IBDP internal assessments relating to China

IBDP History Internal Assessment 
To what extent did Japanese forces deliberately instigate the Marco Polo Bridge Incident?

Plan of Investigation

To what extent did Japanese forces deliberately instigate the Marco Polo Bridge Incident?

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident took place July 7th, 1937. Japanese and Chinese scholars hold diametrically opposing views of what actually occurred throughout the course of the incident; the one fact most agree on is that it became the cassus belli of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. From the Mukden Incident of 1931, tensions between Japan and China escalated and this latest Incident served as “the trigger for the Sino-Japanese War.” Analysis of contemporary Japanese, Chinese and Western historians’ books, study of the memoirs and statements made by actual combatants and participants on both sides, and a personal interview with a very knowledgeable Chinese scholar is hoped to disclose Marco Polo Bridge Incident’s course of the event, focusing on its causes, the mysteries around the “first shot” and the so called “lost soldier”, and the subsequent events following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.

155 Words

Summary of Evidence

To determine the extent to which the Marco Polo Bridge Incident was a deliberate act of Japanese aggression or an unfortunate series of misunderstandings, one must understand both the preceding events and the course of the events itself.

Preceding Events:

China in the 1930s was tumultuous due to the Civil War between Nationalists and Communists. During the Central Plains War, Japan fabricated the Mukden Incident and set up Manchukuo in Manchuria. Between February and May of 1933, the Kwantung Army began its offensive in Rehe Province and signing the Tanggu Truce on May 31st, recognising Rehe Province as part of Manchukuo. In June of 1935, the He-Umezu Agreement was signed, forcing the Nationalist government to leave Hebei Province, allowing Japanese troops to control areas around Beiping, (situated in Hebei Province). In June that same year, 6000 additional soldiers were stationed in the Hebei area adding to a total of 8400 soldiers.

The Course of Marco Polo Bridge Incident

From May 1937, Japanese troops in Fengtai conducted daily and nightly military exercises at a wasteland 1 kilometre north of Wanping Town. Foreign powers were allowed to hold military manoeuvres without informing the authorities provided they used blank ammunition. However, on July 7th Chinese troops reported to their brigade commander that Japanese troops were armed with live ammunition and their manoeuvres were different from usual; Japanese troops from the 7th and 8th Companies had stopped manoeuvres around 10:30 PM. At 10:40, Private 2nd Class Shimura was reported to be missing. A Japanese agent telephoned Jicha authorities to claim that while the 1st company was manoeuvring, shots were fired at them from the Chinese garrison in Wanping creating chaos, and they needed to enter Wanping Town to search for this lost soldier. If prevented, Japanese armed troops would enter. Chinese troops subsequently reported Japanese troops approaching Wanping Town but the Chinese officers in Wanping allowed Japanese commanders to enter the town to search unmolested. Either during or immediately after negotiations, Japanese troops began to shoot at Chinese troops situated at Marco Polo Bridge.

Negotiations resumed after fighting came to a halt at 9 AM on the 8th, but broke down shortly afterwards. A stalemate continued until Japanese infantry reinforcement arrived around 3:00 PM and captured the bridge. Negotiations offered by the Japanese with the demand that Chinese troops retreat from the Left Shore were rejected. . Fighting ensued, and the Chinese re-captured the bridge at 9AM on the 9th.

By the 10th, Japanese troops severed all routes connecting Wanping to Beiping and Japanese reinforcements, including heavy artillery, planes, and tanks, were transported to the area. On that day, the Japanese chief of staff listed 4 requirements for Chinese troops to prevent further fighting:

Apologise to the Japanese Armies and punish those responsible.

Take action against those who initiated the incident.

Chinese troops around Marco Polo Bridge should be removed.

Ban all Communist and anti-Japanese Organizations.

On July 11th, General Zhang signed the agreement with Colonel Matsui. That same day, the Konoe Cabinet sent three divisions to Northern China. The Nationalist government still attempted to negotiate through 3rd parties. Chiang made a speech on the 17th providing 4 solutions to the problem and decided not to declare war. On the 19th, General Zhang agreed to a similar agreement. After taking over Marco Polo Bridge after a fierce battle erupted on the 21st, Japan launched an attack on Beijing, capturing it on July 27th. Chiang realized that war was unavoidable and resistance officially began. Within a month the Chinese General Headquarters declared a general mobilization.

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Evaluation of Sources:

Interview on December 25th, 2007 with Luo Cunkang, Manager of Research Department at Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression,

Luo Cunkang is one of the spokesman for the only official comprehensive memorial for the “Resistance against Japanese Aggression” in China” , and his role for the interview, as I was referred to him by other museum directors, is to promote the core ethos of the Hall and to provide a general Chinese scholar’s standpoint on this incident, a topic he specializes. His exhaustive knowledge of the incident is due both to his studies and to his numerous encounters with soldiers or relatives of soldiers present at the incident and with other Chinese scholars. He had numerous meetings with Japanese scholars and was very respectful towards Japanese views. He spoke about the incident itself and also discussed its significance in the context of 20th Century Asia. It must be said that he, being a manager in the museum, is a representative for the memorial so it could be suggested he is limited in expressing his own opinions, and doubts regarding the event, and has to be careful with usage of words since it needs to follow the purpose of the museum.

Sankichi Yasui, Marco Polo Bridge Incident (Hong Kong, Kehua Publisher, 1999)

Professor Yasui Sankichi of Kobe University wrote this book for a Japanese audience to present the Marco Polo Bridge Incident as objectively and factually as possible. He was the head of the Japanese China Modern History Research Centre. Published in Hong Kong, the book was translated and directly published without deletion of content. Some errors present in the Japanese edition, published in 1993, were amended for this translation edition, published in 1999, due to newly available information and research. It is dedicated to describing the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and his opinions are based on the numerous quotes from Japanese soldiers and officers present at the Incident , not found in most Chinese books. Thus many valuable insights describing minutia of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident are offered, leading the author to state how “some of my perspectives differ from orthodox Chinese perspectives that may make Chinese readers feel uneasy.” Nevertheless it has been criticized stating that whilst the Sino-Japanese War was a war resulting from Japanese invasion, the cause of the Incident itself was an accident.

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The Marco Polo Bridge Incident has been regarded as the catalyst for the 8 year Sino-Japanese War and can possibly even be considered the opening of World War II.

Furthermore it was significant in uniting the Chinese people because it was the start of China’s resistance. Chiang Kai-Shek attempted to preserve peace but ultimately recognized the inevitability of war. This incident instigated Chinese citizens to fight against the Japanese invasion.

Although it occurred half a century ago, scholars around the world still have not agreed upon who initiated the incident. Some scholars like Professor Nakumura Akita, Historian Masanori Ito , and Higashinakano Shudo blame Communists for purposely instigating the incident to create chaos between the Nationalists and the Japanese. On the other hand, Orthodox historians like Surugadai University professor Inoue Hisashi, Taiwanese scholar Yunhan Li , and Chinese scholar Sibai Sun claim Japan initiated the incident as a pretext for a full-scale invasion. They state that the Japanese army already fabricated a series of events to reach the surroundings of Beiping, and the Incident was merely a continuation of Japan’s expansion and so the incident of the “lost soldier” was fictitious. Other scholars and historians like Yasui Sankichi and Hattori Takushiro say the initial cause of the incident was completely accidental.

The “first shot” and the “lost soldier” have been the primary sources of controversy. The Chinese claimed that the Japanese fired the first shot when both sides were negotiating after Colonel Matsui demanded to enter Wanping. Japanese troops claimed that the Chinese fired the first shot around 10:40 when they were manoeuvring west of Marco Polo Bridge. The significance of the “first shot” is that it resulted in a soldier getting lost. The key instigator of the incident rests in the “lost soldier.”

The matter of the lost soldier (2nd Class Private Shimura) is a different story. The Chinese, by all accounts, stated that the Japanese demanded to enter Wanping town to find the lost soldier.

Most Chinese scholars and some Japanese scholars believe that this soldier was discovered to be “lost” at around 10:40 and was reported to the Captain. It can be concluded that Shimura was discovered long before Japanese officials informed Jicha authorities to discuss the issue of the lost soldier. Some Japanese writers question whether Colonel Matsui used the lost soldier as a reason to enter Wanping Town. Scholars like Professor Hata and Professor Nakamura Akira stated that General Jin’s allegation that Colonel Matsui demanded to enter the town due to the lost soldier is false. However, despite the fact that soldiers’ memoirs omitted this event, this incident was announced in 1938’s official symposium, and telegrams sent between Chinese officials show that his disappearance was indeed a reason for Japanese officials to enter the town.

The “first shot” and the “lost soldier” were occasional incidents in themselves and they were not orchestrated, but Company Commander Shimizu Setsuro’s demand of Chinese troops to retreat from Marco Polo Bridge or otherwise be attacked was a very provocative move that lead to conflict. Author Iris Chang stated this move was provoking a full-scale war with China. He, along with Japanese troops, exploited these accidents and Konoe cabinet’s decision to send another 3 divisions within days also demonstrates Japan’s ambitions to expand since it also follows, as argued by as Dexin Cai. However, scholars like Shougang Zhang and Shengze Zhang argue that both governments attempted to avoid war to some levels but due their national policies, they had no choice to fight or else be considered a weakling so it ultimately resulted in an all-out war.

