[Economist/Book] [2013.06.22] The Sino-Japanese war: The start of history 历史的发端

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June 22, 2013 by Water Wisdom

The Sino-Japanese war
中日战争

The start of history
历史的发端

How the struggle against Japan’s brutal occupation shaped modern China
对日本残酷占领的抗争如何塑造了现代中国

Jun 22nd 2013 |From the print edition

China’s War with Japan, 1937–1945: The Struggle for Survival.
《中国抗战,1935-1945年:为生存而战》
By Rana Mitter. Allen Lane; 458 pages; £25. To be published in America in September as “Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-45” by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $30. Buy from Amazon.com,Amazon.co.uk

AS JAPANESE troops advanced on the Chinese capital of Nanjing in 1937, Zhou Fohai, a senior official in the Chinese government, wrote in his diary of the panic and fear consuming the city. He anticipated the destruction and its implications for his nation: “China will have no more history,” he wrote.
1937年日军进逼中国首都南京城,中国政府高级官员周佛海(音)在日记中写道,恐慌正在吞噬南京城。他思考着国家的这次毁灭以及意义。他写道:“中国将来不再会有历史了。”

The devastation that the Japanese invasion would wreak was indeed shocking. But as Rana Mitter shows in his illuminating and meticulously researched new book about the Sino-Japanese war, not only did Chinese history not end with the fall of Nanjing, but in many ways the war helped to create modern China. It was the anvil on which the new nation was forged.
日军入侵造成的毁坏确实让人触目惊心。但正如拉纳•米特(Rana Mitter)在新书中所言,中国历史不仅没有随着南京陷落而终结,这场战争反而塑造了现代中国。新中国正是经历了这场战争的洗礼才得以建立。米特的新书对中日战争进行了详细研究,很具有启发性。

Other historians point to the arrival of British gunboats in the 1830s, when industrialising Europe collided with ancient China, as the dawn of China’s modern age. But Mr Mitter, a professor at Oxford University, believes that the country’s war with Japan was more important because it reduced China to its weakest state. “Suddenly the circumstances of war made the concept of the nation, and personal identification with it, more urgent and meaningful for many Chinese.”
其它历史学家会说,19世纪30年代英国炮舰来到中国,正在实现工业化的欧洲与古老的中国发生碰撞,开启了中国现代历史的序幕。但是牛津大学教授米特认为这个国家的对日战争意义更加重要,因为它将中国拖入到最虚弱的状态。“突然之间,战争环境使得国家和个人的观念对很多中国人更加迫切,更加有意义。”

Mr Mitter may disappoint military wonks hoping for a blow-by-blow account of every skirmish. But this is not a military history. It is about the Chinese experience of war, the origins of the modern Chinese identity and the roots of a relationship that will shape Asia in the 21st century. It is about China’s existential crisis as it tried to regain its centrality in Asia.
米特或许让一些希望事无巨细地记录每一次冲突的军事痴人失望了,然而这本书写的不是军事历史,而是关于中国人的战争经历,关于现代中国身份的根源,关于塑造21世纪亚洲局势的关系的根源。它讲述的是中国在追求重夺亚洲中心地位过程中存在的危机。

It is also a story, pure and simple, of heroic resistance against massive odds. China is the forgotten ally of the second world war. For more than four years, until Pearl Harbour, the Chinese fought the Japanese almost alone. France capitulated in 1940, but China did not. Its government retreated inland, up the Yangzi river to Chongqing (Chungking)—a moment that would later be described as China’s Dunkirk (pictured). From there it fought on—sometimes ineptly, often bravely—until victory in 1945.
这场战争同样是一个讲述英勇抵抗巨大优势的故事,简单而纯粹。中国是那个被遗忘的二战盟友,四年多的时光,直到珍珠港事件爆发之前,中国几乎是独自抗击日本人。法国在1940年屈服了,而中国没有。中国政府后撤到内地,从扬子江往上游走到重庆(重庆号),这一刻被称之为“中国的敦刻尔克”。从此地开始,它继续战斗到1945年战争胜利。在此过程中,它虽然有时决策不当,但勇往直前。

One mountain, two tigers
一山,两虎
Asia has never had a strong China and a strong Japan. Their complex relationship in modern times began when Japan welcomed the West in the mid-19th century while China pushed it away. As Japan modernised, it became a model for Chinese reformers and a refuge for Chinese revolutionaries who opposed their own government’s insularity. Chinese students who went to Japan in the early 20th century included Sun Yat-sen, who led the 1911 revolution, and Chiang Kai-shek, the man who would lead the Nationalist government of China against Japan in the 1930s.
亚洲从没有同时存在过强大的中国和强大的日本,现代两者间复杂的关系开始于19世纪中期,当时日本欢迎西方,采用西制,而中国对此拒之千里。随着日本现代化的进行,它成为中国改革家的模范,中国革命分子的避难所。这些人反对自己政府的偏狭闭关思想。孙中山就是在20世纪初留日的中国学生之一,领导了1911年的辛亥革命,另一名留日学生蒋介石则在20世纪30年代领导中国国民党抗击日本。

But as Japan’s imperial ambitions grew, China was the obvious place to expand. In 1931 Japan occupied Manchuria, turning from mentor to oppressor. The full-scale invasion began in 1937. Mr Mitter does not skimp in narrating the atrocities; the stench of war infuses his narrative. But he paints a broader account of the Chinese struggle, explaining the history that still shapes Chinese thinking today.
由于日本帝国主义野心不断膨胀,中国自然成为一片可公开发的土地。1931年,日本占领满洲,角色由指导者变身为压迫者,在1937年发动全面侵略战争。米特并没有回避对日军暴行的描写,字里行间溢满了战争污浊。但他对中国的抗争有着更广泛的陈述,解释那段塑造了中国当今思想的历史.

