Japanese History

Post and During WWII

Key figures and their roles

- Japanese Emperor Hirohito

- Hamaguchi Osachi: Japan’s Prime Minister

- Chiang Kai-shek: Chinese Political and Military Leader

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What When Where

- 1924: Japanese Exclusion Act: prohibited the Japanese from immigrating to the US

- 1926: Emperor Hirohito passes away and conflicts between political parties start

- Universal male suffrage: All residents in Japan, no matter the class are eligible to vote – increases voters from approximately 3 million to 12 million

- 1928-1932: Domestic Struggles

o Economic collapse due to the Great Depression

§ Unemployment

§ Falling exports

§ Social unrest

- Early 1930s:

o Nov 1930: Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi was shot by an ultra-nationalist

o Industrialization, education, and military conscription became popular

o Western politicians limited the Japanese military expansions

o Ultra-nationalists believed the ‘ABCD Powers’ (America-British-Chinese-Dutch) were threatening the Japanese Empire

o Control was limited in the government as the army had invaded Manchuria without consent

§ Conquered entire border region

o League of Nations found it powerless to intervene, and Japan withdrew their membership

- May 1932: Army officers from japan attempt coup d’etat by killing Hamaguchi’s successor

- The idea of the ‘Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere’ emerged within government:

o Asian unification: people did not want colonies in the west however, the government desires more colonies in the west

- 1937:

o July 1937: Japan invades China

§ Was a full-scale war between China and Japan

§ One of the darkest events in the last century

§ War was called the “Rape of Nanking”

§ Japan had the upper hand and the more advanced military

o Dec. 13, 1937:

§ Japanese troops captured the city of Nanjing

§ Japan conquered Chinese forces in Shanghai and seized Nanking

o Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese Political and Military leader led the 6-week campaign to take back Nanjing

o Majority killed were Japanese soldiers

o 300 000 civilians slaughtered

- 1939: War was in stalement (a draw)

o Chinese communists + nationalist forces continued to resist

- 1940:

o Japan signed the tripartite pact, creating Rome-Tokyo Berlin Axis

o Italy, Germany and Japan make an alliance to take over the whole world and split into 3 (Japan gets the pacific side of the world)

- 1941:

o US President stops trade agreements with Japan (i.e. Oil Trades)

o Japan uses this reason to make war with the U.S. (bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii)

- At the end of the nineteenth century, Japanese nationalism was born


- The events that occurred pre-WWII were Japan's first steps to conquering more land:

- Goal: Imperialism (having colonies spread throughout the world). -

§ Joining the war alongside Italy and Germany gave them a chance to control the Pacific side of the world

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Nanking Massacre-Japanese Atrocities filmed by John Magee