How did the Depression affect Japan?
Badly. Its main export - silk - was no longer desired. Its army leaders believed the way to solve Japan’s problems was to annex (take over) other, weaker areas which were rich in raw materials.
What triggered the Manchurian Crisis in 1931?
An alleged attack by Chinese bandits on the South Manchurian Railway (controlled by the Japanese)
What did the attack on the South Manchurian Railway provide for the Japanese?
An excuse for the army to invade Manchuria (although the Japanese civilian leadership protested, they no longer had the power in Japan)
What did China do when Manchuria was invaded?
Appeal to the League for help
Why did the League do very little?
1) Because of the Depression, no European power wanted to reduce trade with the Far East (especially as American businesses would have taken over their lost business)
2) Military sanctions was even less appealing considering how far away Manchuria was
3) Both Britain and France had colonies in Hong Kong and Singapore and they feared any sanctions might provoke a Japanese attack on them
What DID the League do?
It appointed Lord Lytton to lead an enquiry.
How long did the Lytton Commission take to conduct its enquiry?
6 weeks in Manchuria
When did the Lytton Commission represent its findings?
September 1932 - a full year after Manchuria had first invaded
What did the Lytton Report say?
It gave a balanced view, but said that Japan had acted unlawfully and should give Manchuria back to the Chinese
What did the Japanese announce in early 1933?
That it was going to invade more of China in ‘self defence’
What happened when the Lytton Report was voted on in late February 1933?
The Assembly approved it 42 votes to 1 (only Japan voted against). Japan - angry at the result - resigned from the League a month later.
Why did the League do little even after Japan had left the League?
It did little, for a number of reasons:
1) The USA was Japan’s main trading partner. Unless the USA joined in, economic sanctions would be worthless
2) The League could not agree to banning arms sales to Japan - fearing that Japan would retaliate and start a war
How was the crisis viewed?
As a disaster for the League. It revealed its weakness if a powerful nation decided to pursue an aggressive foreign policy.
Who looked on at the crisis with interest?
Hitler and Mussolini - they saw a policy of naked aggression go unpunished by the League
Why did the League get a second chance, even after the Manchurian Crisis?
There was little the League could have done
1) Economic sanctions during the Depression were almost never going to be agreed to
2) Without the USSR or USA in the League, the League had no nearby military forces to call on
In short, even with hindsight, the League had very limited options