Iconic photo: By his fathers side…

A Chinese man lies dead from starvation in the streets as his toddler sits next to his corpse during the Henan Famine of 1942-1943. The famine was the culmination of both natural factors and the enormous demand for grain to feed the battling Chinese and Japanese forces during the ongoing Sino-Japanese War. In 1938 the Chinese nationalist government flooded the Yellow River in a failed attempt to stop the advance of the Japanese. The flooding killed 500,000 to one million people in Henan, Anhiu and Jiangsu provinces. When the Japanese troops finally entered the area, they caused a great amount of destruction, which contributed to causing the famine. In 1942, the spring and summer rains failed, causing a severe drought. In addition to this, locusts caused much damage to the existing harvests. The result was that the supply of grain in the affected areas was vastly reduced. Yet Chinese and occupying Japanese authorities in control of the affected areas continued their grain requisition policies in order to feed their massive armies. It is estimated that between two and three million Chinese civilians starved to death during the famine and a further four million fled Henan Province as refugees. Henan Province, Republic of China. November 1942. Image taken by Theodore White.


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