Japan Invades China (1931-37)

Japan invades China (1931-37) Japan’s main objectives of invading China in 1931 were to destroy communism and poses control over neighboring areas on the Asian continent. It was believed such a control was necessary to be able to issue possible military threats and inquire the natural resources needed to insure Japan’s economic independence. “By defeating Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, Japan acquired possession of Russia’s Liaodong Peninsula Leasehold, which she renamed the Kwantung Leased Territory, and the South Manchurian Railroad” (BJorge, 2011).

After Korea was captured in 1910, Manchuria was filled with mineral wealth, gorgeous farmland, and potential value as a defensive Korea from both China and Russia. In the 1920s, many of the Kwantung army believed Japan should take over Manchuria just like they did in Korea. Plotting began to conquer Manchuria with direct military action which led to the first invasions of China in the 1930s. (BJorge, 2011) The plan was made to be easy; a railroad on the Southern side of Mukden was made to explode to give the Kwantung an excuse to attack the nearby Manchurian army stations and the storage of weapons in the city.

Once that was complete, the Kwantung army was easily expandable until all of Manchuria was captured. The government officials of Tokyo tried to stop the plot, but the Kwantung army attacked before the warning was issued. The bomb was set off on September 18, 1931 and the Kwantung army started moving into action. (BJorge, 2011) China turned to the League of Nations for support. At the time, the nationalist government did not want a war with Japan and either did the Japanese government and therefore ordered the Kwantung army to fall back and negotiate a reasonable solution.

But the Kwantung army refused and continued attacking other cities and ended up sending troops into Manchuria. The Kwantung army was very powerful because of their popularly Japanese citizens. Even though it was unacceptable for the Kwantung army to disobey, the separation of Manchuria from China would be in Japan’s favor. (BJorge, 2011) In May 1935, Japan’s Tinainjin fort demanded all Guomindang military units and officers to leave the Hebei state. Jiang Jieshi was still dedicated to his goal of destroying his communist enemies. Japan, it seemed, was well on the way to achieving her goal of separating north China from Nanjing government administration” (BJorge, 2011). In October 1935, the Japanese prime minster wanted China to accept Manchukuo to join with Japan to build up north China’s economy. This proposal was seen as impossible for the reason of the anti-Japanese anger in China. The anger forced Jiang to end his anti-communist cause. (BJorge, 2011) On the night of July 7, 1937, some Chinese fired shells where the Japanese troops were planning at the Marco Polo Bridge, which is about ten miles from Beijing.

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Japanese thought a missing soldier was caught by the Chinese and the Japanese officer ordered a search. On July 8, when his requested was denied, he bombed the city. Chinese tried to attack the Japanese but failed. Several days later, five divisions were made in Japan by the Japanese War Ministry, four divisions were sent to southern Hebei, and the Japanese troops from Manchuria attacked northern China. Then on July 19, an agreement was signed, by the Chinese general Song Zheyan, to withdraw troops from Wanping. Six days later a fight broke out close to the Marco Polo Bridge and Japanese troops detained the bridge.

On July 28, the Chinese evacuated to save themselves before it was too late, while Japanese forces captured Tianjin two days later. That was the day Jiang decided that he will lead Japan and fight to finish the operation until the end. (Beck, 2007) On August 11, Jiang Jieshi moved 80,000 men into Shanghai. China tried to air force bomb the Japanese warships, but ended up missing and killing hundreds of civilians in Shanghai. At the end of August the Chinese forces tried to fight and attack the Japanese in Shanghai, but were unsuccessful and turned back to the defensive side in September and October.

The Chinese lost 250,000 soldiers compared to 40,000 Japanese soldiers. In November, thanks to French priest Jacquinot de Bessage, some Chinese civilians were given a place to live after losing their home. (Beck, 2007) The Shanxi capital Taiyuan fell on November 9. In late September, the Communists won at Pingxingguan successfully killing about 500 Japanese and gained a hundred equipment trucks. They would have retrieved more, but the remaining Japanese destroyed their equipment and committed suicide. Beck, 2007) The Japanese broke through enemy lines in Shanghai and Chinese began withdrawing toward Nanjing on November 11. Jiang felt the world was on his side, even though the League of Nations did not take any action, and the signing of the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union had no impact. But Japan was well on their way of completing their mission; the forces took over Beijing in September, Shijiazhuang in October, Taiyuan in November, Qingdao in August, and Jinan in December. (Beck, 2007) The former warlord Tang Shengzhi was ordered to hold Nanjing.

