Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in

The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.

After consuming Taiwan in 1895, and Korea 15 years later, Japan set its imperialistic sights on Manchuria -- invading the Chinese province in 1931 under the flimsy pretext of helping the Manchurian people gain independence from China. To bolster the fiction, Japan installed the deposed Chinese emperor Puyi as "ruler" of the newly founded state. The aggressive militarism Japan had been demonstrating since the turn of the century would culminate in World War II. Three excerpts from The Post of Dec. 30, 1931:

Chinchow, (Wednesday), Dec. 30 (A.P.) --

Chinese soldiers began evacuating Chinchow today. Eight trainloads of troops moved southward toward Lanshan, inside the Great Wall. Additional forces east of Chinchow were rapidly withdrawing westward.

Great confusion prevailed among the Chinese populace at Kowpangtze, where every one was attempting to board the already crowded southbound trains. Japanese forces were expected to occupy Kowpangtze later in the day.

Chinese military officials said communication lines to Mukden had been severed, with the Japanese army cutting telegraph lines preparatory to taking over the Peiping-Mukden Railway to move troops into Chinchow.

Tokyo, Wednesday, Dec. 30 (U.P.).

Many Japanese warships left Port Arthur last night, the correspondent of the newspaper Asahi reported.The destination of the vessels was not announced officially, but it was believed that they would patrol the coast off Shanhaikwan, where the Great Wall of China ends at the Yellow Sea, as a precautionary move in connection with withdrawal of Chinese troops from Chinchow.

Peiping, China, Dec. 29 --

Marshal Chang Hsueh-Liang ordered his Manchurian troops to evacuate the Chinchow area today and withdraw within the Great Wall of China.

"I have taken that action solely in order that the Japanese military may have no pretext for extending warfare and its consequences into north China, especially the Peiping-Tientsin area," Marshal Chang told the Associated Press. ...

Marshal Chang's decision apparently means complete success for the Japanese army in Manchuria.

Every other section of the Province with the exception of Chinchow has been under Japanese domination for several weeks. The Tokyo government has repeatedly stated that it would not be satisfied until Marshal Chang's forces were wholly out of the province and behind the Great Wall.

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