Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact

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Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact
Matsuoka signs the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact-1.jpg
Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka signing the pact
Typebilateral treaty
Signed13 April 1941 (1941-04-13)
Location Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR
Original
signatories
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan
RatifiersFlag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan
Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, 13 April 1941 Soviet Japanese Neutrality Pact 13 April 1941.jpg
Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, 13 April 1941

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 (nonaggression 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.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 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.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

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.

Battles of Khalkhin Gol battle

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.

Contents

Background and history

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 ]

Battle of France Successful German invasion of France

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 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.

European theatre of World War II Huge area of heavy fighting across Europe

The European theatre of World War II, also known as the Second European War, was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe, from Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 until the end of the war with the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe along with the German 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.

Second Sino-Japanese War military conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1945

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.

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. [1]

Joseph Stalin Soviet leader

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician. He led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Premier (1941–1953). While initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, he ultimately consolidated enough power to become the country's de facto dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism.

Adolf Hitler Leader of Germany from 1934 to 1945

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 ("Leader") of the German Reich and People in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in 1939 and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust. As Germany's wartime commander-in-chief, he closely supervised military operations until committing suicide as the nation's defeat became imminent.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

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 that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. 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 treaty [2] was signed in Moscow on April 13, 1941, by Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka and Ambassador Yoshitsugu Tatekawa for Japan and Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov for the Soviet Union.

Moscow Federal city in Central, Russia

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 Japanese general

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.

On the same day, the same people also signed a declaration regarding Mongolia and Manchuria. [3] The Soviet Union pledged to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of Manchukuo, while Japan did the same for Mongolia.

Mongolian Peoples Republic 1924–1992 republic in Northeastern Asia

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.

Manchuria geographic region in Northeast Asia

Manchuria is a name first used in the 17th century by Japanese people to refer to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the context, Manchuria can either refer to a region that falls entirely within the People's Republic of China or a larger region divided between China and Russia. "Manchuria" is widely used outside China to denote the geographical and historical region. This region is the traditional homeland of the Xianbei, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states within the area historically.

Manchukuo former Japan puppet state in China

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.

Tripartite Pact Treaty establishing the Axis Powers of World War Two

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 Italy and Germany 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 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union during the Second World War

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, to use Slavs as a slave-labour force for the Axis war effort, and to seize the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.

Nanshin-ron

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. [4]

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." [5] 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. [6] However, the text of the treaty clearly stated that the pact remained in force until April 1946. When pressed by the Japanese Ambassador Naotake Sato, Molotov confirmed that the treaty did remain in force until April 1946. [7]

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, [8] 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. [9]

Treaty

PACT OF NEUTRALITY BETWEEN UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS AND JAPAN [2]

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:

who, after an exchange of their credentials, which were found in due and proper form, have agreed on the following:

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.

V. Molotov;
Yosuke Matsuoka;
Yoshitsugu Tatekawa

Declaration

DECLARATION [3]

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.
V. MOLOTOV

On behalf of the Government of Japan
YOSUKE MATSUOKA
YOSHITSUGU TATEKAWA

Denunciation

Soviet Denunciation of the Pact with Japan [5]

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."

Declaration of War

Soviet Declaration of War on Japan [10]

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.' "

See also

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References

  1. Kissinger, Henry, "Diplomacy", page 365 and 366
  2. 1 2 Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact April 13, 1941. (Avalon Project at Yale University)
  3. 1 2 Declaration Regarding Mongolia April 13, 1941. (Avalon Project at Yale University)
  4. Boris Nikolaevich Slavinskiĭ (2004). The Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact: A Diplomatic History, 1941-1945. Psychology Press. p. 103. ISBN   978-0-415-32292-8.
  5. 1 2 Denunciation of the neutrality pact April 5, 1945. (Avalon Project at Yale University)
  6. "So Sorry, Mr. Sato" in Time magazine, April 16, 1945
  7. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, Harvard University Press, 2005, pp. 46-7.
  8. "Large detailed Time Zones map of the USSR - 1982". Mapsland.com. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  9. Glantz, David M (2003). The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria, 1945: August Storm. p. 182. ISBN   9780714652795.
  10. Soviet War Declaration On Japan August 8, 1945. (Avalon Project at Yale University)