18 September 1942

18 September 1942

September 1942

> October


British troops land on the east coast of Madagascar

Important Events From This day in History September 18th

1973 : Future President Jimmy Carter files a report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), claiming he had seen an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in October.

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1985 : President Reagan has stated that the Strategic Defense Weapons ( SDI ) which will only be used to destroy weapons will not part of negotiations on reducing offensive nuclear weapons in the upcoming talks in Geneva. The Russians have responded by stating the US is militarizing space.

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1992 : During a strike by mineworkers at the Giant Mine in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Canada a bomb is planted by mine employee Roger Warren 750 feet underground which kills nine strikebreakers.

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2000 : A public inquiry opens today on the Southall and Ladbroke Grove Rail Crashes with victims and family members accusing Railtrack of putting costs before safety.

September 18th, 2003 : Hurricane Isabel strikes North Carolina's Outer Banks with 105 mph winds and continued up the Eastern Seaboard to West Virginia. The storm claimed 40 lives and left six million people without power. The storm surge from Isabel washed out a portion of Hatteras Island to create what locals called "Isabel Inlet."

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4 thoughts on &ldquoThe fight for the Stalingrad grain elevator&rdquo

Been watching this on tv and the battle was the worse fighting ever and Russians were beat back every attack they tried to mount going forward , they were very brave men and women that defended their homes and towns, would love one day to visit this famous place. very determined people who would of got medals if were fighting for the British or American forces at that time!

Unbelievable what those men did for their country. Who would have thought the size and grandeur of Napoleon Bonapartes defeat could be surpassed. I would love to vist one day

Interesting story. I pray the war will not happen again.

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Wheels West Day in Susanville History – September 18, 1942

Arrangements are being completed this week by Helen S. Hallowell county superintendent of schools for the opening September 14 of an emergency school at Hackstaff in Honey Lake Valley to serve an estimated seventy-five grammar school students.

Due to the influx of families to this defense are which is normally served by small rural schools, it has been found necessary to establish a new school capable of providing for the greatly increased number of children. A building is to be furnished by the federal government while the responsibility of furnishing teachers rests with Lassen County.

The new Hackstaff school will consist of grades 1 to 8 inclusive Miss Hallowell revealed and two teachers will be required.

To date only one instructor, Mrs. Francis Keys has been secured for the emergency school and some difficulty is being experienced in making arrangements for the second teacher.

Students of high school age will attend classes in Susanville with bus transportation to be provided for them from homes to school.

Draft age is lowered to 18

On November 11, 1942, Congress approves lowering the draft age to 18 and raising the upper limit to age 37.

In September 1940, Congress, by wide margins in both houses, passed the Burke-Wadsworth Act, and the first peacetime draft was imposed in the history of the United States. The registration of men between the ages of 21 and 36 began exactly one month later. There were some 20 million eligible young men� percent were rejected the very first year, either for health reasons or because 20 percent of those who registered were illiterate.

But by November 1942, with the United States now a participant in the war, and not merely a neutral bystander, the draft ages had to be expanded men 18 to 37 were now eligible. Black people were passed over for the draft because of racist assumptions about their abilities and the viability of a mixed-race military. But this changed in 1943, when a “quota” was imposed, meant to limit the numbers of Black men drafted to reflect their numbers in the overall population, roughly 10.6 percent of the whole. Initially, Black soldiers were restricted to “labor units,” but this too ended as the war progressed, when they were finally used in combat.

By war’s end, approximately 34 million men had registered 10 million had been inducted into the military.


Baker, D. N., et al. (2008), Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, 144 pp., Natl. Acad. Press, Washington, D. C.

Boss, L. J. (1941), Notes from amateurs: The aurora of September 18–19, 1941, Pop. Astron., 49(11), 504–505.

Brooklyn Eagle (1941), Celestial “neon lights” cut news from Europe, p. 3, 19 Sept.

Cameron, D. C. (1941), Climatological data, New Mexico section, Climatol. Data, N. M. Sect., 45(9), 65.

Cannon, P., et al. (2013), Extreme Space Weather: Impacts on Engineered Systems and Infrastructure, 68 pp., R. Acad. Eng., London.

Chicago Tribune (1941a), Cosmic brush paints Chicago sky with light, part 1, p. 1, 19 Sept.

Chicago Tribune (1941b), Northern lights add eerie glare to war in Arctic, part 1, p. 5, 21 Sept.

Cliver, E. W., and L. Svalgaard (2004), The 1859 solar-terrestrial disturbance and the current limits of extreme space weather activity, Sol. Phys., 224(1), 407–422, doi:10.1007/s11207-005-4980-z.

Conklin, J. (1941), UHF…The big aurora, Radio, 263, November, 55.

Fleming, J. A. (1943), The Sun and the Earth’s magnetic field, in Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1942, pp. 173–208, U.S. Gov. Print. Off., Washington, D. C.

General Electric Review (1941), Dodging the aurora: High lights and side lights, 44(10), 573.

Heinrichs, W. (1988), Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II, 302 pp., Oxford Univ. Press, New York.

Johnston, M. (2008), Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of World War II Tell Their True Stories, 272 pp., John Wiley, Mississauga, Ont., Canada.

Ludy, A. K. (1941), Cheltenham magnetic observatory, July to September 1941, Terr. Magn. Atmos. Electr., 46(4), 474, doi:10.1029/TE046i004p00474.

McNish, A. G. (1941a), The great geomagnetic storm of September 18–19, 1941, Sci. Mon., 53(5), 478–481.

McNish, A. G. (1941b), The aurora and geomagnetic storm of September 18–19, 1941, Terr. Magn. Atmos. Electr., 46(4), 461–463, doi:10.1029/TE046i004p00461.

Morgan, D., and B. Taylor (2011), U-Boat Attack Logs: A Complete Record of Warship Sinkings from Original Sources, 1939–1945, 480 pp., Seaforth, Barnsley, U. K.

National Bureau of Standards (1941), High-frequency radio transmission conditions, September, 1941, with predictions for December, 1941, Proc. Inst. Radio Eng., 29(10), 563–564.

National Science and Technology Council (2015), National space weather strategy, 14 pp., White House Off. of Sci. and Technol. Policy, Washington, D. C.

Newsweek (1941), Aurora sideshow, 18(13), 18.

Newton, H. W. (1941), The great spot group and magnetic storm of September 1941, Observatory, 64, 161–165.

New York Times (1941d), Aurora borealis: Victory sign, Mail-bag excerpts, p. 113, 28 Sept.

Richardson, R. S. (1941), The sunspot-group associated with the magnetic storm of September 18, 1941, Terr. Magn. Atmos. Electr., 46(4), 459–460, doi:10.1029/TE046i004p00459.

Sky and Telescope (1941), Letters, 1(1), 14–15.

Time (1941), Magnetic uproar, 38(13), 59.

Washington Post (1941a), Northern light show visits South, p. 1, 19 Sept.

Washington Post (1941b), Nazi cities hit as northern lights illumine raiders’ goals, p. 1, 21 Sept.

September 19th, 1992 is a Saturday. It is the 263rd day of the year, and in the 38th week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday), or the 3rd quarter of the year. There are 30 days in this month. 1992 is a leap year, so there are 366 days in this year. The short form for this date used in the United States is 9/19/1992, and almost everywhere else in the world it's 19/9/1992.

This site provides an online date calculator to help you find the difference in the number of days between any two calendar dates. Simply enter the start and end date to calculate the duration of any event. You can also use this tool to determine how many days have passed since your birthday, or measure the amount of time until your baby's due date. The calculations use the Gregorian calendar, which was created in 1582 and later adopted in 1752 by Britain and the eastern part of what is now the United States. For best results, use dates after 1752 or verify any data if you are doing genealogy research. Historical calendars have many variations, including the ancient Roman calendar and the Julian calendar. Leap years are used to match the calendar year with the astronomical year. If you're trying to figure out the date that occurs in X days from today, switch to the Days From Now calculator instead.


Demands for autonomy Edit

Czechoslovakia was created in 1918 after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Saint-Germain recognized the independence of Czechoslovakia and the Treaty of Trianon defined the borders of the new state which was divided to the regions of Bohemia and Moravia in the west and Slovakia and Subcarpathian Rus' in the east, including more than three million Germans, 22.95% of the total population of the country. They lived mostly in border regions of the historical Czech Lands for which they coined the new name Sudetenland, which bordered on Germany and the newly-created country of Austria.

The Sudeten Germans were not consulted on whether they wished to be citizens of Czechoslovakia. Although the constitution guaranteed equality for all citizens, there was a tendency among political leaders to transform the country "into an instrument of Czech and Slovak nationalism". [7] Some progress was made to integrate the Germans and other minorities, but they continued to be underrepresented in the government and the army. Moreover, the Great Depression beginning in 1929 impacted the highly-industrialized and export-oriented Sudeten Germans more than it did the Czech and Slovak populations. By 1936, 60 percent of the unemployed people in Czechoslovakia were Germans. [8]

In 1933, Sudeten German leader Konrad Henlein founded the Sudeten German Party (SdP), which was "militant, populist, and openly hostile" to the Czechoslovak government and soon captured two-thirds of the vote in the districts with a heavy German population. Historians differ as to whether the SdP was from its beginning a Nazi front organisation or evolved into one. [9] [10] By 1935, the SdP was the second-largest political party in Czechoslovakia as German votes concentrated on this party, and Czech and Slovak votes were spread among several parties. [9] Shortly after the Anschluss of Austria to Germany, Henlein met with Hitler in Berlin on 28 March 1938, and he was instructed to raise demands that would be unacceptable to the democratic Czechoslovak government, led by President Edvard Beneš. On 24 April, the SdP issued a series of demands upon the government of Czechoslovakia that was known as the Karlsbader Programm. [11] Henlein demanded things such as autonomy for Germans living in Czechoslovakia. [9] The Czechoslovak government responded by saying that it was willing to provide more minority rights to the German minority but was initially reluctant to grant autonomy. [9] The SdP gained 88% of the ethnic German votes in May 1938. [12]

With tension high between the Germans and the Czechoslovak government, Beneš, on 15 September 1938, secretly offered to give 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi) of Czechoslovakia to Germany, in exchange for a German agreement to admit 1.5 to 2.0 million Sudeten Germans, which Czechoslovakia would expel. Hitler did not reply. [13]

Sudeten crisis Edit

As the previous appeasement of Hitler had shown, France and Britain were intent on avoiding war. The French government did not wish to face Germany alone and took its lead from British Conservative government of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. He considered the Sudeten German grievances justified and believed Hitler's intentions to be limited. Both Britain and France, therefore, advised Czechoslovakia to accede to Germany's demands. Beneš resisted and, on 19 May, initiated a partial mobilization in response to a possible German invasion. [14]

On 20 May, Hitler presented his generals with a draft plan of attack on Czechoslovakia that was codenamed Operation Green. [15] He insisted that he would not "smash Czechoslovakia" militarily without "provocation", "a particularly favourable opportunity" or "adequate political justification". [16] On 28 May, Hitler called a meeting of his service chiefs, ordered an acceleration of U-boat construction and brought forward the construction of his new battleships, Bismarck and Tirpitz, to spring 1940. He demanded for the increase in the firepower of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to be accelerated. [17] While recognizing that this would still be insufficient for a full-scale naval war with Britain, Hitler hoped it would be a sufficient deterrent. [18] Ten days later, Hitler signed a secret directive for war against Czechoslovakia to begin no later than 1 October. [14]

On 22 May, Juliusz Łukasiewicz, the Polish ambassador to France, told the French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet that if France moved against Germany to defend Czechoslovakia, "We shall not move". Łukasiewicz also told Bonnet that Poland would oppose any attempt by Soviet forces to defend Czechoslovakia from Germany. Daladier told Jakob Surits [ru de] , the Soviet ambassador to France, "Not only can we not count on Polish support but we have no faith that Poland will not strike us in the back". [19] However, the Polish government indicated multiple times (in March 1936 and May, June and August 1938) that it was prepared to fight Germany if the French decided to help Czechoslovakia: "Beck's proposal to Bonnet, his statements to Ambassador Drexel Biddle, and the statement noted by Vansittart, show that the Polish foreign minister was, indeed, prepared to carry out a radical change of policy if the Western powers decided on war with Germany. However, these proposals and statements did not elicit any reaction from British and French governments that were bent on averting war by appeasing Germany". [2]

