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Interpretation of the Lugou Bridge Incident: the inevitability and contingency of the Lugou Bridge Incident
Fun history2015-07-07 09:47:58

Chinese and Japanese scholars such as Bu Ping, Nobuki Kitaoka, etc. have carried out common historical research since 2006, and the results were published by China Social Science Literature Publishing House in October 2014. In the "Sino-Japanese Common History Research Report", readers can learn about history from the discussions on the same issue by scholars from both sides.

The Lugouqiao Incident broke out in 1937, marking the beginning of Japan's comprehensive war of aggression against China. Japanese scholars stated in the foreword to the report on the Lugouqiao Incident that the war lasted 8 years, and run counter to Japan ’s “expectation and anxiety of ending the incident at an early date”, and “have to admit that most of the reasons for this result were Japan” .

Chinese scholar Rong Weimu believes that the Lugouqiao Incident as a case may be accidental. However, it is largely related to Japan's aggression against China. From the historical evolution process, the Lugouqiao Incident is inevitable.

So, why did a "missing" soldier who had safely returned to the team become the fuse of the Lugouqiao Incident and even the total war? Why hasn't the policy of the Guard ’s Cabinet "not expanding" the incident expanded the situation? The differences of opinion within the Japanese Army and the rendering of media opinion have made the situation even more tense. The report also gives an explanation based on Japanese historical data.

China-Japan Joint Historical Research Report: Is the Lugou Bridge Incident Incident or Inevitable?

The occurrence of the Lugouqiao Incident is incidental and inevitable

On the afternoon of July 7, 1937, the 8th Squadron of the 3rd Brigade of the North China Garrison in Beipingfengtai under the leadership of Squadron Captain Kiyomizu Kiyomizu exercised in the Huilong Temple area near Wanping City on the east bank of the Yongding River north of Lugou Bridge. The night exercise began at 19:30, which reads: "From the vicinity of Longwang Temple (that is, Huilong Temple, the same below, cited by the note) to the east of Daya Kiln, proceed to the enemy's main position, and use dusk to approach the enemy. Then the assault was carried out at dawn. "Around 22:40, gunfire came from the Japanese exercise position, and the Japanese claimed that a soldier was missing. Soon after the gunfire, China and Japan negotiated on the issue of missing Japanese soldiers. The Japanese asked to enter the city to search for the missing soldiers, but the Chinese side refused. In fact, half an hour before the Sino-Japanese negotiations, the missing Japanese soldier Shimura Kijiro of the Japanese army had returned to the team, but the Japanese side still insisted to investigate into Wanping City. At 5:30 on July 8, the Japanese army shelled Wanping City from Shagang. At this point, the Lugou Bridge Incident that began on the evening of the 7th opened the prelude to the Sino-Japanese comprehensive war.

On the surface, the Lugouqiao Incident was triggered by the "gunfire" during the Japanese military exercise. No detailed historical data about where the "gunfire" came from has been found so far. Therefore, the Lugouqiao Incident as a case may be the cause of its occurrence. It's accidental. However, the following facts can explain that the occurrence of the Lugouqiao Incident is largely related to Japan's aggression against China. In addition, this incident quickly led to the Japanese war of aggression against China. Therefore, from the perspective of historical evolution, the occurrence of the Lugou Bridge Incident is inevitable.

First of all, the Japanese garrison in the incident came from Fengtai, and Fengtai is not a legal garrison. According to the 1901 Treaty of Ugliness , foreign troops, including Japan, can station troops in the Embassy District and Huangcun to Shanhaiguan Railway along the railway. In 1902, Japan's "Tsingtao Army" (later known as the Chinese Garrison) was 1,650, and by 1936 it had increased to more than 5,000. Because Fengtai is a transportation hub connecting the Ping-Han and Beining railways, its strategic position is very important. The garrison troops ignored the restrictions of the "Xin and Ugly Treaty" and forcibly constructed barracks in Fengtai in May 1936. Moreover, two Fengtai incidents occurred that year, and the Garrison ousted the 29th Army ’s local garrison. When the Lugouqiao Incident happened, the Japanese army was sent by Fengtai. Ishihara Waner, then the Operations Director of the Japanese Army Staff Headquarters, also later admitted: "I think (changing the plan for the garrison in Tongzhou to be stationed in Fengtai) finally constituted the direct cause of the Lugouqiao incident."

