Industrial Collaboration with Japan (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)

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This fact greatly contributed to Germany relying on China , and not Japan, as its strategic partner in East Asia for the coming years. After Germany had to cede most of its Pacific and Asian possessions to Japan and with an intensifying Sino-German cooperation , relations between Berlin and Tokyo were nearly dead. Under the initiative of Wilhelm Solf , who served as German ambassador to Japan from to , cultural exchange was strengthened again.

A cultural agreement was signed in that led to the re-establishment of the "German-Japanese Society" , the founding of the "Japan Institute" in Berlin , the establishment of the "Japanese-German Cultural Society" in Tokyo , and later also the incorporation of the "Japanese-German Research Institute" in Kyoto This political turning point proved to be far-reaching for the relations between Germany and Japan. Japanese and Chinese officials complained about "Yellow Peril" propaganda in German newspapers, reports of German plans to ban interracial relationships, and ongoing violence against Asian students all over the country.

In October , the Japanese government warned its nationals not to visit Germany, saying the country was unsafe for Asians to be in, and in November , the Chinese government issued a similar warning to its citizens. In regards to Japan, Neurath noted it was advantageous to have so many scions of the Japanese elite studying at German universities, arguing that it was an incalculable advantage to Germany in the long run. At this time, however, Germany had much closer relations with China, which purchased an increasing amount of German arms and whose National Revolutionary Army received training by a German military mission.

In late early , another strain was placed on German-Japanese relations when the new German ambassador to Japan and outspoken proponent of German-Japanese partnership, Herbert von Dirksen , backed the appointment of Ferdinand Heye, a member of the Nazi Party and disreputable businessman, the Special German Trade Commissioner for Japan's puppet state Manchukuo in northern China. Berlin's interaction with Manchukuo was delicate, as its official diplomatic recognition by Germany was sought after by Japan, but would greatly damage Sino-German relations.

Hitler's interest to keep China as a partner for the time being became obvious, when he disavowed Heye, who had falsely promised German recognition of Manchukuo in order to monopolize German trading in the region under his name.

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Around the same time, von Rippentrop negotiated the Anglo-German Naval Agreement , which caused a temporary deterioration of German-Japanese relations when it was signed in June At the time, many Japanese politicians, including Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto who was an outspoken critic of an alliance with Nazi Germany , were shocked [35] by what was seen as Germany attempting to create an alliance with Great Britain. Nevertheless, the leaders of the military clique then in control in Tokyo concluded that it was a ruse designed to buy the Nazis time to match the British navy.

After all, Hitler had already laid down his plans in Mein Kampf , in which he identified England as a promising partner, but also defined Japan as a target of "international Jewry", and thus a possible ally:. It was not in the interests of Great Britain to have Germany annihilated, but primarily a Jewish interest. And to-day the destruction of Japan would serve British political interests less than it would serve the far-reaching intentions of those who are leading the movement that hopes to establish a Jewish world-empire.

Tokyo's military leaders proceeded to devise plans assuring the Empire's supply with resources by eventually creating a " Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere ". The first legal consolidation of German-Japanese mutual interests occurred in , when the two countries signed the Anti-Comintern Pact , which was directed against the Communist International Comintern in general and the Soviet Union in particular. After the signing, Nazi Germany's government also included the Japanese people in their concept of " honorary Aryans ". Originally, Germany had a very close relationship with the Chinese nationalist government, even providing military aid and assistance to the Republic of China.

Notwithstanding the superior Sino-German economic relationship, Hitler concluded that Japan would be a more reliable geostrategic partner and chose to end his alliance with the Chinese as the price of gaining an alignment with the more modern and militarily powerful Japan.

In The Testament of Adolf Hitler , he wrote:.

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Pride in one's own race — and that does not imply contempt for other races — is also a normal and healthy sentiment. I have never regarded the Chinese or the Japanese as being inferior to ourselves. They belong to ancient civilizations, and I admit freely that their past history is superior to our own.

