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8. Saving Lives in Wartime China: Why It Mattered

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Chapter Summary

The 1930s and 40s represent a watershed era in Chinese history, between the gradual withering away of the chaotic warlord era and the establishment of the People's Republic. Politically the rise and fall of the Nationalist government and the success of the Communist forces in gaining control throughout China delineate this era. The modern health movement in early to mid twentieth century China rose up in response to the widespread evidence of premature mortality and its association with scientific and national incapacity. Preventive healthcare meant hygiene and sanitation on the one hand and prophylactic strategies to combat epidemic disease on the other. Healthcare education constitutes major wartime activity focused on life saving. Before the Japanese war, China's modern medical colleges were primarily in the business of capacity building. The Red Army leaders, in particular, had no choice but to mobilize human energy to turn life saving into a central goal.

Keywords: healthcare education; Japanese war; modern China; Red Army leaders



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