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Wars in East Asia 1945–1955

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发表于 9-17-2022 11:24:08 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Tunku Varadarajan, A Violent Coming Apart. As Europe recovered from war, Asia found itself consumed by fierce insurgencies and bitter internal conflicts. Once mighty empires faced hard choices. Wall Street Journal, Sept 3, 2022, at page C9 (On Saturdays, section C is titled "Review")
https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-c ... in-asia-11662130240
(book review on Ronald H Spector, A Continent Erupts. Decolonization, civil war, and massacre in postwar Asia, 1945–1955. Norton, 2022)

Note:
(a)
(i) By the subtitle, the book excludes the Vietnam War (in which US played key role) and covers mere part of Communist insurgency in Malaysia/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_insurgency_in_Malaysia
(ii)
(A) Ronald H Spector
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_H._Spector
(B) The Jewish (Eastern Ashkenazic) surname Spector (as well as its variant Specter) is "occupational name from szpektor teacher's assistant in a Jewish school; a derivative of Polish [noun masculine] inspektor supervisor [or inspector]."

(b) "Taiwan, poisoned fruit of a civil war that resulted in victory for the Communists."

The (legal) term, "fruit of the poisonous tree" first appeared in a Supreme Court decision Nardone v United States (1939) 308 US 338, 341 ("a substantial portion of the case against him was a fruit of the poisonous tree" -- namedly illegal wiretaps without a search warrant).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_of_the_poisonous_tree

(c) "After its own flirtation with colonialism in Asia, the US had ceded independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946. * * * Yet American diplomats failed to persuade European powers to adopt the 'Philippine model.' "
(i) Philippines (geographical name; adj  Philippine): "country * * * "
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Philippines
(ii) Fred Magdalena, Filipino, Pilipino, Pinoy, Pilipinas, Philippines - What's the Difference?  Center for Philippine Study, University of Hawaii at Mānoa (a neighborhood in Honolulu), undated
www.hawaii.edu/cps/filipino.html
("Filipino is the Hispanized (or Anglicized) way of referring to both the people and the language in the Philippines. Note that it is also correct to say Filipino for a male and Filipina for a female. Never use or say Philippino, because that doesn't sound right")")
(iii) After reading the above two, I conclude that Philippine is an English adjective, and that Filipino is (an adjective and a noun) in English through Spanish. Indeed the conclusions are correct, in that Wiktionary for Filipino lists that word under English and Spanish, with the former through the Spanish. Further, the merriam-webster.com says the First Known Use for Filipino in English is 1889.  


(d) "As the Cold War took shape, the US became more inclined to tolerate outmoded colonial methods as the price of shutting communists out of power. In fact, so profound was America's anticommunism that the US became a major military supplier to the French (light tanks, howitzers, B-26 bombers) -- colonialism be damned. * * * 'While the Seventh Army Group [第7兵团] had been engaged at Nienchuang, and the Xuzhou relief force was bogged down in its futile efforts, Deng Xiaoping's Central Plains Field Army [第二野战军 (name first appeared in February 1949), 最初名为中原野战军 (name first appeared on May 9, 1948; per zh.wikipedia.org] had captured Suxian in three days of fighting.""
(i) It is my belief that "colonialism be damned: is a typo; it should be "anti-colonialism be damned."
(ii) be damned (idiom): "used to say in a forceful way that one does not care about something  <I'm going to do it, the consequences be damned>"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/be%20damned
(iii) 碾庄战役
https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hans/碾庄战役
(Nov 12-22, 1948; 江苏省邳县碾庄圩)
(iv)
(A) Suxian  宿县
https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/宿县   
("旧县名,今安徽省宿州市埇桥区和淮北市的前身")
(B) 淮海战役
https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-cn/淮海战役
(Nov 6, 1948 -Jan 10, 1949; "11月15日,刘伯承将徐州、蚌埠之间,位于津浦铁路线上的宿县攻陷,切断了徐、蚌之间连络,也阻绝由蚌埠、固镇、蒙城几路援军北进之通路。宿县守军第二十五军第一四八师、交警十六总队1.3万余人被歼灭。 * * * 1949年1月5日,第十六兵团司令孙元良自宿县突围抵汉口,所部残余千余人,至 [河南省] 驻马店地区")
, which is called Battle of Hsupeng 徐蚌会战 in Taiwan. en.wikipedia.org for "Huaihai campaign."