Hitler's adjutant, Fritz Wiedemann, recalled after the war that he was "very shocked" by Hitler's new plans to attack Britain and France three to four years after "deal[ing] with the situation" in Czechoslovakia. [20] General Ludwig Beck, chief of the German general staff, noted that Hitler's change of heart in favour of quick action was Czechoslovak defences still being improvised, which would no longer be the case two to three years later, and British rearmament not coming into effect until 1941 or 1942. [18] General Alfred Jodl noted in his diary that the partial Czechoslovak mobilization of 21 May had led Hitler to issue a new order for Operation Green on 30 May and that it was accompanied by a covering letter from Wilhelm Keitel that stated that the plan must be implemented by 1 October at the very latest. [21]

In the meantime, the British government demanded for Beneš to request a mediator. Not wishing to sever his government's ties with Western Europe, Beneš reluctantly accepted. The British appointed Lord Runciman, the former Liberal cabinet minister, who arrived in Prague on 3 August with instructions to persuade Beneš to agree to a plan acceptable to the Sudeten Germans. [22] On 20 July, Bonnet told the Czechoslovak ambassador in Paris that while France would declare its support in public to help the Czechoslovak negotiations, it was not prepared to go to war over Sudetenland. [22] In August, the German press was full of stories alleging Czechoslovak atrocities against Sudeten Germans, with the intention of forcing the West into putting pressure on the Czechoslovaks to make concessions. [23] Hitler hoped that the Czechoslovaks would refuse and that the West would then feel morally justified in leaving the Czechoslovaks to their fate. [24] In August, Germany sent 750,000 soldiers along the border of Czechoslovakia, officially as part of army maneuvres. [9] [24] On 4 or 5 September, [22] Beneš submitted the Fourth Plan, granting nearly all the demands of the agreement. The Sudeten Germans were under instruction from Hitler to avoid a compromise, [24] and the SdP held demonstrations that provoked a police action in Ostrava on 7 September in which two of their parliamentary deputies were arrested. [22] The Sudeten Germans used the incident and false allegations of other atrocities as an excuse to break off further negotiations. [22] [25]

On 12 September, Hitler made a speech at a Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg on the Sudeten crisis in which he condemned the actions of the government of Czechoslovakia. [9] Hitler denounced Czechoslovakia as being a fraudulent state that was in violation of international law's emphasis of national self-determination, claiming it was a Czech hegemony although the Germans, the Slovaks, the Hungarians, the Ukrainians and the Poles of the country actually wanted to be in a union with the Czechs. [26] Hitler accused Beneš of seeking to gradually exterminate the Sudeten Germans and claimed that since Czechoslovakia's creation, over 600,000 Germans had been intentionally forced out of their homes under the threat of starvation if they did not leave. [27] He alleged that Beneš's government was persecuting Germans along with Hungarians, Poles, and Slovaks and accused Beneš of threatening the nationalities with being branded traitors if they were not loyal to the country. [26] He stated that he, as the head of state of Germany, would support the right of the self-determination of fellow Germans in the Sudetenland. [26] He condemned Beneš for his government's recent execution of several German protesters. [26] He accused Beneš of being belligerent and threatening behaviour towards Germany which, if war broke out, would result in Beneš forcing Sudeten Germans to fight against their will against Germans from Germany. [26] Hitler accused the government of Czechoslovakia of being a client regime of France, claiming that the French Minister of Aviation Pierre Cot had said, "We need this state as a base from which to drop bombs with greater ease to destroy Germany's economy and its industry". [27]

On 13 September, after internal violence and disruption in Czechoslovakia ensued, Chamberlain asked Hitler for a personal meeting to find a solution to avert a war. [28] Chamberlain arrived by plane in Germany on 15 September and then arrived at Hitler's residence in Berchtesgaden for the meeting. [29] Henlein flew to Germany on the same day. [28] That day, Hitler and Chamberlain held discussions in which Hitler insisted that the Sudeten Germans must be allowed to exercise the right of national self-determination and be able to join Sudetenland with Germany. Hitler also expressed concern to Chamberlain about what he perceived as British "threats". [29] Chamberlain responded that he had not issued "threats" and in frustration asked Hitler "Why did I come over here to waste my time?" [29] Hitler responded that if Chamberlain was willing to accept the self-determination of the Sudeten Germans, he would be willing to discuss the matter. [29] Chamberlain and Hitler held discussions for three hours, and the meeting adjourned. Chamberlain flew back to Britain and met with his cabinet to discuss the issue. [29]

After the meeting, Daladier flew to London on 16 September to meet with British officials to discuss a course of action. [30] The situation in Czechoslovakia became tenser that day, with the Czechoslovak government issuing an arrest warrant for Henlein, who had arrived in Germany a day earlier to take part in the negotiations. [31] The French proposals ranged from waging war against Germany to supporting the Sudetenland being ceded to Germany. [31] The discussions ended with a firm British-French plan in place. [31] Britain and France demanded that Czechoslovakia cede to Germany all territories in which the German population represented over 50% of the Sudetenland's total population. [31] In exchange for that concession, Britain and France would guarantee the independence of Czechoslovakia. [31] The proposed solution was rejected by both Czechoslovakia and opponents of it in Britain and France. [31] [ clarification needed ]

On 17 September 1938 Hitler ordered the establishment of Sudetendeutsches Freikorps, a paramilitary organization that took over the structure of Ordnersgruppe, an organization of ethnic-Germans in Czechoslovakia that had been dissolved by the Czechoslovak authorities the previous day due to its implication in a large number of terrorist activities. The organization was sheltered, trained and equipped by German authorities and conducted cross border terrorist operations into Czechoslovak territory. Relying on the Convention for the Definition of Aggression, Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš [32] and the government-in-exile [33] later regarded 17 September 1938 as the beginning of the undeclared German-Czechoslovak war. This understanding has been assumed also by the contemporary Czech Constitutional court. [34] In the following days, Czechoslovak forces suffered over 100 personnel killed in action, hundreds wounded and over 2.000 abducted to Germany.

On 18 September, Italy's Duce Benito Mussolini made a speech in Trieste, Italy, where he declared "If there are two camps, for and against Prague, let it be known that Italy has chosen its side", with the clear implication being that Mussolini supported Germany in the crisis. [29]

On 20 September, German opponents to the Nazi regime within the military met to discuss the final plans of a plot they had developed to overthrow the Nazi regime. The meeting was led by General Hans Oster, the deputy head of the Abwehr (Germany's counter-espionage agency). Other members included Captain Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz [de] , and other military officers leading the planned coup d'etat met at the meeting. [35] On 22 September, Chamberlain, about to board his plane to go to Germany for further talks at Bad Godesberg, told the press who met him there that "My objective is peace in Europe, I trust this trip is the way to that peace." [31] Chamberlain arrived in Cologne, where he received a lavish grand welcome with a German band playing "God Save the King" and Germans giving Chamberlain flowers and gifts. [31] Chamberlain had calculated that fully accepting German annexation of all of the Sudetenland with no reductions would force Hitler to accept the agreement. [31] Upon being told of this, Hitler responded "Does this mean that the Allies have agreed with Prague's approval to the transfer of the Sudetenland to Germany?", Chamberlain responded "Precisely", to which Hitler responded by shaking his head, saying that the Allied offer was insufficient. He told Chamberlain that he wanted Czechoslovakia to be completely dissolved and its territories redistributed to Germany, Poland, and Hungary, and told Chamberlain to take it or leave it. [31] Chamberlain was shaken by this statement. [31] Hitler went on to tell Chamberlain that since their last meeting on the 15th, Czechoslovakia's actions, which Hitler claimed included killings of Germans, had made the situation unbearable for Germany. [31]

Later in the meeting, a prearranged deception was undertaken in order to influence and put pressure on Chamberlain: one of Hitler's aides entered the room to inform Hitler of more Germans being killed in Czechoslovakia, to which Hitler screamed in response "I will avenge every one of them. The Czechs must be destroyed." [31] The meeting ended with Hitler refusing to make any concessions to the Allies' demands. [31] Later that evening, Hitler grew worried that he had gone too far in pressuring Chamberlain, and telephoned Chamberlain's hotel suite, saying that he would accept annexing only the Sudetenland, with no designs on other territories, provided that Czechoslovakia begin the evacuation of ethnic Czechs from the German majority territories by 26 September at 8:00am. After being pressed by Chamberlain, Hitler agreed to have the ultimatum set for 1 October (the same date that Operation Green was set to begin). [36] Hitler then said to Chamberlain that this was one concession that he was willing to make to the Prime Minister as a "gift" out of respect for the fact that Chamberlain had been willing to back down somewhat on his earlier position. [36] Hitler went on to say that upon annexing the Sudetenland, Germany would hold no further territorial claims upon Czechoslovakia and would enter into a collective agreement to guarantee the borders of Germany and Czechoslovakia. [36]

Meanwhile, a new Czechoslovak cabinet, under General Jan Syrový, was installed and on 23 September a decree of general mobilization was issued which was accepted by the public with a strong enthusiasm - within 24 hours, one million men joined the army to defend the country. The Czechoslovak army, modern, experienced and possessing an excellent system of frontier fortifications, was prepared to fight. The Soviet Union announced its willingness to come to Czechoslovakia's assistance, provided that the Soviet Army would be able to cross Polish and Romanian territory. Both countries refused to allow the Soviet army to use their territories. [37]

In the early hours of 24 September, Hitler issued the Godesberg Memorandum, which demanded that Czechoslovakia cede the Sudetenland to Germany no later than 28 September, with plebiscites to be held in unspecified areas under the supervision of German and Czechoslovak forces. The memorandum also stated that if Czechoslovakia did not agree to the German demands by 2 pm on 28 September, Germany would take the Sudetenland by force. On the same day, Chamberlain returned to Britain and announced that Hitler demanded the annexation of the Sudetenland without delay. [36] The announcement enraged those in Britain and France who wanted to confront Hitler once and for all, even if it meant war, and its supporters gained strength. [36] The Czechoslovak Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Jan Masaryk, was elated upon hearing of the support for Czechoslovakia from British and French opponents of Hitler's plans, saying "The nation of Saint Wenceslas will never be a nation of slaves." [36]

On 25 September, Czechoslovakia agreed to the conditions previously agreed upon by Britain, France, and Germany. The next day, however, Hitler added new demands, insisting that the claims of ethnic Germans in Poland and Hungary also be satisfied.

On 26 September, Chamberlain sent Sir Horace Wilson to carry a personal letter to Hitler declaring that the Allies wanted a peaceful resolution to the Sudeten crisis. [36] Later that evening, Hitler made his response in a speech at the Sportpalast in Berlin he claimed that the Sudetenland was "the last territorial demand I have to make in Europe" [38] and gave Czechoslovakia a deadline of 28 September at 2:00 pm to cede the Sudetenland to Germany or face war. [36]

On 28 September at 10:00 am, four hours before the deadline and with no agreement to Hitler's demand by Czechoslovakia, the British ambassador to Italy, Lord Perth, called Italy's Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano to request an urgent meeting. [36] Perth informed Ciano that Chamberlain had instructed him to request that Mussolini enter the negotiations and urge Hitler to delay the ultimatum. [36] At 11:00 am, Ciano met Mussolini and informed him of Chamberlain's proposition Mussolini agreed with it and responded by telephoning Italy's ambassador to Germany and told him "Go to the Fuhrer at once, and tell him that whatever happens, I will be at his side, but that I request a twenty-four-hour delay before hostilities begin. In the meantime, I will study what can be done to solve the problem." [39] Hitler received Mussolini's message while in discussions with the French ambassador. Hitler told the ambassador "My good friend, Benito Mussolini, has asked me to delay for twenty-four hours the marching orders of the German army, and I agreed. Of course, this was no concession, as the invasion date was set for 1 October 1938." [40] Upon speaking with Chamberlain, Lord Perth gave Chamberlain's thanks to Mussolini as well as Chamberlain's request that Mussolini attend a four-power conference of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy in Munich on 29 September to settle the Sudeten problem prior to the deadline of 2:00 pm. Mussolini agreed. [40] Hitler's only request was to make sure that Mussolini be involved in the negotiations at the conference. [40] When United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt learned the conference had been scheduled, he telegraphed Chamberlain, "Good man". [41]


The historical state is frequently referred to as the "Empire of Japan", the "Japanese Empire", or "Imperial Japan" in English. In Japanese it is referred to as Dai Nippon Teikoku ( 大日本帝国 ) , [11] which translates to "Empire of Great Japan" (Dai "Great", Nippon "Japanese", Teikoku "Empire"). Teikoku is itself composed of the nouns Tei "referring to an emperor" and -koku "nation, state", so literally "Imperial State" or "Imperial Realm" (compare the German Kaiserreich).

This meaning is significant in terms of geography, encompassing Japan, and its surrounding areas. The nomenclature Empire of Japan had existed since the anti-Tokugawa domains, Satsuma and Chōshū, which founded their new government during the Meiji Restoration, with the intention of forming a modern state to resist Western domination. Later the Empire emerged as a major colonial power in the world.

