|Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation|
|Part of the Soviet–Japanese War of World War II|
Soviet gains in North East Asia, August 1945
| Allies :|
|Commanders and leaders|
27,086 artillery pieces
1,152 rocket launchers
5,556 tanks and self-propelled guns
1,215 armored vehicles
|Casualties and losses|
300+ tanks destroyed
2,576–3,704 guns and mortars, and 2,129–2,300 other vehicles captured</ref>
The Soviet invasion of Manchuria, formally known as the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation (Манчжурская стратегическая наступательная операция, lit. Manchzhurskaya Strategicheskaya Nastupatelnaya Operatsiya) or simply the Manchurian Operation (Маньчжурская операция), 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 (Inner Mongolia) 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 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.
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.
A puppet state, puppet regime, or puppet government is a state that is de jure independent but is de facto completely dependent upon an outside power. It is nominally sovereign but effectively controlled by a foreign or otherwise alien power, for reasons such as financial interests, economic or military support.
Since 1983, the operation has sometimes been called Operation August Storm after U.S. Army historian David Glantz used this title for a paper on the subject.
David M. Glantz is an American military historian known for his books on the Red Army during World War II, and the chief editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies.
As agreed with the Allies at the Tehran Conference in November 1943 and the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Soviet Union entered World War II's Pacific Theater within three months of the end of the war in Europe. The invasion began on 9 August 1945, exactly three months after the German surrender on May 8 (9 May, 0:43 Moscow time).
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The Tehran Conference was a strategy meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill from 28 November to 1 December 1943, after the Anglo-Soviet Invasion of Iran. It was held in the Soviet Union's embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first of the World War II conferences of the "Big Three" Allied leaders. It closely followed the Cairo Conference which had taken place on 22–26 November 1943, and preceded the 1945 Yalta and Potsdam conferences. Although the three leaders arrived with differing objectives, the main outcome of the Tehran Conference was the Western Allies' commitment to open a second front against Nazi Germany. The conference also addressed the 'Big Three' Allies' relations with Turkey and Iran, operations in Yugoslavia and against Japan, and the envisaged post-war settlement. A separate protocol signed at the conference pledged the Big Three to recognize Iran's independence.
The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference, held from 4 to 11 February 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization. The three states were represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively. The conference convened near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union, within the Livadia, Yusupov, and Vorontsov Palaces.
Although the commencement of the invasion fell between the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima, on 6 August, and only hours before the Nagasaki bombing on 9 August, the timing of the invasion had been planned well in advance and was determined by the timing of the agreements at Tehran and Yalta, the long-term buildup of Soviet forces in the Far East since Tehran, and the date of the German surrender some three months earlier; on August 3, Marshal Vasilevsky reported to Premier Joseph Stalin that, if necessary, he could attack on the morning of 5 August.
Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Vasilevsky, a Russian career-officer in the Red Army, attained the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1943. He served as the Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense during World War II, and as Minister of Defense from 1949 to 1953. As the Chief of the General Staff from 1942 to 1945, Vasilevsky was responsible for planning and coordinating almost all decisive Soviet offensives in World War II, from the Stalingrad counteroffensive to the assaults on East Prussia, Königsberg and Manchuria.
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.
At 11pm Trans-Baikal (UTC+10) time on 8 August 1945, Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov informed Japanese ambassador Naotake Satō that the Soviet Union had declared war on Japan, and that from 9 August the Soviet government would consider itself to be at war with Japan.At one minute past midnight Trans-Baikal time on 9 August 1945, the Soviets commenced their invasion simultaneously on three fronts to the east, west and north of Manchuria:
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.
Naotake Satō was a Japanese diplomat and politician. He was born in Osaka. He graduated from the Tokyo Higher Commercial School in 1904, attended the consul course of the same institute, and quit studying there in 1905.