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The first shot starting the Marco Polo Bridge Incident continues to be debated amongst scholars. To this day the war is a major point of contention between China and Japan and remains a major roadblock for Sino-Japanese relations. Wading through the nationalism and ideology that pervades such discussion both sides of the sea of Japan is a minefield and, based on past Japanese actions in Manchuria and the available evidence, it appears that the Japanese troops purposely used the excuse of the lost soldier to attack and occupy Wanping. It can be concluded the Konoe Cabinet, through the deployment of more troops in the days after the Incident, used the opportunity to expand their Manchukuo territories and exploited the originally small event to achieve their aims. The Chinese government, after impassively responding to Japanese interests for the past 8 years, decided finally to defend rather than submit. Both resulted in this minor incident quickly escalating into full-scale war. It can be assumed that even if the Incident did not take place, another minor event would have instigated the war. Tensions were stored already due to series of similar incidents and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident became the trigger.

198 Words

List of Sources


Dong, Linyi, “Why is it that the LuGou Bridge Incident became the beginning of the wars all over the country? Shandong Normal University Newspaper, 4th Edition, 1987.  “From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor, Who was responsible?” ASIAN PERSPECTIVE, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2007.  Books  Akira, Nakamura. The road to the Greater East Asian War. Tokyo: Tendensha, 1990.  Benson, John, and Takao Matsumura. Japan 1865-1945: From isolation to occupation. Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2001.  Brower, Daniel R. The World in the 20th Century-The Age of Global War and Revolution. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1992.  Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking. New York: Penguin Books, 1997.  CPC Central Committee Party School Communist Party Historical Archives Center, The LuGou Bridge Incident and Beijing and Tianjing Anti-Japanese War. Beijing: CPC Central Committee Party School Research, Office 1986.  Ferguson, Niall. The War of the Worlds. London: Penguin Books, 2007.  Harries, Meirion, and Susan Harries. Soldiers of the Sun: the Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army. New York: Random House, 1991.  Hattori, Takushiro. The Complete History of the Greater East Asia War (1). Yuxiang Zhang, Trans, Hong Kong: The Commercial Press, 1984.  Hunter, Alan. Peace Studies in the Chinese Century. Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2006.  Li, Yunhan. Marco Polo Bridge Incident. Taiwan Dongdatushu Company, 1987.  Liu, Dejun. Research works about Anti-Japanese war, Jinan: Jilu Book Publisher. 2005.  Liu, Yifei. The records of Incident of LuGou Bridge blooded War ---7.7 Incident. Beijing: Tuan Jie Publishers, 1994  McClain, James L. A Modern History, Japan. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002.  New History Textbook 2005 version. Fushosha, 49  Qu, Jiayuan, and Zhaoqin Bai, History about LuGou Bridge Incident, Beijing: Beijing Publishers, 1997.  Rhoads, Murphey, A History of Asia. Lin Huang, trans, Beijing, Hainian Publisher, 2005.  Roberts, J. M. The Penguin History of the Twentieth Century, London: Penguin Group, 1999.  Sankichi, Yasui. Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Guifang Shi and Xutian Wang, trans. Hong Kong: Kehua Chuban Corporation, 1999.  Shudo, Higashinakano. The Nanking Massacre: Fact versus Fiction: A Historian's Quest for the Truth, Sekai Shuppan, Inc, 2005.  Takushiro, Hattori. Great East Asia War History (1). Shangwu Yinshua Guan.  Wu, Yuexing, Zhibo Lin, Hua Lin, and Youyu Liu. Stories of LuGou Bridge Incident. Beijing: Beijing People’s University Publisher, 1987.  Yang, Qing, and Yang Wang. Articles about the Anti-Japanese War during recent 10 years. Beijing: Zhong Gong Dang Shi Chu, 2005.  Zhang, Chunxiang. The Incident of LuGou Bridge and eight-year Anti-Japanese War, Beijing: Beijing Chu Ban She, 1990.  CD-Rom  Encarta 2005 Reference Library. CD-ROM. Microsoft, 2004  Interview  Luo, Cunkang, personal interview, December 25th, 2007.  Magazine  Tucker-Jones, Anthony. “Clash of the Titans.” Military Illustrated Feb 2008: 9.

Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression Pamphlet, English Edition.


The records of Anti-Japanese War, Dir Xiaochun You, VCD, Tianjin Taida Audio&Video Distribution Co, 25 July 2007.

Anti-Japanese War, Dir. Ermao Huang, VCD, Guangdong Youlin Audio& Video Distribution Co, 2002.

Why We Fight World War II – The Complete Series, Dir. Frank Capra, DVD, Good Times Video, 1943.


“International Sino-Japanese Conference”, 12 February 2008, http://chinajapan.org/articles/10.2/10.2news2-7.pdf

People’s Republic of China Japanese History Editorial Board, 15 Feb, 2008. http://www.chinarshgb.cn/htm/xxjg.html

Qi, Xiaojing, “Japanese Historian stated the Marco Polo Bridge Incident is an inevitable outcome of Japanese’s policy of expansionism and invasion”, October 2007, February 10th, 2008, http://2006.chinataiwan.org/web/webportal/W5272501/Uqxjing/A514011.html,

(http://www.ne.jp/asahi/kyokasho/net21/e_yukou_seimei20001205.htm#++++) 8 February, 2008.


A. Plan of Investigation

Are the Japanese to blame for instigating the Marco Polo Bridge Incident?

The Marco Polo bridge incident occurred on the 7th of July 1937 yet it is still unclear to this day as to who caused this incident. In order to create an objective view on the circumstances of the incident, Japanese and Chinese viewpoints will be taken into account when deciding whether or not Japan is to blame for the incident. These viewpoints will be coming from Pulitzer Prize winning books and Japanese and Chinese sources. Both Japanese and Chinese journalists and army members have clear different views on to who is to blame for this event. Although with rising tensions between China and Japan due to the recent Mukden incident of 1931 both standpoints are needed to determine whether or not Japan is solely to blame for instigating the Marco Polo bridge incident.

Word count: 145

B. Summary of Evidence

The Incident:
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred on the 7th of July 1937. The incident was caused by a conflict between Japanese and Chinese Army troops in the small walled town of Wanping, southwest of Beiping (Beijing)[1]. Starting June 1937 The Japanese Imperial army was preforming military training manoeuvres every night close to the western end of the Marco Polo Bridge1. The Chinese Government complied with the Japanese army training only provided that the Japanese gave them advanced notice of these training manoeuvres, the Japanese agreed to these terms[2]. They asked for advanced notice so the Chinese inhabitants were not disturbed. However the night of the 7th of July training manoeuvres were carried out without prior notice1. This alarmed the local Chinese forces and it lead to a brief exchange of fire at approximately 11 pm. After the small conflict a Japanese soldier was reported missing from his post, which lead his company commander Major Kiyonao Ichiki to believe he had be captured by the Chinese troops. Major Kiyonao then reported this to the regimental commander colonel Renya Mutaguchi. The Chinese regimental commander Ji Xingwen received a telephone message from the Japanese wanting permission to search Wanping for their missing soldier.  The Chinese commander of the 29th Route Army General Qin Dechun received a call from Japanese military intelligence also requesting permission to enter and search Wanping[3]. Qin refused this demand due to the fact that the Japanese army had not given notice of their military training maneuvers that night3. The Chinese agreed to have the garrison of Wanping conduct a search along with a Japanese officer. As both Chinese and Japanese were preparing their investigators a Japanese infantry tried to gain access to Wanping but were fended off by Wanping’s defences3.  Around 3:30 a.m. on the 8th of July 4 Japanese reinforcements consisting of mountain guns and a group of machine gunners arrived at Wanping from the previously occupied railway junction of Fentai1. At 4:50 am the Japanese investigators were granted access to Wanping but despite that at 5 am Japanese machine gunmen proceeded to open fire on the Chinese at the Marco Polo Bridge3. Colonel Xingwen led 1000 Chinese troops to hold the bridge but the Japanese took hold of the bridge that afternoon. The Chinese were able to retake the bridge the morning of the 9th after taking advantage of the mist and rain of the morning3.
Word count: 399

C. Evaluation of Sources

Epstein, Israel. History Should Not Be Forgotten. Beijing: China Intercontinental, 2005. Print.

History Should Not Be Forgotten is a book written by a Jewish journalist born in Warsaw 1915. Israel Epstein is an internationally known journalist who moved to China in 1917. He was born at the time of Imperial Russian control over Poland and when the German army approached Warsaw Epstein and his mother fled to China. Epstein started working as a journalist in 1931 for “Peking” and “Tientsin Times”. In 1933 Epstein started working with American journalist Edgar Snow and became a correspondent for the United Press of the United States in 1937. Epstein was one of the few foreign born Chinese citizens to be a member of the Communist Party of China. After the war on Japanese aggression was over, Epstein was actively involved and reporting on activities opposing U.S. involvement in China’s internal affairs.

This source will be very vital for the investigation as it coming from a journalist who was a journalist in China during the time of the Marco Polo bridge incident. Although it is very valuable for the investigation of who was responsible for the Marco Polo incident, the source has limitations. The limitations are that the author of the book was communist and actively involved in the front against Japanese aggression, the view will be highly biased against the Japanese due to Epstein’s history.

Toland, John. The Rising Sun: The Decline and fall of the Japanese Empire. Random House, 1982. Print.

The Rising Sun: the decline and fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 was written by John Toland who was one of the most widely read military historians of the 20th century. Toland was a Pulitzer Prize winning historian for The Rising Sun and the book is a collection of facts and interviews about the Japanese Imperial Army. Said in countless book reviews, Toland is said not to have interjected any biased or judgmental views in the telling of the events within the book. Said by the Chicago Sun-Times The Rising Sun is “similar in scope to William Shirer’s ‘Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’” and “it also presents for the first time a great deal of fresh information”.

This book is vital to the investigation of the topic of whether or not Japan is to blame for the Marco Polo Bridge incident as it was one of the first books to tell the Japanese perspective of the conflict, instead of American or Chinese. This book uses interviews from Japanese Generals who were in the Imperial Army at the time of the Marco Polo Incident. Although said by book reviewers that Toland presents events without bias or judgement, the evidence within the book is greatly subjected to bias. As the book is telling the accounts from the Japanese perspective the views presented are in favor of Japan.

