wang Bingzhao’s edited series titled General History of the Chinese Education System: The Republican Era, 1912–1949 (Zhongguo jiaoyu zhidu tongshi: Minguo shiqi, 1912–1949) and introduced period documents in mainland Chinese library collections.4 The Academia Historica in Taiwan produced nine guides from 1987 to 1996, including coverage of topics such as women’s history, foreign relations, cartography, and economic history.5 Scholars who wish to explore a particular aspect of the war years, whether it be childhood and youth, gender, labor, ethnicity, or some other topic, should be willing to explore these compendia to develop a bibliography on their research area. While all of these guides and bibliographies are useful, scholars must be mindful of their curated nature and treat them as a portal for further research on published and archival material.

Second, enterprising historians of wartime China will want to consult general documentary collections on the Republican Era to see what they contain from the 1937 to 1945 period. Some volumes have extremely broad titles such as the Second National Archive (sna) in Nanjing’s Republican Era Historical Archives Collection (Zhonghua Minguoshi dang’an ziliao huibian). Companies specializing in reproducing old documents published these sources, although the sna staff edited them.6 Most famous among these compendia in the prc are the Literary and Historical Materials publications (that scholars usually refer to using their Chinese name of Wenshi Ziliao), some of which compilers have reprinted as collected editions.7 The government launched the Wenshi Ziliao in the prc from 1959 at the behest of Premier Zhou Enlai, and they use primary sources to shed light on a myriad of topics from wartime business to the tactics of peasant resistance against Japanese forces. By the 1990s, there were thousands of such titles with ccp oversight that had become available to researchers at the national, provincial, and prefectural levels.8

Because local governments, universities, and research institutes typically organize wenshi, they are especially useful for scholars who wish to write more granular “grassroots” history, bearing in mind of course their selective content. For example, Stephen MacKinnon used general Wenshi Ziliao for Wuhan history alongside specific collections such as the Historical Materials on the Wuhan Press (Wuhan xinwen shiliao) to discuss Wuhan’s wartime print culture, while Ishijima Noriyuki similarly analyzed general Wenshi Ziliao, as well as those specifically about Yunnan, to describe the province’s mobilization campaigns and local resistance to gmd leadership.9 Apart from the Wenshi Ziliao collections, other periodicals reprint primary source material, sometimes combined with analysis or short critical introductions that historians have written, including well-known examples such as Document Collection for Modern Chinese History and the sna’s Republican Era Historical Archives Collection.

Although scholars working in English, in recent years, have focused their attention more on mainland collections, the National Archives (na) in Taipei has produced several volumes using archival documents that moved to Taiwan with the gmd government. In addition to their considerable digitized volumes, which are often open access, the na publishes many personal accounts, such as Hu Tsung-nan’s diary.10 The Academia Sinica, and especially Academia Historica, has organized interviews in its 106 volume Oral History Series (Koushu lishi congshu) for intellectual, political, and military figures who evacuated to Taiwan during the Communist revolution, including important generals such as Pai Ch’ung-hsi.11 In addition to that series, there are fifteen editions of the journal Oral History Journal (Koushu lishi), with short-form memoirs and interviews, and the Historical Materials Series (Shiliao congkan), within which there are collections of materials such as the correspondences of Hsu Yung-chang.12 Before the academic fever around Chiang Kai-shek’s diaries got hot, Academia Historica steadily published diaries of other leaders of the war years, including Hsu Yung-chang, Ting Chih Pan, Jin Wensi (Wunz King), Wang Shih-chieh, and, more recently, Chen Kewen’s important diary, who was close to the collaborator Wang Jingwei. Some of these are reproductions of handwritten manuscripts and they can be challenging for some readers. In any case, whether the sources are reprinted manuscripts, typed copies of mainland archives, or Taiwanese postwar oral histories, historians must be careful to read these materials critically, and be aware of the possibility that the editors (or family members) are selecting the content for public consumption.

Third, there are reprinted primary sources that focus specifically on the war years and the conflict itself, including the recent one hundred volume set that Jin Yilin and Luo Bin have edited titled Military Source Collection for the War of Resistance (Zhonghua minzu kangri zhanzheng junshi ziliaoji). This enormous project includes documents from the 8th Route and New Fourth Army records, though how much this represents new material on Communist forces, whose archives still are restricted, is beyond the purview of this limited article, and specialists of those forces should scrutinize them closely.13 The sna has released selected archival documents through a myriad of publishers. The twenty-volume Resources on the Japanese Imperialist Invasion of China (Riben diguozhuyi qin-Hua dang’an ziliao xuanji) and the 55-volume Historical Documents of the Nanjing Massacre (Nanjing datusha shiliaoji) are both good examples of how contemporary concerns still drive the republication of selected archival documents.14 Historians must be careful in noting what published documents do and do not reveal. It still remains the case that gmd-aligned forces, including warlord armies, have more open archival collections than those under the ccp, in part because the ccp largely controls the records of its Civil War opponents. Nevertheless, even compendia of gmd-aligned forces are selective, such as the sna’s Top Secret War Diaries of the kmt Military (Kangri zhanzheng shiqi Guomindangjun jimi zuozhan riji), which seems to include, on balance, a higher proportion of gmd units attacking ccp and other Chinese forces, and a lower proportion of gmd resistance against Japanese invaders, than the archival record actually represents.15

Other collections, often from the sna or well-known municipal archives like Shanghai’s, are available with a specific organizational focus, such as Historical Document Collection of the National Salvation Society (Jiuguohui shiliaoji). The sna also occasionally publishes documents on a historical theme, event, or specific concern for war historians, such as so-called “Chinese traitor” trials and the personal accounts of related individuals like Zhou Fohai. Source selectivity for sensitive topics is a major problem, but historians have made judicious use of collections, such as the Documents from Treason Trials of the Wang Jingwei Collaborationist Government (Shenxun Wang wei hanjian bilu).16 These documentary collections are methodologically useful because they demonstrate how researchers can put together primary sources of different provenances to elucidate specific historical problems. The na in Taiwan also has produced many of these specialized collections and, helpfully, provided free online access to some volumes. For example, drawing from the Executive Yuan and government ministry archives (for example, transport, foreign affairs, and forestry and agriculture), the na has provided pdf copies of documentary collections on topics such as wartime telecommunications, agriculture, and policing.17 In short, there are many reprinted Chinese Republican government materials that are available for library purchase or online access that permit new research on a variety of topics.

