At the end of the XIXth century, the dominant position of European powers and of the United States in the Far East remained unmistakable. In fact, the European powers occupied Indochina and shared the occupation of China. Asia remained a stifled continent. But at the end of the century, Japan, which had recently launched the Muji revolution, appeared to be on the way of modernisation. Japan realized a huge economic and political modernisation based on the imitation of western countries. This country became an important economic and political regional force in Far East Asia. With the increasing of power comes the will of domination and economic and military expansion as a kind of reinforcement of this power. So in the first years of the XXth century, Japan, proud of its modernisation, began to rival the European in Asia by claiming an area of influence. As European powers, Japan was interesting by its giant neighbour: China in order to demonstrate its serious power. In fact, this country is politically weak but rich in natural resources: the perfect prey. From 1900 to the 1920's, Japan began its expansion in the archipelagos of the Pacific but remained in front of the door of China that was a European influence area. However, in the 1930's, Japan felt powerful enough to widen its area of influence in Asia and began to threat China. These following years are very important in the understanding of current event, as the recent strains between China and Japan shows. In fact, the Japanese expansionism led to a conflict between the two countries in the 1930's that remains a source of strain today by the manipulation of the memory in each country. In order to be more familiar with these current strains , I've chosen to deal with this part of far east history that is forgotten by westerns. I will wonder how this Japanese expansionism manifested itself in the 1930's. Firstly, we will analyse the reasons, the motivations and the first foot of this expansionism (1930-1935). Then we will see how this will of power faced resistance in China and reached to a war that definitely impressed Asian minds (1935-1939).
[...] 1931-1935: Reasons, motivations and the first foot of Japanese expansion in China A. The expansion: economical necessity for Japanese ambitions 1. Bases of the Japanese Imperialism: nationalism and the growing influence of military milieus. The Japanese Imperialism that treats Far East Asia in the beginning of the 1930's is based on several motivations that gather national pride and economical and strategic interests. In fact, in the Japan of the 1930's, we can observe the exacerbation of a strong Japanese superiority feeling. [...]
[...] In February 1932, Japan declared Manchuria as an independent state and gave it the name: Manchukuo that fell under the Japanese control. On September the 2nd 1932, Japanese government signed an agreement with the Manchu one that asked Japanese troops to assure the defence of the new country and allowed troops remaining on the continent. This conquest is very important for Japan that now can control a territory of km (North South) and km (east west) million of inhabitants million of tons of coal and 2 million tons of iron by year. [...]
[...] However, the war between Japan and China was not officially declared, so the law of neutrality was not in operation. The United States could provide weapons to China. Eventually the single serious reaction came from the USSR The single reaction of the USSR. The Japanese ambitions in Mongolia (that was controlled by USSR) and the rapprochement between Germany and Japan decide USSR to interfere. In October 1935, some incidents between soviet army and Manchukuo one (managed by Japan) were signalled at the border between Manchukuo and USSR. [...]
[...] Moreover an industrialisation of China could destroy economic ambition for Japan that remains the sole industrial power in the region and considers China as its market. In the weakening China, Japanese could see a dangerous rival. Japan must act before the perfection of the Chinese transformation. In 1934, Japan refuses foreign help for Chinese military and economical reorganisation. Japan would prefer to be the sole helping power for China in order to control its weakening. In 1935, Japan use military pressure to oblige Chinese government to collaborate with Japan rather with western countries. [...]
[...] In the Japanese opinion, the idea that the economic prosperity of Japan depended on China was more and more popular. B. Japanese Imperialism on the march: the policy of aggressive conquests: 1931- The first foot: the invasion of Manchuria Manchuria is the name given to a shire in the North of China. This region has always been considered as a reserved zone for Japan. In fact this area was shared between Russian influence and Japanese one in 1905. This agreement provided a sharing of the Manchuria: the North for Russia and the South for Japan. [...]
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