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Encyclopedia > Events preceding World War II in Asia

This article is concerned with the events that preceded World War II in Asia.

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Communism and the Kuomintang in China

Prior to World War I, China's last dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, collapsed giving way to a nominal republic. This government, however, also failed, and China fell into a fragmented region of warlords. Out of this vacuum arose two primary forces aiming to unite China under their ideology. In 1912, the Kuomintang (KMT) was formed and in 1922, the Communist Party of China (CPC) was formed. The two were not immediate enemies, but in 1927, with much of southern and central China under their control, the KMT openly turned on the CPC. Combatants Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Romania, Belgium, British Empire, United States, Italy, and others Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead:5 million Civilian dead:3 million Total dead:8 million Military dead:4 million Civilian dead:3 million Total dead:7 million World War I... The Qing Dynasty (Manchu: daiching gurun(warrior country in Mongolian language); Chinese: 清朝; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: ching chao), sometimes known as the Manchu Dynasty, was a dynasty founded by the Manchu - a nomadic nation of over two million people. ... In a broad definition, a republic is a state whose political organization rests on the principle that the citizens or electorate constitute the ultimate root of legitimacy and sovereignty. ... Warlord is a term that refers to one who has de facto military control of a subnational area, due to a military force which is personally obedient to that warlord. ... An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... The Chinese Nationalist Party (Traditional Chinese: 中國國民黨; Simplified Chinese: 中国国民党; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chung1-kuo2 Kuo2-min2-tang3; Tongyong Pinyin: Jhōngguó Guómíndǎng), commonly known as the Kuomintang (KMT), is a conservative political party currently active in the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. ... The Communist Party of China (CPC) (official name) or Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Simplified Chinese: 中国共产党; Traditional Chinese: 中國共産黨; Hanyu Pinyin: ) is the ruling political party of the Peoples Republic of China. ...


Japanese militarism

Main article: Militarism

In the east, Japan had, as early as the late nineteenth century, begun to spread out across Asia, brought about by conflict between traditional Japanese practices and changing social conditions associated with rapid industrialisation and modernisation. In 1905 Japan won an astounding victory over Russia, and in 1910 it occupied Korea and made it a colony. Militarism or militarist ideology is the doctrinal view of a society as being best served (or more efficient) when it is governed or guided by concepts embodied in the culture, doctrine, system, or people of the military. ... Industrialisation (or industrialization) or an industrial revolution (in general, with lowercase letters) is a process of social and economic change whereby a human society is transformed from a pre-industrial to an industrial state . ... Modernization could be defined as an interlocking set of social, economic, political, and cultural processes and relationships that emerged in the past from the European view of modern life that we see developing from the 17th century. ... 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... -1... Korea (한국, Hanguk, or 조선, Choson) is a civilization and geographical area situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia, bordering China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast, with Japan situated to the southeast across the Korea Strait. ...


During the 1920s democracy seemed to be taking root in Japan, but by the 1930s, the Great Depression brought to the fore many talented military leaders who took control of Japan, often ruling in the name of Emperor Hirohito, and playing on the traditional respect the Japanese people held for their emperors. In 1931, Japan invaded and occupied Inner Manchuria, setting up the puppet state of Manchukuo, and by 1937 launched a second invasion that occupied the rest of the region. For this reason, some scholars consider 1936/37 the actual start of World War II. The 1920s were a decade sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Dorothea Langes Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, a mother of seven children, age 32, in Nipomo, California, March 1936. ... Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) Hirohito (裕仁) (April 29, 1901 – January 7, 1989) was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 1926 to 1989. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... Approximate extent Manchuria and Northeast China are names for a region (ca. ... Manchukuo (1932 to 1945) (Simplified Chinese: 满洲国; Traditional Chinese: 滿洲國; Pinyin: Kanji: 満州国) was a former country in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia under the leadership of the Emperor Puyi, the last emperor of Qing Dynasty. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Noteworthy events

The following events played a significant role in setting the stage for the involvement of Asia and the Pacific in World War II:this is wrong