The Japanese were promising the civilians to treat them well as their follow Chinese soldiers were killing and robbing people to take everything they could to escape. Jiang refused to stop fighting and the Japanese began bombing on December 10. Before the Japanese army arrived, half of the population had already left Nanjing. “The Presbyterian missionary W. Plumer Mills had learned of Bessage’s neutral zone, and the Americans and Europeans organized a safety zone that included Nanjing University, Ginling Women’s Arts and Science College, the American embassy, and Chinese government buildings” (Beck, 2007).

On November 22, the International Committee was made for the Nanjing Safety Zone. Three days later Adolf Hitler was asked to negotiate with the Japanese government to respect the neutral zone for the noncombatants. After all of that was settled, the Japanese continued their bombing to the military targets. More than one hundred thousand people were protected in the Safety Zone. (Beck, 2007) On December 12, Tang Shengzhi abandoned Nanjing and the Japanese troops entered the city the next day.

For the seven weeks after that they killed about 30,000 Chinese soldiers, thrashed most of the civilians not in the safety zone, and burned most of the city. Between 20,000 and 80,000 women were raped or taken as slaves. It was estimated more than 200,000 Chinese civilians were exterminated by Japanese soldiers in Nanjing after the war. The Japanese dragged and murdered some of the ex-soldiers in the Safety Zone. “Jiang and Yan Xishan approved the Communist base in the Jin-Cha-Ji border region on January 22, 1938, but that was the first and last Communist base behind enemy lines that the Nationalists recognized” (Beck, 2007).

The outcome of this invasion was terrible on China as the Chinese’s soldiers tried to fight to survive but were weaken and about 30 million Chinese civilians were forced to leave their homes and live in regions of their country unfamiliar to them as immigrants. Japan believed the invasion was going to be quick and easy, but they found themselves stuck in an unexpected marsh as China refused to surrender and the invasion turned into the beginning of the second Sino-Japanese War. Since it was too late to escape this battle, Japan reacted to the outbreak of war in Europe, which in time led them to attack the United States.

With this action, Japan made China become part of World War II and with the defeat, Japan was forced to give up everything they gained in China since 1931. With the result of the war, the Japanese failed their main objective for the reason that the communist’s strength grew greater than it ever was. This marked the end of Japanese expansion. Reference List Beck, S. (2007). China at war 1937-1949. Retrieved from http://www. san. beck. org/21-5-ChinaatWar1937-49. html Benton, G. (2012). The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino–Japanese War of 1937-1945. China Journal, (67), 189-191.

BJORGE, G. J. (2011, November 13). China, invasion of (1931, 1937–1945). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary. wiley. com/doi/10. 1002/9781444338232. wbeow112/pdf Burrell, R. S. (2011). The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945. Naval History, 25(2), 78. Cho, A. (2011). In a Sea of Bitterness: Refugees During the Sino-Japanese War. Library Journal, 136(15), 88 Falk, S. (2011). Varied Fare. Army Magazine, 61(6), 73-74. Farrell, B. P. (2011). Book Review: The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937—1945.

Edited by Mark Peattie, Edward Drea and Hans van de Ven. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 2011. xxv+614 pp. US$65 hbk. ISBN 978 0 .. War In History, 18(4), 566-568. doi:10. 1177/09683445110180040809 Historical Boys’ Clothing. (2005, February 05). Second sino-japanese war: Japanese invasion of china (1937-45)). Retrieved from http://histclo. com/essay/war/ww2/camp/pac/china/w2c-inv. html History Learning Site. (n. d. ). The japan. Retrieved from http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/china_war. htm Wikipedia. (n. d. ). Second sino-japanese war. Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Second_Sino-Japanese_War

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