Marco Polo Bridge Incident - China Incident (1937-1941)


The Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred on July 7th, 1937, which caused several small battles between Japan and China. Both armies concluded a cease-fire agreement on July 11st, 1937.


The Marco Polo Bridge (Lugouqiao or Lugou Bridge) is located approximately 12km south-west of Beijing. Japanese Army stayed in Beijing based on the Boxer Protocol, which was signed in 1901 between China and the Eight-Nation Alliance. Japanese troops carried out a military training near the bridge in the night on July 7th, 1937. After the military training, there were several fires against a Japanese troop. In the early morning on the next day, Japanese troops were attacked by Chinese troops, which caused several battles between Japanese and Chinese armies.

The Army General Staff of Japan confirmed a polity to avoid the expansion of the battle with effort of Ishihara Kanji, the Major General. In order to avoid the expansion of the battle, Japan proposed to withdrawal of both armies and both sides concluded a cease-fire agreement on July 11th, 1937.

China offended against the agreement and attacked a maintenance squad of an artillery unit in Beijing on July 13th, in which four Japanese soldiers were killed. A second soldier was murdered by Chinese soldiers on July 14th. Chinese army fired at Japanese army near the Marco Polo Bridge on July 20th.

Chinese army attacked Japanese army on July 25th (Langfang Incident) and July 26th (Guanganmen Incident).

The Japanese government changed the policy of non-expansion and decided to mobilize the army on July 27th. The local Japanese army notified a military action to Chinese army on July 28th. Beijing was occupied on the same day.

Why this fact affects the rightward trend?

The left wing insists that Japan intended to expand its territory by colonizing China and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident was a conspiracy by the Japanese militarism to justify the war against China. The left wing also insists that the war began in 1931, emphasizing that Japan continued the war to expand its territory.

In fact, the Army General Staff of Japan understood the difficulty to occupy China and realized the threat of the Soviet Union. Japan tried to minimize the impact of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident as much as possible, although the efforts were in vain under the reiterated provocation by China.

Japanese textbooks ignore the cease-fire agreement on July 11th, the offence against the agreement by China, and the Japanese policy of non-expansion of the battle. Finding these facts give an opportunity to review the history in textbooks.