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What incident marked the beginning of the War of Resistance?

Submit Time:22-10-2015 | Source: | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Since launching the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895, Japan had secured enormous political, economic, and military gains from northeast China and had come to regard the region as its lifeline.
After Chang Hsueh-liang, security commander-in-chief of the Northeast, switched allegiance to China’s National Government in Nanjing, he began to work at developing the economy of the Northeast, winning also the support of Britain, the US, and other powers. This caused consternation in Japan and prompted Japanese objections, particularly from the Japanese High Command. They protested that China’s efforts to construct harbor and railway facilities encroached on Japan’s “special interests in Manchuria and Mongolia” and argued that the time had come to “solve the issue of Manchuria and Mongolia.”
In 1930, the economic crisis that had been sweeping the capitalist world reached Japan, aggravating the country’s class contradictions and causing social unrest. At the same time, the profits from economic interests that Japan had secured in northeast China fell sharply. For example, the earnings of the South Manchuria Railway Company, Japan’s largest enterprise in the region, shrank to half the amount earned in 1929. In January 1931, Yōsuke Matsuoka, former vice president of the South Manchuria Railway Company, declared, “The issue of Manchuria and Mongolia is a matter of life and death and the lifeblood for our country… it is therefore necessary to ensure that nothing goes wrong there.” In March, Seishirō Itagaki, senior staff of the Kwantung Army, proclaimed “Manchuria and Mongolia are the empire’s first line of defense... If only peaceful diplomatic means are used, the issue of Manchuria and Mongolia will ultimately remain unresolved.”
At this time Japanese fascist forces believed that Britain, France, the US, and other Western powers were too preoccupied with their domestic economic crises to do anything about problems in the Far East; that China was busy dealing with domestic turmoil so it would not have the energy to fight back on the Manchuria and Mongolia issue; and that even if Japan attacked North Manchuria, the Soviet Union would not take action and the League of Nations was incapable of interfering in Manchuria. Believing that the objective conditions for aggression against northeast China were basically ripe, Japan decided to use force to seize the region.
The Japanese Army made a series of plans and preparations for the invasion of the Northeast. They carried out terrain reconnaissance, drew up operational plans, stepped up military deployment, increased provocations to be used as pretexts for further action, and took advantage of the Wanbaoshan Incident and the Nakamura Incident to fanatically fan the flames of aggression against China.
On September 18, 1931, the Kwantung Army put into action its plan to blow up a section of a railway line owned by the South Manchuria Railway Company close to Liutiao Lake in the northern outskirts of Shenyang and blame the explosion on the Chinese army. Using this as a pretext, the Kwantung Army sent part of its Independent Garrison Unit to attack the Beidaying barracks where the 7th Independent Brigade of the Chinese Northeast Army was stationed, and deployed part of its 2nd Division to attack Shenyang. The Chinese army fought back in self- defense. This became known as the September 18th Incident, which marked the beginning of the War of Resistance.

The Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression: A Concise History was produced by the Communist Party of China Central Committee Project Office for the Study and Development of Marxist Theory to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and in the Global War against Fascism. The English version of this book was translated and published by the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau in August 2015.

Focusing on the main areas of interest of the international community regarding the Chinese war of resistance, and in order to make information about the war more readily available, we have selected 30 topics on the basis of the book and presented them in question and answer form, providing concise explanations and sharing historical details rarely known by international audiences. The answers to these questions offer a vivid account of the Chinese people’s fourteen years of resistance against Japanese aggression between 1931 and 1945. This was a time during which the Chinese people made enormous sacrifices to secure victory in the war against Japanese aggression and help achieve victory in the global war against fascism. The Communist Party of China was the mainstay of the Chinese united resistance, and the Chinese Theater was the main Eastern battlefield in the global anti-fascist war. During this time, people from around the world also gave selfless support and assistance to the Chinese people’s war of resistance.