The Battle of Shanghai (Chinese: 淞滬會戰) was the first of the twenty-two major engagements fought between the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) of the Empire of Japan at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. It lasted from August 13, 1937, to November 26, 1937, and was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the entire war, later described as "Stalingrad on the Yangtze", and is often regarded as the battle where World War II started. After over three months of extensive fighting on land, in the air and at sea, the battle concluded with a victory for Japan.
Since the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 followed by the Japanese attack of Shanghai in 1932, there had been ongoing armed conflicts between China and Japan without an official declaration of war. These conflicts finally escalated in July 1937, when the Marco Polo Bridge Incident triggered the full advance from Japan. Dogged Chinese resistance at Shanghai was aimed at stalling Japanese advance, giving much needed time for the Chinese government to move vital industries to the interior, while at the same time attempting to bring sympathetic Western powers to China's side. During the fierce three-month battle, Chinese and Japanese troops fought in downtown Shanghai, in the outlying towns, and on the beaches of the Yangtze River and Hangzhou Bay, where the Japanese had made amphibious landings.
The Chinese soldiers had to rely primarily on small-caliber weapons in their defense of Shanghai, against an overwhelming Japanese onslaught of air, naval, and armored power. In the end, Shanghai fell, and China lost a significant portion of its best troops, while failing to elicit any international intervention. The resistance of Chinese forces, however, shocked the Japanese, who had been indoctrinated with notions of cultural and martial superiority, and dramatically demoralized the Imperial Japanese Army.
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