On July 7, 1937, Japanese troops marched across Lugou Bridge at the outskirts of Beijing, and started a massive military aggression against China. The day is now widely considered by Chinese to mark the beginning of the country’s eight-year War of Resistance against Japan.
The war, among the longest and bloodiest in Chinese history, began more than two years ahead of the Nazi invasion of Poland. China became one of the first countries caught up in WWII, and suffered the most losses.
The eight-year-war cost more than 350 million casualties in China, according to official statistics, both of soldiers and civilians. Many were killed by gunfire, bombs, gas and biological weapons. Women were raped and tortured to death in massive numbers.
Lugou Bridge incident marks start of Japan's invasion of Chinaion of ChinaOn July 7, 1937, Japanese troops marched across Lugou Bridge, and into Beijing. The attack on the crossing, which is also known as Marco Polo Bridge, is seen by historians as signalling the beginning of Japan’s full-scale invasion of China.
Without China’s effort, Japan’s capacity to confront the U.S. in the Pacific would have been vastly amplified. However, due to post-war ideological differences, China’s contribution in the war tends to be largely downplayed in the West, and is often overshadowed by America’s “victory in Asia.”
In Japan, details of the WWII are largely left out of school textbooks. Some right-wing Japanese officials have attempted to deny wartime atrocities, including the Nanjing Massacre. As a consequence, many Japanese fail to understand why neighboring countries still bear a grudge over “historical issues” that happened more than 70 years ago.
Photos: 78th anniversary of Lugou bridge (Marco Polo bridge) incident
Seventy-eight years ago, on July 7, 1937, Japanese troops stationed near the bridge (also known as Marco Polo bridge) demanded entry to nearby Wanping County on the pretext of searching for a missing soldier. The Chinese military rejected the order and the Japanese bombed the county seat and bridge. The attack signaled the beginning of Japan’s full-scale invasion of China. View photos of the bridge then and now.