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  1. The Japanese military before and during World War II committed numerous atrocities against civilian and military personnel. Its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, prior to a declaration of war and without warning killed 2,403 neutral military personnel and civilians and wounded 1,247 others.

  2. Civilian casualties include deaths caused by strategic bombing, Holocaust victims, German war crimes, Japanese war crimes, population transfers in the Soviet Union, Allied war crimes, and deaths due to war-related famine and disease.

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    What happened to Japan after WW1?

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  4. World War II is considered the deadliest arm conflict in human history. The war left at least 70 million people dead or 3% of the world’s population at the time. The deaths that directly resulted from the war are about 50-56 million people while about 19-28 million people died from war-related famine and diseases.

  5. Civilian deaths from land battles, aerial bombardment, political and racial executions, war-induced disease and famine, and the sinking of ships probably exceeded battle casualties. These civilian deaths are even more difficult to determine, yet they must be counted in any comparative evaluation of national losses.

    • Japan After World War I
    • Invasion of Manchuria
    • Political Turmoil
    • The Second Sino-Japanese War Begins
    • Conflict with The Soviet Union
    • Foreign Reactions to The Second Sino-Japanese War
    • Moving Towards War with The U.S.
    • Attack on Pearl Harbor
    • Japanese Advances

    A valuable ally during World War I, the European powers and the U.S. recognized Japan as a colonial power after the war. In Japan, this led to the rise of ultra-right wing and nationalist leaders, such as Fumimaro Konoe and Sadao Araki, who advocated uniting Asia under the rule of the emperor. Known as hakkô ichiu, this philosophy gained ground dur...

    For several years, Japan had been meddling in Chinese affairs, and the province of Manchuria in northeast China was seen as ideal for Japanese expansion. On Sept. 18, 1931, the Japanese staged an incident along the Japanese-owned South Manchuria Railway near Mukden (Shenyang). After blowing up a section of track, the Japanese blamed the "attack" on...

    While Japanese forces were successfully occupying Manchuria, there was political unrest in Tokyo. After a failed attempt to capture Shanghai in January, Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi was assassinated on May 15, 1932 by radical elements of the Imperial Japanese Navy who were angered by his support of the London Naval Treaty and his attempts to curb...

    Fighting between the Chinese and Japanese resumed on a large scale on July 7, 1937, following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, just south of Beijing. Pressured by the military, Konoe permitted troop strength in China to grow and by the end of the year Japanese forces had occupied Shanghai, Nanking, and southern Shanxi province. After seizing the cap...

    While operations were ongoing in China, Japan became embroiled in border war with the Soviet Union in 1938. Beginning with the Battle of Lake Khasan (July 29 to Aug. 11, 1938), the conflict was a result of a dispute over the border of Manchu China and Russia. Also known as the Changkufeng Incident, the battle resulted in a Soviet victory and expuls...

    Prior to the outbreak of World War II, China was heavily supported by Germany (until 1938) and the Soviet Union. The latter readily provided aircraft, military supplies, and advisors, seeing China as a buffer against Japan. The U.S., Britain, and France limited their support to war contracts prior to the beginning of the larger conflict. Public opi...

    The American oil embargo caused a crisis in Japan. Reliant on the U.S. for 80 percent of its oil, the Japanese were forced to decide between withdrawing from China, negotiating an end to the conflict, or going to war to obtain the needed resources elsewhere. In an attempt to resolve the situation, Konoe asked U.S. President Franklin Rooseveltfor a ...

    On Nov. 26, 1941, the Japanese attack force, consisting of six aircraft carriers, sailed with Admiral Chuichi Nagumo in command. After being notified that diplomatic efforts had failed, Nagumo proceeded with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Arriving approximately 200 miles north of Oahu on Dec. 7, Nagumo began launching his 350 aircraft. To support the ...

    Coinciding with the attack on Pearl Harbor were Japanese moves against the Philippines, British Malaya, the Bismarcks, Java, and Sumatra. In the Philippines, Japanese aircraft attacked U.S. and Philippine positions on Dec. 8, and troops began landing on Luzon two days later. Swiftly pushing back General Douglas MacArthur's Philippine and American f...

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