mao and japan -- 4/13/21

Today's selection -- from Year Zero by Ian Buruma. China’s Communist Party prevailed against Chiang Kai-shek and China’s Nationalists in some part because of the damage inflicted upon the Nationalists by Japan in World War II:

"And in China? When the Japanese prime minister Tanaka Kakuei, in 1972, apologized to Chairman Mao for what his country had done to the Chinese during the war, Mao, who was not without a macabre sense of humor, told his foreign guest to relax: It is us who should thank you, he said; without you we would never have come to power.

"Mao was right. What happened in China was the most dramatic example of unintended consequences. The Japanese shared with Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists a horror of communism; there were even some attempts at collaboration; one faction of the Nationalists did, in fact, collaborate. But by fatally wounding the Nationalists, the Japanese helped the Communists win the civil war which was simmering in 1945 and came to a climax soon after."



Ian Buruma


Year Zero: A History of 1945


A Penguin Random House Company


Copyright 2013 by Ian Buruma


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