Word count: 476

D. Analysis

The Marco Polo bridge incident was considered to be complete misunderstanding according to the British Historian Niall Fergusson. “A Japanese soldier went missing and was wrongly presumed to have been kidnapped (he was actually relieving himself)”. However both accounts are told, both Chinese and Japanese are blamed to have instigated the incident. The investigation of this incident is critical in its historical context as the Marco Polo Incident is said to have started the Chinese war against Japanese aggression (the second Sino-Japanese war)[[4]][[5]]. It is also speculated by Niall Fergusson that it was not only the started of second Sino-Japanese war but the start of WWII[6].

Epstein argues “The Marco Polo (Lugou) Bridge, outside Wanping City, located more than 10 kilometers from downtown Beiping, is on the vital communication line in southwestern Beijing, and of strategic importance since ancient times.” This clearly shows a possible Japanese motive for occupying this land had they been aware that the surroundings and general location of the Lugou Bridge was of strategic importance. Also in his book Epstein states that Japan, prior to the Marco Polo Incident, had occupied three Northeastern Chinese Provinces (Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning)[7] showing the reader that Japan had previous acts of aggression against China.

According to John Toland it was not until the Sino-Japanese war had concluded that Japanese officers of the war, including ones that were directly involved in the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, claimed that Mao’s agents had sparked the Incident[8] “We were then too simple to realize this was all a Communist plot” said by General Akio Doi, who Toland said to be a Russian expert. Mao had been known to want a united front against Japanese aggression[9], the reasoning proposed by Japanese General Akio Doi would give China a reason to blame Japan for causing the Marco Polo Incident. If Japan was seen to be instigating an event such as the Marco Polo Incident then Mao could unite China against Japanese aggression.

Although it is a possibility for China to have constructed the incident as a communist plot, the actions of the Imperial Japanese Army on the day of the Marco Polo Incident must be taken into account. On the day of the incident, Japanese forces were under the impression that Chinese forces had captured a member of their army. The Japanese forces responded to this by calling General Qin Dechun of the Chinese army, which they requested entrance to the suspected town. These actions are those of a country concerned for a member of their army. The Chinese refused to allow Japanese entry to Wanping due to the previous events of not informing China of their military training. The action of the day directly implementing blame on the Japanese is the event of Japanese army trying to forcefully gain access to the town of Wanping. Also after a Japanese investigator was allowed into the town to conduct a search Japanese forces open fired on the Chinese. This shows their instigation of the Incident.

Word count: 548

E. Conclusion

Simply looking at the collected evidence given one can easily see how the Japanese were the instigators of this incident, however they were not solely to blame. The Chinese were refusing access to their town, which could have been seen as trying to stand against Japanese aggression, which inevitably was a reason for China’s unison against Japan. Had China granted access to the Japanese force into their town, the incident could have possibly been avoided s the Japanese would not have forcefully tried to gain access. To conclude the Japanese were not solely to blame for this incident although they are the primary instigators shown by the presented evidence.

Word Count: 109

F. List of Sources

  1.     "The Marco Polo Bridge Incident." History - China Culture. Cultural China. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. .  2.     "Marco Polo Bridge Incident (Asian History) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia."Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. .  3.     Epstein, Israel. History Should Not Be Forgotten. Beijing: China Intercontinental, 2005. Print.  4.     Ferguson, Niall. "China's War." The War of the World. Penguin. Print.  5.     Harper, Damian. China. Footscray, Vic., Australia: Lonely Planet Publications, 2007. Print.  6.     Peng, Xunhou. China in the World Anti-fascist War. [Beijing]: China Intercontinental,  2005. Print.  7.     Simkin, John. "Mao Zedong." Spartacus Educational. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. .  8.     Toland, John. The Rising Sun. The Decline and fall of the Japanese Empire. Random House, 1982. Print.  9.     Xiang, Ah. "Marco Polo Bridge Incident." Resistance Wars. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. .  10.  Xu, Haiyan. Historical View of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a Comparison of the Chinese and Japanese Accounts. Indiana University, 1990. Print.

[1] Encyclopedia Britannica  [2] Xiang, Ha  [3] "The Marco Polo Bridge Incident." History - China Culture. Cultural China. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. .     [4] (Harper, Damien: China p176)  [5] (Epstein, Israel: History Should Not Be Forgotten p13)  [6] (Ferguson, Niall: War of the World p306)  [7] (Epstein, Israel: History Should Not Be Forgotten p13)  [8] (Toland, John: The Rising Sun p43) [9] Simkin, John. "Mao Zedong." Spartacus Educational. Web. 13 Nov. 2011

IBDP History Internal Assessment

How Many were Slaughtered at Nanking?

The investigation justifies the number of lives claimed by the Nanjing Massacre in the 1930s. In respond to this assessment, a primary source- a letter written by John Rabe to Hitler, a Chinese documentary novel called The Rape of Nanking, and various perspectives from Chinese and Japanese historians, will be examined. Two of the sources in this investigation, a letter by John Rabe to Hitler in 1938, and a documentary novel called the Rape of Nanking composed by Iris Chang, will be accessed through origin, purpose, value, and limitation.

In December 1937 the Japanese army marched into the Nanjing city beginning a reign of terror. “The troops murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians in horrific ways.” It was estimated the duration of the war had culminated in the death of twenty million Chinese. The city was practically collapsed into a defenceless habitat as “the government left Nanjing defenseless declaring it to be an “open city””. This therefore ensured massacres to prevail in all areas within and around the city. Since then, controversy aroused between groups from mainly China and Japan surrounds the number of people massacred by the Japanese troops during the years of the massacre. In one case a Chinese-German-made film called (John Rabe) has revealed the fact 300,000 people were killed when its film critic Song Ziwen asserts on the state-run Xinmin website, “'We always emphasize that 300,000 people were killed.” Similarily, numbers of Chinese official documents/historians point to the fact of apporximatly 300,000 deaths. Wu Tienwei, professor emeritus of history at Southern Illinois University, estimates a death toll of above 300,000. Sun Zhaiwei, a historian at the Jiangsu Acedemy of Social Sciences, concludes a number closing to 380,000. Contradictary, John Rabe’s diary and several Japanese historians have asserted relatively low figures compared to those submitted by the Chinese. In a letter addressing to Hitler from John Rabe in 1938 he stated, “We foreigners view the figure as having been from about 50,000 to 60,000.” Japanese historian, Hata Ikuhiko, argued a death toll of approximately 38000 to 42000 whereas he regarded the Chinese estimate of 300,000 deaths as exaggerated. Moreover, Fujiwara Akira, professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University, has come up with an estimation of 200,000 deaths.


The first source to be evaluated according to its origin, purpose, value, and limitation is a primary source, a letter written in June 1938 by John Rabe to Hitler. The letter upholds a purpose “to persuade Hitler to intervene and stop the inhuman acts of violence committed by the Japanese.” The value of it lies in the fact it is a primary source written by an eye witness of the massacre. Moreover, its weight was shown when it was aimed at addressing to Hitler himself. The limitation of it is it failed to observe the full duration of the Nanjing Massacre since John Rabe left Nanjing in February 1938. The letter hasn’t been verified by any authority but exclusively accounted from the view of a foreigner whose observation in the area had been limited. The second source to be evaluated is an English history documentary novel called The Rape of Nanking. Its purpose is to narrate the events of the massacre from perspectives of the Japanese military, Chinese victims, and westerners. Its value is shown in its ability to blend in three various aspects to reconstruct a wider and more realistic context of history. It was also the “first comprehensive examination of the destruction of this Chinese imperial city.” The limitation is the book procured the information through various sources instead of first hand experiences. The book has been criticized for its nature of “seriously flawed” and “full of misinformation and harebrained explanations.” This’ perhaps due to the fact she lacks the experience with the subject matter.


The majority of the Chinese historians share a similar perspective on the fact of approximately 300,000 people were massacred throughout the course. Such fact is that certain of them based their research on the official Chinese burial records. Many people were desperate in dodging the gun fire by diving into the water while the fire persisted. This certainly would challenge the reliability of the burial records since some bodies might have been washed away or sunken to the riverbed. This inaccuracy also applies to the circumstance when gasoline was being set fire on corpses. Some experts including those from Japan have questioned the reliability of the 300,000 figure in areas concerning of double counting, and miscounting. The fact burial records were exclusively acquired from burial grounds miles away from the seashore; this therefore eliminated the possibility of taking into account of those corpses that were washed onshore then buried on spot. There were people questioning if 300,000 people existed inside the Nanking city after the Japanese troops marched in. This query was contradicted by numbers of Chinese official documents stating the number of people inside the city at that time were approximately 500,000. Nevertheless, although those factors stated above are influential to the death toll of 300,000, there still existed an uncertainty of whether those assumptions actually took place during the massacre for most of them were theories and infer. Contrary, the estimation of 300,000 deaths was reinforced by numerous primary elements. Interviews were conducted on 1,700 survivors of the massacre and arrived at a conclusion of 340,000 deaths. There was one case when the Japanese foreign minister Hirota Koki in January 1938 ordered to forward a telegram to America informing no less than 300,000 people were killed. And that was only the first month of the massacre. This is very ponderous evidence since it was devised by Japanese at that time.

Drawing to a conclusion from the analysis carried out, there is a higher possibility the 300,000 death toll is comparatively justified than the other assumptions. As have been briefly mentioned above, relatively low figures are often based on imaginative factors and theories such as double counting, miscounting, and so on, whereas the 300,000 death toll is closely associated with researches and investigations that were carried out practically namely interviews, and most importantly the recognition of certain Japanese officials.


