UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The National Salvation Association : the case of the seven worthies Francis, Lesley Jean


The National Salvation Association brought into prominence and temporary alliance social forces that would figure importantly in the tempestuous course of the following decades: the dissident intellectuals and professionals, the more or less modernized or Westernized elements of the urban population and part of the commercial sector of the population. They shared a sense of the need to save China from external aggression and civil war. Moreover, they desired change in China. The National Salvation Association acted as a vehicle for modernization, and a catalyst for change. From this study it is evident that the National Salvation Association was well organized with effective group leadership. During the fifteen months after its formal inauguration (May 1936), the National Salvation Association, in the face of ever-increasing KMT efforts to control the press, produced a large quantity of literature. Some of this literature, as well as a wide selection of biographical, reminiscent and commemorative materials, has greatly aided the present study. This has been supplemented by various periodicals and newspapers of the period. As a microcosm of the National Salvation Association as a whole, an examination of the Shanghai Women's National Salvation Association has shown first, that not only was the participation of women in the Shanghai Women's National Salvation Association a continuation of a politicization trend but that these women were at least as militant and politically sensitive as their male counterparts. Second, the Shanghai Women's National Salvation Association was characterized by a curious amalgamation of Shanghai's female labour force and women intellectuals and professionals. Both the leadership and the support base of the National Salvation Association were marked by a preponderance of intellectuals and professionals. They used the printed medium to espouse wider liberal-democratic socio-political concerns. The case of the seven worthies brought the seven Shanghai National Salvation leaders to national prominence; they became in effect a cause celebre for democratic rights. But, the enduring significance of the National Salvation Association was that the prominence afforded by the trial made possible the use of these people as symbols for the united front. Five of the seven retained prominent positions during the Sino-Japanese War through involvement with the Democratic League.

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