January 28 Incident

January 28 Incident

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=January 28 Incident
partof=the Second Sino-Japanese War

caption= Chinese 19th Route Army in defensive position
date= January 28March 3 1932
place= in and around Shanghai, China
result= ceasefire; Shanghai demilitarized
combatant1= flagicon|Republic of China|size=20px Republic of China, 19th Route Army, 5th Army
combatant2= flag|Empire of Japan|size=20px, Shanghai Expeditionary Army, Imperial Japanese Navy
commander1= flagicon|Republic of China|size=20px 19th Route Army: Jiang Guangnai (Chinese: 蔣光鼐),
flagicon|Republic of China|size=20px 5th Army: Zhang Zhizhong (Chinese: 張治中)
commander2= | 田代皖一郎|

strength1= 50,000
strength2= 90,000
casualties1= 13,000, including 4000 KIA, plus 10,000–20,000 civilian deaths
casualties2= 5,000, including 800 KIAThe January 28 Incident (January 28March 3 1932) was a short war between the armies of the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan, before official hostilities of the Second Sino-Japanese War commenced in 1937. In Chinese literature, it is known as the "January 28 Incident", while in Western sources it is often known as the "Shanghai War of 1932" or simply the "Shanghai Incident". In Japan it is known as the "First Shanghai Incident", alluding to the "Second Shanghai Incident", the Japanese name for the Battle of Shanghai that occurred during the opening stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.


After the Mukden Incident, Japan acquired the vast northeastern region of China and would eventually establish the puppet government of Manchukuo. However, the Japanese military planned to increase Japanese influence further, especially into Shanghai where Japan, along with the various western powers, had extraterritorial concessions. In order to provide a casus belli to justify further military action in China, the Japanese military needed to instigate some incidents. On January 18, five Japanese Buddhist monks were beaten near the Sanyou Factory (zh-tp|t=三友實業社|p=sānyǒushíyèshè) by agitated Chinese civilians. Meanwhile, some instigated Japanese agents burnt down the factory and killed one and hurt several police officers sent by Chinese authorities. This caused an upsurge of anti-Japanese protests against Japanese presence in the city and its concessions, as residents of Shanghai marched onto the streets calling for a boycott of Japanese-made goods.

The battle

"See:" Order of Battle January 28 IncidentThe situation continued to deteriorate over the next week. By January 27, the Japanese military had already concentrated around thirty ships, forty airplanes, and nearly seven thousand troops around the shoreline of Shanghai, to put down any resistance in case violence broke out with the justification it had to defend its own concession. The Japanese also issued an ultimatum to the Shanghai municipal government, demanding a public condemnation and monetary compensation by the Chinese for Japanese property damaged in the monk incident, and demanding that the Chinese government take active steps to suppress further anti-Japanese protests in the city. In the afternoon of January 28, the Shanghai municipal government agreed to these demands.

However, around midnight, Japanese carrier aircraft bombed the city in the first major aircraft carrier action in the Far East. Three thousand Japanese troops proceeded to attack various targets, such as train stations, around the city. The Chinese 19th Route Army (zh-cp|c=十九路軍|p=shíjǐulìujūn) put up a fierce resistance and the Japanese hastily retreated. Thus the Battle of Shanghai began.

Because Shanghai was a metropolitan city with many foreign interests invested in it, other countries, such as the United States, Great Britain, and France attempted to negotiate with Japan right from the start for a ceasefire. However, Japan refused and continued to mobilize more and more troops into the region. On January 12, American, British, and French representatives brokered a half-day cease fire for humanitarian relief to civilians caught in the crossfire. On 30 January, Chiang Kai-shek decided to temporarily relocate the capital from Nanjing to Luoyang as an emergency measure due to Nanjing's proximity to Shanghai.

On February 12, the Japanese issued another ultimatum, demanding that the Chinese Army retreat twenty kilometers from the Shanghai foreign concession border, a demand which was promptly refused by the Chinese forces. This only intensified fighting in the city. The Japanese were still not able to take the city by the middle of February, and the number of Japanese troops was increased to nearly ninety thousand with the arrival of the 9th Infantry Division and the IJA 24th Mixed Brigade, supported by eighty warships and three hundred airplanes.

