Sign over American Embassy in China. Colonel William Mayer, former military attache in that embassy relates events precipitating Second Sino-Japanese war. Scenes of the Marco Polo bridge near Peking, on night of July 7, 1937, as Japanese artillery bombards the area. Animated map shows movement of Japanese forces out of Manchuria to occupy Peiping and Tientsin. Victorious Japanese troops stand atop a building, raising their flags and shouting cries of victory. Japanese army officers sit around a table smiling and contended and others walk in a group. Chinese artillery crews are seen retaliating as they fire field pieces at Japanese positions in Shanghai. Shells explode in background, and Chinese infantry advance through damaged buildings and rubble. Animated map shows Shanghai and other cities, and film transitions to view of the bustling city of Shanghai on the Yangtze River. In the seaport, large ocean liners and freighters, as well as tug boats and Junks, are seen. What looks like a Japanese Tachikawa Ki.54 Type 1 transport plane takes off over a Chinese pagoda. Double-decker buses travel through the streets. Rickshaws are also seen. Map outlines the foreign residential areas of the French Concession and the International Settlement. American, British and Japanese flags are shown in the International Settlement. Detachments of troops from Japan, Britain, France, and United States Marines are seen. A U.S. Marine is posted as a sentry at the Shanghai Power Company. Coolies carry heavy bucket on a long pole. British, French and Japanese troops also performed sentry duties. Japanese troops and armored cars are seen. A scuffle breaks out in August, 1937, and Japanese soldiers start moving in trucks, take up firing positions, and begin firing guns from their armored cars. Map shows Chinese counterattack pushing the Japanese contingent toward the Khangpoo River. Next it shows Japanese warships and reinforcements in the Yangtze River and their advance toward Woosung and Shanghai. Views of Japanese warships bombarding the shore and large explosions from their striking shells. Beachhead is shown South of Shanghai, where two divisions of Japanese infantry are seen arriving in landing craft. They advance across the fields toward Shanghai. Map shows Chinese withdrawals to West and South, toward Nanking and Hangchow. Chinese medics along with infantry march in retreat. Japanese pilots are seen being briefed. Next, Japanese Mitsubishi G3M bombers are seen in flight, and bombardiers and other crew in them. Bombs falling on the city. Civilians running for cover as bombs explode. Aichi D3A1 aircraft dropping bombs. The Shanghai waterfront being bombed and civilians running.
The Huangpu River in Shanghai, China. A vessel in the Huangpu River. A sail boat and junks on the water. Several buildings in view on the shore. Several sail boats in the river. A paddle wheel steam boat on the water. Boats anchored to the shore. Views of the Shanghai Bund along the western bank of the Huangpu River. Several vessels in the river. The Camelback Truss Waibaidu Bridge (world's first all steel bridge) also known as the Garden Bridge, spanning Suzhou Creek at the Huangpu River. Several buildings at the Shanghai Bund in view including the Headquarters of the Shanghai Branch of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (now known as the HSBC Building or the Municipal Government Building) at number 12, The Bund, and the Customs House at number 13, The Bund, and the China Bank of Communications Building at number 14, The Bund. Also the China Merchant Bank Building and the North China Daily News Building (now the AIA building). Other Bund buildings also seen.
American warships in Shanghai, China. An Italian cruiser of the Pisa Class. USS Edsall (DD-219) and USS Bainbridge (DD-246). A light Cruiser with single stack is anchored in the harbor. Numerous U.S. sailors embark on a large motor launch from the U.S. Transport ship, Chaumont. A Chinese Junk sails amidst the clutter of warships. U.S. Sailor at tiller of the motor launch, American flag fluttering in the breeze. Numerous warships in the harbor. Several Chinese Junks sailing in the harbor. The motor launch filled with U.S. sailors, underway.
