It started in the era when Manchus ruled China. Under the terms of the Boxer Protocol signed in 1901 by the West and the Qing court, who was just too ready to trade China for its tribal interest which could not be reconciled with that of the local Chinese, a number of Western nations, as well as Japan, had gained rights to set up their military posts in China, including in the area around the capital Beijing.

In 1924, 13 years after the Xinhai Revolution, the “last emperor” Puyi was eventually kicked out of the Forbidden City, and the wretched man quickly led his Manchu group to swear allegiance to Japan.

By then China was a failed state under the rule of the KMT (Nationalist Party), disintegrated due to internal power struggles between the warlords, and semi-colonized by the foreign powers including Britain, Germany, France, Japan, as well as Britain’s vessel states Australia and India.

On September 18, 1931, Japanese troops blew up a railway they forced Chinese labourers to build in China’s northeast then blamed the Chinese army for doing so, further using this as an excuse to attack the Chinese city Shenyang.

Japanese soldiers on the city wall of Shenyang.ere
Japanese troops and armoured vehicles entered Shenyang in 1931.

Unwilling to redirect its resource from cracking down on the internal political dissidents, in particular, the Communists, the KMT government ordered local forces not to resist.

Six months later, with the help of Manchus, three Chinese provinces in China’s northeast -where Manchus were first settled in China after being driven out of the Korean peninsula, a place they initially migrated to from a land further north in Cybearea – fell into Japan’s control, and Japanese proclaimed the region as an independent Manchu kingdom. Puyi became emperor again, for which he openly called the Japanese emperor his adopted father and Japan his true motherland.

Japanese soldiers occupied the Chinese government building in Shenyang, 1931

China’s retreat had fed into Japan’s ambition. Six years later in 1937, the Japanese repeated the same trick at Lugou Bridge outside of Beijing.

Lugou Bridge, 1937

The Japanese military force stationed there tried to cut the link between Beijing and the rest of China thus repeatedly demanding the Chinese army to withdraw from the Lugou Bridge vicinity, which was refused.

On July 7, Japanese troops demanded to enter Beijing with the excuse of locating a missing soldier whom they claimed must be kidnapped by the Chinese.

Chinese forces refused to open the city gates to the fully armed Japanese troops.

The Japanese reinforcements in the form of mountain guns and a company of machine gunners quickly arrived, and at about 5 am, July 8, Japanese infantry backed with armoured vehicles bombarded Beijing.

While the Chinese army did their best to defend the former capital, on July 9, the Japanese sent 20,000 troops and over a hundred warplanes from Japan and Korea to join the battle and eventually broke into the ancient city.

Lugou Bridge today

Having successfully prompted a military conflict, the Japanese emperor and his government accused the Chinese of international bullying against a smaller nation and announced to place immediate military rule over all Chinese.

On July 17, Japan announced to the mobilization of 400,000 military troops to launch a full-scale war against China. Only by then, the KMT Government declared war against Japan.

Nanjing Road, the main commercial street of Shanghai, in the early 20th century

In August, Japanese troops attacked Shanghai.

Chinese army in Shanghai fought against Japanese troops for 3 months, which effectively thwarted Japan’s plan to swiftly occupy the entire Chinese territory, and allowed the Chinese government in Nanjing to retreat to Chongqing, the crucial industrial equipment transported to mountainous inland regions and the universities in Shanghai and other major cities to relocate to Yunnan.

About 20,000 Chinese soldiers died with nearly 80,000 injured in the Shanghai battle, but Japan also lost 40,000 soldiers in Shanghai, which accounts for half of its total loss in its entire war against China.

Shanghai train station, damaged in the war in 1937

However, after three months of fierce battle, Shanghai fell.

Japanese troops celebrated their occupation of Shanghai.

Once secured its military occupation in Shanghai, Japanese troops set their ultimate goal of conquest – Nanjing, the Chinese capital.

By December 2, 1937, the Chinese fleet on the Yangtze River defending the capital Nanjing was entirely destroyed by the Japanese troops down from the north, and the Japanese navy sailed on small wooden boats across the River.

Along the way to Nanjing, Japanese troops would kill any Chinese they could set an eye on. This photo shows the mess killing of women and children by Japanese soldiers on December 12 before entering Nanjing.

On December 10, Japanese troops landed on the south shore and started to bombard the city wall of Nanjing, the greatest survival city wall built 600 years ago by the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

On December 13, 1937, the Chinese capital fell. 

To punish Chinese soldiers’ audacity to resist their invasion, the Japanese troops went on a killing spree that lasted for 6 weeks.

The 65th Independent Mixed Brigade of Japanese military force slaughtered all captured Chinese soldiers defending the capital.

This photo taken by a Japanese military photographer shows how a Japanese officer chopped the head of a Chinese civilian in Nanjing.

This photo taken by a Japanese military photographer shows how the Japanese soldiers killed a Chinese toddler in Nanjing.

Such a barbaric act was not an isolated incident. In fact, the torturing, killing, and burning of Chinese babies by the Japanese were also documented in the Ming Dynasty files. About 500 years ago when Japanese pirates invaded China’s east coasts in Jiangsu and Zhejiang, including Suzhou and Shanghai, they did the same to Chinese kids with their swords.

Having conquered the Chinese capital, a Japanese soldier proudly stood on the top of the greatest Chinese city wall.

In six weeks, Japanese troops killed between 200,000 and 300,000 Chinese, mainly civilians, and raped about 20,000 Chinese women, including baby girls, before stabbing them to death.

When Japanese women in Toyol and other cities learned about the conquer of the Chinese capital, they celebrated by making a special meal named “Nanjing” to mark this happy occasion.


December 13, 2018

What is throwing me off here is I watched a special on CCTV about this and they showed China being allied with the US against Japan. Maybe because it is the American broadcast of the show.

All Things Chinese
It is true but not the whole truth.

America was the major weapons supplier to the Japanese army in its war against China during WWII until the Pearl Harbor attack. After that, the US declared war against Japan and switched to the Chinese side.

America is a merchant state with making profits being the chief goal for its ruling group.

I was actually reading more about this last night (also found a disturbing video)

Extremely rare evidence of the Nanjing Massacre filmed by a US pastor in 1937

We have always heard of the German concentration camps but never about this period. Somewhere in this discussion, someone stated “history never lies” but obviously it can be silence and unfortunately distorted.

I can also tell you Americans from that time period (not so much today) had a major dislike for the Japanese. Especially ones who served in the Pacific during World War II.

All Things Chinese
They sold weapons to Japan not because they liked Japanese. They just liked the money they made from the arms trade.

But after Pearl Harbour, the American government went to another extreme. Up to 120,000 American citizens with Japanese heritage were forcibly removed from their homes along the Pacific coast and incarcerated in concentration camps in the western interior.

The same thing happened in Australia after Japanese aircraft dropped bombs on Darwin.

Speaking of Australia … 

By then Japanese thought Nazi Germany was going to win the wars on the European front and they were keen to be its deputy in Asia – to jointly rule the world.

Hmm, it reminds me of another island… Some Aussie politicians are equally keen on America’s war against China with the hope to be its Asian Cherif – to jointly rule the world.

You are welcome to share your thoughts here