John Ross, author of Formosan Odyssey and You Don’t Know China, shares insight into a new (re)publication about the German naval aviator Gunther Plüschow (pictured) in a special two part series. Read Part One below. John writes: “Gunther Plüschow’s bestselling 1917 account first appeared in an English translation in 1922 with the underwhelming title My Escape from Donington Hall. Republished in March 2014 as The Aviator of Tsingtao by Camphor Press, this ebook edition has new material to help modern readers, including notes throughout the text, additional photographs, and an introduction by British author Anton Rippon, whose 2009 biography Gunther Plüschow: Airman, Escaper, Explorer is the standard work on this remarkable figure. The Aviator of Tsingtao is available from www.camphorpress.com and Amazon for a special introductory price of US$1.99.”
The Aviator of Tsingtao Part One (of Two)
China and the First World War
Far from the carnage in Europe, and neutral up until August 1917, China as a whole had a quiet First World War. The same cannot be said for Shandong; it played a starring role in all three of China’s main wartime episodes: the 1914 Siege of Tsingtao, the sending of Chinese labourers to France, and the controversy surrounding the post-war settlements at the Treaty of Versailles.
In the autumn of 1914 the German enclave of Kiaochow was attacked, the prize target being the port settlement of Qingdao (then rendered as “Tsingtao” in English, “Tsingtau” in German) by Japanese and British forces. The Siege of Tsingtao lasted two months. Japanese troops numbered 23,000 and Britain contributed 1,500 (as well as a squadron of warships); the German garrison was about four thousand strong. The defenders put up stiff but ultimately futile resistance, surrendering on November 7, 1914.
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