Xie Jinyuan Leads Chinese Defense of Sihang Warehouse Against Japanese Aggression as Generalissimo Chiang Withdraws Forces West of Shanghai
The Defense of Sihang Warehouse (simplified Chinese: 四行仓库; traditional Chinese: 四行倉庫; pinyin: Sìháng Cāngkù) took place from October 26 to November 1, 1937, and marked the beginning of the end of the three-month Battle of Shanghai in the opening phase of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Defenders of the warehouse, known in China as the Eight Hundred Heroes (simplified Chinese: 八百壮士; traditional Chinese: 八百壯士; pinyin: Bābǎi Zhùangshì), held out against numerous waves of Japanese forces and covered Chinese forces retreating west during the Battle of Shanghai. The successful defense of the warehouse provided a morale-lifting consolation to the Chinese army and people in the demoralizing aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Shanghai. The warehouse's location just across the Suzhou Creek from the foreign concessions in Shanghai meant the battle took place in full view of the western powers. It was across from the foreign concessions in Shanghai, and the Japanese did not dare to call naval artillery strikes on the area, since a stray shot might land in the concessions and provoke an incident with the Europeans and Americans, whom the Japanese wanted to keep out of the war. Moreover, the Japanese dared not use mustard gas here as they did elsewhere in Shanghai, in full view of the foreign powers. This proximity drew the attention, if only briefly, of the international community to Chiang Kai-shek's bid for worldwide support against Japanese aggression.
The resistance that lasted three months also provided the Chinese time to relocate some industrial capability further inland. Though the amount of machinery actually relocated was insignificant, it provided the Chinese a minimal ray of hope that the war against the Japanese could be continued even at the loss of the major industrial region of Shanghai.