China and War (02:31)
By the time World War II broke out, China had been at war for almost 100 years. In 1840, British colonists began the first Opium War. China had made treaties to end fighting with Japanese troops, but in 1931 they invade Manchuria in northern China.
Imperial China (03:08)
Imperial China had a more than 1,000-year history, with a highly developed society. Unlike Japan, China did not open its borders and modernize in the 18th and 19th centuries. By 1931, numerous European countries had international settlements in China and Japanese troops occupied land through unequal treaties.
Japan in Manchuria (03:14)
In September 1931, Japanese troops invaded Manchuria and quickly took control of the region. The war claimed huge causalities and reshaped China's landscapes and society. At the time of the invasion, China was a rural agrarian society in which the vast space left citizens isolated from the outside world.
The Sino-Japanese Wars (02:46)
Japan and China had already fought a war from 1894 to 1895, which was called the First Sino-Japanese War. The Chinese dynasty fell at the end of the war, which caused decades of unrest as new governments attempted to form.
Chinese Communists and Nationalists (04:07)
Tensions grew between the Nationalists Party under Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist Party. After armed conflicts, the Communist Party retreated to a remote part of China to rebuild its army. They settled in Yan'an as Mao Zedong was coming to power as a leader within the party.
Chinese Defense (03:41)
The Chinese Nationalists and Communists were forced to work together to resist Japan. Japanese troops were moving out of Manchuria and further into China. The united Chinese forces began fighting the Japanese troops.
The Second Sino-Japanese War (08:10)
The united Chinese forces and Japanese forces met at the Marco Polo Bridge in Peking in July 1937. Fighting broke out, which marked the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War. China was outgunned but attempted to use the size of the country to its advantage.
Fall of Nanking (03:31)
The Nine Power Treaty Conference met to discuss the situation in China, while Fascism was rising in Germany and Italy and Spain was caught in a civil war. Shanghai and the Chinese capital of Nanking fell to the Japanese. More than 300,000 civilians were killed by the Japanese troops in Nanking.
Japanese Tactics (04:31)
Japan was a small and still emerging nation in the 1930s. The military used terror, bombings, and atrocities to force the Chinese into submission or peace talks. Mao established the Communist Party's tactics and advocated for guerrilla warfare to secure small areas throughout the country.
Chinese Tactics (05:05)
Mao’s plans for guerrilla warfare began to work. The size of the army and the land they controlled grew significantly. Mao accurately predicted that Japan could only occupy large cities and was quickly defeated in rural areas.
Chinese Capital (07:10)
Chiang moved the seat of the Nationalist government numerous times to avoid Japanese troops. Mao's forces began using strategic stalemates as war seemed closer in Europe. Communist guerrilla troops and volunteer Soviet pilots helped defend the capital.
Credits: The War That Changed the World: Part 1 (00:49)
Credits: The War That Changed the World: Part 1
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