In this final segment on the rise of the imperial military to power, we’ll discuss the process by which the military hijacked Japan’s foreign policy and shut down the democratic process. After this was done, the army briefly turned on itself before taking the final plunge into a war with China.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. The Making of Modern Japan.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Doihara Kenji, leader of the group in the Guandong Army which planned the invasion of Manchuria. He was an opium addict who preferred the nickname "Lawrence of Manchuria," in reference to T.E. Lawrence.

Doihara Kenji, leader of the group in the Guandong Army which planned the invasion of Manchuria. He was an opium addict who preferred the nickname “Lawrence of Manchuria,” in reference to T.E. Lawrence.

The railcar of Zhang Zuolin, assassinated by Doihara Kenji in 1928 as part of a plot to enable the Guandong Army to seize Manchuria. This attempt failed as the predicted civil strife never materialized; the next in 1931 would succeed.

The railcar of Zhang Zuolin, assassinated by Doihara Kenji in 1928 as part of a plot to enable the Guandong Army to seize Manchuria. This attempt failed as the predicted civil strife never materialized; the next in 1931 would succeed.

Zhang Xueliang, the leader of Manchuria at the time it was invaded by Japan. He was forced to flee, and would later be instrumental in forcing Chiang Kaishek to turn his attentions to Japan rather than the Chinese Communist Party.

Zhang Xueliang, the leader of Manchuria at the time it was invaded by Japan. He was forced to flee, and would later be instrumental in forcing Chiang Kaishek to turn his attentions to Japan rather than the Chinese Communist Party.

The section of the Mukden rail line where the bomb that triggered the invasion of Manchuria was planted.

The section of the Mukden rail line where the bomb that triggered the invasion of Manchuria was planted.

Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), leader of the Guomindang. Chiang would eventually come into open conflict with Japan's militarists over the future of China.

Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), leader of the Guomindang. Chiang would eventually come into open conflict with Japan’s militarists over the future of China.

Osaka Mainichi Shinbun headline describing the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.

Osaka Mainichi Shinbun headline describing the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.

The order from the Emperor to the February 26 rebels of the Kokutai Genriha (National Principle Faction). The Emperor ordered the men to stand down in their attempts to restore absolute power to him.

The order from the Emperor to the February 26 rebels of the Kokutai Genriha (National Principle Faction). The Emperor ordered the men to stand down in their attempts to restore absolute power to him.

Soldiers of China's National Revolutionary Army (the armed forces of the Guomindang) fighting the Japanese at the Marco Polo Bridge.

Soldiers of China’s National Revolutionary Army (the armed forces of the Guomindang) fighting the Japanese at the Marco Polo Bridge.