Fourth, beyond compendia scholars have produced under the auspices of political parties, the state, or publicly funded research institutions, there are private publications that also feature reprinted source material. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, in particular, private publishers have produced combinations of documents and analysis that address niche topics, such as the history of Taiwanese students during the colonial period and oral histories of soldiers in the Chinese Expeditionary Force.18 Chinese figures who did not move to Taiwan, for whatever reason, may not release their accounts through the na or Academia Historica, like Chang Fa-Kwei, whose memoirs appeared through a publisher in Hong Kong.19 In the prc, university publishers often occupy the space that private publishers might do in other countries, releasing memoirs, oral histories, and some document collections. For example, Guangxi Normal University published the personal memoir of Hu Bowei, titled Childhood in the “Republican Era” (Ershi “Minguo”), including his accounting of moving from Nanjing to Kunming, and the Japanese bombing of Chongqing, the wartime capital.20 Nevertheless, when meticulously combing through these collections, some searches will end in disappointment—in A Selection of One Hundred Years of Film Theory (Jiuguohui shiliaoji), there are only two short articles that fall within the war years (1938 and 1942, respectively), and neither of them specifically discuss wartime film culture as such.21 Scholars familiar with non-Chinese subject areas will discover that non-government print matter on wartime Chinese history is comparatively lacking. This, however, should not dissuade researchers from seeking such materials for further expanding the documentary collections for wartime China.

Reprints and annotated bibliographies are useful when travel to China is difficult or if the prc government restricts archival access to academics, but it is crucial to bear in mind that they are selective; even the most conscientious compiler applies a personal interpretation to what constitutes “essential materials.” Nevertheless, print archives, digitized collections, and compendia all contain omissions, as are the memories protagonists articulate in memoirs and oral histories; historical memory, silence, and source selectivity are the perpetual companions of historiography. In any case, despite advances in digitization, (re-)printed collections of materials will continue to be important, if not only to capture discrete iterations of historical consciousness on specific concerns, such as war atrocities or mass mobilization campaigns.

While there are useful documents in Western Europe, North America, Japan, and Russia, military archives are still a Chinese affair. The military record of China during World War ii divides between the prc and the roc, although not neatly so due to the disruptions of the Civil War. In many ways, when beginning a project on China during the World War ii, it is better to begin in the roc, where there are fewer, more centralized, and usually more accessible archives, to get a better overall picture of wartime documents and discourse, before moving on to the comparatively larger and more disparate archives in the prc. Because the National Revolutionary Army (nra) was not only a modern army, but also a political force, there is some overlap between military, government, and partisan archives. Still, scholars who think that the Chinese military was hopelessly disorganized should consider the state of U.S. military record keeping at the start of the 20th Century. The nra was probably “normal” when it came to documenting itself as a modern army.

First, the largest repository of military documents in the roc is connected to the Ministry of National Defense Bureau of Military History (mdha)—effectively, the group that oversees the defense archives for the government in Taiwan, but including documents from before 1949. The mdha collection is difficult for anyone to summarize easily, except to say that it includes a number of documents that usually high-ranking officers incidentally transported from the land army, but also a more systematic collection of naval and air documents of a similar organization to sna (because the gmd government set out the principles of cataloguing). It was probably a simple case of which documents senior staff prioritized or could transport most easily from the mainland to Taiwan at the end of the Civil War. Some of the materials make for fascinating reading, such as diary accounts describing the air units of Kao Chi-hang and Mei Yuanbai, gmd-Soviet cooperation, and the overall shift to an anti-ccp strategy at the end of the war.22 Scholars should be aware, however, that entry to the archives can be a time-consuming process and so they must liaise with colleagues in Taiwan on the proper procedure. Once a researcher gains initial access, however, the staff are helpful and most documents are open.

Second, there are important military documents in the Chinese Nationalist Party Archives (npa). While the Hoover Institution copied part of the collection as microfiche, a significant reorganization of this collection occurred in 2012 and 2013, which means those who were familiar with the old location (and its large card catalogue) will find the situation significantly transformed. Party leaders and military figures donated materials to the npa throughout the organization’s history, and it includes personal documents, wartime Military Affairs Commission (mac) records, notes on important social and paramilitary organizations linked to national defense, such as the Chinese Scouts and the Three Isms Youth Corps, or Whampoa Military Academy publications. Apart from the gmd’s internal deliberations and politics, the archive is useful for research on topics such as “spiritual education” in the armed forces, public ceremonies (particularly through photographic evidence), and the political thoughts of military leaders like Zhang Zizhong.23

The na maintains a collection of digitized manuscripts, principally focused on high level organs of the state and its leadership class, but also an undigitized, still largely unexplored body of manuscripts at its separate site in Xindian. There is a catalogue of wartime history in two parts, which scholars will want to review as a first stop, as well as a record of microfiche materials, but these will be selective regarding which “wartime materials” they include—researchers should not consider them definitive. Documents relating to the mac also are archived at the na, which detail the relationship between the military, the gmd, and the broader state apparatus. If scholars struggle to conceptualize what these documents address, the na reprinted select documents that it arranged according to themes, such as the mac’s organization and personnel, organization of key industry and agricultural production, and supply and logistics.24

The na organizes some manuscripts according to famous military leaders, such as Chiang Kai-shek, although researchers will not find all documents by or relating to these individuals exhaustively catalogued or within these fonds. For example, in collections of sundry documents one can find Dai Li’s directions to investigate how many Russian language materials are in university libraries, details on the impact of air raids on military and government facilities, or a request for enrollment of unemployed students in military cadre training.25 The branch at Xindian in particular includes a collection of newspapers military organizations sponsored or otherwise possibly for servicemen, such as War of Resistance: Special Edition, Military Police Weekly (Kangzhan teji, Xianbing ribao), and both Chongqing and Hankow’s editions of Sweep News (Saodangbao). The newspapers contain “straight” reporting, reprinted war diaries, poetry, interviews of officers, and illustrations about military life that may interest those working in “new military history.” The na also includes documents on military academies like Huangpu/Whampoa, extensive photographs of military units and leaders, and the conscription system.

The largest collection of military documents is in the sna in Nanjing, where the Republican government left behind much of the land army materials. These collections include battlefield reports, personal diaries, correspondences, and field diaries, which the author has written about extensively; these are not restricted to forces directly under the command of the central government, or Chiang Kai-shek and his inner circle of supporters, but regional and “warlord” forces as well. Although there are significant gaps in the record, there is an extremely large number of wartime documentary evidence there, including voluminous field diaries from the army to the company level—and in some cases even platoons. Many documents are damaged. These documents are available either in manuscript, microfiche, or digitized form, depending on the archive’s conservation resources throughout history, and as of this writing are still open to credentialed researchers.

Apart from the materials one standardly would expect in a military archive, there are other documents worth noting. Personal diaries of military officers also are present, though few in number, which the author has written about elsewhere. Correspondences on the status of non-Han ethnic groups, borderland communities, and military officers who have conducted rural war mobilization are an important record (for example, the mobilization of the Yi people in southwest China). Some records of collaboration forces also exist, although administrative documents are usually in the local government records (for example, Nanjing Municipal Archives). Although not as numerous when in comparison with American or Australian military archives, the sna also preserves captured Japanese documents from the wartime era. Unfortunately, perpetrators have vandalized some of these in the past with patriotic slogans, making them difficult to read, and in the early 2000s the original catalogue still recorded them with unprofessional, wartime language. When in the sna, researchers whenever possible should check the original handwritten catalogue, rather than rely on the digital record, if they gain access to the latter.

