Description: The railways of Manchuria offer an intriguing vantage point for an international history of northeast Asia.
Before the completion of the Trans-Siberian railway in 1916, the only rail route from the Imperial Russian capital of St. Petersburg to the Pacific port of Vladivostok transited Manchuria. A spur line from the Manchurian city of Harbin led south to ice-free Port Arthur. Control of these two rail lines gave Imperial Russia military, economic, and political advantages that excited rivalry on the part of Japan and unease on the part of weak and divided China. Meanwhile, the effort to defend and retain that strategic hold against rising Japanese power strained distant Moscow.
Control of the Manchurian railways was contested in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5; Japan's 1931 invasion and establishment of the puppet state of Manchukuo; the second Sino-Japanese War and World War II in Asia; and the Chinese civil war that culminated in the Communist victory over the Nationalists. Today, the railways are critical to plans for development of China's sparsely populated interior.
This volume brings together an international group of scholars to explore this fascinating history.
Part I. Competing Railway Imperialisms
1. The Chinese Eastern Railway: From the First Sino-Japanese War until the Russo-Japanese War. S.C.M. Paine
Part II. Competing Railway Nationalisms
5. Technology Transfer in Modern China: The Case of Railway Enterprises in Central China and Manchuria Chang Jui-te
Epilogue: Rivers of Steel: Manchuria's Railways as a Natural Extension of the Sea Lines of Communication, Bruce A. Elleman
Review(s): "The essays are well researched and well written, providing clear accounts based on rich source material in Chinese, Japanese, and English, covering a number of important topics in modern Chinese history. Unlike many other collections that bind loosely connected articles into a single volume, this book presents a continuous narrative in a series of well-edited chapters, each of which stands on its own, while together providing a thoughtful chronicle of the role of railways in China's recent history. Readers interested in this feature of modern China will be rewarded by a series of brief, yet substantive accounts." -- American Historical Review
"People in the field of modern Chinese history would certainly appreciate the expert presentation and analysis of the key aspects of the role of railways in the opening of China. For students and those only somewhat familiar with this field, the book provides a solid reader and a great introduction and help in doing further research." -- Canadian Slavonic Papers