|Active||April 1906 – August 1945|
|Allegiance||Emperor of Japan|
|Nickname(s)||Toku(德兵團Toku heidan), Special|
|Engagements|| Second Sino-Japanese War |
The Kwantung Army was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army in the first half of the 20th century. It became the largest and most prestigious command in the IJA. Many of its personnel, such as Chiefs of staff Seishirō Itagaki and Hideki Tōjō were promoted to high positions in both the military and civil government in the Empire of Japan and it was largely responsible for the creation of the Japanese-dominated Empire of Manchuria. In August 1945, the army group, around 713,000 (from a previous total of 1,320,000) men at the time, was defeated by and surrendered to Soviet troops as a result of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
An army group is a military organization consisting of several field armies, which is self-sufficient for indefinite periods. It is usually responsible for a particular geographic area. An army group is the largest field organization handled by a single commander—usually a full general or field marshal—and it generally includes between 400,000 and 1,000,000 soldiers.
The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.
Seishirō Itagaki was a General in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II and a War Minister. Convicted of war crimes, he was executed in 1948.
Following the Russo-Japanese War, Japan obtained the Kwantung Leased Territory and the areas adjacent to the South Manchurian Railway. "Kwantung" (traditional Chinese :關東; simplified Chinese :关东; pinyin :Guāndōng; Wade–Giles :Kwan1-tung1) means "east of Shanhaiguan", a guarded pass, east of which lies Manchuria. The Kwantung Garrison was established in 1906 to defend this territory, and originally was composed of an infantry division and a heavy siege artillery battalion, supplemented with six independent garrison battalions as railway guards deployed along the South Manchurian Railway Zone, for a total troop strength of 100,000 men. It was headquartered in Port Arthur, known as "Ryojun" in Japanese. After a reorganization in 1919, the Kwantung Garrison was renamed the Kwantung Army.
The Russo-Japanese War was fought during 1904-1905 between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria and the seas around Korea, Japan and the Yellow Sea.
The Kwantung Leased Territory was a Russian-leased territory (1898–1905), then a Japanese-leased territory (1905–1945) in the southern part of the Liaodong Peninsula in the Republic of China that existed from 1898 to 1945. It was one of the territorial concessions that the Chinese government under the Qing Dynasty was compelled to award to foreign countries during the second half of the 19th century. The territory included the militarily and economically significant ports of Lüshunkou and Dalian.
Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.
In the highly politicized Imperial Japanese Army of the 1920s and 1930s, the Kwantung Army was a stronghold of the radical "Imperial Way Faction", and many of its senior leaders overtly advocated political change in Japan through the violent overthrow of the civilian government to bring about a Shōwa Restoration, with a reorganization of society and the economy along totalitarian state fascist lines. They also advocated a more aggressive, expansionist foreign policy regarding the Asian mainland. Members or former members of the Kwantung Army were active in numerous coup d'état attempts against the civilian government, culminating with the February 26 Incident of 1936.
The Imperial Way Faction was a political faction in the Imperial Japanese Army, active in the 1920s and 1930s and largely supported by junior officers aiming to establish a military government that promoted totalitarian, militarist, and expansionist ideals. It was never an organized political party and had no official standing within the Army.
The Shōwa Restoration was promoted by Japanese author Kita Ikki, with the goal of restoring power to the newly enthroned Japanese Emperor Hirohito and abolishing the liberal Taishō democracy. The aims of the "Showa Restoration" were similar to the Meiji Restoration as the groups who envisioned it imagined a small group of qualified people backing up a strong Emperor. The Cherry Blossom Society envisioned such a restoration.
Totalitarianism is a political concept of a mode of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. Political power in totalitarian states has often been held by rule by one leader which employ all-encompassing propaganda campaigns broadcast by state-controlled mass media. Totalitarian regimes are often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, restriction of speech, mass surveillance and widespread use of state terrorism. Historian Robert Conquest describes a "totalitarian" state as one recognizing no limits to its authority in any sphere of public or private life and which extends that authority to whatever length feasible.
Although the Kwantung Army was nominally subordinate to the Imperial General Headquarters and the senior staff at the Army General Staff, its leadership often acted in direct violation of the orders from the mainland Japan without suffering any consequence. Conspirators within the junior officer corps of the Kwantung Army plotted and carried out the assassination of Manchurian warlord Chang Tsolin in the Huanggutun Incident of 1928. Afterwards, the Kwantung Army leadership engineered the Mukden Incident and the subsequent invasion of Manchuria in 1931 in a massive act of insubordination (gekokujo) against the express orders of the political and military leadership based in Tokyo.