Film opens with outline map of Japan shown in contrast to 20 times larger China and figures representing China's 6 times greater population. Map of China is shown in pieces representing its numerous internal fiefdoms. In contrast, Japanese soldiers are shown marching in review before their singular leader, Emperor Hirohito and other national military leaders. Film shows contrasting 20th century characteristics of China and Japan. Sun Yat-sen, who figured prominently in post-Imperial China, and is considered the founding father of the Republic of China, is shown speaking to crowds. Narrator states that in 1911, this man fathered a peoples' revolution which brought to an end, China's ancient Imperial government. View of Chinese people marching and carrying flags and banners. Books are shown comparing China's Sun Yat-sen to America's George Washingon. Sun Yat-sen's political statement, shown in Chinese, contains words similar those in Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address. View of schools and colleges built in the new Republic of China. Chinese students shown in libraries. A couple dining in a Chinese hotel restaurant, overlooking other buildings. A tall clock tower looms at the same height outside their window. Steel being erected for a tall building. Architects at work. Scientist looking through a microscope. Technicians at work in a chemistry laboratory. Medical staff and patients in a modern hospital. Children in school under compulsory education program. Chinese people exercising their freedoms of expression and religion. The funeral of Sun Yat-sen, in 1925, attended by his successor, Chiang Kai-shek, and other Chinese leaders in military uniforms. Chinese people attending an outdoor ceremony. Examples of areas needing modernisation. Chinese workers using manually operated machinery to process fabrics. Commercial vessel plying a river using wind and sail only. Views of steam locomotives and trains being introduced to link parts of China. Trucks moving goods over roads (still unpaved). Miners working in open air mines, digging coal and iron. Molten tin being poured from a crucible. Machines performing complex tasks in a fabric mill and women tending spinning and knitting machines. School children engaged in collective outdoor games and exercise drills. Scene shifts to Japan, where Emperor Hirohito, on a white horse, leads military leaders in reviewing Japanese forces. A formation of Japanese Model 97 medium tanks passing in review, with tank commanders saluting from their turrets. Glimpse of Japanese steel mill. Headline in World-Telegram newspaper of 14 february, 1934, reads: "Tokyo House Passes Huge Arms Budget." A Los Angeles newspaper of 23 November, 1934, expands on the same story. New Orleans Times-Picayune, Sunday, 5, May, 1936, reports that Japan is strained by its huge arms costs.
Film opens showing British Shanghai Light Horse 'A' Company parading along Bubbling Well Road in Shanghai, China, past crowds who have turned out in numbers to cheer for the International battalions of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (SVC). Visible, in the background, is the clock tower on the clubhouse of the Shanghai Racing Club. View shifts to the reviewing stand, where Mr. Cornell Franklin, Civil Commandant and Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council, stands in front of military officers, Vice-Admiral Sir Percy Noble, Major General Telfer-Smollett, Colonel Price, Colonel Andreini, Lieutenant-Colonel Perretier, and Commander Takeda. Next, a contingent from 1st Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, shouldering rifles with fixed bayonets, execute eyes left as they march past the reviewing stand. A large crowd of spectators watches the parade from a stands set up near the reviewing stand. Next, Armored cars of the SVC Armoured Car Company, drive past in a column. Photographers take pictures. Japanese naval officers are seen in full dress uniforms, watching the parade. Led by a mounted officer, another formation of SVC soldiers march past, shouldering rifles with fixed bayonets.
The Battle of Shanghai, September 1937. Japanese planes in flight over Shanghai. Pilots in the cockpit. A hand dials a control to drop bombs on the underlying city. Explosions as bombs hit the target. The citizens flee. A plane drops bombs on a bridge as people are crossing it. The bridge collapses. Citizens in the streets. Vehicles on the streets of Shanghai. People in runner pulled rickshaws. Dead Chinese people on the streets. A cloud of smoke rises over the city. Gate to the Chinese Forbidden City opens to reveal the Temple of Heaven. A Ming Lion statue. A time line shows the advent of different civilizations-- A milestone with 1776 written on it indicates the time when Washington crossed the Delaware River. Another milestone shows 1492. A picture of Columbus's ship. Yet another milestone reads 476. Pictures of ancient Roman Empire. A milestone reads 1440 B.C. A statue of Moses. A milestone reads 1880 B.C. A scene of the pyramids depicts the Egyptian civilization. Another milestone reads 2200 B.C. Shows a road leading to Chinese civilization. . A man carrying two baskets on a pole walks by a statue of Confucius and a horse. Ancient Chinese temple in background. A wall shows Chinese statues of Buddha. An animated map of China. Laborers mining coal in Manchuria. Coal cars filled with coal. In the Gobi desert nomad tribes move with their camel caravan. Himalayan mountains in the Tibet region. Animated map of China shows rivers. Sampans in the Yangtze river. A Chinese farmer plows his field. Chinese soldiers in China. Montage shows the people of China against a crowd of Chinese people.