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In the first half, we take ourselves to Shanghai in August 1937 and the forgotten battle for the city. We’ll see why Chiang Kai-shek decided to take a stand in Shanghai, making the Battle of Shanghai the first major clash between the Imperial Japanese forces and the Nationalist Chinese. Saturday shoppers strolling near the river suffer a tragic shock.

In the second half, we’re going to answer my seven-year-old son’s question: Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting on Earth? Da Vinci’s masterpiece only became the most famous painting in the world because of a couple of events 150 and 115 years ago…

This episode was first broadcast on 30 August 2016  on Noreen Mir’s 1-2-3 Show, RTHK Radio 3. Click ‘Subscribe’ to receive future podcasts automatically (or see the This Month in History website). Each month, Paul Letters examines events from this month in history. Recorded at Radio Television Hong Kong Studios, Broadcast Drive, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Paul Letters is a historian, journalist, educator and novelist. See paulletters.com for more history, including a daily ‘On-This-Day-75-Years-Ago’ Twitter feed and photographs. Plus the novel that combines: the real history of the Allies’ first strike against Nazi Germany; Paul’s granny’s escape (as a teenager) from 1939 Poland to 1940 Paris to wartime London; the ‘Double-Cross System’, the Special Operations Executive and assassination in Prague (aChanceKill.com).

Podcast cover work by Gill Bertram.