Chiang Kai-Shek's message to friendly nations

Chiang Kai-Shek's message to friendly nations  (1941) 
by Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang Kai-Shek's message to friendly nations

July 7, 1941

Our war of resistance has now reached the fourth anniversary of its outset. When we realized that if Japanese aggression went unchecked it would threaten more than the existence of China, it would prove calamitous for the whole world, we rose up accordingly with fearless resolution to wrestle with this formidable enemy. We thought it no time to count the costs. These four years of war have seen Japanese military strength immensely reduced and it proves the enormity of Japanese ambitions made clear to the world.

From the very beginning we were prepared to fight alone to the end. We were and are confident that China is strong enough to master Japan. If the countries friendly to our cause will but assist us to the best of their ability in our military and economic necessities, the progress of our Army will be accelerated and the world will be sooner rid of one of the greatest dangers to its welfare. The Chinese people are supremely aware of the cruelties of warfare and they are second to none in their reluctance to see any nation under go the sufferings that war entails. The Chinese Army and People will consider their sacrifices adequately rewarded if the cause of justice triumphs and humanity is spared at least from one peril, the terrible experiences we have stood here. I have frequently made this statement and the truth of it is evident to all observers from countries friendly to China.

During the past twelve months violent changes have taken place in both the Far Eastern and world situation. The last few weeks have been particularly crowded with developments following one another in rapid succession. The manner in which the Axis Powers have emulated and seconded the lead of Japan has resulted in the division of the world into two great domains; that on the one hand of the bloc of nations the instruments of whose policy is aggression and that on the other hand of a bloc of nations resolved to oppose aggression. As things stand today the war in the Far East is no longer to be viewed as merely a conflict between two nations, for the European and Asiatic Wars have now become closely interrelated. Scarcely a single country remains unaffected because this predatory group of powers excludes no country from the scope of its design to dominate the world by force. So much has become quite clear. A mighty conflagration is sweeping the world and, after the nature of fire, it will continue to burn up all in its path until, and unless, it is extinguished. To control this ghastly evil the only course is to strike down the flame while there is yet time. As to how this is effectively to be done I have three points to make.

Firstly: every fire has a starting point, and the historical force of this present world wide war was undoubtedly Japan's attack on our Northeastern Provinces launched in total disregard of all treaty obligations. By that act of aggression a decade ago Japan displayed the course upon which she was bent. Later in 1936 she lent fresh impetus to the forces of aggression with the Anti-Comintern Pact she was then foremost in cementing. She was obviously resolved to see the world plunged into chaos. Within the past year she had entered into a tripartite alliance with Germany and Italy and subsequently announced her conception of an order for "Greater East Asia" under her hegemony, formally declaring the terms to embrace Oceania. As such, to the expansion of her power southward she has established naval bases on Hainan Island and in Indo-China. Japan has thus been outstandingly instrumental in magnifying the scale of the war, in finessing the plan she was the first to make. She is to be regarded as more than the villainous originator of the Far Eastern War. She is responsible for the universal character of the strife we now see spreading over the earth. Until this final flame of the evil is backed up there can be no hope of permanent peace for mankind at large.

Secondly: the issue of the conflict will depend upon the efficiency with which the forces working against aggression can make themselves felt. Asia is the center of the globe's greatest masses of population and of its richest resources. If, therefore, the democracies of Asia, America and Europe can truly concentrate their energies in the pursuit of their common endeavor against the aggressors their co-operation can insure victory and the destruction of the powers devoted to the rule of force. Let the nations concerned with the various territories that compose the Pacific land areas make a revolutionary change in their attitude and view the importance of the Pacific with fresh insight. Then they will realize that the Ocean and the Continent of Asia will have at least equal importance with the Atlantic and Europe and the urgency of the task of crushing the power of Japan will appear to them proportional to the gravity of the situation in Europe. China has fought four years of grueling war as much for the good of the world as for her own. The nations friendly to her should regard it as imperative both for the protection of their own interests and for the sake of the world's future that a turn be put to the outrageous depredations of Japan. That done, Asia, America, Australia and Africa can bring their combined weight to bear on the enterprise of imposing a settlement of the European hostilities. If they wishfully think the Japanese may experience a change of heart and suppose it safe to let them have their way for the time being, they will find their error as disastrous as the policy of appeasement pursued until recently by European countries toward Germany. If they conceive it possible to distinguish between the Axis Powers and Japan, shrinking at the former and letting the latter have rein, the consequences are likely to be shocking. I am convinced that no democratic country can afford to view with unconcerned perspective the fierce flames of war in Asia until they find their own territory aglow.

Thirdly: the present division of the world into two parts is perfectly clear. Japan, Germany, and Italy compose a block the sole policy and purpose of which is aggrandizement at the expense of the rest of the world. As a result all peoples, lovers of peace and freedom, have joined themselves up in an opposing front. We Chinese firmly hold that this front is potentially far stronger than the aggressors. In order to insure victory its strength must, however, be developed to the utmost by close co-operation with one another in the course of the life and death contest that has now begun. Your vision must not be marred by attention to trivial and merely immediate features of the situation. Indecision and vacillation must be eliminated. We must make up for lost time and wrest the initiative from the aggressors. We must not allow the latter enough time to consolidate their gains and strike with strategic advantage. It is now widely argued whether Japan would move southward or northward. Some people seem to assume that she is not in a position to strike either or both directions and will possibly devote her further efforts of aggression to attacking China alone. To my mind we must carefully guard ourselves against making any calculation based upon such arguments of assumption because the aggressors are both opportunists and aggressors and therefore are capable of sudden and unpredictable action. Any miscalculation on our part may entail grave consequences.

I would conclude by expressing a certain point of view in response to the assistance rendered China by her friends among the nations. The Chinese people will ever remember with gratitude our neighbor Soviet Russia, America of the Western Hemisphere, and England, contending herself with the greatest adversity of circumstances, have all contributed generously to our support and resistance thus encouraging and inspiring. The Chinese Government and People will certainly act up to the task given them for not to do so would be to fail the ideal animating their own struggle and sacrifices. At the time when resistance began I said that we were engaged in a conflict of good with evil or equity and justice with brute force. Now we hope and believe that there will be more effective collaboration between China and her friends. To dream is doom for all of us. President Roosevelt expressed it in terms of four freedoms which all humanity has the right to enjoy. It is my privilege to declare that the Chinese people in condemning the Japanese are not only with unity of purpose of putting an end to Japanese aggression but also are thinking of contributing to a new world order of the future, to the civilization and prosperity of mankind. That is their great determination.

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