Lesser Khingan is a mountain range in China's Heilongjiang Province and the adjacent parts of Russia's Amur Oblast and Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
Though the battle extended beyond the borders traditionally known as Manchuria—that is, the traditional lands of the Manchus—the coordinated and integrated invasions of Japan's northern territories has also been called the Battle of Manchuria.It has also been referred to as the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
The Far East Command,under Marshal of the Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilevsky, had a plan to conquer Manchuria that was simple but huge in scale, calling for a massive pincer movement over all of Manchuria. This was to be performed by the Transbaikal Front from the west and by the 1st Far Eastern Front from the east; the 2nd Far Eastern Front was to attack the center of the pocket from the north. The only Soviet equivalent of a theater command that operated during the war (apart from the short-lived 1941 "Directions" in the west), Far East Command, consisted of three Red Army fronts.
The Transbaikal Front, under Marshal Rodion Malinovsky, included:
The Transbaikal Front was to form the western half of the Soviet pincer movement, attacking across the Inner Mongolian desert and over the Greater Khingan mountains.These forces had as their objectives firstly to secure Mukden (present day Shenyang), then to meet troops of the 1st Far Eastern Front at the Changchun area in south central Manchuria, and in doing so finish the double envelopment.
Amassing over one thousand tanks and self-propelled guns, the 6th Guards Tank Army was to serve as an armored spearhead, leading the Front's advance and capturing objectives 350 km (220 mi) inside Manchuria by the fifth day of the invasion.
The 36th Army was also attacking from the west, but with the objective of meeting forces of the 2nd Far Eastern Front at Harbin and Tsitsihar.
The 1st Far Eastern Front, under Marshal Kirill Meretskov, included:
The 1st Far Eastern Front was to form the eastern half of the pincer movement. This attack involved the 1st Red Banner Army, the 5th Army and the 10th Mechanized Corps striking towards Mudanjiang (or Mutanchiang).Once that city was captured, this force was to advance towards the cities of Jilin (or Kirin), Changchun and Harbin. Its final objective was to link up with the forces of the Transbaikal Front at Changchun and Jilin thus closing the double envelopment movement.
As a secondary objective, the 1st Far Eastern Front was to prevent Japanese forces from escaping to Korea, and then invade the Korean Peninsula up to the 38th parallel,establishing in the process what later became North Korea. This secondary objective was to be carried out by the 25th Army. Meanwhile, the 35th Army was tasked with capturing the cities of Boli (or Poli), Linkou and Mishan.
The 2nd Far Eastern Front, under General Maksim Purkayev, included:
The 2nd Far Eastern Front was deployed in a supporting attack role.Its objectives were the cities of Harbin and Tsitsihar, and to prevent an orderly withdrawal to the south by the Japanese forces.
Once troops from the 1st Far Eastern Front and Transbaikal Front captured the city of Changchun, the 2nd Far Eastern Front was to attack the Liaotung Peninsula and seize Port Arthur (present day Lüshun).
|1st Far East|
|2nd Far East|
|Multiple rocket launchers||1,171||583||516||72|
|Tanks and self-propelled guns||5,556||2,416||1,860||1,280|
Each front had "front units" attached directly to the front instead of an army.The forces totaled 89 divisions with 1.5 million men, 3,704 tanks, 1,852 self propelled guns, 85,819 vehicles and 3,721 aircraft. Approximately one-third of its strength was in combat support and services. The Soviet plan incorporated all the experience in maneuver warfare that they had acquired in fighting the Germans.
