You are here

1943: China at the Crossroads

180 Front Cover China at Crossroads
Joseph W. Esherick and Matthew Combs, eds.
Publication Year: 
Publication Number: 

view Prologue

About the book

In the grand narrative of modern Chinese history, 1943 is usually passed over with little notice. Great attention has been paid to critical watersheds in Chinese history—the end of the empire in 1911, the outbreak of full-scale war with Japan in 1937, or the triumph of the Chinese Communist revolution in 1949. What can we learn if we focus attention on a less dramatic year? In 1943, in the middle of World War II, the Allies renounced the unequal treaties, Chiang Kai-shek wrote China’s Destiny and met with Roosevelt and Churchill at Cairo, and Mme Chiang made her memorable trip to the United States. From the northwestern province of Xinjiang to the southern smuggling entrepôt of Guangzhouwan, the stories of calculating politicians, suspected spies, starving peasants, downtrodden intellectuals, recalcitrant preachers, and star-crossed actors come together to illuminate the significance of this year for China as a whole. In thirteen topical chapters, both the achievements and the disappointments of 1943 are explored in an effort to capture a moment in time when China stood at a crossroads but the road ahead lay shrouded in the impenetrable fog of war. | 400 pages


Preface ix | Joseph W. Esherick and Matthew T. Combs

1. Prologue: China and the World in 1943 1 | Joseph W. Esherick

2. Madame Chiang’s Visit to America | Grace C. Huang

3. Xinjiang and the Promise of Salvation in Free China 75 | Judd C. Kinzley and Jianfei Jia

4. Codifying the Three People’s Principles: Judicial Reform and the End of Extraterritoriality 102 | Thomas R. Worger

5. Empire versus Nation: Hong Kong between Allies 135 | Nobchulee (Dawn) Maleenont

6. Debating China's Destiny: Writing the Nation's Past and Future in Wartime China 168 | Daniel D. Knorr

7. Yan’an’s Iron Bodhisattva: Hunting Spies in the Rectification Campaign 203 | Yidi Wu

8. Debating Constitutionalism and Democracy: The Constitutional Movement during Late Wartime China, 1943–1944 242 | Xiao Chen

9. Chongqing 1943: People’s Livelihood, Price Control, and State Legitimacy 282 | Matthew T. Combs

10. Saving the Nation, Starving the People? The Henan Famine of 1942–1943 323 | Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley

11. Walking the Enlightened Path: Wang Mingdao’s Road to Independent Christianity under Japanese Occupation 365 | Amy O’Keefe

12. China’s Casablanca: Refugees, Outlaws, and Smugglers in France’s Guangzhouwan Enclave 391 | Chuning Xie

13. Chiang Kai-shek and the Cairo Summit 426 | Hsiao-ting Lin

Glossary 459

Contributor Biographies 471

Index 475



Joseph W. Esherick is Professor Emeritus of the University of California, San Diego, and holds a PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley.

Matthew T. Combs is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine, where he also serves as the Book Review Coordinator and Digital Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies.

ISBN (hardcover): 
Price (hardcover): 
ISBN (paperback): 
Price (paperback): 
PDF icon 1943 Prologue3.36 MB