(e) French "aristocratic generals -- used to châteaus back home -- treated themselves to a life that was a touch too sybaritic for wartime."
(i) First Indochina War
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Indochina_War
("generally known as the Indochina War in France, and as the Anti-French Resistance War in Vietnam) began in French Indochina on December 19, 1946, and lasted until July 20, 1954")
(ii) sybaritic (adj): "loving or involving expensive things and pleasure  <his sybaritic lifestyle>"
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/sybaritic
is derived from sybarite (n)
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/sybarite
, people or residents of Sybaris (now a ruin).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybaris
("The city was founded in 720 BC by Achaean and Troezenian settlers. Sybaris amassed great wealth thanks to its fertile land and busy port. Its inhabitants became famous among the Greeks for their hedonism, feasts, and excesses, to the extent that "sybarite" and "sybaritic" have become bywords for opulence, luxury, and outrageous pleasure-seeking.  In 510/509 BC the city was subjugated by its neighbor Kroton and its population driven out")

The accent of Sybaris is on the first syllable.

(f) What happened in Taiwan, as described in the book review, I heard of it for the first time. Yes, a few Taiwanese were rich, but after World War II, all were poor. I mean, look at Japanese in Japan, how they lived after the war. To say Taiwanese lived better is ridiculous.


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 楼主| 发表于 9-17-2022 11:24:51 | 显示全部楼层
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Although the decade after World War II saw a surge in tensions between the Soviet Union and the West, it was a time of exquisite peace in Europe. Violence had ceased almost entirely on the continent, and the US, which had emerged from the war with the one economy left standing, focused its treasure and energy on putting Europe back together again.

Asia offered a striking contrast, the Far East in particular. As Ronald H Spector tells us in "A Continent Erupts," the end of World War II marked not a new era of peace in Asia but the point at which wars began afresh. Violent anticolonial conflict broke out in Indonesia and Vietnam—against the Dutch and the French, respectively. And the civil war in China—put on hold from 1937 to 1945, during Japanese occupation—resumed with fratricidal gusto. There was a communist insurgency in British-ruled Malaya and, most salient of all, the invasion of South Korea by a ruthless army from the North.

Mr Spector, a prolific historian and an emeritus professor at George Washington University, cites a New York Times correspondent who reported that the enemy [the singular form makes me conclude the word refers to North Koreans or the Chinese] in Korea fought "with a combination of Oriental fatalism and Communist fanaticism." That particular war lasted three years., but its toxic aftermath persists. The Korean Peninsula is today one of the world's most dangerous flash points. Another is Taiwan, poisoned fruit of a civil war that resulted in victory for the Communists. Both Taiwan and Korea, Mr Spector writes, are part of "the long–term legacy" of a decade of "decolonization, a civil war, and massacre in postwar Asia [which is part of the subtitle]."

In his own words, Mr Spector's book is "primarily, though not entirely, a military history." Among the gory details he doesn't spare us are the death counts from the wars in Asia that were fought 1945-55. It will astonish readers to learn that 2,500,000 combatants died in the Chinese Civil War. The French war in Indochina, in the early 1950s, resulted in the deaths of 400,000 soldiers on both sides. Twice that amount perished in the Korean War. At least 50,000 died in Indonesia's war of the independence in the late 1940s. Estimates of civilian casualties vary greatly, but there is general agreement, Mr Spector says, that eight to 16 million people died in China, five million in Korea and 300,000 in Indonesia. (Frustratingly, he doesn't give us a number for Vietnam.)

The US was largely unprepared for these conflicts, some of which took place in colonies that imperial Japan had seized from European powers during World War II and turned into members of the so-called Greater East AsiaCo-Prosperity Sphere. Though the French and Dutch assured the US that the natives would welcome back their former colonial masters, the Asian natimnalist resistance persuaded Washington that a resurrection of the imperial system was a bad idea. After its own flirtation with colonialism in Asia, the US had ceded independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946. "America buried imperialism here today," Gen Douglas MacArthur remarked. Yet American diplomats failed to persuade European powers to adopt the "Philippine model."

