Chiang Kai-Shek Versus Mao Tse-Tung...

 

...The Battle for China 1946-1949, an Images of War book from Pen and Sword

 

Title: Chiang Kai-Shek Versus Mao Tse-Tung

Author: Philip Jowett

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47387-484-8

A recent addition to the ever expanding Images of War series from Pen and Sword, and an interesting and more unusual subject area.  Let alone the internal struggles within China, they had to cope with the Japanese fighting there from the early 1930s, but the end of WW2 and the defeat of Japan in 1945 was not to be the end of things in China.  The end result is still with us today of course, as Nationalist China remains in Taiwan, while Communist China is the mainland nation.

The story is split across 13 chapters, taking us from initial success for the Nationalist it then goes through the detail of how they were pushed back before finally evacuating the mainland, primarily to the island of Formosa, now Taiwan.  Each chapter is well illustrated with archive photos, showing not only the soldiers and equipment of both sides, but also the civilians who were caught up in another 5 years of war.  Some of these were harshly dealt with, and examples of the resulting executions are included among the photos.  In addition to the detail of the troops and their uniforms, we also see their aircraft, ships, artillery and small arms.  A good deal of it was ex-Japanese, a legacy of the war, of US equipment also supplied during the war to support the fighting against the Japanese.  There are Russian tanks supplied to support the Communists and a variety of armoured vehicles, including light tanks and locally made armoured cars.  Artillery and small arms were examined when they were captured, and pressed into service but their new owners whenever practicable.  The final chapter 13 looks at The Aftermath, explaining what happened after the Nationalists were established in Taiwan and how things developed during the 1950s and beyond, until the two main rivals, Chiang and Mao finally passed away in the 1970s.

This is one I found particularly interesting, as it details a story of a war that did not end in 1945 and is such an important part of a story that has shaped the world as we know it today

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin