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China's New Remembering of World War II: The Case of Zhang Zizhong1

  • Arthur Waldron (a1)

General Zhang Zizhong, commander of the eight divisions that constituted the Chinese 33rd Army Group, was killed at approximately 4:00 P.M. on May 16, 1940, in fighting at Shilichangshan (‘Ten li mountain’) near Nanguadian in Northern Hubei. The battle was one engagement of the Zaoyang-Yichang campaign that rumbled through late spring of that year. Surrounded by the Japanese, his forces had refused either to retreat or to surrender. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, General Zhang had been wounded seven times in all, by grenade, bullet, and finally by bayonet. The victorious Japanese realized Zhang's identity only when a major discovered, in the left breast pocket of his blood-soaked yellow uniform, a fine gold pen engraved with his name. The major quickly summoned senior officers; they ordered a stretcher brought and the body was carried away from the battlefield. (This was observed, through half-opened eyes, by Zhang's long-time associate, the Chinese major Ma Xiaotang, who lay nearby, bleeding from a bayonet wound, and who later gasped out the story to Chinese as he died).

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2 The Chinese committed 35 regular divisions and about the same number of irregular and guerrilla units. See Long-hsuen, Hsu and Ming-kai, Chang, comp. The History of the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) (Taipei: Chung Wu Publishing Co., 1971), pp. 334–42.

3 Zhibo, Lin, Kangzhan junren zhi hun: Zhang Zizhong jiangjun zhuan. Kangri zhanzhengshi congshu (Guangxi shifan daxue chubanshe, 1993), pp. 466–7.

4 Seethe posthumous commendation issued by the Chinese government, June 5, 1946.Zhang Shangjiang Zizhong Huazhuan [1947] Zhuanji wenxue shiliao congkan, No. 3 (Taipei: Zhuanji wenxue chubanshe, 1973), p. 74.

5 On the misleading nature of this term, See Waldron, Arthur, ‘The Warlord: Twentieth Century Chinese Understandings of Violence, Militarism, and Imperialism,’ The American Historical Review96.4 (10 1991), 1073–100.

6 In addition to Zhibo, Lin, Kangzhan junren zhi hun, other sources for Zhang's life include Zhang Shangjiang Zizhong Huazhuan [1947] (see fn. 4);Kang, Ju, Yinglie qianqiu: Zhang Zizhong zhuan. Jindai Zhongguo congshu; Xianlie xianxian zhuanji congkan (Taipei: Jindai Zhongguo chubanshe, 1982);Quanguo zhengxie ziliao yanjiu weiyuanhui, Kangri mingjiang Zhang Zizhong (Beijing: Zhongguo Wenshi chubanshe, 1987);Tongxin, Zhang (ed.), Aiguo kangri san jiangjun (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe, 1987), and Lihua, Chen, Jizhan hongtudi (Hubei: Dalian chubanshe, 1994).

7 Zhibo, Lin, pp. 502–3.

8 Hsu and Chang, History, p. 180, say simply that he ‘left Peking’; The words quoted are from Li, Lincoln, The Japanese Army in North China 1937–1941: Problems of Political and Economic Control (Tokyo: Oxford University Press, 1975), pp. 45–7. See Ziming, Zhang, ‘Zhang Zizhong taoli Beiping de jingguo,’ in Kangri mingjiang Zhang Zizhong, pp. 98101.

9 Hsu and Chang, p. 227.

10 Kantorowicz, Ernst H., ‘Pro Patria Mori in Medieval Political Thought,’ American Historical Review 56.3 (04 1951), 472–92;Contamine, Philippe, ‘Mourir pour la Patrie: X–XX siècle,’ in Les lieux de mémoire II. La Nation, ed. Nora, Pierre (Paris: Gallimard, 1986), vol. 2, pp. 1143; also Prost, Antoine, ‘Verdun,’ in Les lieux de mémoire, II. La Nation, vol. 2, pp. 111–41.

11 The Battle of China, directed by Capra, Frank and Litvak, Anatole (1944). From the series ‘Why We Fight.’ Videotape distributed by Goodtimes Home Video Corp, New York, 1986.

