Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka signing the pact
|Signed||13 April 1941|
|Location||Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR|
The Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact(日ソ中立条約Nisso Chūritsu Jōyaku), also known as the Japanese–Soviet Non-aggression Pact(日ソ不可侵条約Nisso Fukashin Jōyaku), was a neutrality pact (non-aggression pact) between the Soviet Union and Japan signed on April 13, 1941, two years after the brief Soviet–Japanese Border War. The pact was signed to ensure the neutrality between the Soviet Union and Japan during World War II, in which both countries participated.
A non-aggression pact or neutrality pact is a treaty between two or more states/countries that includes a promise by the signatories not to engage in military action against each other. Such treaties may be described by other names, such as a treaty of friendship or non-belligerency, etc.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.
After the Fall of France and the subsequent expansion of the Axis Powers, the Soviet Union wished to mend its diplomatic relations in the Far East in order to safeguard its eastern border and concentrate on the European theatre of war. On the other hand, Japan, bogged down in a seemingly interminable war with China and with diplomatic relations with the United States rapidly deteriorating, sought an accommodation with the Soviet Union that would improve its international standing and secure the northern frontier of Manchukuo against possible Soviet invasion.[ citation needed ]
The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.
The European theatre of World War II, also known as the Second European War, was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe, starting with Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and ending with the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe and Germany’s unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts as well as in a massive air war and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle. Some sources in the modern People's Republic of China date the beginning of the war to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931.
Stalin was initially unaware of Hitler's briefing to his generals that an attack on the Soviet Union by the European Axis Powers would enable Japan to challenge the United States overtly. This briefing was based on the belief that if such an attack occurred, the Soviet Union would be too preoccupied with fighting Germany, thus making Japan feel less threatened by any possible Soviet invasion of Manchukuo, allowing Japan to have enough provisions and capabilities to start a war with the United States. This treaty would allow both Japan and the Soviet Union to avoid fighting on multiple fronts. Stalin believed that his "problems can be solved in a natural way if the Soviets and the Japanese cooperate". After concluding the nonaggression treaty, Stalin, in an unprecedented gesture, saw Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka off at the train station. This was symbolic of the importance Stalin attached to the treaty; it also provided him with the occasion – in the presence of the entire diplomatic corps – to invite negotiations with Germany while flaunting his increased bargaining power.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1953) and Premier (1941–1953). Initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, by the 1930s he was the country's de facto dictator. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalize these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, alongside his own policies known as Stalinism.
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The treatywas signed in Moscow on April 13, 1941, by Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka and Ambassador Yoshitsugu Tatekawa for Japan and Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov for the Soviet Union.
Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.
Yoshitsugu Tatekawa was a Lieutenant General in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He played an important role in the Mukden Incident in 1931 as Major General and he concluded the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in 1941 as ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. Molotov served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (Premier) from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. He served as First Deputy Premier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. Molotov was removed from all positions in 1961 after several years of obscurity.
On the same day, the same people also signed a declaration regarding Mongolia and Manchukuo.The Soviet Union pledged to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of Manchukuo, while Japan did the same for Mongolia.
The Mongolian People's Republic was a unitary sovereign socialist state which existed between 1924 and 1992, coterminous with the present-day country of Mongolia in East Asia. It was ruled by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and maintained close links with the Soviet Union throughout its history. Geographically, it was bordered by China to its south and the Soviet Union to its north. Until 1944, it also bordered the Tuvan People's Republic, another Soviet satellite state recognized only by Mongolia and the Soviet Union.
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.
Later in 1941, Japan, as a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, considered denouncing the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact, especially after Germany invaded the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), but made the crucial decision to keep it and to expand southwards invading the European colonies in Southeast Asia instead. This had a direct bearing on the Battle of Moscow, where the absence of a Japanese threat enabled the Soviets to move large forces from Siberia and throw them into the fighting against the Germans.
The Tripartite Pact, also known as the Berlin Pact, was an agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940 by, respectively, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Galeazzo Ciano and Saburō Kurusu. It was a defensive military alliance that was eventually joined by Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, as well as by the German client state of Slovakia. Yugoslavia's accession provoked a coup d'état in Belgrade two days later, and Germany, Italy and Hungary responded by invading Yugoslavia and partitioning the country. The resulting Italo-German client state known as the Independent State of Croatia joined the pact on 15 June 1941.
