Historians have long argued that gunpowder weapons helped Europeans establish global hegemony. Yet the inhabitants of what is today China not only invented guns and bombs but also, as Andrade shows, continued to innovate in gunpowder technology through the early 1700s—much longer than previously thought. Why, then, did China become so vulnerable? Andrade argues that one significant reason is that it was out of practice fighting wars, having enjoyed nearly a century of relative peace, since 1760. Indeed, he demonstrates that China—like Europe—was a powerful military innovator, particularly during times of great warfare, such as the violent century starting after the Opium War, when the Chinese once again quickly modernized their forces. Today, China is simply returning to its old position as one of the world's great military powers.
By showing that China’s military dynamism was deeper, longer lasting, and more quickly recovered than previously understood, The Gunpowder Age challenges long-standing explanations of the so-called Great Divergence between the West and Asia.
Emphasizing the relationship between the military and politics, chapters are organised around specific military events and, Lorge argues, the strength of territorial claims and political impact of each dynasty were determined by their military capacity.
Ideal as a course adoption text for Asian military studies, this is also valuable for students of Chinese studies, military studies and Chinese history.
In A Military History of China, Updated Edition, David A. Graff and Robin Higham bring together leading scholars to offer a basic introduction to the military history of China from the first millennium B.C.E. to the present. Focusing on recurring patterns of conflict rather than traditional campaign narratives, this volume reaches farther back into China's military history than similar studies. It also offers insightful comparisons between Chinese and Western approaches to war. This edition brings the volume up to date, including discussions of the Chinese military's latest developments and the country's most recent foreign conflicts.
As a communist state bordering Vietnam, China actively facilitated the transformation of Ho Chi Minh's army from a small, loosely organized, poorly equipped guerrilla force in the 1940s into a formidable, well-trained professional army capable of defeating first the French (1946--1954) and then the Americans (1963--1973). Even after the signing of the Geneva Peace Agreement, China continued to aggressively support Vietnam. Between 1955 and 1963, Chinese military aid totaled $106 million and these massive contributions enabled Ho Chi Minh to build up a strong conventional force. After 1964, China increased its aid and provided approximately $20 billion more in military and economic aid to Vietnam.
Western strategists and historians have long speculated about the extent of China's involvement in Vietnam, but it was not until recently that newly available archival materials revealed the true extent of China's influence -- its level of military assistance training, strategic advising, and monetary means during the war. This illuminating study answers questions about China's intention, objective, strategy, and operations of its involvement in the Vietnam Wars.
It has traditionally been asserted that Europeans of the era possessed more advanced science, technology, and political structures than their Eastern counterparts, but historians have recently contested this view, arguing that many parts of Asia developed on pace with Europe until 1800. While Lost Colony shows that the Dutch did indeed possess a technological edge thanks to the Renaissance fort and the broadside sailing ship, that edge was neutralized by the formidable Chinese military leadership. Thanks to a rich heritage of ancient war wisdom, Koxinga and his generals outfoxed the Dutch at every turn.
Exploring a period when the military balance between Europe and China was closer than at any other point in modern history, Lost Colony reassesses an important chapter in world history and offers valuable and surprising lessons for contemporary times.
Pomeranz argues that Europe's nineteenth-century divergence from the Old World owes much to the fortunate location of coal, which substituted for timber. This made Europe's failure to use its land intensively much less of a problem, while allowing growth in energy-intensive industries. Another crucial difference that he notes has to do with trade. Fortuitous global conjunctures made the Americas a greater source of needed primary products for Europe than any Asian periphery. This allowed Northwest Europe to grow dramatically in population, specialize further in manufactures, and remove labor from the land, using increased imports rather than maximizing yields. Together, coal and the New World allowed Europe to grow along resource-intensive, labor-saving paths.
Meanwhile, Asia hit a cul-de-sac. Although the East Asian hinterlands boomed after 1750, both in population and in manufacturing, this growth prevented these peripheral regions from exporting vital resources to the cloth-producing Yangzi Delta. As a result, growth in the core of East Asia's economy essentially stopped, and what growth did exist was forced along labor-intensive, resource-saving paths--paths Europe could have been forced down, too, had it not been for favorable resource stocks from underground and overseas.