Modern History, Japan, Japanese expansion, Japanese imperialism. Bunkerhunter@yahoo.com.au

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Japan 10-145


By Mark S, Australia, for more quality history essays contact me bunkerhunter@yahoo.com.au


The stage of Japanese Expansion in South East Asia and the Pacific by 14


The 10s were a time of turbulence for the nations of the world, the armies of evil had begun to rise up and create problems. Nations still healing from the wounds of World War One were pursuing an active course of peace whilst struggling to remain neutral in the new situation which faced the world.


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This situation was not unlike the problem America and Britain were facing with Japan. Throughout the 10s, the Japanese government had begun to develop a policy of Japanese expansion in South East Asia in an attempt to gain vital agricultural, economic and oil supplies. Throughout this policy, Japan had practiced brutal tactics to overrun South Eastern Asia such as in Manchuria and China. This created a dilemma for America and Britain as the question of whether or not to intervene in Japanese brutality and expansion was faced. Japanese expansion in South East Asia would eventually end in a war world and a collapse in Japanese militarism before the policy ended.


The idea of Japanese expansionism in South East Asia was not a new policy that came about in the 10s and 10s; in 185 Japan went to war with China for control over Korea in the Sino-Japanese war. The war came to a quick end in 185 with the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. China had to make territorial concessions (Taiwan and some islands) and had to pay large indemnities to Japan while Korea became a dominion of Japan.


Another element of Japanese expansionism was revealed during the 105 Russo-Japanese war; a war once again came to a quick end with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth. Formally Russia recognised Japanese Dominance over Korea. Within ten years, Japan had full control over Korea.


Although Japanese expansionism began well before the Manchurian invasion, it was not large enough to cause a problem, as the Japanese were not practising the actively aggressive and brutal tactics evidenced in the period between 10 and 145.


During the 10s, the Japanese were subject to the hardships of the great depression together with a surplus of exports and shrunken markets due to redeveloped European trade links resulting from the treaty of Versailles.


In a climate of growing nationalist fervour and disillusionment over the current state of the economy, a new Emperor succeeded to the throne in 16. On his succession Emperor Hirohito introduced a new policy of reforms, nationalism and Japanese expansionism - his new policy was called Showa or Enlightened Peace.


The entire Japanese people should in planning how the great Japanese empire be reorganised, petition for manifestation of the imperial prerogative establishing a normal opinion in which no dissenting voice is heard by the organisation of a great union of the Japanese people. Thus, by homage to the emperor, a basis for national reorganisation can be set up .


By the end of the 10s the Japanese government was under increasing pressure from Nationalists and Militarists alike to expand their empire in Manchuria and China. This was due to two significant factors. Firstly, the fact that Japan was facing increasing population pressure on a country of small land mass and secondly, as mentioned above, the impact of the Great Depression. In order to resolve its economic problems, Japan had to tap vital mineral, oil, forestry and agricultural resources for export, in an attempt deliver the country from its economic slump. These two factors plus Japanese contempt for China prompted an invasion of Manchuria.


On 18 September 11, a bomb exploded on a section of the South Manchurian railway near Mukden. Japanese forces on service in Manchuria protecting Japanese interests took advantage of the situation by blaming the bomb explosion on Chinese activists. The Japanese army occupied the town of Mukden during the first week of the invasion. By the end of 11, Japan had occupied all of South Manchuria.


Following protests to the League of Nations by China and America about this active act of aggression at the outbreak of Japanese occupation of South Manchuria in September 11, the League of Nations ordered Japan to withdraw from Manchuria. Instead, however, Japan withdrew its membership of the League of Nations in 1.


The situation between Japan and China remained relatively quiet until July 7, 17, when Japanese forces clashed with Chinese forces on the Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing. This event would eventually trigger the nd Sino-Japanese War. In August 17, after occupying the Beijing area for less than a month, Japanese forces invaded Shanghai. These events, though, proved insignificant compared to the events that would unfold in the months following. On 14 December, 17, the Chinese province of Nanking was invaded, and for the next eight months the citizens were brutalised by the Japanese forces, enduring rape, murders, torture and other mistreatment. The events of these eight months were later to be known as the Rape of Nanking.


Once again, between 18 and 140, Japan remained stagnant in China, until September, 140 when, succumbing to increasing pressure, the Vichy French government allowed Japan to occupy northern Indochina. By 8 July, 141, Japanese forces occupied both northern and southern Indochina.


On 4 December, 141, the Japanese air force bombed Pearl Harbour in Hawaii an attempt to obliterate Americas pacific naval fleet and thereby destroy American moral. Although this attack was in vain and in fact encouraged America to wage war on Japan, it did not inhibit Japans advance in South East Asia.


For the next ten months Japanese forces continued to slice their way through South East Asia. Countries in south East Asia fell to the Japanese like dominoes. Guam and Solomon Islands were conquered on 10 December, 141, Wake Island on December, Hong Kong on 5 December, the Dutch East Indies on 1 February, 14, Java on 8 March, Bataan and the Philippines on April, Burma on 0 May and finally, Buna and Gona (Northern New Guinea) on July, 14.


Although Japan landed on New Guinea on July, 14, their luck had expired. At the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 - 8May, 14 an American fleet stopped Japanese forces from advancing towards Port Moresby. This was the first major strategic win in the Pacific for the allies. Japan was also defeated by the American Naval fleet at the Battle for Midway on 4 - 5 June, 14. In the period from September to December 14 whilst once again attempting to take Port Moresby, Japan was also defeated on the Kododa Trail From this point Japan would gradually withdraw back towards the Japanese islands until their defeat in 145.