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans (Lebensraum), to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort and to annihilate the rest according to Generalplan Ost, and to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.
Nanshin-ron was a political doctrine in the Empire of Japan which stated that Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands were Japan's sphere of interest and that the potential value to the Japanese Empire for economic and territorial expansion in those areas was greater than elsewhere.
It is possible that had Stalingrad fallen, Japan would have invaded Siberia. General Tomoyuki Yamashita, known for his achievements in the Battle of Singapore, was sent to Manchuria in July 1942, and he may have been tasked with organizing the troops for the invasion.
On April 5, 1945, the Soviet Union denounced the pact, informing the Japanese government that "in accordance with Article Three of the above mentioned pact, which envisaged the right of denunciation one year before the lapse of the five-year period of operation of the pact, the Soviet Government hereby makes known to the Government of Japan its wish to denounce the pact of April 13, 1941."The wording of the denunciation suggested that the Soviet Union wished to see the treaty go out of effect immediately, and Time magazine reported that the Soviet Foreign Commissar's tone indicated that the Soviet Union might go to war with Japan soon. However, the text of the treaty clearly stated that the pact remained in force until one year after declaration of denunciation by one party, that is April 1946. When pressed by the Japanese Ambassador Naotake Sato, Molotov confirmed that the treaty did remain in force until April 1946.
On August 9, 1945, just after midnight Manchurian time, the Soviet Union invaded Manchuria. The declaration of war followed nearly six hours later. Because of the time zone difference of 7 hours,the declaration of war could be still dated August 8, 1945, being presented to the Japanese ambassador in Moscow at 11 p.m. Moscow time. In this last campaign of the war, Soviet territorial gains on the continent were Manchukuo, Mengjiang (Inner Mongolia) and northern Korea.
PACT OF NEUTRALITY BETWEEN UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS AND JAPAN
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, guided by a desire to strengthen peaceful and friendly relations between the two countries, have decided to conclude a pact on neutrality, for which purpose they have appointed as their Representatives:
- The Presidum of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics -
- His Majesty the Emperor of Japan -
- Yosuke Matsuoka, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jusanmin, Cavalier of the Order of the Sacred Treasure of the First Class, and
- Yoshitsugu Tatekawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Lieutenant General, Jusanmin, Cavalier of the Order of the Rising Sun of the First Class and the Order of the Golden Kite of the Fourth Class,
who, after an exchange of their credentials, which were found in due and proper form, have agreed on the following:
- Article one: Both Contracting Parties undertake to maintain peaceful and friendly relations between them and mutually respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of the other Contracting Party.
- Article two: Should one of the Contracting Parties become the object of hostilities on the part of one or several third powers, the other Contracting Party will observe neutrality throughout the duration of the conflict.
- Article three: The present Pact comes into force from the day of its ratification by both Contracting Parties and remains valid for five years. In case neither of the Contracting Parties denounces the Pact one year before the expiration of the term, it will be considered automatically prolonged for the next five years.
- Article four: The present Pact is subject to ratification as soon as possible. The instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Tokyo, also as soon as possible.
In confirmation whereof the above-named Representatives have signed the present Pact in two copies, drawn up in the Russian and Japanese languages, and affixed thereto their seals.
Done in Moscow on April 13, 1941, which corresponds to the 13th day of the fourth month of the 16th year of Showa.
In conformity with the spirit of the Pact on neutrality concluded on April 13, 1941, between the U.S.S.R. and Japan, the Government of the U.S.S.R. and the Government of Japan, in the interest of insuring peaceful and friendly relations between the two countries, solemnly declare that the U.S.S.R. pledges to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of Manchoukuo and Japan pledges to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of the Mongolian People's Republic.
Moscow, April 13, 1941
On behalf of the Government of the U.S.S.R.
On behalf of the Government of Japan
Soviet Denunciation of the Pact with Japan
The American Ambassador at Moscow transmitted to the Secretary of State, by a telegram dated April 5, 1945, the following statement, as received from the press section of the Foreign Office, regarding Soviet denunciation of the U.S.S.R.-Japanese neutrality pact:
" Today at 3 p.m. People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR Mr. V. M. Molotov, received the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. N. Sato, and made the following statement to him in the name of the Soviet Government:
'The neutrality pact between the Soviet Union and Japan was concluded on April 13, 1941, that is, before the attack of Germany on the USSR and before the outbreak of war between Japan on the one hand and England and the United States on the other. Since that time the situation has been basically altered. Germany has attacked the USSR, and Japan, ally of Germany, is aiding the latter in its war against the USSR. Furthermore Japan is waging a war with the USA and England, which are allies of the Soviet Union.
