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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Jeffrey Bayliss

Second Advisor

Michael Lestz


The Japanese occupation of Shanghai from 1937 to 1945 was one of the most dramatic events in the city’s history. Not only was Shanghai the first city to suffer the full consequences of industrialized warfare in the fall of 1937, but also, after Pearl Harbor the slow grind of isolation and economic decline left this formerly world-class city in an extremely abject state. While the Chinese population felt the effects of the war as soon as hostilities ensued, for the various foreign communities, the Japanese presence was not immediately felt. This study will focus on the experiences of three different segments of Shanghai’s foreign community during the occupation. The first chapter details the predicament of allied nationals residing in the International Settlement after the bombing of Pearl Harbor including their internment in 1943. The second chapter recounts the ordeals of Shanghai’s Jewish population, mostly stateless refugees escaping from Nazism, who were ghettoized in 1943. Chapter three focuses on the French Concession following the fall of France in 1940 and with regard to the issue of retrocession. Throughout each chapter, the primary concern is the policy of the Japanese towards the foreign residents and the treatment that resulted from that policy. While their experiences vary considerably, in all cases the Japanese occupation authorities prioritized security and the acquisition of resources. The resulting disinterest in the management of civilian populations frequently had a negative impact on the lives of foreign residents.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in History. Accessible to members of the Trinity community only.