Due to its name in kanji characters and its flag, it was also given the exonym "Empire of the Sun".

Background Edit

After two centuries, the seclusion policy, or sakoku, under the shōguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was forced open to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa which came when Matthew C. Perry arrived in Japan in 1854. Thus, the period known as Bakumatsu began.

The following years saw increased foreign trade and interaction commercial treaties between the Tokugawa shogunate and Western countries were signed. In large part due to the humiliating terms of these unequal treaties, the shogunate soon faced internal hostility, which materialized into a radical, xenophobic movement, the sonnō jōi (literally "Revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians"). [15]

In March 1863, the Emperor issued the "order to expel barbarians." Although the shogunate had no intention of enforcing the order, it nevertheless inspired attacks against the shogunate itself and against foreigners in Japan. The Namamugi Incident during 1862 led to the murder of an Englishman, Charles Lennox Richardson, by a party of samurai from Satsuma. The British demanded reparations but were denied. While attempting to exact payment, the Royal Navy was fired on from coastal batteries near the town of Kagoshima. They responded by bombarding the port of Kagoshima in 1863. The Tokugawa government agreed to pay an indemnity for Richardson's death. [16] Shelling of foreign shipping in Shimonoseki and attacks against foreign property led to the bombardment of Shimonoseki by a multinational force in 1864. [17] The Chōshū clan also launched the failed coup known as the Kinmon incident. The Satsuma-Chōshū alliance was established in 1866 to combine their efforts to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu. In early 1867, Emperor Kōmei died of smallpox and was replaced by his son, Crown Prince Mutsuhito (Meiji).

On November 9, 1867, Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned from his post and authorities to the Emperor, agreeing to "be the instrument for carrying out" imperial orders, [18] leading to the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. [19] [20] However, while Yoshinobu's resignation had created a nominal void at the highest level of government, his apparatus of state continued to exist. Moreover, the shogunal government, the Tokugawa family in particular, remained a prominent force in the evolving political order and retained many executive powers, [21] a prospect hard-liners from Satsuma and Chōshū found intolerable. [22]

On January 3, 1868, Satsuma-Chōshū forces seized the imperial palace in Kyoto, and the following day had the fifteen-year-old Emperor Meiji declare his own restoration to full power. Although the majority of the imperial consultative assembly was happy with the formal declaration of direct rule by the court and tended to support a continued collaboration with the Tokugawa, Saigō Takamori, leader of the Satsuma clan, threatened the assembly into abolishing the title shōgun and ordered the confiscation of Yoshinobu's lands. [23]

On January 17, 1868, Yoshinobu declared "that he would not be bound by the proclamation of the Restoration and called on the court to rescind it". [24] On January 24, Yoshinobu decided to prepare an attack on Kyoto, occupied by Satsuma and Chōshū forces. This decision was prompted by his learning of a series of arson attacks in Edo, starting with the burning of the outworks of Edo Castle, the main Tokugawa residence.

Boshin War Edit

The Boshin War ( 戊辰戦争 , Boshin Sensō) was fought between January 1868 and May 1869. The alliance of samurai from southern and western domains and court officials had now secured the cooperation of the young Emperor Meiji, who ordered the dissolution of the two-hundred-year-old Tokugawa shogunate. Tokugawa Yoshinobu launched a military campaign to seize the emperor's court at Kyoto. However, the tide rapidly turned in favor of the smaller but relatively modernized imperial faction and resulted in defections of many daimyōs to the Imperial side. The Battle of Toba–Fushimi was a decisive victory in which a combined army from Chōshū, Tosa, and Satsuma domains defeated the Tokugawa army. [25] A series of battles were then fought in pursuit of supporters of the Shogunate Edo surrendered to the Imperial forces and afterwards Yoshinobu personally surrendered. Yoshinobu was stripped of all his power by Emperor Meiji and most of Japan accepted the emperor's rule.

Pro-Tokugawa remnants, however, then retreated to northern Honshū (Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei) and later to Ezo (present-day Hokkaidō), where they established the breakaway Republic of Ezo. An expeditionary force was dispatched by the new government and the Ezo Republic forces were overwhelmed. The siege of Hakodate came to an end in May 1869 and the remaining forces surrendered. [25]

Meiji era (1868–1912) Edit

The Charter Oath was made public at the enthronement of Emperor Meiji of Japan on April 7, 1868. The Oath outlined the main aims and the course of action to be followed during Emperor Meiji's reign, setting the legal stage for Japan's modernization. [26] The Meiji leaders also aimed to boost morale and win financial support for the new government.

Japan dispatched the Iwakura Mission in 1871. The mission traveled the world in order to renegotiate the unequal treaties with the United States and European countries that Japan had been forced into during the Tokugawa shogunate, and to gather information on western social and economic systems, in order to effect the modernization of Japan. Renegotiation of the unequal treaties was universally unsuccessful, but close observation of the American and European systems inspired members on their return to bring about modernization initiatives in Japan. Japan made a territorial delimitation treaty with Russia in 1875, gaining all the Kuril islands in exchange for Sakhalin island. [27]

The Japanese government sent observers to Western countries to observe and learn their practices, and also paid "foreign advisors" in a variety of fields to come to Japan to educate the populace. For instance, the judicial system and constitution were modeled after Prussia, described by Saburō Ienaga as "an attempt to control popular thought with a blend of Confucianism and German conservatism." [28] The government also outlawed customs linked to Japan's feudal past, such as publicly displaying and wearing katana and the top knot, both of which were characteristic of the samurai class, which was abolished together with the caste system. This would later bring the Meiji government into conflict with the samurai.

Several writers, under the constant threat of assassination from their political foes, were influential in winning Japanese support for westernization. One such writer was Fukuzawa Yukichi, whose works included "Conditions in the West," "Leaving Asia", and "An Outline of a Theory of Civilization," which detailed Western society and his own philosophies. In the Meiji Restoration period, military and economic power was emphasized. Military strength became the means for national development and stability. Imperial Japan became the only non-Western world power and a major force in East Asia in about 25 years as a result of industrialization and economic development.

As writer Albrecht Fürst von Urach comments in his booklet "The Secret of Japan's Strength," published in 1942, during the Axis powers period:

The rise of Japan to a world power during the past 80 years is the greatest miracle in world history. The mighty empires of antiquity, the major political institutions of the Middle Ages and the early modern era, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, all needed centuries to achieve their full strength. Japan's rise has been meteoric. After only 80 years, it is one of the few great powers that determine the fate of the world. [29]

Transposition in social order Edit

In the 1860s, Japan began to experience great social turmoil and rapid modernization. The feudal caste system in Japan formally ended in 1869 with the Meiji restoration. In 1871, the newly formed Meiji government issued a decree called Senmin Haishirei (賤民廃止令 Edict Abolishing Ignoble Classes) giving outcasts equal legal status. It is currently better known as the Kaihōrei (解放令 Emancipation Edict). However, the elimination of their economic monopolies over certain occupations actually led to a decline in their general living standards, while social discrimination simply continued. For example, the ban on consumption of meat from livestock was lifted in 1871, and many former eta moved on to work in abattoirs and as butchers. However, slow-changing social attitudes, especially in the countryside, meant that abattoirs and workers were met with hostility from local residents. Continued ostracism as well as the decline in living standards led to former eta communities turning into slum areas.

The social tension continued to grow during the Meiji period, affecting religious practices and institutions. Conversion from traditional faith was no longer legally forbidden, officials lifted the 250-year ban on Christianity, and missionaries of established Christian churches reentered Japan. The traditional syncreticism between Shinto and Buddhism ended. Losing the protection of the Japanese government which Buddhism had enjoyed for centuries, Buddhist monks faced radical difficulties in sustaining their institutions, but their activities also became less restrained by governmental policies and restrictions. As social conflicts emerged in this last decade of the Edo period, some new religious movements appeared, which were directly influenced by shamanism and Shinto.

Emperor Ogimachi issued edicts to ban Catholicism in 1565 and 1568, but to little effect. Beginning in 1587 with imperial regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi's ban on Jesuit missionaries, Christianity was repressed as a threat to national unity. Under Hideyoshi and the succeeding Tokugawa shogunate, Catholic Christianity was repressed and adherents were persecuted. After the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity in 1620, it ceased to exist publicly. Many Catholics went underground, becoming hidden Christians ( 隠れキリシタン , kakure kirishitan) , while others lost their lives. After Japan was opened to foreign powers in 1853, many Christian clergymen were sent from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches, though proselytism was still banned. Only after the Meiji Restoration, was Christianity re-established in Japan. Freedom of religion was introduced in 1871, giving all Christian communities the right to legal existence and preaching.

Eastern Orthodoxy was brought to Japan in the 19th century by St. Nicholas (baptized as Ivan Dmitrievich Kasatkin), [30] who was sent in 1861 by the Russian Orthodox Church to Hakodate, Hokkaidō as priest to a chapel of the Russian Consulate. [31] St. Nicholas of Japan made his own translation of the New Testament and some other religious books (Lenten Triodion, Pentecostarion, Feast Services, Book of Psalms, Irmologion) into Japanese. [32] Nicholas has since been canonized as a saint by the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1970, and is now recognized as St. Nicholas, Equal-to-the-Apostles to Japan. His commemoration day is February 16. Andronic Nikolsky, appointed the first Bishop of Kyoto and later martyred as the archbishop of Perm during the Russian Revolution, was also canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as a Saint and Martyr in the year 2000.

Divie Bethune McCartee was the first ordained Presbyterian minister missionary to visit Japan, in 1861–1862. His gospel tract translated into Japanese was among the first Protestant literature in Japan. In 1865, McCartee moved back to Ningbo, China, but others have followed in his footsteps. There was a burst of growth of Christianity in the late 19th century when Japan re-opened its doors to the West. Protestant church growth slowed dramatically in the early 20th century under the influence of the military government during the Shōwa period.

During the early 20th century, the government was suspicious towards a number of unauthorized religious movements and periodically made attempts to suppress them. Government suppression was especially severe from the 1930s until the early 1940s, when the growth of Japanese nationalism and State Shinto were closely linked. Under the Meiji regime lèse majesté prohibited insults against the Emperor and his Imperial House, and also against some major Shinto shrines which were believed to be tied strongly to the Emperor. The government strengthened its control over religious institutions that were considered to undermine State Shinto or nationalism.

Political reform Edit

The idea of a written constitution had been a subject of heated debate within and outside of the government since the beginnings of the Meiji government. The conservative Meiji oligarchy viewed anything resembling democracy or republicanism with suspicion and trepidation, and favored a gradualist approach. The Freedom and People's Rights Movement demanded the immediate establishment of an elected national assembly, and the promulgation of a constitution.

The constitution recognized the need for change and modernization after removal of the shogunate:

We, the Successor to the prosperous Throne of Our Predecessors, do humbly and solemnly swear to the Imperial Founder of Our House and to Our other Imperial Ancestors that, in pursuance of a great policy co-extensive with the Heavens and with the Earth, We shall maintain and secure from decline the ancient form of government. . In consideration of the progressive tendency of the course of human affairs and in parallel with the advance of civilization, We deem it expedient, in order to give clearness and distinctness to the instructions bequeathed by the Imperial Founder of Our House and by Our other Imperial Ancestors, to establish fundamental laws. .

Imperial Japan was founded, de jure, after the 1889 signing of Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The constitution formalized much of the Empire's political structure and gave many responsibilities and powers to the Emperor.

  • Article 4. The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution.
  • Article 6. The Emperor gives sanction to laws, and orders them to be promulgated and executed.
  • Article 11. The Emperor has the supreme command of the Army and Navy. [33]

In 1890, the Imperial Diet was established in response to the Meiji Constitution. The Diet consisted of the House of Representatives of Japan and the House of Peers. Both houses opened seats for colonial people as well as Japanese. The Imperial Diet continued until 1947. [6]

Economic development Edit

The process of modernization was closely monitored and heavily subsidized by the Meiji government in close connection with a powerful clique of companies known as zaibatsu (e.g.: Mitsui and Mitsubishi). Borrowing and adapting technology from the West, Japan gradually took control of much of Asia's market for manufactured goods, beginning with textiles. The economic structure became very mercantilistic, importing raw materials and exporting finished products — a reflection of Japan's relative scarcity of raw materials.

Economic reforms included a unified modern currency based on the yen, banking, commercial and tax laws, stock exchanges, and a communications network. The government was initially involved in economic modernization, providing a number of "model factories" to facilitate the transition to the modern period. The transition took time. By the 1890s, however, the Meiji had successfully established a modern institutional framework that would transform Japan into an advanced capitalist economy. By this time, the government had largely relinquished direct control of the modernization process, primarily for budgetary reasons. Many of the former daimyōs, whose pensions had been paid in a lump sum, benefited greatly through investments they made in emerging industries.

