Reasons For The Outbreak Of War In Southeast Asia

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Reasons For The Outbreak Of War In Southeast Asia by Mind Map: Reasons For The Outbreak Of  War In Southeast Asia

1. Japan expansionist foreign policy

1.1. one reason was to acquire resources (Japan had limited resources)

1.1.1. Restrictive trading practices and the Great Depression made even more difficult for the Japanese to recieve materials

1.2. the rise of militarism in Japan's political scene also steered Japan's foreign policy towards expansionism.

1.2.1. this was further fuelled by Japan's desire for equality and recognition.


1.3.1. The Japanese will dominate the the whole of east asia and southeast asia and expel the European colonial powers. Then these colonial states will be replaced with satellite states loyal to only Japan These states will be managed by the Japanese officials and local elitesaided by Japanese advisors. The Japanese sought to expand into southeast asia due to the availability of important raw materials(rubber,and oil) The japanese also appealed to many southeast asians were dicontented with the colonial ruleand wanted independence .

2. Crisis In Japan

2.1. Economic Crisis

2.1.1. Faced Internal problems due to the rapid population increase and shortage of land for farming

2.1.2. The population that had been rapidly growing affected the amount of land that the farmers had to grow crops.

2.1.3. Thus, farmers could not earn a decent amount to provide for themselves and the shortage of rice made the people lose faith in their government.

2.1.4. Japan was affected by the great Depression in 1929. There was a growing opposition to free trade and an increase of restrictions and taxes on Japanese exports into USA and Britain.

2.1.5. Demands for Japanese goods fell drastically and this caused an economic depression in Japan.

2.2. Overpopulation

2.2.1. As Japans population grew larger, there was an increase in demand for housing, goods and products.

2.2.2. This problem fed into Japans growing expansionist ambitions. Because more territories would give them more access to more resources as well as space so as to resettle their citizens.

2.3. Growth Of Military Influence

2.3.1. In May 1932, Parliamentary rule in Japan ended effectively and Martial Law was declared.

2.3.2. The military gained effective control of the government. Politicians and the emperor granted concessions to the military in the hope of preventing further political violence.

3. Japan's Response To World Developments In the 1930s

3.1. The Japanese deiced to destroy the American Pacific Fleet i n order to implement its plans to establish the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in Southeast Asia. The American sncations anf trade embargo also forced Japan to turn to Southeast Asia for resources and raw materials to support their economy and military. The Japanese believed that a preventive strike on Pearl Habour was necessary to achieve the successful takeover of Southeast Asia which in turn was a fairly easy task as the European countries were preoccupied with World War 2 in Europe

3.2. American Foreign Policy Changes( Changes In The American Foreign Policy also helped encourage the Japanese to attack the Pearl Habour. The USA had initially adopted an expanionist policy in the 1930s which meant that they could not gt involved in foriegn conflicts. However USA president, Roosevelt, changed the foreign policy as he saw the need for agressor nations to be " quarantined". As result, the 1911 commericial Treaty with Japan thus placing restrictions on Japanese trade with the US. Roosvelt went even further in 1940 when he imposed a trade ambargo on Japan when she inavded Vietnam. This embargo formally bannned tghe export of steel, scrap and fuel to Japan. These took a great toll on Japan's economy and indirectly made US one of her enemies.)

3.3. War In Europe( The situation in Europe also further contributed towards the Japanese decision to wage war in the Asia Pacific. The outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 meant that the British and France defenses in the Asia Pacific were critically weakened. With the European Powers preoccupied with war in Europe, Southeast Asia was defenseless. This created an Opportunity for Japan to take the pace of the declining powers in the region. French Indochina and British colonies were made easy targets)

3.4. Attack On The Pearl Harbor( Japan was debating between giving in by withdrawing from China and attacking the USA. Japanese politicians made the eventual decision to implement a "quick knockout-blow" and rapid expansion southwards in the hope that the Americans would be convinced o negotiate a peace settlement.

