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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Nationalist propaganda and the February 28th incident : re-sinicizing the 'japanized' Taiwanese, 1945-1947 Yang, Meng-Hsuan


This thesis seeks to examine the factors that led to the February 28th Incident of 1947 in Taiwan in which tens of thousands of Taiwanese were massacred by the Nationalist troops from Mainland China. The Nationalist crackdown was a counter measure against a spontaneous island-wide insurrection that broke out approximately a year and a half after Taiwan was returned to China at the end of the Pacific War. The Incident was a censored issue in Taiwan until recently. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, it has become one of the most intensively researched and vehemently debated subjects in Taiwan. After fifteen years of study, main contributing factors to the Incident such as Nationalist misrule, social and cultural differences between China and Taiwan, and factional struggles in the Nationalist Party were identified. This study aims to provide a more nuanced interpretation of the origins of the Incident by demonstrating that Nationalist propaganda designed to re-Sinicize the 'Japanized' Taiwanese also contributed to the Taiwanese uprising. Evidence from three major newspapers published in Taiwan between October 1945 and February 1947 will be used to illustrate the author's contention. Theories of propaganda and communication will also be utilized to support the main argument.

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