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The Manchurian Crisis

1931
The Japanese economy relied on
exporting goods to America. This
meant that the depression hit
Japan very hard.
Economic hardship led to the
Japanese civilian government
becoming unpopular and the
military increasing its power.
The army decided that the best
way for Japan to escape the
effects of the depression was to
invade Manchuria (part of China).
Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931.

Japan had conquered


Korea in 1905.

The Manchurian Crisis


1931

The Manchurian Crisis: The


spark

The Leagues reaction to


the Manchurian Crisis
Why did the League not take action against Japan?
The main reason was that the great powers were not
prepared to commit troops and ships to punishing Japan.
The only two nations with the capacity to act were Britain
and the USA.
The British
economy was
in dire straits.
The British navy was on
the verge of mutiny after
the government was forced
to cut wages due to the
depression.

The USA
was still
reeling from
the depression. President
Hoover argued that
imposing sanctions on
Japan would be to risk
war for no real gain.

British Reaction against the


invasion
Had major economic and political interests
in the Far East Hong Kong, Malaya,
Singapore and Shanghai
Most British politicians criticised Japans
actions
Would not recognise Manchukuo

British Reaction supporting


the invasion
Anglo-Japanese relations had been friendly for
years
Japan had been provoked by Chinese
nationalists during the 1920s
Might restore order to Manchuria
Would hopefully stop Bolshevik aggression
Few British forces in the Far East
Economic sanctions were unlikely to achieve
much
USA Japans biggest trading partner would not
support action by the League of Nations

The Leagues reaction to


the Manchurian Crisis
The League told Japan to leave
Manchuria but they refused.
A commission under Lord Lytton
was sent to investigate the issue.
The commission finally reported a
year after the invasion, concluding
that Japan was in the
wrong and should leave
Manchuria.
Japans response was to
withdraw from the League.
Four years later Japan
invaded the rest of China.

Lord Lytton

Chinese civilian casualties

Source analysis

How does this cartoon reflect how the League


dealt with the Manchurian Crisis?

Anglo-Japanese Relations
1932-7

Britain accepted the take-over of Manchuria


10 Year Rule abandoned
Realistically, Britain was in no position to rearm
though
The Singapore naval base was improved
Relations with Japan remained uneasy
Japan often pursued conflicting policies
It remained a threat to British interests in Asia
and the Pacific

The Anti-Comintern Pact 1936

Signed 1936
Germany and Japan
Aimed against the USSR
But could be a potential threat to Britain

Disarmament
Whilst the Lytton Commission had been
discussing Japans invasion of Manchuria,
a World Disarmament Conference had
taken place in Feb 1932 in Geneva
Germany wanted equal treatment, but
France opposed this
No compromise could be found

1932 Lausanne Conference


Settled the reparations problem
Germany agreed to pay 2.6 million marks
to a European Reconstruction Fund
In return its reparations payments would
be abolished
This was one of the last successes of the
collective diplomacy that had prevailed
during the 1920s

The Future
The international climate was becoming
increasingly threatening
Britain faced potential challenges from:
Japan
Italy
Germany
Trust in disarmament, collective security and the
resulting cutbacks in military spending would
leave Britain ill-prepared for future conflict