4. Weakness of the League of Nations (lon)

4.1. The lon proved ineffective in dealing with Japan's increasingly aggresive nature.


4.2.1. MANCHURIA was both ecnomically and strategically important to Japan. source of raw materials a market to sell japanese goods allowed Japan to defend its interests in Korea also placed japan in a good position to invade China On 18 sept 1931, a bomb exploded near a japanese-owned railways near Mukden Japanese army blamed the chinese nationalist for planting the bomb. The army demanded the government to take action to protect Japanese interests A full scale invasion of Manchuria was launched on 19 Sept 1931 China was too preoccupied with its own civil war to retaliate The great powers refused to recognise the new state lon wanted to condemn Japan but Japan walked out of the lon and later formally withdrew form lon.

4.3. The Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 – September 9, 1945)

4.3.1. The war was the result of a decades-long Japanese policy aimed at expanding its influence politically and militarily in order to secure access to raw material reserves and other economic resources

4.3.2. Japanese scored major victories, such as the Battle of Shanghai, and by the end of 1937 captured the Chinese capital of Nanking.

4.3.3. China first appealed to lon , however the western powers were occupied with the developments in Europe and Hitler's own expansionist policices.

5. Japan's ambition to establish itself in Asia and Europe

5.1. Conflict with Russia

5.1.1. Rise of Japan was an immediate threat to Russian interests

5.1.2. Sea travel was the most viable route so the Russian Empire developed a sphere of influence in Manchuria and North Eastern China and secured a permanent ice port

5.1.3. Furthermore, Russia attempted to establish a permanent military and naval base in Manchuria-> seen as a security threat to Japan and its interests and influence in Korea

5.1.4. Hence, Japan wanted to initiate a diplomatic agreement whereby Japan offered to accept Russian influence in Manchuria only if Russia accept Japanese influence in Korea

5.1.5. Russia was not interested in reaching a compromise-> regarded Japan as a weaker power as they were from the East

5.1.6. The Japanese government hence declared a war on Russia-> Japan defeated Russia

5.1.7. Treaty of Portsmouth signed after the war->Japan gained control of Liaodong Peninsula, South Manchurian Railway and southern half of Sakharin Island

5.2. Alliance with Britain

5.2.1. Britain was more receptive to the rise of Japan

5.2.2. Signed an alliance with Japan-> Anglo-Japanese alliance

5.2.3. Basis of alliance-> mutual recognition of British and Japan interests in Asia

5.2.4. Hence, Britain recognised Japan's right to defend Korea and Japan recognised Britain's right to defend India

5.2.5. Both countries agreed that China was a place of 'common interest'

5.3. Conflicts with China

5.3.1. First Sino-Japanese war

5.3.2. Japan defeated China and gained control of the Korean Peninsula

5.3.3. Treaty of Shimonoseki-> China was forced to give up control of Korea and Taiwan to Japan

5.3.4. Japan administered Taiwan as its first overseas colony-> embarked on a colonisation process: construction of schools, railways and other modern infrastructure

5.3.5. The Japanese government tried to rule Korea indirectly-> Korean queen tried to expel the Japanese with the help of Russia-> She was assassinated-> annexed Korea and ruled it directly: education in Japanese, forced labour and military services for Koreans, settlement of Japanese migrants and confisctaion of land for Japanese farmers

5.3.6. Twenty-One demands

5.3.7. Japan wanted to expand further into China so it delivered the Twenty-One Demands as an ultimatum to China.

5.4. Worsening relations with USA

5.4.1. American racism against the Japanese

5.4.2. Racial segregation and discrimination was common in American society-> contributed to tense relations between Japan and USA

5.4.3. So, laws were passed to protect American economic interests and exclude the Chinese, Japanese and Korean immigrants(prevent them from competing for jobs)

5.4.4. Japan hence was greatly offended by this racial discrimination

5.4.5. Paris Peace Conference

5.4.6. ' eradication of racial discrimination'

5.4.7. The proposed clause called for the equality of all foreign immigrants to countries in the league

5.4.8. failed to gain the approval of Britain and Australia-> proposal rejected-> caused unhappiness amongst the Japanese

5.4.9. Washington Naval Conference

5.4.10. organised by the USA

5.4.11. called for the reduction in the naval forces of the major powers

5.4.12. However, Japan has to reduce their naval strength more than USA and Britain-> felt that the agreement was unfair and biased against them