The Second Sino-Japanese War was a conflict fought between China and Japan during the 1930s and into the 1940s. Born out of an imperial power struggle in 20th century Asia, the initial stages of the war began with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Fighting became more frequently in the following years until a confrontation at Marco Polo Bridge in July 1937, which placed both governments onto a war footing. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
The war constituted the Chinese theatre of World War II. (PROSE: Log 384) Although it began earlier than the war in Europe, which began on 1 September 1939, (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus, AUDIO: Neverland) it became intertwined with the wider Pacific War. The principal involvement of the United States of America ultimately led the Japanese to surrender, followed by the American occupation of Japanese-controlled China. (PROSE: Log 384)
History[edit | edit source]
Origins[edit | edit source]
The rise of Japan[edit | edit source]
Japan was a relative newcomer to the world stage by the 20th century. A long period of isolation locked the nation off from the rest of the world. This policy, known as Sakoku, or seclusion, was implemented by the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1630s owing to Japanese suspicion of Westerners and the spread of Christianity into Asia. This suspicion and fear was maintained and exacerbated during the long centuries of seclusion. Westerners became referred to as "barbarians" and any who ventured into the home islands were treated harshly by the vicious samurai who enforced the decree of the shogun. (AUDIO: The Barbarians and the Samurai)
In the early 17th century, Asami of Clan Rikushira used the technology of aliens she named the "Gaijin" to read Izzy Sinclair's mind and learn about the future of Japan. Izzy's memories revealed the destruction of Hiroshima and Japan's surrender in the Pacific War. The revelation drove Asami mad and she vowed to change history by wiping the "treachery of the West" from the face of the world before the Eighth Doctor convinced the Gaijin to stop her. (COMIC: The Road to Hell)
Seclusion ultimately served to stagnate Japan's growth. Some Japanese circles were conscious that they were falling behind the rest of the world and thought it best that seclusion be ended. An attempted coup in the 1820s aided by agents of the United Kingdom was launched to this effect but it failed. A few decades later, the United States sailed warships into Edo (later renamed Tokyo) Harbour and demanded a trade agreement with Japan. Refusal risked war with the US. The shogun accepted and Sakoku was ended after more and 200 years. The time of the samurai came to an end and the Japanese swiftly modernised as they established a place among the world players. (AUDIO: The Barbarians and the Samurai)
The government came under the control of the generals of the Imperial Japanese Army. (PROSE: Endgame) By the end of the 19th century, Japan had already partitioned some areas of China, (PROSE: Warring States) incorporating them into the newly established Japanese Empire, an empire symbolised by the blood-red sun emblem displayed on its flag. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang) Japan fought Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, (TV: The War Games) took part in World War I (PROSE: Doctor Who and the War Games) and by the 1930s sought to expand the Empire across more of Asia. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang) The Japanese ultimately aspired to unite the continent under the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy)
The decline of China[edit | edit source]
The ancient Chinese Empire, founded in the 3rd century BC, was on its last legs by the mid-19th century. Prior to the 1860s, China fought against the British and French Empires in the Opium Wars and lost. The foreign powers occupied parts of the country and crippled the corrupt Chinese Empire. (AUDIO: The Nightmare Fair, PROSE: The Nightmare Fair) The defeat and its consequences were looked on by the Chinese with shame. (PROSE: The Eleventh Tiger)
By 1900, China was prey to several foreign powers, but the south of China also depended on trade with those powers to stay prosperous. The Empire could therefore not mount an effective form of resistance to defend itself. The British Navy in Fragrance Harbour dwarfed the size of the entire Chinese fleet and the Americans had built up many thousands of troops in the Philippines. Russia and Japan had also partitioned some areas of China and sought after more. (PROSE: Warring States)
In 1911, an alliance of Chinese Nationalist warlords rose up against the ailing remnants of the Empire, then ruled by the boy emperor Pu Yi. The alliance, led by Sun Yat Sen, ousted Pu Yi, swept away the Empire and formed themselves into the Kuomintang (KMT), which became the governing party of China. Despite this, the budding republic entered a period of a long power struggle after the birth of the Soviet Union. The Soviets helped foster a growing Chinese Communist movement which began challenging the Kuomintang for control.
Sun Yat Sen's successor as the Kuomintang leader, Chiang Kai-shek, led the campaign against the Communists and succeeded in pushing them into the mountains of north and central China against the border of Mongolia. From there, however, it proved difficult to dislodge the Communists any further. The conflict devolved into a stalemate and order in the new China began to collapse in the face of the protracted struggle for dominance. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
The fall of the Chinese Empire opened a power vacuum on the continent, offering a chance for several different powers in Asia and the Pacific to exert their own influence, including Britain, the United States, Russia, Japan, (PROSE: Warring States), the Kuomintang or the Chinese Communists. After the onset of the Chinese deadlock, it was Japan who made the first move. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
Invasion of Manchuria[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Invasion of Manchuria
The construction of a new Russian railway connecting European Russia to the Pacific port of Vladivostok threatened the region of Manchuria in the north-east China with trade strangulation. This was to the detriment of both Chinese and Japanese economic interests, yet the ongoing Chinese power struggle presented the expansionist Japanese with an opportunity. In 1931, the Sakura Kai engineered a fight between the Chinese to justify the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, claiming the Chinese had attacked first. As claimed by Major Ryuji Matsu of the Imperial Japanese Army, Japan sought to restore order to China and help attract trade back to the region. The occupation gained Japan control of Manchuria's natural resources. The Japanese consolidated Manchuria into a puppet state named Manchukuo, governed by the former Chinese Emperor, Pu Yi. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang) The occupation was completed by 1932. (PROSE: Log 384)
Japan's authority in Manchukuo was enforced by the Kwantung Army. The headquarters of Kwantung Army Intelligence was set up in Hsinking. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang) Atrocities committed by the Kwantung Army against the Chinese deterred the local peasants from attempting to escape, and any who tried were shot. The peasants were forced to work on the construction of Zhong Ma Fortress, a prison and research facility where the Japanese conducted experiments intended to forward the development of biological weapons. These projects were headed by the young military scientist Ishii Shiro and sponsored by the Japanese Emperor himself. Prisoners were dissected, blood samples were taken, and subjects were deliberately infected with bubonic plague, so that the Japanese could learn more about how the human body reacted to it and how germs may be weaponised.
In 1933, Mai Ling was imprisoned in Zhong Ma, prompting the Seventh Doctor embark on a rescue mission before the Japanese unwittingly unleashed the ghost warrior within her, bringing untold chaos and changing the course of Earth's history. To gain the necessary support, the Doctor approached the factions of the British Security Services who were sympathetic to Winston Churchill and his warnings about the dangers posed by the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. The Doctor warned them of secret negotiations being conducted between the Nazis and the Japanese to discuss the terms of an alliance. The Security Services responded by recruiting operatives to send on a spy mission to Manchuria, not sanctioned by the British government, for which the Doctor recommended Edward Grainger. Grainger was a sceptic in regards to Churchill's warnings about the Nazis, so he was even more sceptical about the importance of the events unfolding in Asia. The Doctor assured him of their significance and the two departed on their mission.
Shortly after infiltrating Zhong Ma Fortress, the Doctor and Grainger were briefly captured by the Japanese and experimented on. They managed to escape captivity and rescued Mai Ling before fleeing the region. As Grainger recovered from the experiments, the Doctor put forward a recommendation for his actions in Zhong Ma, proposing that Grainger be recruited as an operative for the British Government, initially in an unofficial capacity that would to be made official in the event of a war. Major-General Vernon Kell sent Grainger the offer and he accepted.
Post-Manchuria crisis[edit | edit source]
Shortly after the invasion of Manchuria, Shanghai imposed sanctions on Japan in 1932. The Japanese responded by deploying soldiers stationed in the Shanghai International Settlement onto the streets and they briefly occupied the city. The situation threatened to spark a war. Areas of Shanghai were hit by Japanese air raids by aircraft launched from the aircraft carrier Hosho off the coast, and a number of the city's inhabitants were arrested and interrogated. Sung-Chi Li was captured by Ishiguro Takashi and interrogated by Ryuji Matsu, who promised Shanghai would fall under Japanese control. Li was becoming disillusioned with the capabilities of the Kuomintang to resolve the crisis against the Communists. Matsu convinced him that Japanese rule could restore the order the Kuomintang could not and the pair agreed on a partnership, Li becoming a double agent working for the Japanese. The crisis in Shanghai was eventually defused when the Western powers intervened to protect their own trading centres. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
Yet the tensions over the Manchurian dispute did not go away. They persisted into 1935. (PROSE: The Year of Intelligent Tigers) In Japan, the government and the Army split into two factions over a disagreement on Japan's next steps and overall on the best course of action, although both sides held an expansionist ideology. One faction, he Kodo Ha, controlled by the Sakura Kai, pushed for further consolidation of Manchukuo and expansion into China to offset strategic advantages enjoyed by the Soviet Union. The other faction, the Tosei Ha, felt it better to adhere to more formal rules of engagement and achieve their ambitions while working within the political system. The Kodo Ha took a more active and extreme approach to the dispute. Commanding the support of the local commanders in Manchukuo, they used them to assassinate various government ministers, including prime ministers, between 1933 and 1935 in an attempt to influence government policy.
Eventually, in February 1936, the Japanese First Infantry Division sparked a revolt in Tokyo. Also supporters of the Kodo Ha and influenced by the Sakura Kai, the division murdered many government officials and civil servants. Ishiguro Takashi's brothers lost their lives in the revolt, causing Takashi to desert the Imperial Army and flee to China. The Kodo Ha was ultimately defeated when the revolt was put down by imperial order and the Tosei Ha maintained nominal control of the Army. However, the Kodo Ha maintained the support of the Manchukuo commanders. Their influence was sufficient enough for the Tosei Ha to alter their policy. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
More fighting between the Chinese and Japanese occurred in 1936. According to this account, the War Lords and the renegade Time Lord the War Chief incorporated combatants abducted from this theatre to participate in the War Games inside the Chinese sector. The survivors were returned home when the Second Doctor summoned the Time Lords to defeat the War Lords. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the War Games) According to another account, however, no soldiers from a period beyond 1917 were selected to take part in the war games as later generations possessed a "greater technological knowledge" which posed a risk (TV: The War Games) The failure of the War Games led the War Lords to try again but with a singular focus on Nazi Germany. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Finally, in July 1937, the Japanese Manchukuo commanders, loyal to the Kodo Ha, provoked a fight between a handful of Chinese soldiers at Marco Polo Bridge. Using similar tactics which provoked the invasion of Manchuria, the Japanese claimed the Chinese troops had attacked first. The incident sparked further hostilities. With their troops were already in action, the Tosei Ha government was forced onto a war footing, ending the initial stages of the conflict and beginning a new phase on a larger scale. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
War footing[edit | edit source]
The front lines opened up on the frontier between Manchuria and Shangdong province, almost 400 miles north-east of Shanghai. In Shangdong, a push by the Japanese Twelfth Army gained them control of everything north of Tai'an and the mountain of T'ai Shan. KMT troop trains transporting Chinese Nationalist troops to the north were harried by the Imperial Army Air Fleet's Mitsubishi A5Ms. The Nationalists were further weakened by the need to divide their forces, as the Communists still held the northern regions near Mongolia. Fortunately for the Nationalists, the Japanese sought at first to consolidate their hold on Manchuria rather than advance deeper into China. The fighting on the frontier therefore remained relatively light.
Imperial Army deserter Ishiguro Takashi fled the Sakura Kai in Tokyo to Hong Kong and then China and began plotting against the "traitors" running the Japanese government. Settling in Shanghai, he abandoned his own name and became known as Woo, a Hong Kong-born owner of Club Do-San. This was a cover for his true intention of building a united front against the Kwantung Army before they drove south from Manchuria. Bigger Chinese criminal organisations were already preparing to resist further Japanese invasions. Woo worked as a vigilante, who became known as Yan Cheh, cracking down on local crime. He saw this as a severe distraction at a time when China's ability to resist the Japanese military had to be as strong as possible. The threat the Japanese armed forces posed to the city was already being demonstrated by air raids launched from Manchuria against Shanghai using Mitsubishi Ki-15 single-engined planes. The Fourth Doctor explained the Japanese were doing this "just to prove that they can".
This state of affairs continued into August 1937. A larger-scale threat soon revealed itself in the form of Hsien-Ko and the Tong of the Black Scorpion. Hsien-Ko, the daughter of Li H'sen Chang, wanted to formally punish Magnus Greel for the death of her father by preventing Greel from travelling to 1872. Aware that this would change time, Hsien-Ko also believed success would bring further rewards, namely that she might be able to prevent the conflict between China and Japan that started with the invasion of Manchuria altogether. She killed a number of Japanese soldiers during her discreet travels to Shangdong, where the Tong, having affiliated themselves with the Kuomintang, had secretly constructed the world's first nuclear reactor inside the mountain of T'ai Shan. They aimed to use the reactor's power to yank Greel's time cabinet out of its original course through time and into 1937. However, the Tong's reactor was wrecked by Sung-Chi Li, Major Matsu's double agent, who tricked various Tong members into fighting each other. The Fourth Doctor and Romana I used the TARDIS to time ram Greel's time cabinet back on course before Hsien-Ko created a temporal paradox. Hsien-Ko herself was erased from time when her attempt at time manipulation was thwarted. The reactor was also prevented from going critical and potentially destroying the entirety of Shangdong province. The Doctor and Romana buried it under hundreds of tonnes of cement inside the mountain.
The biological weapons developed by the Japanese in Zhong Ma Fortress and Unit 731 were put to use throughout the duration of the war. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people were killed as towns and villages in China and Manchuria were hit by germ-ridden packages. (PROSE: Log 384)
Spillover and conclusion[edit | edit source]
International reaction[edit | edit source]
Japan's actions led to the growth of anti-Japanese sentiment in the United Kingdom, which became involved in a war against Nazi Germany, (TV: Captain Jack Harkness) Japan's primary ally. (PROSE: Warlords of Utopia) On 20 January 1941 at the "Kiss the Boys Goodbye Dance" at the Ritz, an airman named Tim mistook Toshiko Sato for a Chinese woman and noted China was on Britain's side in the war. When Tosh corrected Tim, saying she was Japanese, two other attendees, George and Audrey, accused her of being a spy trying to extract information from Tim. Jack Harkness intervened and defended her by claiming she was working for the British on top secret decoding duties, prompting an American captain to propose a toast to her. Although this was an attempt at deflection on Jack's part, (TV: Captain Jack Harkness) it was true that Tosh's grandfather, who was born in Japan, worked for the British at Bletchley Park. (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts)
For Germany's part, the Nazis viewed China as a potential target for the future ambitions of the Third Reich. SS-Standartenführer Joachim Wolff considered the Chinese to be "subhuman." (PROSE: Just War) Adolf Hitler did express his intention to expand Germany's influence into Far East Asia after his European enemies had been subdued. At the start of the war in 1939, the War Lords in the Black Coven tried to develop nuclear weapons that Germany could use to more easily neutralise China, as well as Russia and the United States. The Coven favoured manoeuvring the Americans and Soviets into a war against each other while Germany took the opportunity to gain a Far East foothold. However, the strategy was never put into practice after the Coven was wiped out by the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hermann Goering. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) The Germans ultimately launched an invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 but were fought to a standstill (PROSE: Just War) and eventually expelled from Soviet territory, never reaching Asia through this invasion corridor. (PROSE: The Shadow in the Glass)
The world theatre[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Pacific War
On Sunday, 7 December 1941, Japan's war effort expanded and the Imperial Army Air Fleet attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. (PROSE: Only Connect) On 9 December, the US Air Force was engaged against the Japanese for control of the Philippines, (PROSE: Happily Ever After Is a High-Risk Strategy) and subsequently took control of many islands throughout the Pacific Ocean. (PROSE: Endgame, COMIC: Lunar Lagoon) The British Empire's Asian colonies were also invaded, opening the Far East Campaign. (AUDIO: The Forsaken)
The expansion of Japan's war beyond that with China ultimately led to the downfall of the former. After almost four years of bitter struggle, American and Australian forces, with token British assistance, managed to push the Japanese out of their newly-acquired Pacific strongholds. (AUDIO: Churchill Victorious) After the successful conclusion of the Manhattan Project on Monday, 16 July 1945, the Americans developed the world's first atomic bombs. (PROSE: Atom Bomb Blues) President Harry S. Truman ultimately decided to deploy the bombs against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (PROSE: Endgame) in August, leading Japan to surrender on 2 September, (COMIC: Sky Jacks) thus bringing about the official end of World War II. (PROSE: Base of Operations)
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
After the surrender, the Americans moved into occupied China to deal with the Japanese forces stationed there. Before the Americans arrived, the Japanese attempted to destroy all of the Unit 731 biological warfare facilities to prevent the American from discovering them, but this proved unsuccessful and the Americans quickly found out the truth. However, Ishii Shiro and the other Japanese perpetrators were aided by the deteriorating relations between the Americans and the Russians at the onset of the Cold War. The US did not want Japan's research to fall into Russian hands and saw the advantages of learning from human experimentation that the US itself would never countenance.