12 Chiang's, speech is in Jiang zongtong ji (Taipei: Guofang yanjiu yuan, 1960), vol. 1, pp. 962–3.

13 For a general account, in addition to Hsu and Chang, see also Ch'i, Hsi-sheng, Nationalist China at War: Military Defeats and Political Collapse, 1937–45 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1982).

14 Ch'i, Hsi-sheng, ‘The Military Dimension, 1942–1945,’ in China's Bitter Victory: The War with Japan 1937–1945, ed. Hsiung, James C. and Levine, Steven I. (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 1992), p. 179, citing Shilun, Song, ‘Buke momie de lishi gongxian,’ Renmin ribao, August 31, 1985.

15 A cadre in Hebei told the author in September 1994 that many people in that province simply could not understand or accept Peking's current policy of official friendship with Tokyo.

16 On the general topic, see Prost, Antoine, ‘Les monuments aux morts: culte républicain? culte civique? culte patriotique?’ in Les lieux de mémoire I. La République, ed. Nora, Pierre (Paris: Gallimard, 1986), pp. 195225.

17 Nagel's Encyclopedia-Guide: China (Geneva: Nagel Publishers, 1973), pp. 425, 463.

18 Shouping, Zhang, ‘Dianxi kangzhan zhengui shiliao zhaopian liucun shimo,’ Renmin ribao (Overseas, Ed.), 06 2, 1994, p. 4. My thanks to Chen Shiwei for bringing this article to my attention.

19 Hsiung, James C., Preface to China's Bitter Victory, xii note I.

20 Jingsheng, Wu, ‘40 Years After: Reassessing the War in China,’ Beijing Review (12 August 1985), p. 13.

21 Suppression and official restoration of memory of the Rape of Nanjing is a topic for another essay. A memorial inscription, in Chinese, Japanese, and English, was unveiled there on August 15, 1985, commemorating the victims of the Japanese, officially numbered as 300,000. See Zhigeng, Xu (ed.), Xueji: Qinhua rijun Nanjing da tusha shilu (Beijing: Zhongguo renshi chubanshe, 1994). In its entry for the city, the 1973 Nagel guide (note 17) does not mention the Rape of Nanjing.

22 On iconoclasm, see Yü-sheng, Lin, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness: Radical Antitraditionalism in the May Fourth Era (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979).

23 Jingsheng, Wu, ‘40 Years After,’ p. 16.

24 Smedley, Agnes, Battle Hymn of China (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943), p.442. For Smedley, see MacKinnon, Janice R. and MacKinnon, Stephen R., Agnes Smedley: The Life and Times of an American Radical (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).

25 ‘Zhang Zizhong,’ in Jieqing, Hu and Xingzhi, Wang (eds), Lao She juzuo quanji (Beijing: Zhongguo xijuchubanshe, 1982), vol. I, pp. 119231, see p. 139m.Three Kingdoms, which every Chinese knows, tells the story of a heroic band of sworn brothers who give all in their attempt to save the tottering Han dynasty from its doom. See the superb Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel Attributed to Luo Guanzhong. Translated from the Chinese with Afterword and Notes by Roberts, Moss (Berkeley: University of California Press; Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1991).

26 Zhibo, Lin, p. 467.

27 Ibid., p. 461; Zhang shangjiang Zizhong Huazhuan, p. 61.

28 Zhibo, Lin, pp. 468–71; the words quoted are at 470.

29 Ibid., p. 471.

30 Ibid.; for the photo, see also Smedley, p. 452.

31 Zhibo, Lin, p. 473.

32 Ibid., p. 477.

33 For a lively examination of this topic see Kraus, Richard Curt, Brushes with Power: Modern Politics and the Chinese Art of Calligraphy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991).

