In 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria and in 1937 launched a full-scale invasion of mainland China. That war did not end until the Japanese surrender at the end of the Second World War, in 1945. Using archive material from the conflict, including Chinese footage not previously seen, this program tells the story of the Sino-Japanese War, a major theatre of war whose story is little known internationally. It is a story of major battles, great suffering, devastating bombing. It also encompasses a parallel story which has had a major impact on the modern world: this is the story of the rise of the Chinese Communist Party and the rise to absolute power of its chairman, Mao Zedong who would, when Japan finally surrendered, lead his forces from their remote heartland to success in the civil war and the proclamation of the People’s Republic.