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Tsingtao (Qīngdǎo; 120.318E
36.077N) is a superb natural port
at the base of the Shantung Peninsula of China. In 1898, the Germans had pressured the Chinese into granting a 99-year lease on an area of about 190 square miles (500 km2) around the port, and by 1914 the city
had a thoroughly German character (complete with thousands of imported
German pines and oaks) and a modern harbor with a large floating dry
dock. The base was
seized by Japan during the First
World War, when Japan was a British
ally, and the leased territory reverted to China in December 1922.
However, the failure of the Allies to hand Tsingtao back to China
immediately led the Chinese government to reject the Versailles Treaty and provoked demonstrations throughout China.
By 1937 the population had grown to about 600,000 persons and cotton and tobacco were produced in the hinterland. There was an airfield nearby.
The city was deliberately burned by the retreating Kuomintang on 31 December 1937, as part of a scorched earth policy. It was occupied by Japanese naval forces in
mid-January 1938, which advanced along the railroad to link up with 10 Division at Tsinan.
41 Division garrisoned the city
at the time war broke out in the Pacific. The port based Tsingtao Air Group with 4 E7K "Alf".
Hsiung and Levine (1992)
Peattie et al. (2011)
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