The Imperial General Headquarters was part of the Supreme War Council and was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime. In terms of function, it was approximately equivalent to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Junior officer, company officer or company grade officer refers to the lowest operational commissioned officer category of ranks in a military or paramilitary organization, ranking above non-commissioned officers and below senior officers.
Assassination is the act of killing a prominent person for either political, religious or monetary reasons.
Presented with the fait accompli, Imperial General Headquarters had little choice but to follow up on the actions of the Kwantung Army with reinforcements in the subsequent Pacification of Manchukuo. The success of the campaign meant that the insubordination of the Kwantung Army was rewarded rather than punished.
The Pacification of Manchukuo was a Japanese anti-insurgency campaign during the Second Sino-Japanese War to suppress any armed resistance to the newly established puppet state of Manchukuo from various anti-Japanese volunteer armies in occupied Manchuria and later the Communist Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army. The operations were carried out by the Imperial Japanese Kwantung Army and the collaborationist forces of the Manchukuo government from March 1932 until 1942, and resulted in a Japanese victory.
With the foundation of Manchukuo in 1932, the Kwantung Army played a controlling role in the political administration of the new state as well as in its defense. With the Kwantung Army administering all aspects of the politics and economic development of the new state, this made the Kwantung Army commanding officer equivalent to a Governor-general, with the authority to approve or countermand any command from the nominal emperor of Manchukuo, Puyi.
Manchukuo was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic, but in 1934 it became a constitutional monarchy. It had limited international recognition and was under the de facto control of Japan.
Governor-general or governor general, in modern usage, is the title of an office-holder appointed to represent the monarch of a sovereign state in the governing of an independent realm. Governors-general have also previously been appointed in respect of major colonial states or other territories held by either a monarchy or republic, such as French Indochina.
Puyi or Pu Yi, of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan, was the eleventh and last emperor of the Qing dynasty. When he was a child, he reigned as the Xuantong Emperor in China and Khevt Yos Khaan in Mongolia from 1908 until his forced abdication on 12 February 1912, after the Xinhai Revolution. From 1 July to 12 July in 1917, he was briefly restored to the throne as emperor by the warlord Zhang Xun.
After the campaign to secure Manchukuo, the Kwantung Army continued to fight in numerous border skirmishes with China as part of its efforts to create a Japanese-dominated buffer zone in northern China. The Kwantung Army also fought in the opening phase of the Second Sino-Japanese War in Operation Nekka, and various actions in Inner Mongolia to extend Japanese domination over portions of northern China and Inner Mongolia. When war broke out in the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in July 1937, its forces participated in Battle of Beiping-Tianjin and Operation Chahar. Later, Kwantung forces supported the war in China from time to time.
However, the much vaunted reputation of the Kwantung Army was severely challenged in battle against the Soviet Union's Red Army at the Battle of Lake Khasan in 1938[ citation needed ] and subsequent Battle of Nomonhan in 1939, during which time it sustained heavy casualties. After the Nomonhan incident, the Kwantung Army was purged of its more insubordinate elements, as well as proponents of the Hokushin-ron ("Northward Advance") doctrine who urged that Japan concentrate its expansionist efforts on Siberia rather southward towards China and Southeast Asia.
The Kwantung Army was heavily augmented over the next few years, up to a strength of 700,000 troops by 1941, and its headquarters was transferred to the new Manchukuo capital of Hsinking. The Kwantung Army also oversaw the creation, training, and equipping of an auxiliary force, the Manchukuo Imperial Army. During this time, Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda worked as liaison officer between the Imperial house and the Kwantung Army.Although a source of constant unrest during the 1930s, the Kwantung Army remained remarkably obedient during the 1940s. As combat spread south into central China and southern China in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and with the outbreak of the Pacific War, Manchukuo was largely a backwater to the conflict.
However, as the war situation began to deteriorate for the Imperial Japanese Army on all fronts, the large, well-trained, and well-equipped Kwantung Army could no longer be held in strategic reserve. Many of its front line units were systematically stripped of their best units and equipment, which were sent south against the forces of the United States in the Pacific Islands or the Philippines. Other units were sent south into China for Operation Ichi-Go.
By 1945, the Kwantung Army consisted of a mere 713,000 personnel, divided into 31 infantry divisions, nine infantry brigades, two tank brigades, and one special purpose brigade. It also possessed 1,155 light tanks, 5,360 guns, and 1,800 aircraft. The quality of troops had fallen drastically, as all the best men and materiel were siphoned off for use in other theaters. These forces were replaced by militia, draft levies, reservists, and cannibalized smaller units, all equipped with woefully outdated equipment.The Kwantung Army had also bacteriological weapons, prepared for use against Soviet troops (see Unit 731). The bulk of military equipment (artillery, tanks, aircraft) was developed in the 1930s, and very few of the soldiers had sufficient training or any real experience.