Section A: Plan of the investigation

The purpose of this essay is to investigate “How many Chinese citizens were killed in Nanking by the Japanese army during 13th December 1937 to 24th January 1938.” To answer this question, I will focus on the numbers of the buried dead bodies. I am going to use Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang because it was the first best seller book about the Nanking Massacre written in English. I will use Nankin Jiken by Ikuhiko Hata. because this is a recognized book by a Japanese historian who has a neutral standpoint about the Nanking Massacre. To take a diversified stand point, I will use books that are critical of Chang’s book and books that support her point of view with regard to numbers of victims. Also I will use reports from the foreigners who were in the Nanking safety zone because they researched the scale of the damage at that time.

 Section B: Summary of evidence  The 2nd Sino-Japanese war began with the Marco Polo bridge incident on 7th July 1937  By 15th August, the Japanese navy started the first bomb attack on Nanking, the Chinese capital, without the declaration on war . Nanking was about 4,737km² in size and its population was around 1,000,000 in March 1937 . Because of the bombings, thousands of citizens fled from Nanking. The population decreased to 500,000 in November 1937 .  After the fall of Shanghai on 12th November, the Japanese army decided to invade Nanking on 20th November unilaterally, the Japanese government did not agree . Chiang Kai-shek decided to defend Nanking. He burned down the villages around the city so that the Japanese army could not use them . All important people and foreigners were asked to leave Nanking by November .To protect those citizens who were left behind, the 'International Committee of the Nanking safety zone' was created by the foreigners who stayed in Nanking . They made a 3.8km safety area within Nanking. The capital of China was removed from Nanking to Chongqing on 15th of November.  On 1st December the Japanese government officially accepted the Nanking capture operation. On 9th of December, Japan asked China to surrender Nanking  but China refused. Japan started to attack Nanking on 10th  December. There were about 120,000 Japanese soldiers and the Chinese army was about 50,000~100,000 . The problem of the Chinese army was that they had to recruit in a hurry so there were many untrained soldiers.   After Japan defeated the Chinese army outside Nanking, on 13th December 1937, the Japanese army broke into Nanking and started the sweep operation. Because the Chinese head quarters withdrew on 12th of December , the Chinese chain of command collapsed. Chinese soldiers started to change from uniforms to plain clothes in order to run away. Japan captured Nanking on 17th December. The “Nanking Massacre” happened after the capture of Nanking.  Since the Japanese army only had seventeen military police , there was nothing to stop the soldiers from ferocity. The Japanese army did not have enough supplies so soldiers started robbing . The Japanese army did not have the capability to take care of all the Chinese POW, so they decided to kill them.  
Japanese soldiers killed, raped and looted in Nanking. There were eye witnesses statements. Ohta, a Japanese Army Major stated in 1954when he was in prison in China that he and his unit dumped 19,000  dead bodies in the river from 15th of December for three days. He also stated that neighboring units disposed total of 130,000 bodies in the same period. Lu Shu said that he saw that 57,418 Chinese were killed by the Japanese Army in the night of 16th December . This report was one of the Chinese evidence of the Tokyo Trial. Members of the Safety Zone Committee wrote reports. Professor L. S. C. Smythe of the University of Nanking did a survey  in December 1937 about numbers of people killed during the massacre.  The German businessman, John Rabe who was the president of the Nanking safety Zone wrote in a letter to Hitler in 1937, that  he estimated that 60,000 Chinese died in the massacre.  Tsun-shan-tang and Red Swastika Society, charitable institutions in Nanking, were the main organizations that buried the dead bodies .  The Red Swastika Society buried 43,071 bodies . Tsun-shan-tang buried 112,266 .  
After the war the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Japan agreed that 260,000 Chinese died in Nanking.

 Section C : Evaluations of Sources 
Chang, Iris.(1997) The Rape of Nanking: the Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. London, Penguin Books, 1998  
According to Chang, the purpose of the book is “not to establish a quantitative record to qualify the event as one of the great evil deeds in history, but to understand the event so that lessons can be learned and warnings sounded.”  . Since it was the first book written in English about the Nanking massacre, it introduced the topic to the west. More than 500,000 copies were sold  which shows the strong influence this book had. Chang states that more than 300,000 people died in the massacre, a number allocated by the Chinese Government (see appendix 1).Some historians such like David M. Kennedy from Stanford University, argue that this book is more focused to impeach Japan instead of working on a historical analysis of the event . Chang  is a journalist and not a historian. This can be seen from misunderstandings in her book regarding history, especially in Japanese history. For example, she has dates of the Tokugawa period wrong for more than hundred years    . Picture No.6 in the book (see appendix 2) is taken out of context. This picture is part of a Japanese propaganda photo that shows the Japanese army protecting Chinese farmers on their way home. It was not a picture of women being rounded up . Chang is Chinese American and through her comments, we can see that her point of view is biased. Her tone of writing is emotional and you can see some anti-Japanese perspective .   

Ikuhiko, Hata. (1986). Nankin Jiken(Nanking Incident):Gyakusatu no kouzou(Mechanism of the massacre) 
Hata inspects what actually happened in Nanking in 1937 by analyzing  Japanese military records, soldier's diaries and witnesses reports. According to Syudo Higasinakano, a Japanese historian, this book focuses on analyzing the data without nationalism common to those books. Since it is published 40 years after the Nanking massacre happened, it can look to the incident one step back which helps to exclude personal emotions. Although the author is Japanese, he is a historian studying modern Japanese military history and he is standing on a neutral point. The author believes that the numbers of victims were 40,000 . The argued numbers of victims range from a few thousands to 300,000 so Hata’s estimate is roughly in the middle. However, from the bibliography it is clear that Hata uses less Chinese sources and that he focuses more on Japanese sources which makes the conclusion one-sided.  

Section D: Analysis  This investigation is historically important because if 300,000 citizens died in Nanking, this massacre would be one of the biggest in modern history. But there is debate about the numbers of the people killed there. This historical event still causes tension between Japan and China as it is considered the symbol of the Japanese cruel invasion in China  (see appendix 1).   Chang argues that 300,000 people died in Nanking and she supports this by three main points; The burial records of Tsun-shan-tang and the Red Swastika Society , the statements from Hisao Ohta, and Lu Su, and the other reports from Chinese eyewitnesses that were sent to the Tokyo Trials. . By adding the data of the burial records and the numbers that the eyewitnesses saw, Chang concluded that the numbers of victims were at least 260,000 . To support her point, she referred the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Japan where they agreed that the victims of the Nanking were 260,000. As conclusion, Chang said that at least about 260,000 people were certainly dead and by adding the statements of eyewitnesses and the Japanese records, it will be more than 400,000.  However, there are some problems with her conclusion. Iris Chang does not provide evidence to support her claim of 300,000 victims but merely adds the numbers of dead bodies on all records without assessing the sources. According to Hata, one cannot simply add the numbers of dead bodies witnessed by people because it could be ambiguous and uncertain . Sun Lu stated that he saw 57,400 Chinese were killed by the Japanese military on the night of 16th December. But the question is how could a person know the exact numbers of people by watching at night? Another example is the statement of Ohta, the diary of Taterou Kajitani, the sergeant of the Japanese army, proves that Ohta arrived in Nanking on 25th December  so it is impossible for Ohta to bury dead bodies in Nanking on the 15th December. Eyewitnesses are not always reliable sources to use to get the numbers of dead bodies.  Secondly, according to Minoru Kitamura, a Japanese historian studying Chinese modern history, the burial record from Red Swastika Society is trustful since it accords with the Japanese records . But the burial record of Tsun-shan-tang is not accurate. According to the Japanese newspapers in 1937, the Red Swastika Society was mentioned as organization requested by the Japanese government to bury the dead bodies but Tsun-shan-tang was not mentioned in any newspapers although it buried more than twice as much as the Red Swastika Society did . Also the Nanking safety zone report written by Miner Searle Bates, only mentions Red Swastika Society as the main organization working on burial . In a letter to the Nanking self-government, the leader of the Tsun-shan-tang wrote that they only got one truck to use where Red Swastika society got 10 trucks. So it is physically impossible for such a small organization to burry more than 100,000 dead bodies in one month . Tsun-shan-tang buried massacre victims but it seems that it record was inflated so it is difficult to estimate how many they did burry.  Hata’s conclusion is that the numbers of dead bodies were about 40,000 . He reached this conclusion by subtracting the inaccurate records of the buried dead bodies from the total number, 155,000. He supports his argument with the facts of the survey by Symthe, member of the Nanking Safety Zone Committee who also stated that the number of buried victims in Nanking was about 40,000   This is an objective conclusion since it is based on the record. However Hatta developed a method to subtracting the numbers of dead bodies that are over counted but he does not explain his exact method . 

Section E: Conclusion  I conclude that the minimum number of people who were killed in Nanking was at least about 50,000 based on the estimation of Rabe and the survey of Smythe. I decided to use the burial record of Red Swastika Society, because this figure is mentioned by Hata, Chang and Kasahara who all have different view points on the massacre. Based on the books I read, I can conclude that Tsun-shan-tang also buried dead bodies.  The only way to estimate the numbers of people killed in Nanking is by counting the numbers of the burials. But this method will only show the minimum numbers of the victims. Because it is clear that not all victims of the massacre are buried, bodies might have been burned or dumped in the river.  It is impossible to know the numbers of victims. It seems that historians are starting with a certain stand point and try to prove that their argument is right and they are not considering to investigate from an objective point of view.  The Nanking Massacre did happen, the exact number of Chinese citizens that were killed by the Japanese army during 13th December 1937 to 24th January 1938 we might never know.