Japan emerged from the Tokugawa-Meiji transition as an industrialized nation. From the onset, the Meiji rulers embraced the concept of a market economy and adopted British and North American forms of free enterprise capitalism. Rapid growth and structural change characterized Japan's two periods of economic development after 1868. Initially, the economy grew only moderately and relied heavily on traditional Japanese agriculture to finance modern industrial infrastructure. By the time the Russo-Japanese War began in 1904, 65% of employment and 38% of the gross domestic product (GDP) were still based on agriculture, but modern industry had begun to expand substantially. By the late 1920s, manufacturing and mining amounted to 34% of GDP, compared with 20% for all of agriculture. [34] Transportation and communications developed to sustain heavy industrial development.

From 1894, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and parts of northern China. The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence as a political and economic necessity, which prevented foreign states from strangling Japan by blocking its access to raw materials and crucial sea-lanes. Japan's large military force was regarded as essential to the empire's defense and prosperity by obtaining natural resources that the Japanese islands lacked.

First Sino-Japanese War Edit

The First Sino-Japanese War, fought in 1894 and 1895, revolved around the issue of control and influence over Korea under the rule of the Joseon Dynasty. Korea had traditionally been a tributary state of China's Qing Empire, which exerted large influence over the conservative Korean officials who gathered around the royal family of the Joseon kingdom. On February 27, 1876, after several confrontations between Korean isolationists and Japanese, Japan imposed the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876, forcing Korea open to Japanese trade. The act blocks any other power from dominating Korea, resolving to end the centuries-old Chinese suzerainty.

On June 4, 1894, Korea requested aid from the Qing Empire in suppressing the Donghak Rebellion. The Qing government sent 2,800 troops to Korea. The Japanese countered by sending an 8,000-troop expeditionary force (the Oshima Composite Brigade) to Korea. The first 400 troops arrived on June 9 en route to Seoul, and 3,000 landed at Incheon on June 12. [35] The Qing government turned down Japan's suggestion for Japan and China to cooperate to reform the Korean government. When Korea demanded that Japan withdraw its troops from Korea, the Japanese refused. In early June 1894, the 8,000 Japanese troops captured the Korean king Gojong, occupied the Royal Palace in Seoul and, by June 25, installed a puppet government in Seoul. The new pro-Japanese Korean government granted Japan the right to expel Qing forces while Japan dispatched more troops to Korea.

China objected and war ensued. Japanese ground troops routed the Chinese forces on the Liaodong Peninsula, and nearly destroyed the Chinese navy in the Battle of the Yalu River. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed between Japan and China, which ceded the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Taiwan to Japan. After the peace treaty, Russia, Germany, and France forced Japan to withdraw from Liaodong Peninsula. Soon afterwards Russia occupied the Liaodong Peninsula, built the Port Arthur fortress, and based the Russian Pacific Fleet in the port. Germany occupied Jiaozhou Bay, built Tsingtao fortress and based the German East Asia Squadron in this port.

Boxer Rebellion Edit

In 1900, Japan joined an international military coalition set up in response to the Boxer Rebellion in the Qing Empire of China. Japan provided the largest contingent of troops: 20,840, as well as 18 warships. Of the total, 20,300 were Imperial Japanese Army troops of the 5th Infantry Division under Lt. General Yamaguchi Motoomi the remainder were 540 naval rikusentai (marines) from the Imperial Japanese Navy. [ citation needed ]

At the beginning of the Boxer Rebellion the Japanese only had 215 troops in northern China stationed at Tientsin nearly all of them were naval rikusentai from the Kasagi and the Atago, under the command of Captain Shimamura Hayao. [36] The Japanese were able to contribute 52 men to the Seymour Expedition. [36] On June 12, 1900, the advance of the Seymour Expedition was halted some 50 kilometers (30 mi) from the capital, by mixed Boxer and Chinese regular army forces. The vastly outnumbered allies withdrew to the vicinity of Tianjin, having suffered more than 300 casualties. [37] The army general staff in Tokyo had become aware of the worsening conditions in China and had drafted ambitious contingency plans, [38] but in the wake of the Triple Intervention five years before, the government refused to deploy large numbers of troops unless requested by the western powers. [38] However three days later, a provisional force of 1,300 troops commanded by Major General Fukushima Yasumasa was to be deployed to northern China. Fukushima was chosen because he spoke fluent English which enabled him to communicate with the British commander. The force landed near Tianjin on July 5. [38]

On June 17, 1900, naval Rikusentai from the Kasagi and Atago had joined British, Russian, and German sailors to seize the Dagu forts near Tianjin. [38] In light of the precarious situation, the British were compelled to ask Japan for additional reinforcements, as the Japanese had the only readily available forces in the region. [38] Britain at the time was heavily engaged in the Boer War, so a large part of the British army was tied down in South Africa. Further, deploying large numbers of troops from its garrisons in India would take too much time and weaken internal security there. [38] Overriding personal doubts, Foreign Minister Aoki Shūzō calculated that the advantages of participating in an allied coalition were too attractive to ignore. Prime Minister Yamagata agreed, but others in the cabinet demanded that there be guarantees from the British in return for the risks and costs of the major deployment of Japanese troops. [38] On July 6, 1900, the 5th Infantry Division was alerted for possible deployment to China, but no timetable was set for this. Two days later, with more ground troops urgently needed to lift the siege of the foreign legations at Peking, the British ambassador offered the Japanese government one million British pounds in exchange for Japanese participation. [38]

Shortly afterward, advance units of the 5th Division departed for China, bringing Japanese strength to 3,800 personnel out of the 17,000 of allied forces. [38] The commander of the 5th Division, Lt. General Yamaguchi Motoomi, had taken operational control from Fukushima. Japanese troops were involved in the storming of Tianjin on July 14, [38] after which the allies consolidated and awaited the remainder of the 5th Division and other coalition reinforcements. By the time the siege of legations was lifted on August 14, 1900, the Japanese force of 13,000 was the largest single contingent and made up about 40% of the approximately 33,000 strong allied expeditionary force. [38] Japanese troops involved in the fighting had acquitted themselves well, although a British military observer felt their aggressiveness, densely-packed formations, and over-willingness to attack cost them excessive and disproportionate casualties. [39] For example, during the Tianjin fighting, the Japanese suffered more than half of the allied casualties (400 out of 730) but comprised less than one quarter (3,800) of the force of 17,000. [39] Similarly at Beijing, the Japanese accounted for almost two-thirds of the losses (280 of 453) even though they constituted slightly less than half of the assault force. [39]

After the uprising, Japan and the Western countries signed the Boxer Protocol with China, which permitted them to station troops on Chinese soil to protect their citizens. After the treaty, Russia continued to occupy all of Manchuria.


In China, the war is most commonly known as the "War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression" (simplified Chinese: 抗日战争 traditional Chinese: 抗日戰爭 ), and shortened to the "Resistance against Japanese Aggression" (Chinese: 抗日 ) or the "War of Resistance" (simplified Chinese: 抗战 traditional Chinese: 抗戰 ). It was also called the "Eight Years' War of Resistance" (simplified Chinese: 八年抗战 traditional Chinese: 八年抗戰 ), but in 2017 the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a directive stating that textbooks were to refer to the war as the "Fourteen Years' War of Resistance" (simplified Chinese: 十四年抗战 traditional Chinese: 十四年抗戰 ), reflecting a focus on the broader conflict with Japan going back to 1931. [39] It is also referred to as part of the "Global Anti-Fascist War", which is how World War II is perceived by the Communist Party of China and the PRC government. [40]

In Japan, nowadays, the name "Japan–China War" (Japanese: 日中戦爭 , romanized: Nitchū Sensō) is most commonly used because of its perceived objectivity. When the invasion of China proper began in earnest in July 1937 near Beijing, the government of Japan used "The North China Incident" (Japanese: 北支事變/華北事變 , romanized: Hokushi Jihen/Kahoku Jihen), and with the outbreak of the Battle of Shanghai the following month, it was changed to "The China Incident" (Japanese: 支那事變 , romanized: Shina Jihen).

The word "incident" (Japanese: 事變 , romanized: jihen) was used by Japan, as neither country had made a formal declaration of war. From the Japanese perspective, localizing these conflicts was beneficial in preventing intervention from other nations, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States, which were its primary source of petroleum and steel respectively. A formal expression of these conflicts would potentially lead to American embargo in accordance with the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s. [41] In addition, due to China's fractured political status, Japan often claimed that China was no longer a recognizable political entity on which war could be declared. [42]

Other names Edit

In Japanese propaganda, the invasion of China became a crusade (Japanese: 聖戦 , romanized: seisen), the first step of the "eight corners of the world under one roof" slogan (Japanese: 八紘一宇 , romanized: Hakkō ichiu). In 1940, Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe launched the Taisei Yokusankai. When both sides formally declared war in December 1941, the name was replaced by "Greater East Asia War" (Japanese: 大東亞戰爭 , romanized: Daitōa Sensō).

Although the Japanese government still uses the term "China Incident" in formal documents, [43] the word Shina is considered derogatory by China and therefore the media in Japan often paraphrase with other expressions like "The Japan–China Incident" (Japanese: 日華事變/日支事變 , romanized: Nikka Jiken/Nisshi Jiken), which were used by media as early as the 1930's.

The name "Second Sino-Japanese War" is not commonly used in Japan as the war it fought against China in 1894 to 1895 was led by the Qing dynasty, and thus is called the Qing-Japanese War (Japanese: 日清戦争 , romanized: Nisshin–Sensō), rather than the First Sino-Japanese War.

The origins of the Second Sino-Japanese War can be traced back to the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895, in which China, then under the rule of the Qing dynasty, was defeated by Japan, forced to cede Taiwan to Japan, and recognize the full and complete independence of Korea in the Treaty of Shimonoseki Japan also annexed the Diaoyudao/Senkaku Islands in early 1895 as a result of its victory at the end of the war (Japan claims the islands were uninhabited in 1895). [44] [45] [46] The Qing dynasty was on the brink of collapse due to internal revolts and foreign imperialism, while Japan had emerged as a great power through its effective measures of modernization. [47]

Republic of China Edit

The Republic of China was founded in 1912, following the Xinhai Revolution which overthrew the last imperial dynasty of China, the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). However, central authority disintegrated and the Republic's authority succumbed to that of regional warlords, mostly from the former Beiyang Army. Unifying the nation and expelling the influence of foreign powers seemed a very remote possibility. [48] Some warlords even aligned themselves with various foreign powers in their battles with each other. For example, the warlord Zhang Zuolin of Manchuria from the Fengtian clique openly cooperated with the Japanese for military and economic assistance. [49]

Twenty-One Demands Edit

In 1915, Japan issued the Twenty-One Demands to extort further political and commercial privilege from China, which was accepted by Yuan Shikai. [50] Following World War I, Japan acquired the German Empire's sphere of influence in Shandong province, [51] leading to nationwide anti-Japanese protests and mass demonstrations in China. Under the Beiyang Government, China remained fragmented and was unable to resist foreign incursions. [52] For the purpose of unifying China and defeating the regional warlords, the Kuomintang (KMT, alternatively known as the Chinese Nationalist Party) in Guangzhou launched the Northern Expedition from 1926 to 1928 with limited assistance from the Soviet Union. [53]

Jinan incident Edit

The National Revolutionary Army (NRA) formed by the KMT swept through southern and central China until it was checked in Shandong, where confrontations with the Japanese garrison escalated into armed conflict. The conflicts were collectively known as the Jinan incident of 1928, during which time the Japanese military killed several Chinese officials and fired artillery shells into Jinan. Between 2,000 and 11,000 Chinese and Japanese civilians were believed to have been killed during these conflicts. Relations between the Chinese Nationalist government and Japan severely worsened as a result of the Jinan incident. [54] [55]

Reunification of China (1928) Edit

As the National Revolutionary Army approached Beijing, Zhang Zuolin decided to retreat back to Manchuria, before he was assassinated by the Kwantung Army in 1928. [56] His son, Zhang Xueliang, took over as the leader of the Fengtian clique in Manchuria. Later in the same year, Zhang decided to declare his allegiance to the Nationalist government in Nanjing under Chiang Kai-shek, and consequently, China was nominally reunified under one government. [57]

1929 Sino-Soviet war Edit

The July–November 1929 conflict over the Chinese Eastern Railroad (CER) further increased the tensions in the Northeast that led to the Mukden Incident and eventually the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Soviet Red Army victory over Zhang Xueliang's forces not only reasserted Soviet control over the CER in Manchuria but revealed Chinese military weaknesses that Japanese Kwantung Army officers were quick to note. [58]

The Soviet Red Army performance also stunned the Japanese. Manchuria was central to Japan's East Asia policy. Both the 1921 and 1927 Imperial Eastern Region Conferences reconfirmed Japan's commitment to be the dominant power in the Northeast. The 1929 Red Army victory shook that policy to the core and reopened the Manchurian problem. By 1930, the Kwantung Army realized they faced a Red Army that was only growing stronger. The time to act was drawing near and Japanese plans to conquer the Northeast were accelerated. [59]

Communist Party of China Edit

In 1930, the Central Plains War broke out across China, involving regional commanders who had fought in alliance with the Kuomintang during the Northern Expedition, and the Nanjing government under Chiang. The Communist Party of China (CPC) previously fought openly against the Nanjing government after the Shanghai massacre of 1927, and they continued to expand during this civil war. The Kuomintang government in Nanjing decided to focus their efforts on suppressing the Chinese Communists through the Encirclement Campaigns, following the policy of "first internal pacification, then external resistance" (Chinese: 攘外必先安內 ).

