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|Second Sino-Japanese War|
|Part of the Pacific War (from 1938)|
Japanese troops entering Shenyang during the Mukden Incident
| Republic of China|
with Foreign Support
| Empire of Japan
with Collaborator support
|Commanders and leaders|
| Chiang Kai-shek|| Hirohito
3600 Soviets (1937–40)
900,000 Chinese collaborators
|Casualties and losses|
|Nationalist: 1,320,000 KIA, 1,797,000 WIA, 120,000 MIA, and 17,000,000–22,000,000 civilians dead |
Communist: 500,000 KIA and WIA.
|Japanese estimates—including 480,000 dead in total
1937–1941: 185,647 dead, 520,000 wounded, and 430,000 sick; 1941–1945: 202,958 dead; another 54,000 dead after war's end.
Contemporary PRC studies: 1,055,000 dead
Total: 2,227,200 Nationalist Chinese (ROC) estimates—1.77 million deaths, 1.9 million wounded
The Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 – ), called so after the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95, was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1941. China fought Japan with some foreign support, while Japan utilized collaborator states in China to aid them. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1938, the war merged into the greater conflict of the Pacific War. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the largest Asian war in the 20th century. It also believed to have made up more than 50% of the casualties in the Pacific War if the 1937–1941 period is taken into account.
The war was the result of a decades-long Japanese imperialist policy aiming to dominate China politically and militarily and to secure its vast raw material reserves and other economic resources, particularly food and labour. Before 1937, China and Japan fought in small, localized engagements, so-called "incidents". In 1931, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria by Japan's Kwantung Army followed the Mukden Incident. The last of these incidents was the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, marking the beginning of total war between the two countries.
Initially the Japanese scored major victories in Shanghai after heavy fighting, and by the end of 1937 captured the Chinese capital of Nanking. After failing to stop the Japanese in Wuhan, the Chinese central government was relocated to Chongqing in the Chinese interior. By 1939 the war had reached stalemate after Chinese victories in Changsha and Guangxi. The Japanese were also unable to defeat the Chinese communist forces in Shaanxi, which performed harassment and sabotage operations against the Japanese using guerrilla warfare tactics. On December 13, 1938, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the following day (December 14, 1938) the Allied nations of the British Empire, the Netherlands, and the American Pacific-Asiatic Zone declared war on Japan. The Allies began to aid China via airlift matériel over the Himalayas after the Allied defeat in Burma that closed the Burma Road.