America's instinctive anticolonialism, however, was to butt heads with an ideological counterforce in Vietnam. Mr Spector tells us that no one in Washington was "willing to provoke a quarrel" with France over Indochina by insisting that it let go of its rebellious colony. The demand for independence, after all, was led by the communist Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh movement. As the Cold War took shape, the US became more inclined to tolerate outmoded colonial methods as the price of shutting communists out of power. In fact, so profound was America's anticommunism that the US became a major military supplier to the French (light tanks, howitzers, B-26 bombers) -- colonialism be damned. French planes, Mr Spector says, used American-made napalm bombs against againbst the Viet Minh, a foretaste of America's own actions in Vietnam in the next decade. He quotes a Vietnamese soldier's description of these bombs: "All of a sudden hell opens in front of my eyes." The Viet Minh, armed by the Chinese, had access to weapons left behind by the defeated Japanese army, but they were no match, in materiel, for the French. As Gen Vo Nouyen Giap wrote in his memoirs (cited by Mr Spector), it was not until 1950 that the Viet Minh were able to eliminate spears from the armament of their "first line" regiments. Even so, French lost the war.

Mr Spector's book, true to its word, is rich with battle detail. He overdoses the play-by-play in places, particularly in his sections on the Chinese Civil War. To take but one example: "While the Seventh Army Group had been engaged at Nienchuang, and the Xuzhou relief force was bogged down in its futile efforts, Deng Xiaoping's Central Plains Field Army had captured Suxian in three days of fighting." The sections on the Korean War, by contrast, are almost sprightly, as are Mr Spector's accounts of the French in Vietnam, where aristocratic generals -- used to châteaus back home -- treated themselves to a life that was a touch too sybaritic for wartime.

It is amusing to learn that the multinational force fighting on behalf of the South Koreans was a victualer's nightmare: The Turks (described  as "ferocious" fighters) couldn't eat pork and wanted more bread than was logistically convenient; the Greeks needed lamb at all costs; the Indian troops were largely vegetarian. And it is shocking to learn from Mr Spector that not a single US soldier spoke Korean. American newsmen labeled the American military administration in South Korea "government by interpreter" -- with the linguistic middlemen being, ironically, drawn from the ranks of Korea's erstwhile Japanese rulers. The interpreters were also, often, wealthy Koreans who had collaborated with the Japanese occupiers. Any difficulty the ordinary South Koreans faced as a result of the occupation paled in comparison with the everyday experience north of teh 38th Parallel, where the Soviets were in control. Soviet soldiers indulged in rape so frequently that North Korean womenm Mr Spector tells us, began disquising themselves as men to avoid Red Army predators.

There is engrossing color in Mr Spector's accounts of the Chinese Nationalist descent on Taiwan, whose natives reacted to Gen Chiang Kai-shek's defeated army with contempt. Not only were his men corrupt and unkempt, as opposed to the stylish Taiwanese, who had lived *and often third) under the Japanese; they were also uncouth in their mainland-Chinese manners, spitting everywhere in public. Chinese officers, writes Mr Spector, were "laughed at and snubbed in restaurants by upper-class Taiwanese."

As their resentment against the Chinese incomers grew, the Taiwanese resorted to strikes and violent protests. The Chinese soldiers reacted with fury, bludgeoning the Taiwanese into submission Young men, writes Mr Spector, were castrated; soldiers broke into homes and shot the first person they encountered. This crushing of Taiwanese happened in February 1947. Seventy-five [sic] years later, it's likely that memories of that day -- when the people of Taiwan were set upon by the brutes from the mainland -- still inform the fear of an island that faces the threat of war with China. In Taiwan, as in the rest of Southeast Asia, the perils of a violent past live on in the present.

Mr Varadarajan, a Journal contributor, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and at New York University Law School's Classical Liberal Institute.
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