The Shanghai War, 1932

In January 1932, five Japanese monks started singing Japanese patriotic songs in a Chinese factory in Shanghai to celebrate Japan's successes in taking over Manchuria the northeast of the Chinese capital. This provoked a riot during which one of the monks was lynched.

In reprisal, the Japanese landed 1,200 marines and ordered the Chinese Nationalist garrison commander, General Cai Tingkai, to withdraw his Nineteenth Route Army. He refused, and the Japanese attacked. For 34 days the Chinese resisted bravely and only retreated when the Japanese brought in an extra 55,000 reinforcements.

In the fighting, 18,000 civilians were killed or missing and 240,000 people lost their homes. Shanghai was a city under siege. The foreign-controlled areas, the International Settlement and the French Concession, were packed with Chinese refugees trying to escape the Japanese.