  • 1853: American Commodore Matthew Perry arrives in Tokyo harbor and forces Japanese to begin trade with American merchants with threat of military action.
  • 1858: Western nations force Japan to sign the Unequal Treaties. These articles established export and import tariffs and the concept of "extraterritoriality" (i.e. Japan held no jurisdiction over foreign criminals in its land. Their trials were to be conducted by foreign judges under their own nation's laws). Japan had no power to change these terms.
  • 1868: Japan, in an effort to modernize and prevent future Western dominance, ousts the Tokugawa Shogunate and adopts a new Meiji Emperor. The next few decades see arguably the most rapid and successful industrialization of any economy in world history.
  • 1899: With newly gained power from recent industrialization, Japan successfully renegotiates aspects of the Unequal Treaties.
  • 1919: Japan, as a member of the victorious Allies during World War I, gains a mandate over various Pacific islands previously part of the German colonial empire. The primary island chains are the Marshall Islands, Marianas, and the Carolines. Japan joins the League of Nations.
  • 1921: Foundation of the Communist Party of China.
  • 1922: The Washington Naval Treaty is signed, limiting the fleets and vessels of the navies of the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, France, and Italy. Japan is limited to about two-thirds of the fleet allowed for the United States and Britain. This is seen in Japan as a denial of Japanese equality amongst European powers.
  • 1924: First congress of the Kuomintang under Sun Yat-Sen.
  • 1927: Open conflict between the CPC and KMT commences in China. This continues until the 1937 invasion by Japan, but even then there remains a clandestine battle between the two.
  • 1930: The London Naval Treaty is signed, putting a halt to battleship production until 1937. Limitations on submarines and other surface combatants are also made.
  • September 18, 1931: Japanese agents blew up part of the Japanese owned South Manchurian Railroad at Mukden in northeastern China, and blamed it as an act of sabotage by the Chinese forces. Using the incident as a pretext, Japanese forces invade Manchuria. Resistance fails and within six months the occupation of Manchuria is complete. The incident is known as the "9.18 Incident" thereafter in China (see Mukden Incident for details). It was marked by the Chinese as the start of Japanese invasion of China.
  • January 28, 1932: Beginning with anti-Japanese riots, fighting erupts between rioters and Japanese troops protecting the nation's enclave in the port of Shanghai. The Japanese dispatched a naval invasion force in an attempt to capture Shanghai. However, the invasion was not successful and ended in a stalemate. United Kingdom and United States, which both had vast business and political interests in the city, brokered a cease-fire deal between China and Japan three months after the hostilities began. The Japanese naval forces withdrew. The incident is now known as the "1.28 Incident" in China.
  • February, 1932: Manchukuo is announced as an independent nation, and is in reality a Japanese puppet government for the region of Manchuria. It encompassed the three northeastern Chinese provinces occupied by Japan since the "9.18 Incident." Japanese control remains direct however, and Japanese owned interests gain considerable power. Additionally, the opium trade is encouraged. Manchukuo was not recognized by the League of Nations and Japan subsequently withdrew from the organization.
  • May, 1932: Japanese Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi is assassinated by a group of young officers for his support of the London Naval Treaty, which is seen in Japan as preventing parity of forces. The act, known as the May 15 incident, is symptomatic of a certain level of anarchy amongst Japanese aristocracy.
  • October, 1934-November, 1935: The Chinese Communists conduct the Long March, transferring their base of power from Kiangsi to Shensi. The casualties are significant, but the Communists are in a much better position to confront both the KMT and the Japanese.
  • December 29, 1934: Japan abrogates the Washington Naval Treaty.
  • December, 1935: Large-scale anti-Japanese riots take place in Peking.
  • February, 1936: In Japan, a coup attempt by junior officers comes close to succeeding.
  • November, 1936: Japan joins Germany in signing the Anti-Comintern Pact, concluded to provide a two-front threat to the Soviet Union. Japan is however not interested in being drawn into a European war, and thus the pact is not a true alliance.
  • December, 1936: Machinations including the arrest of Chiang Kai-Shek by one of his generals result in the KMT adjusting to a more anti-Japanese stance. Confidence had grown that the Japanese were beatable.
  • July 7, 1937: Japanese forces conducting military exercises outside Yuan Peng County near Peking claimed that several Japanese soldiers participating in the exercise were not accounted for after the exercise. After the Japanese request to enter the Yuan Peng County town to conduct a search was declined by the Chinese, the Japanese launched an all-out assault towards Yuan Peng County, which is across the Luokouchiao (or Luo Kou Bridge) from the Japanese positions. The Chinese government in Nanking declared war against Japan on this day, officially unleashing the Second Sino-Japanese War. The incident is later known as the "7.7 Incident" or the "Luokouchiao Incident" by China.
  • August-November, 1937: Full scale fighting erupts throughout northern China, and Japan overcomes initial failures with landings and reinforcements. The Tokyo government pronounced that Japan was going to complete the conquest of all of China within three months. By the end of November, Japanese troops began their march inland on the capital at Nanking.
  • November, 1937: Nanking was captured and is subjected to many days of rampage. The Rape of Nanking demonstrates the difficulty the Japanese have in controlling their army in the field. However, some historians (and also most Chinese people) believe that the atrocities against Chinese civilians by the occupying Japanese forces in Nanking were systematic actions ordered by high level officials in Tokyo or at the minimum by top level military officials in the field to demonstrate their rage against their inability to defeat China in three months (as they have pronounced) and also in hope to crush the Chinese will of continuing the resistance.
  • April, 1938: Chinese Nationalists gain a major victory over Japanese forces in Shantung province.
  • June, 1938: The Japanese advance along the Yellow River is halted by the breaching of dams by the Chinese. The flood kills many Japanese but also as many as 1,000,000 civilians.
  • July, 1938: Japanese forces provoke a battle with the Soviets at Lake Hassan in Manchukuo. The Soviets handily defeat the Japanese.
  • October, 1938: The Japanese Central China Army captures Hankow, ending their advance up the Yangtze River. Additionally, landing near Hong Kong capture Canton, completing the cutting off of the Chinese Nationalists from ocean ports. The Japanese see this as the completion of major operations against the Nationalists.
  • November, 1938: The New Order for East Asia is declared by Japan. This declaration of Japanese plans for dominance of East Asia further deteriorates their relations with western nations.
  • February, 1939: Japan captures Hainan Island, which is seen to have strategic implications by the British.
  • May-August, 1939: Japan and the Soviet Union engage in border clashes around the Khalka River. Again, the Soviet Union is victorious.
  • July, 1939: The United States announces its withdrawal from its commercial treaty with Japan.

