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10 thoughts on “Shanghai 1937 Stalingrad on the Yangtze

  1. says:

    Most Chinese take 7 Jul 1937 the day of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident 卢沟桥事变 as the day when China officially went to war with Japan Immediately after the incident Chiang Kai shek found himself out of an excuse to not confront the Japanese on Chinese soil He decided to make his stand in Shanghai and this book is about that battle known in the Chinese literature as 淞滬會戰At 300 pages this is a fairly short book by normal standards The brisk and flowing style adopted by the author made the book an enjoyable read This book is obviously based on good research and has the merit of showing many good archive pictures On top of that it also provides the answer to a uestion I have had for many years why do Chinese soldiers that appeared in movies I saw as a child wear German helmets? Does it not make them the bad guys? This book is the only one I have come across that gives a good account of the close relationship between the Chinese government and the Germans explaining the many German military advisers used by the National Revolutionary Army NRA in the 1930sThe author Peter Harmsen is particularly good at articulating scenes of various types although I suspect that this is helped by my own exposure to the pictures and movies I watched as a child I would point to two examples the first one was what went on in the Great World Amusement Centre taking readers into the place itself almost helping one to see what various vendors were doing I thought I could hear the music coming out of the crackling grammaphone The other in contrast was the gruesome fighting scenes of death and destruction I confess again that being exposed from young to pictures and movies made of that era has helped me to visualise maybe inaccurately what the author described but that should not take anything away from his ability to attend to the smallest yet important detailsThere are however lapses that reduce my enjoyment of the book The prologue talked about the Xi an Incident in which Chiang was kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang the Young Marshal as he was called in a bid to force Chiang to come to terms with the Communists to fight the Japanese together For such an important event I wonder why the author did not mention it by name and the greater ommission was Zhang Xueliang's name Yet he would bother to interject his otherwise flowing narrative with stories that seem to come at the wrong time or which are of no use to the reader An example of such was the story on Dai Li pg 145 which interrupted what was an exciting description of the brutal battle that was going onThe author also made a strange comment on pg 64 about the tragedy of the Black Saturday This was when the Chinese bombers sent to bomb the Japanese cruiser Izumo dropped their bombs in the most crowded parts of Shanghai instead killing only Chinese civilians The author said that 'the tragedy could have been prevented by Japan' I cannot appreciate the thoughts behind what he said; was he trying to be sarcastic or ironic or was he really putting the blame on the Japanese? I hope he had not said itThat said the perceptive author provided much for a reader to reflect uponThe first of these was about the city itself What was Shanghai really like in that era? If there was a 'limited war' I would say that this battle was the most 'limited' insofar as territory is concerned With Japan's total restrain concerning the International Settlements one got the surreal sense that the battle could be raging along one side of a fence maiming people indiscriminately while on the other side people safe behind the fences of the International Settlements watched on Foreign reporters could still be staying in a five star hotel that continued to operate as normalBut 'limited' is also a misnomer in this battle as with all others involving the Chinese For Chinese commanders always seemed to believe that there were unlimited Chinese to die Those frontal attacks against well entrenched enemies in movies looked like propaganda only that they were unfortunately accurate pg 53 No one was called to account for the fiasco of Black Saturday A captain who claimed to be involved in it even gave an interview to the press and tried to explained why it happened pg 63I also could not help noticing that the one thing the that the Chinese Army seemed to consistently do successfully was to withdraw uietly at night from a salient they held in the day The Japanese sometimes did not even know until days later The one exception was battle for the Sihang Warehouse where some 425 Chinese soldiers took a last stand against the Japanese This battle was described very well in the bookOverall this book is a good read Although I have my complaints these are probably due to my unfair expectations of it being scholarly when it was written as a 'popular' history book This book is recommended if for none other reason than there being very few English language works on the war in China during this era

  2. says:

