The invasion of Manchuria was a conflict fought between China and Japan in the province of Manchuria in north-east China. It lasted from 1931 until 1932 and sparked the hostilities which led to the Second Sino-Japanese War, sending Far East Asia down the path to the Pacific War of World War II.
Origins[edit | edit source]
China experienced a revolution in 1911, in which the nationalist alliance which became the Kuomintang overthrew the Emperor, Pu Yi. After obtaining power, the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, turned its attention to combating the growing communist movement filtering in from the Soviet Union to the north. The operations against the communists degenerated into a stalemate which lasted deep into the 1930s. Order in China began to deteriorate as the two ideologies struggled for dominance.
Manchuria was threatened by trade strangulation by the construction of a Russian railway connecting the Pacific port of Vladivostok to Europe. Both Chinese and Japanese trade suffered as a result. It was in this context that Japan, emerging as an expansionist power on the continent, made her move. She sought to expand her Empire and gain control of China's natural resources, but also ostensibly intended to bring order to a divided China and attract trade back to the region. Woo, an officer who later deserted the Imperial Japanese Army, suspected Japan had been preparing for war years before the events in Manchuria and was unconvinced by the Japanese justification for the invasion. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
The invasion[edit | edit source]
In 1931, influenced by the Sakura Kai, the Japanese engineered a fight between the Chinese forces in the province to justify the invasion. They claimed the Chinese had attacked first. The Japanese went on to capture all of Manchuria. In 1932 (PROSE: Log 384) the occupation was completed after the region was organised into the puppet state of Manchukuo, ruled by Pu Yi. However, as Woo later pointed out to some young Japanese officers, this did not mean and end to hostilities between Japan and China. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Japanese experiments[edit | edit source]
The Kwantung Army subjugated the peasant population of Manchuria and set them to work constructing the Zhong Ma fortress. Atrocities were committed to deter the peasants from attempting to escape and any who tried were immediately shot. Manchuria became a testing ground for experiments in biological warfare headed by the young Japanese military scientist Ishii Shiro. Using the peasants as test subjects, taking blood samples, dissecting people, and deliberately infecting them with bubonic plague, the Japanese sought to learn more about the human body and how they may weaponise germs. The data gathered allowed for the creation of biological weapons that the Japanese later deployed against China to devastating effect, before they surrendered to the Americans in 1945. (PROSE: Log 384)
Further conflict[edit | edit source]
Disputes over Manchuria/Manchukuo persisted between China and Japan throughout rest of the decade. (PROSE: The Year of Intelligent Tigers) The Japanese referred to the region as Manchukuo while the Chinese continued to call it Manchuria. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang) Edward Grainger felt that the invasion of Manchuria demonstrated Japan's determination to dominate all of Asia. (PROSE: Log 384) Greater conflict threatened to engulf the continent after Chinese and Japanese troops clashed in Shanghai in 1932.
Having gained a foothold in northern China through the invasion, the Japanese army split into two factions following disagreements about the next steps to be taken. The Kodo Ha, controlled by the Sakura Kai, demanded further expansion in Manchukuo and into China to offset strategic advantages enjoyed by the Soviet Union. The Tosei Ha, while also expansionist, advocated a more cautious approach within the political system that adhered to the formal rules of engagement. The Kodo Ha held the loyalty of local commanders in Manchukuo and used them to assassinate a number of political ministers, including prime ministers, between 1933 and 1935. A revolt in Tokyo by the Kodo Ha's supporters, the Japanese First Infantry Division, in February 1936 was ultimately suppressed. The Tosei Ha were victorious but weakened and more susceptible to Kodo Ha pressure. In July 1937, the Japanese engineered another fight with the Chinese forces at Marco Polo Bridge. The Tosei Ha government was forced onto a war footing, signalling the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
The front lines were initially located on the frontier between Manchukuo and China, with the Japanese Twelfth Army seeking to advance south into Shangdong province and towards Shanghai, although they sought to further consolidate their hold on Manchuria first. The Japanese launched air raids against Shanghai from Manchukuo simply to prove to the Chinese population that they could. Woo sought to create a united front in Shanghai to resist the Japanese advance.
In August 1937, Hsien-Ko sought to prevent Magnus Greel's death so that he could be formally punished. She believed one of the consequences of her success would be the undoing of the invasion of Manchuria and the war with Japan altogether. However, her plan was thwarted by the Fourth Doctor and Romana I, and somewhat unwittingly by Sung-Chi Li, before she created a temporal paradox. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)