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Japan and World War I

The History of the Japanese Empire’s Participation in the Great War
Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

World War I, also known in its time as the “Great War” or the “War to End all Wars”, was an unprecedented holocaust in terms of its sheer scale. It saw millions of soldiers do battle in brutal assaults of attrition which dragged on for months with little to no respite. It demonstrated man’s capacity to kill each other on a heretofore unprecedented scale, and as always, such a war brought about technological innovation at a rate that made the boom of the Industrial Revolution seem stagnant.

The First World War came at an unfortunate time for those who would fight in it, and while the role of Japan in World War II is widely known, Japan’s important role in the First World War is mostly overlooked. The Japanese contribution to the defeat of Germany and the Central Powers was important enough for Japan to be included among the Big Five Allied delegations at the 1919 peace negotiations, along with the British, French, Italians, and Americans, but it also served as a precursor of sorts for what would transpire a generation later.

In the Second World War, Japanese forces ranged over an immense portion of the globe, but during World War I, Japanese naval forces spanned an even larger portion of the globe. Japanese warships escorted troopships carrying Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops to the Middle East, cruisers hunted German commerce raiders in the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and all over the Pacific, and destroyers plowed Mediterranean waters as they escorted British convoys from Egypt to Gibraltar and searched for German and Austrian submarines. Japanese troops besieged the German citadel of Qingdao in China, forcing that German colonial city and naval base to surrender, and through it all, Japanese naval forces stood guard off Mexico, Hawaii, and the American West Coast.

All of this was accomplished with by far the fewest military losses of any of the major Allies. Indeed, the Japanese losses in World War I represented a small fraction of the losses incurred in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Yet Japanese strategic gains were far greater that what was obtained in the previous war, as they took the German North Pacific islands, they had a relatively free hand to exploit China, and they gained an uneasy peace with the young Soviet Union. In short, World War 1 brought Japan recognition as one of the world’s primary military and economic powers.

Japan and World War I: The History of the Japanese Empire’s Participation in the Great War analyzes the actions of the forgotten ally, and how Japan’s participation helped set the stage for its expansion across the Pacific. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Japan and World War I like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

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