China’s wars

Hundreds of unseen photographs depicting China's journey from medieval kingdom to modern global superpower feature in a new book charting the country's wars.

Chinese irregular cavalry and infantry from the north-western provinces move towards the front during the 1894–95 war

Hundreds of unseen photographs depicting China’s journey from medieval kingdom to modern global superpower feature in a new book charting the country’s wars.

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China’s Wars: Rousing the Dragon 1894–1949 details the conflicts that forged modern China – from colonial clashes such as the Boxer Rebellion, through to the Second World War.

Written by Phillip Jowett, the book boasts more than 300 rare, unseen images.

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To find out more about the book, published by Osprey, click here.

An Imperial Army officer inspects one of the US-made Gatling guns imported into China in the late 19th century
Weaponry like this was not brought in sufficient quantities to transform the Chinese Imperial Army into a modern military force. Conflict between the traditionalists and the modernizers in the Chinese military was to leave the Imperial Army unprepared for war with Japan in 1894. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
Chinese irregular cavalry and infantry from the north-western provinces move towards the front during the 1894–95 war
These horsemen were one of the more effective contingents of the Imperial Army and were armed with rifles and bow and arrows. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
Rare image from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 showing Chinese prisoners of war being guarded by Korean auxiliary troops
The prisoners were being guarded under the command of the Japanese. The Korean troops appear to be armed with muskets dating to the mid-19th century. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
Republican Chinese soldiers present arms to a visiting US military officer in 1917
China declared war on the Central powers of Germany and Austro-Hungary on 14 August. No Chinese troops fought in the war, although many thousands of Chinese did provide a vital labour force on the Western Front. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
The baggage train of a warlord army enters a Chinese captured town, 1920s
The soldiers’ kits and bundles of clothing are piled on the carts, along with boxes of ammunition. When on campaign, warlord armies requisitioned peasant carts and their owners to transport their belongings. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
A unit of Inner Mongolian Prince Teh Wang's 'elite' cavalry rides past during a parade in 1935
Most of the soldiers of the Inner Mongolian Army, which fought Nationalist troops in the Suiyuan Campaign in 1936, were either ex-bandits or volunteers. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
A 81mm mortar crew lay down covering fire during a Nationalist counter-attack in the fighting of 1938
The heavily camouflaged crewmen are all wearing the German-supplied M35 steel helmet. China was supplied with mortars by France, Germany and several other nations during the 1930s. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
Nationalist militia armed with sharpened bamboo spears go through drill on a parade in the city of Tsian in April 1948
Local Nationalist commanders sometimes raised large paramilitary forces like this during the Civil War, but were unable to get the rifles to arm them from the central government. This was because Chiang Kai-shek did not want any potential rivals for power backed by an armed militia loyal to their commander rather than to the Nationalist government. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
The rare sight of a Japanese prisoner of war is captured on film for the Western press
Photos of the handful of Japanese who surrendered during the battle of Changteh in December 1943 carried captions like ‘Son of the Rising Sun in Defeat’. China’s victory in the battle also allowed them to show off weaponry they had captured from the Japanese. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)
Japanese officers rest outside their headquarters in Peking after the takeover of the city on 14 August 1900
The Japanese provided about half of the 18,000 troops involved in the second successful expedition to relieve Peking. (Courtesy of Philip Jewett)