Section F: List of Sources

  Ara,Kenichi (2002) Nankin Jiken no Syougen(The witnesses of the Nanking Incident):Nihonjin 48nin no syougen(witnesses of 48 Japanese). Tokyo. Syougakkan 2005  Barrres, Charles (1998)  Amerika wo yurugasu “Za reipu obu nankin” Tyuoukouron  1998, August, www.history.gr.jp/~nanking/books_chuokouron9808.html viewed on  01.11.2011  Chang, Iris.(1997) The Rape of Nanking: the Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. London, Penguin Books, 1998  The Diet Members Group for Japan’s Future and History Education (2008). The Truth of Nanjing:The League of nations Failed to even recognise the “Massacre of 20,000 Persons at Nanjing Tokyo,Nitisinhoudou. 2010  Fogel, Joshua. A. (2000) The Nanjing Massacre: in history and historiography, Berkeley, Los Angelos, London, University of California Press, 2000  Fujioka, Nobukastu. Syudou Higasinakano (1999). Za Reipu obu Nankin no kenkyuu( The study on the Rape of Nanking), Tokyo, Syoudensya, 2007  Hata, Ikuhiko(1986) .Nankin Jiken: Gyakusatu no koudou(The Nanking Incident: the mechanism of the massacre), Tokyo,Tyuoukouronsya, 2007   Kasahara, Tokushi.(1997) Nankin Jiken(The Nanking Incident), Tokyo, Iwanamisinyo, 2009  : so no jituzou wo motomete(The research of the Nanking Incident: to find the real image), Tokyo,Bungeisyusyun. 2007  Li, Fei Fei;Sabella, Robert; Liu, David (2002). Nanking 1937: Memory and healing, Armonk, New York, M.E. Sharpe,Inc. 2002  Takemoto, Tadao;Ohara, Yasuo (2000). The Alleged Nanking Massacre: Japan’s rebuttal to China’s forged claims, Tokyo, Meiseisya 2010  Wakabayashi, Bob.T (2001). The Nanking Massacre, now you see it..., Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 56. No 4  Tokyo, Sophia University Press,2001

Why Was Nehru’s Forward Policy Introduced?

Plan of Investigation:

i. Subject of this investigation: Why was Nehru’s Forward Policy introduced?

ii. Methods:

1. Research from primary sources mostly of memoranda and archives from both India and China in order to ascertain contemporary views.

2. Two books will be relied on primarily for their comprehensive and recommended nature: India’s China War by Neville Maxwell investigating the causes, practice and effects of the Sino-India war and The Research of Nehru’s Foreign Affairs by Chinese historian Zhongxiang Zhang, who has devoted himself into researching Sino-Indian relationship. Several other books regarding Sino-Indian diplomatic relations were also used.

3. Supplementary research will come from scholarly journals, news papers and book reviews to obtain a broader perspective.
Word Count: 109

Summary of Evidence:

In 1913, representatives of Great Britain (acting for India), China and Tibet held a conference in Simla discussing their respective borders). While each representative signed the agreement in 1914, Beijing later repudiated the agreement. The Foreign Secretary of the Indian Government, Sir Henry McMahon, who proposed the conference, decided to bypass China and negotiated directly with Tibet to settle the border bilaterally thus lending his name to the border itself. Although India publicly claimed this border in 1954, it was not recognized as legitimate by the People’s Republic of China. As a result, some areas between the McMahon and Chinese-claimed lines, notably the Aksai Chin in the western sector of the boundary, were in dispute. (see appendix I) In the eastern sector of the boundaries there were further Indian territorial claims they placed under the aegis the North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA) within which today lies the Arunachal Pradesh region. The ensuing border dispute focussed primarily on “which nation Aksai Chin should belong to”.

Failure of Negotiations:

In 1960, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai met Nehru, his Indian counterpart in New Delhi and proposed that India drop its claim to Aksai Chin in return for China withdrawing its claims from NEFA. However, Nehru accepted neither the withdrawal of Indian troops from their claimed regions nor the maintenance of the status quo which, as Zhou suggested, could be achieved by both sides suspending patrols along the borders. Thus the conference failed.

The Forward Policy and how it led to its debacle:

Nehru’s Forward Policy was introduced at a meeting he chaired on November 2, 1961 with the main aim of establishing as many posts as possible along India’s claimed lines, particularly in Aksai Chin. Such an aggressive policy was strongly objected to by the military for strategic reasons. In March 1961, Army H.Q. informed the government about the limitations of air transport which had made it impossible to send out troops. Moreover, in April they cast doubt on the military strength in the disputed area.In June, the General Staff argued that several of the Army’s recently established posts should be evacuated unless the Air Force could treble the quantity of supplies. In addition to the military’s objections, a great numbers of warnings from Peking after the plan was put into effect were made, notably in April 21 1962 when the Indian ambassador to Peking was warned to inform his country “to stop India from patrolling troops immediately.” The following month Peking again strongly restated its grave concern about the situation in Aksai Chin and warned India again to abandon the Forward Policy.In August, the reaction from Peking became even more threatening militarily. However, this had little effect on Nehru who continued to ignore all opposition, both Chinese and domestic, and continued the Forward Policy of patrolling troops and creating further posts in Aksai Chin.

The importance of this investigation is that it was this policy that provided the stated reason for China to decide to launch invasion. In fact, the Forward Policy not only contributed as a chief reason for China to trigger the invasion, but a main factor for India’s defeat as well by putting the Indian army into a great military challenge to a far stronger power. It is clear that the Indian army was unprepared with its army lacking 60,000 rifles, 700 anti-tank guns, 200 two-inch mortars and its supply of artillery ammunition kept critically low. Furthermore, two regiments of tanks could not be operated and when the Forward Policy began to be implemented, the troops contained only two militias of Indian soldiers with winter clothing inadequate.

Word Count: 596

Evaluation of Sources:

Neville Maxwell India's China War(Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1971)

This book by a British journalist was the first detailed account of events surrounding the disputes. The purpose, as he himself states in the preface, was to narrate and clarify an historical incident which he believed has continued to be widely misunderstood. page number? Throughout it is obvious his interpretation of what is "misunderstood" was the general view that China was to blame. What makes this book especially valuable is that, unlike others examining the crisis, from 1959 he was actually present, reporting from the area and in a position to watch and personally investigate the events first-hand;footnote a crucial consideration for one providing in-depth reasons for introducing this policy. Nevertheless, he could not enjoy access to documents held China and so provides an unavoidable one-sided account. He too was not trained as an historian and this feature left him open to accusations of “anti-India” bias. who accuses him?

《尼 外交研究》,忠祥著。 中国社会科学院出版社 (Zhongxiang Zhang, The Research of Nehru’s Foreign Affair,(Zhong Guo She Hui Ke Xue Yuan Chu Ban She, 2002 )

Written by Chinese scholar Dr.Zhong Xiang Zhang to analyze Nehru's foreign affairs, this work is the first book solely dedicated to the study on Nehru’s diplomatic strategy. He is particularly well-suited for this task as an expert on Asian foreign policy (majoring in International Relations and Modern World History) and who had earlier written three critiques related to Nehru’s policy in respected scholarly journals in China. what are they? Recently published with access to documents both Chinese and Indian (his fluency in English was vitally important as most of the sources used are in English) kept hidden for the past fifty years. However, he himself never visited India which questions the breadth of his research. To make it worse, China does not allow scholars to publish books of revisionist ideas strongly oppose to the Chinese Communist Party’s standpoint, and in this book one can find some words referring to Marxist disposition (something critical of capitalism, a typical nature of Chinese history books).example? Concluding Nehru’s diplomatic strategy on relationship with China, he wrote “Nehru represented the interests of the Indian capitalists…” without providing any evidence.


Miscalculation by Nehru and his opposition:

Stephen Cohen argues the policy resulted from miscalculation by Nehru’s administration. Nehru’s perception of India as a unique country in its depth of pacific instincts made him believe India’s reputation abroad would, if not actively support, at least turn a blind eye to patrols into Aksai Chin. Nehru further perceived that a Sino-Indian conflict could conceivably lead to a world war which would be in the interests of all to prevent which the media at the time denounced as fantasy. He therefore deluded himself into believing that, as Neville argues, “whatever India herself did along the borders, China would not attack.”

Ironically, his political opponents’ overestimation of Indian nationalism further contributed to Nehru’s Forward Policy, arguing the conflict could be turned to good effect and the threat “can and must be used to achieve national cohesion and spur national endeavour.”Nehru was largely affected by their voices as he played the idea of India becoming “a nation of armies”. At the same time, the opposition underestimated China’s military strength. The media on the other hand, proved to be more realistic: “Most journalists were writing that the Indians were in superior strength and better equipped than the Chinese, and suggesting that the latter were garrison troops of poor fighting quality.” Though the real situation was not entirely unreported, India tended to accept optimistic reports of their military strength in comparison to the Chinese. It is not hard therefore to conclude that in Nehru’s mind, the war was not likely to begin if the Forward Policy was implemented and, even it did, India would not be defeated.

Foreign Policy and Nehru’s Political Struggle:

Zhongxiang Zhang contended that support from the Great Powers, especially the United States and Soviet Union, reinforced Nehru’s confidence. From the establishment of India to mid-1962, the United States provided India with 4 billion dollars of aid. Such a huge sum indicates that the U.S deliberately tightened its relationship with India to contain the perceived aggression of China. In the context of the Cold War this is a unique incident as the Soviet Union too provided support; on September 91959 the U.S.S.R publicly claimed to stand with India against China in the Sino-India border issues. The Russians’ attitudes changed in July 1962 as they began urging negotiation rather than war. At the same time President Kennedy expressed himself disappointed after his conversation with Nehru in November 1961. He nevertheless ordered air carriers to the Bay of Bengal in order to aid Indian army. Such mixed signals did little to dent Nehru’s confidence about India’s position.