Second, after the incident, Japan adopted a policy of expanding war. On the second day of the Lugouqiao Incident, Japanese Prime Minister Sugiyama Sugiyama ordered the demobilization of divisions west of Kyoto for two years; the Navy Department also made a decision to "ready a mobile force for emergency dispatch to China". Although there is a debate between "enlargement" and "non-enlargement" in Japan, since the Cabinet issued a "Statement on Sending Soldiers to North China" on July 11, the voice of "non-enlargement" has been completely overwhelmed by the "enlargement". The army and navy have made preparations to expand the war. Sugiyama Yuan even thinks: "The incident can be resolved in about a month."

After the Lugou Bridge Incident, China and Japan made brief negotiations. On the one hand, it is the on-site negotiations between the Garrison Army and the 29th Army, and on the other hand, the Japanese Consulate General in China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Government. During the negotiations, Japan sent troops to China without interruption. At the same time, the National Government also sent troops north. On July 28, the Japanese army launched a general offensive against the Chinese army in Peiping, quickly occupying Peiping, then occupying Tianjin, and began to expand the war across North China along the Pingsui, Pinghan, and Jinpu railways.

On the Chinese side, the Communist Party of China issued a power shortly after the Lugouqiao Incident, calling on "compatriots throughout China, the government, and the army to unite to form a solid Great Wall of the National United Front and resist the Japanese invasion." On July 17, Chiang Kai-shek made a speech in Lushan, saying that "if the war begins, there will be no division of the North and South, and no division of the old and the young. No matter who has the responsibility of defending the soil and fighting against Japan, he should be determined to sacrifice everything." . On August 22, the Chinese Red Army was reorganized as the Eighth Route Army of the National Revolutionary Army ; at the end of the year, the Southern Red Army was reorganized as the Fourth Army of the National Revolutionary Army. On September 22, the Kuomintang Central News Agency publicly announced the "Declaration of Cooperation between the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of China", and on the 23rd, Chiang Kai-shek released "Talks on the Declaration of the Communist Party of China".

"We have to admit that most of the cause of this effect lies in Japan."

The conflict between Japan and China that occurred in July 1937, despite triggering a full-scale war, the two sides avoided formal declaration of war, and this state continued until the Pacific War in 1941, which was also the current conflict between Japan and China. A feature. The main reason for this is that formal declaration of war is subject to the application of legislation in the United States, which may incur the same consequences as being subject to economic sanctions. In addition, in Japan, it is believed that if "conflict" is upgraded to "war", it will increase obstacles for an early resolution of the situation. From the standpoint of preparing to confront the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom, which were originally imaginary enemies, the prolonged dispute between Japan and China must be avoided. Therefore, Japan called this the "Northern Japan Incident" at the beginning of the war, and officially changed its name to the "Zina incident" after September 1937 after the expansion of the war.

Another feature is that Japan has tried numerous forms of "peace work" throughout the Japan-China War. (In China, we call peace negotiations or peace talks, and the "work" in this article is basically the meaning of peace negotiations activities. — Translator's Note) This also reflects his expectations and anxiety over the early conclusion of the incident. But contrary to the anxiety that hopes to end soon, the final battle was more than 8 years, more fierce than the war that was officially declared, and forced the nationals of the two countries to shoulder huge burdens and make huge sacrifices. In particular, China has left a deep wound on the battlefield, and we have to admit that most of the reasons for this result are Japan.

Outbreak of Lugouqiao incident

In North China in 1937, the Hebei-Chahar Administrative Committee, with Song Zheyuan as its chairman, unified Hebei and Chahar provinces. Because the Jicha regime was set up by the National Government as a so-called "buffer institution", it is different in nature from the Jidong regime, so many people in the Japanese Chinese Garrison (hereinafter referred to as the Garrison) did not believe in its pro-Japanese attitude. Ren. On the other hand, the garrison troops frequently conducted night exercises, which was regarded by the Twenty-ninth Army led by Song Zheyuan as "provocations", which excessively triggered the vigilance of the Jicha regime.

On the evening of July 7, the 8th Squadron of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Regiment in Fengtai conducted night exercises at the Lugou Bridge on the Yongding River on the north side of Wanping County. At about 10.40 pm, the Japanese side were shot twice from the left bank embankment position. The commander of Squadron Kiyomizu Kiyoshiro reported this to Fengtai's brigade headquarters. The captain Ichiki Kiyoshi ordered a rally through security (the so-called security rally refers to the military rally to prevent incoming enemies from the sea, from the river, and from the ground, including both situations where the enemy has come or is likely to come). ——Translator's Note) A 500-member army was dispatched to Yiwen Mountain near Wanping County. At about 3:30 in the morning, after the troops arriving at Yiwenshan heard gunfire in the direction of Longwangmiao, they reported the situation to Peitian's coalition leader Mu Tiankou, so Mu Tiankou ordered a war. The Yimu Brigade issued an attack order at 5 o'clock on the one hand and ordered the Eighth Squadron to advance to surround the Chinese army attacking the embankment position. At the beginning of the battle between the eighth squadron in progress and the Chinese army, Yimu issued a general attack order at 5:30. Here, one of the squadron's soldiers disappeared after two shootings. Although he returned safely after a short time, the news was delayed for a long time without being reported to the headquarters of the brigade, which became one of the reasons that led to the urgency of this development.

