Forging a women’s united front: Chinese elite women’s networks for national salvation and resistance 1932-1938
Modern Asian Studies
Cambridge University Press (CUP)
© Cambridge University Press 2018.
Focusing on Chinese elite women who had gravitated towards national affairs in the pre-war urban sites of eastern China and who migrated to Wuhan after the outbreak of the War of Resistance (1937-1945), this article analyses the emergence, development and integration of their socio-political networks for the purpose of promoting women’s participation in national salvation, against a backdrop of the deepening national crisis in the 1930s. I argue that two years before the Second KMT-CCP United Front was officially formed, these elite women, hailing from diverse social and political backgrounds and different professions, had already established their own leadership during the national salvation movement and called for a women’s unite front. Therefore, rather than being a political rhetoric enhanced under the auspices of the KMT-CCP alliance, the women’s united front served as an important institution in which Chinese elite women identified and empowered themselves at a local and then national level, across and beyond the geo-political boundaries. I conclude that the birth and evolution of this women’s united front, which have been neglected in the historiography of China’s War of Resistance, is crucial to the understanding of the unsettling negotiation, communication and cooperation among the various forces signed up for the cause of national salvation in the 1930s, and to the interpretation of popular resistance before the war.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Cambridge University Press via the DOI in this record.