Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the major conflict between Japan and China that would become part of the Pacific Theater of World War II.
After several years’ worth of building tensions and scattered conflicts, the two countries’ armies eventually clashed at the Marco Polo Bridge (卢沟桥) just outside Beijing on July 7th, 1937. However, what you may not know is that both the Marco Polo Bridge Incident as well as the entire war both started in part because of Beijing’s Five Star Beer:
[Five Star Beer] allegedly played a part in the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on the 7th of July 1937, when a Japanese soldier stationed near Marco Polo Bridge was reported missing.
Japanese troops demanded a search of the area, then known as Wanping Village, but were refused access by the local KMT. An artillery and tank bombardment ensued in what is now known as the ‘Marco Polo Bridge Incident’, followed soon after by a full-scale invasion of China.
The connection with beer? According to M. Aldrich in The Search for a Vanishing Beijing, the missing soldier was eventually found happily chugging Five Star in a local bar. [Time Out]
For more, check out this first-hand account of a visit to the “Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.”