Reasons for the expansion of the situation

During the ongoing fighting in the local area, on July 8th, Ishihara Waner, the head of the combat department of the staff headquarters, reported to the chief of staff on behalf of the incumbent deputy Imai Kiyoshi to prevent the incident from expanding to the commander of the garrison in the name of the chief of staff Ordered that "continued use of force should be avoided". On the 9th, in the name of the Deputy Chief of Staff, the armistice conditions were banned, including the prohibition of Chinese troops on the left bank of the Yongding River, the person in charge of punishment, apology, and the ban on anti-Japanese groups. Armistice negotiations took place between Peiping's secret service and representatives of the 29th Army. On July 11, the Twenty-ninth Army accepted (1) the person responsible for the apology and punishment, (2) not in the army in Wanping County, Longwangmiao, and (3) the ban on anti-Japanese groups. At 8 pm on the 11th, an agreement was concluded locally.

On the other hand, at the temporary cabinet meeting held on July 8th, the cabinet of the Guardian Wenxun decided to adopt the "no expansion" policy for this incident, but this "non expansion" does not mean limiting the mobilization of troops to North China. At the interim cabinet meeting on July 9, Lu Xiangsu Shanyuan proposed the need to send three divisions from Japan, but it was cancelled due to opposition from other cabinet ministers. However, after the renewed clash at the local Longwang Temple on July 10th, at the cabinet meeting on the 11th, while adopting the policy of not expanding and local settlement, they also agreed to the proposal of the Army Ministry to send 3 divisions (actually The upper forces were retained). However, in the troop dispatch statement after 6 pm on the same day, it was concluded that "there is no doubt that this incident is a planned armed resistance against Japan by the Chinese side" and stated that "abandonment of peaceful negotiations without expanding the situation".

On the evening of the 11th, the Prime Minister of the Guards convened leaders of the public, political, and financial circles. In order to urge the National Government to reflect, he pointed out: "It is now a necessity to dispatch the Kanto Army , the Japanese Korean Army, and the deployment of equivalent troops from Japan. ", Thus requiring full cooperation in sending troops. Although the guard does not want the situation to expand, he believes that if it shows a tough posture to send troops, it is logical that "the Chinese side will succumb", so the incident can be resolved in the short term.

All in all, the announcement of this decision at the same time as the decision to send troops is an act that ignores the efforts made on the ground at the same time as the truce, which also makes subsequent negotiations difficult. (Note: Takeshi Imai, who came as a member of the Tianjin Special Service to conduct truce negotiations with the Twenty-ninth Army, recalled: "Because it was such an extremely delicate period when Japan and China worked hard for a partial settlement, this time the DPRK decided to give us The actions of local Japanese representatives caused difficulties, and they also caused a chain reaction in China. Their attitudes became tough and had an uncontrollable impact on both sides. "Takeshi Imai," Recalling the Things in China ", Study, 1964, pages 31-32. )

The rising anti-Japanese atmosphere in China also makes it less likely that China will accept a compromise truce. On the 8th day after the incident, the Communist Party of China energized the whole country and demanded the launch of the "Anti-Japanese Self-Defense War" and cooperation with the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. The chairman of the National Government Military Committee, Chiang Kai-shek, temporarily focused on the peaceful settlement of the incident, as preparations for the internal and external systems of the Japanese Anti-Japanese War were not completed. Therefore, in the Lushan Talks on the 17th (announced on the 19th), he expressed his determination that although he hoped to settle the issue diplomatically, if the "last point" that cannot be resolved, he must fight the war.

During this period, efforts to resolve the incident in Tianjin continued. On July 19, between the local military, the Chinese side accepted the Japanese conditions and signed the implementation clauses (detailed armistice agreement) regarding the suppression of the words and deeds of Pai Day.

