When Did Japan Invade China? July 7, 1937 – September 9, 1945.
The second sino-japanese war is often overlooked as a part of the second world war.
This conflict played a major role in deciding the victor of the ongoing.
Chinese Civil War award that would transform China into the communist state that exists today.
Now back to the topic at hand to understand the precarious situation that led up to the second sino-japanese war.
It is important to mention the events of 19th century China.
When Did Japan Invade China?
The century can be characterized as one of factionalism lawlessness foreign intervention by Western powers and rising nationalist sentiments which in 1911 culminated in the overthrow of the established Qing Dynasty.
By the nationalist Republicans or Kuomintang, this led to intense regionalism across China as warlords controlled small territories that they ruled in their own name.
By the 1920s the spread of communism led to the creation of the Chinese Communist Party or CCP which was suppressed by the Kuomintang the leader of which was the cunning Chiang kai-shek.
Who subjugated influential warlords in order to secure his rule over China soon after Chiang turned his attention towards the Communists.
igniting the Chinese Civil War in 1927.
Japan by contrast had been relatively isolated for millennia.
The island nation had developed a highly militaristic.
Society and this was intensified after the Emperor of Japan.
Consolidated his power in what was known as the Meiji Restoration.
With its populations adherence to warrior and feudal codes translating into a religious devotion to the Emperor these years of seclusion.
Contributed to the development of a xenophobic mentality the Japanese viewed their culture as the most sophisticated and civilised this sense of national pride continue to inflate despite increased influence of the West .
In matters of technology and trade throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the combination of Ultra-nationalism a centralized state, and European technology allowed Japan in the first sino-Japanese war.
To conquer Korea from the Chinese whose administrative process and technology paled in comparison.
The Japanese would continue to expand throughout the Pacific and on to the East Asian mainland.
The requirements of both a large population and a large military began to strain the Japanese economy.
Causing ever deeper expansion into the Asian mainland in September of 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria.
which offered ample resources and living space as justification Japan cited the Mukden incident in which elements of the Imperial Japanese Army detonated a small amount of dynamite at a section of the South Manchuria railway.
Which had been granted to them in the russo-japanese war the Japanese then falsely accused China of sabotage.
Despite receiving orders to keep the incident contained at a local level the Japanese army.
Proceeded to capture all of the cities along the South Manchuria railway and surprisingly the Republic of China maintained a policy of non-resistance.
Although some Chinese warlords and generals tried to resist but unsuccessfully by February of 1932.
Japan had control over all of Manchuria establishing the puppet state of Manchukuo.
Which interestingly was governed by the last emperor of China the 26 year-old Pu Yi.
The Chinese appealed to the League of Nations in response and after a year-long investigation.
The league concluded that the invasion was unjustified to which Japan simply left the League of Nations.
Chiang kai-shek was aware that the Japanese interests in China were not over and so in 1936.
He agreed to an alliance with the Communists putting the Chinese Civil War on hold.
Less than one year later.
the second sino-Japanese war would break out in full when on the 7th of July Japanese troops conducted a military exercise near the Marco Polo Bridge in wham pink which startled the Chinese garrison who weren’t warned in advance.
And the resulting confusion shots were exchanged and after the skirmish ended the Japanese noticed one of their men was missing after a headcount.
When the Chinese refused to allow them to search the city the Japanese attacked the city head-on trying to cross the bridge on July 20th.
Japan began bombarding ran ping and by the end of the month had taken Beijing and the surrounding areas the Japanese were initially content with the territory they’d taken in northern China and wanted to end the war quickly.
But Chiang kai-shek was not giving up anytime he decided to open up a second front at the city of Shanghai storming the Japanese quarter of the city on the 13th of August.
The fighting around the Shanghai area lasted for a total of three months marked by intense close quarters combat.
Shanghai finally fell when an afib ia’s Japanese force landed in the southern region of the city.
Which was left undefended the Chinese took heavy casualties.
Losing two hundred and fifty thousand men many of them their highest-quality troops while the Japanese lost.
60,000 on the 8th of November Chiang ordered his forces to retreat west towards the city of Nanking the capital of China at the time.
The Chinese in Nanking were positioned in elaborate fortifications inside and outside of the city.
Despite these defenses the Japanese had captured the southern portion of the city by December 12th.
Which prompted Chiang to evacuate his troops from the city the Japanese were frustrated after what they thought would be an easy victory this frustration.
Translated into brutality against the civilians who were raped and executed on an immense scale estimates for the number of casualties ranges from 50,000 to 300,000 the massacre is possibly the defining event in the second sino-japanese war and is possibly one of the single largest atrocities in human history as such the event remains one of the primary reasons why even today.
Relations between Japan and China are at best somewhat bitter by 1939, the war was beginning to reach a stalemate the Chinese still refused to surrender despite huge casualties and Territorial losses and had begun to receive much-needed experience and foreign aid.
Meanwhile, the Japanese lines of communication were being stretched to their limit and Japanese forces had suffered substantial losses both equipment and manpower.
however, Japanese spirits were lifted when their German Ally signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union whom the Japanese feared would invade.
Manchuria and their holdings in northern China on September 14 13 days after Germany invaded Poland a Japanese force of 100,000 men attacked the city of Shanghai which was the next major target on the road to Shan Shan where the Chinese government had been relocated a force of 240 thousand Chinese soldiers repelled them.
Inflicting more casualties than they had sustained on October 6 the Japanese myth drew and allowed the Chinese three lost ground in the surrounding areas.
Shengshou was the first major Chinese city that managed to fight off the Japanese.
successfully while the Kuomintang tended to partake in large sweeping.
Operations their communist allies in the north had mainly opposed the Japanese through insurgency and guerrilla tactics.
But under pressure from Chiang kai-shek the Communist Party of China began to execute large offensive actions on the 20th of August.
1940 the CCP gathered, 400,000 men of the 8th route army and assaulted numerous staging areas and railways which were defended by 420 Japanese and collaborationist to Chinese forces and what would be called a hundred regiments offensive?
Although the Japanese and collaborators push in the back the communists considered their campaign successful because it resulted in the destruction of about 600 miles of railroad tracks.
The remainder of the second sino-japanese war was marked by repeated failed attempts by the Japanese to take various strategic studies.
It wasn’t until near the end of the Second World War when on the 9th of August 1945 three days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and promptly destroyed the primary Japanese Army in Manchuria on the 15th of August Japan surrendered ending the second sino-japanese war.
Ending the occupation of China within a year the Chinese Civil War began again, but that is a story for another day.
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