The Tanggu Truce, sometimes called the Tangku Truce (simplified Chinese: 塘沽协定; traditional Chinese: 塘沽協定; pinyin: Tánggū Xiédìng; Japanese: Tanku kyōtei (塘沽協定)), was a cease-fire signed between Republic of China and Empire of Japan in Tanggu District, Tianjin on May 31, 1933, formally ending the Japanese invasion of Manchuria which had begun two years earlier.
After the Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931, the Japanese Kwantung Army invaded Manchuria, and by February 1932 had captured the entire region. The last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Puyi, who was living in exile in the Foreign Concessions in Tianjin was convinced by the Japanese to accept the throne of the new Empire of Manchukuo, which remained under the control of the Imperial Japanese Army. In January 1933, to secure Manchukuo’s southern borders, a joint Japanese and Manchukuo force invaded Rehe, and after conquering that province by March, drove the remaining Chinese armies in the northeast beyond the Great Wall into Hebei Province.
The Western powers condemned Japan's actions but did little else. When the League of Nations demanded that Japan stop hostilities, the Japan withdrew from the League on March 27, 1933.
As the Japanese army was under explicit instructions from Emperor Hirohito (who wanted a quick end to the China conflict) not to go beyond the Great Wall, the Japanese halted their offensive in May 1933.
On May 22, 1933, Chinese and Japanese representatives met to negotiate the end of the conflict. The Japanese demands were severe: a demilitarized zone extending one hundred kilometers south of the Great Wall, extending from Beijing to Tianjin was to be created, with the Great Wall itself under Japanese control. No regular Kuomintang military units were to be allowed in the demilitarized zone, although the Japanese were allowed to use reconnaissance aircraft or ground patrols to ensure that the agreement was maintained. Public order within the zone was to be maintained by a lightly armed Demilitarized Zone Peace Preservation Corps.
Two secret clauses excluded any of the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies from this Peace Preservation Corps and provided for any disputes that could not be resolved by the Peace Preservation Corps to be settled by agreement between the Japanese and Chinese governments. Having lost every major engagement and substantial territory, and with the Chinese government under Chiang Kai-shek more concerned with fighting the Chinese Communist Party than the Japanese, the Chinese government agreed to all demands. Furthermore, the new demilitarized zone was mostly within the remaining territory of the discredited Manchurian warlord Zhang Xueliang.
The Tanggu Truce resulted in the de facto recognition of the existence of Manchukuo by the Kuomintang government, and acknowledgement of the loss of Rehe. It provided for a temporary end to the combat between China and Japan and for a brief period, relations between the two countries actually improved. On May 17, 1935, the Japanese legation in China was raised to the status of embassy, and on June 10, 1935, the He-Umezu Agreement was concluded. The Tanggu Truce gave Chiang Kai-shek time to consolidate his forces and to concentrate his efforts against the Chinese Communist Party, albeit at the expense of northern China. However, Chinese public opinion was hostile to terms so favorable to Japan and so humiliating to China. Although the Truce provided for a demilitarized buffer zone, Japanese territorial ambitions towards China remained, and the Truce proved to be only a temporary respite until hostilities re-erupted with the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.
- Bix, Herbert P. (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2.
- Fenby, Jonathan (2003). Chiang Kai-shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost. Carroll & Graf Publishers. isbn = 0-7867-1318-6.
- Hane, Mikiso (2001). Modern Japan: A Historical Survey. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3756-9.
- http://www.republicanchina.org/war.htm#Chang-Cheng-Zhi-Zhan Battles of the Great Wall
- Fenby, Chiang kai Shek pp,282
- Bix, Hirohito, pp.272