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WWII began in 1937 with Japanese invasion: China

The official date of the beginning of World War II should be advanced from Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 to 1937, when Japan began its large-scale invasion of China, a state media report has said.

world Updated: Aug 29, 2015 00:59 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
World War II

Soldiers of People’s Liberation Army during a training session for the Sept 3 military parade in Beijing, China. (HT Photo)

The official date of the beginning of World War II should be advanced from Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 to 1937, when Japan began its large-scale invasion of China, a state media report has said.

Quoting historians, it argued that the world has largely ignored China’s contribution in resisting Japan one of the “Axis” powers during the war.

Ahead of the mega military parade to be held in Beijing to celebrate Japan’s withdrawal from China, the tightly controlled media has published several articles and opinion pieces highlighting Tokyo’s invasion of China.

The article in the official news agency Xinhua is the latest to highlight China’s role in the war and in defeating Japan.

“In France we call it the war of 1939-1945. But its a world war. Not only a European war, and it did not begin in Europe,” Robert Frank, the secretary general of the International Congress of Historical Sciences (ICHS) was quoted as having said.

“The war began here, in Asia,” Frank said. “It must be surprising for European and French people,” Frank said, adding: “But we want to break the classical Eurocentric chronology, showing the global history of a global war.”

“China was the first country to face the onslaught from the Axis Powers in 1937, two years before Britain and France, and four years before the US,” British historian Rana Mitter was quoted as having written in his book, Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945.

Frank was among 40 historians who jointly wrote the book 1937-1947 World War published in France this April.

One chapter in the book focused on “War begins in Asia”.

“Other chapters elaborate on the resistance of Asian countries, the Japanese occupation, and the resistance and suffering of the Chinese population,” the article said.

A series of celebration events, including the military parade, will be held in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II besides the end of the Japanese occupation of China.