Museum of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army
After the Mukden-Incident on 18th September 1931, the Japanese Imperial Army was able to conquer the territory of Manchuria within several weeks (Schmidt-Glintzer 2008: 204f.) and founded the puppet state Manchukuo only one year later. Shortly afterwards, several CCP cadres started to mobilize guerrilla forces to fight against the growing Japanese influence in Northeast China. According to the People’s Daily 人民日报, the number of these guerrilla forces grew rapidly between 1933 and 1934, which eventually formed the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army 东北抗联. In 1936 Zhao Shangzhi 赵尚志 (1908-1940) was appointed the commander-in-chief of this combat force (People’s Daily 2009), which did not stop fighting until the Japanese capitulation in September 1945.
The Museum of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army 东北抗联博物馆 located in Harbin City 哈尔滨市, Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省 mainly displays the Chinese achievements during the War of Resistance against Japan in the Northeast of China (Huang 2006: 240). As stated on the website mafengwo.cn, the museum was formerly known as the Heilongjiang Museum of Revolution 黑龙江省革命博物馆 and after the site was renovated and expanded, the Museum of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army was officially open to the public in 2010. As a memorial it reflects the history of the Chinese struggle against the Japanese Empire from the Mukden Incident in September 1931 till the Japanese capitulation 14 years later. In 2015, for instance, an exhibition with the title “Fourteen Years of the Anti-Japanese Resistance – An Exhibition of the History of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army 抗战十四年——东北抗日联军历史陈列” was held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) (peoples.cn). According to a virtual version of the Museum of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army found on the website 720yun.com, the site seems to contain a huge number of exhibits such as photos, rifles, helmets and other objects used by both the Chinese forces and their Japanese opponents. As stated on the website peoples.cn, the site is considered as the largest platform to display the history of the Northeast United Army and their struggle against the Japanese Imperial Army.
Due to the thematic and spatial proximities of the Museum of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army and the Memorial Hall of Martyrs in Northeast China 东北烈士纪念馆, it is not surprising that the two sites are interacting with each other as far as the implementation of exhibition projects are concerned. As reported by the Guangming Daily 光明日报, the two museums worked together to hold an exhibition titled “Ode to the Heroes of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army 东北抗联英烈颂” in 2017 to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the victory over the Japanese forces (Guangming Ribao 2017). By portraying the achievements of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, the site further emphasises the impact of the Manchurian guerrilla forces on the national defense. This might also be the reason why the site was announced as a National Defense Education Demonstration Base 国家国防教育示范基地 in 2009 (peoples.cn).
Huang Mingliang 黄明亮 (2006): Hongse lüyou xiao baike 红色旅游小百科 (Little Encyclopaedia of Red Tourism). Nanchang 南昌: Jiangxi kexue zhi shu chubanshe.
N.N. (12.08.2009): “Dongbei kang ri lianjun chuangjian ren he lingdaoren zhiyi – Zhao Shangzhi 东北抗日联军创建人和领导人之一——赵尚志 (One of the founders and leaders of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Forces – Zhao Shangzhi)”. In: People’s Daily 人民日报.
Zhao Hongbo 赵洪波 and Zhang Shiying 张士英 (04.09.2017): “‘Dongbei kang lian yinglie song‘ zhuti huodong juxing 东北抗联英烈颂 主题活动举行 (The Theme Activity „Ode to the Northeast Anti-Japanese Heros was held)“. In: Guangming ribao 光明日报.
Zhu Weihua 朱伟华 and Zhang Shiying 张士英 (22.05.2017): “Dongbei lieshi jinianguan wenxian xinxi zhongxin xiang shehui kaifang 东北烈士纪念馆文献信息中心向社会开放 (The Document and Information Center of the Memorial of Martyrs in the Northeast was open to the public)“. In: Guangming ribao 光明日报.
Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig (2008): Kleine Geschichte Chinas. München: C.H. Beck.
List of Pictures:
Featured Image: “We live to struggle for the nation!” (source: https://chineseposters.net/posters/pc-1938-009, designer: unknown, Call number: PC-1938-009 (Stefan R. Landsberger Private Collection)).