From 1931, China and Japan had been embroiled in a number of small-scale conflicts that had seen vast swathes of territory being occupied by the Japanese. On 7 July 1937, the Japanese engineered the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which led to the fall of Beijing and Tianjin and the start of a de facto state of war between the two countries. This force then moved south, landing an expeditionary force to take Shanghai and from there drive west to capture Nanjing. This fully illustrated book tells the story of the Japanese assault on these two great Chinese cities. The battle of Shanghai was the first large-scale urban warfare of World War II and one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Sino-Japanese War. The determined resistance by Chinese inflicted sizable Japanese casualties, and may well have contributed to the subsequent massacre of prisoners and civilians in the battle of Nanjing, tarnishing Japan's reputation in the eyes of the world.