China’s Wartime Everydayness and the Globalization of World War II

Date April 20, 2018
Time 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon
Venue ICS Seminar Room, IPS Building, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
Language English
WWII is usually said to have ended in August 1945 when Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration's demand for unconditional surrender. Yet, in many areas of the world, the violence did not stop as forces empowered and armed in the preceding years fought foreign as well as domestic competitors for control of their countries. In China, Chiang Kaishek's Nationalists and Mao Zedong's Communists had resumed fighting each other well before Japan's surrender. The number of people there who died as a result of war after 1945 was probably as high, if not higher, than before 1945. A genuinely global understanding of WWII needs to take into account that in large parts of the world, societies mobilized not just to resist German and Japanese aggression, but also to bring the era of Western imperialism to an end and to set themselves unto a new course. This talk will discuss Japan's surrender in China on 9 September 1945 and the ways in which WWII was experienced and imagined in China to sketch out an agenda for thinking about WWII in a globalized (or decolonized) fashion


Hans VAN DE VENProfessor of Modern Chinese History, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge University, Fellow of the British Academy