January, 1937. Leading Communists go on trial in Russia, accused of Trotskyism and participating in a plot to overthrow Stalin and his government. The Soviet Union finally executes thirty-one people for Trotskyism. In August, Stain continues The Great Purge in which hundreds of thousands of political opponents, peasants, writers, artists, intellectuals, Trotskyites, and military leaders are killed for disagreeing with or offending Stalin in some way.
February, 1937. Spanish Civil War. Battle of Jarama: Nationalist (Franco’s fascist Falangists) and government (Republican and Communist) troops fight to a stalemate. Italian troops and German tanks help the Nationalists. British, Irish, Balkan, French and Belgian volunteers fight in support of the Republican government.
April 26, 1937. German planes bomb Guernica, Spain in support of Francisco Franco’s Nationalists, killing 200 to 300 civilians. The Spanish Republican government commissions Pablo Picasso to create this large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition in June, 1937.
May 6, 1937. The German airship Hindenburg explodes on its approach to Lakehurst Field, NJ after a transatlantic flight from Frankfort, Germany. 35 of the 97 passengers and crew on board die in the explosion.
May 27-28, 1937. Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County. The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushes a button in Washington, D.C., signaling the start of vehicle traffic over the Golden Gate Bridge. At 1.7 miles the bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the world in 1937.
May 28, 1937. Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
June 3, 1937. Wallis Simpson marries the Duke of Windsor, the former Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, in France.
July 2, 1937. Amelia Earhart disappears after taking off from New Guinea during her attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world.
July 7, 1937. Japanese troops open fire on a Chinese patrol outside the Chinese capital, Peking (Beijing). The Japanese claim the Chinese provoked the exchange of fire, but the Chinese are claiming a Japanese invasion. This incident begins the Second Sino-Japanese War as Japan attempts to take over mainland China. By the end of 1937, Japan will control most of the coastal cities of China, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, and others.
December 13, 1937. The city of Nanjing, China falls to the Japanese invaders. Up to 300,000 Chinese are brutally murdered by the Japanese army in the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanjing during the next six months of Japanese control.