War? If you are living in a developed country whereby there’s isn’t an iota of the possibility of conflict you probably read about war in historical texts. Since international superpowers came together and ended the Second World War, all ensuing disputes have been instigated by civil unrest and terrorism. In the past, it wasn’t as simple as it is today whereby nations first seek diplomacy before any weapons are drawn. Countries, dynasties, and empires were expanding their territories and in the process wiping out vulnerable native tribes – only the self-sustainable managed to maintain a resistance which led to war. Such conflict is evident in 1937 – 1945 between China and Japan that roots from territorial expansion. The conflict broke out from the resistance effort of China towards the Japanese development.
To comprehend the conflict, we have to borrow from the historical interactions between China and Japan. Well, the first Sino-Japanese war took place in the 19th century in 1894 whereby Japan was victorious. Although they won, they suffered multiple casualties and were highly outnumbered. A treaty got signed that allowed Japan to gain control of Liaodong Peninsula. After six years, Japan got the privilege of establishing a military station at Eastern Manchuria that offered them an upper hand. After a fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Japan gained further territorial control over China. Following an incident that took place in Mukden, Manchuria, Japan got the opportunity they had been looking for a full-scale military invasion of Manchuria. The 20th century was a period where Japan exerted majority control of Manchuria via the popular twenty-one demands and supporting the Chinese warlord Zhang Zuolin.
What Exactly Started the War?
Chinese in Manchuria weren’t content, and resistance was in the making. Japan had asserted their control over the land through the building of railways that the Chinese felt was undermining their sovereign right. As a resistance gesture, the Chinese began building railways around the Japanese lines that lead to a developing port. On July 7, 1937, an incident broke out at the Marco Polo Bridge whereby the Chinese and Japanese troops exchanged fire. Although it was considered a local event, it ceased such mediocre significance when it resulted to the second Sino-Japanese war. They established a ceasefire agreement, but both sides increased their troop’s magnitude in the region. An all-out war began in late July whereby the Japanese military displayed their technological prowess and preparedness that the Chinese were short of. The Chinese industries were underdeveloped and didn’t possess the capability of supplying their army with quick and efficient supplies. In the first phase of the war, the Japanese won moving deeper into Shanghai, Nanjing and other regions of inland China. The military invasion and brutal treatment of the civilians resulted to the term “comfort women.” These were Chinese female victims that were forced into labor.
The main cause of the Second Sino-Japanese war roots from the long tension that existed between the two countries. The Japanese took advantage of their military superiority due to the fact they had highly developed technological machinery as well as industries capable of producing more of the inputs they needed. The earlier invasion occurred on the east coast of China between 1938 and 1939. There was a brief stalemate period starting from 1939 whereby the Japanese tried to overwhelm the Chinese resistance. Between 1944 to 1945, other allied forces including the United States provided China with war material that was flown from India as well as specialized training in military tactics. This lead to the withdrawal of the Japanese and eventual surrender on 2nd September 1945.