The final commanding officer of the Kwantung Army, General Otozō Yamada, ordered a surrender on August 16, 1945, one day after Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan in a radio announcement. Some Japanese divisions refused to surrender, and combat continued for the next few days. Marshal Hata received the "ultimatum to surrender" from Soviet General Georgii Shelakhovin Harbin on August 18, 1945. He was one of the senior generals who agreed with the decision to surrender, and on August 19, 1945, Hata met with Marshal Aleksandr Vasilevsky, but asked that he be stripped of his rank of Field Marshal in atonement for the Army's failures in the war.
The remnants of the Kwantung Army were either dead or on their way to Soviet prisoner-of-war camps. Over 500,000 Japanese prisoners of war were sent to work in Soviet labor camps in Siberia, Russian Far East and Mongolia. They were largely repatriated, in stages, over the next five years, though some continued to be held well into the 1950s.
After the surrender of Japan, the Soviet Red Army discovered secret installations for experimenting with and producing chemical weapons and biological weapons of mass destruction centered around secret Army Unit 731 and its subsidiaries.At these locations, the Kwantung Army was also responsible for some of the most infamous Japanese war crimes, including the operation of several human experimentation programs using live Chinese, American and Russian civilians, and POWs, directed by Dr. Shiro Ishii.
Arrested by the American occupation authorities, Ishii and the 20,000 members of Unit 731 received immunity from prosecution of war-crimes before the Tokyo tribunal of 1948, in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. On May 6, 1947, General Douglas MacArthur wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as 'War Crimes' evidence". [ citation needed ] However, twelve members of Unit 731 and some members of the World War II leadership of the Kwantung Army were sentenced as war criminals by the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials, while others were taken into custody by the United States, and sentenced at the 1948 International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo. Among those sentenced to death were former generals Seishirō Itagaki, Iwane Matsui, Kenji Doihara, Hideki Tōjō and Akira Mutō.The deal was concluded in 1948.
|1-||General Tachibana Kōichirō||1919||6 January 1921|
|2||General Misao Kawai||6 January 1921||10 May 1922|
|3||General Shinobu Ono||10 May 1922||10 October 1923|
|4||General Yoshinori Shirakawa||10 October 1923||28 July 1926|
|5||Field Marshal Baron Nobuyoshi Mutō||28 July 1926||26 August 1927|
|6||General Chotaro Muraoka||26 August 1927||1 July 1929|
|7||General Eitaro Hata||1 July 1929||31 May 1930|
|8||General Takashi Hishikari||3 June 1930||1 August 1931|
|9||General Shigeru Honjō||1 August 1931||8 August 1932|
|10||Field Marshal Baron Nobuyoshi Mutō||8 August 1932||27 July 1933|
|11||General Takashi Hishikari||29 July 1933||10 December 1934|
|12||General Jirō Minami||10 December 1934||6 March 1936|
|13||General Kenkichi Ueda||6 March 1936||7 September 1939|
|14||General Yoshijirō Umezu||7 September 1939||18 July 1944|
|14||General Otozō Yamada||18 July 1944||11 August 1945|
|1||Major General Matasuke Hamamo||12 April 1919||11 March 1921|
|2||Major General Kaya Fukuhara||11 March 1921||6 August 1923|
|3||Major General Kawada Akiji||6 August 1923||2 December 1925|
|4||Major General Tsune Saito||2 December 1925||10 August 1928|
|5||Lieutenant General Koji Miyake||10 August 1928||8 August 1932|
|6||General Kuniaki Koiso||8 August 1932||5 March 1934|
|7||General Toshizo Nishio||5 March 1934||23 March 1936|
|8||General Seishirō Itagaki||23 March 1936||1 March 1937|
|9||General Hideki Tōjō||1 March 1937||30 May 1938|
|10||Lieutenant General Rensuke Isogai||18 June 1938||7 September 1939|
|11||Lieutenant General Jo Iimura||7 September 1939||22 October 1940|
|12||General Heitarō Kimura||22 October 1940||10 April 1941|
|13||General Teiichi Yoshimoto||10 April 1941||1 August 1942|
|14||Lieutenant General Yukio Kasahara||1 August 1942||7 April 1945|
|15||Lieutenant General Hikosaburo Hata||7 April 1945||11 August 1945|
The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol were the decisive engagements of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese border conflicts fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia, Japan and Manchukuo in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield. In Japan, the decisive battle of the conflict is known as the Nomonhan Incident after Nomonhan, a nearby village on the border between Mongolia and Manchuria. The battles resulted in the defeat of the Japanese Sixth Army.
Kanji Ishiwara was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He and Itagaki Seishirō were the men primarily responsible for the Mukden Incident that took place in Manchuria in 1931.