    Let me start by congratulating Casemate Publishing's editor The crystal clear lay out of the book does much to integrate eyewitness accounts from the ranks and the International Settlement with the battle narrative The subtitle Stalingrad on the Yangtze sums up nicely the evolution of the actual urban front also It is eually misleading while the battle for Shanghai gave the world a glimpse of the rat's war on the Volga at least as much time is devoted to the fighting retreat of the Chinese army among the western rice paddies Here the similarity points not to the future but to the attrition of Flanders' fields a similarity that could've been exploited to greater gain if only the German advisors had not been ignored by their Chinese generals Peter Harmsen uses Chinese language sources on an almost eual footing with English; Japanese works are a handful; yet he lets the rank and file of both sides recount their misery and fear Alltough the Japanese had their backs against the river in a Sovjet position they exploited their naval artillery and aviation to an extent where they didn't have to rely on a pincer movement to win The technical weaknesses of the Japanese army that would shine through in their Pacific operations already make an attendance here such as 19th century logistics and loinclothed engineers shouldering foot bridges It is harder to get the measure of the Chinese Apparently suicidal courage coupled with cruelty to captives was not a Japanese monopoly Was their grasp on air domination weaker than their foe's ? I hesitate to judge since the Chinese operated under a uniue assumption the best modern material was to be carefully husbanded and held in reserve for the long term showdown between the Nationalist Army the provincial warlords who controlled over half of the country's manpower and the Communists Certainly they had a good eye for tank country Either way the free sorties of Japanese airplanes did not just force infantry to march at night they also had the curious conseuences of limiting artillery to dusk salvoes and the freuent relocation of command posts which did not help the direction of the battle When Chinese HAAA batteries did brave the hostile sky they showed what a stubborn defence could've accomplishedWhere the text fails is in showing the devastation of downtown Shanghai as it grew Not until the aftermath does it become clear just how many civilian dead and material damage 3 months of war caused despite the presence of a neutral zone The political dimension is lightly touched upon Even if Chiang Kai Shek did not purposely prolong the battle to capitalise on the name recognition of the Chinese republic's most familiar metropolis to Western eyes the Brussels convention is a welcome inclusion as is the Sovjet Chinese non aggression pact in no small measure thanks to the border incident on the Amur in June that was supposed to lead to an active Sovjet intervention In the end Moscow managed to go down the Vietnam rabbit hole and limited itself to large scale weapons deliveries Oddly enough Harmsen nowhere mentions Sovjet military advisors The strategic debate waged in the home islands about northern vs southern expansion so well known from the introductionary chapters of any one volume account of the Pacific war also makes an appareance in the context of troop reinforcementsat the time the focus was still on a new Russo Japanese war with troops designated to garding that border than to consolidate and expand the Manchurian colony

  3. says:

    A decent retelling of the battle between China and Japan in 1937 in Shanghai that was one of the many conflicts between these two countries in the 1930's and the 1940's It does not uite live up to the title as the author never convinces the reader that the battle of Shanghai was eual to the battle of StalingradI found much of the information new and Harmsen has included research from both sides as well as very interesting comments regarding the German advisors to the Chinese The Germans became much disenchanted when their advice was ignored as the Chinese military leaders seemed to be interesting in saving their euipment and fighting among themselves than fighting the JapaneseI was hoping to learn about the International Settlement of Shanghai where colonial powers had separate sections of Shanghai with their own commercial areas schools and residential homes However there was little about these fascinating areas in the book Some of the bombings of the International Settlement are includedHarmsen does make a strong case for the importance of the Battle of Shanghai within the history of World War II however the case in my opinion was not uite strong enough

  4. says:

    While a general overview of the Shanghai campaign it is eminently readable and well paced There are things I wanted to know about that probably would have bored a general reader and slowed down the book The weakest section was by far the aftermath of the battle which is woefully glossed over

  5. says:

    We are all hopefully familiar now with the Rape of Nanking if not please read the terrific book by Iris Chang and this book complements it well The Rape of Nanking occurred in December 1937 and the Battle of Shanghai the first major battle of the war between China and Japan took place from August to November 1937 If you are not familiar with the rivers streets and neighborhoods of Shanghai this book would probably rate 3 stars for you because you wouldn't have a full sense of how things are unfolding Watching the documentary Shanghai Ghetto may help with that and it also contains footage of the battle To me there were a few major blunders of conservatism in the Chinese defense of the city First they were too concerned with protecting their heavy artillery and did not place it close enough to the enemy making it dreadfully ineffective The Chinese soldiers were considered much expendable and high spirits and valor gave way to fear and nihilism Reinforcements came from other provinces and were somewhat lost in such a foreign city the most foreign influenced in China in fact with such a foreign dialect Second the Shanghainese as a somewhat colonized people were much too careful in their protection of the International Concession As even the Japanese did not want to rile European and American powers had the Chinese been willing to fight through the International Concession they might have gotten an upper handThe prolonged fighting Chaing Kai Shek probably should have called for retreat much earlier served to get the Japanese incredibly angry and seemed to make them adrenaline junkies whose greatest high came from brutal murder of individuals By the time they got to Nanjing rape was also added into the mix Many Japanese soldiers were encouraged to try beheading by sword as an experience they could take home from the war and even horrifically most soldiers were not very good at it their first few times As with John Rabe in Nanjing there are some interesting Europeans involved in the Battle of Shanghai about whom I learned through this book The first is Alexander von Falkenhauser a German general and assistant to Chaing Kai Shek whose goal had been to reform the Chinese army I am fascinated by the strong alliance between Germany and China in the early 20th Century which got disrupted by Germany's alliance with Japan which then forced China to become allied with the USSR by default even though the Soviets provided arms but little intellectual support or investment in China's success at modernization If anyone can recommend a good book on the German Chinese bond please do so in the comments thanks The Chinese were very supportive of Falkenhauser when he was tried as a Nazi war criminal for deporting Jews while he administered occupied Belgium from 1940 44 after he too had done time in Dachau He appears to have led a strange and ambiguous life with much incidentAnother interesting European was the one armed Jesuit Robert Jacuinot de Besange who established the Shanghai Safety Zone for civilian residents which was recognized by both sides of the war Subseuent safety zones were established in Nanjing led by John Rabe Hankou Zhangzhou and Shenzhen These safety zones saved thousands of Chinese lives and were incorporated into the Geneva Convention

