Talk:Bombing of Chongqing

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A conservative estimate places the number of bombing runs at more than 5000, with more than 11500 bombs dropped, the majority of which were incendiary bombs. The targets of the bombing were all residential areas, business areas, schools, hospitals and other non-military targets.

Please can we have a source for this information. Who is the conservative who made this estimate? Who recorded that the bombss were "all... non-military targets" note it does not say that "most... none military targets". Philip Baird Shearer

These terror bombings were probably aimed at cowing the Chinese government, or as part of the planned Sichuan invaionsion.

Please can we have a source for the claim that it was terror bombing. Ie is there a Japanese document which states that it was the intent of their armed forces to cause terror.

Is it possible that attacking the city also disrupted Chinese command and control and/or communications? Philip Baird Shearer 22:02, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

First off, insisting that the Japanese agree that it was a terror bombing is just naive. When the aggressor gets the last say that is just bad history. So that should simply be listed as an opinion and not a measure of the credibility of this article.

In the meantime, looking for sources I found one at All Experts

"The Japanese considered the Kuomintang rather than the Communists as their main enemy and bombed the Nationalist wartime capital of Chongqing to the point that it became the most heavily bombed city in the world to date." ( Malangthon 17:04 8, Oct. 2006

Well it was the most faithful translation I could do from the zh wiki article. I cannot gurantee the accuracy of the information as the zh wiki is sometimes festering with anti-Japanese sentiments. Don't shoot the messenger. :D

I did some research on my own, unfortunately English (and Japanese, I would think) sources downplays it and Chinese sources probably exaggerates it. But I found this link to a interview of a survivor[1]. Try doing a google page translation, though many of the nuances of language cannot be reflected. The article itself and the website, are pretty biased, but the interview should be trusted because I saw it on a few more sites.

It's a pretty graphic account of what happened on one air raid. Being an account, it's a localised version, so does not give any mention of statistics (which we need).

One thing I found is that 十八梯 ie., the location mentioned in the interview, has always been a residential and cultural district in Chongqing. The account also mentioned how the hospital she was in was not attacked because (she speculated) it was flying the British flag, so we can infer that other hospitals WERE attacked.

And yes, the attacks were to lower Chinese moral and infrastructure. By killing off everyone or giving the impression they are going to kill everyone, it works wonders (usually).

I will do more research on this. In the meanwhile, please retain this article as it is. -Hmib 01:08, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Try this artcile: [2] for more links. It's in Chinese but it has quoted the evidence of some westerners in China at that time.

There are a number of detailed graphic accounts of these air raids by Edgar Snow in those reports he filed from Chongqing, as well as in his biography.

On those taken place in 1939, "Acres of buildings had been destroyed in barbaric raids of May and June. The Japanese preferred moonlit nights for their calls, when from their base in Hankow they could follow the silver banner of the Yangtze up to its confluence with the Jialing, which identified the capital in a way no blackout could obscure."

"The city had no defending air force and only a few anti-aircraft guns...Spacious public shelters were being dug, but it was estimated that a third of the population still had no protection. Government officials given advanced warning, sped outside the city in their motor cars—cabinet ministers first, then vice-ministers, then minor bureaucrats. the populace soon caught on; when they saw a string of official cars racing off to the west, they dropped everything and ran. A mad scramble of rickshaws, carts, animals and humanity blew up the main streets like a great wind, carrying all before it." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:09, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

More sources[edit]

People”s Daily

“During the five and a half-year period between 1938 and August 1943, the Japanese air force bombarded Chongqing, then China's wartime capital, in more than 200 sorties, causing great casualties and property destruction. “Wartime Japanese Bomb Found in Chongqing” Dec. 23, 2001

Global Action on Aging

“Most of the evidence will be in the form of oral histories from people old enough to remember the war years, when the city experienced more than 200 Japanese air raids, according to the paper. 

About 11,900 Chongqing residents were killed in the raids, while 14,700 were injured, and 17,000 buildings were destroyed, the paper said. “ “Chinese World War II Air Raid Victims Demand Compensation from Japan” July 19, 2004

Here is a Japanese source.


