Causes of WW2 - Asian theatre



*Rise of Japanese Militarism

  -Japanese military dominating the government, focused on economic and political modernisation

  -Massive public support, desire for empire

  -Increasing expansionism (Manchuria 1931)

     -Cause of agression in Asia NOT necessarily of wider war

     -Most European countries uninterested as not direct threat to interests

*Japanese belief in Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere

  -Asia for Asians, drive out Western powers leeching off Asia, resented.

  -Wanted Asia to become a dominant force, drive out Western powers

  -Essentially direct challenge to West.

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Actions of Western Powers

*U.S. and G.B. worried about Japan's unrestrained expansion, threatening colonies 

  -U.S. and G.B. freeze Japanese assets (26 July 1941) U.S. oil embargo (1 August 1941)

  - -U.S now clearly determined to oppose Japan two sides developing

*U.S. dicriminatory policies against Japan on immigration

  -Increases hostility, especially among public towards U.S.

*Failures of league of nations

  -G.B. and France more concerned with self-interests, needed trade due to great depression

  -Only voice disapproval, Lytton comission, encourages Japan to continue 

  -Refuse to sign racial equality clause, alienating Japan from West

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*Increasing, (out of control) militarism, meant expansion very popular

  -Lot of public support for expansion

*Manchurian crises (1931) went so well encouraged further expansion

  -Lot of glory, prestige and many thought economic gains in expansionism 

*Sino-Japanese war 1937

  -Dragging out, draining resources. Needed descive victory

  -But expansion by military uncontrollable, needed economic gains, had to gain something to justify war

*Increasing expansionism began to be a threat to Western colonies

  -Upsetting balance of power in Asia

  -making some kind of stand by Western powers inevitable

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Short-term events

*Sino- Japanese war (1937)

  -West was supplying China, making expansion of conflict easier

*U.S. trade embargo

  -Makes continuing war with China impossible, but pride means can't back down, need economic resources of Western colonies  

*Tripartite Axis Pact (1940) Germany, Italy, Japan.

  -Fomalizes anti-allied bloc, Japan felt victory with them would be more rewarding than WW1.

*Pearl Habour, attacked Hong Kong, Singapore & Dutch East Indies (7- 8 Dec 1941)

  -Unprovoked attack, U.S. no choice but to declare war

  -Pre-emptive attack by Japan, but by that point war is inevitable 

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