The Nanjing Atrocities Timeline

July 1937: Marco Polo Bridge Incident, outbreak of (Second) Sino-Japanese War

August: Formation of the Shanghai Expeditionary Army

November: Formation of the Central China Area Army (CCAA), establishment of the General Headquarters (GHQ)

December 1, 1937: GHQ orders attack on Nanjing

December 7, 1937: Chiang Kai-Shek and Madame Chiang flee Nanjing

December 10, 1937: General attack on Nanjing begins

December 12, 1937: Japanese planes sink USS Panay (Panay Incident)

December 13, 1937: Nanjing falls

December 17, 1937: Entry ceremony held in Nanjing

January 1, 1938: Nanjing Self-governing Committee established

February 1938: General Matsui relieved of CCAA Commander’s Post

March 1938: Republic of China Reform Government established in Nanjing

Other Timelines:

Use this timeline of events that occurred between 1839-1949 in China as a reference while studying the Nanjing Atrocities.

Use this timeline of events that occurred between 1853-1951 in Japan as a reference while studying the Nanjing Atrocities.

Japanese Empire Building (1870-1942)

While China dealt with internal economic and political upheaval after the formation of the First Chinese Republic in 1911, Japan was emerging as a formidable imperial power. Following their victories in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Japanese leaders sought for more territories in the region. Gradually, Japan grew a vast empire.

Search Our Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.