井底之蛙

5/2/2007

How air-minded was China?

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 10:45 pm

    Airplanes and airpower were an important part of Chiang Kai-shek’s vision of a new China. In part I think this may have been connected to his disappointment with the generally poor state of the Chinese army. He was well-known for his disdain for the lack of spirit in the Chinese troops, and for his desire to improve their “spirit.” Part of this was moral education and training, but part of it was also technical training, the more high-tech the better. For me as a modern American technology and “spirit” seem to be contradictory goals. This was not the case in the Guomindang, however, as shown by Chiang’s subordinate Hu Zongnan. Hu was particularly obsessed with flight. In his speeches he emphasized that cadets should develop a “scientific mind” and a “steel body”( 科學頭腦﹐鋼鐵身體). As he put it in a 1939 speech.

If one has a scientific mind one can use machinery, one can use electrical power to fly into space. Fly, fly, ascend to 10,000 meters. Scout planes can travel 400 km in an hour, pursuit planes 500 km, bombers can fly 450 km and attack the enemy. Aircraft are our wings.1

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  1. Speech to the 19th graduating class, 1939. From 宗南文存 p.13 []

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