Article ID: CBB603627561

Between War and Water: Farmer, City, and State in China's Yellow River Flood of 1938–1947 (2016)


This article examines how the catastrophic Yellow River flood of 1938–1947 impacted rural communities and state-society relations in the inundated area. The flood, which occurred when China's Nationalist government deliberately breached a major Yellow River dike in a desperate attempt to use flooding to slow the advance of the Japanese Imperial Army, turned millions of Chinese farmers into refugees and killed over eight hundred thousand people. This essay explores the human and social sides of the flood through the eyes of local observers, missionaries, and the wartime Chinese media. It compares rural and urban experiences of the disaster and examines local perspectives on the efficacy of the flood relief projects organized by the Chinese government. This paper finds that while the wartime Nationalist state did not abandon the inundated area, its state-building efforts there exhausted and disillusioned flood refugees rather than integrating them more fully into the modern nation state.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Zhang Jian; Man, Zhimin; (2015)
Water Level Measurement and Flood Precautions along the Yellow River in the Qing Dynasty (/isis/citation/CBB318578788/) unapi

Article Wang, Qian-jin; (2006)
The Chronology of the Clarification of Yellow River Water (1035 B.C.--1911 A.D.) (/isis/citation/CBB000701131/) unapi

Article Xiaobo Yu; (2017)
Chinese paleontology and the reception of Darwinism in early twentieth century (/isis/citation/CBB864767954/) unapi

Article Huang, Chun Chang; Su, Hongxia; (2009)
Climate Change and Zhou Relocations in Early Chinese History (/isis/citation/CBB001034161/) unapi

Book Pietz, David Allen; (2015)
The Yellow River: The Problem of Water in Modern China (/isis/citation/CBB001553584/) unapi

Book Yajun Mo; (2021)
Touring China: A History of Travel Culture, 1912-1949 (/isis/citation/CBB314439736/) unapi

Article Xiangli Ding; (2021)
'The Yellow River Comes from Our Hands': Silt, Hydroelectricity, and the Sanmenxia Dam, 1929-1973 (/isis/citation/CBB758899870/) unapi

Book Siegel, Benjamin; (2018)
Hungry Nation: Food, Famine, and the Making of Modern India (/isis/citation/CBB613365040/) unapi

Book Micah S. Muscolino; (2014)
The Ecology of War in China: Henan Province, the Yellow River, and Beyond, 1938-1950 (/isis/citation/CBB237574793/) unapi

Article Kumar, Prakash; (October 2019)
"A Big Machine Not Working Properly": Elite Narratives of India's Community Projects, 1952–58 (/isis/citation/CBB442480246/) unapi

Book Paolo Sorcinelli; Mihran Tchaprassian; (2014)
L'alluvione. L'Italia e il Polesine nel 1951 (/isis/citation/CBB934705874/) unapi

Chapter Leonardo Raito; (2021)
La gestione del sistema idrico in Polesine. Dall'Ato al Consiglio di Bacino (/isis/citation/CBB814421528/) unapi

Chapter Janna Dieckmann; (2015)
The 1913 Flood in Ohio, USA (/isis/citation/CBB243970627/) unapi

Book John Williams; Andrew Sansom; (2016)
The Untold Story of the Lower Colorado River Authority (/isis/citation/CBB248036903/) unapi

Book Andy Horowitz; (2020)
Katrina: A History, 1915–2015 (/isis/citation/CBB905816380/) unapi

Book Whayne, Jeannie M.; (2011)
Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Agriculture in the New South (/isis/citation/CBB001200642/) unapi

Book Norris Hundley, Jr.; Donald C. Jackson; (2015)
Heavy Ground: William Mulholland and the St. Francis Dam Disaster (/isis/citation/CBB728247270/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Wang, Qianjin
Su, Hongxia
Huang, Chun Chang
Whayne, Jeannie M.
Dorofeeva-Lichtmann, Vera V.
Pietz, David Allen
Guangxi Minzu Xueyuan Xuebao
Journal of Historical Geography
Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Technology and Culture
Environment and History
Cambridge University Press
Harvard University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Texas A&M University Press
Cornell University Press
Published for the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West by University of California Press, Berkeley, California, Press Berkeley and the Huntington Library, San Marino, California
Water resource management
Nation building
East Asia, civilization and culture
Environmental history
Mulholland, William
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
21st century
Zhou dynasty (China, 1122-221 B.C.)
Yellow River (China)
United States
Arkansas (U.S.)
United Nations

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment