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Militarism and War, The Second Sino-Japanese War

Marco Polo Bridge, Hankou, Japanese troops, Chinese capital, Chiang Kai-shek

On July 7, 1937 a Chinese patrol and Japanese troops on a training exercise clashed near the Marco Polo Bridge on the outskirts of Beijing. When the Chinese nationalist government sent reinforcements to the area, the Japanese responded with a mobilization of their own, launching the Second Sino-Japanese War. By the end of 1937 the Japanese had overrun northern China, capturing Shanghai, Beijing, and the Chinese capital at Nanjing. The Chinese government under Chiang Kai-shek, however, refused to negotiate an armistice. Instead it retreated to the interior province of Sichuan (Szechwan), where high mountainous terrain protected it against Japanese land attack. By the end of 1938 the Japanese had occupied northern China, the lower valley of the Yangtze River beyond Hankou, and enclaves along the south China coast, including Guangzhou (Canton). However, the fighting had reached a stalemate. Instead of confronting regular Chinese forces, the Japanese army had to fend off constant guerrilla attacks, even in territory they occupied.

Article key phrases:

Marco Polo Bridge, Hankou, Japanese troops, Chinese capital, Chiang Kai-shek, Szechwan, lower valley, Sino-Japanese War, Japanese army, armistice, Yangtze River, northern China, stalemate, enclaves, Chinese government, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Canton, mobilization, reinforcements, Shanghai, training exercise, territory, fighting, end, area


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