The story of the Marco Polo Bridge incident


The story of the Marco Polo Bridge incident

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident, from July 7 to 9, 1937, marks the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which also marks the beginning of World War II in Asia. What is the incident, and how it provoked almost a decade of fighting between two Great Powers in Asia?

Historical background:

The relations between China and Japan were at least cold, even before the Marco Polo Bridge incident. The Japanese Empire had annexed Korea, which was formerly a Chinese tributary state. In 1910, it invaded and occupied Manchuria after the Mukden Incident in 1931.

Japan spent five years prior to the Marco Polo Bridge incident gradually seizing larger sections in the north and east of China, encircling Beijing. The Chiang Kai-shek Kuomintang-led de facto government in China was located south of Nanjing but Beijing was still a pivotal city-state

The key to the Marco Polo Bridge was the key to Beijing. It was named after the Italian merchant Marco Polo who visited China’s Yuan in the 13th century. The modern bridge was near Wanping City, the only road and railway between Beijing and the Commenting stronghold of Nanjing. The Japanese Imperial Army is trying to pressure China to withdraw from the area around the bridge without success.

The incident: In the early summer of 1937, Japan began to carry out military exercises near the bridge, they always warn the local population to prevent panic, but on July 7, 1937 AD, the Japanese began training without prior notice to the Chinese.

The local Chinese garrison in Wanping believed to have been attacked, responded with Japanese fire. In a state of confusion, a Japanese soldier and his commanding officer demanded that the Chinese allow Japanese troops to enter and search the town.

The Chinese refused, and the Chinese army offered to carry out an inspection, which was approved by the Japanese commander, but some Japanese infantrymen tried to make their way to the town, and Chinese troops in the city opened fire on the Japanese and drove them out.

With the events out of control, both sides called for reinforcements. Before 5 am on July 8, the Chinese allowed Japanese investigators in Wanping to search for the missing soldier. However, the imperial army opened fire with four mountain cannons at 5:00 am, Marco Polo Bridge shortly thereafter, fought one hundred Chinese defenders, only four of them have survived, the Japanese swept the bridge, but the Chinese reinforcements recovered it the next morning July 9.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, the two sides negotiated the settlement of the incident, the conditions were that China apologize for the incident, the responsible officers will be punished on both sides, Chinese troops in the region will be replaced by the Civilian Peacekeeping Corps, the Chinese national government will better control the Communist elements in the region. In contrast, Japan will withdraw from the direct Wanping area and the Marco Polo bridge. The representatives of China and Japan signed the agreement on July 11 at 11:00 am.

However, the Japanese Cabinet held a press conference to announce the settlement, also announced the mobilization of three new sections of the army, and strongly warned the Chinese government in Nanjing not to interfere In the local solution to the Marco Polo Bridge incident. This sharp statement by the government resulted in the response of the government of Sheikh Kai-shek to the response by sending four additional troops to the area.

The two sides soon violated the Armistice Agreement, the Japanese and the Anping bombing on July 20, and by the end of July, the Imperial Army had besieged Tianjin and Beijing, although both sides were planning a full-scale war. But the tension was unbelievably high. In Shanghai on August 9, 1937, the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out seriously and will go into World War II, ending only with the surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945.

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Battle of Marco Polo Bridge

The Yahiya’s were training near the bridge, 16 km from Beijing, according to an agreement signed after the Boxers Revolution. The Japanese accused the Chinese of abducting their soldiers and wanted to search the houses, but the Chinese refused, and the Japanese-Chinese war began on July 7, 1937.


The Marco Polo Bridge is located in Fengtai, west of Beijing. It cuts the Yung Deng River.

See also;

Hwangguton Incident (1928)

Jinan Incident (1928)

The Second Sino-Japanese War

The Japanese invasion of Manchuria

The Mukden Incident (1931)

January 28 incident (Shanghai, 1932)

Defending the Great Wall of China (1933)

Battle of Shanghai (1937)

The Nanking Massacre (Nanjing, 1937)

National Revolutionary Army

Chiang Kai-shek

The march of swords

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