Westerners are there as soldiers, missionaries and journalists. Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden, both English writers, arrived from the Spanish civil war in 1938. Isherwood’s diary exudes a pride shared by European progressives in the struggle against fascism: “Today Auden and I agreed that we would rather be in Hankow at this moment than anywhere else on earth.” Most Chinese people, suffering the Japanese onslaught without a ticket out, longed to be anywhere but Hankow. Up to 100m people (20% of China’s population) became refugees during the conflict. More than 15m were killed.
当时在中国的西方人担当着士兵,传教士和记者。克里斯多福•伊舍伍(Christopher Isherwood)和奥登(W.H. Auden)都是英语作家,从1938年西班牙内战脱身来到中国。伊舍伍的日记散发着欧洲进步派抗击法西斯的那种骄傲感:“今天我和奥登都认为待在汉口要比待在地球任何地方都合适。”多数中国人遭受着日本的统一屠杀,渴望逃离汉口,去哪里都可以。在对日战争期间,约有1亿人(中国当时人口的20%)沦为难民,超过1500万人被杀。

It is the voice of the Chinese, not that of the foreigners, that gives the distinctive tone to Mr Mitter’s narrative. From the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek to those of national journalists and middle-class Chinese fleeing the conflict, these first-person observations are woven skilfully into his chronicle of the battles and struggles. We all know about Iwo Jima, but who in the West has heard of the defence of Taierzhuang, when Chinese soldiers defeated superior Japanese troops in hand-to-hand combat? Yet its memory will continue to help shape Asian history. We know what Dwight Eisenhower thought at key moments of the second world war, but few have heard of Xiong Xianyu, an army commander who kept a diary of blowing up Yellow River levees to stop the Japanese advance. Nearly 1m Chinese died in the resulting floods. “My heart ached,” he wrote. The water flowed “like 10,000 horses”.
米特叙写中的独特基调不是来自外国人,正是源于中国人的声音。从蒋介石日记到国家记者和逃难的中国中产阶级,这些采取第一人称视角的观察被米特精心编辑,写入战斗和抗争的编年目录。我们都知道硫磺岛,但西方有谁听说过台儿庄战役?在这场战役中,中国的士兵在白刃战中打败了有绝对优势的日军。然而,中国的记忆还会继续塑造亚洲历史,我们知道艾森豪威尔(Dwight Eisenhower)所认为的二战关键时刻,但是鲜有人耳闻熊先煜。这位军队指挥官用日记记录了炸毁黄河防洪堤,阻止日军前进的过程。将近100万中国人死于炸毁防洪堤引发的洪洪灾。他写道:“我很痛心,”洪水倾泻而出,“犹如万马奔腾。”

The war was seminal for China, and is still crucial for understanding the virulent anti-Japanese emotions of Chinese people today. The country was not just the forgotten ally, says Mr Mitter, but also the one most changed by the experience of war. Britain and America re-emerged into the boom-times of the 1950s. The Soviet Union was pushed to the brink and did not break. But while “battered, punch-drunk” China never surrendered, its old system of governance was destroyed.
这场战争对中国有着深远的影响,并且仍是理解当今中国人民愤慨的反日情绪的关键。中国不仅是被遗忘的盟友,还是因为战争经历改变最多的国家。英国和美国再现了20世纪90年代的繁荣,苏联被推到崩溃边缘却没有真的破裂。但是“严重受挫、浑身无力”的中国没有屈服,但旧有的统治体系已经瓦解。

The old order, symbolised by Chiang Kai-shek and his corrupt Nationalist party, had joined with Mao Zedong’s Communists to fight the Japanese. When victory came in 1945, it was clear the system could not continue. Mao presented a more attractive, less corrupt vision of a new Chinese state (one that he soon betrayed). His victory in the ensuing civil war (1945-49) and control during the cold war that followed ensured that a narrative of the Sino-Japanese war that did not include Communist heroism was airbrushed out.
以蒋介石和腐败的国民党为象征的旧秩序与毛泽东的共产主义联手抗击日本人。1945年,抗战胜利降临,而原有的体系显然不可能再维续下去。毛泽东提出建设一个吸引力更大、腐败更少的新中国(他很快就抛弃了这一做法)。他获得了之后内战(1945-49年)的胜利,并在随后的冷战时期统治中国,把没有体现共产主义英雄形象的的中日战争描述加以粉饰。

Mr Mitter’s book rectifies some of those distortions of history. But the ghosts of the war with Japan have never been laid to rest. Chinese leaders still use the past as a stick to beat their neighbour. Now, from a position of strength, how China deals with its old mentor and enemy will be crucial in shaping the region in the 21st century.
米特的书纠正了部分此类历史曲解。可是对日战争的阴魂并未安息,中国领导人依旧利用过去的历史充当打击日本的棍棒。现在从实力的地位来讲,中国如何处理它和原先的指导者兼敌人对塑造21世纪的亚洲至关重要。

注解
熊先煜(1913~1999),字继璜,仡佬族,道真自治县三桥永锡人。幼年时,其父熊鹏飞被四川徐文光、段少清股匪杀害。立志挣脱苦难,远离家乡,投奔正安、贵阳,靠亲友资助上小学、中学。抗日战争爆发后,毅然投笔从戎,入黄埔军校洛阳分校第四期,继入陆军大学第五期。毕业后,曾任国民党军队参谋、参谋主任、处长、团长、49军275师参谋长等职。1938年,他在国民党新八师服役,亲自勘察、指挥了炸黄河大铁桥、花园口决堤等影响抗日战争局势的惊天战事。建国后任重庆市文史馆员、政协委员。

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