Pressure exerted on Nehru:

Zhongxiang Zhang argued that facing critics from the public and the parliament, Nehru was pushed into going hard on China in order to maintain his political position.Indeed, the atmosphere in parliament, as Maxwell wrote, “was conductive to jingoism”Opposition members’ pre-war insistence was so strong that even Nehru’s cousin’s doubts on the equipment for Indian defence army was criticized as a serious indiscretion. The media too began coming onside as it began expressing general resentment of Chinese occupation of Indian territory This was further shown after a note India sent to China on July 26, 1962 revived the “perennial misgivings” that Nehru would accede to a settlement by appeasement. The Hindustan Times bitterly commented that the Government of India “for how long we have to endure the shame in order to let them Chinese know that we the Indian people are fighting for our dignity?”Answering such attacks, Nehru reaffirmed his position on August 13 making a statement which, as Maxwell claims, was “unusual for him” in that India proposed conditions for negotiation, though too demanding as the Chinese argued, remained unchanged showing that Nehru’s own nature was not for igniting a war against China. It was the pressure he faced which influenced him into doing so. Therefore there is no doubt that the pressure Nehru faced inside and outside parliament contributed to the continued execution of his Forward Policy.

Word Count: 698


Whilst the main instigator of the Forward Policy which was a main cause of the war with China and brought India to ruin was Nehru, he himself was not operating in a vacuum. His decisions came from an overestimation of India’s diplomatic position and underestimation of China’s decisiveness and strength leading him to assume that the Forward Policy would never cause the Chinese to attack. Oscillation in Nehru’s public statements questioned his commitment and demonstrate, however indirectly, the amount of domestic influence his political opponents inside parliament and the public and media outside had on him as well as that of his foreign allies. Therefore, the Forward Policy can be recognised as a product of the Nehru administration’s miscalculations, the overestimation of India’s diplomatic relationship with the two superpowers and the pressure exerted on Nehru by the parliament and the public combining together which together led, to paraphrase Lloyd-George to a “muddling into the war.”

Word Count: 155

Total Word Count: 1953

To what extent did communism play an important role in the May 4 Movement?

A. Plan of Investigation:

To what extent did communism play an important role in the May 4 Movement?

90 years ago, roughly 3000 students gathered in front of the gate of the Heavenly Peace to start a march lasting only for a few hours but which remains a key moment in China’s national consciousness.. So much so, the Communist regime is doing its utmost to manipulate or downplay the anniversary in a country that thrives in commemorating such dates. 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of PRC, 30th of the Open Door Policy, and 20th of the Tiananmen Massacre. Such dates offer the Government the chance to put its mark on history and the May 4th movement is no exception. To determine how legitimate its claims to have influenced such a milestone in China’s modern history, contemporary newspapers, Chinese magazines such as New Youth and New Wave, contemporary archives such as 中世 and published accounts of participants shall be used to investigate to what extent communism was recognized in Beijing intellectuals at the time and how was it related to the movement Of the many books used, two in particular will be relied on: Chinese Modern History and May Fourth Movement: Intellectual revolution in modern China

211 words

B. Summary of evidence

1. May Fourth Movement

In November 1897, using the murder of two German missionary as an excuse, Germany sent troops to Kiau chau Bay. The following year saw the Kiau Chau Treaty signed between the Qing government and Germany, guaranteeing Kiau Chau as ‘leased land’ Germany for 99 years. In August 1914 Japan joined the war on Allies side, quickly taking Qingdao by November. In 1917 China entered the First World War on the side of Allies hoping to regain Shandong from Germany. During the Paris peace conference, the Chinese government sought the following requirements:

1. abolish all privileges in China of foreign countries;

2. annul the Twenty-One Demands made by the Japanese asking for massive political, economic and social privileges;

3. return territory and rights of Shandong province, transferred from Germany to Japan during the war.

Ignoring China’s contribution of 140,000 labourers sent to France in 1917 most of whom died leaving nothing except a gravestone marked “a good reputation endures forever”, article 156 of the Treaty of Versailles allowed Japan to hold Shandong Province. As soon as this became known, over three thousand Beijing college students held a demonstration on May 4th 1919 at Tiananmen Square to protest the ‘spinelessness’ of the Chinese government and its ‘betrayal’ by the Allies, particularly in regards to Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points in particular Self-determination. Students previously supportive of Wilson gathered in front of the American embassy lampooning ‘Wilson has invented a formula—fourteen equals zero’. Government police assaulted and arrested the protesting students after the residence of Cao Rulin, who had attended the Paris Conference and accepted the resolution, had been torched. The next day the whole of Beijing went on strike; On June?? 5th 350,000 workers and businessmen in Shanghai went on strike to support the students’ protests, continuing until June 10th upon President Xu Shichang’s resignation and the dismissal of Cao Rulin, Lu Zongyu and Zhang Zongxiang. China never signed the treaty of Versailles and Qingdao remained under the control of Japan until the 1922 Washington Naval Conference.

2. Influence of Russian Revolution on China before and during May Fourth Movement

Three days after the 7 November, 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Chinese newspapers began referring to the event as “the precipitate upheaval of Russian politics” wherein “Bolshevists and labour forces have overthrown the Kerensky Government.” From then, Marxism started to spread into China. In July 1918, Li Dazhao, later co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party and considered the first Chinese to publicise socialism, published his first essay on the October Revolution- Comparison between the Russian Revolution and French Revolution followed in December 1918 with Victory of Bolshevism. His speech The Victory of the Plebs exhorted all Chinese to “learn from the October Revolution.”. In May1919, Assembly of Studying Marxism was published in ‘New Youth’ magazine, increasing its sales from 1,000 to 17000, played a vital role in reflecting and igniting the movement itself and encouraged the spread of Communism. .?

On February 15th 1918, Shen News reported that the Soviet government abolished all unequal treaties previously signed between the Chinese and Russian governments which was the first factor that contributed to the change of view of the Soviet Union, and thus its revolution and ideology.

On October 18th, November 15th and 16th 1918 Cai Yuanpei, headmaster of Beijing University where most of the students came from, spoke to undergraduates, pointing out that ‘the world in the future will be the world of workers’.

about 585 words

654 words

C. Evaluation of source:

Document No.1: Cezong Zhou/周策The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China /五四运:代中国的思想革命,YueLu Press/岳麓出版社

The source was originally published by Harvard Press in 1960 as an extension of a Doctoral thesis of Zhou which suggests it’s fairly detached with consideration of both Chinese perspective and western perspective. The purpose of this source was to introduce a comprehensive, detailed objective May Fourth Movement to Westerners and to examine its currents and consequences of the movement.

It’s valuable for several reasons. First, Zhou had been Chiang Kai-shek’s secretary between 1945 and 1948 which suggests that he had access to documents closed to historians. Also because of his status he had the chance to acquaint with top politicians and intellectuals most of whom were the main participants of May Fourth Movement to know their aims, thoughts and abilities. In addition, Zhou himself was a participant of the movement. Second, this book was banned in both China mainland and Taiwan which implies that Zhou did express his own opinions that were different current voices in China mainland at the time. In the book Zhou questioned the objectivity and validity of all three interpretations made by Communist Party, Kuomintang and liberalists due to their socio-political constraints. Furthermore, instead of simply criticizing, the book provided a fourth interpretation its own.

Its limitations lay on the neglecting of long-term causes of May Fourth Movement. It simply focuses on the 21 demands and Treaty of Versailles. This restrains field of vision of the author while investigating the essence of May Fourth Movement.

Document No.2:Wang Hongzhi, Shi Mingxue/王宏志,史明迅,Chinese modern history/中国近代代史,Beijing: People's Education Publisher/人民教育出版社

This source has been used as the formal history textbook for all grade 10 Chinese students since 2002. Its stated purpose is to improve students’ ability in understanding and learning. This source is extraordinary valuable in the investigation because we can know what Chinese students have been learning about May Fourth Movement in communism perspective. China is still under control of Communism Party, therefore this source directly shows the Communism interpretation on May Fourth Movement. However, its limitation lies on the same issue—because of Communism censorship it may be biased and incomprehensive. Furthermore, since this book is applied to the Chinese College Entrance Examination, it’s highly summarized and examination-oriented; its dogmatic form of presenting history lacks interpretations in different perspectives and analysis in depth. The source is more like a simplistic story instead of serious momentous historical event with complex causes and background.

472 words

D. Analysis

The May fourth Movement marks the ‘start of a neo-democratic revolution’ which has been taken up as a cause celebre by nearly group.. Chen Ziming in a recent article echoed Zhou Cezong of two decades earlier that the ideals proposed by May Fourth Movement have still not forgotten It remains commemorated by all without reference to its origin—the treaty of Versailles. Instead, communism has been made out to be the crucial part in the movement through the power the ruling Chinese Communist Party enjoys in controlling all information. To Graham Hutchings, the ‘May Fourth Movement is bigger than Marxism’.

Peng Ming ignores the ideological catalyst to focus on the nature of the event: the Paris Peace Conference led by countries professing to be democratic. This held particular resonance for Chinese as long before the movement, intellectuals had sought numerous roads to save China of which democracy was a key. The Paris Peace Conference led to the ”“total bankruptcy” of such ideologies. The victory of Bolsheviks in the October Revolution led to Chinese away from Wilson to Lenin as whom Chinese intellectuals were determined to follow. According to Chinese Modern History, the May Fourth Movement was ‘a thoroughly anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism revolutionary movement…led firstly by students before communist intellectuals such as Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao emerged in the ranks… The proletariat, for the first time, took the political stage to become a main power of the movement as it led the charge. But to what end? Mao argued it was fourfold:

i) To enlighten massive Chinese to prepare for the unity of revolution force;

It promoted the popularization of Marxism, setting up the ideological base for the establishment of CCP;

It was part of the world proletarian revolution;

It marked the outset of Chinese Neo-democratic Revolution.’ This is what Mao argued in the article Neo-democratism published in January 15th, 1940. This interpretation would become became the official view of the CCP and most historians such as Huagang and Pengmng. Ironically, like Tiananmen which CCP desperately wants to airbrush away, protestors were for most part small, but privileged elite.

