Tai'erzhuang Battle Memorial Hall, Zaozhuang, Tai'erzhuang, Shandong Province
When Japanese forces invaded China in 1937, they quickly moved along the east coast and occupied the large cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. Seeking to expand and consolidate their territories, the Japanese moved inland in an effort to overtake smaller towns and villages. One such place was the ancient town of Taierzhuang.
Strategically located on railroad and canal junctions, Taierzhuang was used by the Chinese forces as a base to build their military forces in preparation for battle. In April 1938, Japanese soldiers attacked Taierzhuang and what followed was a two week intense confrontation. Even though the Japanese were far more advanced with their use of weapons and tanks, the Chinese were able to defend the city by keeping the fighting concentrated on areas they knew and by hiding behind low brick walls. Both sides experienced huge losses but in the end the Japanese were forced to surrender and retreat. Historically, this was the first major win of the Chinese Nationalist Alliance in the war against the Japanese. For many, it broke the myth that the Japanese Army was an invincible enemy and motivated further attacks and a will not to surrender in the months and years following.
In 1992, the Taierzhuang War Memorial Hall was built on the site of the battleground to mark the important victory that occurred in 1938. A collection of objects, photographs and explanatory text panels outline the events that led up to the Battle of Taierzhuang, describe the fighting that took place and detail the ways in which this victory inspired further counter attacks against the Japanese Imperial Army.