The Manchuria Crisis 1931-1933

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Why Did Japan Invade Manchura?

The Depression hit Japan very badly, and she felt she could benefit from invading Manchura.

The USA and China, Japan's major trading partners, put up tarrifs against Japanese goods, and the collapse of the American economy further sent the Japenese economy down hill.

Japan had a growing population, ever since 1900, and with the economic issues was striggling to provide for her citizens.

Japan had a powerful army which essentially ruled the country. The army believed that building up the Japenese empire by force would solve Japan's problems.

In 1931, the Japenese claimed that Chinese soldiers had sabotaged the South Manchurian Railway, which was under Japanese control. They retaliated by invading Manchuria and throwing out all Chinese forces, while claiming that it was for the purpose of solving a local dispute.

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What Happened After the Initial Invasion?

In February 1932, the Japenese set up a puppet government in Manchuria and renamed it Manchukuo. The government did exactly what it was told by the Japenese army.

Later in 1932, Japan bombed Shanghai in China, despite being told to withdraw by the civilian government.

China appealed to the League, although Japan continued to claim that there were just settling a local dispute, and that China was in a state of anarchy which needed help to keep peace.

The League officials sailed around the world to assess the situation, and in 1932 they presented their report: the Lytton Report, by Lord Lytton, which clearly stated that Japan was the agressor and needed to be removed.

However, these events were taking place in September 1932, a full year after the invasion occured. The time lag here was crucial to the ultimate failure of the League here, as by this time it was too late to really have any impact against Japan.

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How Did the Manchuria Crisis End?

In February 1933, Japan announced that they intended to invade even more of China for "self defence".

Later that month, the report claiming that Japan was the aggressor and needed to leave Mancuria was supported by 42 votes to one (Japan) at the Assembly.

However, instead of pulling out of Manchuria, Japan simply pulled out of the Leage on the 27th of March, 1933.

The League was unable to do anything: moral condemnation wouldn't work in this case, economic sanctions were rendered void if the USA wouldn't participate, and besides Britain was more interested in maintaining a good trading relationship with Japan.

The League couldn't even agree of banning arms sales to Japan.

Plus, there was no way Britain and France were sending their army or navy all the way to Japan in the middle of an economic depression, especially as they had problems closer to home.

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Consequences of the Manchuria Crisis.

It proved that the League was completely powerless if a strong nation decided to persue an agressive policy and invade neighbouring countries. This undermined the League and made it look weak, especially as it confirmed what mnay critics had always said.

It further undermined the League that Japan was a permanent member of the League, yet it was completely disregarding its rules and values, making the League look weak and foolish.

It proved that the League's sanctions were completely ineffective.

It showed that Britain and France were not prepared to use the necessary force to support the League.

Hitler and Mussolini, the two European faschist dictators watched the failure of the League and Britain and France, and realised that they could also get away with aggression, as they did in the followinf few years.

Japan didn't leave Manchuria, and in fact in 1937, it invaded China, which it held until the end of the war.

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