34 Zhibo, Lin, pp. 477–8.

35 Ibid., p. 473.

36 See Wang, C. H., ‘Towards Defining a Chinese Heroism,’ Jounal of the American Oriental Society 95.1 (1975), 2534;McMullen, D. I., ‘The Cult of Ch'i T'ai-kung and T'ang Attitudes to the Military.’ T'ang Studies No. 7 (1989), 59103;Lewis, Mark Edward, Sanctioned Violence in Early China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990).

37 Watson, James L., ‘The Structure of Chinese Funerary Rites: Elementary Forms, Ritual Sequence, and the Primary Performance,’ in Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China, ed. Watson, James L. and Rawski, Evelyn S. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 1215, p. 15 note 40.

38 Smedley, Battle Hymn of China, p. 444.

39 Ayling, Alan, A Collection of Chinese Lyrics (New York: Chelsea House, 1965), p. 153. The Chinese text may be found in Yunyi, Hu (ed.), Song ci xuan (Hong Kong: Zhonghua shuju, 1970), pp. 200–1.

40 Giles, Herbert A., A Chinese Biographical Dictionary (Reprint ed. Taipei: Ch'eng Wen Publishing Co., 1971), p. 949.Kaplan, Edward H., ‘Yüeh Fei and the Founding of the Southern Sung Dynasty,’ Ph.D. dissertation, University of Iowa, 1970, is an excellent study. Note that guo refers to the dynasty and ruler, not to the ‘nation’ in the modern sense.

41 Zhibo, Lin, pp. 477–8.

42 See Giles, Herbert A., A Chinese–English Dictionary. Second Edition, revised and enlarged (Reprint Edition: Taipei: Ch'eng-wen Publishing Company, 1972), p. 605; also Ci yuan (Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1984), vol. I, p. 1683.

43 See Ci yuan, vol. I, p. 573.

44 See Ibid., p. 576. The term shang was also used significantly in the celebrated 1988 television series He shang or ‘River Elegy.’ See Bodman, Richard W., annotator, Deathsong of the River: A Reader's Guide the the Chinese T.V. Series Heshang (Ithaca, N.Y.: East Asia Program, Cornell University, 1991); also Waldron, Arthur, ‘Representing China: The Great Wall and Cultural Nationalism in the Twentieth Century,’ in Cultural Nationalism in East Asia, edited by Befu, Harumi (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley: 1993), pp. 3660.

45 Zhibo, Lin, p. 474.

46 See Struve, Lynn A., The Southern Ming, 1644–1662 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984).

47 Author's personal information (with photograph) from the late Bonavia, David, January 6, 1985.

48 Hummel, Arthur W. (ed.), Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (Reprint ed.: Taipei: Ch'eng Wen Publishing Co., 1972), p. 652.

49 ‘Zhengqi ge,’ in Shun, Liu Shih (trans.), One Hundred and One More Chinese Poems (Taipei: Chinese Materials Center, 1981), pp. 136–43.

50 Kōjirō, Yoshikawa, Five Hundred Years of Chinese Poetry, 1150–1650: The Chin, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties. Translated with a Preface by Wixted, John Timothy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989), pp. 56–7.

51 Tianxiang, Wen, ‘Yidai yiyan’ in Shun, Liu Shih (trans.), One Hundred and One More Chinese Poems, pp. 144–5.

52 Liu, p. 139, notes 2, 3, 4.

53 Dikötter, Frank, The Discourse of Race in Modern China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), p. 97. Dikötter cites a 1903 essay by Qichao, Liang (18731929) about Johann Kaspar Bluntschli (1808–1881), the Swiss legal scholar, and does not comment on what seems a possible Japanese origin of the term.

54 Liu, p. 141.

55 Liu, pp. 136–7.

56 See the illustration in Zhang Shangjiang Zizhong Huazhuan, p. 45.

57 Mencius, Part I, Chapter II, 1115, in Legge, James (trans.), The Chinese Classics, Second Edition, Revised (Reprint ed.: Taipei, Wenshizhe, 1971), vol. I, pp. 189–90. Translation slightly modifies that in Hall, David L. and Ames, Roger T., Thinking Through Confucius (New York: University of New York Press, 1987), p. 94.

