Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact

Last updated
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 (non-aggression pact) between the Soviet Union and Japan signed on April 13, 1941, two years after the conclusion of the Soviet-Japanese Border War. The agreement meant that for most of World War II, the two nations fought against each other's allies but not each other. In 1945, late in the war, the Soviets scrapped the pact and joined the war against Japan.

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 ]

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]

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 Molotov for the Soviet Union.

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

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 send them to the front lines against the Germans.

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]

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan in exchange for American and British recognition of certain Soviet territorial claims in Asia. The deadline for this promised action was three months after the end of World War II in Europe. The deal was kept secret.

On April 5, 1945, the Soviet Union denounced the pact with Japan, 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 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. [7]

On May 8/9, 1945 (the date depending on the time zone), Nazi Germany surrendered, ending the war in Europe and starting the secret three-month countdown for Soviet commencement of hostilities against Japan. On August 9, 1945, just after midnight Manchurian time, the Soviets invaded Manchuria. The declaration of war against Japan 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] In this last campaign of the war, Soviet territorial gains on the continent were Manchukuo, Mengjiang (Inner Mongolia) and northern Korea.

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

Related Research Articles

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact 1939 neutrality pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union

The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to divide-up Poland between them.

Vyacheslav Molotov Soviet politician

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.

Anti-Comintern Pact pact

The Anti-Comintern Pact, officially the Agreement against the Communist International, was an anti-Communist pact concluded between Germany and Japan on November 25, 1936, and was directed against the Communist International (Comintern). It was signed by German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Japanese ambassador to Germany Kintomo Mushakoji. Italy, Spain and other countries joined it until November 1941.

Maxim Litvinov Soviet diplomat and foreign minister

Maxim Maximovich Litvinov, Russian pronunciation: [mɐˈksʲim mɐˈksʲiməvʲɪtɕ lʲɪˈtvʲinəf]; born Meir Henoch Wallach-Finkelstein was an ethnic Jewish Russian revolutionary and prominent Soviet Bolshevik politician.

Yōsuke Matsuoka Japanese politician

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.

Germany–Soviet Union relations, 1918–1941 Diplomatic relations between Nazi Germany and the soviet union

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.

The German–Soviet Credit Agreement was an economic arrangement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union whereby the latter received an acceptance credit of 200 million Reichsmark over 7 years with an effective interest rate of 4.5 percent. The credit line was to be used during the next two years for purchase of capital goods in Germany and was to be paid off by means of Soviet material shipment from 1946 onwards. The economic agreement was the first step toward improvement in relations between the Soviet Union and Germany.

Soviet invasion of Manchuria

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.

Shigenori Tōgō Japanese politician

Shigenori Tōgō was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Empire of Japan at both the start and the end of the Axis–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.

Japan–Soviet Union relations Diplomatic relations between Japan and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

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.

Soviet–Japanese War War beginning with Soviet invasion of Manchukuo

The Soviet–Japanese War was a military conflict within the Second World War beginning soon after midnight on August 9, 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. The Soviets and Mongolians ended Japanese control of Manchukuo, Mengjiang, northern Korea, Karafuto, and the Chishima Islands. The defeat of Japan's Kwantung Army helped bring about 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 that the Soviet Union was not willing to act as a third party in negotiating an end to hostilities on conditional terms.

Soviet–Japanese border conflicts war

The Soviet–Japanese border conflicts, also known as the Soviet-Japanese Border War, was an undeclared border conflict fought between the Soviet Union and Japan in Northeast Asia from 1932 to 1939.

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 and as Japanese ambassador to the Soviet Union he negotiated the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in 1941.

Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 Military occupation of the Republic of Latvia by the Soviet Union

The Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 refers to the military occupation of the Republic of Latvia by the Soviet Union under the provisions of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany and its Secret Additional Protocol signed in August 1939. The occupation took place according to the European Court of Human Rights, the Government of Latvia, the United States Department of State, and the European Union. In 1989, the USSR also condemned the 1939 secret protocol between Nazi Germany and herself that had led to the invasion and occupation of the three Baltic countries, including Latvia.

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact negotiations

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.

German–Soviet Axis talks Talks concerning the Soviet Unions potential entry as a fourth Axis Power in World War II

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.

Soviet Union in World War II

The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany on 23 August 1939. In addition to stipulations of non-aggression, the treaty included a secret protocol that divided territories of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland into German and Soviet Union "spheres of influence", anticipating potential "territorial and political rearrangements" of these countries. In October and November 1940, German-Soviet talks about the potential of joining the Axis took place in Berlin, nothing came from the talks since Hitler's Ideological goal was Lebensraum in the East.

Baltic–Soviet relations

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 diplomatic history of World War II includes the major foreign policies and interactions inside the opposing coalitions, the Allies of World War II and the Axis powers. The military history of the war is covered at World War II. The prewar diplomacy is covered in Causes of World War II and International relations (1919–1939).

Mongolia in World War II

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 of which participated in World War II.

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)