China's long war against Japan from 1937 to 1945 has remained in the shadows of historiography until recently, both in China and abroad. In recent years, the opening of archives and a widening of the opportunity to discuss the more controversial aspects of the wartime period in China itself have restored World War II in China ('the War of Resistance to Japan') to a much more central place in historical interpretation. Among the areas that this issue covers are the new socio-political history of the war that seeks to restore rationality to the policies of the Guomindang (Nationalist) party, as well as a new understanding in post-war China of the meaning of the war against Japan in shaping Cold War and post-Cold War politics in China. In doing so, it seeks to make more explicit the link between themes that shaped the experience of World War II in China to the war's legacy in later politics and the uses of memory of the conflict in contemporary Chinese society. © 2011 Cambridge University Press.