The Soviet invasion of Manchuria, formally known as the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation or simply the Manchurian Operation, began on 9 August 1945 with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. It was the last campaign of the Second World War, and the largest of the 1945 Soviet–Japanese War, which resumed hostilities between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Empire of Japan after almost six years of peace. Soviet gains on the continent were Manchukuo, Mengjiang and northern Korea. The Soviet entry into the war and the defeat of the Kwantung Army was a significant factor in the Japanese government's decision to surrender unconditionally, as it made apparent the Soviet Union had no intention of acting as a third party in negotiating an end to hostilities on conditional terms.
The Battle of Lake Khasan, also known as the Changkufeng Incident in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion by Manchukuo, a Japanese puppet state, into the territory claimed and controlled by the Soviet Union. This incursion was founded in the belief of the Japanese side, that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Treaty of Peking between Imperial Russia and Qing China and that the demarcation markers were tampered with. Japanese forces occupied the disputed area but withdrew after heavy fighting and a diplomatic settlement.
Organization of the Kwantung Army of Japan
The Soviet–Japanese War was a military conflict within World War II beginning soon after midnight on August 9, 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. The Soviets and Mongolians terminated Japanese control of Manchukuo, Mengjiang, northern Korea, Karafuto, and the Chishima Islands. The defeat of Japan's Kwantung Army helped in the Japanese surrender and the termination of World War II. The Soviet entry into the war was a significant factor in the Japanese government's decision to surrender unconditionally, as it made apparent the Soviet Union would no longer be willing to act as a third party in negotiating an end to hostilities on conditional terms.
Zhang Jinghui ; was a Chinese general and politician during the Warlord era. He is noted for his role in the Japanese puppet regime of Manchukuo in which he served as its second and final Prime Minister.
Kenkichi Ueda was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He played an active role in the Soviet-Japanese Border Wars of the late 1930s.
The Soviet–Japanese border conflicts was a series of battles and skirmishes between the forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Empire of Japan, as well as their respective client states of Mongolia and Manchukuo. Lasting from 1932 to 1939, most of the conflicts were small border skirmishes until May 1939, with the notable exception of the Battle of Lake Khasan. The border conflicts were resolved in a series of engagements at Khalkin-Gol, where the Soviets and Mongolians inflicted a decisive defeat on the Japanese. This resulted in the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact. It should not be confused with the conflict in August 1945 when the Soviet Union declared war in support of the other Allies of World War II and launched the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
The South Manchuria Railway Zone (南満州鉄道附属地 Minami Manshū Tetsudō Fuzoku-chi) (Hanyu Pinyin: Nán Mǎnzhōu Tiědào Fùshǔ-dì; Wade–Giles: Nan2 Man3-chou1 Tʻieh3-tao4 Fu4-shu3-ti4) or SMR Zone, was the area of Japanese extraterritorial rights in northeast China, in connection with the operation of the South Manchurian Railway.
The Japanese First Area Army was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, based in northern Manchukuo and active in combat against the Soviet Union in the closing stages of the war.
The Japanese 5th Army was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army based in Manchukuo from the Russo-Japanese War until the end of World War II. During World War II it was under the overall command of the Kwantung Army.
The Japanese 30th Army was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army during the final days of World War II.
The Japanese 4th Army was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army based in Manchukuo from the Russo-Japanese War until the end of World War II.
The Japanese 44th Army was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army during the final stages of World War II.
The Japanese 3rd Army was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army based in Manchukuo as a garrison force under the overall command of the Kwantung Army during World War II, but its history dates to the Russo-Japanese War.
The Japanese Third Area Army was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, based in southern Manchukuo and active in combat against the Soviet Union in the very final stages of the war.
Hokushin-ron was a pre-World War II political doctrine of the Empire of Japan which stated that Manchuria and Siberia were Japan's sphere of interest and that the potential value to Japan for economic and territorial expansion in those areas was greater than elsewhere. Its supporters were sometimes called the Strike North Group. It enjoyed wide support within the Imperial Japanese Army during the interwar period, but was abandoned in 1939 after military defeat on the Mongolian front at the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. It was superseded by the diametrically-opposite rival policy, Nanshin-ron, which regarded Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands as Japan's political and economic sphere of influence and aimed to acquire the resources of European colonies while neutralising the threat of Western military forces in the Pacific.
KANTOKUEN was an operational plan created by the General Staff of the Imperial Japanese Army for an invasion and occupation of the far eastern region of the Soviet Union, capitalizing on the outbreak of the Soviet-German War in June 1941. Involving seven Japanese armies as well as a major portion of the empire's naval and air forces, it would have been the largest single combined arms operation in Japanese history, and one of the largest of all time.