CHAPTER XIV
AN EMPIRE WON AND LOST
1937-1945

Invasion of Manchuria --war with China --Anti-Comintern Pact --Pearl Harbour --victory and defeat

JAPANESE ADVOCATES of expansion after 1931 had behind them a people easily persuaded that aggressive policies were just. History, as taught in their schools, showed their country starting its international career in the nineteenth century under a number of handicaps imposed by a greedy West, then suffering under racial discrimination a generation later, when Australia and the United States introduced controls on immigration--a grievance made all the harder to bear by the fact that in Asia Japanese often had the status of Europeans--and more recently facing new tariffs, quota regulations and other 'defensive' arrangements by the powers, designed to protect their economies from Japanese competition during a time of world recession. It is not surprising that the Japanese, acutely conscious of their large and growing population, felt resentment, nor that the apostles of empire had little difficulty in turning it to account. As Hashimoto Kingoro of the Sakurakai wrote in his Addresses to Young Men:

'We have already said that there are only three ways left to Japan to escape from the pressure of surplus population . . . namely emigration, advance into world markets, and expansion of territory. The first door, emigration, has been barred to us by the anti- Japanese immigration policies of other countries. The second door, advance into world markets, is being pushed shut by tariff barriers and the abrogation of commercial treaties. What should Japan do when two of the three doors have been closed against her?'74

To Hashimoto, like most of his compatriots, this reasoning

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