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When did World War II begin? For Europeans, it was September 1, 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Americans might say December 7, 1941—the day the Japanese Imperial navy attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. But in China, people will tell you a different date—August 13, 1937, the start of the Battle of Shanghai. That day, after what is called the "century of humiliation," including six years of incidents initiated by the Japanese military, China at last stood up.
At the time, Shanghai was the most international city in Asia with a large foreign population, so the military conflict made headline news around the world. Based on the book “Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze” by Danish author Peter Harmsen, SHANGHAI 1937: WHERE WORLD WAR II BEGAN introduces key figures in the conflict, chronicles how the battle unfolded over the course of three months, and explores the aftermath and years of war that followed. SHANGHAI 1937 incorporates rarely seen archival footage as well as interviews with author Peter Harmsen, military historian Edward Drea and professor of modern Chinese history Hans Van DeVen, in addition to two Chinese experts on this subject: Su Zhiliang, Ph.D. of Shanghai Normal University, and Ma Zhendu, director of the Second Historical Archives of China. The film also includes vivid recollections of men and women who experienced these events as foreign children living in Shanghai.
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