They have the right to be proud of their past, just as we have the right to be proud of the civilization to which we belong. Indeed, I believe the more steadfast the Chinese and the Japanese remain in their pride of race, the easier I shall find it to get on with them. The relations between Japan and Germany continued to grow closer during the late s and several cultural exchanges took place, albeit motivated by political and propaganda reasons. A focus was put on youth exchanges, and numerous mutual visits were conducted; for instance, in late , the ship Gneisenau carried a delegation of 30 members of the Hitlerjugend to Tokyo for a study visit.

After the preceding embassy had to give way to Hitler's and Albert Speer 's plans of re-modeling Berlin to the world capital city of Germania , a new and more pompous building was erected in a newly established diplomatic district next to the Tiergarten. It was conceived by Ludwig Moshamer under the supervision of Speer and was placed opposite the Italian embassy, thereby bestowing an architectural emphasis on the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis. Although tentative plans for a joint German-Japanese approach against the USSR were hinted on in the Anti-Comintern Pact, the years and were already decisive for Japan's decision to not expand northward i.

The Empire decisively lost two border fights against the Soviets, the Battles of Lake Khasan and Khalkin Gol , thereby convincing itself that the Imperial Japanese Army , lacking heavy tanks and the like, would be in no position to challenge the Red Army at that time. Nevertheless, Hitler's anti-Soviet sentiment soon led to further rapprochements with Japan, since he still believed that Japan would join Germany in a future war against the Soviet Union, either actively by invading southeast Siberia , or passively by binding large parts of the Red Army , which was fearing an attack of Japan's Kwantung Army in Manchukuo , numbering ca.

In contrast to his actual plans, Hitler's concept of stalling — in combination with his frustration with a Japan embroiled in seemingly endless negotiations with the United States, and tending against a war with the USSR [45] — led to a temporary cooperation with the Soviets in the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact , which was signed in August Neither Japan nor Italy had been informed beforehand of Germany's pact with the Soviets, demonstrating the constant subliminal mistrust between Nazi Germany and its partners.

After all, the pact not only stipulated the division of Poland between both signatories in a secret protocol, but also rendered the Anti-Comintern Pact more or less irrelevant. In order to remove the strain that Hitler's move had put on German—Japanese relations, the "Agreement for Cultural Cooperation between Japan and Germany" was signed in November , only a few weeks after Germany and the Soviet Union had concluded their invasion of Poland and Great Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany.

Over the following year, Japan also proceeded with its expansion plans. The Invasion of northern French Indochina on 22 September which by then was controlled by the collaborating government of Vichy France , and Japan's ongoing bloody conflict with China , put a severe strain on Japan—United States relations. However, such US moves were interpreted by Japan's militaristic leaders as signals that they needed to take radical measures to improve the Empire's situation, thereby driving Japan closer to Germany. With Nazi Germany not only having conquered most of continental Europe including France, but also maintaining the impression of a Britain facing imminent defeat , [49] Tokyo interpreted the situation in Europe as proof of a fundamental and fatal weakness in western democracies.

Japan's leadership concluded that the current state of affairs had to be exploited [45] and subsequently started to seek even closer cooperation with Berlin. Hitler, for his part, not only feared a lasting stalemate with Britain, but also had started planning an invasion of the Soviet Union. These circumstances, together with a shortage in raw materials and food, [50] increased Berlin's interest in a stronger alliance with Japan. German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was sent to negotiate a new treaty with Japan, whose relationships with Germany and Italy, the three soon to be called "Axis powers", were cemented with the Tripartite Pact of 27 September The purpose of the Pact, directed against an unnamed power presumed to be the United States, was to deter that power from supporting Britain, thereby not only strengthening Germany's and Italy's cause in the North African Campaign and the Mediterranean theatre , but also weakening British colonies in South-East Asia in advance of a Japanese invasion.

