The battle of Shanghai in 1937 was unique in many ways. For example, it was recorded more exhaustively in the western media than any other battle in China’s long war with Japan. This was because of the presence, in the city’s international districts, of foreign journalists and photographers. The latter left a treasure trove of photos, some of which are unknown to the wider public to this day, nearly 80 years after the battle.
One of the photographers active in Shanghai during the fateful months of 1937 was Malcolm Rosholt, born in Wisconsin in 1907. He had arrived in China in 1931, and eventually ended up for seven years as a staff writer at China Press, an American-run, Shanghai-based newspaper. Much later in the war, in 1944, he returned to China, assigned to work with the US Fourteenth Air Force.
This article reproduces a small selection of his huge output of photos from his time in Shanghai, most of them from the battle of 1937. They are brought with the kind permission of Historical Photographs of China, a project based at the University of Bristol. All photos are courtesy of Historical Photographs of China, Mei-fei Elrick and Tess Johnson. Clicking on the captions will take you to the photos on the website of Historical Photographs of China.