Benjamin Lai, Giuseppe Rava
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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.