Two Great Powers’ Memories of WWII

By staff reporter ZHOU LIN


American and Chinese soldiers take a rest on one of the aircraft that flew the Hump.

ON May 28, 2015, the launching ceremony of the book Shared Memories of the US and China – The Pacific War against Japanese Aggression, and the accompanying photo exhibition took place at the Book Exposition of America (BEA).


Zhang Qiyue, consul general of China in New York, said in her speech that this event gave both Chinese and American readers the chance to appreciate on the occasion of this 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the victory of the world anti-Fascist war their full impact and resonance.


Senior Consultant of Citibank, IMG Senior Partner, Chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, and well known writer Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn was also present. He spoke of the book’s significance in marking the 70th anniversary of these conflicts and as a retrospect of this period of history.


The book was jointly published by domestic and overseas entities – China International Publishing Group, CASS Institute of Modern History, Academy of History of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the Museum of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, and the National Archives and Records Administration of the U.S. The book includes a selection of rare historical photos, most of which are the sole recorded images of major events during WWII, and of written materials.


The victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression stands out as a historical turning point in the Chinese nation’s rejuvenation. It at the same time made great contributions to the victory of the world anti-Fascist war and progress of human civilization. This honorable history of joint combat between China and the U.S. during WWII preserves forever the memory of those who fought for world peace.


The book comprises three chapters: War of Justice – the China-U.S. Joint Effort Against Japanese Aggression; Mainstay – the CPC’s Participation in the War Against the Japanese; and Towards Peace – Profound Respect Between Servicemen and Civilians. A cache of rare black and white photos, documentation of a series of historical events, and a list of familiar names – from the September 18 Incident to the Cairo Conference, from the Flying Tigers to the Hump Route, from Edgar Snow to Norman Bethune, from the Chinese Expeditionary Force to the U.S. Military Observation Group – all vividly recreate for the reader this war-torn era.


On December 7, 1941, the Japanese air force bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, so triggering the Pacific War. China, meanwhile, had been independently fighting against the invasion of Japanese fascists for the previous decade.



 A Chinese orphan receives gifts from a U.S. soldier Santa.

On January 1, 1942, a total of 26 Allied nations, led by China, the U.S., the U.K. and the Soviet Union, signed the United Nations Declaration in Washington, D.C. pledging to fight against Fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan, using all available military and economic resources, so establishing a united international anti-fascist alliance. From that time onwards, Chinese and American soldiers and civilians fought side by side for peace in the Pacific Region. Photos and films have preserved and passed on images of their heroic deeds and daily lives.


Looking back on the war against Japanese aggression in which China and the U.S. jointly participated 70 years ago, we are deeply touched not only by the strenuous efforts of Chinese and American statesmen and commanders, but also the contributions of those who fought and laid down their lives on the battlefield. There were constant people-to-people exchanges between the two countries during the war which left warm memories. China and the U.S. faced the traumas of war in the spirit of true friendship, expressing their mutual eagerness for peace and prosperity.


The joint efforts of China and the U.S. towards safeguarding peace and justice engendered a special, precious aspect of the China-U.S. relationship and left shared meaningful memories to enlighten the two countries’ following generations. These memories underline the importance of maintaining hard-earned peace by virtue of the victory over Fascism through valiant efforts by all countries across the globe. They also remind us that a bias in mutual understanding between different countries can yield to common interests – justice, peace, democracy, and progress. 


The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the victories of both the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and WWII. On such an important occasion, let us look back on the days of gunsmoke and flames of that war 70 years ago, and remember the people who contributed to world peace and development and the progress of humankind. A myriad of heroes, including ordinary people, soldiers, generals and state leaders, who gave their lives for the peace of all are still remembered and honored. The Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World War II are seared into the memories of the Chinese people and peoples of the world. They will go down in the history of the Chinese nation as well as of humankind’s struggle for peace.



Shared memories are precious experiences and spiritual wealth for China and the U.S. through which to build a new model of major country relations.