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.
(continued) 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.