  6. says:

    A dress rehearsal for WW2Given the contemporary rise of China the focus has rightly fallen on China's past and how the country came to be where it is today Key to that history is the history of nationalist China under Chiang Kai Shek and Communist China under Mao Zedong two men who between them would shape China's future for better or for worse Shanghai 1937 is but a chapter in that long struggle between Mao and Chiang and an epic tale it is too boot Incensed at Imperial Japan's Kwantung army running amok in Northern China annexing Chinese territory at will and having finally been persuaded to bury the hatchet with Mao and unite China against Japan's aggression Chiang decided to make a stand against the Japanese at Shanghai In many ways Chiang's hand was forced A savage battle would lose him many of his best trained divisions but reluctance to stand up to Japanese aggression would potentially lose him his political base What followed was a bloody precursor to the epic street battles of Stalingrad 5 years later Harmsen does a great job of chronicling the background the bloody battles the courage of the Chinese and highlights China's unlikely ally Germany providing assistance in the form of military advisors At times it reads like a thriller and was hard to put down A great book for any student of Chinese history

  7. says:

    While the topic of the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s interests me a lot this book fell short of my expectations I did not finish it and put it down 34 of the way throughI found the writing here to be very dry arduous and long winded A common problem with many of the history andor military books I've read I found the book poorly formatted as well; it jumps back and forth between too many unfamiliar characters and loses the reader in the weeds early on Anyone interested in a summary of the Battle of Shanghai will find a succinct and coherent summary on WikipediaI rarely put a book down but I was not prepared to spend any time on this one2 stars

  8. says:

    Very informative on the prewar to WWII It was interesting that for all the western mythos about the Japanese the Japanese were saying the same things about the Chinese esp the part about not surrendering and fighting to the death The battle environment of Shanghai was very similar to Stalingrad Good read on a little know area of fighting to Westerners at least prior to WWII Lot of people say this was the start of WWII I would agree

  9. says:

    American schools really need to give detail about the Japanese actions of WW II Well done history of the battle of Shanghai

  10. says:

    A good relatively unbiased text about the Battle of Shanghai and the start of the Second Sino Japanese War

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Shanghai 1937 Stalingrad on the Yangtze

Download Shanghai 1937 Stalingrad on the Yangtze

At helped define and shape the modern world In its sheer scale the struggle for China’s largest city was a sinister forewarning of what was in store only a few years later in theaters around the world It demonstrated how technology had given rise to new forms of warfare and had made old forms even lethal Amphibious landings tank assaults aerial dogfights and most important urban combat all happened in Shanghai in 1937 It was a dress rehearsal for Worl While a general ov Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans its sheer scale the struggle for China’s largest city was a sinister forewarning of what was The Miracle Match: Chappell, Lillee, Richards and the most electric moment in Australian Cricket in store only a few years later The Dreadlock Journey in theaters around the world It demonstrated how technology had given rise to new forms of warfare and had made old forms even lethal Amphibious landings tank assaults aerial dogfights and most Lunastus important urban combat all happened Timetrap in Shanghai Cache in 1937 It was a dress rehearsal for Worl While a general ov

Summary ✓ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ☆ Peter Harmsen

At its height the Battle of Shanghai involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers while sucking in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and often victims It turned what had been a Japanese imperialist adventure in China into a general war between the two oldest and proudest civilizations of the Far East Ultimately it led to Pearl Harbor and to seven decades of tumultuous history in Asia The Battle of Shanghai was a pivotal event th Let me start by co The Dreadlock Journey its height the Battle of Shanghai Lunastus involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers while sucking Timetrap in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and often victims It turned what had been a Japanese Cache imperialist adventure Cache in China The academic library into a general war between the two oldest and proudest civilizations of the Far East Ultimately The Cliterate Male: a Primer on Pleasuring Women (Good in Bed Guides) it led to Pearl Harbor and to seven decades of tumultuous history Pie: A Global History in Asia The Battle of Shanghai was a pivotal event th Let me start by co

Peter Harmsen ☆ 7 Free read

D War II or perhaps correctly it was the inaugural act in the war the first major battle in the global conflict Actors from a variety of nations were present in Shanghai during the three fateful autumn months when the battle raged The rich cast included China’s ascetic Generalissimo Chiang Kai shek and his Japanese adversary General Matsui Iwane who wanted Asia to rise from disunity but ultimately pushed the continent toward its deadliest conflict eve While the topic of