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The second Sino-Japanese war
The second Sino-Japanese war was a small incident methodically and strategically escalated into a full scale war. In 1937, Japanese armies invaded a weaker, less organized Chinese side forcing the later to defend them self and initiate what came to be referred to and remembered as the second Sino-Japanese war. At that particular time, the Japanese side was not only more organized and better armed, its record of brutality set fear down the spines of any would-be opponent. A case in particular remembered as one of the most brutal in the history of wars around the Second World War era, was the rape of Nanking (Fogel 70). In addition, the Japanese moved south and seized most of the Eastern parts of China and its all ports in its path. By the time the rest of Europe had been drawn into what was then effectively World War 2, the Japanese had occupied most of the regions it had set out to attack and obtain control of.
This paper shall set to explore the war in detail from the perspective of the Chinese. In their position, they had the difficult choice of either attacking the Japanese, or retaliating the Communists and Nationalist invasion from the Russian and Western forces. It shall indeed try to delve into some particular incidences and aspects that might aid in shedding light into the situation China faced in making this hard situation.
The Second Sino-Japanese war in context: A detailed description.
The Japanese invasion of China in 1937 was as a result of the culmination of many factors that were themselves aggregated by the geopolitical circumstances surrounding these rival countries at that time. Japan and China had been rivals and enemies for many centuries, each trying all methods at its disposal to try and wrestle territory from the other. These factors which culminated in the subsequent attack of China, then, a less organized region with internal issues of its own, were the same that Japan used to strategically position itself as an aggressor in this war (Adle 78). The discord and lack of an effective central government in this richly endowed region presented Japan with an opportunity at its vast natural resources and labor force. This issue itself has been the subject of a protracted debate between the nations as each tries to extricate itself from the negatively viewed position of aggressor or attacking nation.
The second Sino-Japanese war broke out shortly after the first one ended. Japan had earlier invaded China, then under the Qing Dynasty and forced them to cede control of the region of Formosa. In addition, China was to recognize Japanese control of Korea under the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Japan had taken advantage of the crumbling Qing Dynasty and the subsequent emergence of civil unrest, coupled with its own increase in power as a result of an earlier embrace to Western influence and its methods of war, development, and strategy (Paine 127).
After the Xinhai Revolution of 1912, China became a state. However, the central integration of the new state was hampered by internal wrangles fueled by warlords. These regional warlords were so determined to ensure the complete disintegration of the new Chinese state. Some, like Zhang Zhoulin of Manchuria, aligned themselves with foreign powers for military and economic benefit. Zhang Zhoulin aligned himself with Japan for these benefits, a situation which eventually catalyzed the crumbling of China as a state.
Japan issued the ‘Twenty-one’ demands in 1915 in a bid to gain more from China economically forcing the victims to retaliate (Shulman 122). Unfortunately, China had no central form of government and leader to organize a rebellion. In addition, they were still suffering from widespread civil strife in the face of Japan who had introduced some German influence in Shandong. This aggravated the situation for China as they effected anti-Japanese demonstrations using a combined army known as the Koumintang, with the help of the Soviet Union.
The Japanese invaded Manchuria in 1931, a region rich in natural resources and a high potential for its own finished goods. In addition, Manchuria provided Japan with the advantage of being free from Western countries influence as they were busy tending to their economic woes at the hands of the Great Depression. Japan used the policy of Specialization to weaken the stateless weak Chinese region even further, as was witnessed in the Mukden Incidents, the January 28th incident and others. It s main strength was establishment of governments that were friendly to Japan by aiding collaborators to Japanese influence ascend to power. Defectors were immediately removed, the assassination of Zhang Zhoulin showed.
The situation escalated to a full scale conflict in 1937 when Japanese and Chinese troops confronted each other on Luguo, or Marco Polo Bridge. Japanese forces took control of Beijing and Tianjin, leading to the deployment of Chinese army and air forces on Japanese forces. Initially, the large scale attack destabilized Japan’s takeover of Beijing, but they retaliated by mobilizing their 200, 000 strong force. The success encouraged them to proceed to Nanking, and orchestrate the worst mass atrocities in the Second World War era.
Of note in these activities is the slow but sure entry of the larger struggle between Communism and Nationalism. The Communists were represented by Germany and the Soviet Union, who aided the Japanese and Chinese respectively. The entry of Nationalist influence into the second Sino-Japanese affair is marked by Japan’s attack of a United States military base in Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. These actions marked the culmination of a small affair between traditional rivals and neighboring states, to a situation that would not only affect the two countries initially involved, but world politics (Wong et. al 53).
The real wars waging behind veils of a Sino-Japanese war.
While the world reeled in the throes of World War 1’s devastating effects, the most powerful countries were busy trying to amass as much territory as they could. They had seen the effects of war and military confrontation first hand in the First World War, and were not eager to dedicate vast resource to such destructive endeavors again. So they decided to spread their ideologies to the regions that presented them with the best advantage instead. This saw Communist Germany and Soviet Union.............
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