The Fleet Faction (艦隊派, Kantai-ha) was an unofficial and informal political faction within the Imperial Japanese Navy in the 1920s and 1930s of officers opposed to the conditions imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty.
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, limited the naval armaments of its five signatories: the United States, the British Empire, the Empire of Japan, France, and Italy. The treaty was agreed at the Washington Naval Conference, which was held in Washington, D.C., from November 1921 to February 1922.
The treaty limited the total capital ship tonnage of each of the signatories. No single ship could exceed 35,000 tons, and no ship could carry a gun in excess of 16 inches. Only two large aircraft carriers were permitted per nation. No new fortifications or naval bases could be established, and existing bases and defenses could not be improved in external territories and possessions specified in the treaty. The tonnage allotment to Japan was based on a 5:5:3 ratio, compared with the United States and United Kingdom, with the justification being that these two countries needed to maintain fleets on more than one ocean whereas Japan had only the Pacific Ocean.
The terms of the treaty were extremely unpopular with Japanese public, many of whom saw the 5:5:3 ratio as another way of being regarded as an inferior race by the West.
The Imperial Japanese Navy was split into two opposing factions, the Treaty Faction and the Fleet Faction. The Treaty Faction wanted to stay within the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty, arguing that Japan could not afford an arms race with the western powers and hoping, through diplomacy, to restore the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
The Fleet Faction was composed of the political right-wing within the Navy, including many influential admirals in the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff such as Yamamoto Eisuke, Kato Hiroharu, Suetsugu Nobumasa, Sankichi Takahashi and Nagumo Chuichi, and was headed by Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu.[ citation needed ] The Fleet Faction wanted nullification of the Washington Naval Treaty and unlimited naval growth to build the most powerful navy possible, thus challenging the naval supremacy of the United States and the British Empire.
In the 1920s, the Treaty Faction, which was supported by the Navy Ministry and the civilian government, was predominant. However, with increasing Japanese militarism in the 1930s, the growing conflict with the United States over China, and the blatant disregard for the terms of the Treaty by all major powers, the Fleet Faction gradually gained the upper hand.
On 29 December 1934, the Japanese government gave formal notice that it intended to terminate the treaty. Its provisions remained in force until the end of 1936, but it was not renewed.
Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms. General and Complete Disarmament was defined by the United Nations General Assembly as the elimination of all WMD, coupled with the “balanced reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments, based on the principle of undiminished security of the parties with a view to promoting or enhancing stability at a lower military level, taking into account the need of all States to protect their security.”
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was a treaty signed during 1922 among the major Allies of World War I, which agreed to prevent an arms race by limiting naval construction. It was negotiated at the Washington Naval Conference, held in Washington, D.C., from November 1921 to February 1922, and it was signed by the governments of Great Britain, the United States, France, Italy, and Japan. It limited the construction of battleships, battlecruisers and aircraft carriers by the signatories. The numbers of other categories of warships, including cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, were not limited by the treaty, but those ships were limited to 10,000 tons displacement each.
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The Washington Naval Conference was a disarmament conference called by the United States and held in Washington, DC from November 12, 1921 to February 6, 1922. It was conducted outside the auspices of the League of Nations. It was attended by nine nations regarding interests in the Pacific Ocean and East Asia. Germany was not invited to the conference, as it had already been disarmed under the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Soviet Russia was also not invited to the conference. It was the first arms control conference in history, and is still studied by political scientists as a model for a successful disarmament movement.
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The Treaty Faction was an unofficial and informal political faction within the Imperial Japanese Navy in the 1920s-1930s of officers supporting the Washington Naval Treaty.
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Sankichi Takahashi was an Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy. After the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 Takahashi, an important figure of the IJN's Fleet Faction, made a swift career, from commander of an obsolete cruiser in 1923 to commander of the Combined Fleet in 1934. He was instrumental in crushing the opposing moderate Treaty Faction but soon lost his command in another round of political turmoil.
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Teikichi Hori was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during the early twentieth century. During the interwar period, Hori was a prominent member of the Treaty Faction of the Navy, and opposed war against the United States and the United Kingdom. Hori was a close friend and mentor of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.