Asia Pacific 1937: Battle of Shanghai

For the month following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, it appeared fighting between Japan and China would be restricted to the north. Then, in August, a Japanese officer was shot by Chinese troops in Shanghai and the war suddenly expanded. Peace negotiations collapsed as almost a million Chinese and Japanese troops poured into Shanghai and a battle which would rage for over three months.


Treaty Ports

Treaty ports were towns opened to foreign trade by unequal treaties in China. Foreigners operating within treaty ports enjoyed extraterritoriality, being subject to their home country’s laws. Unlike concessions such as Hong Kong, these territories were not directly leased by the foreign powers and did not have sizable foreign garrisons.

Treaty ports are not shown in the maps after the 1911 Chinese Revolution in order to give a clearer picture of the chaos in China itself and as by that point their numbers had stabilized. After the revolution, some of the smaller ports were phased out while the others became less important as the situation in China meant that only the concessions could provide foreigners with security. Most, however, still continued on into the 1940s when the Japanese entry into World War II and foreign agreements with China brought them to an end.

See this map for treaty ports in 1907, when the system was at its peak.

Yangtze River

By the terms of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), foreign vessels including warships had the right to free navigation on the Yangtze River. In practical terms, this right extended only as far as Yichang until 1900, when advances in steam navigation allowed access as far inland as Chongqing.

Main Events

25 Jul–8 Aug 1937 Battle of Beiping-Tianjin

Japanese take Beiping and Tianjinin wikipedia

9 Aug 1937 Oyama Incident

Japanese Marine Lieutenant Isao Oyama was shot and killed after he killed a guard at Hongqiao Airport in wikipedia

13 Aug–26 Nov 1937 Battle of Shanghai

Battle of Shanghai between Japan and Nationalist Chinain wikipedia

23 Aug 1937 Japanese begin bombing of Nanjing and cities of central China

Japanese begin bombing of Nanjing and cities of central Chinain wikipedia