Some historians argue that the Second Sino-Japanese War served as the catalyst for World War II. Beginning in 1937, the Nationalist Republic of China finally had enough of the territorial disputes with Japan. The Japanese expanded their empire and their borders, knowing they had military superiority over other countries in the region. China found itself losing too much and decided to make a stand, and Japan retaliated with a full-scale attack. Early in the war, Japan actually won two staggering victories, resulting in the capture of Shanghai and Nanking. However, the Japanese soon found themselves stretched thin over the large lands of China. By 1939, a stalemate arose.
Then, on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war on them the very next day. The continued pressure of atomic bombings and the interference of US forces eventually led Japan to surrender in 1945, despite controlling a vast amount of Chinese lands. Compiled below are photos of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Though China ultimately won, it paid a hefty price in ideals, resources, and lives. Historians contribute the fall of the Chinese Nationalist party and the rise of communism to the horrific Second Sino-Japanese War. Viewing the Second-Sino Japanese War in pictures sheds new understanding on the largest conflict in Asia in the 20th century.