Battle of Nanjing

Battle before: Battle of Shanghai
Battle after: Battle of Xuzhou
Battle of Nanjing
ConflictSecond Sino-Japanese War
DateDecember 1937
PlaceNanjing and surrounding areas
ResultFall fo Nanjing, Rape of Nanking
China, National Revolutionary Army Japan, Central China Theater Army
Tang Shengzhi Matsui Iwane, Butcher of Nanking
~100,000 men 8 divisions
~50,000 military personnel, ~300,000 civiliansminimal

The Battle of Nanjing began after the fall of Shanghai in October 9, 1937 ,and ended with the fall of the capital city of Nanjing in December, 1937 to Japanese troops, a few days after the Republic of China Government had evacuated the city and relocated to Chongqing.


Before Battle

General Tang Shengzhi was given the job of defending Nanjing following the retreat of the Chinese Army following the Battle of Shanghai. In a press release to foreign reporters, he announced the city would not surrender and would fight to the death. The defense forced blocked roads, ruined boats, burnt nearby villages, prevented many citizens unable to evacuate. He gathered about 100,000 soldiers, mostly untrained soldiers and a few defeated troops from the Shanghai battlefield, to defend the capital. He also placed the 35th division of his troop at the port to prevent people from fleeing Nanjing. However, the government left Nanjing on December 1, and the president left on December 7. Nanjing was left to the International Committee led by John Rabe.


On December 9, after occupying nearby counties and unsuccessfully demanding the defending Chinese troops in Nanjing to surrender, the Japanese troops, under Lt. Gen. Asaka Yasuhiko (filling in for Gen. Matsui Iwane), launched a massive assault on the city. At 5pm, December 12, Tang Shengzhi changed his plan and decided to retreat to the other side of Yangtze River. Without an orgnized withdrawal, few soldiers fled successfully due to of lack of boat and the freezing river conditions. On December 13, the 6th and the 116th Divisions of the Japanese Army first entered the city. At the same time, the 9th Division entered Guanghua Gate, and the 16th Division entered Zhongshan and Taiping Gates. In the afternoon, two small Japanese Navy fleets arrived on both sides of the Yangtze River. On the same day, Nanjing fell to the Japanese. In the following 6 weeks the Japanese troops committed the infamous Nanjing Massacre.


Several cities, including Xuzhou and Wuhan soon fell after this battle. The govenment had to try to delay the progress of Japanese by causing the 1938 Huang He flood, a flood which covered 3 provinces.

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