ABSTRACT

After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the Shanghai Incident, the entirety of east China was threatened by Japan’s growing military ambition and aggression. From Shanghai and Nanjing to Wuhan, Chinese elite women expanded and integrated their networks, initially within the Women’s National Salvation Association and later in the Women’s Advisory Council reorganised by Madame Chiang. After the Shanghai Incident in 1932, Shanghai was no longer a paradise for entertainment, leisure, and selfish pleasures. As in Shanghai, the political networks of elite women in Nanjing originated from local reading and publishing societies that concerned themselves with the deepening national crisis. The concubine of the Shanghai Garrison Commander and her rich friends in town, regardless of their original motives, effectively sponsored a women’s community which eventually dedicated itself to the war effort. The political journey of Chinese elite women, however, did not end with the defence of Wuhan.