Japan and the League of Nations: Empire and World Order, by Thomas W. Burkman

By Thomas W. Burkman

Japan joined the League of countries in 1920 as a constitution member and one in every of 4 everlasting individuals of the League Council. until eventually clash arose among Japan and the association over the 1931 Manchurian Incident, the League was once a centerpiece of Japan's coverage to take care of lodging with the Western powers. the image of Japan as a good contributor to overseas comity, notwithstanding, isn't the traditional view of the rustic within the early and mid-twentieth century. really, this era is generally depicted in Japan and in a foreign country as a background of incremental imperialism and intensifying militarism, culminating in battle in China and the Pacific. Even the empire's interface with the League of countries is sometimes addressed purely at nodes of disagreement: the 1919 debates over racial equality because the Covenant was once drafted and the 1931-1933 League problem to Japan's seizure of northeast China. supplies the League dating the valid position it merits in eastern overseas heritage of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties. It additionally argues that the japanese cooperative overseas stance within the a long time because the Pacific battle bears noteworthy continuity with the mainstream overseas accommodationism of the League years. in an period as a rule noticeable as a show off for diplomatic autonomy and isolation. good into the Thirties, the vestiges of overseas accommodationism between diplomats and intellectuals are truly obtrusive. The League venture ushered these it affected into international citizenship and encouraged them to construct bridges throughout limitations and cultures. Burkman's cogent research of Japan's foreign function is stronger and enlivened by way of his descriptions of the personalities and projects of Makino Nobuaki, Ishii Kikujiro, Nitobe Inazo, Matsuoka Yosuke, and others of their Geneva roles.

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Sample text

With Sino-Japanese neighborliness in good repair, Japan would march hand in hand with China to the peace conference to press the common causes of racial equality and relief from Western penetration in Asia. 58 With strong American backing, China declared war on Germany on 14 August 1917. The European Allies had staved off Chinese entry since 1915, not wanting to alienate Japan. Chinese laborers, hired and transported under private contract, had been a significant presence on the French and Russian fronts since 1916, but soldiers from China saw no action in the war even after the declaration.

60 Treaties exposed and abrogated by the Bolsheviks included a RussoJapanese Alliance and a pledge, extracted from a czar in desperate need of munitions, to support Japan’s territorial demands at the peace conference. Also lost was a 1912 secret convention delineating Japanese and Russian spheres in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. The sudden collapse of understanding with Russia was a severe blow to Yamagata Aritomo, who had been the major advocate of entente with Russia. Japanese elites also shuddered at the specter of another venerated monarchy brought low.

Even one so distrustful of the motives of the Western powers as Itō Miyoji warned of the risk of standing alone. After Versailles, War and Navy Ministry research reports on arms limitation were replete with the thinking and language of taisei junnō. 76 That Japan at this stage of its development should eschew autonomy and acquiesce in the world program of the powers was a shared assumption that set the direction of Japan’s positive adjustment to the post–World War I international order. That nation’s perception of the diplomatic distance between itself and the powers would evoke grave fears concerning the fate of Japanese interests within the League of Nations.

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