Japan Complicates Wartime Efforts: This Week in History

Japanese soldier

Japan Complicates Wartime Efforts: This Week in History

Melina Druga
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Japan was interested in intervening in Siberia to protect allied interests and to punish Russia for leaving World War I, a war Japan said Russia began.  However, this could change the course of the world war, The Cleveland Plain Dealer said March 7, 1918.

American President Woodrow Wilson “has been discussing and analyzing the looming activities of Japan that a Japanese campaign in Russia could be conducted only with grave danger to the objects for which the United States entered the war,” the Plain Dealer said.

The United States, Great Britain and France were in no position to issue a formal protest should Japan invade Russia.  All the United States could do was make clear its position and wait.

Was the Protest Racist?

A diplomat attached to the Japanese embassy told the Plain Dealer that Japan entered the war as an ally of Great Britain and that the Far East country felt it was its moral duty to help Britain and its allies.  The diplomat reminded the newspaper that Japan expelled Germany from China and the Mediterranean.

“Attention is called to the act of Japan when she denuded herself of large quantities of her great guns and smaller arms to supply Russia,” the Plain Dealer said, paraphrasing the diplomat.  “Statements that Japan to date has come out of the world war richer than ever are denounced as ridiculous.”

Japan has suffered like every other combatant nation, the diplomat said.

If Japan Invaded Russia

“Going into Siberia would give Japan a chance to play a stellar role,” the Plain Dealer said.

If Japan invaded Russia, the maximum number of troops it would send was 500,000.  This number of troops would need up to 5 million tons of supplies.

The diplomat asserted, however, that “participation in activities on the continent of Europe now or at any future time is out of the question.”

It also was under consideration that Russia, wracked by revolution, was tearing itself apart and the Russian railway system was antiquated and would not be able to properly transport troops.

The diplomat said Germany may be fanning the flames of opposition against Japanese intervention.

“Just what Japan will do is a chapter yet to be written,” the newspaper said.

Did you know Japan was on the Allied side during World War I?  Leave a comment below.

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Most kids have an active imagination. My imagination has stayed strong into adulthood, and I’ve funneled that creativity into a successful writing career. I write history, both fiction and nonfiction, because although your school history classes may have been boring, the past is not. My goal is to bring the past to life in all its myriad of colors.
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