Page No.
Chapter I   Manchurian Incident                                   1

            Situation Prior to the Manchurian Incident            1

            Outbreak of the Manchurian Incident                   2

            Progress of the Manchurian Incident                   5


Manchurian Incident

Situation Prior to the Manchurian Incident

The Pacific War developed from the China Incident, which in turn was an outcome of the Manchurian Incident.

One of the many circumstances which forced Japan to take drastic action in Manchuria was the economic panic which swept the world in 1929. Military circles were extremely dissatisfied with the financial policy adopted by the government, which they considered followed the Western idea of compromise. At the same time, while political elements in military circles, as well as the farming community and nationalist-minded youths were bitterly denouncing the self-seeking methods of the financial and government circles, manufacturers were forced to look to foreign markets to dispose of their goods, as the depression had reached a point where it was necessary for industrial and commercial circles to adopt a firmer foreign policy in order to stimulate trade. These factors helped to a great extent to pave the way for the abandoning of Foreign Minister Shidehara's compromise policy toward China.

The unrest brewing in the Homeland was even more strongly evident among the Japanese residing in Manchuria.

China's extreme anti-foreign ideologies, which, at first, had been concentrated on Great Britain, later were shifted to Japan. This was particularly noticeable after Chiang Kai-shek's successful northern campaign in 1928 which gave impetus to the unification of the entire national territory. Chinese authorities at that time adopted an extreme anti-Japanese policy, which resulted in the boycott of Japanese goods and in many cases of public insult of the Japanese people. The press of both countries tended to inflame rather than to calm this hostile public attitude. It was reported, moreover, that the War Minister had made a fiery public address in


Tokyo urging the Japanese armed forces stationed in Manchuria to resort to direct action, where necessary. At the same time, the delay on the part of the Chinese authorities to conduct a satisfactory investigation into the reported murder of a Japanese officer (Capt Nakamura) by Chinese soldiers in West Manchuria further infuriated Japanese officers serving in Manchuria and helped to set the stage for the events to follow.

Outbreak of the Manchurian Incident

Toward midnight on 18 September 1931, near Liu-Tiso-Kou in the suburbs of Mukden, a clash took place between Japanese troops engaged in night maneuvers (Kawamoto Platoon of the Shimamoto Battalion, 2d Division) and Chinese troops of the Peitaying Camp, commanded by General Wang I-cheh.

Tension between the local Japanese and Chinese authorities had reached the breaking point and night maneuvers in an area garrisoned by both Japanese and Chinese troops naturally caused great friction and a clash was inevitable. Although the Lytton Report found the Japanese action was not in self-defense and that the creation of Manchukuo did not flow from a "genuine and spontaneous independence movement," it was difficult to produce proof that the action was premeditated on either side. Inquiries by Japanese authorities revealed that it was a punitive burst made against Chang Hsueh-Liang's forces in Manchuria by some elements of the Kwantung Army rather than a deliberate action by the Japanese Government or the Central Japanese Army authorities.

(Kirin was seized 21 September and the whole of the Three Eastern Provinces were steadily occupied by 5 February 1932. An immediate and more intense Chinese boycott cut Japanese exports (Nov-Dec) to one-sixth of their former figure. To compel the Chinese to abandon their economic war, 70,000 Japanese troops were landed in Shanghai and drove the Chinese 19th Route Army from the vicinity of the In-


ternational Settlement, destroying Chapei. On 5 May, 1932, an agreement established a demilitarized zone about the settlement and terminated the boycott. Encyclopedia of World History, William L. Lange)

Rights and interest which Japan obtained in Manchuria at that time were:

1. Establishment of concessions and neutral zones in Kwantung Province.

2. South Manchurian railroad and adjacent railroad zones

3. Construction and operation of the Antung-Mukden railroad.

4. Construction of Kirlin-Tumen railroad.

5. Interests in the Paicheng-Angangchi and other railroads.

6. Rights and interest in Southern Manchuria and Eastern Inner Mongolia, including right to lease private land.

7. Mining rights and interests.

8. Lumber rights along the Yalu River.

9. Right of free residence for Koreans in the Chiengtao area.

10. Right to station troops in railroad zones and to protect cemeteries of Japanese soldiers outside these zones.

Cases of infringement of Japanese rights and interests as well

as boycott of and insult to Japanese, which constituted immediate causes of the Manchuria Incident, were:

1. Almost complete failure to execute pledges concerning Japanese investments in railways.

2. Disregard and infringement of rights concerning the construction of railways.

3. Construction of railways running parallel to the South Manchuria railroad in order to constrain the latter. This action rendered nominal the greater part of the Japanese railroad rights


and interests

4. Intense repression of Japanese rights of private land lease by Chang Hseh-Liang's officials, to such an extent as to make it impossible for Japanese to live, trade or farm in the inner parts of Manchuria and Mongolia.

5. Oppression of Koreans living in Chiengtao, causing them to live under miserable conditions.

6. Execution of a thoroughgoing national educational policy to encourage boycott of and insult to Japanese.

7. Numerous cases of insult and outrage of Japanese residents.

8. Frequent acts of insult to Japanese by Wang I-cheh's troops.

9. Wanpaoshan Incident and murder of Capt Nakamura.

10. Between 1928 and the outbreak of the Manchurian Incident, there occurred more than 120 cases of infringement of rights and interests, interference with business, boycott of Japanese goods, unreasonable taxation, detention of individuals, confiscation of properties, eviction, demand for cessation of business, assault and battery, and the oppression of Korean residents. Few of these cases were ever settled.

