Search this site:

Content copyrighted. All rights reserved.


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



  • January - Nationalists accuse the Communists of not fighting the Japanese.
  • February - Germany announces recognition of Manchukuo and withdrawal of military assistance to China.
  • March – Battle of Taierzhuang. First major victory against the Japanese. An advancing Japanese force in Shandong province is trapped with a loss of about 10,000 men. The city is eventually taken by the Japanese two months later.
  • April - Due to disagreements with Mao Zedong, Zhang Guotao leaves the Communist Party.
  • May - Japanese capture Xuzhou. Chinese forces in general retreat.
  • June – To impede Japanese advances, dikes on the south banks of the Yellow River are blown. Hundreds of miles are flooded. Millions become homeless. According to an official estimate made after the war, about 800,000 people drowned in the incident.
  • June - The New Fourth Army establishes Communist bases in central China's Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.
  • July - Japanese forces defeated in a clash with Soviet troops at the border junction of Manchuria, Korea and Siberia; about fifty miles west of Vladivostok.
  • July - Campaign for Wuhan begins. The campaign for Wuhan and the surrounding areas would last about four months involving about 400,000 Japanese troops. The Chinese mobilize all available troops in the area numbering over one million.
  • August - Full-scale battles surrounding Wuhan.
  • August - Soviet endorsement of Mao Zedong as leader of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • September - Central Committee plenum of the Chinese Communist Party - a meeting decisive for the future of China. Mao Zedong would adopt a secret policy that ignores the United Front against the Japanese. The Communists would concentrate on expansion and conserving strength. The Nationalists would be treated as the ultimate enemy.
  • September – Munich agreement. Germany annex a large portion of Czechoslovakia.
  • October - Japanese forces capture Guangzhou, cutting off foreign supplies to Wuhan by rail via the British colony of Hong Kong.
  • October – Chinese forces withdraw from the city of Wuhan. The Japanese now occupy all major commercial and industrial centers of China, and all major ports.
  • October - Chiang Kai-shek declares the war against Japan will continue.
  • November - Wang Jingwei secretly leaves China for Vietnam in a plan to establish an alternative Chinese government that would make peace with Japan.
  • November - Chiang Kai-shek holds military meetings to reorganize the Chinese army and establish new war zones.
  • December - The Burma Road is completed, bringing in supplies from Rangoon.