ASIA212Varley

The last agonies of the war produced on one side the

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Unformatted text preview: woman’s face in that evening mirror.”40 Before the international Military Tribunal in Tokyo after World War II, the Allied prosecution charged those Japanese arrested as war criminals with participating in a great and sustained conspiracy for world conquest, beginning with the Manchurian incident of 1931. Certainly the Japanese military was guilty of much aggression in East Asia during the decade and a half from 1931 until final defeat in 1945. But the charge that it pursued—diabolically and step by step—a policy of virtually unlimited foreign conquest vastly oversimplified and distorted the complexity of international events that led Japan to war with China in 1937 and into World War II in 1941. Japan actually blundered into the China war when shooting broke out between Chinese and Japanese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge in northern China on July 7, 1937. Once committed to fighting, the Japanese found themselves in a quagmire from which there was no withdrawal without great and intolerable loss of face. Although the Japanese army won battles and seized large expanses of territory, the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek simply withdrew farther and farther into the Chinese hinterland and continued fighting. As The Fruits of Modernity 301 the war dragged on, it became a fearful economic drain upon Japan, and victory became a chimera. Far from facing the harsh reality that the China war was interminable, Japan schemed even more grandly and in November 1938 proclaimed a New Order in East Asia to signal that henceforth China should be regarded, along with Manchukuo, as an integral part of the Japanese sphere of influence. And in 1940, when Japan moved southward in quest of oil and other resources, the New Order was expanded into a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (Dai Tòa Kyòeiken) that was aimed at drawing not only Southeast Asia but also Australia and New Zealand into an economically self-sufficient regional zone under Japan. The German victories in Europe, including the fall of France in June 1940, buoyed the Japanese into believing that alliance with Germany could help in achie...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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