'History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme' - Mark Twain.
A gallimaufry of random China history and research interests
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Anniversary of the Re-opening of the Burma Road
As I think I've mentioned before I'm currently assembling and editing the diaries of an American journalist who travelled from Rangoon to Kunming along the Burma in the spring of 1939. It's a fascinating diary as few others recorded their experiences on the Road that was a vital supply to China for material and arms until the Japanese invasion of Burma. The journalist then travelled on to Chongqing, China's wartime capital, and spent several weeks there interviewing the major figures in the Nationalists and Communists and enduring Japanese air raids - Chongqing was the most heavily bombed city on earth in 1939. While we've read a lot about the London Blitz etc much less is known of everyday life in Chongqing during their 'Blitz' - I hope this book (which should be out in September) will partially remedy that.
Anyway, the Burma Road was forced to close in late July 1940 as the Japanese invaded Burma and the British retreated effectively cutting of China. The Road didn't open again to Allied supply convoys (pictured left and above) until today in 1945. So the anniversary gave me a chance to plug the forthcoming work!
As someone who divides their time pretty evenly writing about China now and China back then this seemed like a place to throw all the interesting bits that fall through the cracks somehow and never get used anywhere else.
It's basically the stuff that doesn't get used in my writing about modern China or in the books I do about old China - i.e. probably of little interest to anyone but me and therefore ideally suited to an obscure blog up a dark cul-de-sac of the Internet.