Battle of Shanghai (1937)

A Re-compilation of Old Postings

The war in Shanghai was tied to the Brussels Conference and the expectation that the League of Nations would intervene. In hindsight, you were correct that China should not have persisted in Shanghai. But, if you read Wellington Koo memoirs, you would see that British, French and American repeatedly said that should China win some decisive battles, then it would be easier for the League of Nations to intervene on behalf of China. It was the international game at play.

As far as northern China was concerned, China would lose the five provinces the same way as Manchuria if no battle of Shanghai was waged. Japan was delayed by the Battle of Shanghai as well as its selfish capitalists’ care for their properties in coastal Qingdao. Anybody who read China’s map could tell that should Japan landed in Qingdao, they could go along Long-Hai Railway to cut the whole China into two halves. In light of the fact that China successfully protracted in its resistance war, we could not tell the general strategy was wrong. Important is not to look at the issues in hind sight.

Chiang fell into the trap of thinking his war in Shanghai could ultimately be brokered by the international powers like in 1932. To know why he was misled, check Wellington Memoirs. Other than the misleading matter that related to European powers and America, there was another factor of China’s hope that USSR would join the war – a factor that Japan was cautious in Manchuria area throughout 1937. USSR, before Xian Coup of Dec 1936, did want a military alliance treaty with Chiang, which China declined. Otherwise, Russians could be bound or Japan would think twice before attacking China.

Chiang Kai-shek committed a grave mistake in misjudging Americans throughout his early life. The time interval between the League of Nations resolutions in early October and the Brussels Conference in early Nov was crucial for China. Japan knew it and did its best to thwart China’s diplomatic initiatives. The only reason that the British passed on the hot potato to the Nine Power Treaty countries was for the Americans to step in. The delay in the conference till Chinese defense was almost collapse should make every Chinese aware of the importance that a nation like China should not count on anybody else other than themselves.

Update at


Japan had tried to echo a war in Sept of 1936 for assisting Fengtai provocation in Northern China. And, Japan also had staged an incident of a missing Marine for provoking a war. The Battle of Shanghai was inevitable.


Chiang losing the trust of the people was fabricated since 1944, with the inception of the Dixie Mission. Check Chennault memoirs and Miles memoirs, and you could tell what Americans went to Yenan to fabricate the myth about the communists. – Check related threads about American arms embargo against Chiang, i.e., what they called “first arming China, and then disarming China”, and also check the Russian supplies to CCP – which was ambiguous at the time, as seen in Wellington Koo’s memoirs – because Russians and CCP were so tight-lipped and security-averse that nobody could slip into and out of their territories.

Back to Shanghai Battle of 1937: China had to fight a war to secure Northern China. Without Battle of Shanghai, you could bet that Northern China would become Manchuria the Second. Besides, police, i.e., former armies of 29th Corps, had slaughtered Japanese in Tongzhou on July 29th, and Japan had officially mobilized its army against China – the point of no return right there.

It was true that China picked the fight in Shanghai. Chiang merely wanted a replay of 1932. But foreign powers chose not to intervene, other than USSR with military support for China. Japan did not pick the fight because their aim was still silkworm eat-away. If you examine how wavering Japan was in attacking Qingdao, you would understand their psychology. Japan’s military was still controlled by their financial conglomerates which in turn valued their properties in Qingdao more than anything else, i.e., a weak spot that China figured out and then used to hold Japan at bayonet and avoided a Japanese landing to cut the waist of the Peking-Nanking Railway. See the point?

As to Russians: They were saved by the Americans who gave USSR at least 20 billion US dollars. At least. And, do not forget about the Acheson 2 billion c**p to China, and the real number, military wise, was like less than 0.5 billion to Chiang Kai-shek, and done in the way of “first arming China, and then disarming China” [e.g., no machine-gun bullets for the American weapons throughout 1946-1948]. I don’t see any Russian bravery in resisting German. Just check out how many millions of Russian prisoners Germans had caught. The same 20 billion American lend lease weapons were then used for aiding CCP and N Korea, by the way.

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