Much is known about World War one and the countries and their colonies which participated in it.

India, as I know sent more than a million troops to aid Britain and her allies in 'The Great War'.

But what about China? Little is known about China's role in World War one. It seems unlikely that it would have little say in such a conflict of global importance.


1 Answer 1


So fun fact, they did indeed participate to a limited extent on the side of the Allies. (Forgive me, I don't have my sources to hand but will endeavor to fix that later) wikipedia has a good basic overview, but imo incomplete. The Premier of China, Tuan Chijui, initially wanted to stay neutral but after the Japanese came in on the Allied side decided to go pro-Allies to balance whatever gains the Japanese managed to get out of the war. The Chinese government initially offered 50,000 men to take Tsingao from the Germans, which was turned down. Later they offered a million-man army to the Allies, but this was turned down as the Allies would have had to equip and transport the force, and the Allies simply did not have the resources nor really the time. The Chinese also considered sending a small (division or less) force to the Western front equipped and transported by themselves, but nothing ever came of it.

The main Chinese contribution was labor battalions, which amounted to 100-140,000 men depending on the sources you trust between 1915 and 1918. Both the English and French recruited Chinese labor battalions. They were used to, bring up supplies, repair roads, that sort of thing. Anywhere from 1,000-2,000 were killed in action, with many thousands more dead of the Spanish Flu. I don't think I've seen specific numbers on Killed in Action vs Wounded in Action, but roughly speaking (based on KIA vs WIA averages for the war) if 2,000 were KIA (the number wikipedia cites) then roughly 10,000 would have been wounded in action and lived. So nearly 10% of the Chinese nationals on the Western Front would have become casualties over the course of the war.

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