In these circumstances the neutrality pact between Japan and the USSR has lost its sense, and the prolongation of that pact has become impossible.
On the strength of the above and in accordance with Article Three of the above mentioned pact, which envisaged the right of denunciation one year before the lapse of the five-year period of operation of the pact, the Soviet Government hereby makes know [sic] to the Government of Japan its wish to denounce the pact of April 13, 1941.'
The Japanese Ambassador Mr. N. Sato, promised to inform the Japanese Government of the statement of the Soviet Government."
Soviet Declaration of War on Japan
London, Aug., 8, 1945 - Foreign Commissar Molotov's (sic) announcement of the declaration of war, as broadcast by Moscow, follows:
"On Aug. 8, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R. Molotov received the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Sato, and gave him, on behalf of the Soviet Government, the following for transmission to the Japanese Government:
'After the defeat and capitulation of Hitlerite Germany, Japan became the only great power that still stood for the continuation of the war.
The demand of the three powers, the United States, Great Britain and China, on July 26 for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces was rejected by Japan, and thus the proposal of the Japanese Government to the Soviet Union on mediation in the war in the Far East loses all basis.
Taking into consideration the refusal of Japan to capitulate, the Allies submitted to the Soviet Government a proposal to join the war against Japanese aggression and thus shorten the duration of the war, reduce the number of victims and facilitate the speedy restoration of universal peace.
Loyal to its Allied duty, the Soviet Government has accepted the proposals of the Allies and has joined in the declaration of the Allied powers of July 26.
The Soviet Government considers that this policy is the only means able to bring peace nearer, free the people from further sacrifice and suffering and give the Japanese people the possibility of avoiding the dangers and destruction suffered by Germany after her refusal to capitulate unconditionally.
In view of the above, the Soviet Government declares that from tomorrow, that is from Aug. 9, the Soviet Government will consider itself to be at war with Japan.' "
Prince Fumimaro Konoe was a Japanese politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. He was Prime Minister in the lead-up to Japan entering World War II.
The Anti-Comintern Pact was an anti-Communist pact concluded between Germany and Japan on November 25, 1936, and was directed against the Communist International (Comintern).
... recognizing that the aim of the Communist International, known as the Comintern, is to disintegrate and subdue existing States by all the means at its command; convinced that the toleration of interference by the Communist International in the internal affairs of the nations not only endangers their internal peace and social well‑being, but is also a menace to the peace of the world desirous of co‑operating in the defense against Communist subversive activities ...
Yōsuke Matsuoka was a Japanese diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Empire of Japan during the early stages of World War II. He is best known for his defiant speech at the League of Nations in 1933, ending Japan's participation in the organization. He was also one of the architects of the Tripartite Pact and the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of war.
German–Soviet Union relations date to the aftermath of the First World War. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, dictated by Germany ended hostilities between Russia and Germany; it was signed on March 3, 1918. A few months later, the German ambassador to Moscow, Wilhelm von Mirbach, was shot dead by Russian Left Socialist-Revolutionaries in an attempt to incite a new war between Russia and Germany. The entire Soviet embassy under Adolph Joffe was deported from Germany on November 6, 1918, for their active support of the German Revolution. Karl Radek also illegally supported communist subversive activities in Weimar Germany in 1919.
Shigenori Tōgō was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Empire of Japan at both the start and the end of the Japanese–Allied conflict during World War II. He also served as Minister of Colonial Affairs in 1941, and assumed the same position, renamed the Minister for Greater East Asia, in 1945.
The Sikorski–Mayski Agreement was a treaty between the Soviet Union and Poland, signed in London on 30 July 1941. Its name is taken from its two most notable signatories: Polish Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski and Soviet Ambassador to the United Kingdom Ivan Mayski.
The relations between Germany and Japan were officially established in 1861 with the first ambassadorial visit to Japan from Prussia. Japan modernized rapidly after the Meiji Restoration of 1867, often using German models through intense intellectual and cultural exchange. After 1900 Japan aligned itself with Britain, and Germany and Japan were enemies in World War I. Japan declared war on the German Empire in 1914 and seized key German possessions in China and the Pacific.
