Professor Rana Mitter

Featured Publication

China’s War with Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle for Survival (Allen Lane, June 2013).

China’s War with Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle for Survival

Different countries give different opening dates for the period of the Second World War, but perhaps the most compelling is 1937, when the 'Marco Polo Bridge Incident' plunged China and Japan into a conflict of extraordinary duration and ferocity - a war which would result in many millions of deaths and completely reshape East Asia in ways which we continue to confront today.

With great vividness and narrative drive Rana Mitter's book draws on a huge range of new sources to recreate this terrible conflict. He writes both about the major leaders (Chiang Kaishek, Mao Zedong and Wang Jingwei) and about the ordinary people swept up by terrible times. Mitter puts at the heart of our understanding of the Second World War that it was Japan's failure to defeat China which was the key dynamic for what happened in Asia.

  • Modern East Asian history
  • History of World War II in Asia
  • Contemporary Chinese politics

Rana Mitter has published on the political and cultural history of twentieth-century China, and is currently working on the connections between war and nationalism in China from the 1930s to the present. His interests include the Republican period (1912-1949), the Cold War and Sino-Japanese relations.

  • China's Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism

  • Identities and Alliances: China’s Place in the World after Pearl Harbor, 1941–1945

  • Statebuilding after disaster: Jiang Tingfu and the reconstruction of post-World War II China, 1943-49

  • Presentism and China's Changing Past

  • The War Years, 1937-1949

  • Nationalism, decolonization, geopolitics and the Asian post-war

  • British Diplomacy and Changing Views of Chinese Governmental Capability over the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945

  • Mao Zedong

  • Forgotten Ally China's World War II, 1937-1945

  • China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival

  • More
  • Helena Ferreira Lopes de Santos
  • Sheng Peng
  • Nelson So
  • Jonathan Ward
  • Pete Millwood


  • Verity Robins
  • Yi Yang
  • Qiang Zhang
  • Charlene Wang
  • So-jeong Im

I would be willing to hear from potential DPhil students regarding Modern Chinese history.

In the Media

Shanghai – World City Redux – on the links between China’s past and present – 26 January 2014 -

In Our Time BBC Radio 4, on the Sino-Japanese War -- 8 May 2014 -

South Korea – the Silent Superpower, on Korean soft power – March 2016 -

Free Thinking BBC Radio 3, on the Cultural Revolution – 11 May 2016 -