In the lead-up to China’s massive parade marking the 70th anniversary of its World War 11 victory over Japan, Foreign Policy turned to Dartmouth’s Pamela Kyle Crossley for her thoughts on the meaning behind the event.
“The scale of the Communist Party’s celebration invites ridicule, but excess in the pursuit of purloined glory is no vice,” says Crossley, the Charles and Elfriede Collis Professor of History and a professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
“It would be easy to linger on the petty, spiteful aspects of the current pageant—that it is an endlessly repeating celebration of Japan’s defeat; a chance to animate a Chinese Communist Party version of the war that will diminish the roles of former Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, the once-ruling Nationalist party, and the Americans; and an opportunity to gin up a minatory display of martial prowess for the benefit of the United States, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan. I’m sure those effects are all intended. But in China as elsewhere across the world, those who actually lived through World War II are disappearing fast. The living now get to publicly act out any story they want about the lonely, heroic struggles of their own nation against the unmitigated evil and insuperable powers of their neighborhood Axis foe.”
Read the full opinion piece, published 9/2/15 by Foreign Policy.