Wednesday August 12, 2020


July 24-28, 2017
Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda
Washington, DC

American soldiers celebrate the Japanese surrender with Chinese citizens in August 1945, Chungking (Chongqing), China.

American soldiers celebrate the Japanese surrender with Chinese citizens in August 1945, Chongqing, China.

WASHINGTON, DC―A photo exhibit showing China’s role in WWII and cooperation with the U.S.  was on display at the Russell Senate Office Building from July 24-28 to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.

On July 7, 1937 there was a skirmish between Chinese and Japanese troops on the Marco Polo Bridge, an important route from Beijing into southern China. While the initial skirmish was short lived, a Japanese soldier went missing in the aftermath and the Japanese used this as an excuse to prolong the conflict. By July 9, any pretense of a temporary truce was over and the Japanese began a full-scale invasion of China. Not long after, Beijing (Beiping) fell to the Japanese. While there had been previous fighting in northern China, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident marks the official start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which later merged into the Pacific Theater of WWII.

The photos in the exhibit highlight the Sino-Japanese War as well as key events in the greater WWII. The United States was an important wartime ally of China. Americans even bravely volunteered to fight with the Chinese before the U.S. officially entered the war. This relationship is on full display in the exhibit. When Americans discuss WWII, the emphasis is often on the European Theater. When the Pacific Theater is mentioned, focus tends to stay on conflict directly between the U.S. and Japan, like Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, and the dropping of the atomic bombs. Very little attention is given to the role China played in the war or the deep alliance between China and the U.S. We hope this exhibit gave some much deserved attention to an often overlooked aspect of the war.

A brochure detailing the exhibit pieces can be found: here

Photos from the exhibit can be found: here

Media Links

Xinhua, “Feature: Americans learn highly overlooked part of WWII

China Daily, “China WWII photo exhibit takes Capitol Hill

SinoVision, “China and US Cooperated in WWII

The China Press (侨报), “国会图片展 述中国二战历史

Sing Tao Daily (星島日報), “美中政策基金會辦抗戰圖片展 國會大廈展出近百幅珍貴照片

World Journal (世界日報), “抗戰史跡展 見證中美克難情

Voice of America, “美国国会抗战摄影展彰显中美二战情谊

Xinhua (新华网) (via 网易新闻), “特写:图片展中的二战历史课