The Reluctant Combatant offers proof that Japanese political leaders were reluctant to engage China in a full-scale conflict during the Second Sino-Japanese War. This book identifies several key aspects of the political context surrounding the Second Sino-Japanese War, including the extreme fragility of the national united front against Japan, the view of Soviet Russia as Japan's principal potential adversary, and the potential threat to Japanese national defense a protracted war with China would pose. This book reveals that the Communists, the National Government, local gentry, peasants, and bandits occasionally collaborated with the enemy-Japanese troops-to expand their spheres of influence.
PREFACE INTRODUCTION: INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AND WAR I. The Second Sino-Japanese War and world history II. Aggressive wars not considered crimes III. Japan: victim of circumstance CHAPTER 1: EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE SECOND SINO-JAPANESE WAR I. Japan and China join European-oriented international order II. Russo-Japanese War spawns a new conflict III. Tension between Japan and China heightens CHAPTER 2: CHINA AND THE SECOND SINO-JAPANESE WAR I. Behind the groundswell of support for war against Japan II. From the Marco Polo Bridge Incident to full-blown war CHAPTER 3: JAPAN AND THE SECOND SINO-JAPANESE WAR I. Japan's response to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War II. Initial peace overtures III. The war in the context of international politics CHAPTER 4: THE SECOND SINO-JAPANESE WAR AND CHINESE SOCIETY I. Who fought in the war? II. Recruitment of soldiers in China CHAPTER 5: WAR DYNAMICS ALTER CHINESE SOCIETY I. The effect of Japanese occupation II. Establishment of pro-Japan governments CHAPTER 6: FROM THE SECOND SINO-JAPANESE WAR TO THE PACIFIC WAR I. Japanese government's efforts to negotiate peace with Nationalist government II. The road to the Pacific War CHAPTER 7: THE CHINESE PERCEPTION OF HISTORY I. Chinese views about crimes and punishment II. Confucian ethics encourage lying: the bihui syndrome AFTERWORD SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY