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A War Within a War: The Road to the New Fourth Army Incident in January 1941*

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Abstract The New Fourth Army (N4A) Incident is the name given to the destruction by the Chinese Nationalist government of the headquarters of the N4A, one of the two legal armies under the command of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Sino-Japanese War, in southern Anhui province in January 1941, together with the killing of about nine thousand CCP soldiers. It was the largest and the last armed conflict between the Nationalists and the CCP during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). This article argues that this tragedy came from Joseph Stalin’s paranoia toward the West and Mao’s resulting limited pre-emptive offensives against the Nationalist government, as well as their misreading of Chiang Kai-shek during 1939-1940.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Politics and Economics, Royal Military College of Canada


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