However, Zhou disagrees completely, arguing that the nature of May Fourth Movement was an intellectual sociopolitical revolution aiming for ideological enlightenment (individual emancipation) and reform in order to achieve national survival and independence. It was in analogy with intellectual changes in the West over the past 3-4 centuries. Furthermore, just like Xinhai Revolution which marked the abolition of a political system, May Fourth Movement marked a transition period to a modernized China socially, politically, and ideologically. He especially emphasized that the communist interpretation was “dogmatic, distorted and self-contradictory”. According to Zhou, Mao contradicted himself by arguing May Fourth Movement was democratic while claiming it was ‘part of world proletarian revolution’. Actually Mao himself admitted he was an anarchist and a supporter of Monroe Doctrine and Open Door Policy back in 1919. It suggests Mao was not in favor of Communism at all.

As a result of the movement, self-emancipation which appeared to be in juxtaposition with the idea of socialism and Marxism was one of the major ideologies as the response to threats China faced by aggressors. This response was tempered by the traditional Confucian ideal of social responsibility and national harmony.

563 words

E. Conclusion:

Since it’s extremely difficult even dangerous to get historical sources not agreeing to CCP’s interpretation under the monition of government, a clear answer to the question cannot be concluded while some crucial historical accounts are still not accessible.

From the evidence at hand, we could only conclude communism in China emerged before May Fourth Movement, and mainly participated in aftermath of the movement rather than the movement itself. The movement helped generalization of communism, but its nature is not Communism as Li Dazhao became a true communist after the movement.

92 words

Total word count: 1998

F. List of Sources

A) Article  λ “May Fourth Movement and Beijing University/五四运动与北大” Yang Hui/杨晦,Memoir of May Fourth Movement  λ “A sudden upheaval in Russia/突如其来之俄国大政变” Shanghai National Daily, November 11th, 1917  λ “Manifesto of New Youth/新青年宣言” New Youth, December 1st, 1919  λ “Holy Labor” New Wave/新潮 volume 1, number 2  λ “Fuhaizhuojinshu—Cezong Zhou and May Fourth Movement/浮海著禁书——周策纵和《五四运动史》” BookHouse/《书屋》November, 2004  λ “90 years after May Fourth: Tactic choice at the turning point” Weekly Business June 2nd ,2009  λ “Completely Chaos” Shen News/申报 Feb. 15th, 1918  λ “Neo-democratism/新民主主义论” Mao January 15th, 1940  λ “the Bankruptcy of Spiritualistic view on History/唯心历史观的破产” Mao florilegium volume 4, 1949 B) Books

λ Yuan Weishi/袁伟时 Farewell to the Middle Ages/告别中世纪 Guangdong People’s Press/广东人民出版社 2004  λ Cezong Zhou/周策纵 The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China/五四运动:现代中国的思想革命, Yue Lu Press/岳麓出版社 1999  λ Gao Fang/高放A General History of International Communism/国际共产主义通史 Beijing Pedagogic University Press/北京师范大学出版社 1985  λ Wang Hongzhi, Shi Mingxue/王宏志,史明迅Chinese modern history/中国近代现代史 People’s Education Press/人民教育出版社 2002  λ Luo, Jing Over a cup of tea :A Introduction to Chinese Life and Culture (University Press of America) 2004  λ Fei Zhengqing(American)/费正清 The Cambridge History of China/剑桥中华民国史,(China Social Science Press/中国社会科学出版社) 1998  λ Peng Ming/彭明History of May Fourth Movement /五四运动, People’s Press/人民出版社1998  λ Hu Sheng/胡绳From Opium War to the May Fourth Movement/从鸦片战争到五四运动 People’s Press/人民出版社 1997  λ Chen Xulu/陈旭麓 Politics and Ideologies since the May Fourth Movement/五四以来政派及其思想 Shanghai People’s Press/上海人民出版社 1987  λ Peter Kenez A History of Soviet Union from Beginning to the End Cambridge University Press, 2006  λ Graham Hutching Modern China Harvard University Press, 2001  λ Edgar Snow Red Star over China: The Classic Account of the Birth of Chinese Communism /西行漫记 Sanlian Press/三联出版社 1979  C) Documentations  λ Germany diplomatic archive on China translation/德国外交文件有关中国交涉史料选译  λ Jon V.A MacMurray, Treaties and Agreements with and concerning China/中外条约与协定 Japanese Ultimatum to Germany/日本对德国最后通牒

What caused the Empress Dowager Cixi to support the Boxers?

A. Plan of investigation

In this investigation, I aim to deduce the reasons behind the Empress Dowager Cixi’s support for the Boxers, to the extent of employing them at war against the foreign nations. I shall tackle this issue by examining, first, Cixi’s potential motives for being anti-foreign, and second, the factors which deemed the Boxers practical in Cixi’s view. I will analyse both Western and Chinese history books as well as telegrams sent within China at the time by Chinese officials who were against the Boxer movement. I will also examine articles analyzing various aspects of the Boxer movement from the database of Tsinghua University, one of the first and highest-ranking universities in China established with the very funds America received from the Boxer indemnity punishing China for the Boxers’ war against foreigners. I will interview a professor from the history department of the Tsinghua University in Beijing. I will also visit the Boxer Movement Memorial Hall in Tianjin, so as to examine one of the very sites where the Boxers had gathered and regarded as their headquarters during the movement. I will focus mainly on Preston’s book, The Boxer Rebellion, and the interview of the Tsinghua University professor.

Word count: 196

B. Summary

    The Boxer movement originated from Shandong province in northern China in 1898 “as an anti-foreign movement that combined martial arts with rituals promising invulnerability to weapons” led by the ‘Society of Harmonious Fists’, dubbed ‘Boxers’ by Westerners due to the martial rituals they practised. The Boxers strongly opposed Christianity and foreign influences due to its disruption of the Chinese way of life, the negative effect the increasing amount of foreign imports had on China’s economy and their anger over imperial expansion. They attacked Christian converts and missionaries, foreigners, and all related objects, burning down Christian churches and destroying railways. The Western nations demanded suppression of the Boxers as they continued to rage under the slogan of “Revive the Qing; destroy the foreigner”.
    The empress dowager Cixi, who backed the Boxer rebellion in 1900, was also dissatisfied with the foreign nations, for example, Britain, for declaring that they will only recognize the emperor officially, Japan, for refusing to cooperate with China due to the differences in their nations’ systems, and Russia, for not being in favor of Cixi’s choice of the next heir to the throne. Cixi also opposed Christianity and the ways of Westerners replacing the traditional values of imperial China, particularly the principle of filial piety. She viewed the foreign emissaries in China as trouble-makers. Essentially, Cixi’s frustration with foreigners and foreign ways coincided with that of the Boxers.
However, since long ago China had been afraid to offend the foreign nations. The court and empress dowager were essentially in favour of using the Boxers to rid China of foreign influence, although concurrently, they were afraid to upset the foreign nations. In January of 1900, Cixi released an Imperial Edict describing the Boxers as “peaceful citizens who banded together and practised the martial arts for their self-defence [and] should not be branded as hostile to Christians and whites by the foreigners.” Furthermore, several officials who did not agree with Cixi’s anti-foreign policies neglected her orders and continued to protect foreigners. The dichotomy present in the will of Chinese authorities and within the court posed as an obstacle in Cixi’s attempts to back the Boxers.
Even so, the Boxers were a threat to Cixi. These ‘fearless fighters’ blamed foreign influence for China’s economic and social difficulties and if suppression was attempted, their anti-foreign rage could instead convert to anti-dynastic. The empress dowager was superstitious, too, in believing in their magical abilities as ‘Spirit Boxers’, including the Boxers’ claim that “cannon cannot injure, water cannot drown” them, and their “impenetrability to swords and spears”. Cixi compelled the government to concur with her decision to support the Boxers, refuting remarks that magic arts were insubstantial methods of fighting by claiming that “[t]oday China is extremely weak. We have only the people’s hearts and minds to depend upon. If we cast them aside and lose the people’s hearts, what can we use to sustain the country?” The court’s support brought the activities of the Boxers to become more intensely violent, leading to the murder of the Japanese chancellor Sugiyama on the 11th of June 1900, the German minister von Ketteler on the 20th of June, and several more foreigners and Christians, which was viewed as a success on the Boxers’ part by the court.
Secluded in the Forbidden City, Cixi was surrounded by sycophants feeding her false and over-favourable news regarding the accomplishments of the Boxers and Imperial forces, making her ignorant of the true situation and the actual strength and technology the foreigners possessed. On June 21st 1900, Cixi declared war on the foreign nations, announcing that the Boxers were incorporated into the militia. Upon the arrival of the force of eight nations on August 14th, however, most of the Boxers fled to northern China, and the empress dowager and young emperor Guangxu, who was raised by the empress dowager, fled to Xi’an, where the court was re-established. Cixi refused to return to Beijing, where the foreign nations, meanwhile, put an end to the Boxer rebellion. During the empress dowager’s absence, the foreign powers drew peace negotiations, resulting in the Boxer Protocol, containing several punishments inflicted on China, including an indemnity of $330 million. Cixi returned to Beijing in January of 1902, promising that “China will hereafter be a friend to foreigners”.