The United States was not, of course, alone in indiscriminate bombing in the Pacific War. The Japanese Imperial Navy engaged in the first indiscriminate bombing in the Asia-Pacific region with the January 1932 attack on civilians on Shanghai. Thereafter, Japanese bombers targeted civilians in Nanjing, Wuhan, Chongqing and other cities. Chongqing, in particular, was targeted with more than 200 air raids over three years from the end of 1938, bringing the total death toll up to 12,000. Here, too, the Japanese were not targeting a military facility, but sought to destroy the Guomindang's centre of power and demoralize the civilians who supported this regime. Tanaka Yuki “Firebombing and Atom Bombing: an historical perspective on indiscriminate bombing. May 16, 2005

Originally appeared in “Japan Focus” May 16, 2005

Note: Yuki Tanaka is a research professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute and a coordinator of Japan Focus. His books include Hidden Horrors. Japanese War Crimes in World War II. He contributed this article to Japan Focus.

Malangthon 16:03 8, Oct. 2006

Additional Sources[edit]

Discover Yangtze River “The bombing of Chongqing”

People’s Daily

“From 1938 to August 1943, the Japanese air force flew more than 6,800 sorties, bombing Chongqing night and day, causing huge life and property losses to the local people.

“On June 5, 1941 alone, about 2,500 residents who had taken shelter from the bombing in a tunnel in downtown Chongqing were suffocated to death.

Photographers from China, Germany, France, the United States and some other countries filmed major scenes of the bombings. Japanese photographers also filmed the bombings to flaunt their " victories". “Film of Japanese Bombings Discovered in Chongqing”

SINA English

“WWII Chongqing bombing victims sue Japanese govt

2006-03-30 03:28:06 Xinhua English

TOKYO, March 30(Xinhua)-- Forty Chinese victims or family members of victims of Chongqing bombings between 1938 and 1943 filed a damages suit against the Japanese government on Thursday in Tokyo.

The group of plaintiffs consists of 36 Chinese who were wounded or lost their family members during the more than five years of bombing in Chongqing of southwestern China and four victims or kin of victims of bombing in Leshan, Sichuan Province of southwestern China. They demanded the Japanese government apologize and each sought compensation of 10 million yen(about 84,900 U.S. dollars).

The Japanese army indiscriminately bombed Chongqing and nearby Leshan, Chengdu of the Sichuan province between 1938 and 1943. A recent study by a Chinese group shows that the bombings killed 23,600 people and wounded 37,700 people.” Enditem


“When winter made way for spring the skies of foggy Chongqing finally cleared up. Chongqing without fog was a difficult period for the city. With the bright sun came dense fleets of Japanese bombers. [Graham]Peck had made quite a few sketches about the bombing of Chongqing. From Feb. 18, 1938 to Aug. 23, 1943, following orders from Emperor Hirohito and the supreme headquarters, the Japanese air force bombarded Chongqing for 5 years and a half. They called it “political bombing” or “strategic bombing”. One US journalist said that the bombing that was a horror to the atmospheric layer had slipped away from people’s memory. Yet the Japanese had invented a continuously escalating violence.” “Eyewitnesses to History (6) -- The Resistance War Period”

IEEE History Center

“BERT FUNG” An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker IEEE History Center December 12, 2000 Interview #408 For the IEEE History Center (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Inc.) and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

[excerpt] Fung: “But in the later years, the Japanese bombed Chongqing. Chongqing was a foggy city. Every morning by 10 am the fog lifted a little, the Japanese bombers would be coming in. We took classes at the crack of dawn, till about 9:30 or so, then we went to the dugouts. The University was on the banks of a big river, the Jialing River. The rocky banks were our natural dugouts. That’s where we spent most of our daytime.

Nebeker: How long did that period of Japanese bombing last?

Fung: About four years.


As for Imperial Japanese policy in China, you can refer to the wiki article “Three Alls Policy” and read Bix’s book, “Hirohito and the making of modern Japan.” The time for demands for Japanese acquiescence in these matters to establish credibility is long over. This is the same Nihonron nonsense we got with Iris Chang's "Rape of Nanking" when the Japanese publisher insisted on writing their own denunciation in the book itself, in a country where the glories of the Great War are eulogized every time the PM goes to Yasukuni Shrine. Tell what ever Uyoku dantai is behind this demand for Japanese sources to take it somewhere else. Those guys threatened to firebomb any bookseller who sold the Japanese translation of the book. I was there when that happened.

