Asia Pacific 1937: Marco Polo Bridge Incident


Treaty Ports

Treaty ports were towns opened to foreign trade by unequal treaties in China. Foreigners operating within treaty ports enjoyed extraterritoriality, being subject to their home country's laws. Unlike concessions such as Hong Kong, these territories were not directly leased by the foreign powers and did not have sizable foreign garrisons.

Treaty ports are not shown in the maps after the 1911 Chinese Revolution in order to give a clearer picture of the chaos in China itself and as by that point their numbers had stabilized. After the revolution, some of the smaller ports were phased out while the others became less important as the situation in China meant that only the concessions could provide foreigners with security. Most, however, still continued on into the 1940s when the Japanese entry into World War II and foreign agreements with China brought them to an end.

See this map for treaty ports in 1907, when the system was at its peak.

Yangtze River

By the terms of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), foreign vessels including warships had the right to free navigation on the Yangtze River. In practical terms, this right extended only as far as Yichang until 1900, when advances in steam navigation allowed access as far inland as Chongqing.

Main Events

26–29 Feb 1936 February 26 Incident

Young Imperial Japanese Army officers led a coup attempt in Tokyo, Japan, in a bid to purge the government and military leadership in favor of the radical ‘Imperial Way’. Roughly 1500 men joined the rebellion, successfully assassinating several leading officials (including two former prime ministers) and occupying a number of important buildings including the police headquarters. However the Emperor rejected the rebellion and it was suppressed over the following days, bringing an end to the factionalism which had divided the Japanese wikipedia

12 May 1936 Mengjiang

Japanese back creation of Mongolian Military Government in Inner Mongoliain wikipedia

25 Nov 1936 Anti-Comintern Pact

In November 1936 the Japanese ambassador to Germany, Kintomo Mushakoji, signed the Agreement against the Communist International, or Anti-Comintern Pact, with Foreign Minister of Germany Joachim von Ribbentrop in Berlin. The treaty coordinated German and Japanese policy to counteract Communist activities, most notably those conducted by the Soviet Union, and was later joined by Italy, Spain, and other authoritarian states. It was ultimately undermined by the German–Soviet non-aggression pact of 1939 and supplanted by the Tripartite Pact of wikipedia

12 Dec 1936 Xian Incident

Zhang Xueliang arrested Chiang Kaishek to force him to accept a United Front with the Communists against wikipedia

1 Apr 1937 Colony of Burma

Under the Government of India Act 1935, Burma Province was separated from the British Indian Empire to become the new Colony of Burma. The colony was granted a new constitution calling for a fully elected assembly, with Ba Maw acting as Deputy Chairman of the Executive wikipedia

7–9 Jul 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident

Clash between Nationalist Chinese troops and Japanese troops in Beipingin wikipedia