Combatants Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Romania, Belgium, British Empire, United States, Italy, and others Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead:5 million Civilian dead:3 million Total dead:8 million Military dead:4 million Civilian dead:3 million Total dead:7 million World War I... League of Nations mandates were territories established under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, 28 June 1919. ... Mariana Islands (sometimes called The Marianas; up to the early 20th century sometimes called the Ladrone Islands) are a group of islands made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the Pacific Ocean. ... The Caroline Islands should not be confused with Caroline Island, part of Kiribati (Southern Line Islands), also in the central Pacific. ... The League of Nations was an international organization founded after the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. ... The Communist Party of China (CPC) (official name) or Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Simplified Chinese: 中国共产党; Traditional Chinese: 中國共産黨; Hanyu Pinyin: ) is the ruling political party of the Peoples Republic of China. ... The Washington Naval Treaty limited the naval armaments of its five signatories. ... The Chinese Nationalist Party (Traditional Chinese: 中國國民黨; Simplified Chinese: 中国国民党; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chung1-kuo2 Kuo2-min2-tang3; Tongyong Pinyin: Jhōngguó GuómíndÇŽng), commonly known as the Kuomintang (KMT), is a conservative political party currently active in the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. ... Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙, November 12, 1866–March 12, 1925) was a Chinese revolutionary and political leader who had a significant role in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. ... The London Naval Treaty was an agreement between the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy and the United States, signed on April 22, 1930, which to regulate submarine warfare and limited military shipbuilding. ... HMS Victory in 1884. ... HMS Vanguard, a Vanguard-class nuclear ballistic missile (SSBN) submarine HMCS Windsor, a Victoria-class diesel-electric hunter-killer (SSK) submarine HMAS Collins, a Collins-class diesel-electric guided missile (SSG) submarine USS Virginia, a Virginia-class nuclear attack (SSN) submarine A submarine is a specialized watercraft that can operate... Surface Combatant - a term referring to naval fighting ships, encompassing five major classes grouped by size and/or weapon systems and mission. ... The South Manchuria Railway Company (Japanese: 満鉄); Mantetsu) was a company founded by Japan in 1906, after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), and operated in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. ... Major districts of Shenyang. ... Extent of Manchuria according to Definition 1 (dark red), Definition 3 (dark red + medium red) and Definition 4 (dark red + medium red + light red) Manchuria (Manchu: Manju, Simplified Chinese: 满洲; Traditional Chinese: 滿洲; Hanyu Pinyin: ) is a name given to a vast territorial region in northeast Asia. ... The Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931, also called the Manchurian Incident, occurred in southern Manchuria when a section of railroad, owned by Japans South Manchuria Railway, near Mukden (todays Shenyang) was blown up. ... Manchukuo (1932 to 1945) (Simplified Chinese: 满洲国; Traditional Chinese: 滿洲國; Pinyin: Kanji: 満州国) was a former country in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia under the leadership of the Emperor Puyi, the last emperor of Qing Dynasty. ... Extent of Manchuria according to Definition 1 (dark red), Definition 3 (dark red + medium red) and Definition 4 (dark red + medium red + light red) Manchuria (Manchu: Manju, Simplified Chinese: 满洲; Traditional Chinese: 滿洲; Hanyu Pinyin: ) is a name given to a vast territorial region in northeast Asia. ... Manchukuo (1932 to 1945) (Simplified Chinese: 满洲国; Traditional Chinese: 滿洲國; Pinyin: Kanji: 満州国) was a former country in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia under the leadership of the Emperor Puyi, the last emperor of Qing Dynasty. ... The League of