After the sna, provincial archives have the most wartime material, and they can shed light on a number of issues that the curators of a national record have obscured. For example, provincial archives are just as, if not more, likely to preserve manuscripts of personal documents, including the letters, memoirs, and diaries of local soldiers who never rose to national prominence.26 Provincial archives also preserve the personal records of prominent political and military figures who recent historians may have neglected, like Shi Fangbai.27 Wartime industrial production and labor management is well documented here, with records that factory managers, works supervisors, and accountants linked to the military or local government left behind. Some provincial collections, such as Shanxi, suffered enormously because of the constant fighting between 1937 and 1949, whereas others, such as Sichuan, Jiangsu, Yunnan, and Zhejiang, still have much to offer. Municipal archives reflect the concerns of city managers, and so convey different aspects of the war experience, much like the provincial collections. As with provincial archives, records of production for key industries, such as the manufacture of military uniforms, is available in a variety of genres.28 One often can find documents concerning the treatment of “traitors,” prisoners of war, and refugees within municipal or county archives, so historians working on these topics should pay close attention to them. Separating military concerns from civilian government and cultural collections is difficult in wartime China, as readers will see below, so keeping an open mind about where one’s research materials might be located is important.

It may appear that history of the wartime Chinese government and state apparatus is more straightforward in its research object, but snapshots of executive government, economic policy, infrastructure and development, state-funded scientific research, and foreign policy formation form a rich but confusing palimpsest of information. Even in Chinese (and Japanese) language scholarship, where there is a far more extensive command of wartime government, economic, and foreign relations data, the picture seems far from coherent or complete. Anglophone theoretical work presents additional problems, from Theda Skocpol to James C. Scott, which debates what the state is. Exacerbating those is the fact that, for example, American and British (Commonwealth) writers use terms like “government” and “the state” in different ways due to their different forms of democracy.29 The section of the article that follows will provide a short summary of important sources on economy and government and then an overview of the importance of local Chinese archives.

Scholars can pursue fruitfully research on the wartime government’s fiscal and monetary policies in foreign collections, such as the National Archives of the United Kingdom, the Bundesarchiv in Berlin, and the Hoover Institution at California’s Stanford University, but the main repositories are in mainland China and Taiwan, where the archives include the materials of the Inspectorate General of Maritime Custom Records.30 In addition to the Nanjing government’s main records at the sna in Nanjing, as well as transported documents at the na in Taipei, Chinese economic historians have used a number of reprinted document collections, made recently available through the National Central Library (Guojia tushuguan) Taiwan eBook collection (Taiwan huawen dianzi shuku) or the na online collection; not everything is digitized, of course, and so the na’s print materials are still relevant with volumes that scholars like He Simi have edited, including Historical Materials on Wartime State Monopolies (Kangzhan shiqi zhuanmai shiliao, 1991) and Historical Materials on US Aid to China (Kangzhan shiqi Meiguo yuan-Hua shiliao, 1994).31 Twenty years ago, Linsun Cheng pointed out that, despite the importance of finance in China’s “modernization,” there has been little study in English on topics such as banking and business in the Republican Era.32 Scholars eager to comment on governmentality, in the Foucauldian sense, usually have little knowledge of how Republican Chinese government actually worked, so the economic history of wartime China remains a field open for innovation.

Scholars long have grappled with the government of Republican China, and the state apparatus it claimed to command. As outlined above (on published materials), historians continue to use personal documents, such as Chiang Kai-shek’s diary, to write the political history of the war years.33 In the archive record, the na collection in Taipei in some respects resembles what one finds at the sna, in that its basic organization mirrors that of the Republican state apparatus. For example, Ministry of Education documents include scholarship funds provided nationally during the war years, and the struggles of provincial governments to distribute them fairly. Authors of official documents reveal the impact of the war on education and social management, including efforts to infiltrate occupied and “puppet” governments in eastern China.34 Basic information on social groups at the provincial level is sometimes available, such as the organization of youth, women, veterans, and the elderly. Examples of state propaganda, mass media collaboration with the government, social organizations supporting total war mobilization, criminal cases that Chinese courts handled, and other important documents touching on wartime social, legal, political, and cultural history are available in the na—including extensive photographic collections of both the gmd government and the collaborationist regime of Wang Jingwei.35 For example, legal documents—whether 司法行政, 軍政部 (Ministry of Judicial Administration), 軍政部 (Ministry of Military Affairs), or 司法院 (Judicial Yuan)—relevant to the war years feature cases of collaboration with Japan, drug use, crimes that Chinese soldiers committed, and even guidance provincial governments sought about draft dodgers and assaults on draft officers.36 Academics wishing to deconstruct legal documents to write wartime social history can do some of their best work here.

Subnational collections continue to be areas where innovative research is most possible. Provincial archives are more likely to contain much of the raw materials of governance, from field reports on the training of civilians on air raid precautions to the issues with corvée labor. They also may retain documents that officials collected to formulate reports (for example, budgets and activities for the local chapter of the New Life Movement) or, as is frequently the case around the world with local government archives, become simply repositories for lost institutions, including manuscripts like student autobiographies and essays from schools that long since have closed. Along with the foreign collections of missionaries and attachés, historians more recently have used Chinese provincial archives (as well as county and municipal collections) in innovative ways, for example to draw out microdata and elucidate local experiences of flooding and water management during the period of gmd rule.37 City archives contain some of the most interesting documents on the functions of the wartime and immediate postwar state apparatus. Personal documents are not unusual in municipal archives, particularly if the author was an individual of prominence in the local government. One often can find trial documents for Chinese collaborators here, whenever trials conducted elsewhere were requesting evidence for their deliberations; this includes materials such as catalogues of materials on collaborationist social organizations such as the New Citizens Society, although scholars should be careful about the personal data that these documents may contain.38

Thus, although local archives in the prc do follow some basic principles of organization, researchers should go to them open-minded about what they may find. The Yunnan Provincial Archives, for example, preserves some original documents from the province’s Education Department, including materials on the Three Isms Youth Corps, the Chinese Scouts, correspondence from students trapped abroad during the war, ethnic minority education, student plays, itinerant film screenings, records of department meetings, and even student grade sheets; these documents of course relate to institutions that the provincial government (as opposed to municipal) established, managed, or financed. Yunnan provincial school records not only tell us what policies administrators put in place to educate the highly diverse border province, but even which books they purchased for these schools using government funds, which one can cross-reference with municipal and provincial library special collections. The fonds can be a truly chaotic grab bag of original manuscripts, including personal diaries, school pupil data, student essays, records of legal disputes, and accounts of ethnic minority education, including documents in languages like Dai.39

It is important to remember, however, that documents pertaining to national affairs are not just located in state archives. Academies contain documents on economic and business history, for example the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, which scholars have used, such as Parks Coble in his work on the Japanese occupation of the lower Yangzi River.40 Intellectuals were eager to find venues accessible to the public when articulating their views, including publications outside of elite government and literary circles. Magazines like The Young Companion (Liangyou) and journals like Science Illustrated (Kexue Huabao) carried short pieces that figures in the government, gmd, and the armed forces had written.41 Second, private repositories like the Hoover Institution have been collecting discarded archives, including personal documents like diaries, for some time. While the na in Taipei is a state institution, as mentioned above, historians can use its memoirs and oral histories in conjunction with archival documents to reconsider important topics, such as wartime Chinese government policies concerning ethnic minorities.42 Voices from the commanding heights of business and government appear in many venues, so scholars of wartime China must be more enterprising than to turn to the usual sources state archives in mainland China and Taiwan provide—or indeed foreign government archives in countries like Britain and the United States.

