did Japanese conquest of central China during WW2 make sense?

As I wrote earlier, Chiang Kai-shek did pretty much everything in his power to not engage with the Japanese army when at all possible. That went for the areas and troops he controlled or was loosely allied with. Generallismo Cash My Check as he was affectionately known as by Roosevelt and most US leaders basically blackmailed the US for big heaping chunks of cash by threatening to make a seperate peace with Japan. Thus, he did tie up the Kwantung Army and who knows how many Japanese resources.

The communists fought a pretty good guerilla engagement but the areas where the communists were strongest were generally in the central and northwest interior of China - impoverished areas far away from the plum eastern seaboard.

The Japanese didn’t suffer any great defeats that I can think of off hand with the Chinese. Someone please chime in if you’ve got a good example.

Well here is what wiki you refers to earlier has to say:

Shanggao. The KMT’s 19th Army fought off a Japanese invasion, killing about a third of the Japanese force and capturing a bunch of supplies.

Pretty much every single battle of Changsha. The Japanese tried four times to take it and failed utterly three times, the third time ending with a Chinese encirclement where the Japanese lost about half of their force. They succeeded the fourth time.

The Battles of Ningxia and West Suiyuan, where the Ma Clique managed to stop a Japanese advance.

The Second Guangxi Campaign and the Battle of West Henan.

Well, Captain, you certainly know this topic better than I.Thanks as I just spent an interesting time clicking on a few different links and reading up.

Here’s Wiki on the Winter Offensive: The 1939–40 Winter Offensive was one of the major engagements between the National Revolutionary Army and Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The offensive was a fiasco, “destroyed what confidence Nationalist forces had left and reconfirmed their prior reluctance to seriously engage the Japanese.” Nationalist war accounts have ignored and even denied it was launched, which one historian has described as a “devastating defeat” on the part of the Chinese.[2][3] By April 1940, the Japanese Army had successfully forced the operation to a halt. However, a Japanese counteroffensive in the northern theater failed to seize Ningxia and was defeated in Suiyuan.

Here’s something on the 4th Battle for Changsha. And something on General Xue Yue(who I had never heard of before).

Question though: were any of the cites a decisive victory or much more a Pyrrhic victory?

You also want to check out Ma Hongkui and Ma Bufang

Some of them were decisive, like the third battle for Changsha. It was actually the Japanese that had more Pyrrhic victories. After some early successes in the coastal cities, which Japan could supply by sea, the Japanese armies got bogged down as their supply lines stretched and guerrillas disrupted them. As they got further inland, the Japanese would win battles against the Chinese, but weren’t able to capitalize on them, because they couldn’t move troops fast enough. That was one of the reasons Japan switched over to the “Three Alls” policy; kill all, loot all, burn all, dividing occupied Northern China into pacified, semipacified, and unpacified areas, and basically, stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down, destroying everything that was, and killing everyone they could find in the “unpacified” areas, and forcibly moving entire villages.

I knew about Ma Bufang. A guy I knew in grad school was actually related to him. I remember finding it quite interesting that Ma Bufang lived out his days in Saudi.

The Wiki article has a much dimmer view of Ma Bufang regarding the Tibetans in Amdo, than the various Tibetan accounts I’ve read. Ma Bufang was infamous for ransoming the current Dalai Lama.

Dug up my copy of Does Conquest Pay?: The Exploitation of Occupied Industrial Societies by Peter Liberman. The author’s conclusion, backed up some statistical evidence, is that Japan generally got value from its colonies. It was collecting a profit from Taiwan, Korea, and Manchukuo. His conclusion was that Japan would have also turned China into a profit-maker if it hadn’t been for China being the trigger of a general war.

The actual population ratio was more like seven to one. There were about 511,000,000 Chinese and about 73,000,000 Japanese in 1937.