The Kwantung Army of the Imperial Japanese Army, under General Otsuzo Yamada, was the major part of the Japanese occupation forces in Manchuria and Korea, and consisted of two Area Armies and three independent armies:
Each Area Army (Homen Gun, the equivalent of a Western "army") had headquarters units and units attached directly to the Area Army, in addition to the field armies (the equivalent of a Western corps). In addition, the Japanese were assisted by the forces of their puppet states of Manchukuo and Mengjiang. Manchkuo had an army of about 170,000 to 220,000 troops, while Mengjiang had around 10,000, with the majority of these puppet troops being of dubious quality.[ citation needed ] Korea, the next target for the Soviet Far East Command, was garrisoned by the Japanese Seventeenth Area Army.[ citation needed ]
The Kwantung Army had over 700,000 men in twenty-five divisions (including two tank divisions) and six Independent Mixed Brigades. These contained over 1,215 armored vehicles (mostly armored cars and light tanks), 6,700 artillery pieces (mostly light), and 1,800 aircraft (mostly trainers and obsolete types). However, the Kwantung Army was far below its authorized strength; most of its heavy equipment and all of its best military units had transferred to the Pacific Theater over the previous three years to contend with the advance of American forces. Some Kwantung Army units had also re-deployed south against the Nationalist Chinese in Operation Ichigo in 1944. By 1945 the Kwantung Army contained a large number of raw recruits and conscripts, with generally obsolete, light, or otherwise limited equipment. Almost all of the tanks were early 1930s models such as the Type 95 Ha-Go and Type 89 I-Go, the anti-tank units only possessed Type 1 37 mm anti-tank guns that were ineffective against Soviet armor, and the infantry had very few machine-guns and no anti-materiel rifles or submachine guns. As a result, the Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea had essentially been reduced to a light-infantry counter-insurgency force with limited mobility and limited ability to fight a conventional land war against a coordinated enemy. In fact, only six of the Kwantung Army's divisions existed prior to January 1945. Accordingly, the Japanese regarded none of the Kwantung Army's units as combat ready, with some units being declared less than 15% ready.
The Imperial Japanese Navy did not contribute to the defense of Manchuria, the occupation of which it had always opposed on strategic grounds. Additionally, by the time of the Soviet invasion, the few remnants of its fleet were stationed and tasked for the defense of the Japanese home islands in the event of an invasion by American forces.
Compounding their problems, the Japanese military made many wrong assumptions and major mistakes, most significantly:
Due to the withdrawal of the Kwantung Army's elite forces for redeploying into the Pacific theatre, the Japanese made new operational plans in the summer of 1945 for the defence of Manchuria against a seemingly inevitable Soviet attack. These called for redeploying most forces from the border areas; the borders were to be held lightly and delaying actions fought while the main force was to hold the southeastern corner in strength (so defending Korea from attack).
Further, the Japanese had observed Soviet activity only on the Trans-Siberian railway and along the east Manchurian front, and accordingly prepared for an invasion from the east. They believed that when an attack occurred from the west, the redeployed forces would be able to deal with it.
Although the Japanese redeployment in Manchukuo had started, it was not due for completion until September 1945, and hence the Kwantung Army were in the midst of redeploying when the Soviets launched their attack simultaneously on all three fronts.
This section does not cite any sources . (August 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The operation was carried out as a classic double pincer movement over an area the size of the entire Western European theatre of World War II. In the western pincer, the Soviet Red Army advanced over the deserts and mountains from Mongolia, far from their resupply railways. This confounded the Japanese military analysis of Soviet logistics, and the defenders were caught by surprise in unfortified positions. The Kwantung Army commanders were engaged in a planning exercise at the time of the invasion, and were away from their forces for the first eighteen hours of conflict.
Japanese communication infrastructure was poor, and the Japanese lost communication with forward units very early on. However, the Kwantung Army had a formidable reputation as fierce and relentless fighters, and even though understrength and unprepared, put up strong resistance at the town of Hailar which tied down some of the Soviet forces. At the same time, Soviet airborne units seized airfields and city centers in advance of the land forces, and aircraft ferried fuel to those units that had outrun their supply lines.
The Soviet pincer from the East crossed the Ussuri and advanced around Khanka Lake and attacked towards Suifenhe, and although Japanese defenders fought hard and provided strong resistance, the Soviets proved overwhelming.
