Japan and the Axis.

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Japan and the Axis, 1937 8: Recognition of the Franco Regime and Manchukuo
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  http://jch.sagepub.com Journal of Contemporary History DOI: 10.1177/00220094091041172009; 44; 431 Journal of Contemporary History  Florentino Rodao ManchukuoJapan and the Axis, 1937 8: Recognition of the Franco Regime and http://jch.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/44/3/431   The online version of this article can be found at:   Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com   can be found at: Journal of Contemporary History  Additional services and information for http://jch.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts:   http://jch.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions:   http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: at SWETS WISE ONLINE CONTENT on July 13, 2009http://jch.sagepub.comDownloaded from   Florentino Rodao  Japan and the Axis, 1937–8: Recognition of the Franco Regime and Manchukuo Abstract  After just one year of the Spanish Civil War, the Marco Polo Bridge Incidentled to the Sino-Japanese War, both conflicts remaining for two years as dailyreminders of the world conflicts of the time. This article attempts to emphasizethe importance of the coincidence in time of those conflicts in delimiting eachbloc, especially through a decision that was particularly divisive for the Japanese government, such as recognition of Franco’s rebel government afterthe outbreak of the war in China. Efforts by Japanese Foreign Minister HirotaK Ä ki to avoid a decision that would further Japan’s pro-Axis drift show thelines of division in the government. His maneuvers progressively failed, includ-ing the November 1937 proposal for negotiations to include the recognition of Manchukuo, accepted first by Franco’s Spain, later by Italy and finally by theGermans. The article emphasizes the role of Italy in Asia, the reasons forSpanish actions, and the aims of other key persons in this period, such as PrimeMinister Konoe, the postwar leader Yoshida Shigeru, or Ishihara Kanji, theofficer who masterminded the 1931 invasion of Manchuria. Keywords: Anti-Comintern Pact, Axis countries, diplomacy, fascism,Sino-Japanese War, Spanish Civil War  Japan’s invasion of China in 1937, like the invasion of Ethiopia two years earlierand the ongoing civil war in Spain, quickly provoked a response from the majorpowers. It also created special problems for the principal European dictators.Germany and Italy had taken a clear position on behalf of intervention in Spain,but initially continued good relations with the governments of both China and Japan, whereas the Soviet Union, which was intervening on the opposite sidein Spain, was also an East Asian power and faced the question of equivalent I would like to acknowledge with thanks the generous financial support from the ToyotaFoundation towards the research on which this article is based, as well as the Research projectaward CCG06-UCM/HUM-1048 from the Spanish government (2006). Some of the documenta-tion derives from unpublished chapters of my PhD dissertation, ‘Relations between Spain and Japan, 1937–1945’ (Madrid, Universidad Complutense, 1993). Fukasawa Yasuhiro’s commentsand help in obtaining bibliography have been instrumental to this work, as have the commentsfrom anonymous reviewers. Responsibility for any possible mistakes, however, remains theauthor’s.  Journal of Contemporary History  Copyright © 2009 SAGEPublications, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi,Singapore and Washington DC, Vol 44(3), 431–447. ISSN 0022–0094.DOI: 10.1177/0022009409104117  at SWETS WISE ONLINE CONTENT on July 13, 2009http://jch.sagepub.comDownloaded from   intervention in China against the Japanese invasion. When Franco’s newSpanish Nationalist regime later requested recognition from Japan, its initiativeboth pointed up the potential contradictions in the East Asian policies of Berlinand Rome and posed a new quandary for Tokyo. For the latter, this alsoinvolved the lingering problem of the international recognition of Japan’spuppet state of Manchukuo, so far recognized only by El Salvador, the Vaticanand Japan itself. The way in which these dilemmas were resolved would play arole in the eventual alignment of Germany, Italy, and Japan.The twin issues of the recognition of Manchukuo and the mutual interactionof the contemporary struggles in China and Spain have largely been over-looked by historians, who tend to focus on the direct relations of the greatpowers. Italian policy in East Asia has been generally ignored, and along withit the limited impact of the Spanish war in that region, together with Franco’srequest for recognition by Japan and Germany’s eventual abandonment of theChinese Nationalist regime. 