Word count: 733

C. Evaluation of Sources

Source 1
Preston, Diana. The Boxer Rebellion

    Preston graduated from Oxford University studying modern history, and is a noted writer and historian. She has written articles for national UK newspapers and magazines, reviewed books, and was a broadcaster for the BBC. She is also an avid traveler and has journeyed around Beijing as a part of her research in writing this book. The purpose of this book is to reveal how it felt to live through the Boxer movement.
    This source is valuable not only due to the strengths of the writer as an objective historian, but also because her book has been well-researched. Preston’s extensive research can be perceived through the ‘acknowledgments’ section of her book describing her traveling around Beijing in search of clues regarding the uprising and the help she acquired regarding all different aspects of her research, the ‘notes and sources’ section stating the evidence for each chapter, and her lengthy bibliography. Thus, this book provides an objective and accurate account of the Boxer Rebellion. However, since the focus of this book is on the human experience of the Boxer rebellion and not on analyzing the process of its development, the motives behind the empress dowager’s support for the Boxers are not discussed as largely in comparison and are inferred.

Source 2
Interview of Professor Zhang Yong from Tsinghua University

Zhang Yong is a professor at the department of history at Tsinghua University, and specializes in modern Chinese history, notably the closing years of the Qing dynasty. He is also the vice-dean of the Tsinghua University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Tsinghua Univeristy, ranked one of the best universities in China today, was established with the very funds received by America from the Boxer Protocol which punished China for the war in 1900.
The purpose of my interview of professor Zhang is focused on the topic of the reasons the empress dowager supported the Boxers, to the extent of employing them at war against the eight foreign nations. Thus, the information gathered from the interview is directed solely at the topic of the investigation. Since the interviewee is a professor whose research specializes in that period of history, his understanding of the events should be reliable and thorough. Concurrently, bias that would not have appeared in books is present in the speech of the interviewee which is valuable for analysis. However, the information provided by professor Zhang is likely to be what he teaches his students at Tsinghua University and is impeded by a monolithic regime.

Word count: 407

D. Analysis

By the end of the 19th century, the empress dowager’s dissatisfaction with the foreign nations’ lack of cooperation with her had reached a level of frustration enough to bring her to consider ceasing cooperation with them altogether. The emergence of such a secret society as the Boxers in 1898 who shared Cixi’s irritation with foreign nations brought Cixi to her first notion of supporting them in order to satisfy their common goal of ridding China of foreign influence. According to professor Zhang, the conflicting attitudes of supporting and suppressing the Boxers existed concurrently in the court throughout the entire course of the Boxer movement, except one stance prevailed over the other at different times in the movement. Though initially the Boxers were suppressed by the Qing government, Cixi’s underlying support for the Boxers can be observed from the start.
Cixi’s motivation for ridding the country of foreign influence also stemmed from the threat to her power which the Western ways posed. Her opposition toward Western ways can be perceived in her disapproval of them replacing the traditional values of imperial China, which involved notably the principle of filial piety, and other traditional ethical values on which a considerable amount of her authority and prestige was based. Professor Zhang states that at the time, Cixi considered the study of Chinese methods to be “ben”, the foundation of how the nation was to be run, and Western methods were considered as “mo”, they could be learned from, under the condition that they did not threaten the foundation of the Chinese ways. The slogan of the Boxers, too, was of interest to the court and especially the empress dowager. “Revive the Qing; destroy the foreigner” is comparable to Cixi’s desire to ‘revive’ the traditional values of imperial China within the nation and ‘destroy’ the foreign influence threatening her power. Thus it can be observed that Cixi’s support for the Boxers was also caused by the desire to maintain her power.
At the same time, while the ways of the Westerners threatened Cixi’s power, so did the Boxers. In Preston’s book, she quotes Robert Hart, stating that “if the attempt to suppress them is made, this intensely patriotic organisation will be converted into an anti-dynastic organisation!” On a similar note, professor Zhang points out that, though initially, if the attempt to suppress the Boxers was made, there was a good likelihood that they would have succeeded; it is the fact that the Boxers fought their way into the capital Beijing that brought the situation beyond control and suppression out of the question. It can therefore be perceived that suppression of the Boxers was an ultimately dangerous undertaking, and support was spurred, too, by the tactlessness of the court in dealing with the violent Boxers.
However, judging by China’s management of international relations at the time, one can see that supporting the Boxers was against what China was willing to show the foreign nations. The most significant problem Cixi faced in her support for the Boxers was her unwillingness to offend the foreign nations. Despite the common view in the court that foreigners should be banished and the Boxers were the ‘instrument’ for accomplishing it, they were anything but willing to offend the “various powers who had interests in the country”. This was a major obstruction in the empress dowager’s support for the Boxers, causing her to lower the force of the attack on the besieged foreigners in Beijing. Professor Zhang explained that Cixi admitted after the events she never truly aimed to overwhelm the besieged foreigners. On July 25th 1900, Cixi even gave orders to send fresh fruit to the besieged foreigners. These accounts display how Cixi’s support for the Boxers was hindered by her unwillingness to upset the foreign nations.
Not only so, China was not the monolithic country that it is today, and Cixi’s orders were not always obeyed. Several Chinese officials and local governments who were against Cixi’s anti-foreign policies often disregarded her orders and continued protecting foreigners. From the telegrams sent between Chinese officials at the time, the word “protect” can be seen frequently, as well as phrases such as “protect at all costs”. The lack of cooperation from Chinese officials served as further hindrance in Cixi’s support of the Boxers.
    The practicality of the Boxers themselves in Cixi’s view was not as high as commonly believed. Though most Western sources, including Preston’s book, state that the empress dowager’s trust in the Boxers was generated from her deep superstitious beliefs, professor Zhang provides a more realistic view, stating that Cixi did not necessarily believe the claims of the Boxers’ magic arts and invulnerability, but believed they had the capability to fight. Another view Preston puts forth is that the Boxers were practical in Cixi’s view because, unlike regular soldiers, they did not need to be paid. Professor Zhang explains that by using the Boxers, the court officially recognized them, and thus had to provide them with areas to live, food to eat and weapons—though old ones, such as spears—to use. In other words, using the Boxers was not free of charge for the government, and we can thus assume that this was not a significant, or practical, factor contributing to Cixi’s support for the Boxers like Preston suggested.
The final factor causing the empress dowager to employ the Boxers in the war against the foreign nations was the messages she received from those around her. Preston and professor Zhang’s statements coincide regarding the false quality of lots of the messages people around Cixi reported to her, some reports false for their self-interest of the messengers and some due to lack of substantial information, or the slow speed of communication. Professor Zhang added that the Qing government’s main goal was to satisfy their own interest, and their knowledge of the situation at hand greatly influenced their decisions. The false reports Cixi received were often over-favorable and reported situations where the Boxers are succeeding against the foreigners when in reality, forts had been taken by the foreign troops. These reports were the final motivation causing Cixi to declare war on the foreign nations, at last putting down the obstruction of unwillingness to offend the foreign nations due to the illusion that the success of the Boxers was apparent.

Word count: 1055

E. Conclusion

    The empress dowager’s support for the Boxers was motivated mainly by her desire to remain in power and the seemingly apparent success that the Boxers would claim. The foundation of Cixi’s support was that her frustration with the foreign nations coincided with that of the Boxers. Since her power relied considerably on the traditional ethical values of imperial China, the Western ways replacing these traditions posed as a threat to her power. At the same time the furious, violent and disorganized nature of the Boxers threatened to rebel against the ruling court if suppressed. On the foundation of their common goal between Cixi and the Boxers, both of these threats further motivated her toward supporting the Boxers.
The practicality of the Boxers lied not within the superstition in their ability to perform magic arts or be invulnerable to swords and bullets, nor was it the idea that the Boxers did not require wages. The empress’s confidence in the Boxers themselves was due to her belief in their capability in fighting the foreigners. Despite the extreme unwillingness to offend the foreign nations, Cixi’s final decision to employ the Boxers at war against the foreign nations was, in the end, spurred by falsely auspicious reports, which seemed to promise victory.

Word count: 208

Total word count: 2599
F. Bibliography

Bodin, Lynn E. The Boxer Rebellion. UK: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1979.  Cohen, Paul A. China unbound: evolving perspectives on the Chinese past. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003.  Ebrey, Patricia, Walthall, Anne and Palais, James. East Asia: A Culture, Social, and Political History. USA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009.  Esherick, Joseph. The Origins of the Boxer Uprising, Berkeley: University of California Press, Ltd., 1987.  Harrington, Peter. Peking 1900: The Boxer Rebellion, UK: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2001.  Hsu, Immanuel C. Y. Readings in Modern Chinese History, New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.  Hutchings, Graham. Modern China, London: Penguin Books Ltd., 2001.  Kingfisher. The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. USA: Kingfisher Publications Plc., 2004.  Leung, Edwin Pak-wah. Essentials of Modern Chinese History, USA: Research and Education Association Inc., 2006.  Palmer, R. R. and Colton, Joel. A History of the Modern World, Eighth Edition, USA: McGraw-Hill Inc., 1995.  Preston, Diana. A Brief History of the Boxer Rebellion, London: Constable & Robinson Ltd, 2002.  Schoppa, R. Keith. The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History, New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.  Shirk, Susan L. China: Fragile Superpower, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.  Si Ma, Lie Ren. Cixi Empress’s 108 shows of Patience and Cleverness, China: China Overseas Printing Firm, 2001.  Sinclair, Andrew. An Anatomy of Terror: A History of Terrorism, London: Basingstoke and Oxford, 2004.  Zarrow, Peter. China in war and revolution, 1895-1949. USA: Routledge, 2005.

Professor Zhang Yong, department of history at Tsinghua University, Vice-dean of Tsinghua University School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Date of interview: February 23, 2010
(See appendix B)

From the collection by Fudan University of Shanghai, The Boxer Rebellion, China, Shanghai: Shanghai People’s Printing Firm, 2001.

Appendix A
Tianjin Boxer Movement Memorial Hall
Date of visit: February 18th, 2010

Appendix B

Interview with professor Zhang
Date of interview: February 23rd, 2010
Duration of interview: 1.5 hour 

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