After a week of fighting, during which time Soviet forces had penetrated deep into Manchukuo, Japan's Emperor Hirohito recorded the Gyokuon-hōsō which was broadcast on radio to the Japanese nation on 15 August 1945. It made no direct reference to a surrender of Japan, instead stating that the government had been instructed to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration fully. This created confusion in the minds of many listeners who were not sure if Japan had surrendered. The poor audio quality of the radio broadcast, as well as the formal courtly language in which the speech was composed, worsened the confusion.
The Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters did not immediately communicate the cease-fire order to the Kwantung Army, and many elements of the army either did not understand it, or ignored it. Hence, pockets of fierce resistance from the Kwantung Army continued, and the Soviets continued their advance, largely avoiding the pockets of resistance, reaching Mukden, Changchun, and Qiqihar by 20 August. The cease-fire order was eventually communicated to the Kwantung Army, but not before the Soviets had made most of their territorial gains.
On the Soviet right flank, the Soviet-Mongolian Cavalry-Mechanized Group entered Inner Mongolia and quickly took Dolon Nur and Kalgan. The Emperor of Manchukuo (and former Emperor of China), Puyi, was captured by the Red Army.
On August 18, several Soviet amphibious landings were conducted ahead of the land advance: three landings in northern Korea, one landing in South Sakhalin, and one landing in the Kuril Islands. This meant that, in Korea at least, there were already Soviet soldiers waiting for the troops coming overland. In South Sakhalin and the Kurils, it meant a sudden establishment of Soviet sovereignty.
The land advance was stopped a good distance short of the Yalu River, the start of the Korean Peninsula, when even aerial supply became unavailable. The forces already in Korea were able to establish control in the peninsula's northern area. In accordance with arrangements made earlier with the American government to divide the Korean Peninsula, Soviet forces stopped at the 38th parallel, leaving the Japanese still in control of the southern part of the peninsula. Later, on 8 September 1945, American forces landed at Incheon.
The invasion of Manchuria was a major factor that contributed to the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. In addition, the Soviet occupation of Manchuria, along with the northern portions of the Korean Peninsula, allowed for those regions to be transferred by the Soviet Union into the control of local communists. The control of these regions by communist governments backed by Soviet authorities would be a factor in the rise of the Chinese Communists and shape the political conflict of the Korean War.
Several thousand Japanese who were sent as colonizers to Manchukuo and Inner Mongolia were left behind in China. The majority of Japanese left behind in China were women, and these Japanese women mostly married Chinese men and became known as "stranded war wives" (zanryu fujin).Because they had children fathered by Chinese men, the Japanese women were not allowed to bring their Chinese families back with them to Japan, so most of them stayed. Japanese law only allowed children fathered by Japanese fathers to become Japanese citizens.
According to Soviet historian Vyacheslav Zimonin, many Japanese settlers committed mass suicide as the Red Army approached. Mothers were forced by Japanese militaryto kill their own children before killing or being killed themselves. The Japanese army often took part in the killings of its civilians. The commander of the 5th Japanese Army, General Shimizu, commented that "each nation lives and dies by its own laws." Wounded Japanese soldiers who were incapable of moving on their own were often left to die as the army retreated.
British and US reports indicate that the Soviet troops that occupied Manchuria (about 700,000) looted and terrorized the people of Mukden, and were not discouraged by Soviet authorities from "three days of rape and pillage". In Harbin, Chinese posted slogans such as "Down with Red Imperialism!" Soviet forces ignored protests from Chinese Communist Party leaders on the mass rape and looting.
The Soviets laid claim to Japanese enterprises in the region and took valuable materials and industrial equipment.
Konstantin Asmolov of the Center for Korean Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences dismisses Western accounts of Soviet violence against civilians in the Far East as exaggeration and rumor and contends that accusations of mass crimes by the Red Army inappropriately extrapolate isolated incidents regarding the nearly 2,000,000 Soviet troops in the Far East into mass crimes. According to him, such accusations are refuted by the documents of the time, from which it is clear that such crimes were far less of a problem than in Germany. Asmolov further asserts that the Soviets prosecuted their perpetrators while prosecution of German and Japanese "rapists and looters" in WWII was virtually unknown.