The strategies used by the allied forces in opposing Japan


Throughout the 10s, America and Britain endeavored to remain neutral at a time of increasingly troubled international relations, particularly with regard to Japan and Germany. This juggling of troublesome international relations with Japan and Germany proved the most difficult for Britain and, in 11, after Japan invaded Manchuria, Britain attempted to solve the Manchurian problem diplomatically rather than aggressively. This was because Britain could not afford to employ aggressive tactics against Japan due to the harsh economic climate of the times and the consequent need for Britain to maintain strong trade ties with Japan as a trading partner.


British and Japanese diplomacy remained fairly quiet throughout the 10s, due to Britains involvement in Europe and the fact that Britain attempted to avoid conflict with Japan. This period of quiet came to an end on 14 July, 140 when, submitting to increasing pressure from the Japanese government, the British closed the Burma Road which they occupied, thus cutting off British supplies to the Chinese nationalist army of the Chang-kaishek.


Between the closure of the Burma road and the commencement of war in the Pacific, relations between Britain and Japan remained shaky, but once again the primary focus of Britain was on its involvement in the war with Nazi Germany.


America on the other hand, pursued a relatively aggressive stance towards Japan in a diplomatic sense, if not militaristically. Throughout the 10s in the United States of America the view was generally held that American involvement in the great war was not justified and would constitute a waste of money and manpower. Sentiment against involvement in another war was widely held amongst American citizens, Congress and the military.


During the 10s when America maintained an Isolationist stance, many neutrality laws were passed effectively isolating America from the disputes of other nations and minimising cash flow to the American armed forces.


By 18, although isolationist sentiment in America was strong, the threat from Nazi Germany and Japanese militarism was becoming evident to President Roosevelt and other high-ranking officials. The tide of public opinion now began to turn against the isolationists. In 140 the US navy transferred fifty naval destroyers to the British navy, and in March 140, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act, which enabled the British to purchase American guns, tanks and warships.


When Japan invaded Indo-China in July 141, the American government placed an embargo on oil supplies to Japan. Previously in 18/, America had placed moral embargoes on Japan in protest against Japanese treatment of Chinese civilians. These embargoes included annexation of aircraft materials and petrol for Japan but in 1 America terminated the commercial treaty with Japan, thus effectively concluding the supplies of material to Japan via American ships.


In desperate need of a new source of oil, Japan planned to invade the British and Dutch colonies of the Dutch East Indies. Highly aware that this move would provoke a war with the American Pacific naval fleet, Japan attempted to cripple the American Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbour. On 7 December, 141, Pearl Harbour in Hawaii was bombed by the Japanese air force. Fortunately the American Pacific naval fleet was not crippled by this action but the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbour ultimately brought America into open conflict with Japan. On 8 December, 141, America, Britain, Australia, seven other British Commonwealth nations and France declared war on Japan.


The collapse of Japanese militarism in 145


The Japanese invasions of Manchuria, China and the ultimate involvement of Japan in World War Two were not completely due to expansionist ideals, economic hardship and feelings of racial superiority. Throughout the 10s, Japans social, political and economic structure was revolutionised drastically via the introduction of the code ofmilitarism.


Militarism in Japan was manifested in all aspects of life; strict nationalistic ideals were enforced, and Japan was seen as the master race. Attitudes taught in schools became more militaristic, with harsh, strict order enforced and Japanese children learning contempt for China and the Chinese. Young men were also encouraged if not forced to join the armed forces and fight for their nation. Immense amounts of money were dedicated to defence spending and the military buildup of artillery, naval ships and the airforce.


The Ideals of militarism in Japan originally stemmed from the Japanese Samurai, a warrior like hero from Japanese myth and legend - the samurai was said to be a noble man who fought for his country and was prepared to die for it.


The ideals of the Japanese Samurai and militarism would endure in the minds of the Japanese citizens and soldiers for nearly 15 years. The ideals of militarism were so strong that citizens and soldiers were willing to fight until the last man. It was this attitude by the Japanese that ultimately resulted in the deployment by the allies of the atomic bomb against Japan. The war with Japan came to an end on 15 August, 145 and with that, the ultimate collapse of Japanese militarism. The surrender of Japan was effected in two instalments, the first instalment being the official broadcast of the Japanese surrender on Japanese radio by Emperor Hirihito at noon on 15 August. The final instalment of the surrender occurred on September 145 with the signing of the Potsdam declaration.


A significant factor contributing to the end of Japanese militarism was the atomic bomb. Two atomic bombs were dropped, one on the city of Hiroshima on 6 August, 145, the other on Nagasaki on August, 145. These two bombs caused widespread devastation and death throughout the two cities and severely affected Japanese morale. The first step towards an end to Japanese militarism had taken place. Although Japan had resisted unconditional surrender twice, Emperor Hirohito realised the utter futility of further Japanese involvement in the war and agreed to submit to an unconditional surrender instigated by the allies. Despite disagreement by several factions in the government with the surrender, it nonetheless transpired on 15 August, 145.


Although not all forms of Japanese Militarism ended with the capitulation of Japanese forces, the final significant factor in the end to Japanese militarism was the allied occupation of Japan between 145 and 150 and this would ultimately terminate all other forms of Japanese Militarism.





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