On 14 February, Chiang Kai-shek sent his 5th Army, including his elite -trained 87th and 88th divisions into Shanghai. At the time, the 5th Army was considered the best fighting force in China due to its German training and modern equipment.

On 20 February, Japanese bombardments also increased to force the Chinese away from their defensive positions near Miaoxing, while commercial and residential districts of the city went up in flames. The Chinese defensive positions deteriorated rapidly without naval and armored support, and the number of defenders dwindled to fewer than fifty thousand, while the Japanese continued to increase force levels to over a hundred thousand troops, backed by aerial and naval bombardment.

On 29 February, the Japanese 11th Infantry Division landed near Liuhe behind Chinese lines. The defenders launched a desperate counterattack from 1 March but were unable to dislodge the Japanese. On March 2, the 19th Route Army issued a telegram stating that it was necessary to withdraw from Shanghai due to lack of supplies and manpower. The next day, both the 19th Route Army and the 5th Army retreated from Shanghai, marking the official end of the battle.

Peace process

On March 4, the League of Nations passed a resolution demanding a ceasefire, while sporadic fighting persisted. On March 6, the Chinese unilaterally agreed to stop fighting, although the Japanese rejected the ceasefire. On March 14, representatives from the League of Nations arrived at Shanghai to force the Japanese to negotiate. While negotiation was going on, intermittent fighting continued in both outlying areas and the city itself. On May 5, China and Japan signed the Shanghai Ceasefire Agreement (zh-cp|c=淞滬停戰協定|p=sōnghùtíngzhànxiédìng). This agreement made Shanghai a demilitarized zone and forbade China to garrison troops in areas surrounding Shanghai, Suzhou, and Kunshan, while allowing the presence of a "few" Japanese units in the city. China was allowed to keep only a small police force within the city. The agreement was widely regarded by the Chinese as a humiliation, as the terms were extremely unfavorable to China, although they were regarded as the “victims” in the war, and had inflicted heavy casualties to the invaders. Chinese public opinion was that the agreement should not have been so favorable to Japan. In reality, the foreign powers, which had vast economic interests in the Shanghai International Settlements, appeased Japan to end the conflict in the shortest time possible, at the expense of Chinese sovereignty in the process.


Yoshinori Shirakawa, the commander of the Shanghai Expeditionary Army and joint leader of the Japanese forces, was assassinated by Korean nationalist Yoon Bong-Gil during the battle and died on May 26.

After the ceasefire was brokered, the 19th Army was reassigned by Chiang Kai-shek to suppress Chinese Communist insurrection in Fujian. They won some battles against the communists but then negotiated peace with them. On November 22, leadership of the 19th Route Army revolted against the Kuomingtang government, and established the Fujian People's Government, independent of the Republic of China. This new Fujian government was not supported by all elements of the communists and was quickly crushed by Chiang's armies in January 1934. The leaders of the 19th Route Army escaped to Hong Kong and the rest of the army was disbanded and reassigned into other units of the National Revolutionary Army.


*cite book
last = Fenby
first = Jonathan
year = 2003
title = Chiang Kai-shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost
publisher = Carroll & Graf Publishers
id = ISBN: 0786713186

*cite book
last = Jordan
first = Donald
year = 2001
title = China's Trial by Fire: The Shanghai War of 1932
publisher = University of Michigan Press
id = ISBN: 0-472-11165-5

* Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai," History of The Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)" 2nd Ed. ,1971. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung , Chung Wu Publishing; 33, 140th Lane, Tung-hwa Street, Taipei, Taiwan Republic of China.

External links

* [http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=114 WW2DB: First Battle of Shanghai]
* [http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=78115 Shanghai 1932 from Axis History Forum (Article, maps, orbat info and discussion)]
** [http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=102369&st=0&sk=t&sd=a Photos of Shanghai 1932 from Axis History Forum]
* [http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/4826/robertshort.htm Robert Short, US pilot in the war]

ee also

*Second Sino-Japanese War

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