Research on Chinese society and culture, outside of the writings of well-known intellectuals and political leaders, continues to be an area that requires more attention. In recent years, the reproduction and digitization of newspapers has aided greatly the study of wartime China’s print culture, and many other previously over-looked areas, such as gender history, childhood and youth, medicine and science, and even recreation and consumption.43 From large broadsheets like L’Impartial (Dagongbao) to glossy magazines like The Young Companion, much is conveniently available either online or in the reading rooms of major libraries in the prc and abroad. Still, scholars focus on left wing writers, like Guo Moruo, who, while aesthetically enjoyable writers, were part of the post-1949 establishment and arguably do not represent wartime discourse.

Perhaps most absorbing is the na’s expansive (but incomplete) collection of manuscript newspapers and journals, very few of which scholars have studied extensively in English, including relatively unknown publications such as China Youth (Zhongguo qingnian), which features war reportage, medicine advertisements, air raid reports, and personal ads men seeking wives posted. Parts of the collection include draft manuscripts and notes that authors of wartime reportage have written; although there has been considerable scholarship on China’s reportage tradition, the works of writers outside of leftist circles is still largely absent in English. The na also has many regional newspapers for the war years, including from Changle, Wuhan, Changsha, and Chongqing. The na has an abundant collection of wartime photographs, including images of youth groups (as above, the Scouts and Three Isms), uniforms, political and military leaders, Japanese surrender ceremonies, armed forces’ training exercises, women’s wartime support organizations, the Nanjing Massacre, Japanese conscription of Taiwanese men, and important military theaters, including Taierzhuang, Songhu (Shanghai area), and Changsha. Similar to mainland archives, however, the na in Xindian can be an unexpected treasure trove; in the Education Ministry collection, the author read dozens of hand-written letters that desperate young people wrote at the end of the war begging for relief during a period of economic collapse and runaway inflation. The Academia Sinica libraries contain wartime publications that the gmd transported to Taiwan before 1949; although these institutions never will rival the Republican Era special collections on the mainland, researchers should not ignore them.

Mainland Chinese library collections, especially at the local level, still are not utilized fully as research facilities, except for some notable institutions, such as the Shanghai Municipal Library or the Peking University Library. Researchers must be peripatetic—the National Library in Beijing maintains an important collection of wartime publications, but it never will be able to provide a comprehensive overview of wartime discourse, especially now that staff encourage visitors to restrict themselves to digitized materials. Regarding wartime publications, in part because Beijing was an occupied capital, researchers should not see the National Library as an analogous to the Library of Congress, the National Diet Library in Tokyo, or the “legal deposit” libraries of the United Kingdom, such as the National Library of Scotland. Library collections in the prc are still geographically idiosyncratic, but one should see this as an opportunity to do more cutting-edge research. For example, tracking the appearance of publications between regional libraries adds information about the availability and proliferation of certain texts, even during the period of wartime dislocation.44 It is also the case that multimedia collections are disparate, even within Beijing itself—the Beijing Film Archives maintains wartime film and documentary collections of considerable value, even though its catalogue can be difficult to search and expensive to use.

Municipal, university, and provincial libraries in mainland China usually do not preserve hand-written manuscripts, but they are still important collections for documenting the wartime past. For example, Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, Chongqing, and Wuhan Municipal Libraries, as well as the Capital Library in Beijing, are particularly extensive, and their Republican Era collections are generally open to credentialed researchers. City libraries contain the wartime published accounts of children and youth, refugees, and soldiers that those who continue to rely on a postwar canon of reprinted and heavily curated documents overlook.45 Provincial libraries, such as the Yunnan Provincial Library in Kunming, offer another snapshot of what wartime readers were consuming—some books still have the reader cards tucked into the back, showing a long list of individuals who read the book (including foreign borrowers), and others notes and scribbles, which is an invaluable record of audience engagement. Furthermore, historians who compare the catalogues of major libraries can challenge assumptions about what constituted “canonical reading” during the war years, allowing them to show which texts were in broad circulation across China, and not just Shanghai and Beijing. Finally, it is true that library collections hold some manuscripts, but for the most part their collections are wartime printed matter.46

Universities in major cities such as Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Nanjing are critical repositories of wartime print culture, especially since they often archive publications from local schools and social organizations. Original, first edition publications of war reportage, youth diaries, children’s books, women’s magazines, local leaders’ memoirs, and propaganda materials, including pamphlets and training manuals, help researchers to understand how the wartime state and its allied media and social organizations “spoke” to the general population. Similarly, school yearbooks, self-published diaries, and local organization pamphlets show how the general population publicly “spoke” back. In comparison, one also can see how these divisions can be difficult to maintain at the level of wartime discourse, where the state, media, social organizations, and the general public borrowed language freely from each other when putting their words into print.

Recently renovated libraries with significant Republican Era collections, such as Nanjing and Chongqing, also have useful reading rooms of reprinted publications, such as editions of The Young Companion or major broadsheets like L’Impartial, which researchers can access more easily, read in print (if one prefers), and copy more quickly than the original documents. Library special collections are essential for broadening the view of wartime discourse, as it helps researchers escape or even deconstruct the carefully curated canon of wartime publishing as it has evolved since 1949. Accounts outside of left-wing reportage, from ordinary people, or focused on regional experiences are still under-represented in the scholarship, but are in ample supply in these collections. Different municipal, university, and provincial libraries also extensively collect ersatz youth accounts of professional writers and didactic texts for children and youth. The broad market for war accounts, public-facing national defense strategy documents, and school textbooks is on full display in these institutions.47 Whether a municipal or provincial library will offer a better collection for one’s object of study—for example, women’s journals, war reportage, science magazines, and the like—is difficult to predict.

A significant problem with research on Chinese wartime documents is that scholars make assumptions about the contents of the archive, without actually investigating them. Military archives do not simply contain official documents from that particular nation’s armed forces, for example, but can include anything that the organization gathered during the course of prosecuting the war. The military machine can hoover up personal diaries, enemy documents, propaganda media, and even business records (for example, shipping and production); one can say the same about other public collections, such as education departments, public works, and media archives. What constitutes an “archive” is also problematic, as historians still doggedly pursue research in centralized state archives, rather than seeing museums, social organizations, and private enterprises as significant repositories of wartime record.

The lists of documents and resources above will be both frustratingly limited for experienced researchers and overwhelming for new students. As a practical approach, doctoral supervisors may wish to order en masse (where budgets permit) bibliographies and guides to give students an overview of possible topics, or locations of relevant materials. While training in their first year or two, print material helps acclimate new researchers (or old dogs learning new tricks) to the language specific to government, military, or social and cultural materials. Once in the prc or Taiwan, researchers will spend considerable time there waiting on permissions or necessary letters of introduction, during which libraries and other open collections will be useful. They should be enterprising, flexible, diplomatic, and open-minded once inside the archives. The portrait of wartime China is inevitably a cubist one, with patches of paint from magazines, military reports, minuted meetings of social organizations, and deliberations at the highest level of the state’s commanding heights, and no collection is ever complete. One should not become discouraged, however, because China’s wartime history is still largely unwritten, and there is tremendous scope for scholars to do truly innovative work.