The overwhelming majority of people in Japan either won’t tell the truth because they do not have to (if they know it) or are not aware they need to look at this again. After having lived nearly 2 decades in Japan, I am confident that very few Japanese are inclined to look for other accounts or are even aware that their official version of the events of the last century is even tainted much less totally fabricated. Start with Bix, work back. I have many books on these accounts that were written in the 40s and 50s so they are out of print but can be found in a good library. Chongqing is a small footnote now but may be further developed in future.

Malangthon 15:44 9, Oct., 2006

An opinion[edit]

This is peanuts compared to Allied strategic bombing. Would you characterize the devastation inflicted on Germany and Japan as horrific terror bombing on the part of the allies, or the assertion that they had legitimate military purposes as a blatant denial of responsibility for mass murder? Kensai Max 15:05, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Peanuts? the phrase "they sowed the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind" springs to mind Xyl 54 (talk) 14:26, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Berlin article - Bombing of Berlin in World War II claims it was bombed 363 times[edit]

The Berlin article seems to state that it was bombed more times than Chongqing - can anyone clear this up? Megapixie 03:36, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

photo misuse[edit]

Having studied the rape of naking I instantly recognised the photo on this page entitled "Casualties of a mass-panic during a Japanese air raid in Chongqing in 1941" - however I have to inform you that the photo is being used widely to alledegly depict the rape and murder of chinese women and children; here is an example and this is by no means the only time i have seen it used for this purpose. Now what does the photo actually depict? who is right? -- 23:06, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

This picture was taken in 1941 in Chongqing by photograph Carl Mydans for Time-Life. --Flying tiger 13:09, 12 August 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't there be an article called battle of Chongqing ?-- (talk) 21:54, 17 July 2009 (UTC) Unknown

The event was not a two- way battle between the Chinese and the Japanese, it was a one- sided terror campaign against the citizens of Chongqing.


Does anyone have an overall figure for casualties? It seems to be missing from the article.Xyl 54 (talk) 14:20, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

PS and does it really need a list of Japanese aircraft types? Xyl 54 (talk) 14:21, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Very non-neutral sentence in section "The raids"[edit]

"Thus the campaign was one made against a defenceless target, and remains, like other Japanese atrocities during the war such as the Nanjing Massacre, highly contentious to the present day." To be more exact, "like other Japanese atrocities" the Chongqing bombing was an atrocity? City bombing usually isn't referred to as "atrocity" on Wikipedia. Unless someone comes with an argument why that sentence should remain in the article, I will remove it. --Raubfreundschaft (talk) 18:44, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Removed.--Raubfreundschaft (talk) 16:55, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Terror bombing[edit]

Shall we agree to describe all bombing campaigns directed primarily at civilian populations as terror bombing? The Germans described the Allied (English and American) attacks on their population centers as "terror attacks" (terrorangriff) and I believe the English doctrine of the time specifically designated civilians as the target of Bomber Command. Meanwhile, the Americans pretended that it was possible for the USAF to drop bombs from 20,000 feet and hit only factories and military personnel. On the other side of the world, were civilian deaths a concern at all during the American fire bomb raids on Japan in 1945? I believe the primary concern was winning the war. My point is that if we are going to accept the premise that the Japanese were aiming primarily at civilians when bombing Chongqing (Chungking) and describe the Japanese bombing campaign as "terror bombing" we must possess the intellectual honesty to decribe the Allied strategic bombing campaigns against German and Japanese civilians as terror bombing as well. Doing so does not "whitewash" Axis war crimes and crimes against humanity, but we Americans and English can't have it both ways. If targeting civilians is "terror bombing" then any nation that targets civilians commits "terror bombing" -- even if that nation is England or the United States. ( (talk) 10:30, 11 June 2010 (UTC))

I agree completely with you, good sir.--Raubfreundschaft (talk) 16:53, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
It is still listed as "terror bombing." Either edit to "strategic bombing" or edit the Bombing of Dresden and all of the like to be terror bombings as well. (talk) 01:01, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
There's acres of stuff in the Bombing of Dresden article about "terror bombing"; If you think it needs more I suggest you take it up there. And there's plenty of angst on the Allied side about the morality of bombing civilian targets; what isn't to be whitewashed is who invented it. Xyl 54 (talk) 00:54, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Number of Plaintiffs[edit]

The source was vague (information on the web of Japan). --大和屋敷 (talk) 05:01, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Fact Checking[edit]

The second paragraph of the article gives a statistic for the amount of bombs dropped and sorties completed by the Japanese. There is no source so I question the truth behind the statement.

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