An estimated 14 million to 20 million Chinese died during this epic struggle of resistance against Japanese aggression in a war that produced a staggering 80 million to 100 million refugees. Despite the prolonged onslaught of Japan’s modern military machine for eight long years, a divided China, mostly on its own, put up a heroic fight against steep odds, pinning down 600,000 of its troops and playing a crucial role in weakening Japan by inflicting heavy casualties on forces that were better armed, supplied and trained. The official death toll for Japanese soldiers killed in China between 1937 and 1945 is 480,000.
China was a quagmire that forced Japan to squander vast amounts of resources that put it on a collision course with the Allied powers and undermined its Pacific War effort. To secure the resources it needed to win the war in China, Japan attacked resource-rich Western colonies in Southeast Asia and fatefully, the U.S. at Pearl Harbor.