The internecine warfare in China provided excellent opportunities for Japan, which saw Manchuria as a limitless supply of raw materials, a market for its manufactured goods (now excluded from the markets of many Western countries as a result of Depression-era tariffs), and a protective buffer state against the Soviet Union in Siberia. [ citation needed ] Japan invaded Manchuria outright after the Mukden Incident in September 1931. Japan charged that its rights in Manchuria, which had been established as a result of its victory at the end of the Russo-Japanese War, had been systematically violated and there were "more than 120 cases of infringement of rights and interests, interference with business, boycott of Japanese goods, unreasonable taxation, detention of individuals, confiscation of properties, eviction, demand for cessation of business, assault and battery, and the oppression of Korean residents". [60]

After five months of fighting, Japan established the puppet state of Manchukuo in 1932, and installed the last Emperor of China, Puyi, as its puppet ruler. Militarily too weak to challenge Japan directly, China appealed to the League of Nations for help. The League's investigation led to the publication of the Lytton Report, condemning Japan for its incursion into Manchuria, causing Japan to withdraw from the League of Nations. No country took action against Japan beyond tepid censure.

Incessant fighting followed the Mukden Incident. In 1932, Chinese and Japanese troops fought the January 28 Incident battle. This resulted in the demilitarization of Shanghai, which forbade the Chinese from deploying troops in their own city. In Manchukuo there was an ongoing campaign to defeat the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies that arose from widespread outrage over the policy of non-resistance to Japan.

In 1933, the Japanese attacked the Great Wall region. The Tanggu Truce established in its aftermath, gave Japan control of Jehol province as well as a demilitarized zone between the Great Wall and Beiping-Tianjin region. Japan aimed to create another buffer zone between Manchukuo and the Chinese Nationalist government in Nanjing.

Japan increasingly exploited China's internal conflicts to reduce the strength of its fractious opponents. Even years after the Northern Expedition, the political power of the Nationalist government was limited to just the area of the Yangtze River Delta. Other sections of China were essentially in the hands of local Chinese warlords. Japan sought various Chinese collaborators and helped them establish governments friendly to Japan. This policy was called the Specialization of North China (Chinese: 華北特殊化 pinyin: huáběitèshūhùa ), more commonly known as the North China Autonomous Movement. The northern provinces affected by this policy were Chahar, Suiyuan, Hebei, Shanxi, and Shandong.

This Japanese policy was most effective in the area of what is now Inner Mongolia and Hebei. In 1935, under Japanese pressure, China signed the He–Umezu Agreement, which forbade the KMT from conducting party operations in Hebei. In the same year, the Chin–Doihara Agreement was signed expelling the KMT from Chahar. Thus, by the end of 1935 the Chinese government had essentially abandoned northern China. In its place, the Japanese-backed East Hebei Autonomous Council and the Hebei–Chahar Political Council were established. There in the empty space of Chahar the Mongol Military Government was formed on 12 May 1936. Japan provided all the necessary military and economic aid. Afterwards Chinese volunteer forces continued to resist Japanese aggression in Manchuria, and Chahar and Suiyuan.

1937: Full-scale invasion of China Edit

On the night of 7 July 1937, Chinese and Japanese troops exchanged fire in the vicinity of the Marco Polo (or Lugou) Bridge, a crucial access-route to Beijing. What began as confused, sporadic skirmishing soon escalated into a full-scale battle in which Beijing and its port city of Tianjin fell to Japanese forces (July–August 1937). On 29 July, some 5,000 troops of the 1st and 2nd Corps of the East Hopei Army mutinied, turning against the Japanese garrison. In addition to Japanese military personnel, some 260 civilians living in Tongzhou in accordance with the Boxer Protocol of 1901, were killed in the uprising (predominantly Japanese including the police force and also some ethnic Koreans). The Chinese then set fire to and destroyed much of the city. Only around 60 Japanese civilians survived, who provided both journalists and later historians with firsthand witness accounts. As a result of the violence of the mutiny against Japanese civilians, the Tungchow mutiny strongly shook public opinion within Japan.

Battle of Shanghai Edit

The Imperial General Headquarters (GHQ) in Tokyo, content with the gains acquired in northern China following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, initially showed reluctance to escalate the conflict into full-scale war. The KMT, however, determined that the "breaking point" of Japanese aggression had been reached. Chiang Kai-shek quickly mobilized the central government's army and air force, placed them under his direct command. Following the shooting of a Japanese officer attempting to enter the Honqiao military airport on 9 August 1937, the Japanese demanded that all Chinese forces withdraw from Shanghai, with the Chinese refusing to meet this demand. [61] In response, both the Chinese and the Japanese marched reinforcements into the Shanghai area.

On 13 August 1937, Kuomintang soldiers attacked Japanese Marine positions in Shanghai, with Japanese army troops and marines in turn crossing into the city with naval gunfire support at Zhabei, leading to the Battle of Shanghai. On 14 August, Chinese forces under the command of Zhang Zhizhong were ordered to capture or destroy the Japanese strongholds in Shanghai, leading to bitter street fighting. In an attack on the Japanese cruiser Izumo, Kuomintang planes accidentally bombed the Shanghai International Settlement, which led to more than 3,000 civilian deaths. [62]

In the three days from 14 August through 16, 1937, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) sent many sorties of the then-advanced long-ranged G3M medium-heavy land-based bombers and assorted carrier-based aircraft with the expectation of destroying the Chinese Air Force. However, the Imperial Japanese Navy encountered unexpected resistance from the defending Chinese Curtiss Hawk II/Hawk III and P-26/281 Peashooter fighter squadrons suffering heavy (50%) losses from the defending Chinese pilots (14 August was subsequently commemorated by the KMT as China's Air Force Day). [63] [64]

The skies of China had become a testing zone for advanced biplane and new-generation monoplane combat-aircraft designs. The introduction of the advanced A5M "Claude" fighters into the Shanghai-Nanjing theater of operations, beginning on 18 September 1937, helped the Japanese achieve a certain level of air superiority. [65] [66] However the few experienced Chinese veteran pilots, as well as several Chinese-American volunteer fighter pilots, including Maj. Art Chin, Maj. John Wong Pan-yang, and Capt. Chan Kee-Wong, even in their older and slower biplanes, [67] [68] proved more than able to hold their own against the sleek A5Ms in dogfights, and it also proved to be a battle of attrition against the Chinese Air Force. [69] [70] At the start of the battle, the local strength of the NRA was around five divisions, or about 70,000 troops, while local Japanese forces comprised about 6,300 marines. [71] On 23 August, the Chinese Air Force attacked Japanese troop landings at Wusongkou in northern Shanghai with Hawk III fighter-attack planes and P-26/281 fighter escorts, and the Japanese intercepted most of the attack with A2N and A4N fighters from the aircraft carriers Hosho and Ryujo, shooting down several of the Chinese planes while losing a single A4N in the dogfight with Lt. Huang Xinrui in his P-26/281 the Japanese Army reinforcements succeeded in landing in northern Shanghai. [72] [73] The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) ultimately committed over 200,000 troops, along with numerous naval vessels and aircraft, to capture the city. After more than three months of intense fighting, their casualties far exceeded initial expectations. [74] On 26 October, the Japanese Army captured Dachang, an important strong-point within Shanghai, and on 5 November, additional reinforcements of Japan landed from Hangzhou Bay. Finally, on 9 November, the NRA began a general retreat.

Battle of Nanjing and Nanjing Massacre Edit

Building on the hard-won victory in Shanghai, the IJA captured the KMT capital city of Nanjing (December 1937) and Northern Shanxi (September–November 1937). These campaigns involved approximately 350,000 Japanese soldiers, and considerably more Chinese.

Historians estimate that between 13 December 1937, and late January 1938, Japanese forces killed or wounded an estimated 40,000 to 300,000 Chinese (mostly civilians) in the "Nanjing Massacre" (also known as the "Rape of Nanjing"), after its fall. However, historian David Askew of Japan's Ritsumeikan University argued that less than 32,000 civilians and soldiers died and no more than 250,000 civilians could have remained in Nanjing, the vast majority of whom had taken refuge in the Nanjing Safety Zone, a foreign-established safety zone led by John Rabe who was a Nazi party official. [75] More than 75% of Nanjing's civilian population had already fled Nanjing before the battle commenced while most of the remainder took refuge in Nanking Safety Zone, leaving only destitute pariah classes like Tanka people and Duo people behind. [ citation needed ]

In 2005, a history textbook prepared by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform which had been approved by the government in 2001, sparked huge outcry and protests in China and Korea. It referred to the Nanjing Massacre and other atrocities such as the Manila massacre as an "incident", glossed over the issue of comfort women, and made only brief references to the death of Chinese soldiers and civilians in Nanjing. [76] A copy of the 2005 version of a junior high school textbook titled New History Textbook found that there is no mention of the "Nanjing Massacre" or the "Nanjing Incident". Indeed, the only one sentence that referred to this event was: "they [the Japanese troops] occupied that city in December". [77] As of 2015 [update] , some right-wing Japanese negationists deny that the massacre occurred, and have successfully lobbied for revision and exclusion of information in Japanese schoolbooks. [78]

1938 Edit

At the start of 1938, the leadership in Tokyo still hoped to limit the scope of the conflict to occupy areas around Shanghai, Nanjing and most of northern China. They thought this would preserve strength for an anticipated showdown with the Soviet Union, but by now the Japanese government and GHQ had effectively lost control of the Japanese army in China. With many victories achieved, Japanese field generals escalated the war in Jiangsu in an attempt to wipe out Chinese resistance, but were defeated at the Battle of Taierzhuang (March–April 1938). Afterwards the IJA changed its strategy and deployed almost all of its existing armies in China to attack the city of Wuhan, which had become the political, economic and military center of rump China, in hopes of destroying the fighting strength of the NRA and of forcing the KMT government to negotiate for peace. [79] On 6 June, they captured Kaifeng, the capital of Henan, and threatened to take Zhengzhou, the junction of the Pinghan and Longhai railways.

To prevent Japanese advances in western and southern China, Chiang Kai-shek, at the suggestion of Chen Guofu, ordered the opening of the dikes on the Yellow River near Zhengzhou. The original plan was to destroy the dike in Zhaokou, but due to difficulties in that place, the Huayuankou dike on the south bank was destroyed on 5 June and 7 June by excavation, with flood waters over eastern Henan, central Anhui, and north central Jiangsu. The floods covered and destroyed thousands of square kilometers of agricultural land and displaced the mouth of the Yellow River hundreds of miles to the south. Thousands of villages were flooded or destroyed and several million villagers were forced to evacuate from their homes. 400,000 people including Japanese soldiers drowned and an additional 10 million became refugees. Rivers were filled with corpses as Tanka boat dwellers drowned from boat capsize. Damage to plantations also affected the population which generated later hunger. Despite this, the Japanese captured Wuhan on 27 October 1938, forcing the KMT to retreat to Chongqing (Chungking), but Chiang Kai-shek still refused to negotiate, saying he would only consider talks if Japan agreed to withdraw to the pre-1937 borders. In 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army quickly marched into the heart of Chinese territory.

With Japanese casualties and costs mounting, the Imperial General Headquarters attempted to break Chinese resistance by ordering the air branches of their navy and army to launch the war's first massive air raids on civilian targets. Japanese raiders hit the Kuomintang's newly established provisional capital of Chongqing and most other major cities in unoccupied China, leaving many people either dead, injured, or homeless.