Selected Bibliography

Primary Sources

  • Junzhengbu Wuchang zhuangzhi nifen changgao” [“Nifen uniform factory report, Ministry of War, Wuchang”]. 366/079, 1938–1941. Chongqing Municipal Archives. Chongqing, People’s Republic of China (PRC).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu Wangqing.Beiwanglu: zhishi qingnian yuanzhengjun 209-shi 625-tuan zhanpaolian Liu Wangqing biji yiben” [“A record against forgetting: a notebook of an intellectual youth in the artillery of the Expeditionary Army’s 625th Regiment, 209th Division”]. L054.1.48. Zhejiang Provincial Archives. Hangzhou, PRC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lu Yiye. Paohuozhong liuwangji [Fleeing among cannon fire]. Zhongguo wenyishe [China Literature and Art Publishing], Ed. Hankow: Kangzhan wenyi congshu, September 1938. 193593/0529. Nanjing Municipal Library. Nanjing, PRC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ministry of National Defense Bureau of Military History. Taipei, Taiwan.

  • Shengli Cheli xiaoxuexiao jingfei baobiao, ji xuesheng chengji mingce, Cheli xiaoxuexiaozhang Zhang Pichang de riji” [“Records of the Cheli Provincial primary school finances, with student register and grades”], 1938. 12/4/1091. Yunnan Provincial Archives. Kunming, PRC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shi Fangbai.Riji” [“Diary”]. lsa2.1–3 (1–50). Hubei Provincial Archives. Wuhan, PRC.

  • Wang Jiaozhu, Ed. Sanminzhuyi qingniantuan lunyi [On the Three Isms Youth Corps]. Jinhua: Qingnian chubanshe, October 1939. Shanghai Municipal Library. Shanghai, PRC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wu Tiecheng.Shanghai-shi xuesheng jizhong junxun xaochang yewai shishi biji” [“Notebook or organizing students and carrying out military exercises on the training field”], May 1936. Shanghai Municipal Library. Shanghai, PRC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Xinminhui mingce” [“Register of members of the New Citizens Association”], undated. 022-1-37. Shijiazhuang Municipal Archives. Shijiazhuang, PRC.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhanshi jiaoyu wenti” [“Problems with wartime education”], 21–23, 26 July 1943. 193/019000000243A. National Archives. Taipei, Taiwan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhanshi shiliao” [Wartime historical records”], 144-20A (1944), 144–37A (October 1937), 144–46A (14 August 1942). 202000001A. National Archives. Taipei, Taiwan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Secondary Sources

  • Academia Historica, Ed. Jingji dang’an hanmu huibian [Document collection of economic archives]. Taipei: Academia Historica, 1987.

  • Boecking, Felix. No Great Wall: Trade, Tariffs, and Nationalism in Republican China, 1927–1945. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2017.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chang Fa-K’uei. The Reminiscences of Chang Fa-K’uei (1896–1980). Julie Lien-ying How Oral History Interview. C. Martin Wilbur, ed. New York: Columbia University East Asian Institute, 1983.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chang, Annie K.The Wenshi Ziliao Collection of the Center for Chinese Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley.” Twentieth-Century China 26, No. 1 (November 2000): 103108.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chang Fa-Kwei. Jiang Jieshi yu wo: Zhang Fakui-shangjiang huiyi [Chiang Kai-shek and Me: General Chang Fa-Kwei’s oral history]. Julie Lien-ying How Oral History Interview. Hong Kong: Wenhua yishu chubanshe, 2008.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cheng, Linsun. Banking in Modern China: Entepreneurship, Professional Managers, and the Development of Chinese Banks, 1897–1937. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cheng Li-ling Yuedong de qingchun: Rizhi Taiwan de xuesheng shenghuo [The Dynamism of youth: daily life of Taiwanese students under Japanese occupation]. Taipei: Weilan chubanshe, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chou, Mei-hwa. A Documentary Collection on Military Administration of the National Government: The Military Commission. 2 Vols. Taipei: Academia Historica, 1996.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coble, Parks. Chinese Capitalists in Japan’s New Order: The Occupied Lower Yangzi. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

  • Cole, James H. Twentieth Century China: An Annotated Bibliography of Reference Works in Chinese, Japanese and Western Languages. London: Routledge, 2004.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Courtney, Chris. The Nature of Disaster in China: The 1931 Yangzi River Flood. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

  • Duara, Prasenjit. Culture, Power, and the State: Rural North China, 1900–1942. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988.

  • Hou Kunhong, Ed. Liaozheng shiliao [Historical materials on agriculture]. Vol. 4. Taipei: Second National Archive, 1989.

  • Hu Bowei. Ershi “Minguo” [Childhood in the “Republican Era”]. Guilin: Guangxi shifan daxue chubanshe, 2006.

  • Huang Tze-chin. Shō Kaiskei (Jiang Jieshi / Chiang Kai-shek) to Nihon: Tomo to teki no hazama de [Chiang Kai-shek and Japan: between enemy and friend]. Tokyo: Takeda Random House Japan, 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hu Tsung-nan. Hu Zongnan riji [Hu Zongnan Diary]. Vols. 1–2. Taipei: National Archive, 2015.

  • Ishijima Noriyuki. Unnan to kindai Chūgoku: “Shūhen” no shiten kara [Yunnan and Modern China: the view from the “periphery”]. Tokyo: Aoki shoten, 2004.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jin Yilin and Luo Bin, Eds. Zhonghua minzu kangri zhanzheng junshi ziliaoji [Military Source Collection for the War of Resistance]. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenji chubanshe, 2020.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kirby, William, Man-houng Lin, and James Chin Shih, Eds. State and Economy in Republican China: A Handbook for Scholars. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lai Shuqing, Ed. Jingzheng shiliao [Historical materials on state finance]. Taipei: Second National Archive, 1990.

  • Lary, Diana. The Chinese People at War: Human Suffering and Social Transformation, 1937–1945. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

  • Liu Wei-kai.Taiwan diqu Zhongguo Guomindang dangshi shiliao diancang yu yanjiu” [“Historical record collections of and research on the kmt in Taiwan”]. December 1997. National Archives. Taipei, Taiwan, http://newdoc.nccu.edu.tw/teasyllabus/102303153948/%E8%87%BA%E7%81%A3%E5%9C%B0%E5%8D%80%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E5%9C%8B%E6%B0%91%E9%BB%A8%E9%BB%A8%E5%8F%B2%E5%8F%B2%E6%96%99%E5%85%B8%E8%97%8F%E8%88%87%E7%A0%94%E7%A9%B6.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li Guojun and Wang Bingzhao, Eds. Zhongguo jiaoyu zhidu tongshi: Minguo shiqi, 1912–1949 [An historical survey of the Chinese education system: the Republican Era, 1912–1949]. Vol. 7. Ji’nan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe, 1999.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li Zongren. Li Zongren huiyilu [Memoirs of Li Zongren]. Vols. 1–2. Taipei: Yuanliu chuban gongsi, 2011.

