Japan and the Axis, 1937-8: Recognition of the Franco Regime and Manchukuo


Rodao, Florentino. 2009. “Japan and the Axis, 1937-8: Recognition of the Franco Regime and Manchukuo.” Journal of Contemporary History. Journal of Contemporary History. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/yygjqep4

Date Published:

Jul 1, 2009


After just one year of the Spanish Civil War, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident led to the Sino-Japanese War, both conflicts remaining for two years as daily reminders of the world conflicts of the time. This article attempts to emphasize the importance of the coincidence in time of those conflicts in delimiting each bloc, especially through a decision that was particularly divisive for the Japanese government, such as recognition of Franco’s rebel government after the outbreak of the war in China. Efforts by Japanese Foreign Minister Hirota KÄki to avoid a decision that would further Japan’s pro-Axis drift show the lines of division in the government. His maneuvers progressively failed, including the November 1937 proposal for negotiations to include the recognition of Manchukuo, accepted first by Franco’s Spain, later by Italy and finally by the Germans. The article emphasizes the role of Italy in Asia, the reasons for Spanish actions, and the aims of other key persons in this period, such as Prime Minister Konoe, the postwar leader Yoshida Shigeru, or Ishihara Kanji, the officer who masterminded the 1931 invasion of Manchuria.


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