1939–40: Chinese counterattack and stalemate Edit

From the beginning of 1939, the war entered a new phase with the unprecedented defeat of the Japanese at Battle of Suixian–Zaoyang, 1st Battle of Changsha, Battle of South Guangxi and Battle of Zaoyi. These outcomes encouraged the Chinese to launch their first large-scale counter-offensive against the IJA in early 1940 however, due to its low military-industrial capacity and limited experience in modern warfare, this offensive was defeated. Afterwards Chiang could not risk any more all-out offensive campaigns given the poorly trained, under-equipped, and disorganized state of his armies and opposition to his leadership both within the Kuomintang and in China in general. He had lost a substantial portion of his best trained and equipped troops in the Battle of Shanghai and was at times at the mercy of his generals, who maintained a high degree of autonomy from the central KMT government.

During the offensive, Hui forces in Suiyuan under generals Ma Hongbin and Ma Buqing routed the Imperial Japanese Army and their puppet Inner Mongol forces and prevented the planned Japanese advance into northwest China. Ma Hongbin's father Ma Fulu had fought against Japanese in the Boxer Rebellion. General Ma Biao led Hui, Salar and Dongxiang cavalry to defeat the Japanese at the Battle of Huaiyang. [80] [81] [82] [83] [84] [85] [86] [87] [88] Ma Biao fought against the Japanese in the Boxer Rebellion.

After 1940, the Japanese encountered tremendous difficulties in administering and garrisoning the seized territories, and tried to solve their occupation problems by implementing a strategy of creating friendly puppet governments favorable to Japanese interests in the territories conquered, most prominently the Nanjing Nationalist Government headed by former KMT premier Wang Jingwei. However, atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army, as well as Japanese refusal to delegate any real power, left the puppets very unpopular and largely ineffective. The only success the Japanese had was to recruit a large Collaborationist Chinese Army to maintain public security in the occupied areas.

Japanese expansion Edit

By 1941, Japan held most of the eastern coastal areas of China and Vietnam, but guerrilla fighting continued in these occupied areas. Japan had suffered high casualties from unexpectedly stubborn Chinese resistance, and neither side could make any swift progress in the manner of Nazi Germany in Western Europe.

By 1943, Guangdong had experienced famine. As the situation worsened, New York Chinese compatriots received a letter stating that 600,000 people were killed in Siyi by starvation. [89]

Chinese resistance strategy Edit

The basis of Chinese strategy before the entrance of the Western Allies can be divided into two periods as follows:

  • First Period: 7 July 1937 (Battle of Lugou Bridge) – 25 October 1938 (end of the Battle of Wuhan with the fall of the city).
  • Second Period: 25 October 1938 (following the Fall of Wuhan) – December 1941 (before the Allies' declaration of war on Japan).

First period (July 1937 – October 1938) Edit

Unlike Japan, China was unprepared for total war and had little military-industrial strength, no mechanized divisions, and few armoured forces. [90] Up until the mid-1930s, China had hoped that the League of Nations would provide countermeasures to Japan's aggression. In addition, the Kuomintang (KMT) government was mired in a civil war against the Communist Party of China (CPC), as Chiang Kai-shek was quoted: "the Japanese are a disease of the skin, the Communists are a disease of the heart". The Second United Front between the KMT and CPC was never truly unified, as each side was preparing for a showdown with the other once the Japanese were driven out.

Even under these extremely unfavorable circumstances, Chiang realized that to win support from the United States and other foreign nations, China had to prove it was capable of fighting. Knowing a hasty retreat would discourage foreign aid, Chiang resolved to make a stand at Shanghai, using the best of his German-trained divisions to defend China's largest and most industrialized city from the Japanese. The battle lasted over three months, saw heavy casualties on both sides, and ended with a Chinese retreat towards Nanjing, but proved that China would not be easily defeated and showed its determination to the world. The battle became an enormous morale booster for the Chinese people, as it decisively refuted the Japanese boast that Japan could conquer Shanghai in three days and China in three months.

Afterwards, China began to adopt the Fabian strategy of "trading space for time" (simplified Chinese: 以空间换取时间 traditional Chinese: 以空間換取時間 ). The Chinese army would put up fights to delay the Japanese advance to northern and eastern cities, allowing the home front, with its professionals and key industries, to retreat west into Chongqing. As a result of Chinese troops' scorched earth strategies, dams and levees were intentionally sabotaged to create massive flooding, which caused thousands of deaths and many more to seek refuge.

Second period (October 1938 – December 1941) Edit

During this period, the main Chinese objective was to drag out the war for as long as possible in a war of attrition, thereby exhausting Japanese resources while building up Chinese military capacity. American general Joseph Stilwell called this strategy "winning by outlasting". The NRA adopted the concept of "magnetic warfare" to attract advancing Japanese troops to definite points where they were subjected to ambush, flanking attacks, and encirclements in major engagements. The most prominent example of this tactic was the successful defense of Changsha in 1939 (and again in 1941), in which heavy casualties were inflicted on the IJA.

Local Chinese resistance forces, organized separately by both the communists and KMT, continued their resistance in occupied areas to pester the enemy and make their administration over the vast land area of China difficult. In 1940, the Chinese Red Army launched a major offensive in north China, destroying railways and a major coal mine. These constant harassment and sabotage operations deeply frustrated the Imperial Japanese Army and led them to employ the "Three Alls Policy" (kill all, loot all, burn all) ( 三光政策 , Hanyu Pinyin: Sānguāng Zhèngcè, Japanese On: Sankō Seisaku). It was during this period that the bulk of Japanese war crimes were committed.

By 1941, Japan had occupied much of north and coastal China, but the KMT central government and military had retreated to the western interior to continue their resistance, while the Chinese communists remained in control of base areas in Shaanxi. In the occupied areas, Japanese control was mainly limited to railroads and major cities ("points and lines"). They did not have a major military or administrative presence in the vast Chinese countryside, where Chinese guerrillas roamed freely.

The United States strongly supported China starting in 1937 and warned Japan to get out. [91] However, the United States continued to support Japan with petroleum and scrap metal exports until the Japanese invasion of French Indochina which forced the U.S. to impose the scrap metal and oil embargo against Japan (and freezing of Japanese assets) in the summer of 1941. [92] [93] As the Soviets prepared for war against Nazi Germany in June 1941, and all new Soviet combat aircraft now destined to that war-front, Chiang Kai-shek sought American support through the Lend-Lease Act that was promised in March 1941. [94] [95] [96]

After the Lend-Lease Act was passed, American financial and military aid began to flow. [97] Claire Lee Chennault commanded the 1st American Volunteer Group (nicknamed the Flying Tigers), with American pilots flying American warplanes painted with the Chinese flag to attack the Japanese. He headed both the volunteer group and the uniformed U.S. Army Air Forces units that replaced it in 1942. [98] However, it was the Soviets that provided the greatest material help for China's war of resistance against the imperial Japanese invasion from 1937 into 1941, with fighter aircraft for the Nationalist Chinese Air Force and artillery and armour for the Chinese Army through the Sino-Soviet Treaty Operation Zet also provided for a group of Soviet volunteer combat aviators to join the Chinese Air Force in the fight against the Japanese occupation from late 1937 through 1939. The United States cut off Japan's main oil supplies in 1941 to pressure Japan to compromise regarding China, but Japan instead attacked American, British and Dutch possessions in the western Pacific. [99]

Relationship between the Nationalists and Communists Edit

After the Mukden Incident in 1931, Chinese public opinion was strongly critical of Manchuria's leader, the "young marshal" Zhang Xueliang, for his non-resistance to the Japanese invasion, even though the Kuomintang central government was also responsible for this policy, giving Zhang an order to "improvise" while not offering support. After losing Manchuria to the Japanese, Zhang and his Northeast Army were given the duty of suppressing the Red Army of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Shaanxi after their Long March. This resulted in great casualties for his Northeast Army, which received no support in manpower or weaponry from Chiang Kai-shek.

On 12 December 1936, a deeply disgruntled Zhang Xueliang kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek in Xi'an, hoping to force an end to the conflict between KMT and CPC. To secure the release of Chiang, the KMT agreed to a temporary end to the Chinese Civil War and, on 24 December, the creation of a United Front between the CPC and KMT against Japan. The alliance having salutary effects for the beleaguered CPC, they agreed to form the New Fourth Army and the 8th Route Army and place them under the nominal control of the NRA. In agreement with KMT Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region and Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Border Region were created. They were controlled by CCP. The CPC's Red Army fought alongside KMT forces during the Battle of Taiyuan, and the high point of their cooperation came in 1938 during the Battle of Wuhan.

Despite Japan's steady territorial gains in northern China, the coastal regions, and the rich Yangtze River Valley in central China, the distrust between the two antagonists was scarcely veiled. The uneasy alliance began to break down by late 1938, partially due to the Communists' aggressive efforts to expand their military strength by absorbing Chinese guerrilla forces behind Japanese lines. Chinese militia who refused to switch their allegiance were often labelled "collaborators" and attacked by CPC forces. For example, the Red Army led by He Long attacked and wiped out a brigade of Chinese militia led by Zhang Yin-wu in Hebei in June 1939. [100] Starting in 1940, open conflict between Nationalists and Communists became more frequent in the occupied areas outside of Japanese control, culminating in the New Fourth Army Incident in January 1941.

Afterwards, the Second United Front completely broke down and Chinese Communists leader Mao Zedong outlined the preliminary plan for the CPC's eventual seizure of power from Chiang Kai-shek. Mao began his final push for consolidation of CPC power under his authority, and his teachings became the central tenets of the CPC doctrine that came to be formalized as "Mao Zedong Thought". The communists also began to focus most of their energy on building up their sphere of influence wherever opportunities were presented, mainly through rural mass organizations, administrative, land and tax reform measures favoring poor peasants while the Nationalists attempted to neutralize the spread of Communist influence by military blockade of areas controlled by CPC and fighting the Japanese at the same time. [101]

Entrance of the Western Allies Edit

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war against Japan, and within days China joined the Allies in formal declaration of war against Japan, Germany and Italy. [102] As the Western Allies entered the war against Japan, the Sino-Japanese War would become part of a greater conflict, the Pacific theatre of World War II. Almost immediately, Chinese troops achieved another decisive victory in the Battle of Changsha, which earned the Chinese government much prestige from the Western Allies. President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and China as the world's "Four Policemen" his primary reason for elevating China to such a status was the belief that after the war it would serve as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. [103]

Knowledge of Japanese naval movements in the Pacific was provided to the American Navy by the Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SACO) which was run by the Chinese intelligence head Dai Li. [104] Philippine and Japanese ocean weather was affected by weather originating near northern China. [105] The base of SACO was located in Yangjiashan. [106]

Chiang Kai-shek continued to receive supplies from the United States. However, in contrast to the Arctic supply route to the Soviet Union which stayed open through most of the war, sea routes to China and the Yunnan–Vietnam Railway had been closed since 1940. Therefore, between the closing of the Burma Road in 1942 and its re-opening as the Ledo Road in 1945, foreign aid was largely limited to what could be flown in over "The Hump". In Burma, on 16 April 1942, 7,000 British soldiers were encircled by the Japanese 33rd Division during the Battle of Yenangyaung and rescued by the Chinese 38th Division. [107] After the Doolittle Raid, the Imperial Japanese Army conducted a massive sweep through Zhejiang and Jiangxi of China, now known as the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, with the goal of finding the surviving American airmen, applying retribution on the Chinese who aided them and destroying air bases. The operation started 15 May 1942, with 40 infantry battalions and 15–16 artillery battalions but was repelled by Chinese forces in September. [108] During this campaign, the Imperial Japanese Army left behind a trail of devastation and also spread cholera, typhoid, plague and dysentery pathogens. Chinese estimates allege that as many as 250,000 civilians, the vast majority of whom were destitute Tanka boat people and other pariah ethnicities unable to flee, may have died of disease. [109] [110] [111] It caused more than 16 million civilians to evacuate far away deep inward China. 90% of Ningbo's population had already fled before battle started. [112]

Most of China's industry had already been captured or destroyed by Japan, and the Soviet Union refused to allow the United States to supply China through Kazakhstan into Xinjiang as the Xinjiang warlord Sheng Shicai had turned anti-Soviet in 1942 with Chiang's approval. For these reasons, the Chinese government never had the supplies and equipment needed to mount major counter-offensives. Despite the severe shortage of matériel, in 1943, the Chinese were successful in repelling major Japanese offensives in Hubei and Changde.