On the 21st, the garrison troops reported to the Tokyo Army Power Generation Report that "The 29th Army has fully accepted our army's requirements and is gradually putting it into practice" to express its argument of carefully sending troops. On the 20th of the previous day, at the request of the Army Ministry, the cabinet meeting agreed to send troops to North China. However, based on the opinions of the garrison and the report on the local situation of the personnel dispatched by the General Staff Headquarters, the General Staff Headquarters once again shelved the troop dispatch plan.

However, on the 25th and 26th, there were successive skirmishes (Langfang and Guang'anmen incidents). As an opportunity, the Army decided to implement the remobilization of the three divisions that had been postponed, and obtained the approval of the cabinet meeting on the 27th. As a result, the garrison troops started a comprehensive attack on the 28th, and the next day basically controlled Beiping and Tianjin areas north of the Yongding River. The subsequent Tongzhou incident was a decisive factor in forming public opinion in Japan that adopted a tough attitude towards China.

Although the situation has expanded to this point, its policy of not expanding has been maintained. The staffing plan and the scope of operations of the staff headquarters are based only on Peiping and Tianjin. Since the end of July, the Minister of Warfare Ishihara and the Chief of the Military Affairs Division Shibayama Kenshiro have worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Navy to seek the possibility of a truce request from the National Government. On the basis of the armistice conditions jointly established by the three provinces, the sea, and the foreign countries, the commissioner of the Japanese Textile Association in Japan, Funaru Tatsuichiro, was also commissioned to engage with China in Shanghai (Funzu work). Funjin arrived in Shanghai on August 7 to begin contact, but no progress was made due to the tight situation in Shanghai.

Why didn't it stop the action of the local army?

Lu Gouqiao ’s initial shooting was “accidental” (Note: Among Japanese researchers, the incident was mainly caused by accidental shootings; among Chinese researchers, the Japanese army ’s planned shooting theory and conspiracy theory More. Qin Yuyan's "Study on the Lugou Bridge Incident" (p. 138-182) is inferred to be caused by the accidental firing of a soldier from the 29th Army; He also held occasional arguments, but questioned the reaction of the Japanese army at the time of the incident.) Local efforts were also made for a partial solution. However, considering the conflict as a good opportunity, the Garrison Army (later the North China Front) and the Kwantung Army pushed the development of the incident with an absolutely dominant military force in order to bring down the Chiang Kai-shek regime and realize the concept of occupying North China. One of the reasons for failing to curb the actions of the local army is that there is a confrontation between the so-called "non-expanding faction" and "expanding faction" within the Army. The "non-expanding faction", such as Minister of War Ishihara, believes that the war with China may inevitably be prolonged, and the consumption of national power will cause obstacles to Soviet preparations, which may lead to Soviet intervention. Therefore, they advocate a partial solution. The "expanding faction" such as Tanaka Shinichi of the Military Division and Muto Akira, the Chief of the Operations Division, held "one-shot theory" since the outbreak of the incident and advocated to take the opportunity to strike the National Government forces, forcing the National Government to change its anti-Japanese attitude and solve them in one fell swoop. Japan-China issues. Those who advocate "one-shot theory" in the Army Department surpass "non-expanding factions" and belong to the majority.

In the most important first few days since the incident, the contacts made through diplomatic channels were just a few negotiations between Nanjing Counselor Hidaka Shinroku and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The control of the incident was in the hands of the Army. Authorities appear powerless. Both the government and public opinion are responsible for the "enlargement" of the incident. As mentioned earlier, ignoring the local truce effort and deciding to send troops early, the Prime Minister of the Guard holding the same argument, and the media's argument to the side of "punish punishment for violent support", etc., are all factors that promote the Japanese army ’s tendency to invade North China. . The Cabinet of Guards also believes that instead of suppressing the expansion of the situation, it is better to consider this incident as a good opportunity to open up the deadlocked China policy. Based on the prediction that the Chiang Kai-shek regime will lose in the short term, it will allow a large number of troops to be deployed locally. Efforts to resolve the incident are lost.

In the meantime, Chiang Kai-shek held an emergency press conference on July 29, announcing that the current state of affairs is "the last moment" and "the possibility of a partial solution is completely gone", clearly demonstrating the determination of the War of Resistance against Japan and will proceed to resolve the issue between the KMT and the Communist Party. To work together with the Communist Party to form the Anti-Japanese United Front (second Kuomintang-Communist cooperation). In order to grasp the leading power in the United Front, Chiang Kai-shek concluded the "Sino-Soviet Mutual Invasion Treaty" (August 21), demanded that the Soviet Union participate in war with Japan (November 26), and brought the North China situation to the League of Nations (September 12) Japan) and so on, aiming at the final victory brought by the "internationalization" of the war.

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