Author: Bruce A. Elleman
Category: Social Science
This book provides a comprehensive history of the modern Chinese navy from 1840 to the present. Beginning with a survey of naval developments in earlier imperial times, the book goes on to show how China has since the mid-19th century four times built or rebuilt its navy: after the Opium Wars, a navy which was sunk or captured by the Japanese in the war of 1894–1895; during the 1920s and 1930s, a navy again sunk or lost to Japan, in the war of 1937–1945; in the 1950s, a navy built with Soviet help, which stagnated following the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s; and finally the present navy which absorbed its predecessor, but with the most modern sections dating from the 1990s—a navy which continues to grow and prosper. The book also shows how the underlying strategic imperative for the Chinese navy has been the defense of China’s coasts and major rivers; how naval mutiny was a key factor in the overthrow of the Qing and the Nationalist regimes; and how successive Chinese governments, aware of the potent threat of naval mutiny, have restricted the growth, independence, and capabilities of the navy. Overall, the book provides—at a time when many people in the West view China and its navy as a threat—a rich, detailed, and realistic assessment of the true nature of the Chinese navy and the contemporary factors that affect its development.