Thus, when speaking of the true causes of the Manchurian Incident, one cannot simply ascribe it to an expansionist policy on the part of Japan. It would be more reasonable to say that while Japan believed that the rights and interests she had acquired in Manchuria as a result of the Russo-Japanese War had been recognized by China, the new government of the revolutionized China which had come into power after frequent changes of regime ceased to recognize those rights and interests and gradually intensified its policy of shutting Japan out of Manchuria. To cope with this policy, Japan finally resorted to the use of military power, taking the opportunity


presented by the local clash to destroy oppression and thus restore

her rights.

Progress of the Manchurian Incident

Since a description of the Manchurian Incident is given to clarify its significance as a cause of the Pacific War, a chronological table of events is set forth below instead of a detailed description of the Incident itself.


18 September: Liu-Tiao-Kou Incident (outbreak of Manchurian Inci-
              dent) Japanese forces occupied Mukden, Changchun and

22 September: Council of League of Nations advised Japan and China
              to settle conflict. Secretary Stimson of USA issued
              warning to Japan.

26 October:   US Government called on Japan and China to abide by
              the Non-Aggression Pact.

 8 November:  Tientsin Incident.


 3 January:   Japanese forces occupied Chinchow.

 7 January:   US Government notified Japan and China of her non-
              recognition of the status quo in Manchuria.

28 January:   Shanghai Incident.

30 January:   Council of League of Nations resolved to establish an
              international committee for investigating the Shanghai

 2 February:  League of Nations held a conference at Geneva on
              general disarmament.

 4 February:  Japanese forces captured vicinity of Harbin and
              launched a mopping up operation in Kirin Province
              (until 1 August).

29 February:  Lytton Investigation Commission of League of Nations


              arrived in Japan.

 1 March:     Manchukuo Government established.

 4 March:     General Assembly of League of Nations passed resolu-
              tion to advise Japan and China to effect a truce.

15 March:     US Government announced non-recognition of Manchukuo.

24 March:     Formal truce conference held between Japan and China.

 5 May:       Truce agreement reached between Japan and China.

15 May:       15 May Incident (Premier Inukai assassinated).

 2 June:      Lytton Investigation Commission of League of Nations
              completed investigation. Punitive expedition launched 
              in northern part of Manchuria against Ma Chan-shan.
              (until July)

15 September: Japan recognized Manchukuo.

 6 November:  Mopping-up operation carried out in Amur River Area
              (Heilungkiang). (until December.)

 5 December:  Japanese forces carried out a mopping-up operation in
              Hsingan Mountains area; captured Hailaerh and Man-


 2 January:   Shanhaikuan Incidents: Japanese forces conducted ope-
              ration and occupied Jehol Province. (until March.)

24 February:  General Assembly of League of Nations approved Lytton

25 February:  US supported resolution of League of Nations.

27 March:     Japan issued notice of withdrawal from League of Nations. 

   April:     Japanese forces commenced first North China invasion

   May:       Japanese forces commenced second North China invasion

31 May:       Truce agreement reached between Japan and China.


 5 July:      Agreement reached between Japan and China whereby Japan
              withdrew from North China.

 7 August:    Kwantung Army withdrew to Great Wall line.


 1 March:     Manchukuo adopted monarchy.

23 October:   Preliminary conference for Naval Disarmament Conference
              held in London.

29 December:  Japan denounced London Treaty.


11 February:  Italian - Ethiopian conflict.

 1 March:     Germany annexed the Saar.

16 March:     Germany abrogated military provision of Versailles
              Treaty and declared rearmament.

23 March:     Agreement on purchase of East China railroads reached
              between Japan and USSR.

10 June:      Umezu-Ho Yin-chin Agreement reached concerning with-
              drawal of Chinese Kuomintang troops from North China.

27 June:      Agreement reached on Sino-Japanese conflict in Chahar

 9 December:  Five-power naval disarmament conference held in London.

22 December:  Prince Teh declared independence of Inner Mongolia.


15 January:   Japan withdrew from Naval Disarmament Conference in

26 February:  February 26 Incident. (Viscount Saito assassinated
              by young Army officers.)

 7 March:     German forces occupied Rhineland.

25 March:     US, Britain and France concluded pact of qualitative
              naval disarmament.

 9 May:       Italy annexed Ethiopia.

12 December:  Hsian Incident (Chang Hsueh-liang imprisoned General-
              issimo Chiang Kai-shek at Hsian, giving rise to Koumin-


              tang Communist cooperation).


27 March:     Japan notified British Government of non-participation
              in conference for limiting guns aboard capital ships.

30 June:      Kanchatzu Incident between Japan and USSR.

 7 July:      Marco Polo Bridge (Lukouchiao) Incident begun - origin
              of Sino-Japanese Incident.


Page maintained by Larry W. Jewell, Created: 1/3/98 Updated: 1/3/98