the causes of world war 2 in the pacific
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The Causes of World War 2 in the Pacific

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The Causes of World War 2 in the Pacific. Historical Debate. David Bergamini have argued that japan had planned a war from the early 1930’s and the Emperor had been very much involved. Other historians suggest that Japan was pursuing a more traditional European-style imperialist policy in Asia.

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historical debate
Historical Debate
  • David Bergamini have argued that japan had planned a war from the early 1930’s and the Emperor had been very much involved.
  • Other historians suggest that Japan was pursuing a more traditional European-style imperialist policy in Asia
japan and the long term causes of ww2 in the pacific
Japan and the Long term causes of WW2 in the Pacific
  • 1. From mid 17th century Japan had been isolated from the outside world by her rulers-Shoguns in response to the threat to their civilization posed by Christianity.
  • 2. politically, economically and socially Japan functioned as a feudal state.
  • 3. American Commodore Mathew Perry determined to negotiate with the Japanese to open up to Americans trade and refuelling stops.
  • 4. The government tried to buy time and Perry agreed to return after a year.
  • 5. The Treaty of Kangawa was signed between japan and USA in1854 which opened up Japan to the outside world.

6. 1867- power officially handed down to the emperor who came to be known as the Meiji- his government set to modernising japan.

  • 7. Japan became a limited democracy and did away with its feudal system.
  • 8. Rapid industrialisation and reform in military.
  • 9. Introduction of conscription and adoption of german military principles and methods.
  • 10. Followed british in their construction of a new navy.

Result of reform in military could be seen in japan’s victory over China in 1894-95- first non-European nation to be concidered as a world power by the West.

  • Also dominated Korea.
  • 1900- only generals and admirals could be ministers for army and navy- thus strong influence of military in administration of the nation.
  • 1902- Anglo-Japanese Alliance with Britain: if either power was attacked by two other states the signatory would come to the assistance of its ally but would remain neutral if attacked by one power.

This alliance gave japan a stronger position in its rivalry with Russia.

  • 1904-Russians and Japanese entered Korea
  • 1905- Admiral togo Heichachiro destroyed the russian fleet in the Tushima Strait ; 6000 of 18000 soldiers survived and only 116 japanese sailors killed .
  • Results of this war- encouraged japanese nationalism and expansionism
  • Russia- triggered revolution
  • 1910- formally annexed Korea
japan and ww1
Japan and WW1
  • WWI gave japan new opportunites to expand- joined Entente and demanded German colonial possessions in China
  • Germans ignored Japan’s demand- declared war on Germany.
  • Presented the Government of China with ‘Twenty-one Demands’ in 1915 which would give Japan influential political and economical position in China.
  • Interenational response- hostile
  • US-japanese relations turned sour as US would not tolerate any agreement that threatened its interests.

1917- USA joined WWI and Japan agreed to lansing-Ishii Agreement according to which US recognised Japan’s gains till 1917.

  • October 1917- bolsheviks seized power in Russia. Agreement between US and Japan that Japan would sent 7500 troops to assist White forces but Japan sent 70,000 instead.
japan and versailles a mutilated victory
Japan and Versailles: a mutilated victory
  • Japan demanded an annexation of the german Pacific territories and inclusion of a racial equality clause.
  • German concessions on Shandong remained with Japanese.
  • Japan benefitted economically from WWI- lack of foreign trade resulted in Japn becoming more self-sufficient. Its economy boomed.
  • 1921- Washington Conference-Four Power Pact, Five Power Naval Treaty, Nine Power Pact
japan in 1920s
Japan in 1920s
  • WWI made Japan an industrial centre.
  • Profits are not invested well, spent on funding Chionese warlords who failed to pay back their debts.
  • Thus Japan’s foreign debt remained high- hit the banking system-printing more money- led to steep rise in cost of living
  • 1918- riots over availability of rice
  • 1920- Japan embraced western culture, architecture, music, fashion and sport.

1918-21- Under P.M Hara government introduced social and economic reforms, military was contained.

  • Hara led Japan into the League of Nations.
  • Hara assassinated in 1921.

1926- Hirohito became the emperor

  • 1929- Japan caught up in the Great Depression- demand for silk collapsed, millions unemployed. Then P.M Osachi Hamguchi cut spending by limiting naval expansion, cutting military salaries by 10%. He was assassinated.
japan and the short term causes of the pacific war
Japan and the short term causes of the Pacific War
  • 1930s- military gained more and more influence, so japan became more aggressive
  • 1931- attacked manchuria which alarmed USA
  • The army did not stop in manchuria but went to Jehol.
  • Relations between japan and western democracies deteriorated for the following reasons:
  • 1. The West was alarmed by the bombing of Shanghai in 1932
  • 2. 1933-Japan left the League of Nations
  • 3.1934- japan withdrew from washington conference displeased with having inferior navy to USA
research topics
Research Topics
  • Nazi Soviet Pact
  • Tripartite Pact
  • Sino-Japanese War& Rape of Nanjing 1937
immediate cause of war
Immediate cause of War
  • June 1940- japanese forces the closure of the Burma Road, an important supply route for the Chinese.
  • America’s response- Banned the export of scrap iron to Japan which had a strong impact on Japan as it needed import of food and raw materials
  • September 1940- Japanese signed the Tripartite Pact
  • November 1940- USA gives Chinese leader a massive loan to resist japan.
  • July 1941- Japan invaded southern Indochina when Germany invaded Russia

USA, Britain and Netherlands imposed trade embargo on Japan

  • Crisis for Japan- danger of running out of oil-could not continue to fight in China
  • Japanese were willing to negotiate- America demanded Japan to withdraw from China which was unacceptable to Japan
  • Japan decided to get the resources by force.
  • 2 Dec 1941- japanese fleet began its journey to Hawaii.
  • 7 Dec 1941- attack on pearl harbour
impact of japan s relationship with germany
  • Japan and Germany considered USSR as an enemy. They signed the Anti-Comintern Pact
  • Japan signed the Tripartite pact with Germany and italy to deter USA from becoming involved in the warsin Europe and Asia.
  • 11 December, 1941- 3 days after attack on pearl harbour Hitler declared war on the USA.
impact of japan s relationship with ussr
  • Japan’s relationship with Russia was tense from the period 1907-17
  • After the revolution, USSR was created- Japan was threatened territorially and ideologically and so military planning was focussed in this direction
  • During Sino-Japanese war, Soviets were main suppliers of aid to China so there was fighting between japanese and Soviet troops on the manchurian border in 1939.
  • With increases hostility between Germany and USSR Russians focussed on hitler.
  • Japan signed neutrality pact with USSR in April 1941. With launch of Operation Barbarossa the Russian threat to Japan ended.
to what extent was usa responsible for war in the pacific
  • With the opening up of Japan to trade and foreign influence in mid 19th century- the two’s relationship was strained at times.
  • USA suspicious of Japan’s alliance with Britain and did not want an Asian competitor to their interests in the region.
  • Japan was offended when USA set a quota for immigration in 1924
  • USA condemned the success of Kwantung Army in Manchuria and increased their aid to China.
  • Relations between the two deteriorated with the escalation of Sino-Japanese war in 1937.
sino japanese war
Sino-Japanese War
  • 1933- japan signed a truce with Chinese nationalists.
  • 1937- clash between japan and China at the Marco Polo bridge in Beijing.
  • War in china would lead to war in the Pacific.
  • Due to tensions in Europe Britain and France did not want to get involved in it.