by Alistair Rogers
The two maps given here illustrate Japan’s expansion throughout the Far East and Southeast Asia from 1931 until 1944. Determined to expand throughout the region and turning their back on the international systems to ensure peace, the Japanese invaded and took over the state of Manchuria in northeast China in 1931, establishing the puppet state of Manchukuo the following year. This would provide a base for further incursion into China in 1937. Growing tension with the United States culminated in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, with war being declared the following day. Japan would spend the next four years fighting against both the United States and their allies in the region, taking over possessions held by the British, Dutch, and French. This included French Indochina (modern-day Vietnam), Thailand, Burma, Batavia (modern-day Java) and the Malay Peninsula, including Singapore. Japanese expansion would halt at their defeats at Guadalcanal and Midway, and the United States forces, combined with the efforts of the Soviet Union and China, forced the Japanese to retreat in the 1944 and 1945.
Iriye, Akira The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific, Pearson Education: 1987
Haywood, John, PhD. Atlas of World History, Barnes and Noble Books: 1997
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Growing up as a child in Hong Kong, I heard much about the terrors that my grandparents on both sides of the family had endured under the rule of the Japanese during their invasions in Pacific East Asia. While these tales horrified me as a child, it sparked an interest in me and set me on the path of getting my bachelor’s degree in history at the University of San Francisco. I was so intrigued by the subject that by the time I was fourteen, I had read Iris Chang’s award winning book, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, which was a gift from my grandfather, who insisted that this portion of history can never be forgotten.
As I grew up, I soon realize that most people in the world, even my peers in Hong Kong, were either indifferent or ignorant of the subject. Whilst I was disappointed by this realization, it continues provide me with the motivation and drive to spread the knowledge of this largely forgotten past; as the age-old expression goes: those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
Nicole Dahlstrom is a non-profit marketing specialist with a history of coordinating marketing efforts for non-profit start-ups. She began her career while still in college when she interned at a local non-profit start-up called Spread the Care. After receiving a B.A. in Marketing, Nicole spent a year as an employment specialist with the national volunteer program, AmeriCorps. During her term of service, she aided a diverse set of clients with anything from learning to speak English to writing a business plan. Since finishing her term of service in September of 2014, Nicole has pursued a freelance writing career while studying online marketing for non-profits. She currently works as the Development Coordinator for the growing San Francisco based non-profit, Pacific Atrocities Education.