Nationalists 'played vital role' in Japan's war defeat

Chinese soldiers getting off from trucks at the Tiananmen Square as preparations continue for an upcoming military parade in Beijing, China, on Sept 1, 2015.
Chinese soldiers getting off from trucks at the Tiananmen Square as preparations continue for an upcoming military parade in Beijing, China, on Sept 1, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI • Two grandchildren of World War II-era American presidents have said the Chinese Nationalists' role in defeating Japan was as significant as the Communists in a rare joint appearance in Taiwan, as China launches its own high-profile parade marking the war's end.

Descendants of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman - as well as of post-war president Dwight Eisenhower - said the Japanese were expelled by all Chinese, despite China's official narrative downplaying the wartime contribution of Nationalist government troops in battling the occupiers more than 70 years ago.

China focuses instead on Communist forces, who were also fighting an on-off civil war with the Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek. The Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war.

Today, China views Taiwan as a renegade province to be taken back by force if necessary.

"If (the Communists) are taking credit solely for resistance to the Japanese during the war, they're forgetting Taiwan is over here," Truman grandson Clifton Truman Daniel said yesterday.

In July, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, who is from the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), said it was Nationalist forces who won the war and nobody should distort that fact.

Thousands of Chinese troops will march through central Beijing tomorrow to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, watched by guests including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and former KMT chairman Lien Chan. Most Western leaders declined to attend.

- REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2015, with the headline 'Nationalists 'played vital role' in Japan's war defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe