December 19, 2010

The Manchurian Incident

The largest city in northeastern China is Shenyang. On September 18, 1931 a small segment of a rail line operated by the Japanese was blown up nearby. The damage was so limited that a train successfully crossed the tracks afterwards on the same day. The site was of little importance to either Japan or China. Nevertheless, the Japanese used the "Manchurian Incident" as a pretext for invasion. They had named the place Liutiao Bridge, even though it was flat land, so that it seemed to be of more strategic significance then it actually was. The 9.18 Museum in Shenyang explains the details of the plot and displays reminders of the atrocities committed by Japanese troops. 

The generally accepted version of the event is that the Japanese placed explosives near to both the train tracks and to a Chinese regiment. When the dynamite exploded it would do little damage to the rail line, but alarm the Chinese soldiers stationed nearby. The Chinese troops would then run out to the tracks. At this moment Japanese soldiers would appear and spot the Chinese, surmise that they must have bombed the tracks, and retaliate in full force. Using heavy artillery that they had smuggled in beforehand, the Japanese made quick work of the Chinese regiment. After meeting little military resistance from the locals in the region, the Japanese consolidated control of the northeastern states within five months of the incident.


"And therefore those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him." ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War