Military Review

Japan's Cunning Plan in World War I

Japan's Cunning Plan in World War I

At the beginning of the last century, there was a rivalry between Japan and England for spheres of influence in China and the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. In 1911, the British even changed the terms of the military alliance with Tokyo, which removed the obligation of countries to enter the conflict on the side of an ally. Thus, London counted on the confrontation between Japan and the United States, relations between which were seriously aggravated because of Korea. The British would not have to intervene in it, and the Japanese army had no chance against the American one.

Based on the Anglo-Japanese contradictions, the leadership of Kaiser's Germany was confident that Tokyo would not enter the war on the side of the Entente. Consequently, the Japanese troops will continue to tie down the army of the Russian Empire in the Far East. In addition, the neutrality of Japan would allow the German cruiser squadron to wage an active war in the waters of the Indo-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, already on August 15, 1914, the Japanese authorities put forward an ultimatum to Germany, demanding the withdrawal of her fleet from the Pacific. In particular, Berlin was required to withdraw the ships of the Imperial East Asian Squadron from Qingdao, blow up the fortifications of the port and transfer the Shandong Peninsula to the Japanese Empire. The Japanese government also demanded the transfer of German Pacific possessions to them.

Further, more, on August 23, 1914, having joined the Entente, Japan declared war on Germany, which was a huge surprise not only for Berlin, but also for Great Britain, whose authorities realized the danger of the situation, but could not influence it in any way.

By the way, about the last one. Japan, declaring war on imperial Germany, pursued only one goal - to obtain at its disposal the German colonies in the Pacific Ocean and strengthen its positions in China, where the British had thoroughly “settled”.

Tokyo was forced to join the Entente, as the Japanese authorities were well aware that they would not be able to fight simultaneously with Russia and England, which was inevitable. Joining the block automatically excluded such a scenario.

It is worth noting that the Japanese "cunning plan" was completely successful. Having suffered the most insignificant losses among the countries participating in the First World War (about 2 thousand people), Japan received at its disposal the former German lands and, taking advantage of the difficulties of the main capitalist countries bogged down in the conflict, captured all the Pacific markets, including China, the Dutch and British India .

Photos used:
archive photo

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  1. 4 August 2023 07: 56
    Modern Japan is not an independent state, so one should not expect the unexpected. Japan has no choice now.
  2. Quote Lavrov
    Quote Lavrov 4 August 2023 08: 13
    The extremely strange message of all the material is that Japan sided with the Entente because it did not want to fight on two fronts. Moreover, one of the opponents is designated as the British Empire. I'm sorry, is this serious?
    But wasn’t it exactly the opposite, and Britain, fearing the expansion of Russia (and our idiots provoked with the same use of the CER in full growth), supported Japan’s militarism in the Far East in every possible way and simply dreamed that Russia would get bogged down in a war with samurai? Why should the authors call Japan's entry into the war on the side of the Entente a surprise for Germany? The feeling that the British-Japanese treaty of 1902 (extended in 1911) did not exist at all.
    Well, absolutely no historical documents confirm that for Japan it was some kind of "cunning plan", and not following in the wake of Britain.
    1. kamakama
      kamakama 4 August 2023 10: 23
      It was a Great Game where the rules and interests changed very quickly. A little later there was another Big Game, with about the same participants. However, Hitler actually took into account the Japanese experience and did not even try to fill up England, because apart from losses he did not receive anything. The colonies scattered around the world did not go to him unambiguously. He did not have a fleet in sufficient numbers. Here to conclude a profitable peace or change the government - it made sense
  3. Ezekiel 25-17
    Ezekiel 25-17 4 August 2023 09: 08
    Superficial knowledge of the history of the conflict: Japan received from China under the Shimonoseki Peace Treaty (1895), in particular the Liaodong Peninsula, which was of strategic importance for the Russian Empire, blocking the path to Port Arthur. At the request of Nicholas II, the Triple Intervention followed, culminating in the transfer to the concession of Port Arthur of Russia for a period of 25 years and the port of Qingdao by Germany in 1897 on lease for 99 years. All this caused indignation in Japan under the slogan "gashin-setan" (dream on a board with nails), which ultimately became the prerequisite for the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. In 1914, the time came for Germany too: here it must be understood that there was no unity of opinion in the British government on Japan's entry into the war. The Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Gray, feared that Japan would be strengthened beyond all limits, but in the end, the point of view of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Winston Churchill, who feared for the balance of power of the fleets in the Pacific, prevailed. This was followed by the Japanese ultimatum to Germany, word for word, repeating the German handed over to Japan in 1895. Boomerang is back...
  4. Knell wardenheart
    Knell wardenheart 9 August 2023 11: 37
    What is what, but the samurai have always been able to rat, mouse and attack on the sly. Valor as it is.