Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese Ichigo Offensive, 1944
During the second world war, American General Joseph Stilwell severely criticized Chiang Kai-shek’s lack of will to fight the Japanese invaders. However, such a view, though dominant in the field for more three decades, cannot stand up to a close examination of relevant archives and other primary source materials, which only recently have been made available. Recent scholarship focuses so much attention on the second Burma campaign that it largely overlooks the largest offensive ever launched by the Japanese army throughout its history. This paper examines a series of Japanese campaigns codenamed Ichigo, and will rely in large part on Chiang Kai-shek’s diaries to examine how he dealt with them. My essay is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the offensive and Chiang’s command during it, while the second describes Chiang’s handling of defensive failures.