In exchange for the data, the Americans granted the perpetrators immunity from their war crimes. The data was incorporated into America's existing medical knowledge and biological weapons were even later deployed against North Korea during the Korean War. Some members of the Zhong Ma and Unit 731 research teams, meanwhile, went on to live out lives of wealth and power, achieving successful careers in academia and powerful organisations. These war criminals were never persecuted for their actions, (PROSE: Log 384) unlike their Nazi counterparts in Europe who were tried for war crimes at Nuremberg between 1945 and 1946. (PROSE: Just War, AUDIO: Just War)
Japan's aggression influenced the United States to opt against a return to its pre-war isolationist foreign policy. Instead, the Americans took a leading role in shaping the post-war world as the Cold War began. Such was the further-reaching consequences of the attack on Pearl Harbor. (PROSE: Fear Itself) Harry Truman remained a caretaker president after the war, then went on to win the election of 1948. During his presidency, Truman helped organise the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The US essentially replaced the British Empire as a world mediator after the latter went into decline as a result of crippling war debts. (PROSE: Endgame)
The Kuomintang's struggle against the Chinese Communists later resumed; by 1951, the Communists had come to power. (PROSE: Endgame) Mao Tse-Tung implemented a suppressive regime comparable with those of Stalin and Hitler. (PROSE: World Game) The Communists viewed the United States as "imperialist" and the United Kingdom as a "barbaric country" (TV: The Mind of Evil) and even fought the British and Americans in battle during the Korean War. General Douglas MacArthur went so far as to advocate dropping atomic bombs on China, for which Truman removed him from his post. The Players attempted to exploit this to cause a Third World War as part of their Endgame through the use of Project Kali, but through the actions of the Eighth Doctor, Kim Philby and the "Tightrope" organisation, the tensions were defused, (PROSE: Endgame)
The defeated Japan was humbled as a nation, stripped of its military and imperial prowess. (COMIC: The Road to Hell) The blood-red sun adoring the imperial Japanese flag (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang) was replaced by the post-war flag, which was a simple white flag with a red circle in the centre. (PROSE: Atom Bomb Blues)
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
The Second Sino-Japanese War has yet to be named as such by any DWU source, and as such, the title of this article remains conjectural. At most, the 1986 game book, Doctor Who and the Rebel's Gamble, contains the mention of a 1940 "Sino-Japanese Peace". However, these books are not considered valid sources by this wiki.
Nevertheless, numerous details about the war are directly referenced in a small handful of other stories. It was first mentioned in 1979 in Doctor Who and the War Games, in a reference not present in The War Games. In fact, through the reference to Chinese and Japanese hostilities in 1936, together with references to the Spanish Civil War and the Korean War, the novelisation actively contradicts what is established in its televised counterpart, which gives 1917 as a cut-off date.
Its origins are extensively explored in The Shadow of Weng-Chiang and Log 384, the former of which chronicles much of the conflict's beginnings up until the eve of the Battle of Shanghai in August 1937. Thereafter, in-universe information is scarce and largely limited to occasional references to China during World War II. The Sino-Japanese War is only linked to the wider world war by Log 384, in which the Doctor discusses the conflicts as if they are the same.
It can be surmised that the war ended on 2 September 1945 as this is the date of Japan's surrender given in Sky Jacks for the end of the Pacific War; however, in the real world, Japanese forces in China surrendered to the Chinese on 9 September, although this date was chosen partly for symbolic purposes. Log 384 at least implies there was indeed ongoing Japanese activity in China in the days after the surrender.
Despite the scarcity of in-universe sources, it is not entirely conjectural to refer to this conflict as the "Second". The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), although also not named or elaborated upon, is at least alluded to in Warring States through the mention of Japan annexing Chinese territories prior to 1900 (mentioned in the above article).