This series of nine Japanese postcard images, titled “Shanghai Front 1937,” illustrates the early stages of Japanese operations in and around Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War which began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on July 7, 1937.[1]  The Japanese maintained a peacetime garrison in the major international port of Shanghai of 5,000 marines, which the Chinese army fought into a confined perimeter during the first weeks of hostilities.[2]  The fighting rapidly escalated as both sides ordered tens of thousands of reinforcements into the city because of its strategic and psychological importance. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek eventually committed over 500,000 soldiers (including several of his elite German-trained divisions) while Japanese forces would swell to about 200,000 soldiers.[3]  The following analyses provide explanations of the photographs and regard them as part of the larger military campaign, assuming they were produced as Japanese wartime propaganda.

[ip0167] (8/13/1937) Caption: “Battle line of Shanghai 1937 Japanese troops dared to land in the face of Chinese fire” (昭和十二年支那事変 上海戦線 敵前上陸敢行丸〇〇部隊の勇姿) Continue reading