Cover of Negotiating China
Negotiating China's Destiny in World War II
Edited by Hans van de Ven, Diana Lary, and Stephen R. MacKinnon

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2014
336 pages.
$60.00

Cloth ISBN: 9780804789660

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Negotiating China's Destiny explains how China developed from a country that hardly mattered internationally into the important world power it is today. Before World War II, China had suffered through five wars with European powers as well as American imperial policies resulting in economic, military, and political domination. This shifted dramatically during WWII, when alliances needed to be realigned, resulting in the evolution of China's relationships with the USSR, the U.S., Britain, France, India, and Japan. Based on key historical archives, memoirs, and periodicals from across East Asia and the West, this book explains how China was able to become one of the Allies with a seat on the Security Council, thus changing the course of its future.

Breaking with U.S.-centered analyses which stressed the incompetence of Chinese Nationalist diplomacy, Negotiating China's Destiny makes the first sustained use of the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek (which have only become available in the last few years) and who is revealed as instrumental in asserting China's claims at this pivotal point. Negotiating China's Destiny demonstrates that China's concerns were far broader than previously acknowledged and that despite the country's military weakness, it pursued its policy of enhancing its international stature, recovering control over borderlands it had lost to European imperialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and becoming recognized as an important allied power with determination and success.

About the author

Stephen MacKinnon is Professor of History and former Director of the Center for Asian Studies at Arizona State University.

"Although one might have wished to see more attention given to the role of Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong Mei-ling); her brother, T. V. Soong; and her brother-in-law, H. H. K'ung, in influencing the policies of Chiang, this is a minor quibble. Given the diversity of the contributors to this collection, their credentials, and the quality of their research, this book should be a must- read for any serious students of World War II and modern Chinese history. My advice to these folks: Grab it!"

—Ronald Heiferman, American Historical Review

"This book, a cohesive collection of essays by an international cast of scholars, stands out in its truly comprehensive treatment of China's international relations during WWII. It reveals not only the contorted diplomatic maneuvers pursued to insure China's survival, but also the determined efforts to 'negotiate China's destiny' to insure China's post-war international status. The book thus strengthens our understanding of how China's contemporary rise was in many ways rooted in the international transformation that accompanied the Pacific War."

—Edward McCord, George Washington University

"Brimming with new revelations and fresh insights, this book greatly advances our understanding of Chiang Kai-shek's diplomacy during World War II. There is no better introduction to the subject than this collection of penetrating essays by some of the world's leading scholars. The volume is filled with cutting-edge research for the specialists but is also accessible to the general public."

—Qiang Zhai, author of China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1975

"By bringing in scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America, three premier experts on Chinese history—Hans van de Ven, Diana Lary, and Stephen R. MacKinnon—have masterfully put together this edited volume on China's experiences in World War II. The result of their efforts is a collection of well-researched essays answering many important questions left out of previous studies...This book should be read by all students of Chinese history, especially those interested in the Chinese experience in the twentieth century."

—Xin Zhang, China Review International