A great deal has been written about the Korean War, but most of it has dealt with high-level decision-making or the experiences of combat units and soldiers. This article takes a different approach, looking at the reactions of Chinese citizens to the war and the way their perceptions were molded in part by the Communist regime and in part by memories of the brutal Japanese occupation in the 1930s and 1940s. Formerly classified Chinese documents shed valuable light on the way popular attitudes affected the Communist authorities and vice versa. The regime, led by Mao Zedong, exercised harsh rule in China, but ordinary citizens' observations and judgments were not necessarily the product of Communist Party programs. The regime also had to be constantly mindful of popular morale. The “Resisting America and Assisting Korea” campaign was devised and controlled by the Communist Party but was also shaped in part from below.

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