9. Japan Invades Manchuria:

During 1931 Japan had invaded Manchuria without declarations of war, breaching the rules of the League of Nations.  Japan had a highly developed industry, but the land was scarce of natural resources.  Japan turned to Manchuria for oil, rubber and lumber in order to make up for the lack of resources in Japan.  China's immediate responde was to plead to the League of Nations for them to help drive Japan out of China.  Since Japan was in a depression and the only means that the League of Nations could punish nations was by economic sanction, it had little effect on Japan.  Due to this event, the Abyssinian crisis had shattered the League of Nations credibility which then showed that the League of Nations had little power of the global community.

The League of Nation appease to Japan in order to stop its invasion of Manchuria

Manchuria have vast amount of raw materials and manpower, which increase industrialization of Japan.

Japan’s invasion of Manchuria

Japan renames Manchuria; 'Manchukuo'
Having been barely affected by World War I, Japan was becoming increasingly crowded due to its limited size as a nation and its rapidly increasing population. Also Japan’s economy was seriously affected by the Great Depression which began in 1929, with the increase of foreign tariffs imposed on its exports of manufactured goods limited the capacity of Japan to pay for its food imports. Manchuria offered nearly 200,000 square kilometres which, could easily solve the over population problem. Japan also believed that Manchuria offered large amount of raw materials, such as minerals, forestry and rich agricultural land. With all the problems that Japan had experienced at home, Manchuria seems to be a great solution to it.

After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the Japanese economic presence and political interest has expanded in Manchuria. With the result of Treaty of Portsmouth, Japan have part of the South Manchuria Railway branch. By 1931, Japan had invested large amount of money into the economy of Manchuria, controlling the South Manchuria Railway Company. Using the excuse of guarding all of its investments, Japan kept a large army in southern Manchuria. On the night of 18 September 1931, an explosion on a section of South Manchuria Railway, giving the Japanese army the excuse it needed to blame the local government, and toke control of the nearest Manchurian town of Shenyang. The league of China immediately requests the Japanese army to withdraw. The Japanese government in Tokyo agreed to this demand. However, the army did not listen and it launched a full scale invasion of Manchuria and by the end of 1931, it had occupied the whole province.

China complained to the League of Nations, hoping the League would keep Japan out of Manchuria. The League accepted the request and demand Japan to withdraw their form Manchuria. After seeing the rich raw material and manpower Manchuria could provide, Japan refuse to withdraw form Manchuria. Therefore, Japan uses the mid warning as an excuse to leave the League of Nations. Since verbal warning did not work, the League setup the economic sanction hoping to convince Japan economically, however, due to the impact of Depression of economy nations that treaded with Japan did not want to risk of losing this trade. If a nation did give up trading with Japan, their place would quickly be taken by another country that is willing to start the trade. Therefore, the League could not enforce its authority and lost its most powerful member in the Far East and eventually Japan was to unite with the two other nations that broke League rules, Germany and Italy. 

Copyright ©2009 by Ben Pi, Tony Fu, Amere Huang, Jeff Fong, Edwin Li, Irena Liu SS 20IB