58 See Daxue [‘The Great Learning’] I.3 where the concept of ‘illustrating illustrious virtue’ [ming ming de] is made the basis of social order. ‘The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own States. Wishing to order well their States, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts,’ and so forth until ‘Their States being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.’ Legge, , The Chinese Classics, vol. I, pp. 357–9.

59 Hall and Ames, Thinking Through Confucius, pp. 94–5, 185–7.

60 This is an enormous topic. To my mind, the most profound treatment is Masson, Michel C., Philosophy and Tradition, The Interpretation of China's Philosophic Past: Fung Yu-lan, 1939–1949, Variétés Sinologiques–Nouvelle Série, No. 71 (Taipei, Paris, Hong Kong: Institut Ricci, 1985).

61 Pruşek, Jaroslav, Chinese Statelets and the Northern Barbarians in the Period 1400–300 B.C. (New York: Humanities Press, 1971), p. 223;Waldron, Arthur, The Great Wall of China: From History to Myth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 32–3.

62 Mote, F. W., personal communication, 31 January 1995. See Gongquan, Xiao, Zhongguo zhengzhi sixiangshi (Originally published 1946. Taipei: Lianjing chuban shiye gongsi, 1982), pp. 542–3. I am indebted to Frederick Mote for references in this and in notes 63, 64, and 65.

63 Zongyi, Rao, ‘Helanshan yu Manjianghong,’ in Xuantang jilin (Taipei: Mingwen shuju, 1982), vol. 2, pp. 794811.

64 See note 10, above.

65 Liu, James T. C., ‘Yue Fei,’ in Liang Song shi yanjiu huibian (Taipei: Lianjing chuban shiye gongsi, 1987), pp. 185207; see pp. 191–2.

66 Jay, Jennifer W., ‘The Fourth International Conference on Yue Fei and Song Studies: Hangzhou, March 24–29, 1993,’ Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies 24 (1994), pp. 382–3.

67 Zhibo, Lin, p. 480.

68 Ibid. For Lao She's remarks on the character of Mo Zizhuang, see Jieqing, Hu and Xingzhi, Wang, Lao She juzuo quanji, vol. I, p. 120. In Chongqing Lao She lived at Beipei; he was also long acquainted with Feng Yuxiang. See Vohra, Ranbir, Lao She and the Chinese Revolution. Harvard East Asian Monographs, No. 55 (Cambridge, Mass.: East Asian Research Center, 1974), pp. 127–8.

69 Zhibo, Lin, p. 482.

70 Ibid., p. 475.

71 Ibid., pp. 483–4.

72 Ibid., pp. 484–5.

73 Ibid., p. 486.

74 Ibid., p. 476.

75 Zhang Shangjiang Zizhong Huazhuan, pp. 65–6.

76 Zhibo, Lin, p. 476.

77 Zhang Shangjiang Zizhong Huazhuan, p. 67.

78 Ibid., p. 68.

79 Zhibo, Lin, pp. 476–7.

80 Ibid., p. 477.

81 Ibid., p. 481.

82 Ibid., pp. 481–2.

83 Zhang Shangjiang Zizhong Huazhuan, final page (no number).

84 Wheeler, Marcus, The Oxford Russian–English Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 467. See Fuller, William C. Jr, Strategy and Power in Russia 1600–1914 (New York: The Free Press, 1992), pp. 207–9.

85 Johnson, Chalmers A., Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China, 1937–1945 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962).

86 This is an enormous topic, but see the essay by Alitto, Guy, ‘Chiang Kai-shek in Western Historiography,’ in Proceedings of Conference on Chiang Kaishek and Modem China (Taipei: Compilation Committee of the Conference, 1987), vol. I, pp. 722808.

87 Qingkuei, Wang, Zhongguo renmin jiefangjun zhanyi jicheng (Beijing: Jiefangjun chubanshe, 1987), pp. 67243.

88 Wu, T'ien-wei, ‘The Chinese Communist Movement,’ in China's Bitter Victory, pp. 87–8. For documents and memoirs of the campaign, see renmin, Zhongguo geming junshi bowuguan (ed.), Baituan dazhan lishiwenxian zi1iao xuanji (Beijing: Jiefanjun chubanshe, 1990).

