French novelist Victor Hugo once wrote that "foreign war is a scratch on the arm; a civil war is an ulcer which devours the vitals of a nation." The Chinese Civil War (1927-1949)—technically ongoing since the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) never signed an official armistice—is no exception to this characterization of civil strife as an instrument of life-shattering trauma. Historians know well that the conflict split China along ideological lines, with millions of Communist and Nationalist soldiers and countless millions of civilians perishing throughout the duration of hostilities, and millions more evacuating the Mainland to Pacific Affairs: Volume 89, No. 2 - June 2016 422 Taiwan to escape the victorious Chinese Communists. But lost in the war's underscoring of the ideological divide between Mainland China and Taiwan and postwar interpretations of the war on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are the people who suffered through war themselves.
|Published - 2016