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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Marco Polo Bridge Incident

I picked up a copy of the book The Flying Tigers by Sam Kleiner at Costco yesterday. It is very readable, very smooth (like good whiskey).  It starts with some background on Claire Chennault who eventually becomes the head of The Flying Tigers. We follow him to China where he goes to work for the Chinese Air Force.

Chiang Kai-Shek and his wife Soong Mei-ling
His first job is assessing the current state of that Air Force, which is very bad. He delivers this report to Chiang Kai-shek. Now there's a name I haven't heard in a while. There's a brief overview of the internal politics of China. Chiang's wife, Soong Mei-ling, is force of her own.

Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen gets mentioned. That's another name I haven't heard in a coon's age.

Anyway, the Japanese have been raising hell in China for years, but now we have the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, and the war begins in earnest.

Original Marco Polo Bridge, built in 1190
 The name "Marco Polo Bridge" derives from its appearance in Marco Polo's book of travels, where he praised it highly. - Wikipedia

Current Marco Polo Bridge, built in 1698
So the current bridge isn't the one that Marco Polo saw, but it's in the same place, and it's the one where the Chinese and Japanese clashed.

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