World War II through the eyes of China

Published on May 09, 2015

World War II through the eyes of China

    On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, we interviewed our Chinese colleagues about the Second World War. We became interested in what they think and know in China about the events of this time. We share the most interesting answers.



    What do you know about the Second World War? What was the role of China in this war?

    This devastating war has affected every family in China, every city. All educated people know this war as World War II, but many, first of all, remember this period of time as the Sino-Japanese War. China has become the main fighting front in Asia. Japan attacked us in July 7, 1937, this was before the start of World War II, and these events continued during World War II. It was already in 1941 that Japan attacked the American Pearl Harbor. According to historical data, Japan wanted to quickly conquer our territory and strengthen its influence in the territories of other countries, including. The Chinese army was then weak, there was no unity in the country, an internal power struggle was waged between the two parties. The USA and the USSR helped to restrain the aggressor’s attacks; they were not able to realize all their plans.

    Do they study this topic in the school curriculum?

    The school has a world history and the history of the country. Within the framework of these two subjects, we studied the Second World War and, in more detail, the Sino-Japanese War. The program on these topics lasts about half a year, which is long enough. And so there are a lot of sources of information, TV or the Internet. There are various documentaries of the war years, short stories with facts about heroes. Sometimes they show military films about the Soviet Union. But recently, I saw a TV show about Russian soldiers who helped us during the war in northeast China, some of them had children directly in China during the war. We also watched the recently released film Stalingrad, a very good movie.

    How did the consequences of the war affect the further development of China?

    In the post-war period, it was, of course, difficult, like everyone else in this period.
    During the Japanese attack, two opposing parties - the Communists and the Kuomintang - joined forces in the fight against the enemy. There were 2 separate fronts from each party, but still they fought against the Japanese. When the war in September 1945 ended with the surrender of Japan, a civil war between the parties continued for several years. Only in 1949 did the Red Army manage to take control of the territory of China, at which time the PRC was proclaimed. For our history, a new, completely different period of development has begun. We strove to become strong, grow economically. We learned a great lesson from the war with the Japanese and, in general, from World War II - if your country is weak, you can never defend yourself against the aggressor. We wanted to be strong. And, of course, the USSR helped us a lot in our development. Probably,

    Do you celebrate any victory events?

    We do not celebrate these events every year. More is transmitted from grandfathers and grandmothers to children and grandchildren. Such a memory must live. But once every ten years, military parades are usually held in cities. But this year, on September 3, we will celebrate 70 years since the end of World War II, since China was the main Asian front. And so we have memorial events - memory days. December 13th is considered National Memorial Day in connection with the Nanjing Massacre. Nanjing was then the capital of China. The Japanese during the occupation in 1937 brutally killed 300 thousand people, not only soldiers, but also civilians.

    Does society somehow support war veterans?

    To be honest, it’s hard to say about state support, we don’t know. Rather, veterans do not have very good living conditions. But there are many public organizations, they are trying to provide them with all kinds of help.

    What do you think about the role of the Soviet Union in World War II?

    Of course, we know that a lot of countries fought against fascism, that the USA, Great Britain, France played an important role. But if it were not for the actions of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Stalin against the Germans and the entire fascist coalition, everything would probably have ended differently. Therefore, we have great respect for the history and courage of the Soviet people, who managed to unite for the same goal, repulse the aggressors and bring peace. For us, the USSR is a winner and a hero. It is important that history is always remembered and passed down from generation to generation. For us, for example, it is very disappointing that Japan does not recognize its attack on us.

    What do you know about the relations of the Soviet Union and China during this period of time?

    We know that the USSR provided all kinds of help to us. Probably, first of all, with money, weapons and soldiers. And even after the Germans attacked Russia, you still helped us in our border territories to restrain the Japanese attack. This helped us to defend our territorial interests and prevent Japanese aggression from spreading further. We thank you for helping your people. With that fighting friendship, our strong relations between countries began.

    Do you know any of the Russian heroes of this war?

    We know Zhukov, of course. He is great. We definitely know someone else, but the names are difficult to remember in Russian.

    We heard that old Soviet war songs are popular in China, why?

    In many ways, this is due to good relations between China and the Soviet Union. You know, we learned a lot from the USSR and always felt support. During the war, your soldiers helped us defend the territory in the north-east of the country from Japanese aggression. In a calm time, they sang with our soldiers =). Then, during the formation of the Communist Party, your experts came to us and helped us on various issues, we studied with them and went to you. Previously, Russian was taught in schools as a second, not English. In general, our people are imbued with Russian culture, this is especially true for the inhabitants of the north in the border areas. Russian music of those years sounds beautiful, melodious, something in it is so sad and tender. Our parents especially liked it. We also translated some songs into Chinese,

    What would you wish for all of us:

    We want to live in peace with everyone and we want that there will never again be wars and armed conflicts. It seems to our young generation that we should always try to come to an agreement and find a compromise by any calm means. But we, of course, support the idea that the state should be strong and ready to protect us from aggression, if this happens. We have taken many lessons from history, war is pain and chaos, we want to live without it, we hope that it will be so.