The polarisation process between China and America is now well underway, with the primary energy of China now manifesting a secondary defensive response from America. In all probability, this clash will escalate, but that being said, every attempt should be made to inhibit this process and a good place to start was a time when the two nations shared a common cause in WW2.
With respect to a better understanding of WW2 and the ramifications of the Chinese-Japanese conflict upon America there are a few key points that Americans and Chinese should remember that hark back to the time when the two nations shared a common cause as allies. Could it be possible to lower the current rising temperature levels between these great powers by reminding the Chinese of this phase of friendship?
1. China was weak at the time as it was preoccupied with its own civil war between the communists and nationalists, and it was into that crack that the Japanese launched themselves, so to some extent China has some responsibility for making itself vulnerable.
2. Japan’s invasion of Manchuria on 18 September 1931 clearly demonstrated its expansionary objectives which were further clarified in 1937 with full on battles between the Japanese and Chinese. By March 1941 the Americans were clearly supporting the Chinese with the Lend-Lease program and embargos on Japan that in the months ahead tightened the flow of resources. Next came America to impose sanction on Japan which then forced them to attack Pearl Harbour.
3. The Chinese war against Japan absorbed massive resources and some 70% of all Japanese casualties were on mainland China. In that regard, China acted in a similar fashion to Russia in a role that absorbed valuable manpower and resources that otherwise would have been fighting US forces. This vital role has not been given enough credit, as has not the price the Chinese paid during that period and the beneficial effect it had on the American Pacific campaign.
To reduce tensions perhaps the West should recognise and celebrate the common cause of WW2 in an attempt to reduce the current building friction between East and West.