  • MacKinnon, Stephen R. Wuhan 1938: War, Refugees, and the Making of Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

  • Moore, Aaron William.Growing Up in Nationalist China: Self-Representation in the Personal Documents of Children and Youth, 1927–1949.” Modern China 42, No. 1 (January 2016): 73110.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mulready-Stone, Kate. Mobilizing Shanghai Youth: CCP Internationalism, GMD Nationalism, and Japanese Collaboration. London: Routledge, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Muscolino, Micah. The Ecology of War in China: Henan Province, the Yellow River, and Beyond, 1938–1950. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Myers, Ramon H. The Chinese Peasant Economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970.

  • Nanjing-shi dang’anguan [Nanjing Municipal Archives], Ed. Shenxun Wang wei hanjian bilu [Documents from Treason Trials of the Wang Jingwei Collaborationist Government]. Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1992.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pai Ch’ung-hsi. Bai Chongxi fangwen jian jilu [Interviews with Pai Ch’ung-hsi]. Vols. 1–2. Kuo Ting-yee, et al., Eds. Taipei: Zhongyanyuan-Jindaishi yanjiusuo, 1989.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pai Hsien-yung. Fuqin yu Minguo [My father and the Republican Era]. Taipei: Shibao chubanshe, 2012.

  • Quanguo zhengxie wenshi ziliao weiyuanhui [Editorial Group for Chinese Literary and Historical Materials], Ed. Zhonghuo wenshi ziliao wenku [China Literary and Historical Materials]. Vols. 1–20. Beijing: Zhongguo wenshi chubanshe, 1996.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Quanguo Minguo dang’an tonglan bian weiyuanhui [General Overview of Republican Era Archives in China Editorial Group], Ed. Quanguo Minguo dang’an tonglan [General Overview of Republican Era Archives in China]. Beijing: Zhongguo dang’an chubanshe, 2005.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Riben qinhua yu Nanjing datusha yanjiu congshu, Nanjing shifan daxue Nanjing datusha yanjiu zhongxin [Nanjing Massacre Research Center], Eds. Riqin shiqi Xinma huaren shouhai diaocha [Survey of casualties among Singaporean Chinese during the Japanese Occupation]. Nanjing: Jiangsu renmin chubanshe, 2004.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rodriguez, Andres.Building the Nation, Serving the Frontier: Mobilizing and Reconstructing China’s Borderlands during the War of Resistance (1937–1945).” Modern Asian Studies 45, No. 2 (March 2011): 34576.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scott, James C. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Serfass, David.Résister Ou Négocier Face Au Japon: La Genèse Du Gouvernement De Collaboration De Nankin (Janvier 1938-Avril 1939)” [“To negotiate or to resist against Japan: the origins of the Nanjing collaborationist government (January 1938–April 1939”]. Vingtième Siècle. Revue D’histoire [Twentieth Century History Review] 125 (2015): 12132.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shanghai-shi dang’anguan [Shanghai Municipal Archives], Ed. Ri-wei Shanghai-shi zhengfu [The Japanese puppet government in Shanghai]. Shanghai: Dang’an chubanshe, 1986.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skocpol, Theda. States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979.

  • sna [Second National Archive]. Riben diguozhuyi qin-Hua dang’an ziliao xuanji [Resources on the Japanese Imperialist Invasion of China]. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1988–2004.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • sna [Second National Archive]. Zhonghua Minguoshi dang’an ziliao huibian [Republican Era Historical Archives Collection]. Nanjing: Fenghuang chubanshe, 1994–2010.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • sna [Second National Archive], Ed. Kangri zhanzheng shiqi Guomindangjun jimi zuozhan riji [Top Secret War Diaries of the KMT Military]. Beijing: Zhongguo dang’an chubanshe, 1995.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Jeremy E. The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

  • Taylor, Jeremy E.Republican Personality Cults in Wartime China: Contradistinction and Collaboration.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 57, No. 3 (July 2015): 66593.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tian Dawei, et al., Eds. Minguo shiqi zongshumu: zhexue, xinlixue [Republican Era Comprehensive Bibliography: philosophy, psychology]. Beijing: Shumu wenji chubanshe, 1985.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wu Jingping. Kangzhan shiqi de Shanghai jingji [The Shanghai economy during the War of Resistance]. Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Xu Yongchang. Xu Yongchang-xiansheng handian yanlunji [A record of Xu Yongchang’s correspondence]. Zhao Zhengjie and Chen Cungong, eds. Taipei: Zhongyanyuan- Jindaishi yanjiusuo, 1996.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ye Jianqing, Ed. Dianxin shiliao [Historical records of telecommunications]. Taipei: Second National Archive, 1990.

  • Yuan Meifang and Muyun, Eds. Zhongguo yuanzhengjun: Dianmian zhanzheng pintu yu laozhanshi koushu lishi [The Chinese Expeditionary Army: maps of the conflict in Myanmar and oral histories with veterans]. Hong Kong: Hong chuban, 2015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhou Fohai. Zhou Fohai riji [Zhou Fohai diary]. Vols. 1–2. Beijing: Zhongguo zhekeyuan chubanshe, 1986.

  • Zhang Xianwen, Ed. Nanjing datusha shiliaoji [Historical Documents of the Nanjing Massacre]. Vols. 1–55. Nanjing: Jiangshu renmin chubanshe, 2005–2007.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhou Tiandu and Sun Caixia, Eds. Jiuguohui shiliaoji [A Selection of One Hundred Years of Film Theory]. Beijing: Zhongyang bianyi chubanshe, 2006.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
1

Quanguo Minguo dang’an tonglan bian weiyuanhui [General Overview of Republican Era Archives in China Editorial Group] (ed.), Quanguo Minguo dang’an tonglan [General Overview of Republican Era Archives in China] (Beijing: Zhongguo dang’an chubanshe, 2005). Two publications came some time ago, but they are still useful as a first point of reference. William Kirby, Man-houng Lin, and James Chin Shih have produced a guide to Republican Era documents. William Kirby, Man-houng Lin, and James Chin Shih, State and Economy in Republican China: A Handbook for Scholars (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001). James H. Cole published a more extensive annotated bibliography a few years later. James H. Cole, Twentieth Century China: An Annotated Bibliography of Reference Works in Chinese, Japanese and Western Languages (London: Routledge, 2004).

2

Diana Lary has used, for example, accounts from foreigners living in wartime China, such as Harold Isaacs, Christopher Isherwood, W. H. Auden, and Chinese writers publishing in English like Lin Yutang. Diana Lary, The Chinese People at War: Human Suffering and Social Transformation, 1937–1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). See, for example, Ramon H. Myers, The Chinese Peasant Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970); Prasenjit Duara, Culture, Power, and the State: Rural North China, 1900–1942 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988). Anglophone historians of wartime China have neglected almost entirely sources in Russian, despite the Soviet Union’s involvement in the Chinese resistance efforts. Use of Japanese accounts in Chinese historiography has become something of a lost art, despite their effectiveness in early studies.

