Item description for A Dutch Spy in China: Reports on the First Phase of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1939) (Brill's Japanese Studies Library) by Ger Teitler & Kurt W. Radtke...
The Sino-Japanese war is one of the most important links in the development of the modern Far East. A Dutch Spy in China offers a selection from the reports written by a Dutch colonel at the request of the General Staff of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. After his retirement colonel De Fremery joined the group of Western military specialists who were helping Chiang Kai Shek in his efforts to modernize the Nationalist Chinese armed forces. Having acted in an advisory capacity for several years, De Fremery resigned but continued to live in China.
Mounting anxiety in the East-Indies about Japans military activity urged the authorities to collect as much information about the Japanese armed forces as possible. De Fremerys reports on the Sino-Japanese war were in this period a most welcome source of information.
Contemporary reports on this conflict by militarily qualified Western observers are very rare. Colonel De Fremerys account of the struggle forms an important contribution to our knowledge of its military aspects.
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Studio: Brill Academic Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.5" Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 1999
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
ISBN 9004114874 ISBN13 9789004114876
Reviews - What do customers think about A Dutch Spy in China: Reports on the First Phase of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1939) (Brill's Japanese Studies Library)?
Yet Another Counter-evidence for "Rape of Nanking" Jul 6, 2004
This reports were made by Henri Johan Diederick de Fremery, a retired Dutch colonel at the request of the general staff of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army to keep the general staff informed about the Japanese military performance because they feared that, after joining the First World War on the side of the Allied, Japan might make use of the opportunity to avail herself not only of German colonies in the Pacific (including China) , but Dutch colonies as well, and they seriously reckoned with a war against Japan somewhere in the near future. Then De Fremery joined the group of Western military experts who were helping Chiang Kai Shih (a.k.a. Kai-shek) in his effort to modernise the Chinese Army.
Although most of the De Fremery reports are written in sober, detached manner, it is natural and clear that Colonel De Fremery was never of pro-Japanese sentiment. So is Kurt W. Radtke, the co-editor. He believes the so-called gTokyo Trial view of historyh that based on the unjust judgments on the Japanese of the trial in which, for one example, Japan was accused of conspiracy with the spurious gTanaka Memorialh. Still, Radtke couldnft write about so-called gRape of Nankingh because, De Fremerey never ever mention a single case of gmassacreh on both civilian population and captured soldiers as such.
He did write, however, extensively on Japanese Army performances before and after the capture of Nanking of 13th December 1937. Main criticism of De Fremery on Japanese Army was that the Japanese general Matsui should not have had his troops kept occupied at Nanking and other places along the southern bank of the Yangtze so long (a month) because that gave the Chinese a vital time to get ready for next move. gTime, space, and the inexhaustible supply of men were all that the Chinese could match against the better equipment and the greater military skills of the Japaneseh, writes De Fremery. This analysis echoes completely to Mao Tse-tonfs evaluation on the Japanese Army strategy in the war.
And one thing that De Fremery thought sullied the significance of the Japanese Armyfs capture of Nanking, the then (the Japanese gforgoth it was already the gformerh, De Fremery says) capital of the whole China, was not gRape of Nankingh. Instead of it, he wrote; g[the] impression made by this capture was moreover well nigh completely lost on the outside world through what can in the very least be described as the extraordinary tactless ePanay-Ladybirdf and other incidents of smaller import, which more or less coincided with it.h
As you know, Panay and Ladybird were gunboats of the U.S.A. and the Britain, respectively, which were mistakenly attacked by the Japanese Imperial Navy in the Yangtze in the mist and the confusion of the Battle of Nanking where the Chinese retreating troops were trying to escape on steamers and even in boats that fly the American or British flags. Japanese Army, of course, had issued a warning beforehand not to enter the area, but that was apparently ignored. Anyway, two Japanese were also killed by bomb when aiding wounded Americans, (The New York Times, Dec. 28, 1937) and despite the infuriated public opinion, the U.S. and the British governments eventually accepted Japanfs explanation and apology for the grave mistakes. De Fremery says only this small incidents spoiled Japanese Armyfs gglorioush capture of Nanking.
On the whole, De Fremeryfs minute observations show you how China and Japan fight a war within their own limitations. Since China couldnft match better equipments and greater military skills of the Japanese, the China counted on their guerrilla tactics, especially after Chiang Kai Shih lost many of his best troops at battles of Shanghai and Nanking. De Fremery writes repeatedly and favourably of Chiang Kai Shihfs guerrilla warfare strategy. It is true that Japanese Army did suffer casualties and sabotage on communication lines and so on many times because of these guerrillas.
De Fremeryfs observations, however, suggest not that whole civilian population of China was up to fight against Japan as guerrilla with high morale. On the contrary, such well organised guerrilla bands were very few. In fact, not so few civilians were even took refuge on Japanese Army from their own country men guerrillas. Besides, although De Fremery never mentioned, the Chinese Nationalists and the Communists had still been in an ugly civil war behind the battle against the Japanese. The true nature of their gwarh was not for their own people gresistingh the Japanese, but for hegemony over China.
One other thing De Fremery did not mention of the Chinese guerrilla warfare is that they were often in plain clothes disguising themselves as civilian which is in fact the breach of the International Law. The Chinese were doing so in the first Shanghai conflict with Japan in 1932. Even before that, the plain clothes guerrillas were there fighting in the civil war. By the way, infamous gThree All Policyh (Burn all, kill all, steal all/rape all) was first introduced by the Chinese Nationalists in the war against the Communists as well. Japanese Army never had that policy.
Many Western and Chinese scholars believe gRape of Nankingh really happened based on the verdicts of Tokyo Trial, the unjust, one-sided gvictorfs justiceh. But if you really closely examine those contemporary documents like these reports of De Fremeryfs, there is no massacre that was actually eye-witnessed. De Fremery should have heard rumours about the gatrocitiesh of the Japanese Army in Nanking which were spread by the American missionaries in Nanking who did so as propaganda agents for the Chinese Nationalists. But, De Fremery even reports no hint of disorders in Japanese Army at all. Considering this, the testimonies of the ex-Japanese officers and soldiers that the order and discipline in the Japanese Army were quite well maintained throughout the war should be assumed to be true. gRape of Nankingh was mere propaganda, after all.