Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.

X

Us, Japan, China, Origins Of The Pacific War Notes

History Notes > International History Since 1890 Notes

This is an extract of our Us, Japan, China, Origins Of The Pacific War document, which we sell as part of our International History Since 1890 Notes collection written by the top tier of London School Of Economics students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our International History Since 1890 Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

The 1930's were a period marked by Japanese authoritarianism, militarism and nationalism, repression at home and aggression abroad. On 18 th September 1931, a small group of Japanese and Chinese soldiers clashed outside of Mukden in southern Manchuria. This event developed into a long, drawnout intermittent war between China and Japan. A decade later on 7 th December 1941, Japanese air, naval and land forces attacked American, British, and Dutch possessions throughout Asia and the Pacific marking the beginning of Japan's war against a multinational coalition of Western Allies. Expansionism can be defined as the doctrine of expanding a nation's territorial base or economic influence by means of military aggression,

1. 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

11. 12.

1. 2.

3. 4.

5. The 1920's The 1920's however, saw what many historians have termed as 'the calm before the storm' - it was a decade of military retrenchment, international cooperation, and Taisho Democracy in Japan In November 1921, a conference of the Powers with interests in the western Pacific was convened in Washington to discuss international co-operation in the region, particularly with regard to China, and how to establish a framework for naval arms limitation The Washington Conference, in the short term, proved to be a success, for by February 1922 it had led to the return of the Jiaozhou lease to China and the conclusion of three new treaties - the Five-Power Treaty on naval arms limitation, the Four-Power Pact to preserve the status quo in the Pacific, and the Nine-Power Treaty to uphold the open door policy in China Why, at Washington, did Japan abandon its former policy of single-minded expansion?
A purely realpolitik explanation is that the end of the First World War and the apparent formation of an Anglo-American bloc forced Japan to accept its relative powerlessness Internal/domestic shifts of power within Japan hailed the Wilsonian 'new diplomacy' as a way for Japan to benefit from multilateral co-operation, as this would guarantee its security and allow expansion of economic stake in China - the most notable proponent of this view was Kijuro Shidehara, the ambassador to the US at the time of the conference, and later foreign minister in 1924-27 and 192931 The conciliatory twenties, as they were called, saw Japan shifting from oligarchic rule towards government by party politicians: the so-called Taisho Democracy. In 1925 Japan introduced universal male suffrage, and in 1928 socialist parties stood in the general elections These changes in the nature of Japanese politics had implications for foreign policy, for the rise of the parties saw a growth of anti-militarist sentiment, as the military were perceived to be the last bastions of oligarchic government Between 1924 and 1927, the country enjoyed a "liberal honeymoon" (John Benson): franchise was extended, the military budget was cut and the number of civil servants was reduced by 20,000 The shift towards new mass politics was aided by the relatively high literacy rate in Japan, which meant that the new ideas emanating from the West about issues such as morality in international affairs and unionization received a wide audience This explains why Japan turned expansionist in the 1930's rather than in the 1920's, a time when international co-operation including naval arms limitation still found a stable ready constituency in Japan The growth of Chinese nationalism China in the early 1920's appeared to Moscow to be a viable field for Comintern activities, and in particular the Kuomintang (KMT) party created by the nationalist Sun Yat Sen which espoused antiimperial ideas mixed with a vaguely socialist domestic agenda, emerged as an attractive potential partner In January 1923 the Soviet Comintern and the KMT agreed to a framework of Soviet support, including the promise of advisers, arms and the establishment of a 'United Front' between the KMT and the infant Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Over the next three years, Soviet assistance helped to turn the KMT into a formidable political and military machine Britain and the US decided to reconcile themselves to the rise of Chinese nationalism on the grounds that concessions over its territorial privileges would safeguard their positions in the Chinese market later In April 1927 Chiang Kai Shek abruptly broke with the Comintern and purged the KMT of Soviet and CCP influence. Although the Soviet Union had encouraged China's radical nationalism, relations deteriorated when the Chinese had sought to take over the Soviet-operated Chinese Eastern Railway

6.

In 1928 Chiang set up his Nationalist government in Nanjing, with both Britain and the US willing to enter into negotiations about returning tariff autonomy to China and getting rid of extra-territoriality Japan, however, took a different view, for although willing to make concessions about its commercial interests, it could not accede to China's demands for the return of all territories that had been leased to foreign powers The bone of contention was the Kwantung (coastal area of northeastern China) lease in South Manchuria that Japan had gained in 1905 as one of the fruits of the Russo-Japanese war. For economic, military and political reasons, Japan could not afford to make the concessions about this leased territory or about its ownership of the South Manchurian Railway. Equally, the Nanjing government could not compromise its "rights recovery" policy by opting not to raise the issue of the future of the Kwantung lease - Japan and China were therefore on a collision course

7. 8.

Factors that propelled Japanese militarism and expansionism, ultimately leading to the SinoJapanese War: 1) Japanese insecurity with the status quo and split with US over China

1. 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

11. 12.

According to Mary L.Hanneman, "underlying Japan's government-directed transition to modernity was a deep-seated fear of Western domination" When Japanese policy-makers looked abroad in the 1930's, they saw a Russia weakened by famine and forcible collectivization, but this was tempered by an autocratic dictator in the form of Joseph Stalin whose roving eye seemed to desire revenge for Russia's loss in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War The key to Japan's policy in China, explained the Japan Times Weekly in 1939, was "the fact that she wanted to gain access to the raw materials there available, to secure a ready market for her goods, and to ensure that the resources of that country were attuned to her economic and strategic needs in the event of war against Russia (John Benson) In the 1920s, the rise of Chinese nationalism changed the international system in East Asia. Britain and the US reacted to the challenge posed by Chinese nationalism to their interests by deciding that they should work with Chiang Kai Shek. Japan however was not prepared to follow suit, for its vast economic, political and strategic interests in southern Manchuria were not a matter for negotiation. Moreover, it was felt that since the Comintern advisers had provided military, financial and political assistance to help set up Chiang's government, "by 1931 the Japanese position in Manchuria was threatened by two forces, Chinese nationalism and Soviet expansionism" (Antony Best) According to Akira Iriye, Washington's rejection of Japan's demands for naval parity in the Pacific also worried Japanese policy-makers In 1934, the US State Department responded negatively to the Japanese suggestion for a Pacific Agreement to recognize their respective spheres of influence One of the biggest sources of contention between Japan and the USA was China where Japanese imperialism sharply contradicted US interests in seeking to eliminate preponderance over China by any one single power - the open door policy According to the historian Thomas H. Buckley, the United States adopted a paternalistic attitude towards China in seeking to liberate it from Japanese influence and allow it to 'choose her own government without outside interference' Buckley claims that this goal was recognized by America as far back as the Washington conference of 1921-22 but this led to a contradiction as Japan sought to establish in China what the USA had done in Latin America with the Monroe Doctrine US efforts to constrain Japanese expansionism in the region through acts such as the Nine Power Treaty This combined with the economic shortcomings of Japan and an increasingly hostile and united China, propelled further Japanese expansionism to secure itself an empire Hence it can be said that that one of the reasons why Japan turned expansionist in the 1930's was not only to preserve a regional balance of power but also to ensure a new international order where Japan lived in the security that her position as regional hegemon would be unchallenged. 2) Severe weaknesses in the parliamentary government

1. The 1920's, for Japan, saw the development of problems which Japan's democratically elected governments seemed incapable of solving

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our International History Since 1890 Notes.