1 The Japanese government followed the war in Spain with some interest,though it was a very secondary issue. Relations with the Spanish Republic hadgenerally been poor, since the latter’s representative in Geneva, Salvador deMadariaga, had led the struggle for sanctions by the League in condemnationof the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, to the extent of earning the nickname‘Don Quijote of Manchuria’. Subsequently, the victories of the new PopularFronts in Spain and France had raised the specter of a possible popular front inChina, as well, which would unite major forces against the Japanese. In 1936,the military insurrection in Spain took place in the immediate aftermath of theabortive Japanese military coup of February 1936, raising a certain note of apprehension in Tokyo. Japan at first simply tried to gather information aboutthe situation in the Iberian peninsula. An American diplomat judged the atti-tude of the Japanese press to the Spanish conflict as ‘studiously neutral intone’. When the magazine Kaiz Ä (‘Reconstruction’) organized a debate aboutthe issue, most participants analyzed the limited data available and tended tofocus on Great Britain’s concern to maintain control of Gibraltar, which wasfrequently the only name to appear on Japanese maps of Europe covering theIberian peninsula. The only participant to offer a personal opinion sided withthe Republican government, on the grounds of its legitimacy, and speculatedabout the difficulties for the British empire if the ‘revolutionaries’ (in this case 432Journal of Contemporary History Vol 44 No 3 1 As for neglecting the dynamics of the coincidence of the two wars, see Ernst L. Presseisen, Germany and Japan: A Study in Totalitarian Diplomacy (The Hague 1958), esp. 184–5. HerbertBix, in his Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York 2000) mentions only the Spanish-American War of 1898. On Spain, see Paul Preston, Franco. A Biography (London 1993); and,specifically on the foreign policy during the Spanish War, Angel Viñas’ latest, detailed books Lasoledad de la República (Barcelona 2006); and El escudo de la República (Barcelona 2007); andEnrique Moradiellos, El reñidero de Europa. Las dimensiones internacionales de la Guerra Civil Española (Barcelona 2001). Opening the idea of an independent fascist policy to Germany, at leastuntil 1939, is Valdo Ferretti, ll Giappone e la politica estera italiana, 1935–1945 (Milano 1983).  at SWETS WISE ONLINE CONTENT on July 13, 2009http://jch.sagepub.comDownloaded from   referring not to the leftist revolutionaries but to the counter-revolutionaryrebels) won. 2 The increasing internationalization of the Spanish war was helpful to Japanese policy in several ways: it focused attention on Western Europe,diverted potential arms exports from China, and diverted British attentionfrom Asia. Similarly, Soviet involvement in Spain, combined with the effort tocome to terms with France, also diverted Soviet attention from Asia. Withinthe Japanese government, however, various ministries revealed somewhatdivergent interests. 3 For the Japanese foreign ministry, the Spanish war long remained remote,the only pressing problem at first being the fact that the head of the Spanishlegation in Tokyo, Santiago Méndez de Vigo, swore allegiance to the insurgentcause, raising problems of protocol. ‘What should be done with Méndez deVigo if a garden-party is organized?’ mused a French diplomat in Tokyo. Thepossibility of Japanese recognition of Franco was raised, however, by Tokyo’ssignature of Hitler’s Anti-Comintern Pact in November 1936. At that timeForeign Minister Arita Hachir Ä (following Japanese usage, the family namecomes first) informed the Privy Council that the Spanish war provided furtherevidence of the Soviet Union’s efforts to subvert other countries, but the Japanese government nonetheless did not seriously consider recognition of Franco, and the foreign ministry limited its response to canvassing othergovernments about their own views. 4 The interest of Japanese army leaders in Spain was more noteworthy. Thesemi-autonomous Kwantung Army in Manchukuo, facing the Soviet Union,was concerned to collect information, especially after the extent of Soviet inter-vention became clear. The embassy in Paris dispatched Captain NishiuraSusumu, ostensibly to learn about German tactics, but in fact he concentratedon studying Soviet and anti-Soviet weapons, visiting several fronts with a par-ticular interest in gathering data on the T-26 tank, the basic Red Army tank Rodao:  Japan and the Axis, 1937–8 433 2 ‘Quijote’: Francisco Quintana, España en Europa, 1931–1936 (Oviedo 1993), 58–77; IanNish,  Japan’s struggle with Internationalism. Japan, China and the League of Nations, 1931–3 (London and New York 1993), 189–93. On the possibility of a Popular Front in China, see JoseE. Borao, España y China, 1927–1967  (Taipei 1994), 62–4; and Ferretti, Il Giappone , op. cit.,137. ‘Neutral’: Dickover to Hull, Tokyo, 16 September 1936, Confidential US Diplomatic Records[hereafter ‘CUSDR’] 3, B (1836–1941). Reel 2. Microfilm. Kaiz Ä discussion, held on 4 September,‘Supein kakumei o megurite’, 11 (October 1936), 74–97, esp.78–9. 3 Fukasawa Yasuhiro: ‘Supein naisen to nitch õ sens Ä . Nissei-gaimusho monjo wo chushin ni’[The Spanish Civil War and the Sino-Japanese War. Focused on the documents of the Japanese andSpanish Foreign Ministry Archives], in Rekishi Hy Ä ron [Historical Review], Monographic issue:50th anniversary of the Sino-Japanese War, 44(7) (July 1987), 42–3. 4 ‘Garden-party’: Albert Kammerer to Foreign Affairs Minister, Tokyo, 4 September 1936: Japon 122. Asia 1930–40. Archive du Ministère Français des Affairs Étrangères; also, Dickover toHull, Tokyo, 16 September 1936: CUSDR, Reel 2. The consultations with the Foreign Office, partof them between Ambassador Yoshida Shigeru and sub-secretary of British Foreign Office; seeRobert Vansittart, Report by G. Mounsey (Western Dept.), London, 18 September 1936; PublicRecord Office, Foreign Office, group 371, W16470/62/41.  at SWETS WISE ONLINE CONTENT on July 13, 2009http://jch.sagepub.comDownloaded from 
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