Relations between the Soviet Unionand Japan between the Communist takeover in 1917 and the collapse of Communism in 1991 tended to be hostile. Japan had sent troops to counter the Bolshevik presence in Russia's Far East during the Russian Civil War, and both countries had been in opposite camps during World War II and the Cold War. In addition, territorial conflicts over the Kuril Islands and South Sakhalin were a constant source of tension. These, with a number of smaller conflicts, prevented both countries from signing a peace treaty after World War II, and even today matters remain unresolved.
The Soviet–Polish Non-Aggression Pact was an international treaty of non-aggression signed in 1932 by representatives of Poland and the USSR. The pact was unilaterally broken by the Soviet Union on September 17, 1939, during the German and Soviet invasion of Poland.
The Operation August Storm 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.
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.
During World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed several countries effectively handed over by Nazi Germany in the secret protocol Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. These included Eastern Poland, as well as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, part of eastern Finland and eastern Romania. Apart from Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and post-war division of Germany, USSR also occupied and annexed Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia in 1945.
The Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 refers, according to the European Court of Human Rights, the Government of Latvia, the United States Department of State, and the European Union, to the military occupation of the Republic of Latvia by the Soviet Union ostensibly under the provisions of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany.
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was an August 23, 1939, agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany colloquially named after Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. The treaty renounced warfare between the two countries. In addition to stipulations of non-aggression, the treaty included a secret protocol dividing several eastern European countries between the parties.
In October and November 1940, German–Soviet Axis talks occurred concerning the Soviet Union's potential entry as a fourth Axis Power in World War II. The negotiations, which occurred during the era of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, included a two-day Berlin conference between Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, Adolf Hitler and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, followed by both countries trading written proposed agreements. After two days of negotiations from 12 to 14 November 1940, Germany presented the Soviets with a draft written Axis pact agreement defining the world spheres of influence of the four proposed Axis powers. Hitler, Ribbentrop and Molotov tried to set German and Soviet spheres of influence; Hitler encouraged Molotov to look south to Iran and eventually India while preserving German access to Finland's resources, and to remove Soviet influence in the Balkans. Molotov remained firm, seeking to remove German troops from Finland and gain a warm water port in the Balkans. Soviet foreign policy calculations were predicated by the idea that the war would be a long-term struggle and therefore German claims that Britain would be defeated swiftly were treated with skepticism. In addition, Stalin sought to remain influential in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. These factors resulted in Molotov taking a firm line. According to a Columbia University academical source, on 25 November 1940, the Soviets presented a Stalin-drafted written counterproposal where they would accept the four power pact, but it included Soviet rights to Bulgaria and a world sphere of influence centered on the area around Iraq and Iran. Germany did not respond, leaving the negotiations unresolved. Regarding the counterproposal, Hitler remarked to his top military chiefs that Stalin "demands more and more", "he's a cold-blooded blackmailer" and that "a German victory has become unbearable for Russia" so that "she must be brought to her knees as soon as possible." Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in June 1941 by invading the Soviet Union.
Relevant events began regarding the Baltic states and the Soviet Union when, following Bolshevist Russia's conflict with the Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—several peace treaties were signed with Russia and its successor, the Soviet Union. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Soviet Union and all three Baltic States further signed non-aggression treaties. The Soviet Union also confirmed that it would adhere to the Kellogg–Briand Pact with regard to its neighbors, including Estonia and Latvia, and entered into a convention defining "aggression" that included all three Baltic countries.
The timeline of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is a chronology of events, including Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact negotiations, leading up to, culminating in, and resulting from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The Treaty of Non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was signed in the early hours of August 24, 1939, but was dated August 23.
Outer Mongolia—officially the Mongolian People's Republic—was ruled by the communist government of Khorloogiin Choibalsan during World War II and was closely linked to the Soviet Union. Mongolia, with less than a million inhabitants, was considered a breakaway province of the Republic of China by most nations. Throughout the war with Germany, the country provided the Soviet Union with economic support, such as livestock, raw materials, money, food and military clothing, violating Mongolian neutrality in favor of the Allies. Mongolia was one of two Soviet satellites not generally recognised as sovereign nations at the time, the other being the Tuvan People's Republic; both participated in World War II.
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