Event Title

Historical Memory of the Flying Tigers: Transnational Narratives of a World War II Collaboration

Presenter Information

Shang Yasuda, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A247

Start Date

10-27-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

In 1941, under the leadership of General Claire Chennault, the American Volunteer Group, more famously known as the Flying Tigers, was sent to China to support Chinese resistance against Japanese aggression. With their impressive victories against the Japanese Air Force, they were celebrated and regarded as heroes. Yet the Flying Tigers were only officially acknowledged as US veterans in 1992, fifty years after they were disbanded. In China however, there is a grave dedicated to the fallen members of the Flying Tigers, the only grave in China dedicated to foreign soldiers. The purpose of this project is to examine the relationship between, and the evolution of, memories of the Flying Tigers in the US and China from 1941 to the present. How do these countries remember the Flying Tigers, how is the memory shaped by domestic politics and international events? My primary sources include media coverage, documentaries, exhibitions, museums, and memoirs. Due to international conflicts following World War II and the rise of the communists in China, China’s role in World War II has been relegated to a marginal part of US and global memory. Conversely, while memory of American contribution to the Chinese war effort has been emphasized and repressed in China, there is still a widespread celebration of the Flying Tigers as a sign of US-China friendship in modern memory.

Notes

Session II, Panel 5 - Art | History
Moderator: Matthew Rarey, Assistant Professor of Art History

Major

History; East Asian Studies

Award

Oberlin College Research Fellowship (OCRF)

Project Mentor(s)

Renee Romano, History; Comparative American Studies; Africana Studies

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Oct 27th, 4:30 PM Oct 27th, 5:50 PM

Historical Memory of the Flying Tigers: Transnational Narratives of a World War II Collaboration

Science Center A247

In 1941, under the leadership of General Claire Chennault, the American Volunteer Group, more famously known as the Flying Tigers, was sent to China to support Chinese resistance against Japanese aggression. With their impressive victories against the Japanese Air Force, they were celebrated and regarded as heroes. Yet the Flying Tigers were only officially acknowledged as US veterans in 1992, fifty years after they were disbanded. In China however, there is a grave dedicated to the fallen members of the Flying Tigers, the only grave in China dedicated to foreign soldiers. The purpose of this project is to examine the relationship between, and the evolution of, memories of the Flying Tigers in the US and China from 1941 to the present. How do these countries remember the Flying Tigers, how is the memory shaped by domestic politics and international events? My primary sources include media coverage, documentaries, exhibitions, museums, and memoirs. Due to international conflicts following World War II and the rise of the communists in China, China’s role in World War II has been relegated to a marginal part of US and global memory. Conversely, while memory of American contribution to the Chinese war effort has been emphasized and repressed in China, there is still a widespread celebration of the Flying Tigers as a sign of US-China friendship in modern memory.