89 Klein, Donald W. and Clark, Anne B. (eds), Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Communism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), vol. 2, p. 731;Domes, Jürgen, Peng Te-huai: The Man and the Image (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985), pp. 3940.

90 Domes, P'eng Te-huai, p. 38.

91 Li Zhisui, with the editorial assistance of Thurston, Anne F., The Private Life of Chairman Mao (New York: Random House, 1994), pp. 567, 568.

92 Domes, P'eng Te-huai, pp. 121, 3940, 1.

93 Zhibo, Lin, p. 475.

94 junqu, Wuhan zongsiling bu (ed.), Lidai zhongyuan zhanji (Wuhan, 1972), p. 278, cited in Liu Zhibo, p. 489, note 1.

95 Jingrong, Wu (ed.), The Pinyin Chinese–English Dictionary (Beijing: The Commercial Press, 1979), pp. 34, 307;Zishen, Zhang and Chunde, Xue, Biming Zhongguo de baiming rijun jiangling (Beijing: Jiefangjun chubanshe, 1990).

96 Martin, Helmut, Cult and Canon: The Origins and Development of State Maoism (Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1982), p. 101.

97 Baituan dazhan, cited in note 88.

98 Zhibo, Lin, p. 479.

99 Quanguo zhengxie ziliao yanjiu weiyuanhui, Kangri mingjiang Zhang Zizhong (Beijing: Zhongguo Wenshi chubanshe, 1987).

100 Zhibo, Lin, p. 490.

101 Ibid., p. 491.

102 Ibid.

103 Ibid., p. 492.

104 Ibid.

105 Ibid., p. 478; the text is in Chen Lihua, Jizhan hongtudi, pp. 346–7.

106 ‘Mao Zedong zhimingdu xunse,’ Shjie ribao [World Journal] January 3, 1995, p. A 10.

107 The China Confucius Society was founded in 1985, and as is well known, ‘Confucian values’ are now increasingly invoked to justify, among other things, authiritarian rule. For sacrifices to the Yellow Emperor see Zhuanming, Luo, ‘Gongji Yandiling,’ Renmin ribao (Overseas ed.), November 28, 1994, p. 7. The publication of a ‘Traditional Chinese Culture Reader’ [Zhongguo chuantong wenhua duben] is announced in Renmin ribao (Overseas ed.), November 19, 1994, p. 3. Notices of historical restorations come almost daily. For more detail see Waldron, ‘Representing China:,’ also idem, ‘Scholarship and Patriotic Education: The Great Wall Conference, 1994,’ China Quarterly, No. 143 (09 1995), pp. 844–50.

108 Ling, Liu, ‘Raising the Red Flag,’ Beijing This Month, No. 10 (September 1994), pp. 89.

109 On this process, Schneider, Laurence A., ‘National Essence and the New Intelligentsia,’ in Furth, Charlotte (ed.), The Limits of Change: Essays on Conservative Alternatives in Republican China (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976, pp. 5789, is still excellent.

110 Wakeman, Frederic Jr, ‘Mao's Remains,’ in Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China (see fn. 37), pp. 257–9; See also Youchun, Xu and Zhiming, Wu, Sun Zhongshan fengan dadian (Beijing: Huawen chubanshe, 1989).

111 Ming Bao (Hong Kong), 05 8, 1995, B1.

1 This paper was presented at the Conference: ‘Memory and the Second World War in International Comparative Perspective’, 26–28 April 1995, Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, Amsterdam.For assistance with research, the author would like to thank the reference and interlibrary loan staffs of the Naval War College library, Marguerite Rauch, Alice K. Juda, and Robin Lima in particular. For comments on the manuscript he is indebted to his wife Xiaowei, colleagues at the Naval War College and Brown University, and to Professors Leonard Blussé, Eva Shan Chou, David Graff, Frederick Mote, Denis Twitchett, and Ying-shih Yü.

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