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The Wars for Asia, 1911–1949


  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107697478

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About the Authors
  • The Wars for Asia, 1911–1949 shows that the Western treatment of World War II, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War as separate events misrepresents their overlapping connections and causes. The Chinese Civil War precipitated a long regional war between China and Japan that went global in 1941 when the Chinese found themselves fighting a civil war within a regional war within an overarching global war. The global war that consumed Western attentions resulted from Japan's peripheral strategy to cut foreign aid to China by attacking Pearl Harbour and Western interests throughout the Pacific in 1941. S. C. M. Paine emphasizes the fears and ambitions of Japan, China and Russia, and the pivotal decisions that set them on a collision course in the 1920s and 1930s. The resulting wars together yielded a viscerally anti-Japanese and unified Communist China, the still-angry rising power of the early twenty-first century.

    • The author combines the methodology for studying grand strategy taught at the US Naval War College with knowledge accumulated over eight years of research abroad
    • Relies on sources not only in English, but also in Chinese, Japanese and Russian
    • Challenges the Western treatment of World War II, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War as separate events
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Paine's study offers new perspectives on imperialist wars and interventions in twentieth-century Asia. Based on multi-archival research, it addresses a range of issues in the fraught relations of Japan, China, Russia, and the United States. Students of comparative history will find Paine's analytical framing particularly interesting.' Herbert P. Bix, Binghamton University

    'The author has written a highly original and provocative work, organized around the thesis that 'nested' civil, regional, and international wars defined East Asian politics and international relations over the first half of the twentieth century. By artful use of the latest Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and U.S. primary and secondary sources, Professor Paine succeeds in showing how war changed the face of East Asia.' Stephen R. MacKinnon, Arizona State University

    'The first integrated study of Asia's forty years of war. A major intellectual contribution.' Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations, University of Pennsylvania

    '… a fascinating account of how modern East Asia was shaped by war. By disaggregating the three main wars in the first half of the twentieth century, the author succeeds in showing how their causes and conditions were linked but still separate.' O. A. Westad, author of Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750

    'This excellent and ambitious book deals with state-building and warfare in twentieth-century Asia. It underlines the critical role of war in modern Asian history and shows how often war trumped diplomacy. It shows too the terrible toll that warfare has exacted on China, Japan, and Russia. Paine gives an original, perceptive, and long-overdue reinterpretation of twentieth-century Asia.' Diana Lary, author of The Chinese People at War

    '… Paine's book provides us with an important tool through which we can learn the lessons of the past. This in turn will hopefully allow us to plot a safer course in order to avoid any future wars for Asia.' Tosh Minohara, Pacific Affairs

    'An excellent one-volume survey of Chinese military history in the first half of the twentieth century, The Wars for Asia, 1911–1949 will be of value to anyone interested in World War II and particularly the causes of the Pacific War.' A. A. Nofi, Editor, The NYMAS Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107697478
    • length: 504 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.73kg
    • contains: 6 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Fear and Ambition: Japan, China, and Russia:
    1. Introduction: the Asian roots of World War II
    2. Japan 1931–6: the containment of Russia and national restoration
    3. China 1926–36: chaos and the quest for the mandate of heaven
    4. Russia 1917–36: impending two-front war and world revolution
    Part II. Nested Wars: A Civil War within a Regional War within a Global War:
    5. Flashback to 1911 and the beginning of the long Chinese Civil War
    6. The regional war: the Second Sino-Japanese War
    7. The global war: World War I
    8. The final act of the long Chinese Civil War
    9. Conclusion: civil war as the prologue and epilogue to regional and global wars.

  • Author

    S. C. M. Paine, Naval War College
    S. C. M. Paine is Professor of Strategy and Policy at the United States Naval War College. Paine is the author of Nation Building, State Building, and Economic Development (2010), The Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895 (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and their Disputed Frontier (1996). She co-authored Modern China: Continuity and Change, 1644 to the Present (2010) and co-edited Naval Power and Expeditionary Warfare (2011), Naval Coalition Warfare (2008) and Naval Blockades and Seapower (2006).

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