“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Bloody Saturday 80th Anniversary – Flying the Stars and Stripes

Posted: August 9th, 2017 | No Comments »

A series of posts starting today to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Bloody Saturday in Shanghai. In brief – On August 14, 1937 the Chinese Air Fforce bombed the Japanese Navy flagship Idzumo, moored on the Huangpu opposite the Japanese Consulate and assisting the Japanese attack on Shanghai Chinese quarters of Chapei, Baoshan and Jiangwqan. In a terrible accident bombs from the aircraft fell in the International Settlement hitting the Cathay and Palace Hotels at the junction of Nanjing Road and the Bund. At least 700 civilians were killed outright. A second set of misguided bombs caused a further, 2000 civilian deaths (at least) outside the Great World in Frenchtown. The event soon became known as Bloody Saturday and marks the start of World War Two for Shanghai. My newly published Penguin China Special, Bloody Saturday: Shanghai’s Darkest Day, attempts to recreate the day through the testimonies, reportage and memoirs of various Shanghailanders caught up in the terror.

Anyway, due to the threats from Japanese shelling of Chinese northern Shanghai, foreigners living in those districts were told to evacuate by their consulates. However, many owned properties and lived in those areas which were both being shelled and, in the case of heavily industrialized Yangpu, were now effectively stuck behind Japanese lines. Many of these Shanghailanders chose to drape their homes in their national flags in the hope that the fighting would circumvent them. Here is an American home in northern Shanghai draped with the Stars and Stripes in 1937.

American troops (4th Marines) took to the roofs of key buildings in the Settlement to defend them against possible attack if the Japanese decided to move south of Suzhou Creek. This pic, with the Stars and Stripes proudly flying, is captioned as noting the Marines are guarding the roof of ‘their headquarters’ – in 1937 that would have been 1607-09 Sinza Road (Xinza Road) but I think this is actually the Fourth Marines Club at 722 Bubbling Well Road (Nanjing West Road and now the HQ for some Chinese sports institute or something similar).

More, of course, here…

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