The treaty stated that the three countries would respect each other's "leadership" in their respective spheres of influence , and would assist each other if attacked by an outside party. However, already-ongoing conflicts, as of the signing of the Pact, were explicitly excluded. With this defensive terminology, aggression on the part of a member state toward a non-member state would result in no obligations under the Pact.

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These limitations can be interpreted as a symptom of the German-Japanese relations of that time being driven by mutual self-interest, underpinned by the shared militarist, expansionist and nationalistic ideologies of their respective governments. Another decisive limitation in the German-Japanese alliance were the fundamental differences between the two nation's policies towards Jews. With Nazi Germany's well-known attitude being extreme Antisemitism , Japan refrained from adopting any similar posture.

I am the man responsible for the alliance with Hitler, but nowhere have I promised that we would carry out his anti-Semitic policies in Japan. This is not simply my personal opinion, it is the opinion of Japan , and I have no compunction about announcing it to the world. On a similar note, both countries would continue to conceal any war crimes committed by the other side for the remainder of the war.

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The Holocaust was systematically concealed by the leadership in Tokyo, just as Japanese war crimes , e. Subsequently, the German leadership ordered Rabe back to Berlin, confiscating all his reports and prohibiting any further discussion of the topic. Nevertheless, after the signing of the Tripartite Pact, mutual visits of political and military nature increased. For this purpose, Yamashita arrived in Berlin in January , staying almost six months. General Yamashita also met and talked with Hitler, on whom he commented,. I felt, that in the mind of Hitler there was much of spiritual matters, transcending material plans.

He read carefully reports of Japan's victory over Russia when he was only 17 years old and was impressed by Japan's astonishing strength. According to Yamashita, Hitler promised to remember Japan in his will, by instructing the Germans "to bind themselves eternally to the Japanese spirit. You just watch and wait. Soon, Japan's Air Force was among the most powerful in the world.


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Fifteen bags of Top Secret mail for the British Far East Command were found, including naval intelligence reports containing the latest assessment of the Japanese Empire's military strength in the Far East, along with details of Royal Air Force units, naval strength, and notes on Singapore 's defences. It painted a gloomy picture of British land and naval capabilities in the Far East, and declared that Britain was too weak to risk war with Japan. The mail reached the German embassy in Tokyo on 5 December, and was then hand-carried to Berlin via the Trans-Siberian railway.

After reading the captured documents, on 7 January Japanese Admiral Yamamoto wrote to the Naval Minister asking whether, if Japan knocked out America, the remaining British and Dutch forces would be suitably weakened for the Japanese to deliver a deathblow. Thereby, Nanshin-ron , the concept of the Japanese Navy conducting a southern campaign quickly matured and gained further proponents. Hitler, on the other hand, was concluding the preparations for " Operation Barbarossa ", the invasion of the Soviet Union.

In February , as a result of Hitler's insistence, General Oshima returned to Berlin as ambassador.

Japan must take steps to seize Singapore as soon as possible, since the opportunity will never again be as favorable tie-up of the whole English fleet; unpreparedness of U. Japan is indeed making preparations for this action; but according to all declarations made by Japanese officers, she will only carry it out if Germany proceeds to land in England.

Germany must, therefore, concentrate all her efforts on spurring Japan to act immediately. Japan wishes, if possible, to avoid war against the U. She can do so if she determinedly takes Singapore as soon as possible.

It would, of course, be up to Japan to act as it saw fit, but Japan's cooperation in the fight against the Soviet Union would be welcomed if the [Japanese] advance to the south should run into difficulty because of supply and equipment. In order to secure Japan's back while expanding southwards and as a Soviet effort to demonstrate peaceful intentions toward Germany, [61] the Soviet—Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed in Moscow on 13 April by Matsuoka on his return trip from a visit to Berlin.

Joseph Stalin had little faith in Japan's commitment to neutrality, but he felt that the pact was important for its political symbolism, to reinforce a public affection for Germany.

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