Role Of Japan In World War 1 – The Russian Civil War opened a window of opportunity for Japan. Its ambitions extended not only to the Russian coast of the Pacific, but also to all of vast Siberia.
The large-scale intervention of the Russian Entente powers was in no way motivated by ideological hatred of the Bolsheviks who had come to power in Russia. Rather, London and Paris were concerned about Lenin’s government’s intention to withdraw from the war against Germany, which would allow Germany to turn its full forces against France. Therefore, it is not surprising that they supported the counterrevolutionary Caucasian movement in the civil war that raged in the ruins of the Russian Empire. Its leaders had vowed to return the Russian army to the battlefield and fight Germany to the bitter end. A bitter end.
Role Of Japan In World War 1
Shortly after Soviet Russia and Germany signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on March 3, 1918, detachments of Allied troops began landing in Russian ports in the north, south, and east of the country. However, they were in no hurry to plunge headlong into the maelstrom of internal conflicts of other countries, causing little bloodshed and trying to distance themselves from military conflicts in the hope that they would achieve their goals through the actions of others. In such a situation, Japan clearly stood out because Russia’s difficult situation opened a huge window of opportunity for Japan.
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Japan was pressured by Washington to participate in the intervention in Russia’s Far East, and Japanese society was initially divided on whether or not to participate in the conflict. However, over time, the scale of Japan’s intervention in Russian affairs began to increase dramatically, so the United States began to worry about how to curb the growing appetite of its allies. “Given its position and interests in East Asia, Japan should play a major role in restoring order in East Siberia,” Japanese Foreign Minister Shinpei Goto told the American people in July 1918.
The first Japanese soldiers he landed in the port of Vladivostok on April 5, 1918. They were Lieutenant General Hiroharu Kato’s two Marine companies in his squadron. The operation was prompted by the killing of two Japanese nationals in the same city the previous day. Encountering no resistance, the Japanese quickly captured the port and center of Vladivostok. The Soviet government responded on the same day that “a long-prepared imperialist attack from the East has taken place.” “The Japanese imperialists want to stifle the Soviet revolution, cut off Russia from the Pacific, occupy the rich expanses of Siberia, and enslave Siberian workers and peasants.”
“The World War gave Japan an unexpected gift: an untapped treasure trove, Siberia. “Whether Japan can become part of Japan depends on the skills of the Japanese people,” wrote I. Rokuro, editor-in-chief of the People’s Newspaper. Tokyo was discussing how to expand into Russia’s Far East. One of the most acceptable options being considered is to expel the “extremists” known as the Bolsheviks from the region, support local “moderate” political forces, and encourage the emergence of a Russian buffer state under Japanese supervision. It was to promote this. As the diplomat Ichiro Motono stated, it was pointed out that it was necessary to carefully monitor the reactions of Western countries, prevent the rise of a people’s liberation movement, and act cautiously without committing an overt invasion.
By October 1918, the strength of the Japanese army in the Russian Far East exceeded 72,000 men (for comparison, the US Siberian Expeditionary Force had only 9,000 men). Most of Primorye and the Amur region, part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, came under their control. There was also a Japanese garrison to the east of Lake Baikal. The region’s rich natural resources, including timber, coal, and large quantities of salmon and herring, began to be exported to Japan on a large scale.
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The Japanese leadership preferred to rely on unruly Cossack headmen like Grigory Semyonov and Ivan Kalmykov. These figures in the white movement received funding, weapons, and, when necessary, direct support from the Japanese military. At the same time, Japan’s relations with Admiral Alexander Kolchak, the “supreme ruler of Russia” who was recognized as the leader of the Caucasians, became strained. In Tokyo, he was considered a “Washingtonian” who could harm the interests of the Land of the Rising Sun. “Japan is not interested in the rapid restoration of a united and strong Russia. As with its activities in China, here too Russia is completely incapacitated in order to create more favorable conditions for the exploitation of an exhausted country. “We will try to prolong the civil war until it is exhausted,” said Pyotr Vologodsky, head of Kolchak’s government. Written in February 1919.
Unlike other interventionists, the Japanese actively participated in clashes with local Red Army partisans. Although the latter had a tacit non-aggression pact with the Americans, they fought fierce and bloody battles with the Japanese forces, costing dozens if not hundreds of lives on both sides. According to various estimates, the imperial army lost up to 3,000 soldiers and officers during the years of intervention.
Disobedience of the local population was brutally suppressed and punished, with entire villages burned and demonstration executions carried out. An American officer witnessed a punitive action by the Japanese army at the Svyagino station in July 1919. Their hands were tied behind their backs. Two Japanese officers took off their jackets, drew their sabers and began slashing the victims on the back of their necks, and as each victim fell into the grave, three to five Japanese soldiers cut them off with bayonets. I stopped and screamed. joy. Two were immediately decapitated by a saber blow, but the rest were apparently still alive, as the dirt thrown over them was moving. ”
At the same time, the Japanese rescued more than 900 orphans from Polish families exiled to Siberia during the imperial era. Children who lost their parents in the crucible of the Civil War were taken to Japan and then transported to their historic homeland. In addition, the Japanese military assisted the American Red Cross in evacuating from the battlefield approximately 800 Russian children who had been brought to eastern Russia from Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) in 1918. A winter town where they are cut off from their hometown due to the sudden outbreak of war. It was only three years later that he was able to circumnavigate the globe and return to his parents.
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Even if the end of World War I in November 1918 raised a big question mark over the availability of foreign military contingents remaining on Russian territory, the defeat of the White Army of Kolchak and Denikin in the summer and autumn of 1919 This made the stay simple. Meaningless. Washington, London, and Paris gradually began to withdraw their troops, while Tokyo, on the contrary, began to increase its military presence in the region. By the early 1920s, the number of Japanese soldiers stationed in Russia exceeded 100,000.
After the defeat of the Caucasian movement in eastern Russia, the Red Army came into direct contact with the Japanese army. However, the Soviet government at the time was not ready for a large-scale war with Japan, so in February 1920 Lenin proposed creating a buffer democracy in the eastern part of the country. The Japanese military, exhausted by constant skirmishes with local guerrillas and in need of a break, found this proposal highly acceptable. Furthermore, the Japanese government wanted to make the Far Eastern Republic (FER), which was established on April 6, a protectorate.
These hopes were not destined to come true. The FER was almost completely controlled by Moscow, while the People’s Revolutionary Army succeeded in annihilating the White Guards in the Far East. At the same time, the puppet government created in Japanese-controlled Russian territory proved unviable. In addition, Tokyo was under intense diplomatic pressure from the United States, which did not want its geopolitical rival in the Pacific to strengthen its position.
Eventually, the Land of the Rising Sun gradually began to lose ground in the Russian Far East. The last Japanese soldier left Vladivostok on October 25, 1922, and already in November the Far Eastern republics became part of Soviet Russia. Japan maintained control only over northern Sakhalin, but was forced to relinquish it in 1925 after long and difficult negotiations with the Soviet Union.
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