The Manchurian Crisis

- The causes of and the League’s response to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria


In September 1931, there was an explosion on the Japanese owned South Manchuria Railway in China. It was owned and patrolled by the Japanese Army who claimed the Chinese were responsible.

Using the incident as an opportunity to expand their empire, the Army invaded and occupied Manchuria, setting up a new Pro-Japan government. 

Both China and Japan appealed to the League and the League ordered soldiers to withdraw from the area while they investigated the issue. They would carry out economic sanctions, moral condemnation and order the responsible country to pay reparations.

Japan argued that they were protecting their assets in Manchuria and had invaded to keep the peace during the civil war between the Nationalists and Communists.


The league issued their report one year later, after sending officials to investigate, condemning Japan as the aggressor.

Japan, instead of withdrawing, resigned from the League and continued to invade and occupy China. 

Many leaders were reluctant to act as the situation was so far away and people didn't want to lose any more lives.

Also, some countries were sympathetic to Japan and Hitler wanted to see how the League would react as he was planning to reclaim the Rhineland in the future.

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