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Battle of Shanghai

The Battle of Shanghai was the first of the twenty-two major engagements fought between the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and the Imperial Japanese Army of the Empire of Japan during the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the entire war and is counted by many as part of World War II.
Jiangsu, a province of China. It used to contain
 the city of Shanghai, though
Shanghai is separate now.
From Google Maps.

Even in the beginning, the United States and Great Britain supported China as a bulwark against Japanese aggression and expansionism. However, even as the war progressed, and fortunes were lost in Shanghai, both nations, two of the largest investors in Shanghai, had lost lots of money. Chiang Kaishek had hoped that Western nations would intervene against Japan if they saw the tragedies inflicted upon the Chinese people in Shanghai. He spent all of his best German-trained troops in this battle, which definitely counts as a huge strategic loss. In addition, western nations steadfastly refused to commit troops to stopping Japanese aggression, something that would bite them in their butts later on when Japan ran out of oil, choosing to attack British Hong Kong, Malaysia, Burma, and Brunei, taking control over French Indochina, invading Dutch Indonesia, and attacking American-controlled Philippines.


Then in 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria on the pretext that Japanese railways in the Manchuria were destroyed by China in the Mukden Incident - they were actually destroyed by Japan.



Chinese resistance at Shanghai was aimed at stalling the rapid Japanese advance, giving much needed time for the Chinese government to move vital industries to the interior, while at the same time attempting to bring sympathetic Western Powers to China's side. During the fierce three-month battle, Chinese and Japanese troops fought in downtown Shanghai, in the outlying towns, and on the beaches of the Jiangsu coast, where the Japanese had made amphibious landings.


The battle can be divided into three stages, and eventually involved nearly one million troops. 

The first stage lasted from August 13 to August 22, during which the Chinese army attempted to eradicate Japanese troop presence in downtown Shanghai. 


The second stage lasted from August 23 to October 26, during which the Japanese launched amphibious landings at Jiangsu coast and the two armies fought a Stalingrad-type house-to-house battle, with the Japanese attempting to gain control of the city and the surrounding regions. 


The last stage, ranging from October 27 to the end of November, involved the retreat of the Chinese army in the face of Japanese flanking maneuvers, and the ensuing combat on the road to China's capital, Nanjing.


The Chinese soldiers had to rely primarily on small-caliber weapons in their defense of Shanghai, against an overwhelming onslaught of air, naval, and armored striking power from Japan. 

The anti-Japanese resistance of Chinese forces, however, came as a huge shock to the Japanese attackers, who had been taught that they had cultural and martial superiority, and influenced the demoralization the Imperial Japanese army.


In the end, Shanghai fell, and China lost a significant portion of its best troops, while also failing to get any international intervention. There were 333,500 Chinese Casualties, and 92,640 Japanese casualties. Modern Japanese revisionists claim that the number was wholly exaggerated, but most historians agree that they were not. 

Although the Japanese government has admitted to the acts of killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other violence committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of Shanghai, a small but vocal minority within both the Japanese government and society have argued that the death toll was military in nature and that no such crimes ever occurred. Denial of the massacre and a divergent array of revisionist accounts of the killings has become a staple of Japanese nationalism. In Japan, public opinion of the massacres varies, and few deny the occurrence of the massacre outright.

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