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History   >   China – Sino-Japanese Relations, c.1840-1945

Political Exchange

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China – Sino-Japanese Relations, c.1840-1945

In this course, Dr Marjorie Dryburgh (University of Sheffield) explores the relationship between China and Japan between c.1840-1945, with a particular focus on the events that led to the outbreak of war between the two nations in July 1937. In the first module, we think about the longer-term political context of Sino-Japanese relations (from the mid-19th century onwards) before turning in the second module to consider the cultural relationship between China and Japan. In the third module, we think about the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, followed in the fourth module by an brief exploration of life in Japanese-occupied Manchuria (referred to by the Japanese as Manchukuo). In the fifth module, we think about why the Marco Polo Bridge Incident escalated so quickly into war, before turning in the sixth module to consider the Chinese experience of war more generally – including the notorious ‘Nanjing Massacre’ of December 1937. Finally, in the seventh module, we think about the incorporation of the Sino-Japanese War into the Second World War more generally – particularly after the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor – and the (in)effectiveness of China’s international diplomacy in the face of the Japanese threat.

Political Exchange

In this module, we think about the longer-term political context of Sino-Japanese relations, focusing in particular on: (i) the domination of East Asia from the mid-19th century until c. 1930 by Western powers, particularly Britain, Russia and (later) the United States; (ii) the extent to which relationships with the West presented an opportunity for China and Japan; (iii) the development of China and Japan between 1840-1900, and the extent to which the relationship between the two countries changed over time; and (iv) the importance of the region of Manchuria to both China and Japan.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Dryburgh, M. (2021, February 11). China – Sino-Japanese Relations, c.1840-1945 - Political Exchange [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Dryburgh, M. "China – Sino-Japanese Relations, c.1840-1945 – Political Exchange." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Feb 2021,


Dr Marjorie Dryburgh

Dr Marjorie Dryburgh

Sheffield University