3

Tian Dawei, et al. (eds.), Minguo shiqi zongshumu: zhexue, xinlixue [Republican Era Comprehensive Bibiliography: philosophy, psychology] (Beijing: Shumu wenji chubanshe, 1985), 334, 262.

4

Li Guojun and Wang Bingzhao (eds.), Zhongguo jiaoyu zhidu tongshi: Minguo shiqi, 1912–1949 [General History of the Chinese Education System: The Republican Era, 1912–1949], vol. 7 (Ji’nan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe, 1999).

5

For example, the first volume of this series serves as a guide on archives and documents relating to economic history, including areas such as wartime documents from the Ministry of Financial Affairs, the National Resources Commission, Water Conservation and Management, and Agriculture and Forestry. Academia Historica (ed.), Jingji dang’an hanmu huibian [Document collection of economic archives] (Taipei: Academia Historica, 1987).

6

sna [Second National Archive] (ed.), Zhonghua Minguoshi dang’an ziliao huibian [Republican Era Historical Archives Collection] (Nanjing: Fenghuang chubanshe [previously Jiangsu guji chubanshe], 1994–2010).

7

See, for example, Quanguo zhengxie wenshi ziliao weiyuanhui [Editorial Group for Chinese Literary and Historical Materials] (ed.), Zhonghuo wenshi ziliao wenku [China Literary and Historical Materials], vols. 1–20 (Beijing: Zhongguo wenshi chubanshe, 1996). This collection focuses on documents from 1898 to the formation of the People’s Republic of China (prc) with a topical organization, including religion, military affairs, and economics and business.

8

For more information, including information on a local collection, see Annie K. Chang, “The Wenshi Ziliao Collection of the Center for Chinese Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley,” Twentieth-Century China 26, no. 1 (November 2000): 103–108.

9

Stephen R. MacKinnon, Wuhan 1938: War, Refugees, and the Making of Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008); Ishijima Noriyuki, Unnan to kindai Chūgoku: “Shūhen” no shiten kara [Yunnan and Modern China: the view from the “periphery”] (Tokyo: Aoki shoten, 2004).

10

Hu Tsung-nan, Hu Zongnan riji [Hu Zongnan Diary], vols. 1–2 (Taipei: National Archives, 2015).

11

Pai Ch’ung-his, Bai Chongxi fangwen jian jilu [Interviews with Pai Ch’ung-hsi], vols. 1–2, Kuo Ting-yee, et al. (eds.) (Taipei: Zhongyanyuan-Jindaishi yanjiusuo, 1989). Despite this, publication of many related figures’ accounts came outside of Academia Historica and the National Archives. For example, a private company published the memoir of Li Zongren as Li Zongren huiyilu [Memoirs of Li Zongren], vols. 1–2 (Taipei: Yuanliu chuban gongsi, 2011). Similarly, Pai Hsien-yung, Pai-Ch’ung-his’s son, released his writings through private market publishers. Pai Hsien-yung, Fuqin yu Minguo [My father and the Republican Era] (Taipei: Shibao chubanshe, 2012).

12

Xu Yongchang, Xu Yongchang-xiansheng handian yanlunji [A record of Xu Yongchang’s correspondence], Zhao Zhengjie and Chen Cungong (eds.) (Taipei: Zhongyanyuan-Jindaishi yanjiusuo, 1996).

13

Jin Yilin and Luo Bin (eds.), Zhonghua minzu kangri zhanzheng junshi ziliaoji [Military Source Collection for the War of Resistance] (Beijing: Shehui kexue wenji chubanshe, 2020).

14

sna (ed.), Riben diguozhuyi qin-Hua dang’an ziliao xuanji [Resources on the Japanese Imperialist Invasion of China] (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1988–2004); Zhang Xianwen (ed.), Nanjing datusha shiliaoji [Historical Documents of the Nanjing Massacre], vols. 1–55 (Nanjing: Jiangshu renmin chubanshe, 2005–2007).

15

sna (ed.), Kangri zhanzheng shiqi Guomindangjun jimi zuozhan riji [Top Secret War Diaries of the KMT Military] (Beijing: Zhongguo dang’an chubanshe, 1995).

16

Nanjing-shi dang’anguan [Nanjing Municipal Archives] (ed.), Shenxun Wang wei hanjian bilu [Documents from Treason Trials of the Wang Jingwei Collaborationist Government] (Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1992). For a discussion on recent research on collaboration, including use of this collection, see David Serfass, “Résister Ou Négocier Face Au Japon: La Genèse Du Gouvernement De Collaboration De Nankin (Janvier 1938-Avril 1939)” [“To negotiate or to resist against Japan: the origins of the Nanjing collaborationist government (January 1938-April 1939”], Vingtième Siècle. Revue D’histoire [Twentieth Century History Review] 125 (2015): 121–32. Zhou Fohai’s diary has received extensive discussion since its release. Zhou Fohai, Zhou Fohai riji [Zhou Fohai diary], vols. 1–2 (Beijing: Zhongguo zhekeyuan chubanshe, 1986).

17

Scholars should search the Second National Archive (sna) website for volumes other than the following, which are numerous. Ye Jianqing (ed.), Dianxin shiliao [Historical records of telecommunications] (Taipei: sna, 1990); Hou Kunhong (ed.), Liaozheng shiliao [Historical material on agriculture], vol. 4 (Taipei: sna, 1989); Lai Shuqing (ed.), Jingzheng shiliao [Historical materials on state finance] (Taipei: sna, 1990).

18

Cheng Li-ling, Yuedong de qingchun: Rizhi Taiwan de xuesheng shenghuo [The Dynamism of youth: daily life of Taiwanese students under Japanese occupation] (Taipei: Weilan chubanshe, 2015); Yuan Meifang and Lü Muyun (eds.), Zhongguo yuanzhengjun: Dianmian zhanzheng pintu yu laozhanshi koushu lishi [The Chinese Expeditionary Army: maps of the conflict in Myanmar and oral histories with veterans] (Hong Kong: Hong chuban, 2015).

19

Chang Fa-Kwei, Jiang Jieshi yu wo: Zhang Fakui-shangjiang huiyi [Chiang Kai-shek and Me: General Chang Fa-Kwei’s oral history], Julie Lien-ying How oral history interview (Hong Kong: Wenhua yishu chubanshe, 2008). There is an English version of Julie Lien-ying How’s interviews with Chang Fa-Kewi. Chang Fa-K’uei, The Reminiscences of Chang Fa-K’uei (1896–1980), Julie Lien-ying How oral history interview, C. Martin Wilbur (ed.) (New York: Columbia University East Asian Institute, 1983).

20

Hu Bowei, Ershi “Minguo” [Childhood in the “Republican Era”] (Guilin: Guangxi shifan daxue chubanshe, 2006).

21

Zhou Tiandu and Sun Caixia (eds.), Jiuguohui shiliaoji [A Selection of One Hundred Years of Film Theory] (Beijing: Zhongyang bianyi chubanshe, 2006).

