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). For the postwar see Cold War.
|Timelines of World War II|
Prelude 1935 poster of the puppet state of Manchukuo promoting harmony among peoples. The caption reads: "With the help of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace."
The ideology of Japan's colonial empire, as it expanded dramatically during the war, contained two contradictory impulses. On the one hand,
The ideology of Japan's colonial empire, as it expanded dramatically during the war, contained two contradictory impulses. On the one hand, it preached the unity of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, a coalition of Asian races, directed by Japan, against the imperialism of Britain, France, the Netherlands, United States, and Europe in general. This approach celebrated the spiritual values of the East in opposition to the crass materialism of the West. In practice, it was a euphemistic title for grabbing land and acquiring essential natural resources. The Japanese installed organizationally-minded bureaucrats and engineers to run their new empire, and they believed in ideals of efficiency, modernization, and engineering solutions to social problems. It was fascism based on technology, and rejected Western norms of democracy. After 1945, the engineers and bureaucrats took over, and turned the wartime techno-fascism into entrepreneurial management skills.
Japan set up puppet regimes in Manchuria ("Manchukuo") and China; proper; they vanished at the end of the war. The Japanese Army operated ruthless governments in most of the conquered areas, but paid more favorable attention to the Dutch East Indies. The main goal was to obtain oil, but Japan sponsored an Indonesian nationalist movement under Sukarno. Sukarno finally came to power in the late 1940s after several years of battling the Dutch. The Dutch destroyed their oil wells but the Japanese reopened them. However most of the tankers taking oil to Japan were sunk by American submarines, so Japan's oil shortage became increasingly acute.
Puppet states in China