So I just finished reading this book a few days ago and It was very interesting. One of the most fascinating thing was to learn just how deeply involved Germany was in China’s war effort. Right down to the Company level German officers were posted to units as advisers and assistants to their Chinese counterparts. The entire plan for the assault on Shanghai by Chinese forces was written and drawn up Gen. Alexander von Falkenhausen and his staff of German officers. The level of involvement led to Japanese veterans of the battle for Shanghai to call it “the German war” afterwards.
This was a really great read as gives a lot of useful information on a number of figures who were very important to China’s war effort. People like Claire Chennault who had be brought in to help build a Chinese airforce after the disastrous Italian effort, and Bai Chongxi who would become one of the stand outs in the Chinese army and an able and capable commander (and the only one who could ignore Chiang Kai-sheks orders and get away with it).
The book filled me with the same feelings that I got when reading Anthony Beevor’s “the Battle for Spain”. I knew the ending and the “good guys” lose, and in both instances they lose less because of the power of their enemy and more because they get in their own damn way!
As a result of finishing this book I’ve moved on to Iris Chang’s “The Rape of Nanking” as it seems like a logical next step as the battle of Shanghai was directly followed by the fall of the Chinese capital. There are a series of books in this theme that I intend to read, Battle of Shanghai is done, i’m about 70 pages into Rape of Nanking, after that I intend to read “Wuhan 1938” by Steven MacKinnon which covers the next major event in the second Sino-Japanese war, including the Chinese victory at Taierzhuang and the siege and battle for Wuhan.
Tall Paul and wittmann- As far as books on this subject go, I recommend Robert Thompsons Empires on the Pacific, which presents WW2 from American, Japanese, and Chinese perspectives, and Jonathon Fenby’s Chiang Kai-Shek; China’s Generalissimo and the nation he lost which is a wonderfully written and very informative biography on the figure who was central to China’s war effort in WW2 (and it also serves as a detailed history of his period in time as well.