French his­to­rian lauds na­tion’s con­tri­bu­tion toWorldWar II ef­fort

China Daily (Canada) - - V-DAY COMMEMORATION - By JUCHUAN­JIANG and ZHAO RUIXUE in Ji­nan

China’s con­tri­bu­tion to vic­tory in­WorldWar II is “huge”, said Robert Frank, sec­re­tarygen­eral of the 22nd In­ter­na­tional Congress of His­tor­i­cal SciencesonThurs­day at Ji­nan, Shan­dong province.

“It was also a very dif­fi­cult con­tri­bu­tion. ... That China emerged vic­to­ri­ous proves that it was a great fac­tor in the world war,” said Frank, who is also a French his­to­rian.

China had been weak since the mid-19th cen­tury’s Opium Wars, Frank said. But af­ter the United Na­tions was es­tab­lished in 1945, the coun­try re­ceived one of the five per­ma­nent seats on the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. Ten other seats ro­tate among UN mem­ber states.

“That means other pow­ers wereawarethatChina played a cen­tral role in the­war. It can be seen as a recog­ni­tion ofChina’s stand­ing in the war,” Frank said.

His­to­ri­ans fix 1937 as the start ofWorldWar II in China, but the date could be placed ear­lier, Frank said.

“The date could be con­sid­ered as early as 1931, when the Ja­panese at­tacked Manchuria in North­east China,” he said. “We can see easily that the war be­gan in Asia. We chose the date 1937be­causethe­gun­bat­tle at the Marco Polo Bridge (known in China as Lu­gou Bridge) started the gen­eral war be­tween Ja­pan and China.”

“China is the first vic­tim be­cause China was the first coun­try in­vaded. It means China had the first move­ments of re­sis­tance against oc­cu­pa­tion,” he said.

“They are not ac­cus­tomed to this date. In Europe, peo­ple are used to say­ing the war be­gan in 1939, be­cause in Europe 1939.”

Frank took the book 19371947 World War, pub­lished in France in April, to the Ji­nan congress, which con­cluded last week. He was editor-inchief of the book, a com­pi­la­tion of ac­counts from 40 his­to­ri­ans.

The year 1947 was cho­sen as the for­mal end of the war, Frank said, be­cause the first peace treaties with Ger­many’s




in Euro­pean al­lies were that year in Paris.

“The book deals not only with China and Asia. It in­cludes the history of all the con­ti­nents dur­ing that time of war. We wanted to write a global history of a global war and to break the clas­si­cal Euro­cen­tric chronol­ogy,” Frank said.


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