Chiang was named Allied commander-in-chief in the China theater in 1942. American general Joseph Stilwell served for a time as Chiang's chief of staff, while simultaneously commanding American forces in the China-Burma-India Theater. For many reasons, relations between Stilwell and Chiang soon broke down. Many historians (such as Barbara W. Tuchman) have suggested it was largely due to the corruption and inefficiency of the Kuomintang (KMT) government, while others (such as Ray Huang and Hans van de Ven) have depicted it as a more complicated situation. Stilwell had a strong desire to assume total control of Chinese troops and pursue an aggressive strategy, while Chiang preferred a patient and less expensive strategy of out-waiting the Japanese. Chiang continued to maintain a defensive posture despite Allied pleas to actively break the Japanese blockade, because China had already suffered tens of millions of war casualties and believed that Japan would eventually capitulate in the face of America's overwhelming industrial output. For these reasons the other Allies gradually began to lose confidence in the Chinese ability to conduct offensive operations from the Asian mainland, and instead concentrated their efforts against the Japanese in the Pacific Ocean Areas and South West Pacific Area, employing an island hopping strategy. [113]

Long-standing differences in national interest and political stance among China, the United States, and the United Kingdom remained in place. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was reluctant to devote British troops, many of whom had been routed by the Japanese in earlier campaigns, to the reopening of the Burma Road Stilwell, on the other hand, believed that reopening the road was vital, as all China's mainland ports were under Japanese control. The Allies' "Europe First" policy did not sit well with Chiang, while the later British insistence that China send more and more troops to Indochina for use in the Burma Campaign was seen by Chiang as an attempt to use Chinese manpower to defend British colonial possessions. Chiang also believed that China should divert its crack army divisions from Burma to eastern China to defend the airbases of the American bombers that he hoped would defeat Japan through bombing, a strategy that American general Claire Lee Chennault supported but which Stilwell strongly opposed. In addition, Chiang voiced his support of Indian independence in a 1942 meeting with Mahatma Gandhi, which further soured the relationship between China and the United Kingdom. [114]

American and Canadian-born Chinese were recruited to act as covert operatives in Japanese-occupied China. Employing their racial background as a disguise, their mandate was to blend in with local citizens and wage a campaign of sabotage. Activities focused on destruction of Japanese transportation of supplies (signaling bomber destruction of railroads, bridges). [115] Chinese forces invaded northern Burma in late 1943 besieged Japanese troops in Myitkyina and captured Mount Song. [116] The British and Commonwealth forces had their operation in Mission 204 which attempted to provide assistance to the Chinese Nationalist Army. [117] The first phase in 1942 under command of SOE achieved very little, but lessons were learned and a second more successful phase, commenced in February 1943 under British Military command, was conducted before the Japanese Operation Ichi-Go offensive in 1944 compelled evacuation. [118]

The United States saw the Chinese theater as a means to tie up a large number of Japanese troops, as well as being a location for American airbases from which to strike the Japanese home islands. In 1944, with the Japanese position in the Pacific deteriorating rapidly, the IJA mobilized over 500,000 men and launched Operation Ichi-Go, their largest offensive of World War II, to attack the American airbases in China and link up the railway between Manchuria and Vietnam. This brought major cities in Hunan, Henan and Guangxi under Japanese occupation. The failure of Chinese forces to defend these areas encouraged Stilwell to attempt to gain overall command of the Chinese army, and his subsequent showdown with Chiang led to his replacement by Major General Albert Coady Wedemeyer. In 1944, China came off of several victories against Japan in Burma leading to overconfidence. Nationalist China also diverted soldiers to Xinjiang since 1942 to retake the province from the Soviet client Sheng Shicai whose puppet army was backed by the Soviet Red Army 8th Regiment in Hami, Xinjiang since the Soviet invasion of Xinjiang in 1934 when the Soviets occupied northern Xinjiang and the Islamic rebellion in Xinjiang in 1937 when the Soviets occupied southern Xinjiang as well placing all of Xinjiang under Sheng Shicai and Soviet Communist control. The fighting then escalated in early 1944 with the Ili Rebellion with Soviet backed Uyghur Communist rebels, causing China to fight enemies on two fronts with 120,000 Chinese soldiers fighting against the Ili rebellion. The aim of the Japanese Operation Ichigo was to destroy American airfields in southern China that threatened the Japanese home islands with bombing and to link railways in Beijing, Hankou and Canton cities from northern China in Beijing to southern China's coast on Canton. Japan was alarmed by American air raids against Japanese forces in Taiwan's Hsinchu airfield by American bombers based in southern China, correctly deducing that southern China could become the base of a major American bombing campaign against the Japanese home islands so Japan resolved to destroy and capture all airbases where American bombers operated from in Operation Ichigo. Chiang Kai-shek and the Republic of China authorities deliberately ignored and dismissed a tip passed on to the Chinese government in Chongqing by the French military that the French picked up in colonial French Indochina on the impending Japanese offensive to link the three cities. The Chinese military believed it to be a fake tip planted by Japan to mislead them since only 30,000 Japanese soldiers started the first maneuver of Operation Ichigo in northern China crossing the Yellow river so the Chinese assumed it would be a local operation in northern China only. Another major factor was that the battlefront between China and Japan was static and stabilized since 1940 and continued for four years that way until Operation Ichigo in 1944 so Chiang assumed that Japan would continue the same posture and remain behind the lines in pre-1940 occupied territories of North China only bolstering the puppet Chinese government of Wang Jingwei and exploiting resources there. The Japanese had indeed acted this way from 1940 to 1944, with the Japanese only making a few failed weak attempts to capture China's provisional capital in Chongqing on the Yangtze river which they quickly abandoned and gave up on before 1944. Japan also exhibited no intention before of linking the transcontinental Beijing Hankow Canton railways. China also was made confident by its three victories in a row defending Changsha against Japan at the Battle of Changsha (1939), Battle of Changsha (1941), and Battle of Changsha (1942). China had also defeated Japan in the India-Burma theater in Southeast Asia with X Force and Y Force and the Chinese could not believe Japan had carelessly let information slip into French hands, believing Japan deliberately fed misinformation to the French to divert Chinese troops from India and Burma towards China. China believed the Burma theater to be far more important for Japan than southern China and that Japanese forces in southern China would continue to assume a defensive posture only. China believed the initial Japanese attack in Ichigo to be a localized feint and distraction in northern China so Chinese troops numbering 400,000 in North China deliberately withdrew without a fight when Japan attacked, assuming it was just another localized operation after which the Japanese would withdraw. This mistake led to the collapse of Chinese defensive lines as the Japanese soldiers which eventually numbered in the hundreds of thousands kept pressing the attack from northern China to central China to southern China's provinces as Chinese soldiers deliberately withdrew leading to confusion and collapse, except at the Defense of Hengyang where 17,000 outnumbered Chinese soldiers held out against over 110,000 Japanese soldiers for months in the longest siege of the war inflicting 19,000–60,000 deaths on the Japanese. At Tushan in Guizhou province, the Nationalist government of China was forced to deploy five armies of the 8th war zone that they were using for the entire war up to Ichigo to contain the Communist Chinese to instead fight Japan. But at that point, dietary deficiencies of Japanese soldiers and increasing casualties suffered by Japan forced Japan to end Operation Ichigo in Guizhou causing the operation to cease. After Operation Ichigo, Chiang Kai-shek started a plan to withdraw Chinese troops from the Burma theatre against Japan in Southeast Asia for a counter offensive called "White Tower" and "Iceman" against Japanese soldiers in China in 1945. [119]

By the end of 1944 Chinese troops under the command of Sun Li-jen attacking from India, and those under Wei Lihuang attacking from Yunnan, joined forces in Mong-Yu, successfully driving the Japanese out of North Burma and securing the Ledo Road, China's vital supply artery. [120] In Spring 1945 the Chinese launched offensives that retook Hunan and Guangxi. With the Chinese army progressing well in training and equipment, Wedemeyer planned to launch Operation Carbonado in summer 1945 to retake Guangdong, thus obtaining a coastal port, and from there drive northwards toward Shanghai. However, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Soviet invasion of Manchuria hastened Japanese surrender and these plans were not put into action. [121]

Before the start of full-scale warfare of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Germany had since the time of the Weimar Republic, provided much equipment and training to crack units of the National Revolutionary Army of China, including some aerial-combat training with the Luftwaffe to some pilots of pre-Nationalist Air Force of China. [122] A number of foreign powers including the Americans, Italians, Japanese providing training and equipment to different air force units of pre-war China. With the outbreak of full-scale war between China and the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union became the primary supporter for China's war of resistance through the Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact from 1937–41. When the Imperial Japanese invaded French Indochina, the United States enacted the oil and steel embargo against Japan and froze all Japanese assets in 1941, [123] [124] [125] [126] and with it came the Lend-Lease Act of which China became a beneficiary on 6 May 1941 from there, China's main diplomatic, financial and military supporter came from the U.S., particularly following the attack on Pearl Harbor. [127] [128] [129]

Overseas Chinese Edit

Over 3,200 overseas Chinese drivers and motor vehicle mechanics embarked to wartime China to support military and logistics supply lines, especially through Indo-China, which became of absolute tantamount importance when the Japanese cut-off all ocean-access to China's interior with the capture of Nanning after the Battle of South Guangxi. [130] Overseas Chinese communities in the U.S. raised money and nurtured talent in response to Imperial Japan's aggressions in China, which helped to fund an entire squadron of Boeing P-26 Model 281 fighter planes purchased for the looming war situation between China and the Empire of Japan over a dozen Chinese-American aviators, including John "Buffalo" Huang, Arthur Chin, Hazel Ying Lee, Chan Kee-Wong et al., formed the original contingent of foreign volunteer aviators to join the Chinese air forces (some provincial or warlord air forces, but ultimately all integrating into the centralized Chinese Air Force often called the Nationalist Air Force of China) in the "patriotic call to duty for the motherland" to fight against the Imperial Japanese invasion. [131] [132] [133] [134] Several of the original Chinese-American volunteer pilots were sent to Lagerlechfeld Air Base in Germany for aerial-gunnery training by the Chinese Air Force in 1936. [135]

German Edit

Prior to the war, Germany and China were in close economic and military cooperation, with Germany helping China modernize its industry and military in exchange for raw materials. Germany sent military advisers such as Alexander von Falkenhausen to China to help the KMT government reform its armed forces. [136] Some divisions began training to German standards and were to form a relatively small but well trained Chinese Central Army. By the mid-1930s about 80,000 soldiers had received German-style training. [137] After the KMT lost Nanjing and retreated to Wuhan, Hitler's government decided to withdraw its support of China in 1938 in favor of an alliance with Japan as its main anti-Communist partner in East Asia. [138]

Soviet Edit

After Germany and Japan signed the anti-communist Anti-Comintern Pact, the Soviet Union hoped to keep China fighting, in order to deter a Japanese invasion of Siberia and save itself from a two-front war. In September 1937, they signed the Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and approved Operation Zet, the formation of a secret Soviet volunteer air force, in which Soviet technicians upgraded and ran some of China's transportation systems. Bombers, fighters, supplies and advisors arrived, including Soviet general Vasily Chuikov, future victor in the Battle of Stalingrad. Prior to the Western Allies, the Soviets provided the most foreign aid to China: some $250 million in credits for munitions and other supplies. The Soviet Union defeated Japan in the Battles of Khalkhin Gol in May – September 1939, leaving the Japanese reluctant to fight the Soviets again. [139] In April 1941, Soviet aid to China ended with the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact and the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. This pact enabled the Soviet Union to avoid fighting against Germany and Japan at the same time. In August 1945, the Soviet Union annulled the neutrality pact with Japan and invaded Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, the Kuril Islands, and northern Korea. The Soviets also continued to support the Chinese Communist Party. In total, 3,665 Soviet advisors and pilots served in China, [140] and 227 of them died fighting there. [141]

Western allies Edit

The United States generally avoided taking sides between Japan and China until 1940, providing virtually no aid to China in this period. For instance, the 1934 Silver Purchase Act signed by President Roosevelt caused chaos in China's economy which helped the Japanese war effort. The 1933 Wheat and Cotton Loan mainly benefited American producers, while aiding to a smaller extent both Chinese and Japanese alike. This policy was due to US fear of breaking off profitable trade ties with Japan, in addition to US officials and businesses perception of China as a potential source of massive profit for the US by absorbing surplus American products, as William Appleman Williams states. [142]

From December 1937, events such as the Japanese attack on USS Panay and the Nanjing Massacre swung public opinion in the West sharply against Japan and increased their fear of Japanese expansion, which prompted the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to provide loan assistance for war supply contracts to China. Australia also prevented a Japanese government-owned company from taking over an iron mine in Australia, and banned iron ore exports in 1938. [143] However, in July 1939, negotiations between Japanese Foreign Minister Arita Khatira and the British Ambassador in Tokyo, Robert Craigie, led to an agreement by which Great Britain recognized Japanese conquests in China. At the same time, the US government extended a trade agreement with Japan for six months, then fully restored it. Under the agreement, Japan purchased trucks for the Kwantung Army, [144] machine tools for aircraft factories, strategic materials (steel and scrap iron up to 16 October 1940, petrol and petroleum products up to 26 June 1941), [145] and various other much-needed supplies.

