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Objective chronological listing of significant events leading up to modern China.

  • January - Command headquarter for Communist suppression in northwest China is abolished.
  • January - In Shaanxi province, commanders of the Northeast Army agree to obey orders from Nanjing. Civil war is adverted.
  • Feburary - Communist Party calls for an end to civil war, freedom of speech, release of political prisoners, war against Japan. The Communist army would be willing to obey orders from Nanjing and support a democratic government.
  • March - Communist Party agrees to begin negotiations with the Nationalists.
  • April – Chiang Kai-shek's son Chiang Ching-kuo returns from the Soviet Union.
  • July - Marco Polo Bridge incident. Armed conflict outside Beijing between Chinese and Japanese troops in search of a lost Japanese soldier. The incident would lead to full-scale war.
  • July - Massive movements of Japanese troops towards north China from Manchuria and the Japanese home islands.
  • July - Chinese reinforcements move toward Beijing.
  • July - Peace negotiations fail. China refuses Japanese ultimatum for troop withdrawal.
  • July - Full scale war breaks out between China and Japan. Japanese troops capture Beijing and Tianjin. War would continue for eight years and end in Japanese surrender in August 1945.
  • August - Battle of Shanghai begins. The battle would last three months. At its peak, about 500,000 Chinese soldiers and 200,000 Japanese soldiers are involved in the fighting. With repeated reinforcements, the Chinese suffer over 200,000 casualties and the Japanese lose about 50,000 men. A large portion of the crack Nationalist fight force is lost.
  • August - Chinese troops attack the Japanese stationed inside Shanghai.
  • August - Non-aggression pact between China and the Soviet Union. In return for raw materials, the Soviet Union would provide arms, planes, pilots, and advisers in support of the Chinese war effort.
  • August - Japanese reinforcements land in the northern suburb of Shanghai. Chinese troops put on the defensive.
  • September - Communist troops are put under Nationalist command as the Eight Route Army in the north and the New Fourth Army in the south.
  • September - A "United Front". Chinese Communist Party issues a declaration to follow leadership of Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist government.
  • September - Intense battles on the outskirts of Shanghai with massive casualties on both sides.
  • September – Communist forces ambush a Japanese force of about 4,000 at Pingxingguan in Shanxi province, inflicting several hundred casualties. It's one of the only two major engagements between the Communists and the Japanese through out the war.
  • October - Reinforcements (Sichuan faction) arrive from Guizhou province and join the battle in Shanghai.
  • October - In Hebei province, the Japanese capture Shijiazhuang. Japanese attack turns west towards Shanxi province.
  • October - Reinforcements (Guangxi faction) join the battle in Shanghai. Japanese make slow but steady advances.
  • October – The first flight of aircraft supplied by the Soviet Union arrive in China.
  • October - Secret peace negotiations begin, mediated by Germany.
  • November - First loan from the Soviet Union for the purchase of arms.
  • November - Japanese forces land at Hanzhou Bay, south of Shanghai.
  • November - Chinese troops withdraw from Shanghai in disarray. The battle of Shanghai ends.
  • November - In Shanxi province, Japanese capture Taiyuan. Japanese gain control of northern China.
  • November - Communists establish their first base behind Japanese lines southwest of Beijing.
  • November – The Chinese government announces its relocation from Nanjing to wartime capital Chongqing.
  • November - Japanese troops advance towards Nanjing.
  • November - Wang Ming, a rival of Mao Zedong, return to Yan'an with instructions from Moscow.
  • December - The battle of Nanjing begins. Nanjing is surrounded on three sides.
  • December - After intense battles, Chinese troops break out of encirclement at Nanjing.
  • December – Nanjing massacre. Japanese forces capture Nanjing. As many as 300,000 Chinese soldiers and civilians are killed in the subsequent massacre.
  • December - Chiang Kai-shek rejects peace terms offered by Japan.
  • December - Japanese troops capture Jinan, capital of Shandong province.
  • December - The Soviet Union declines Chinese requests to send troops against Japan.
  • Late 1937 - Communists establish bases in Shandong province.