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.
The Mukden Incident, or Manchurian Incident, was an event staged by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for the Japanese invasion in 1931 of northeastern China, known as Manchuria.
The Far Eastern Front was a front — a level of military formation that is equivalent to army group — of the Soviet Army during the Russian Civil War and the Second World War.
The Evacuation of Manchukuo occurred during the Soviet Red Army's invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo as part of the wider Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation of August 1945.
The Soviet–Japanese War was a military conflict within the 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.
The Manchukuo Imperial Army was the ground force of the military of the Empire of Manchukuo, a puppet state established by Imperial Japan in Manchuria, a region of northeastern China. The force was primarily used for fighting against Communist and Nationalist guerrillas in Manchukuo but also took part in battle against the Soviet Red Army on several occasions. It initially consisted of former National Revolutionary Army troops of the "Young Marshal" Zhang Xueliang who were recruited after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria en masse, but eventually expanded to include new volunteers and conscripts. The Imperial Army increased in size from about 111,000 troops in 1933 to an estimated strength of between 170,000–220,000 soldiers at its peak in 1945, being composed of Han Chinese, Manchus, Mongols, Koreans, Japanese, and White Russians. Throughout its existence the majority of its troops were considered to be mostly unreliable by their Japanese officers and advisers, due to poor training, equipment, and morale.
The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on 19 September 1931, when the Kwantung Army of the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria immediately following the Mukden Incident. After the war, the Japanese established the puppet state of Manchukuo. Their occupation lasted until the Soviet Union and Mongolia launched the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation in 1945.
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 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.
The Transbaikal Front was a front formed on September 15, 1941 on base of the Transbaikal Military District. Initially, it included the 17th and 36th armies, but in August 1942 the 12th Air Army was added to the front, and, finally, in June–July 1945 the 39th and the 53rd armies, the 6th Guards Tank Army, and the Soviet Mongolian Cavalry Mechanized Group under Issa Pliyev.
The Japanese colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies established by Imperial Japan in the Western Pacific and East Asia region from 1895. Victories over China and Russia expanded the Japanese sphere of influence, notably in Taiwan and Korea, and South Sakhalin became a colony of Japan as the Karafuto Prefecture in 1905.
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 men at the time, was defeated by and surrendered to Soviet troops as a result of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
Alexey Nikolayevich Krutikov was a Soviet military leader.
The Soviet occupation of Manchuria took place after the Red Army invaded the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in August 1945 and would continue until the last of the Soviet forces left in May 1946.
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.
The Battle of Mutanchiang was a large-scale military engagement fought between the forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Empire of Japan from August 12 to 16, 1945, as part of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in World War II. Due to the short nature of that campaign, this was one of the only set-piece battles that transpired before its conclusion. During the battle, elements of the Japanese Fifth Army attempted to delay the Soviet Fifth Army and First Red Banner Army long enough to allow the bulk of the Japanese forces to retreat to more defensible positions. Though casualties on both sides were heavy, the Red Army forces were able to break through the hastily organized Japanese defenses and capture the city ten days ahead of schedule. Nevertheless, the Japanese defenders at Mutanchiang achieved their goal of allowing the main forces to escape.
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. Until 1945, Mongolia kept formal neutrality. Throughout the war with Germany, the country provided the Soviet Union with economic support, such as livestock, raw materials, money, food and military clothing. 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.
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.
Japanese armies were guilty of appalling excesses, both in China and elsewhere, and had the Russians dealt harshly with only Japanese nationals in Manchuria this would have appeared as just retribution. But the indiscriminate looting and raping inflicted upon the unoffending Chinese by the Russians naturally aroused the keenest indignation.