Nations was an international organization founded after the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. ... Inukai Tsuyoshi (犬養 毅, April 20, 1855–May 15, 1932) was a Japanese politician and the 29th Prime Minister of Japan from December 13, 1931 to May 15, 1932. ... The May 15 incident (五・一五事件 Go-ichigo jiken) of 15 May 1932, was the assassination of then-Prime Minister of Japan Inukai Tsuyoshi. ... Overview map of the course of the Long March The Long March (Chinese: 長征; Hanyu Pinyin: ) was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Chinese Communist Army to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. ... Jiangxi (Chinese: 江西; pinyin: Jiāngxī; Wade-Giles: Chiang-hsi; Postal System Pinyin: Kiangsi) is a southern province of the Peoples Republic of China, spanning from the banks of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) in the north into hillier areas in the south. ... Not to be confused with the neighboring province of Shanxi Shaanxi (Simplified Chinese: 陕西; Traditional Chinese: 陝西; pinyin: Shǎnxī; Wade-Giles: Shan-hsi; Postal System Pinyin: Shensi, pronounced like Shahn-shee) is a northwestern province of the Peoples Republic of China, and includes portions of the Loess Plateau on... The Washington Naval Treaty limited the naval armaments of its five signatories. ... Beijing (Chinese: 北京; pinyin: Běijīng; Wade-Giles: Pei-ching; Postal System Pinyin: Peking), is the capital city of the Peoples Republic of China. ... A coup détat, or simply a coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government, usually done by a small group that just replaces the top power figures. ... The Anti-Comintern Pact was concluded between Nazi Germany and Japan on November 25, 1936. ... Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975) was a Chinese military and political leader who assumed the leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925. ... Combatants National Revolutionary Army, Republic of China Imperial Japanese Army, Empire of Japan Commanders Chiang Kai-shek, Yan Xishan, Feng Yuxiang, Zhu De, He Yingqin Tojo Hideki, Matsui Iwane, Minami Jiro, Kesago Nakajima, Toshizo Nishio, Neiji Okamura. ... The Nanking Massacre (Chinese: 南京大屠杀, pinyin: Nánjīng Dàtúshā; Japanese: 南京大虐殺, Nankin Dai Gyaku-satsu), also known as the Rape of Nanking and sometimes in Japan as the Nanking Incident (南京事件, Nankin Jiken), refers to what many historians recognize as widespread atrocities committed by the Japanese army in and around Nanking... Shandong (Simplified Chinese: 山东; Traditional Chinese: 山東; pinyin: Shāndōng; Wade-Giles: Shan-tung) is a coastal province of eastern Peoples Republic of China. ... The Yellow River, (Chinese: 黃河; (help· info), Pinyin: Huáng Hé; Wade-Giles: Hwang-ho; literally, Yellow River), is 4,700 km long and is the second longest river in China, after the Yangtze. ... Afternoon light on the jagged grey mountains rising from the Yangtze River gorge The Yangtze River or Chang Jiang is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world after the Amazon in South America and the Nile in Africa. ... There are multiple Cantons in China Canton City : Guangzhou Canton Province : Guangdong This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Not to be confused with the unrelated provinces of Henan and Hunan Hainan (海南; pinyin: Hǎinán) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located at the southern end of the country. ... The Battle of Halhin Gol, sometimes spelled Khalkhin Gol and alternately known as the Nomonhan Incident in Japan, was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet-Japanese Border War (1939), or Japanese-Soviet War. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
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World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a mid-twentieth-century conflict that engulfed much of the globe and is generally considered the most costly and intense war in human history.
Many consider World War II to be the only true world war due to the overwhelming number of nations involved and the extraordinary number of theatres—from Europe and the Soviet Union to North Africa, China, South East Asia and the Pacific.
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