So often photos of war focus on the up-close, gritty details — so much so that we lose the sense of the mass scale war takes place on. But this photo of the Imperial Japanese Army troops looking out over a ridge gives that sense of perspective. The Japanese were looking for possible enemy Chinese troops, focusing on a strategic point on the island of Chusan during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Although smaller Japanese incursions into Chinese territories were taking place in 1931, by 1937 a full-scale Sino-Japanese War had erupted after the Marco Polo Bridge incident. Many scholars point to this as the catalyst for the Second World War.
Chusan Island (Zhoushan Island), Zhejiang Province, Republic of China (now, People’s Republic of China).
14 July 1939.