The story of Wuhan in 1938 has two dimensions—the military and the social—that are of crucial importance to the history of modern China. Due to a lack of a comprehensive military history of the Anti-Japanese War, this chapter aims to reconstruct the hard facts of the military defense of Wuhan and the central Yangzi before discussing social and cultural matters in depth. This interrelationship is the key to understanding why Wuhan did not suffer the panic and chaos that engulfed Nanjing and Jinan when these cities were under siege by the Japanese in late 1937. The Wuhan period suggests that the Anti-Japanese War brought changes to Chinese society, culture, and politics analogous to those that occurred after World War I in Europe.
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