TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Diplomatic letters that are up for auction in the U.S. reportedly reveal how Adolf Hitler rejected Republic of China leader Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) pleas to convince fellow Axis power Japan from completely subjugating China in the late 1930s.
The letters are among the most prized historical collectibles that are under the hammer at this year's annual summer session of the Alexander Historical Auctions, which are due to conclude on Thursday (Aug. 26) according to a Liberty Times report.
According to descriptions on the auction house's website, the 17 letters were sourced from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Imperial Chancellery, Chinese Embassy, and other institutions that facilitated relations between China and Germany at the time.
Chiang wrote the letters between 1936 and 1938 as Japan was ramping up its attacks on China to a full-scale invasion. It was during these years that infamous events such as the occupation of Beijing, Battle of Songhu, and Nanjing Massacre occurred.
In an effort to settle on terms for a peace agreement, Chiang hoped Hitler would intervene and arrange for negotiations between himself and the Japanese leadership. Yet Hitler rejected Chiang’s requests outright, the letters show.
The starting price for the letters is around US$8,000 (NT$223,000), and they are estimated to be sold for between US$10,000 and US$15,000.
The auction is also selling off letters by Mao Zedong (毛澤東) which include the signature of communist China’s first leader, considered a rare feature. Mao’s letters start at US$50,000 and are expected to be sold in the US$100,000 to US$150,000 price range.