What Was China’s Role in World War II?

More than two years before German tanks bombed Poland and four years before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, what some historians consider the start of World War II happened in China in 1937. The country’s eight years with Japan sowed the seeds for the attack on Pearl Harbor, but ultimately contributed to Allied victory in the Pacific, at an incredibly high price for the Chinese.

Sino-Japanese Relations Before World War II

For decades after the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894-1895, China and Japan remained uneasy neighbors. As China is engulfed in a civil war between the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party of Chiang Kai-shek and the communist forces of Mao Zedong, the Imperial Japanese Army invades the resource-rich region of Manchuria in the northeast of China in 1931 and installed a puppet government.

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