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Why did Japan embark on an aggressive foreign policy in the 1930s?

The Japanese embarked on an aggressive foreign policy in the 1930s due to the
need to gain raw materials for their growing industries. From early 1920s Japans
economy declined steadily after WW1 as the European economies recovered
after the war and thus dominated the markets in Europe and Asia. This put
enormous pressure on Japans manufacturing indusftries as they sought to find
new markets for their industrialised goods. Thus embarking on an aggressive
foreign policy would enable the Japanese to acquire territories overseas in order
to gain raw materials or resources for their industrialisation programme.
This was further aggravated by the effects of the great depression. Japanese
exports dropped by 2/3. The drop in demand for silk affected the industries, as it
depended heavily on import of iron, tin, cotton, rubber and oil.
Moreover the problem worsened when the US imposed taxes on goods entering
the USA to protect their own industries. Japans textile industries were affected.
Japan needed to look for new markets and eventually realised that Japans future
lay in building up a large empire in East Asia. Hence, Japan started to divert
attention to Asia.
Another reason why Japan embarked on an aggressive foreign policy in the
1930s was because of the quest for living space. As japan was mountainous and
unsuitable for settlement.

Why did Japanese Army invade Manchuria?

Protect Jap interest in Manchuria
Japan got Liadong province after ww1
The Jap army is always stationed in the area and in other parts of Manchuria
In order to guard its bases and economic interests
Japanese were afraid that the Chinese nationalist govt, under Chiang Kai Shiek,
would force them out
In its attempt to unify china and end foreign concessions
Thus they used the Mukden incident
Where a bomb blew up a train of Japanese and other passengers on 18 Sep 1931
to seize control
Rise of Militarism and Nationalism
The great depression had discredited Japans democratic government to solve
Japans problems and had paved the way for increasing influence of the
militarists who pushed for an aggressive empire-building to restore Japans
honour and prestige.
The Japanese KuanTung Army intended to turn Manchuria into a Japanese colony
as part of Japans empire building and thus invaded Manchuria in 1931.

Economic Problems in Japan

From the 1920s, Japans economy was slowly declining
As the Europeans finally recovered from the war,
Dominating the markets in Europe and Asia
This put enormous pressure on Japans manufacturing industries, as they sought
to find new markets for their industrialised goods
This was further aggravated by the great depression,
Japanese exports dropped by 2/3
Drop in demand for silk led to widespread unemployment
This affected the Japanese industries as they depended heavily on import of iron,
tin, cotton rubber and oil.
China, especially Manchuria, thus became the target for raw materials such as oil
and coal especially Manchuria thus becoming the target for raw materials such
as oil and coal especially with the coming of the Great Economic Depression.
Manchuria would also serve as an alternative market for Japans export.

Quest for Living Space

Japan is surrounded by mountainous area and unsuitable for settlement.
Fundamentally, when Japanese population increased from 45 million in 1900 to
64 million in 1930,
This rapid growth put pressure for living space and on the agricultural sector as
food became scarce
In 1924, America imposed restrictions on immigration, allowing only 5% of Asian
immigrants and totally banned Japanese immigrants.
The invasion of China in 1930 would solve these problems because Manchuria
was arable flat land, and that Manchuria was 3 times the size of Japan, but had
a small population of 28 million. Thus it could be used to house the Japanese
population, for agricultural purposes as well as to build industries.
Another reason for japan to embark on an aggressive foreign policy towards
China in the 1930s was the rise of nationalism and Militarism in Japan and the
waning support for the civilian govt.

Why did Hitler break the Treaty of Versailles?

To garner support from many Germans who harboured deep resentment towards
As evident in the Mein Kampf in which Hitler had blamed TOV for German
economic problems and humiliation
The Nazi Party had also vowed to break the terms in the run up to the Reichstag
elections and when they came to power in 1933.
Hitler believed that Germany could never restore her status as a great power as
long as she was restricted by the TOV. Thus he needed to break the TOV in order
to make Germany strong again.
Thus by breaking the terms of the treaty of Versailles, he could gain the support
of the Germans and make Germany strong again.
Repudiating TOV was one of Hitlers chief foreign policy aim
By breaking the TOV, Hitler would be able to
Bring back conscription, embark on a programme of rearmament
Achieve lebensraum
Acquisition of resources to industrialise
Acquisition of labour to do menial tasks unfit for the superior Aryan Germans
Since walking out of the Disarmament conference and the League of Nations in
1933, he felt no longer needed to be bound by international agreements such as
the TOV