CHINA: Twelve Years Ago

A loud explosion lit the tracks and started a spat of rifle fire. Shadowy figures ran crouching through the tall kaoliang grass and the southbound express whistled in the distance. The Japanese blamed the Chinese and said the blast had torn up 31 inches of track. Nevertheless, the train passed over the spot at full speed without mishap.

Then four companies of Japanese attacked nearby Chinese barracks housing some 10,000 troops. The Chinese, who had orders from Young Marshal Chang Hsüeh-liang not to resist, retired. Other Jap companies marched into Mukden, three miles down the...

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