22

See Mei Yuanbai, “Kongjun di-2 dadui zhenzhong riji” [“2nd Flight Group Field Diary”], 7 August 1937, mdha [Ministry of National Defense Bureau of Military History] 540.4/3010.7 and Gao Zhihang, “Kongjun di-4 dadui zhenzhong riji” [“3rd Flight Group Field Diary”], August 1937, mdha 540.4/3010.9, Taipei, Taiwan. On training in Russian, see Gao Zhihang, “Kongjun di-3 dadui zhenzhong riji” [“4th Flight Group Field Diary”], 1942, mdha 540.4/3010.8, ibid.

23

Liu Wei-kai has produced summaries of Guomindang (gmd) archival documents, for example “Taiwan diqu Zhongguo Guomindang dangshi shiliao diancang yu yanjiu” [“Historical record collections of and research on the kmt in Taiwan”], December 1997, na, http://newdoc.nccu.edu.tw/teasyllabus/102303153948/%E8%87%BA%E7%81%A3%E5%9C%B0%E5%8D%80%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E5%9C%8B%E6%B0%91%E9%BB%A8%E9%BB%A8%E5%8F%B2%E5%8F%B2%E6%96%99%E5%85%B8%E8%97%8F%E8%88%87%E7%A0%94%E7%A9%B6.pdf (accessed 15 April 2021).

24

Mei-hwa Chou, A Documentary Collection on Military Administration of the National Government: The Military Commission, 2 vols. (Taipei: Academia Historica, 1996).

25

“Zhanshi shiliao” [“Wartime historical records”], including 144-20A (1944), 144-37A (October 1937), 144-46A (14 August 1942, on the bombing of the 張家花園 [Zhangjia huayuan], presumably impacting the 中央警官學校特種警察訓練班 [Special Police Training Unit of the Central Police College] in Chongqing), 202000001A, National Archives [hereafter na], Academia Historica, Taipei, Taiwan.

26

Liu Wangqing, “Beiwanglu: zhishi qingnian yuanzhengjun 209-shi 625-tuan zhanpaolian Liu Wangqing biji yiben” [“A record against forgetting: a notebook of an intellectual youth in the artillery of the Expeditionary Army’s 625th Regiment, 209th Division”], L054.1.48, Zhejiang Provincial Archives, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China (prc).

27

Shi Fangbai was an early member of the Tongmenghui and gmd who later formed a relationship with Zhou Enlai and left the gmd. Despite his revolutionary credentials, he suffered persecution and subsequently died during the Cultural Revolution. Shi Fangbai, “Riji” [“Diary”], January to December 1934; January 1940 to December 1949, lsa2.1–3 (1–50), Hubei Provincial Archives, Wuhan, prc.

28

“Junzhengbu Wuchang zhuangzhi nifen changgao” [“Nifen uniform factory report, Ministry of War, Wuchang”], 1938–1941, 366/079, Chongqing Municipal Archives, Chongqing, prc.

29

Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979); James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999).

30

Felix Boecking, No Great Wall: Trade, Tariffs, and Nationalism in Republican China, 1927–1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2017).

31

For an example of how to use economic resource collections for wartime history in the case of Shanghai, see Wu Jingping, Kangzhan shiqi de Shanghai jingji (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 2015).

32

Linsun Cheng, Banking in Modern China: Entepreneurship, Professional Managers, and the Development of Chinese Banks, 1897–1937 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

33

Huang Tze-chin, Shō Kaiskei (Jiang Jieshi/Chiang Kai-shek) to Nihon: Tomo to teki no hazama de [Chiang Kai-shek and Japan: between enemy and friend] (Tokyo: Takeda Random House Japan, 2011); Jeremy Taylor, The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).

34

“Zhanshi jiaoyu wenti” [“Problems with wartime education”], 21–23, 26 July 1943, 193/019000000243A, na.

35

Jeremy E. Taylor, “Republican Personality Cults in Wartime China: Contradistinction and Collaboration,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 57, no. 3 (July 2015): 665–93.

36

The Judicial Yuan archives are an overlooked source for war history. On punishments for draft-dodgers in July 1937, for example, see 341–2867, na; on state support for soldiers’ families in October 1938, see 341–2701, na; on regional courts seeking guidance on draft violations at Hubei and Sichuan respectively, see 341–043 and 341–179, na.

37

Micah Muscolino, The Ecology of War in China: Henan Province, the Yellow River, and Beyond, 1938–1950 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015). Although it stops short of the war years, another good example is Chris Courtney, The Nature of Disaster in China: The 1931 Yangzi River Flood (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

38

“Xinminhui mingce” [“Register of members of the New Citizens Association”], undated, 022-1-37, Shijiazhuang Municipal Archives, Shijiazhuang, prc.

39

“Shengli Cheli xiaoxuexiao jingfei baobiao, ji xuesheng chengji mingce, Cheli xiaoxuexiaozhang Zhang Pichang de riji” [“Records of the Cheli Provincial primary school finances, with student register and grades”], 1938, 12/4/1091, Yunnan Provincial Archives, Kunming, prc.

40

Parks Coble, Chinese Capitalists in Japan’s New Order: The Occupied Lower Yangzi (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

41

Magazines like Science Illustrated [Kexue Huabao] featured articles that literary, academic, and political intellectuals throughout the Republican Era had written, most of which researchers can access at the Shanghai Municipal Library.

42

Andres Rodriguez has used mass media, memoir, and state archives to discuss the difficult issue of China’s wartime borderlands and gmd ethnic policy. Andres Rodriguez, “Building the Nation, Serving the Frontier: Mobilizing and Reconstructing China’s Borderlands during the War of Resistance (1937–1945),” Modern Asian Studies 45, no. 2 (March 2011): 345–76.

43

Kate Mulready-Stone, Mobilizing Shanghai Youth: CCP Internationalism, GMD Nationalism, and Japanese Collaboration (London: Routledge, 2015).

44

In the Capital Library (Beijing), there is Xu Xuewen, Shaonü riji [A teenage girl’s diary]. Shanghai: Beixin shuju, 1932.

45

For example, Lu Yiye, Paohuozhong liuwangji [“Fleeing among cannon fire”], Zhongguo wenyishe [China Literature and Art Publishing] (ed.) (Hankow: Kangzhan wenyi congshu, September 1938), 193593/0529, Nanjing Library, Nanjing, prc.

46

For example, the Shanghai Municipal Library has Wu Tiecheng’s handwritten notebook, where he records the training of students to participate in anti-Japanese activities, including military drilling. Wu Tiecheng, “Shanghai-shi xuesheng jizhong junxun xaochang yewai shishi biji” [“Notebook or organizing students and carrying out military exercises on the training field”], May 1936, Shanghai Public Library, Shanghai, prc.

47

Wang Jiaozhu (ed.), Sanminzhuyi qingniantuan lunyi [“On the Three Isms Youth Corps”] (Jinhua: Qingnian chubanshe, October 1939), ibid.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 409 410 207
PDF Views & Downloads 341 341 225