In August 1937, the Japanese army invaded Shanghai where they met strong resistance and suffered heavy casualties.
In 2000, historian Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi concurred with certain Japanese scholars who had argued that the contest was a concocted story, with the collusion of the soldiers themselves for the purpose of raising the national fighting spirit.
In 2005, a Tokyo district judge dismissed a suit by the families of the lieutenants, stating that "the lieutenants admitted the fact that they raced to kill 100 people" and that the story cannot be proven to be clearly false.
Nevertheless, on December 1, headquarters ordered the Central China Area Army and the 10th Army to capture Nanjing, then-capital of the Republic of China.
After losing the Battle of Shanghai, Chiang Kai-shek knew that the fall of Nanjing was a matter of time.
Nanjing had been constantly bombed for days and the Chinese troops that remained there were disheartened and had taken to drinking before the city's inevitable fall.