In the last half of 1944, China's people once again followed their own inexorable law. Before the Japs' drive into east central China, half a million or more Chinese left their homes, fled deeper into the hinterland. Perhaps 70,000 of them perished. Last week TIME Correspondent Theodore H. White cabled this eyewitness report of their ordeal:

Prodigious Silence. All day and through the evening we drove down the road toward Kwangsi. Refugees flanked us in unbroken columns. This was the tail end of one of the longest treks in the history of the China war. I had seen these refugees start their...

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