In a hearing before the United States Congress House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, 19 April 1939, the acting chairman Sol Bloom and other Congressmen interviewed Maxwell S. Stewart, a former Foreign Policy Association research staff and economist who charged that America's Neutrality Act and its "neutrality policy" was a massive farce which only benefited Japan and that Japan did not have the capability nor could ever have invaded China without the massive amount of raw material America exported to Japan. America exported far more raw material to Japan than to China in the years 1937–1940. [146] [147] [148] [149] According to the United States Congress, the U.S.'s third largest export destination was Japan until 1940 when France overtook it due to France being at war too. Japan's military machine acquired all the war materials, automotive equipment, steel, scrap iron, copper, oil, that it wanted from the United States in 1937–1940 and was allowed to purchase aerial bombs, aircraft equipment, and aircraft from America up to the summer of 1938. War essentials exports from the United States to Japan increased by 124% along with a general increase of 41% of all exports from 1936 to 1937 when Japan invaded China. Japan's war economy was fueled by exports to the United States at over twice the rate immediately preceding the war. [150] 41.6 percent of pig iron, 59.7 percent of scrap iron and 91.2 percent of automobiles and automobile parts of Japan were imported from the United States, as Japan needed to supply huge armies some aggregating 800,000 soldiers, in China. [151] According to the 1939 Reports to the Annual National Convention of the American Legion, in 1936 1,467,639 tons of scrap metal from all foreign nations were exported to Japan while since 1937 Japan's dependence on the United States of America grew massively for war materials and supplies against China. [152] [153] The US contributed massively to the Japanese war economy in 1937 with 20.4% of zinc, 48.5% of engines and machinery, 59.7% of iron, 41.6% of pig iron, 60.5% of oil, 91.2% of automobiles and parts, 92.9% of copper of Japan were imported from the U.S. in 1937 according to a hearing by the United States Congress Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. [154] [155] [156] [157] From 1937 to 1940, the US exported a total of $986.7 million to Japan. The total value of military supplies was $703.9 million. During the Japanese war against China, 54.4% of Japan's weapons and supplies were provided by Americans. 76% of Japanese planes came from the US in 1938, and all lubricating oil, machine tools, special steel, high-test aircraft petrol came from the US, as did 59.7% of Japan's scrap iron and 60.5% of Japan's petrol in 1937. Japan freely bought weapons from U.S. companies, even as the U.S. Government barred the sale of weapons to Republican Spain. From 1937 to 1940, Japanese bombers were fueled with American oil and Japanese weapons were made out of American scrap iron. America supplied Japan with 54.4% of its war materials in 1937 when Japan invaded China, increasing to 56% in 1938. Japan by itself had scant and meager resources and could not have prosecuted war against China or dreamed of empire without massive imports. [158] The Dutch East Indies, the British Empire and United States of America were the top exporters of war supplies for Japan's military against China in 1937, with 7.4% from the Dutch, 17.5% from the British and 54.4% from the United States of America. Oil, scrap iron and rubber were all sold by France, the Netherlands, Britain and the U.S. to Japan after the invasion of China in 1937. [159] [160] In 15 Sep 1939 American oil companies unveiled contracts to deliver three million barrels of petroleum to the Japanese Navy.

Japan invaded and occupied the northern part of French Indochina (present-day Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) in September 1940 to prevent China from receiving the 10,000 tons of materials delivered monthly by the Allies via the Haiphong–Yunnan Fou Railway line.

On 22 June 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union. In spite of non-aggression pacts or trade connections, Hitler's assault threw the world into a frenzy of re-aligning political outlooks and strategic prospects.

On 21 July, Japan occupied the southern part of French Indochina (southern Vietnam and Cambodia), contravening a 1940 "gentlemen's agreement" not to move into southern French Indochina. From bases in Cambodia and southern Vietnam, Japanese planes could attack Malaya, Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies. As the Japanese occupation of northern French Indochina in 1940 had already cut off supplies from the West to China, the move into southern French Indochina was viewed as a direct threat to British and Dutch colonies. Many principal figures in the Japanese government and military (particularly the navy) were against the move, as they foresaw that it would invite retaliation from the West.

On 24 July 1941, Roosevelt requested Japan withdraw all its forces from Indochina. Two days later the US and the UK began an oil embargo two days after that the Netherlands joined them. This was a decisive moment in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The loss of oil imports made it impossible for Japan to continue operations in China on a long-term basis. It set the stage for Japan to launch a series of military attacks against the Allies, including the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

In mid-1941, the United States government financed the creation of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), or Flying Tigers, to replace the withdrawn Soviet volunteers and aircraft. Contrary to popular perception, the Flying Tigers did not enter actual combat until after the United States had declared war on Japan. Led by Claire Lee Chennault, their early combat success of 300 kills against a loss of 12 of their newly introduced shark painted P-40 fighters heavily armed with 6X50 caliber machine guns and very fast diving speeds earned them wide recognition at a time when the Chinese Air Force and Allies in the Pacific and SE Asia were suffering heavy losses, and soon afterwards their "boom and zoom" high-speed hit-and-run dissimilar air combat tactics would be adopted by the United States Army Air Forces. [161]

The Sino-American Cooperative Organization [162] [163] [164] was an organization created by the SACO Treaty signed by the Republic of China and the United States of America in 1942 that established a mutual intelligence gathering entity in China between the respective nations against Japan. It operated in China jointly along with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), America's first intelligence agency and forerunner of the CIA while also serving as joint training program between the two nations. Among all the wartime missions that Americans set up in China, SACO was the only one that adopted a policy of "total immersion" with the Chinese. The "Rice Paddy Navy" or "What-the-Hell Gang" operated in the China-Burma-India theater, advising and training, forecasting weather and scouting landing areas for USN fleet and Gen Claire Chennault's 14th AF, rescuing downed American flyers, and intercepting Japanese radio traffic. An underlying mission objective during the last year of war was the development and preparation of the China coast for Allied penetration and occupation. The Foochow (Fujian Province) was scouted as a potential staging area and springboard for the future military landing of the Allies of World War II in Japan.

In February 1941 a Sino-British agreement was forged whereby British troops would assist the Chinese "Surprise Troops" units of guerrillas already operating in China, and China would assist Britain in Burma. [165]

A British-Australian commando operation, Mission 204, was initialized in February 1942 to provide training to Chinese guerrilla troops. The mission conducted two operations, mostly in the provinces of Yunnan and Jiangxi. The first phase achieved very little but a second more successful phase was conducted before withdrawal. [166]

Commandos working with the Free Thai Movement also operated in China, mostly while on their way into Thailand. [167]

After the Japanese blocked the Burma Road in April 1942, and before the Ledo Road was finished in early 1945, the majority of US and British supplies to the Chinese had to be delivered via airlift over the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains known as the Hump. Flying over the Himalayas was extremely dangerous, but the airlift continued daily to August 1945, at great cost in men and aircraft.

The Chinese Kuomintang also supported the Vietnamese Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng (VNQDD) in its battle against French and Japanese imperialism.

In Guangxi, Chinese military leaders were organizing Vietnamese nationalists against the Japanese. The VNQDD had been active in Guangxi and some of their members had joined the KMT army. [168] Under the umbrella of KMT activities, a broad alliance of nationalists emerged. With Ho at the forefront, the Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi (Vietnamese Independence League, usually known as the Viet Minh) was formed and based in the town of Jingxi. [168] The pro-VNQDD nationalist Ho Ngoc Lam, a KMT army officer and former disciple of Phan Bội Châu, [169] was named as the deputy of Phạm Văn Đồng, later to be Ho's Prime Minister. The front was later broadened and renamed the Viet Nam Giai Phong Dong Minh (Vietnam Liberation League). [168]

The Viet Nam Revolutionary League was a union of various Vietnamese nationalist groups, run by the pro Chinese VNQDD. Chinese KMT General Zhang Fakui created the league to further Chinese influence in Indochina, against the French and Japanese. Its stated goal was for unity with China under the Three Principles of the People, created by KMT founder Dr. Sun and opposition to Japanese and French Imperialists. [170] [171] The Revolutionary League was controlled by Nguyen Hai Than, who was born in China and could not speak Vietnamese [ citation needed ] . General Zhang shrewdly blocked the Communists of Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh from entering the league, as Zhang's main goal was Chinese influence in Indochina. [172] The KMT utilized these Vietnamese nationalists during World War II against Japanese forces. [168] Franklin D. Roosevelt, through General Stilwell, privately made it clear that they preferred that the French not reacquire French Indochina (modern day Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) after the war was over. Roosevelt offered Chiang Kai-shek control of all of Indochina. It was said that Chiang Kai-shek replied: "Under no circumstances!" [173]

After the war, 200,000 Chinese troops under General Lu Han were sent by Chiang Kai-shek to northern Indochina (north of the 16th parallel) to accept the surrender of Japanese occupying forces there, and remained in Indochina until 1946, when the French returned. [174] The Chinese used the VNQDD, the Vietnamese branch of the Chinese Kuomintang, to increase their influence in French Indochina and to put pressure on their opponents. [175] Chiang Kai-shek threatened the French with war in response to maneuvering by the French and Ho Chi Minh's forces against each other, forcing them to come to a peace agreement. In February 1946, he also forced the French to surrender all of their concessions in China and to renounce their extraterritorial privileges in exchange for the Chinese withdrawing from northern Indochina and allowing French troops to reoccupy the region. Following France's agreement to these demands, the withdrawal of Chinese troops began in March 1946. [176] [177] [178] [179]

Rebellion occurred in the Xinjiang province in 1937 when a pro-Soviet General Sheng Shicai invaded the province accompanied by Soviet troops. The invasion was resisted by General Ma Hushan of the KMT 36th Division.

General Ma Hushan was expecting help from Nanjing, as he exchanged messages with Chiang regarding the Soviet attack. But, both the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Xinjiang War erupted simultaneously leaving Chiang and Ma Hushan each on their own to confront the Japanese and Soviet forces.

The Republic of China government was fully aware of the Soviet invasion of Xinjiang province, and Soviet troops moving around Xinjiang and Gansu, but it was forced to mask these maneuvers to the public as "Japanese propaganda" to avoid an international incident and for continued military supplies from the Soviets. [180]

Because the pro-Soviet governor Sheng Shicai controlled Xinjiang, which was garrisoned with Soviet troops in Turfan, the Chinese government had to keep troops stationed there as well.

General Ma Buqing was in virtual control of the Gansu corridor at that time. [181] Ma Buqing had earlier fought against the Japanese, but because the Soviet threat was great, Chiang changed Ma's position, in July 1942, by instructing Ma to move 30,000 of his troops to the Tsaidam marsh in the Qaidam Basin of Qinghai. [182] [183] Chiang named Ma as Reclamation Commissioner, to threaten Sheng Shicai's southern flank in Xinjiang, which bordered Tsaidam.

After Ma evacuated his positions in Gansu, Kuomintang troops from central China flooded the area, and infiltrated Soviet occupied Xinjiang, gradually reclaiming it and forcing Sheng Shicai to break with the Soviets. The Kuomintang ordered Ma Bufang several times to march his troops into Xinjiang to intimidate the pro-Soviet Governor Sheng Shicai. This helped provide protection for Chinese settling in Xinjiang. [184]

The Ili Rebellion broke out in Xinjiang when the Kuomintang Hui Officer Liu Bin-Di was killed while fighting Turkic Uyghur rebels in November 1944. The Soviet Union supported the Turkic rebels against the Kuomintang, and Kuomintang forces fought back. [185]

Japan attempted to reach out to Chinese ethnic minorities in order to rally them to their side against the Han Chinese, but only succeeded with certain Manchu, Mongol, Uyghur and Tibetan elements.

The Japanese attempt to get the Muslim Hui people on their side failed, as many Chinese generals such as Bai Chongxi, Ma Hongbin, Ma Hongkui, and Ma Bufang were Hui. The Japanese attempted to approach Ma Bufang but were unsuccessful in making any agreement with him. [186] Ma Bufang ended up supporting the anti-Japanese Imam Hu Songshan, who prayed for the destruction of the Japanese. [187] Ma became chairman (governor) of Qinghai in 1938 and commanded a group army. He was appointed because of his anti-Japanese inclinations, [188] and was such an obstruction to Japanese agents trying to contact the Tibetans that he was called an "adversary" by a Japanese agent. [189]

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