What did Mao and his communist army contribute to defeating Japan? | HistoryNet MENU

What did Mao and his communist army contribute to defeating Japan?

8/8/2013 • Ask Mr. History

Mr. History,

What did Mao and his communist army contribute to the defeat of the Japanese?


? ? ?

Dear Lyndon,

During what the Chinese call the War of Resistance (1937-45), Mao Zedong’s communists established an uneasy truce with Chiang Kaishek’s Kuomintang, which often broke down along the way, usually in regard to assigned areas of operation. The largest communist force, the Eighth Route Army, had only 30,000 men in 1937, but had grown to 400,000 in 1940. Attached to the Kuomingtang as the Eighteenth Army Group, the communist force operated independently in northern China, mostly as guerrillas who made it difficult for the Japanese to venture outside of the cities they controlled. In August and October 1941 the communists conducted large-scaled offensives, sometimes inflicting costly defeats on the Japanese, but the Japanese hit back hard and by the end of the year the army had lost 100,000 men to death or desertions. Meanwhile, in central China the communist New Fourth Army was conducting guerrilla operations while trying to gather civilian cupport—for which the Kuominting ordered it out of the region and attacked it when it did not move out punctually enough.

By the end of the war, the communists claimed to have fought 19,000 engagements of varying sizes, during which they inflicted a million casualties (dead, wounded and captured), of which almost all of their 150,000 prisoners were Chinese puppet soldiers collaborating with the Japanese, since the Japanese usually fought to the death rather than humiliatingly surrender to people they regarded as their racial interiors. Actual Japanese combat deaths in China totaled 396,040 compared to a total of 19,605,000 Chinese killed—of which only 3,800,000 were Kuomintang or communist soldiers. Besides using their mostly guerrilla strategy to increase their numbers (the Eighth Route Army had grown back to 400,000 by 1945), the communists also captured 320,000 rifles, 9,000 machine guns and 900 artillery pieces from the Japanese. These by-products of Japanese defeat would give them a new lease on life in 1946, when hostilities resumed in China’s Third Civil War between Chiang’s Kuomingtang and Mao’s redesingated People’s Liberation Army.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


9 Responses to What did Mao and his communist army contribute to defeating Japan?

  1. Lorraine C says:

    What a misinformed and biased answer! How can such a person be a history teacher? No, Mao didn’t contribute to the war against the Japanese. On the contrary, he thanked Japanese for invading China, “(Japan) doesn’t have to say sorry, you had contributed towards China, why? Because had Imperial Japan not start the war of invasion, how could we communist became mighty powerful? How could we stage the coup d’état? How could we defeat Chiang Kai Shek? How are we going to pay back you guys? No, we do not want your war reparations!” -Mao Zedong greeting Japanese Prime Minister Takuei in Nanjing, 1972

    The communist “New Fourth Army” sneakily attacked Nationalist army a lot of times during WW2. That’s why the nationalist army fought back, which is contrary to what you’ve answered. You should also read Raymond J. de Jaegher’s book “The Enemy Within”. He is a Belgium Catholic missionary working in China at that time. He witnessed how communist allowed a Japanese troupe passed by, while attacking their fellow Chinese army. He also witnessed how communist use “land reform” as an excuse to slaughter and plunder the villages to take away their resources and forcefully recruit peasants as army. There is a new book by a Japanese historian Endo Homore 遠藤譽, which discussed about secret truce between Japanese and Chinese communists during the war in detail. Japanese has paid the communist spies a large sum of money, so that the communist would give in informations of Chinese Nationalist army in return.

    Yes, the “Eighth Route Army” did attack Japanese once, but that was under the command of general Pang Xiu-wen. And in fact, Mao was very angry when he heard that Pang attacked the Japanese, because he was more concerned that the battle would damage his plan.

    • Johnny Mars says:

      Lorraine, I saw a lot of articles from mostly Japanese, Taiwanese and American sources that Mao was collaborating with the Japanese. One thing in common, all these countries don’t like China. First of all, Mao talks with “side meanings”. What he is implying is that he is thanking the Japs to invade China and unite China together. Note that China was a chaos before the Japanese invasion where different fashions of warlords fought each other. The KMT was fighting the CCP. China just overthrew the Ching dynasty and changed into a Republic. The Japanese invasion kind of united them together. The Eight Route Army did conduct many skirmishes with the Japs, but only on the country side. Note that CCP only controlled very little area of China, mostly on the really poor countryside during the Jap invasion.

      • Lorraine C says:

        Bethune was often praised by CCP whenever they talked about their history. So I’m not quite certain whether his letters about the “skirmishes between the Eight Route Army and the Japs army” was really left untouched, or being altered by the CCP to suit their propaganda.
        And there are a lot of other third-person witnesses account, like those by Belgium priest Raymond J. de Jaegher, the book “The Enemy Within”, which talked about the atrocities CCP did to the peasants and how they started a cult-like dictatorship in the 1930s that forces everyone to worship Mao and loot and kill other people, how they attack their fellow “alliance” the nationalists’ army. You should read it before you believe in one side.

      • C Kane says:

        nobody is buying ur Taiwanese shit propaganda. biased cult priests are trustworthy witnesses now? hahahaha.

    • C Kane says:

      what a brainwashed poorly educated 5cent you are. thanks to traitors like you working for jiang kai shi the Japanese were able to capture so much land in China. The communists in China prevented japanese advances in every direction, fight major battles both frontally as wel as sabotage in Jpanese occupied zones, while you traitors kept running away. Now u sit on ur lil island Taiwan, collaborating with Japan trying to deny your Chinese origin, living off the national treasure that Jiang kai shek stole from the ppl of china, even stealing all gold and silver jeweleries. You think you can fool anyone with ur anti-china propaganda? hahaha !

  2. lirelou says:

    Dear Mr. History, the only advantage to Lorraine C.’s answer is that she cites presumably what is a source for her comment. It would be nice to see you cite your sources so those of us whose knowledge of the subject is limited can at least attempt to compare your sources of information with the book she cites. I’ve only read Rann Mitter’s “Forgotten Ally” and if memory serves, he supports your thesis over hers.

    • C Kane says:

      we all know the West and Taiwan been paving propaganda for decades ever from the birth of people republic of China to undermine its legitimacy. ofcourse there is going to be a lot of ”sources” byanti-chinese propaganda citing eachother back and forth to create a false sense of credibility. after all, the amount of money spent by the West in propaganda is unmatched and unprecedented in the history of mankind. ”repeat a lie 1000 times and it becomes the truth” – western logic.

      • lirelou says:

        So, Mr. History, rather than citing any sources, your answer is the standard: Admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusations?

  3. Mem says:

    There are lots of sources citing anything you want, meaning western sources are ignorant. Bottom line, Chiang Kai-Shek had to be arrested by his own officers to get the KMT to fight the Japanese. Communists also fought the Japanese and then defeated the KMT despite massive manpower and equipment disadvantages. The excuse hunting for KMT is comical.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

, , , , ,

Sponsored Content: